Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,265 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on March 9th, 2011


Another excellent  puzzle from Paul, which I found great fun to solve.  It’s quite straightforward, I think, but there’s lots to admire – and smile at – in the ingenious cluing.


1   MINICAR: IN in MICA [substitute for glass] + R [king]: I liked the juxtaposition of ‘glass’ with  ‘frames’, providing the insertion indicator.
GLAZIER: G [force character] + LAZIER [less inclined to work]: another ‘lift and separate’ clue, giving a great surface
9,23  FUZZY LOGIC: I hadn’t heard of this but this clue and 25,21 bother me. I suppose I have to call them cryptic definitions but an oxymoron is, by nature, cryptic, so surely these are just definitions by example, with no cryptic element at all? Perhaps this one is slightly more cryptic than the other. [Or else they're both very clever indeed and I can't see it!]
11  LOS ANGELES: anagram of EN [half of ends] + GOALLESS: an easy clue but a very nice surface
12,26,10  HAVE OTHER FISH TO FRY: anagram of HHH [trebly hard] + AFTER FORTY SO I’VE
14  WOMB-LEASING: WOMBLE [Wellington, perhaps] + anagram of GAINS: definitely my favourite clue, with the clever and amusing split in the wordplay. Non-UK solvers may not have heard of these delightful creatures

16 EQUILATERAL: EQUAL [peer] round I [vertical line] + LATER [afterwards]
22  WORLD-CLASS: double definition
25,21: THE LIVING DEAD: see above 9,23
27  AUTOCUE: sounds like ‘auto queue’:
28  CESSPIT: reversal of TIPS [waste disposal sites] + SEC[dry] – another witty clue


1   MUFFLE: MULE [cross] around FF [fortissimo]
2   NAZISM: ZI[on]S in NAM [a contraction of Vietnam, especially referring to the war there in the 60s and 70s]: I had to think about the wordplay for a moment but it works if you think of it as ‘Zion has not on’.
5   GOSPELLER: GO [shot] + SPELLER [wizard]
6   ACTS: double definition: Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the New Testament: two biblical clues in a row!
7   INFRA DIG: anagram of FAR in [wearing] INDIG[o] [violet-blue, almost]
8   RAYLEIGH: anagram of GIRL YEAH: Chambers’ definition of the anagram indicator ‘promiscuous’ is  ‘confusedly or  indiscriminately mixed’: nice one, Paul! There may be accusations of parochialism here but I’m not sure that I’d heard of this Essex town myself. However, the cluing is faultless.
13  FALLACIOUS: reversal of OI [attention seeker] + CALL [name] in FAUS [opera not entirely]: reference to Gounod’s opera ‘Faust’
15  METEORITE: ET [the oxymoronic familiar {crossword} alien] in anagram of MORE + IT + E[merges]
16  VENDETTA: END [death] in VE[nice] + TT [temperature doubling] + A
17 BUDAPEST: BUD [friend] A PEST [troublesome]: simple but effective
19  CASH UP: ASH [remains] in CUP [vessel]
20 ESPRIT: anagram of PRIEST
24  DISC: IS in DC [Washington]

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,265 / Paul”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. I’m with you in not being keen on the “oxymoronic” clues. I got THE LIVING DEAD immediately and FUZZY LOGIC not long afterwards; with my mathematical background I’m familiar with the latter and don’t regard it as being oxymoronic at all, but I suppose the idea is that normally logic is regarded as completely cut and dried (cf Mr Spock) and not fuzzy at all.

  2. Shirley says:

    Thanks Eileen – 20D we weren’t quite sure that spirit meant wit?
    otherwise a great puzzle.
    You haven’t mentioned in 11A that David Beckham plays for (Los Angeles) LA Galaxy, but I’m sure most people will have known that anyway.

  3. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Easier than usual for a Paul,I thought.

    I note you have conquered the hyperlink conundrum at last!

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Andrew

    “I suppose the idea is that normally logic is regarded as completely cut and dried (cf Mr Spock) and not fuzzy at all.”

    That’s exactly what I mean: so Paul is surely only saying ‘fuzzy logic’ is an oxymoron?

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Shirley

    I had doubts, too, but Chambers gives [only] ‘wit or liveliness’.

    And re Beckham’s team: yes, I thought that if even I knew that, everyone else must.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Excellent blog, Eileen. I needed you to explain a few today (MINICAR, CESSPIT, NAZISM), but I am feeling slightly chuffed because I finished this one and the one from Paul’s alter ego in the Indy yesterday.

    I too liked WOMB-LEASING, and I vaguely knew RAYLEIGH in Essex. I’m sure your definition of ‘promiscuous’ from Chambers is correct, but if you reflect that a girl (or boy, natch, this is the Guardian) who is promiscuous is one who puts her or himself around a bit, then I think you’ve got a pretty good anagrind.

    HAVE OTHER FISH TO FRY made me laugh, because of its French equivalent. They say ‘j’ai d’autres chats à fouetter’, which means ‘I have other cats to whip’. Which tells you a lot of what you need to know about the French, à mon humble avis.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi cholecyst

    I’m a slow learner – but you’ve reminded me I meant to give this link instead [just to keep you humming all day!]

    Thanks for the French input, K’s D. I didn’t know that one. Glad you’re coming round to Paul. Re ‘promiscuous’, I meant to say that that was the first definition in Chambers, which surprised me, and makes it a super anagrind.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    I agree it was a fairly easy Paul – two in a row now. My last in was 1a MINICAR, which took an age. I was convinced the vehicle was CAR and was looking for a definition of SUBSTITUTE, or SUBSTITUTE FOR GLASS, or even SUBSTITUTE FOR GLASS FRAMES.

    I didn’t mind the oxymoronic ones, but I think you have convinced me about ZOMBIES. This by itself gave me the answer straight away, so is probably not cryptic; however, REASONING as a clue by itself wouldn’t suggest the answer, so the extra OXYMORONIC helps, and thus renders it cryptic in my view.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Eileen. Just wanted to add that now that I’m getting to grips with Paul’s sense of humour, I think you could pretty much describe 8dn as an &lit. Let’s just say Essex girls have a certain reputation. So as not to offend sensibilities on your prim and proper blog, I’ll just hint that if those who wish to know more search for ‘Essex girl jokes’ then they’ll get the picture.

    My legal people have said that I should indicate that I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

  10. Ian says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    Well, I’m afraid to say that I took far too long on this one. Long enough to have to change two CD’s as background music.

    As is often the case when I attempt to solve a Paul crossword, I insert or deduce the right solution but spend forever justifying it from the word surface. NAZISM and MINICAR being typical examples.

    Loved Paul’s use of promiscuous as the anagram indicator given the reputation that has been well earned by Essex girls. Absolutely marvellous.

    Despite that, I have to agree that 14a was the outstanding clue.

  11. Geoff says:

    Thanks Eileen

    Great fun as usual from Paul, with the lovely Essex girl joke and the Womble clue.

    Just a few teeny gripes. As Eileen and others have remarked, the oxymoronic clues are only very slightly cryptic, especially the zombie one – this is disappointing for a setter of his wit and inventiveness. And, like Dave Ellison, my last entry was MINICAR. I spotted the significance of ‘frames in’ right at the outset, but I was confused because the clue is ungrammatical in the way it needs to be parsed. The ‘substitute for glass’ (MICA) ‘frames’ IN then ‘king’ (R) needs to be added – but then the apostrophe s adds a second verb to the sentence. The clue would be better if it read: Substitute for glass framing in king’s vehicle

  12. Geoff says:

    PS: 2d is an &lit, which nobody seems to have pointed out.

  13. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Another enjoyable Paul. Unlike Geoff, I got the MICA glass ref right off. Last in was 13 d, one of the best with its OI. Best of the lot (well, loudest laugh) was the Womble one.

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for a good blog and Paul for a testing but very enjoyable puzzle

    3d I read this simply as NAM around ZIS = ZI(on)S

    The oxymoronic clues seem straightforward to me. The idea is something that seems stupidly self-contradictory but has a point (oxy = sharp). As ‘living dead’ Zombies (if they exist) are by definition oxymoronic. With ‘fuzzy logic’: as I understand it this is a ‘positive’ form of reasoning method and the combination is again paradoxically oxymoronic. Indeed paradox and oxymoron are very similar ideas though their ox(en) are quite different. (:) Or am I just being (oxy)moronic (unsharply foolish)?

    Masses of very good clues perhaps esp. 14a.

    I kept trying to find a reason for ‘article’ in 27a.

  15. tupu says:

    Re zombies, I suppose the ‘moronic’ (which literally relates to ‘stupid’ in ‘oxymoronic’) adds a tad to this clue since figuratively a stupid person may be called both moronic and a (bit of a) zombie.

  16. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen, especially for the Wombles links. Unfortunately, I only remembered Great Uncle Bulgaria and Orinoco, so entirely failed to see the parsing of 14ac, which slightly marred my enjoyment of the puzzle :(

    The other clue I couldn’t parse was, as for others, 1ac. Nevertheless, a great puzzle, thanks Paul.

    Regarding Essex girls, four of my nieces are growing up there. I trust the reputation is not as well-earned as some bloggers seem to think :)

  17. RCWhiting says:

    A very professional job but a little too easy, especially for a Paul.

    I think some of you are being rather conservative over the oxymoron issue. Any reasonable new cryptic technique should be welcome; at least for a trial period. This one would seem to have limited application.
    Presumably even anagrams were new once and dismissed as unsuitable.

  18. Robi says:

    A good puzzle from Paul, although I struggled a little (but then allegedly he likes to torture us a bit.)

    Thanks, Eileen for an interesting blog – I didn’t see the reversal in CESSPIT, and failed miserably with parsing 13. I thought it had something to do with the opera singer Maria Callas (CALLA, not entirely.) I suppose I must learn things like OI=attention seeker (slight groan here.)

    I liked AUTOCUE – tupu @14; I assume it means the ‘prompting item’ that newsreaders use. Unlike some others, I didn’t have much trouble with 1a, although at the beginning I thought it must have something to do with cloches. Without being too nerdy, I don’t think I would put a hyphen in WOMB LEASING unless I was/were using it adjectively. I only got the WOMBLE connection after solving the clue.

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi

    I know tupu can speak for himself but, just in case he’s gone out, I took it that he meant he was trying to justify ARTICLE [item] as the solution to 27ac.

  20. Robi says:

    Eileen; yes, sorry I got my articles and items confused. :)

  21. beermagnet says:

    This one caught me out in two places, one was resolved, the other not.

    1A: MINICAR With M-N-C– in place i wrote in MONOCLE misled somehow by the “Substitute for glass” part of the clue
    This was resolved when I finally got [T]RIFLE, but only by seeing “Substitute for glass” = MICA did I end up with MINICAR which I find an odd word.

    27A: AUTOCUE I had the crossing letters A-T-C-E and ARTICLE shone out at me. Justifying it was another matter but it was only the LE that was loose so I let it ride. An article is an “item for newsreader”, and an Artic (articulated lorry) has often been known to cause “Traffic Jam”.

    Lovely puzzle. Lovely Blog.

  22. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Thanks re 22. As you imply, I tried to make sense of article until I saw ‘autocue’.

    I am still a little puzzled re the reading of 2 down. With your reading, the ‘s = has’ moves it from the solution. My own reading was Philosophy where Zion’s – not on – in war?

    I am quite taken by the literal sense of ‘moronic’ in the etymology of ‘oxymoronic’. I suppose the idea of ‘fuzzy logic’ also has the same implication.

  23. Geoff says:

    RCWhiting @17: The objection to the oxymoron clues is not, I think, to this type per se. The issue is that both the expressions clued here are self-consciously oxymoronic, which rather eliminates the cryptic element.

    It would be different, for example, if a solution such as LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT were given a clue with a reference to oxymorons.

  24. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    Super blog for a super puzzle.
    I see your point with regards to the oxymoronic clues but basically agree with RCWhiting,limited use but o.k once in a while.
    Took me a while to parse FALLACIOUS,for some reason I was trying to spot a reversed opera.
    2 down also caused me problems,being the bottom clue on the page there was a hole pressed through part of the clue(war) which caused me to misread it as ‘way’.
    I won’t thankk you for the link to the Wombles theme tune,I listened to a few seconds and it has ‘earwormed’ me. :)
    I will follow Robi’s suggestion for a cure

  25. Carrots says:

    Done it again! Putting in WOMB LENDING instead of WOMB LEASING without fully explaining the answer first. I`ve never heard of either but favoured LENDING because it could be “free” whereas LEASING implies a cost. This, in turn, meant that I didn`t (and couldn`t) get 13 Dn and resorted to Chambers Word Wizard to find a word match. As the only one it came up with was “Inflictors” (which I had already dismissed) I, at last, began to suspect that my foot had developed another bullet wound.

    Otherwise (!) this was a superb Paul classic and his take on Essex Girl was supreme. And, thanks for the blog Eileen: I prefer your “all singing and dancing” format, but appreciate how difficult this must be against the clock.

  26. Robi says:

    I expect you are all dying to know more about RAYLEIGH, so here goes:

    According to the English Place Names Society, “Rayleigh” derives from “raege”, and “leah”, meaning “Female roe-deer stream” or “she-goat stream’”. According to the Rayleigh Civic Society, “Roa” is a Saxon word for Roebuck and “Lea” a pasture probably for goats.’ This and even more exciting information can be found here.

  27. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    Agree with beermagnet that minicar is rather strange and wonder if it’s another example of the gap/hyphen being lost in American English (ref. yesterday’s discussion). Took the oxymorons for what they were and quite liked them (like fun run better, though !).

    Carrots @25 … I did something similar with womb-letting as an (unexplainable) overlap of womble and letting (what a property company might be doing if there are rooms free/available). Then saw the anagram …

    Stella @16, fear not. The wife’s from Essex and is quite normal (in the non-’Essex’ sort of way). And she had relatives in Rayleigh !

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu @22

    “With your reading, the ‘s = has’ moves it from the solution.”

    I’m not sure what this means but please don’t worry about it. I was over-complicating things and imagining objections whare there weren’t any. Your reading @14 makes perfect sense.

  29. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Thanks. Its not the first time I’ve put things too elliptically.

    I suspect I may be up a gum tree with oxymoron, but until I checked today, I had not realised its exact etymology and had thought the evocation of ‘moronic’ was just accidental. It seems it is a late Latin word coined from the two Greek roots ‘oxy’ (sharp) and ‘moros’ (dull, stupid, foolish). It does not apparently occur in Ancient Greek.

  30. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. This must have been a little easier for a Paul because I managed to solve it on the tube, with no recourse to check buttons etc. My last was 13dn — the OI raised a smile!

    I didn’t mind the ‘oxymoronic’ ones, but MINICAR as a word seems a little odd to me.

    Never heard of RAYLEIGH but the cluing was impeccable (and funny).

  31. Abby says:

    Technically, zombies aren’t living dead- they’re walking dead. Vampires are living dead. Zombies aren’t considered to have lives. Like people who’d make that distinction, I guess. :-)

  32. Martin P says:

    Red face here as I work in the medium but got locked into “article” rather than “autocue”.
    I liked “promiscuous” as anagram indicator, “all over the place” I suppose!
    I made a few mistakes so thanks to all for the excellent explanations.

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    We had no problems with the oxymoronic clues.
    My PinC liked the fact that both consisted of two parts, one Across, the other one Down – oxymoronic, see.

    MINICAR is in American dictionaries without a hyphen, but perhaps for some one more … oxymoronic thing.

    Best clues today?

    Pity though, that in two consecutive clues (11,12etc) we had exactly the same anagram indicator. Very unlike Paul.

    But a good puzzle overall.

  34. MadLogician says:

    Fuzzy logic doesn’t seem like an oxymoron to a logician. By Godel’s theorem any sufficiently complex logical system -has- to be fuzzy, in the sense that there are questions which cannot be answered within the system.

  35. Cosafina says:

    Great puzzle, and Autocue and Womb Leasing both made me laugh out loud!

  36. Paddywack says:

    I usually struggle with Paul but found this one a bit more accessible. However, 13 and 14 were just too contrived for me.

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