Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,289 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on April 6th, 2011


A fun puzzle from Paul today, with several instances of his trademark humour – all straightforwardly clued, I think.


1   BASENJI: BASE [bottom] + J [‘jay, we hear’] in reversal of IN: the basenji is a breed of hunting dog.
5   SLEIGHT: SL[im] EIGHT: I liked this one!
10  ASBO: AS [like] BO [a bad smell – great surface!]: for non-UK residents, an ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order [as the much-missed Linda Smith said:  “Don’t knock them. It’s the only qualification some of these kids will ever get.”]
11  HELL’S BELLS: double / cryptic definition
13  PRIORITY: PITY [shame] around RIO [2016 Olympic venue – a misleading change from cluing it as  ‘port’] + R[ight]
14  FLAT TYRES: TaTtY ‘tatty odd bits’] in FLARES ][trousers]
16,12 HAPPY ENDING: double / cryptic definition
17  SPELL: double / cryptic definition
19  SO IT SEEMS: anagram of SOME SITES: another nice surface
23  SLAVONIC: AVON [river] in SLIC[k] [oil disaster]
26  BUM-SUCKING: Spoonerism of ‘some bucking’
27  XMAS: X [kiss] + M[istletoe] in AS [when]:  Edit: AS [while] – thanks, Robi
28  READOPT: READ [study] + OPT [choose]
29  AT A STOP: hidden in chipolATAS TOPmost


2   ARSENAL: double definition
3   E COLI: hidden reversal in sILO CErtain
4   JOHN GAY: JOHN [‘throne’ – both slang for lavatory] + GAY [happy]: nice ambiguous use of ‘once': John Gay [1685-1732] poet and dramatist once wrote ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ and ‘gay’ once meant ‘happy’.
6   LASSIE: ASS [fool] in LIE [romance]
INEBRIATE: anagram of EE [English couple] + BRITAIN
8   HILLTOP: ILL [peaky] + T[or] in HOP [bound]
9   SLIPPER ORCHID: SLIP [mistake] + anagram of ORDER CHIP
15  TELEVISED: LEVIS [more trousers!] in TEE [peg] + D[ungarees]
18  POLLUTE: reversal of LOP [cut] + LUTE [old instrument]
20 TONIGHT: reversal of  H[ot] GIN [drink] in TOT [a bit of whisky]
22  INK CAP: IN + reversal of PACK
25  TEXAS: EX [former] in TAS[k]

46 Responses to “Guardian 25,289 / Paul”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    I don’t often finish a Paul although I am getting on his wavelength more often these days. I managed this one, but I would judge that it was pretty straightforward by his standards. Good fun, with HAPPY ENDING, HELLS BELLS and JOHN GAY making me smile.

    And thanks for reminding me of the Linda Smith quip about ASBOs!

  2. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Eileen & Paul

    Finished the puzzle but had to check Chambers to find out what type of dog a BASENJI was.

    As I always say you learn something new every day.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for an excellent blog and Paul for a characteristic piece of fun

    I did not know ‘ink cap’ and had to work it out from the wordpaly.

    I got the spoonerism but was worried about ‘sees’ (as opposed to ‘hears’) in the surface which put me off parsing it with ‘some’. I wondered if ‘sum’ as ‘in sum’ = ‘in brief’ might be intended but was not totally happy about that either. But I suppose spoonerisms are basically aural jokes anyway.

    I thought there might be a pangram (cf. 17a) but QWZ are missing.

    I particularly liked 5a, 27a, 4d, 15d, 21d.

    Re 21d, the link below shows something I ran up a couple of years ago for my grandchildren. It is mainly built with Meccano’s German clone Märklin Metall.

  4. Ian says:

    Thank you Eileen.

    Agreed that for Paul this was one of his gentler offerings but no less enjoyable.

    Although I hadn’t heard of 1 ac it was entirely gettable from the wordplay and simplified from the available crossing letters.

    Like Kathryn’s Dad I warmed to both HAPPY ENDING and JOHN GAY. The Spoonerism however I thought a tad clunky.

  5. blaise says:

    I suspect 3d qualifies as an &lit: think of the typical effects of e.coli.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen. Sorry to have mossed you yesterday.

    It does seem this was on the easy side for Paul – and there was I thinking I’d suddenly become cleverer :)

    I remembered the dog from a previous puzzle, where I discovered it was originally an African breed, and that it has no bark, but rather some sort of squeak or squeal. I found some videos on YouTube which were quite fun.

    Thanks for explaining HILLTOP and for the info on John Gay, who I’d never heard of, although the Beggar’s Opera is familiar. I tend to confuse it with the Threepenny Opera, never having read or seen either.

    Tupu, I thought the spoonerism was acceptable, given that, as you say, they are based on a speech defect.

    One of my first in was 16/12 – porr Happy :(

  7. Stella Heath says:

    That should be POOR Happy!

  8. smutchin says:

    Managed to complete this despite struggling with some of the wordplay (eg 7d) and knowing nothing about dogs. I hesitated to fill in JOHN GAY purely because it meant 1a had a J as the penultimate letter, which you don’t see every day. But I got there in the end with BASENJI thanks to the checking letters.

    Agree with Ian about the spoonerism. Also, I thought the relevant phrase was “bum licking” rather than sucking, which sounds more like something you might find in the darker recesses of the internet.

    HAPPY ENDING made me smile.

  9. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I found this very straightforward for a Paul, and entertaining enough, though I was slightly disappointed, given this setter’s usual high standard – I laughed a lot more at yesterday’s Brummie.

    The Spooner clue was rather ho-hum (as this type of clue often is), ARSENAL was very lame (I would have expected more from a supporter!) and I am starting to feel the same way about the Seven Dwarfs (16,12) as many of us do about (Princess) DI!

    Nevertheless, some good clues here: I particularly liked 13a, 14a, 27a, 4d, 15d, 20d.

    I spent some time trying to convince myself that 18d was VIOLATE…

  10. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen. Found this a wee bit bland, I’m afraid, but did like the story at 27 and 16,12 was clever. (The other 6 had unhappy endings, of course !) Sad, I think, that nowadays gay needs ‘once’ to identify it with happiness …

  11. Thomas99 says:

    A fine creation, Tupu (3 above)! Didn’t someone (James Dyson, I think) say British industry and education was hopelessly damaged when Lego supplanted Meccano?

  12. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    At the easier end of Paul’s range I thought but still great fun.
    New meaning of BUM SUCKING for me,I’d always thought it meant cadging puffs on someone else’s cigarette(I nearly typed fag instead of cigarette but that could lead to all sorts of misunderstandings!).
    BASENJI I knew from it’s reputation of being the ‘barkless dog’.

    According to the latest research only 1 in 7 dwarfs is happy.

  13. tupu says:

    Hi Scarpia

    Many thanks for that. :) I’m sure that IDS will be keen to take that finding on board, and suggest they start singing ‘Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it’s off to work we go’ again.

  14. Robi says:

    An entertaining puzzle with BUM, E.COLI, ARSENAL and lots of trousers.

    Thanks Eileen for an immaculate blog – in 27, is AS indicated by while rather than when?

    This seemed to be very easy at the beginning but then I got bogged down in the SE corner. With no crossing letters, 17 conjured-up a myriad of possibilities, including clock. I think 26 has largely been displaced by arse-licking these days but they are both brown-nosed possibilites.

    Very entertaining posts today – wow, tupu @3, how dextrous you are; I only got to making rockets with my meccano. Re blaise @5; nice one! BTW, for those who do not know, most E.coli species are entirely harmless and live happily in your gut. It is only one or two specific ones, like E.coli 0157 which are really nasty; having picked up a toxin from another species that produces dysentery (enough of that as this post is getting very bottom-centric!)

    I particularly enjoyed HAPPY ENDING :) (thanks scarpia @12 for the statistics), FLAT TYRES, SLAVONIC, NOTICE etc. They made for a nice 16,12.

  15. Roger says:

    Hi Scarpia @12 … agreed, as implied in my comment @10.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Geoff @9
    “ARSENAL was very lame (I would have expected more from a supporter!)”

    Calling Arsenal an attacking side is surely a very exaggerated (and erroneous) description which only a supporter could come up with.

    Nice to see that Paul has fnally recognised us on this MB.

  17. Eileen says:

    Thanks, all, for the comments – as Robi says, very entertaining. [Not quite ‘immaculate, then, Robi. I’ll change that now – a careless mistake as I was rushing out to go for a walk through the beautiful Leicestershire countryside, followed by an excellent lunch in a continental-style courtyard in near-continental weather. I’m glad no one has found any more mistakes in the meantime.]

    Hi Stella – I haven’t seen or read either, either, but have just discovered that ‘The Threepenny Opera’ is an adaptation of ‘The Beggar’s Opera.’ All I knew before about the latter was that it was said to have made Rich [John, the producer] gay and Gay rich.

    Hi tupu – is there no end to your accomplishments? Many thanks for the pictures. I almost commented in the blog that I bet there were more adults than children being constructive with Meccano these days!

  18. Roger says:

    Hi Scarpia (again) … comment 15 referred to dwarf statistics, btw !

  19. Robi says:

    Roger @15&18; I think you have precedence – 6/7 unhappy dwarves might just equate to 1/7 happy ones. :)

  20. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Thanks. Hope you have had a pleasant walk by the time you read this. I suspect you may be right about ‘adults’ (I hesitate to say ‘grown-ups’!

  21. smutchin says:

    The Threepenny Opera is by Bertolt Brecht & Kurt Weill. Even if you’ve never seen it, you’re probably at least familiar with the most famous song from it: Mack The Knife.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Re: meccano
    This very adult adult has recently donated his Set 8+9 to 11 year old grandson who has taken a little time away from his War of the Weaponcraft (?) to build a few models.

  23. Garry says:

    Basenji is forever in my brain since that type of dog was discussed on Blue Peter when I was about 7 in the early 60s.

  24. don says:

    tupu 13

    Heard my grandson singing ‘Heigh Ho’ the other day and later played him a video on Youtube. Like you, I’d always thought (for over (60 years) that it was ‘Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s off to work we go’, but apparently it’s ‘Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s home from work we go’.

    Can anyone settle whether it’s one or the other, or both?

  25. Garry says:

    Oh! yes – and re bum-sucking – that and numerous variations on it have been in use in my neck of the woods for over 40 years.

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi don

    The things we research on this site – never a dull moment!

    I always thought it was both [‘home from work’ the first time it appears] and I would have said it was Hi – Ho’ but this video,

    which I presume is the one you mean, is labelled ‘Heigh Ho’ but pronounced as ‘Hi Ho’. I’d pronounce ‘Heigh’ the same as ‘neigh’ – but I suppose when you think of ‘height’ …

  27. Kathryn's Dad says:

    To provide a sad rather than dull moment in response to Garry’s comment at no 23, Lucy, the Blue Peter dog, died a few days ago. Petra and (down) Shep were my generation. Happy days.

  28. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I thought I was going to sail through this, then got a bit held up in the SW corner — Spoonerisms aren’t my strong suit! Enjoyable puzzle all the same — my favourite was 15dn, which raised a smile.

  29. Robi says:

    don @24; I too thought it was ‘off to work we go,’ but according to the web it is ‘ It’s home from work we go.’

    Liz @28; my comment at 14 should have read SW corner, so we had the same difficultly. :)

  30. Robi says:

    Oh no! I’ve just found two versions with: ‘It’s off to work we go.’ (e.g. But Eileen’s cartoon link seems to establish the opposite fairly conclusively.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    A rarity! A finished Paul and I actually enjoyed it, it wasn’t the usual hard grind. Still needed to come here to understand some of the details though.

  32. Robi says:

    P.S. – I must stop doing this….. Eileen @26, re pronunciation you may know this one: Bernard Shaw once proposed the spelling ghoti for “fish”, with the [gh] from “laugh”, the [o] from “women” and the [ti] from “nation”.

  33. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi

    Thanks, yes, I used to ‘entertain’ my students with that one.

    I still have a feeling that we first meet the dwarfs in the clip that I gave the link to and then, later on, Snow White waves them off, as they sing ‘…off to work we go’.

    Seven dwarfs, Meccano, Blue Peter … The Flowerpot Men in the Indy … Noddy and friends in the FT … Aah … :-)

  34. tupu says:

    Hi robi, Eileen etal.

    In spite of the spelling of its title page, Robi’s first video actually has ‘Hi Ho’ flashing in its first scenes. But it does seem to be ‘Home from work we go’ in that and most other versions.

    I remember we used to sing as kids
    ‘Hi-ho, Hi ho,
    It’s off to work we go,
    We work all day and
    Get no pay!
    Hi-ho, hi-ho’

    There was also ‘Whistle while you work’ with the lines

    Mussolini is a twerp,
    Hitler’s barmy
    So’s his army

  35. Martin says:

    Not having come up against a basenji, and being aware of Paul’s predilection for the scatalogical, I had 1a as “arsenji”….which I hadn’t heard of either – for the good reason that no such dog exists. I’m glad to see that Paul managed to the first two syllables of my invention into 2d, although without any reference to that part of the human anatomy……surprisingly.

  36. otter says:

    Coming late to the bog as usual. Thanks for the blog, Eileen, and comments from others. As others have said, this was a fairly straightforward puzzle, although that certainly doesn’t mean that I found the wordplay straightforward in every case: one of the last in was 18d, in which I simply hadn’t thought of soil (as a verb) being the definition word. Dur.

    Particularly enjoyed the pun in 21d, which raised a chuckle. Like some others thought the Spoonerism clue a bit weak, and the solution phrase is a new one on me too. (I’ve heard someone described as a ‘bum-licker’ in the sense of sycophancy, and this caused me to stumble for a while with this clue.)

    Apparently Snow White’s been feeling grumpy recently.

    Wanna penguin slide.

  37. Robi says:

    Last boring comment: In the 1988 Disney animated film Oliver & Company Tito sings “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go” when he is rescuing Jenny.

  38. EB says:

    An old mate of mine used to reckon the lyrics were (as applied to him):

    “I owe, I owe
    It’s off to work I go!”

  39. Mark Hanley says:

    Very easy today, first two down clues were as straightforward as it gets, still enjoyable, hadn’t heard “bumsucking / bumsucker” since school, nice one Paul

  40. Wolfie says:

    Unusually, of the three Guardian cryptics this week by Rufus, Brummie and Paul it was Rufus’s offering on Monday that was (in my opinion) the most difficult. Today’s Paul was on the easy side, but quite entertaining.

  41. Scarpia says:

    Following on fron otter’s (cryptic?) comment above,here’s a link to another 7 dwarfs joke – please do not check it out if you are easily offended.

  42. RCWhiting says:

    Robi @32
    “and the [ti] from “nation”.

    Not very relevant but possibly interesting:
    When the early missionaries arrived in the Gilbert Islands (now Kiribati) they attempted to create a written version of the local language. Tradition has it that while crossing the dangerous reef to get to land they lost the ‘S’ from the printing set.
    Thus they replaced it by ‘Ti’ which persists to this day. You will find a number of males called Timon and of course the country is spoken as Kiribass.

  43. mumfish says:

    As my mother has had a dozen Basenjis over the years it’s nice to see them get some recognition in a crossword. I think I’ve seen the word used as a clue before. The dogs don’t bark but creep up on intruders and give them a nasty nip! When pleased they make a rather melodious yodelling sound!
    Loved the “meccano” clue but put in toe-sucking instead of bum-sucking. I’ve never heard of the latter – it seems to be a combination of two other less pleasant phrases that wouldn’t be suitable – even for a Paul!

    Thanks Eileen and Paul for an enjoyable puzzle and parse.

  44. Peter says:

    @RCWhiting: I believe that is less a matter of stormy weather than of Micronesian phonology: the Kiribati language, like many of its relatives, has a notably small consonant inventory (by some counts, only 10), and in particular doesn’t distinguish between /t/ and /s/. (Specifically, they have a phoneme /t/ which in some contexts is assibilated (sic) to be pronounced as [s].) But a fascinating story either way…

  45. RCWhiting says:

    Peter, I am sure you are right.It always struck me as very unlikely that one letter would fall out of the chest. However, I did spend some time working there and ‘tradition’ did definitely have it.
    Certainly crossing reefs did lead to many losses of which I have personal experience.

  46. tupu says:

    Hi Peter and RCWhiting

    I have only just caught up with this fascinating excursion into Pacific linguistics.
    I know nothing about this language – and read in awe of your expertise, but as you imply, t and s are, to us surprisingly, very close sounds, distinguished by the fact that the former is a stop and the latter a fricative. They are the unvoiced opposite pair to the ‘voiced’ d and z.
    My recollection is that Ancient Greek also shifted between them in different dialects.
    Thus sea appears as thalasse and thalatte, if I remember rightly. I believe I have also come across their connectedness in other contexts.

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