Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,280 by Paul

Posted by PeeDee on April 2nd, 2011


Themed puzzles are coming thick and fast these days, and the theme in this one seemed to occupy most of the grid.  As always, some will enjoy this type of crossword more than others.  The themed clues all have detailed constuctions for the solutions, so its not a case of either knowing the theme or not, it is all there to be worked out, so fair’s fair on this one I think.

A nice anagram for 18,5 and the clue for 18,28 was something of an epic (more construction in one clue than in an entire Rufus crossword).

As usual, hold mouse over clue number to see the clue, click a solution to see its definition.

9   See 18
10 UNWELCOME COLUMN* around WE (The Guardian)
11 POLYNESIA River PO and river LYNE with1 inside South Africa
12 WOOER WOOfER (F removed, forte = loud)
15 DEAD SET DEAD (very) SET (hard) – a ‘dead set’ is ’a determined and prolonged onslaught’, not a usage I had heard of before
17 MUSIC Conservative IS UM (I’m thinking = um, let me see now…) all reversed
18,5,18,4 THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT (HE’S SPOTTED WHAT LUNACY)* – first of three poems by Edward Lear
18,24,23,7 THE POBBLE WHO HAS NO TOES HOBBLE (limp) holds EP (record) inside (A TOWN’S HOT SHOE)*
18,28,9,21,26down THE DONG WITH A LUMINOUS NOSE ED (Edward) in THONG (skimpy outfit) followed by WIT (humour) HAL (Prince Hal) U (posh) MINUS (without) taking in (inspiring=breathing in) O (love=zero tennis score) NOSE (sounds like “knows” – ‘has the sense’ when spoken – this would work equally well without the homophone since ‘nose’ can mean ‘sense’ anyway)
20 MELEE ME LEE – “I am Bruce Lee” in a “Me Tarzan, you Jane” sort of way.
22 COWSLIP COW (Daisy = traditional a name for a cow) SLIP (bloomer = error) – a cowslip flowers so is also a ‘bloomer’
25 SCRUMPY SC (scilicet) and RUMPY-pumpy (half of)
26 NOOSE ropE (end of) with SOON reversed
27 BROADENED ROAD inside (opening=going into) BENE (good, well) and Deteriorate (first letter of)
31 NO USE Northern river OUSE
1 SWAP PAWS reversed
2 STALKERS Shoot (first letter of) and TALKERS
3 FAWN Double definition (shade = colour)
4   See 18
5   See 18
6 CLAW HAMMER WHAM inside CLAM with ER (hesitation)
7   See 18
8 LEAR cLEAR (with top missing) – Edward Lear, English illustrator, artist and writer now mainly famous for his nonsense verse. Wikipedia has some fascinating information on Lear, including that he was his parents’ 21st (!!) child and brought up by his sister.
13 SUMAC Albert CAMUS reversed
14 LOCAL DERBY COL (pass) reversed with ALDER (tree) and BY (alongside)
16 TEENY TEE (support – golf) New York
19 ENSCONCE ESC (top-left on your keyboard) around MansoN with ONCE
21   See 18
23   See 18
24   See 18
26   See 18
28   See 18
29 DEER DEfER (middle letter missing)


23 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,280 by Paul”

  1. Barbara says:

    2dn. Stalkers
    Please explain why talkers are ‘those who’ve succumbed to torture’.

  2. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Pee Dee. As you say, the themed clues filled in most of the grid, so they were the key to the puzzle. I got LEAR early on but still needed to see “pussy-cat” in the anagram fodder to twig to the theme. And like most I suspect, after that I merely filled in the Lear titles that would fit. The remainder of the puzzle was then quite straightforward. In fact, as others have commented earlier, this was at the easy end of the week’s offerings.

    I had one quibble or blind spot,at 15ac. I know DEAD SET as “determined”, and also in Australia as slang for “absolutely”. (Did you win? Dead set we did!) So the clue would work better for me if I could match Dead and Attack, with Set meaning very hard.

    Barbara@1 – torture is often used to make prisoners talk. So talkers have succumbed.

  3. stiofain says:

    Blogs are coming thick and fast too these days PD
    DEAD SET was the only one i didnt put in too
    I really dislike filling up half the grid with an a-ha moment or more often than not an uh-huh moment with the help of google.
    I feel short changed by them.
    The king/edward was a nice idea but overplayed perhaps 2 clues with maybe an oblique reference to spuds would have worked better.
    Has Paul passed his peak? Ive been disappointed by his recent efforts.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee for your excellent analysis and superb presentation, as always.

    This was certainly different and, I suspect, the World’s First Nonsense Puzzle … and very enjoyable, too.

    Like Tokyo Colin, my entry to the theme was via Lear and Pussy-Cat and thence to The Owl, etc. Then, after finding a list of Lear’s stuff, the other two Nonsense lines quickly unravelled.

    Dong and Poddle were new to me – unlike Pong and Doddle.

    Many thanks Paul, you certainly have not passed your peak – why I know of another setter who’s getting better and better and he’s turned 90!

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Peedee for an excellent review and Paul for a (to me) an enjoyable puzzle

    Like you I first tried ‘had’ in 18,24 but there is no ‘D’ in the anagrind. As my son pointed out, it must be ‘has’.

  6. tupu says:

    Sorry. Should have said ‘anagram fodder’. Also too many indefinite articles in first sentence.

  7. Wolfie says:

    I loved Edward Lear’s nonsense verses when I was a child and still know most of them off by heart, so as soon as I had (King) Lear in 8d I was able to write in the three long solutions immediately on the basis of the numeration and a couple of crossing letters. Working out the wordplay for these clues was left until I had finished the puzzle. As I commented last week in the discussion of the previous Saturday’s Araucaria prize puzzle, a cryptic crossword in which a large part can be filled in without reference to the clues is not very satisfying. Having said that, it was good to renew my acquaintance with Mr Lear – I am only sorry that Paul could not find room in the grid for my personal favourites – the Jumblies (who went to sea in a sieve).

    Thanks to PeeDee for the very clear and comprehensive analysis.

  8. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee for an excellent blog and Paul for an enjoyable puzzle. I do like themed puzzles but also understand the misgivings of others. Maybe the long ones could be split into significant words like DONG, LUMINOUS and NOSE say, with a clue for each word.

    Just one slight mistake in the blog. In 12a, it should be WOOfer.

  9. Robi says:

    This is the first Paul puzzle that for me caused some disappointment. I realise the time and ingenuity put in by the setter, but as said above you do not have to fully parse the long clues to put the answers in. Thanks PeeDee for a good, complete blog.

    The way that I did this crossword was that I managed to get LEAR. I then inwardly groaned because I thought the long clues might be quotes from King Lear. Later, I guessed that one of the ‘long’ words might be LUMINOUS, so I Googled LEAR and LUMINOUS, to find that it was Edward Lear. I then looked up his poems and slapped in all the answers with a quick nod to some of the parsing, much as one would do with a quick crossword. I could, of course, have not used Google, but then I only knew THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT, so would have had no hope of getting the DONG and POBBLE.

    Anyway, as PeeDee says above, this will appeal to some and not to others. Some of the other clues were nice Paulian ones; I particularly enjoyed WOOER and SCRUMPY, among others.

  10. tupu says:

    Re 18,24 (and self @5)

    Of course it not only ‘must be’ HAS (in 23d). It IS ‘has’.

  11. crosser says:

    Thanks, PeeDee.
    Could someone please explain “in the past” in 27ac?

  12. RCWhiting says:

    I agreed with Wolfie last week on the issue of long solutions and I agree with him again (#7) only even more so.
    These type of clues pass me by completely since I just can’t be bothered to parse them, even after the puzzle is solved.
    At risk of repetition, cryptics should be like burlesque, a slow, enjoyable unveiling facing the audience, not a quick change artist in the wings.

  13. Davy says:

    Re crosser at 11.

    BENE is “well in the past” ie from Latin. So it’s ROAD inside BENE plus ‘D’.

  14. crosser says:

    Thanks, Davy – of course it’s Latin! I couldn’t get Italian out of my mind.

  15. Coffee says:

    I also thought it would all be quotes from King Lear & was quite pleased at that, it being a favourite of mine. Got very frustrated when I couldn’t work in Serpent’s tooth, Vile jelly and the rest…. it was only when LUMINOUS appeared that the light bulb was illuminated….we have a lovely old copy of The Quangle Wangle, must have read it hundreds of times. Kicks self….
    those who don’t like linked clues will not be happy today, heh heh.

  16. roT says:

    Undoubtedly Pul put a lot of effort into the construction of the grid. It is a shame that almost every clue could be solved by their definitions alone.

  17. Wolfie says:

    Glad you are of the same mind as myself RCWhiting #12, though having led a fairly sheltered life I may have had less experience than you of the art of burlesque.

  18. Geoff says:

    Thanks, PeeDee.

    Like most other correspondents, I got LEAR quite rapidly, but had to work around the linked clues for some time until I had enough crossing letters to work out what was going on. As with Robi and Coffee, it was spotting ‘luminous’ that gave the game away. Being familiar with Edward L’s main works, I was then able to fill in all the long answers immediately, without recourse to the wordplay. As I usually do in these circumstances, I then looked back at the clues to see how the charades worked – but as these didn’t spring out at me, I abandoned the study, finished off the puzzle, and went off to do something useful. This was the only downside to an otherwise enjoyable exercise.

    But I enjoy the great variety of Guardian crosswords and I like to have puzzles of this type now and again.

    Some good clues elswhere – I particularly enjoyed 17a, 20a, 25a, 2d and 14d.

    Etymological point of interest: COWSLIP is from the Old English ‘cuslyppe’ or ‘cusloppe’, ie cow dung, presumably because the plant (Primula veris) was associated with cow pastures. Hence an inadvertent bit of Paul ribaldry.

  19. smoz says:

    I really liked this puzzle, probably mostly because I’m not very good(yet)…..still haven’t completed an Aracaria. Like others when I spotted Lear I reached for my Complete Works. Thankfully the answers lay elsewhwere and luminous pointed me in the right direction. Lots of fun. Please remember us newbies.

  20. muck says:

    Thanks PD for an excellent blog.
    I didn’t much like the puzzle: got LEAR and THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT quickly, but had to Google for my other partial 18etc guesses: NO TOES and LUMINOUS NOSE.
    There were some other good Paulian clues though: COWSLIP and SCRUMPY.

  21. tupu says:

    It is a pity that Peedee has not come back to the blog. Bloggers receive all comments, as I understand it, and those who don’t ‘come back’ on errors etc are not, I’m afraid, completing the job however excellently, as in this case, they have started it.

    My own experience of the little mistake in his rendition of 18, 24, 23, 7 relates to several others’ comments on the use of ‘well known’ quotations which one thinks one knows and then may or may not parse correctly. I was comvinced I knew the line as ‘the p. who had no toes’ and then on trying to parse it found myself puzzled by the absence of a ‘d’ in the fodder. My first arrogant reaction was to wonder if the clue might be wrong! I then drew it to my son’s attention, and he came up with the correct quotation. Of course Peedee’s error may well be just a ‘typo’ (as in 12) – it would be nice to know – but in my own case at least it involved rather more.

    I suppose it is up to us to try to make sure we have actually got this kind of answer right, but it appears that solvers don’t always do this – in part possibly as a reaction to the type of clue itself. Perhaps it is possible for setters to somehow tempt solvers into more careful solving of such clues – I don’t know. In itself, the clue was of course perfectly correct and the surface was nicely relevant.

  22. PeeDee says:

    Hi tupu, my apologies for not vsiting the blog sooner. I’m travelling in the USA at the moment and can’t get internet acess very often. The ‘D’ in 18, 24, 23… is obviously a mistake, I will correct it to ‘S’ immediately, thanks for pointing this out. I guess ‘D’ being next to ‘S’ on the keyboard probably has a lot to do with it.

    I promise to try harder in future!

    I worked in IT for most of my career, and have always used the computer to write, in fact I have almost forgotton how to write by hand. The typical IT programmers typing style is to spray the screen with letters and then go back and correct the typos, usually having the computer point out the syntax errors in the resulting program automatically (as opposed to ‘classically’ trained typists where going back over work was just not possible without tippex).

    Some typo’s are not always so straightforward. An experienced keyboard user will type whole words rather than individual letters, so sometimes typos are slips of the brain rather than slips of the finger, where an entire word gets substituted for the original.

  23. tupu says:

    Hi and many thanks Peedee.

    In my own case, as I said, my original mistake was not a typo but an unwarranted assumption.

    :) I know what you mean about ‘spraying the screen’ and it gets worse as I get older! And re whole words – I once again produced a ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ the other day despite having done it so often before.

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