Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,301 – Paul

Posted by manehi on April 20th, 2011


Found this very tough but enjoyable, especially 16a, 7d and 21,3. Still unsure on a couple of clues.

9 EXTENSION =Annexe. “ex-tension” might be a state of relief
10 SLO-MO [O]SLO is the capital “wanting” (i.e. lacking) its first letter + MO=second
11 INGRESS INGRES + [paint]S
12 TARDIER T[ime] + (raider)*
13 AGAR =jelly. [H]AGAR the [H]’Orrible is a comic strip
14 POOH STICKS O=nothing + (this)* in POCKS=”lowered marks”
16 LATRINE Rex=R, “as it’s written”=> in LATIN + “rear of [mobil]E”
17 FERRARI ERR=slip inside FAR[s]I, the Persian tongue minus a [tonsil]S
19 ANSWER BACK the clue being “reply” reversed
22,20 COLD SHOWER COLD=Heartless + SHOWER=rabble [?]
24 GNOSTIC derived from the Greek for “knowledge”. rev(SONG) + TIC
25 LEONTES SET=established + NOEL=Christmas, all reversed
26 USE UP Sounds like “you sup”=”you drink”
27 LIFESAVER LIVER around (safe)*
1 LET IT ALL HANG OUT (a little)* + LOUT=yobbo around HANG=”string up”
2 STAGNANT TAG NAN = “award asbo to granny” in ST=saint=”good man”
4 DIASTOLE =the heart filling with blood = “pump action”. (isolated)*
5 SNATCH (chants)*
6 ASTROTURF A + TROT=pace in SURF=”seawater”
7 ZODIAC The twelve signs above us.
8 TOURIST INDUSTRY TORY=politician, around all of: Leon URIS the novelist + TIN=can + DUST=”clean up”
15 VIDEOTAPE VIPE[r] around (date)* around O=love
17 FACELIFT ? ACE=one + L[eft] in FIFT[y]=”short figure”. Thanks to crypticsue!
18 ABORTIVE (a bit over)*
21,3 BUCKLE UNDER U[niversal] inside BUCK LENDER i.e. US bank
23 DOWSE =divine. Hidden in winDOW SEal

31 Responses to “Guardian 25,301 – Paul”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I found this very hard going today. Re 17d how about ACE and L (one left) inserted in to FIFT(Y) (short figure) Thanks for your helpful explanations – I did need them.

  2. jjp1911 says:

    Agree hard, but enjoyable. 17 down – ‘Ace’ L in Fift [y]. 22,20 Cold shower = sensational treatment

  3. Geoff says:

    Thanks manehi

    Quite a tricky one from Paul today. I agree with crypticsue about the parsing of 17d; thanks to manehi for the parsing of 10a, which I couldn’t quite get – I knew Oslo was in there somewhere…

    Some very ingenious charades in this puzzle, and an unusual set of anagrinds: unfortunately, perhaps (twice!), shot, muddy, riotous.

    Only two clues disappointed me: 16a, ‘Rex as it’s written’ is clearly intended to be R in LATIN, but ‘Rex’ is ‘king’ in Latin, R being its abbreviation. This doesn’t really work for me. The other is 27a – great surface and good construction, but ‘safe’ in the clue and SAVER in the answer are just too close.

    My favourite clues were 2d, 18d and the beautiful 21,3.

    Last in were 17a, 6d and 10a. ‘FARSI’ is not the first language that springs to mind, particularly if truncated. And why don’t we just call it Persian? The words are cognate, after all – we don’t say Italiano or Dansk.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Manehi, this was very tough but very enjoyable.

    I failed to get SLO-MO and, even though I had opted for AGAR, I couldn’t figure out how it worked.

    I struggled with the NE corner but (except for SLO-MO) got there in the end.

    Lots of great clues.

    Thanks Paul

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Paul for a good blog of a tricky puzzle

    I failed to get 10a (despite mentally playing with Oslo) and 6d.

    Most was fairly quickly solved and understood but Poohsticks and Zodiac took quite a time.

    I usually manage a complete solution but this is the second day in a row when I have missed one or two answers. I suspect I’m not alone today as yesterday.

    I particularly liked 14a, 22,20, 5d, 21,3.

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    I’m surprised by your and other contributors’ comments that this was tough – honestly, I thought this was a very standard level of difficulty for Paul – no less enjoyable for that. Maybe I just “get” his thinking.

  7. Goujeers says:

    I thought mostly straightforward, then a few really awkward ones. I agree with Geoff about LATRINE – I failed to solve it for just that reason – and about the unsatisfactory clue at 27A.
    Not having a videotape I constructed SLO-MO but the term is new to me (slow motion?). 21,3 was solved by construction , but the phrase is one I have not come across – “buckle” or “knuckle under”, yes. I failed with ASTROTURF, having got fixated on pace = rate, and I don’t like the definition.
    8 led me up an interesting wrong route via Garfield (write Leon and American president).

    Certainly more fun than the week previous efforts so far.

  8. Median says:

    A tough one, I thought. I got there in the end, with lots of help from the computer, but my lack of knowledge of the arts prevented me from parsing 8, 11 and 25. Uris, Ingres, Leontes? Who they?

    Favourite clue: 21,3. Very neat!

  9. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Paul for the puzzle and manehi for the blog. ZODIAC was first in for me; I may have seen that clue before. Was slowed down by entering COLD TURKEY instead of the correct COLD SHOWER. How does shower = rabble exactly? Also, misreading clue for 19ac as YIPER didn’t help. POOH STICKS was a new word for me. I did enjoy this puzzle.


  10. Andrew says:

    I found this tremendously enjoyable and, like NeilW and Goujeers, not that hard; but then I do seem to find myself very much on Paul’s wavelength a lot of the time these days (unlike Boatman yesterday, which I found a real struggle).

    I don’t often literally laugh out loud at clues, but US bank = BUCK LENDER and the definition of POOHSTICKS did it for me today when the respective pennies dropped.

  11. Geoff says:

    grandpuzzler @ 9: ‘SHOWER’ with this meaning is British slang. To quote Chambers: ‘a disparaging term applied to any particular group of people one disapproves of’ – hence ‘rabble’.

  12. Stella Heath says:

    Many thanks manehi. I needed your explanations for the parsing of 12ac – I guessed it must be a comic strip, but never ‘eard of it :) -; 16ac – by the time I realised the definition was ‘toilet’, I’d grown tired of looking for combinations with *loo -, and the 17’s.

    Leon Uris isn’t the first novellist that comes to mind, but on reading your link, I remembered being very impressed by QB VII as a teenager.

    Thank you Paul for yet another enjoyable puzzle which I, too, found more accessible than yesterday’s.

  13. Geoff says:

    PS: SHOWER = ‘rabble’ is pronounced to rhyme with ‘flour’ rather than ‘grower’.

  14. dr grumpy says:

    Great fun, but how many of the clues sound like anything but crossword clues?


  15. malc95 says:

    grandpuzzler @ 9.

    I remember as a callow youth when our squad in the army cadets was addressed by an officer – “you lot are an absolute shower”. Shower of ****, perhaps?

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    Managed about three-quarters of it; I think my problem is that I’ve not done enough Pauls to fully get on his wavelength. POOHSTICKS was good (though I didn’t get it) and I also liked FACELIFT. I too saw 19ac as YIPER; even if I had understood that it was an ‘l’ I still wouldn’t have liked the clue.

    grandpuzzler @ no 9: ‘shower’ for ‘rabble’ is most commonly encountered in the phrase ‘What a shower!’, when referring perhaps to a sports team who have done particularly badly (no names mentioned, obviously). It’s an informal usage.

  17. Swukker says:

    Considering I rarely take more than 30 minutes with any Guardian newspaper crossword, that this took me numerous visits over three hours or more must mean it was quite hard. Some entertaining clues but many of them more or less guessed and parsed afterwards.

  18. rrc says:

    On Saturday there was a Paul puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed Today a crossword which is very very difficult Not sure how a compiler can vary the difficulty so much.

  19. Ian says:

    Thanks Manehi and Paul.

    Sometimes I am on “the wavelength”. Today I wasn’t. (perhaps the wavelength is subject to atmospheric interference).

    Only 9 clues solved agter one hour using the online version. Decided to visit Sidmouth for a day on the beach. Bought a Guardian and carried on.

    Another 2 hours + later I managed to finish it with no less than 3 answers all guessed remaining unparsed pace, 10a, 17ac, 17dn.

    Clearly the easy ones were relatively straightforward. Those such as INGRESS, LIFESAVER, ANSWER BACK and DIASTOLE are obvious examples.

    As Geoff (#3) says, there were some tricky constructions at work today and I’d rate this one as one of the harder Paul crosswords I have encountered in the last 18/24 months.

    Solving time approx 3 hrs 25 minutes.

  20. Wolfie says:

    A substandard offering today from Paul, with some very iffy clueing. in 15d ‘Videotape’ is a very dodgy synonym for ‘film’ – either as noun or verb. And the connected clue, 10ac, makes no sense. A videotape does not have a button. A videoplayer would have a slo-mo button. I agree with Geoff about ‘latrine’, and I thought the clueing of ‘Ferrari’ was strained. Sometimes I think Paul just tries too hard and sacrifices wit for cleverness. I did like ‘Poohsticks’ though.

  21. Wolfie says:

    I meant to point out also in relation to 2d that an Anti-social behaviour order does not involve wearing a tag.

  22. William says:

    Grandpuzzler @9 & Geoff @11 – I think it was Terry Thomas who coined the phrase, “an absolute shower” in films like School for Scoundrels and so on in the 50s/60s.

    Thank you Manehi – got there eventually but needed your blog for the parsing.

  23. Andvari says:

    I usually like Paul’s offerings, I wouldn’t say it was overly trickier than some of his (though I still missed a couple). It was good in places, I liked 9 and 21/3 or example, but 10 was awful. I’m pretty sure it’s incorrect (videotape is either the physical film used to record on to, the cassette itself or a verb, none of which have any sort of button on them) and it’s not a great clue in any case (obviously it was one I didn’t get! Even with all the crossing letters…) I like it a lot more than Boatman’s yesterday though, overall.

  24. Martin P says:

    Fairly hard I thought too, but I’m not too bothered about “videotape”. The word has come to mean the modulation on the physical object as much as the latter, just as “film” now means the images, screenplay and plot as much as the acetate. Equally it now also means the machine on which the physical thing is played (like “cassette” does), so can have a slomo button. It’s only a crossword anyway, not a deed.

    Thanks for a worthy alternative to the snooker, Paul.

  25. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Manehi & Paul

    Yes much better than yesterday although 17a beat me altogether.

    Like grandpuzzler@9 I misread the clue for 19a & could make no sense of it till I realised my mistake. Must get a new pair of reading glasses!

  26. Mick H says:

    Film=videotape is an interesting one. I think it doesn’t quite work as a definition. ‘Video’ on its own would be OK – “let’s watch a film/video/dvd” are fairly interchangeable. But you wouldn’t sit down to watch a ‘videotape’, so I think the word remains trapped in its technical meaning.
    Good puzzle, I found it harder than the average Paul too.

  27. Carrots says:

    After yesterday`s fiasco I was chuffed to get within four of these infernal solutions. SLO-MO (what the hell is that?) ASTROTURF (I`d vaguely heard of)LATRINE (which I still don`t understand) and BUCKLE UNDER (clever!!) were the ones I didn`t get.

    This, somehow, didn`t seem like a PAUL puzzle. No “Ahh!” moments, no ruderies (turning gaufrid`s hair grey), laboured clues and answers which had to be hacked out from the word-play, rather than enticed from it.

    At lunchtime (when I do my crosswording), two perfect pintas of Norfolk Wherry provided pleasures which refreshed the parts that Paul`s puzzle could not, on this occasion, reach.

  28. Roger says:

    Thanks Paul. I found this a lot of fun and tend to agree with NeilW @6 … it wasn’t really that hard (was it ?).
    Have always had a bit of a soft spot for Hagar and so liked 13a … also Poohsticks (still play it sometimes !) and answer back.
    I guess a videotape would need a button of some sort to turn on slo-mo so 10a seems ok to me.

  29. Daniel Miller says:

    Not my cup of tea I’m afraid.

  30. Huw Powell says:

    This was one of those interesting puzzles that went very slowly, with virtually every clue making me sweat to crack it. Sat and stared at three answers only for it seemed like hours, but then cracked a couple more in the NE and slowly but surely worked my way clockwise around the grid. Finished it, but didn’t get a handful of the wordplays – which, mostly, were as well done as the many where I slapped my forehead after solving, meaning that once solved they were obvious and fair, but a tangled route to get there for me.

    As some mentioned, and has been said before, “getting” Paul’s wavelength is a big key, and often don’t, like with this puzzle. Which can actually make it more fun.

    Head slappers – I actually early on thought, “hmmm, Ylper, that’s “reply” backwards” without it clicking. ZODIAC should been obvious, but wasn’t. USE UP was another – I was trying to “slur” “you sup” (which might be a good clue for “‘USH UP”?) and perhaps should have said it out loud.

    Many became easier once I had a couple of checked letters, just getting though checking letters went so slowly!

    Now on to LATRINE. I was going to straightforwardly add my name to the list of those who quibble with it, but then I was thinking “if Araucaria did this nobody would care” and looked at it harder. I think the key is the word “at”, which is either extra or must have a place. I’ll say I am content with: “Rex” = R, a common abbr, of course. “as it’s written” = LAT, another abbr., giving LAT R. Then comes “at” = IN, and “rear of mobile” = E of course.

    Or, R = Rex, and “as it’s written” = “in LATIN” and “at” is not much more than filler. Like I said, the Reverend does this all the time – clues that can’t really be “logically” parsed, but you know how they work in a rather lateral way.

    Oh, I take it that “Ylper” is actually a word? For someone who is a member of the Young L. Party? I spent a lot of time with “?????? TEEN” before getting FACELIFT and hammering VIDEOTAPE into place. I told you sometimes I just don’t “get” Paul easily!

    So thanks Paul, for the wonderfully challenging puzzle, and manehi (and the rest of you) for the great explanations!

  31. Huw Powell says:

    Oh, and PS:

    Having put the puzzle in my pile of paper to use the other side of, I see the day before’s Boatman staring up at with only four words inked in and one very lightly penciled. Two toughies in a row… I must say, due to the mentions of that puzzle here, that I really appreciate that no one let any spoilers slip. So thank you all for that, as well!

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