Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,309 / Paul

Posted by mhl on April 29th, 2011


As always, an excellent, entertaining crossword from Paul. The clue of the day is certainly the brilliant and topical “Fancy lad and me tied knot!”

1. WICHITA I + CHIT = “note” in WA = “Washington”; Definition: “Kansas City”
5. POOH-BAH BA[c]H = “Composer” with C = “caught” taken out after POOH = “ursine philosopher”; Definition: “Gilbert character”
9. THETA THE = “Article” + TA = “thank you”; Definition: “letter from Corfu”
10. GALLIVANT GALLANT = “daring” around I = “one” + V = “skein of geese?” (geese fly in a V formation); Definition: “Happily roam”
11. HARD CHEESE Double definition: “Something stale in the fridge?” and “Bad luck”
12. PISA Hidden in “During triP I SAw”; Definition: the whole clue I missed the joke here – “listed” means “leaning” in the cryptic reading – thanks to tupu for pointing that out
14. TRAMPOLINIST Lovely clue: (ARMPIT SLIT ON)*; Definition: “jumper”
18. I BEG TO DIFFER A reverse clue: “I beg to differ” could be (I BEG)*, i.e. “Suggested gibe?”; Definition: “No!”
21. JAIN JA = “Word of consent translated” (“Yes” in German) + IN; Definition: “ancient Hindu”
22. FLYCATCHER Double definition: “Bird” and “man struggling with trouser zip?”
25. MANHATTAN (THAT)* in MANAN[a] = “later, though not finished”; Definition: “Cocktail”
26. NASAL The “neighbours of central America” are NA (North America) and SA (South America) + L = “left”; Definition: “Nosy”
27. SURGEON SURGE = “Wave” + ON = “aboard”; Definition: “cutter”
28. CHILLAX H = “hot” in (LILAC)* + X = “cross”; Definition: “Be cool and calm”
1. WOTCHA (TWO)* before CHA = “tea?”; Definition: “How do you do”
2. CHERRY CHE = “revolutionary” + R[evolutionary] = “revolutionary leader” over RY = “RevolutionarY extremists”; Definition: “Red”
3. INACCURATE (CAIN)* + CURATE = “man of God”; Definition: “wrong”
4. ANGLE Double definition: “Fish” and “point of view”
5. POLISH OFF Double definition: “Finish” and “add finish?”
6. OHIO OH = “I’m surprised” + IO = “moon” (of Jupiter); Definition: “State”
7. BRASILIA BRA = “Supporter” + SILI[c]A SILI[con] = “element that’s less Conservative” (i.e. without C CON = “Conservative” + A; Definition: “a capital city”Thanks to malc95 for the correction (although I did check that Wikipedia gives “silica” as an alternative name for the element – I think either plausibly works…)
8. HOT PANTS HOT PANS = “Frying in these?” around T = “time”; Definition: “brief garment”
13. DILETTANTI ID = “I’d turned” + LETT = “European” + ANTI = “against”; Definition: “supposed art lovers”
16. SID JAMES SIDES = “faces” around JAM = “food”; Definition: “Actor who carried on” – Sid James was in most of the “Carry On” films
17. BEGINNER GIN = “Drink” + N = “an indefinite quantity” in BEER = “lager”; Definition: “novice”
19. CHISEL HIS = “Man’s” in CEL[l] = “prison room, not entirely”; Definition: “chipper”
20. PROLIX PRO = “Expert” + LIX (sounds like “licks” = “uses tongue”); Definition: “wordy”
23. CYNIC First letters of “Call Your Name, If Confronted”; Definition: “Hardened soul”; I messed up here by putting in STOIC without understanding the word play…
24,15. KATE MIDDLETON A wonderful, topical &lit: (LAD ME TIED KNOT);

31 Responses to “Guardian 25,309 / Paul”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, mhl.

    Another Paul that I managed to finish, but again, I suspect he’s being gentle with us today. That said, I needed you to explain two or three today. I am starting to appreciate his wit and ingenuity. FLYCATCHER, NASAL and SID JAMES were my favourites this morning.

  2. malc95 says:

    Thanks mhl and thanks Paul for a very entertaining crossie.

    7d – I had BRA + SILI(con) + (reaching) A

  3. jim says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog, mhl.
    I thought 24, 15 was excellent. I’d never heard of chillax before, and it’s not in Chamber’s.
    And isn’t silicon the element rather than silica?
    But otherwise an excellent puzzle.

  4. Ian says:

    Thanks mhl for a first class blog and to Paul for a puzzle which offered several memorable clues.

    I must admit that I was keeping an eye out for an interdicted manhole, some detonated milk or even a diamond kettle. That said, the wordplay for the 4,9 was top drawer.

    Champagne moments were 24-15′ 16down and 25 down.

  5. malc95 says:

    I agree with K’s D – some real LOL moments today,especially 5a, 14 (partial tribute to our new setter perhaps?, 22 & 1d.

    btw 1d – there is a 25 city in Kansas near the evocatively named Tuttle Creek Lake.

  6. malc95 says:

    Should of course be 1a.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul.

    I interpreted 7d as you did, but I defer to the greater knowledge of other posters.

    Couldn’t quite parse ‘gallivant’ or ‘nasal’, so thanks for that.

    My first in was 5ac – ‘ursine philopher’ indeed! 😆

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl, and for solving for me the geese riddle in 10a. Nice, and easy, this Paul,with some splendid moments. Especally liked 18 and 25a, and 1d. Would have struggled with 24, 15 but for the date.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul for an enjoyable bank holiday puzzle

    re Pisa. Isn’t definition ‘building listed (leaning)’?

    Lots of amusing clues inc 10a, 12a!, 22a (typical), 25a, 26a, 1d!, 16d, 20d, and the ineviatable 24,15.

    I had to check skein of geese and liked the V reference.

    17d held me up for some reason. The clue is a little clunkier than usual.

    Agree with others re silicon.

    Chillax was a new term for me but not hard to guess from the clue.

  10. tupu says:

    Sorry re 12 sci ‘listed (leanbing) building’.

  11. tupu says:

    Doh! mhl. You are right after all.

  12. tupu says:

    Many apologies for hasty errant comments re 12a. :) I have been dashing in and out between glimpses of the Abbey shindigs! I should have asked isn’t the definition ‘listed (leaning) building here?’

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Just like you, Andrew (ta!), I attended Paul’s ‘lecture’ last November.
    He told us there that he’d already secured today’s spot.
    Moreover, he told us about a KATE MIDDLETON clue he had in mind making clear that ‘tied knot’ was in there.
    So 24,15 was quickly found.

    And thereafter?
    I can’t see why Paul absolutely wanted today’s spot, there’s no other reference to the wedding apart from the clue already praised by so many.

    It is of course a good crossword, but I feel disappointed because I was hoping for something special.

    There was a fair amount of easy clues: 12ac (PISA), 9ac (THETA), 23d (CYNIC), 4d’s chestnut (ANGLE), for example [and for me, 24,15 too].
    And I learned two new words: GALLIVANT ánd the amusing CHILLAX.
    Had to visit Wikipedia to find the actor of 16d [even though I saw that it had something to do with the Carry On films].

    My Clue of the Day: 18ac (I BEG TO DIFFER).
    Otherwise, the usual Paul level, but … yes, but …

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oops, did I say Andrew?
    Well, indeed Andrew was in London last November, but.
    Sorry, mhl!!

  15. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks mhl & Paul

    Found the top half quite easy but stuck for a while on the bottom right. Mainly because I have never come across CHILLAX, seems like an American new speak word to me.

    That said, quite a lot of nice clues.

  16. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl and Paul. This was very enjoyable.

    CHILLAX was new to me too but guessed it OK.

    I wrestled with KIM NOVAK and TIM CURRY before landing SID JAMES whom I had totally forgotten despite having watched ‘The Unforgettable Sid James’ on tv a few weeks ago.

  17. mhl says:

    malc95: thanks for pointing that reading out – I’ve corrected the post.

    tupu: thanks, I’d missed the “listed” joke! I’ve added a note about that to the post.

  18. malc95 says:

    Sil @13.

    There is another veiled (excuse the pun) reference at 9a – Prince Philip was born on Corfu.

  19. otter says:

    This was a fun puzzle, as usual from Paul. 24/15 a super clue, quite brilliant.

    I simply couldn’t get DILETTANTS (have never heard ‘Lett’ before), was sure it was I’D reversed then E[uropean] and (AGAINST)* until this became impossible from the crossing letters. Also failed to get two of the simplest clues: ANGLE and SURGEON. Oh well.

    Malc95: I read your message 6 and was looking in my atlas for a Wotcha City, KN before I saw your message 7.

  20. Roger says:

    Thanks mhl. Every so often along comes one of those puzzles that is rich in both wit and amusement …today’s was one such, I thought. Especially liked wotcha, I beg to differ and nasal … also the nod towards Cain & Abel at 3d.

    Thanks Paul for so much enjoyment.

  21. Robi says:

    Good puzzle Paul and thanks to mhl, especially for explaining the parsing of NASAL, which escaped me.

    Sil @13; I BEG TO DIFFER. KATE MIDDLETON GALLIVANTs around in HOT PANTS in WICHITA, OHIO, PISA (and even BRASILIA) while POLISHing OFF a CHERRY MANHATTAN, and talking with her PROLIX, TRAMPOLINIST, SURGEON friend. CHILLAX and WOTCHA think – surely, you can’t get any more apt than that (or am I just a CYNIC)?

  22. Geoff says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Splendidly entertaining puzzle from Paul, with just enough acknowledgement (a great &lit) to topicality.

    Too many good and varied clues (in contrast to yesterday!) to pick any favourites.

    17d was my last entry – a couple of misleading potential anagrinds (indefinite, novice) decoyed me. I spent a while trying to fit ZIN(c) into 7d until I spotted the correct answer.

  23. Stella Heath says:

    Nice one Robi :)

  24. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, agreed, excellent stuff today. Thanks mhl for explanation of NASAL, and Paul, too, for the Xword. Especially enjoyed I BEG TO DIFFER and the KATE one. 17d the last one in, and thanks to my wife for that – I was stuck on having a drink.

  25. caretman says:

    Agree with all, an excellent puzzle, very enjoyable! Thanks, Paul, and thanks mhl for the blog. Answers went in fairly steadily with regular aha moments, particularly for 18 ac and 25 ac (and, of course, 24 dn). Are hot pants still called that over there? Here in the states that name seems to have disappeared after the 70s (although the fashion itself may occasionally be seen). My last in was 16 dn, gotten from the word play and then confirmed in wikipedia.

    I was pleased to see a mostly non-current event puzzle today. Yesterday’s crossword in the New York Times was an utterly pedestrian puzzle with the long answers all related to the event on your shores, so getting a puzzle with outstanding clues and no overbearing theme was greatly appreciated.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    I carefully avoided both radio and TV, turned the pages rapidly in the Guardian and finally came to the crossword- ah -safe at last.
    A nice comfortable solve, just 24,15 to get.
    No,no,no,Paul, I really did not need that.

  27. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Paul and mhl. Learned a new word – CHILLAX. Couldn’t find it in Chambers or Webster’s Third but did locate it in the Urban Dictionary. Will try it out on my teenage grandsons. Like Bryan @16 I wrestled with KIM NOVAK although that may have been in my dreams in the 50’s.


  28. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl @17. :) I got there in the end!

  29. rrc says:

    a most enjoyable solve – some very clever clueing – and I even liked the ference for today!

  30. Matt says:

    Good puzzle. But I’m not sure about “manan(a)”. As well as being pronounced differently (ny), ñ (n with a tilde) in Spanish is considered a distinct letter of the alphabet. Take the final a from “mañana” (with tilde) and you get something that you would pronounce “man-yan”. Conversely, “manana” with n instead of ñ (i.e. without the y sound) doesn’t mean later in English or in Spanish. And I’ve never heard of a cocktail called a a manyhattan.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    I got up late, deliberately. Walked the dog. Went to the bookies for the morning greyhounds. Had lunch. Played poker on-line. Watched the snooker. Sadly, somewhere along the line, my brain had inadvertently absorbed the appropriate trivia and I solved 24,15 despite my best efforts to be unable to do so!

    And just to rub salt in the wound, the winner of the first at Fontwell was Royal Wedding which I studiously failed to back. Fortunately, I hadn’t backed anything else, otherwise I would be really upset!

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