Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,336 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on May 31st, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Thank goodness for Wikipedia, without whose help I would be quite lost especially when the area featured today is foreign to me in every sense of the word.

In my six years in the UK, I do not remember ever stepping on the soil of this county … the nearest probably Skegness, the last resort where we used to be exiled to during the wintry off-season to cram up for the professional accountancy finals. Even without local knowledge, solvers will find Paul’s clues very fair and deducible from the word-play. The places in the themed county are marked * before clue number

ACROSS
*1 BRAINTREE What a lark of a clue … brassiere (bra with double D cups?) in tree (nesting) My COD, probably due to the normal male fixation with the female breast. A good one I heard recently was “Seeing a woman’s breast without seeing the nipples is quite pointless” Boom! Boom!
6 SOME So me (my sort of thing!)
8 DETRITUS *(I trusted)
*9 ILFORD gIrLs (even letters) FORD (the motor company which used to have a huge factory in Dagenham)
10 MELODY Ins of O (oxygen) in MELD (blend) + Y (last letter of dry)
11 STAIR-ROD Ins of R (last letter of Jupiter) in *(ASTEROID minus E, energy) What a superb def, in-flight security device !
*12 EPPING Rev of G (good) NIPPER (child) minus R
15 STEENBOK *(BEST ONE woK) Nice surface, too especially when you suspect wok-users like the Chinese and Koreans relish exotic meat
*16 RAYLEIGH Ins of Y (last letter of baccY) in RALEIGH (one of the favourites of Elizabeth I and the man reputed to have brought the bane of tobacco leaves from The New World to Europe to enslave future generations to the vile addiction to nicotine)
*19  HARLOW the bombshell of the silver screen … did they name a town after her? :-)
*21 BASILDON Basil and Don (two boys)
24 LIBIDO Ins of I (one) in LIB (Liberal party) DO (rave, bash, party)
25 GRIMIEST *(IS IT GERM)
26 ANNE ha
27 NINETY-SIX Ins of I NET (I make) + YeS (certainly disheartened) in NIX (nothing)

DOWN
1 BREVE Rev of EVER (always) B (a note) I got stuck here for a few minutes when I inked in MINIM, thinking this was a palindrome
2 A PRIORI Ins of RIO (de Janeiro, Brazilian port) in APRIL (month) minus L
3 NATTY Sounds like GNAT-TY
4 RESISTS Ins of I’S (one’s) in RESTS (places)
5 ELIZABETH E (English) LIZAB (rev of BRAZIL, country minus R, Rex or King) + *(THE)
*6,22  SAFFRON WALDEN Rev of NED (Kelly, the famous outlaw) LAWN (grass) OR F (last letter of splifF) F (forte, strong) AS (while as in While/As Rome burned, Nero fiddled)
MARCO POLO Ins of ARC (bow) in MOP (hair) + O (old) LO (look) Famous explorer (1254 – 1324) from Venice
13 PLACATION Ins of CAT (jazz player) I O (I love) in PLAN (programme)
14 GRIND DOWN Ins of RIND (some bacon) + D (daughter) in GOWN (formal dress)
17 LAICISE Ins of C (Catholic) in *(A LIE IS)
18 HANDGUN Ins of AND (with) G (first letter of Goons) in HUN (destroyer)
20 RALLIES R (run) ALLIES (friends)
22 WHIST Ins of S (second) in WHIT (a little bit)
23  ESSEX E & S (East and South, opponents in a bridge game) SEX (jolly good fun) Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1566–1601) a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

40 Responses to “Guardian 25,336 – Paul”

  1. Dr. Gurmukh says:

    Thanks UY for a great blog.
    1A – my favourite too.
    (_)(_) No nipples!
    Thanks Paul for a most enterteining puzzle.

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Paul for the puzzle and to Uncle Yap for keeping me abreast of the correct parsings!
    I thought I knew all the BOKs but STEEN was new to me. Had also not heard of STAIR ROD so thanks again for the enlightenment.

    Cheers…

  3. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the blog, and thanks to Paul for the enjoyable puzzle. The theme became clear once I had EPPING, HARLOW, and BRAINTREE. Like Uncle Yap, I needed to check a map of Essex to confirm possible names of towns; the closest I’ve been to Essex is transferring planes in Heathrow. In addition to 1a, I also particularly liked 24a with its two different types of parties. I had not encountered 13a, but since I knew ‘springbok’ I was certain it was correct when I entered it, and could later confirm it from a dictionary.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    Took me ages to click on the theme, even though I’d got ELIZABETH straight away. (You might like to delete the blah blah at the beginning of the post before Eileen wakes up.. although no spoiler title this time, this still features on the preview page and gives the game away…)

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, and Paul for another enjoyable puzzle. I finished it quite quickly without aids, getting the theme from 1a, but had to pause often to admire the great clues (none neater than 6a, or more twisted that 5d with its queen-for-king) and to puzzle over parsing (27a’s ‘certainly disheartened’ and 18d, last in).

  6. molonglo says:

    Never been to Essex, either, UY – but somehow those towns seem to go with the county, the way Tucson=Arizona, and all those other US city-state bracketings.

  7. Uncle Yap says:

    NeilW @ 4, I had better listen to good advice and move the rest of the commentary below the line; so what is immediately public does not give a single thing away. What do they say? Discretion is the better part of valour … On this issue, I have been walloped enough times here already (ouch !)

  8. NeilW says:

    Only got your best interests at heart, Uncle Y!

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Paul

    This was very enjoyable after the theme became apparent.

    Fortunately, I was aware of the various places mentioned even though I’ve never visited any of them.

    A PRIORI is an old favourite and the clue itself was familiar. I wonder did Paul nick it from Rufus?

  10. MikeC says:

    Thanks UY and Paul. A most entertaining crossword. For some time I was convinced that 1a, being a Paul, had to be brassiere. Once the theme became clear, I was rescued (diverted?) from my delusion. 6a and 1d among my favourite clues. Less sure about very elaborate ones, like 6d, 22a and 27a.

  11. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap and Paul.

    I enjoyed this puzzle and was really chuffed to finish it without recourse to any aids – started off in the NE corner and steadily worked my way around in an anti clockwise direction, finishing off with a good laugh at 1a which will surely qualify as clue of the day.

    The problem now is how to resist looking at the Indy all day if I’m going to save that one up for tonight …

  12. Ian says:

    Thanks both Uncle Yap for the blog and to Paul for a crossword with several tough clues counterbalancing the theme which provided relatively easy pickings.

    I especially appreciated the wit of 6dn & 1ac and the cleverness of 24ac.

    34′

  13. Geoff says:

    Thanks UY.

    Fun puzzle, with a lot of entertaining clues – the anagrams are particularly well clued. Took me a while to get the theme (the link with the clever but opaque 5d and the sharing of crossing letters made it trickier) but ILFORD and SAFFRON WALDEN gave the game away and the rest fell out neatly.

    Favourite clues were 6a (very neat), 11a (great cryptic def) and 15a (liked the surface – STEENBOK is actually very tasty..).

    1a employs a device which, for me, is getting a bit old hat. The classic was the &lit ‘Bust down reason?’ (BRAINWASH) and Rufus used it recently for BRAINWAVE.

  14. Robi says:

    Thanks to Paul and UY for an entertaining solve.

    I failed to parse SAFFRON WALDEN (but I should know by now Kelly=NED) and didn’t get YeS=certainly disheartened. Like MikeC @10 I had brassiere for 1a before the theme became obvious. Rufus in March gave us ‘Underwear packed for one who’s smart’ = brainbox.

    My COD is STAIR-ROD for the in-flight security device.

  15. Geoff says:

    Robi @14: You’re right, of course. Rufus’s clue was for ‘brainbox’ and not ‘brainwave’ (although the latter is obviously set up for the same trick).

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Now that’s what I call a theme (pace Brendan).
    There were some lovely clues but such themes do turn a cryptic crossword into more of a gazetteer.
    Last solution was 1ac (brassiere here too).
    My grandmother had brass stair-rods which I had to remove and polish one by one.

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks UY for v.g. blog and Paul

    Another excellent puzzle which took a long time to get into – partly through too many real world distractions.

    I got the theme eventually, and understood all but one of the clues. Handgun was last to go in but for some reason (impatience?) I failed to parse it properly (missed and = with!).

    Many excellent clues inc. 1a, 6a, 10a, 11a!, 26a (first thought was rani), 5d, 6.22, 7d.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, UY, needed you for explanation to 27a; and to Paul, too.

    Two favourites (excuse me) today: 1a and 11a. I had only the O at one stage and thought it was BLACK BOX; what a nice distraction, I am sure this was deliberate on Paul’s part.

    As with Geoff, ILFORD and then SAFFRON WALDEN were my lead in to ESSEX.

    Good fun, today.

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Paul briefly at the recent London S&B, and his puzzle today was also a pleasure – good fun from start to finish.

    I know Essex a bit, so the themed clues were not too difficult (and a help to completion), but the unthemed stuff was also enjoyable. STAIR ROD, EPPING and SOME were the ones I particularly liked this morning.

    Thank you for blogging, UY.

  20. Paul says:

    Thank you ladies and gentlemen, and do check out the Paul’s twitter feed we now have, near today’s clues, but a little further down…thanks to those lovely Guardian people, especially Megan. Thanks for all your hard work, Megan!

    All the best, and many thanks to you all. Uncle Yap, I shall certainly bear in mind these things – we deserve a Malaysian puzzle, methinks…

    Much love

    Paul

  21. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I enjoyed this very much and didn’t have too much difficulty with the theme, although I did spare a thought for those who don’t live quite as near 23dn as I do!

    My favourite was the delightfully misleading definition at 11ac — made me smile once I’d decided ‘black box’ wasn’t right.

    Thanks to Paul, too, for dropping by.

  22. sidey says:

    I’m not Paul’s biggest fan but this was well worth solving.

    No mention of Jean Harlow should pass without this gem. She was at a dinner party and continuously addressed Margot Asquith (wife of British prime minister Herbert Asquith) as “Margot”, pronouncing the “T”. Margot finally had enough and said to her, “No, Jean, the ‘T’ is silent, like in ‘Harlow’”.

  23. Carrots says:

    “Narghh…Luton Bleedin` Airpowt” wouldn`t vacate my head once I`d cracked the theme. Many moons ago, Lorraine (Kelly ?) did a series of commercials for (I think!) Cinzano, and whilst I don`t think they did much of a job for the aperitif, they certainly put the airport on the map. I don`t even know if it is in Essex or not, but it resurrected quite a few risque jokes about Essex girls. Strangely, Paul must have resisted the temptation to include reference to these, but they were all blue of course and probably unprintable in The Grauniad. Perhaps he can be persuaded to do an “Adults Only” puzzle, available via subscription on line!

    UY: I welcomed your blog because I couldn`t quite Parse HANDGUN, NINETY-SIX or ESSEX itself. STEENBOK was new to me, but it had to be correct. Thanxamillion…..and good of you to drop in, Paul, it is much appreciated. (As is your puzzle, but you don`t need me to reiterate that!)

  24. Robi says:

    Carrots @23; I went through the same mental processes as you, but it was Lorraine Chase at Luton Airport, Bedfordshire. Lorraine Kelly is a different beast.

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Well since you have mentioned it, she also did not swear.
    This is known as ‘chav embellishment’ and is demonstrated daily in The Daily Mail.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Well since you have mentioned it, she also did not swear.
    This is known as ‘chav embellishment’ and is demonstrated daily in The Daily Express.

  27. RCWhiting says:

    I apologise for double post embellishment – it wasn’t by choice.

  28. Mirrorman says:

    Many thanks Paul. CoD must be 1ac. Though surprised no reference to TOWIE

  29. Paul (not Paul) says:

    This is why I do crosswords. Great fun throughout.

    I’m going to be all mature today and pick one of Paul’s non-smutty clues as my favourite. I loved the stair rod definition as an in flight security device. Brilliant.

  30. morpheus says:

    Uncle Yap and Dr Singh, thank you for this. You have left me with a fond image of you discussing the finer “points” of life in the Selangor Turf Club, gin in hand no doubt…

  31. Sil van den Hoek says:

    After yesterday’s Treat another Corker today.
    We thought this was Paul on top form.

    Yes, for many 1ac (BRAINTREE) might be the obvious choice for Clue of the Day, but, although it raised somewhat more than a smile, clues like this are more an exponent of the laddish Paul than just really good. From who else does one expect things like 8ac and 25ac (or 23d, even though equaling ‘sex’ to ‘jolly good fun’, mwah …. :)).

    But, let’s make no mistake, while having jolly good fun, there was cluing of the highest order – precise and clever.
    Lots of imagery (the unfortunate antelope in 15ac, the scene culinaire at 14d and 6d,22′s Kelly in higher spheres, for example) and talking about the latter (6d,22), that is such a good clue. The whole thing as a reversal, meanwhile creating a splendid surface.

    ELIZABETH (5d) has been clued many times before (I guess), but this one was surely excellent.
    As was 13d (PLACATION), another brilliant surface.
    And 10ac (MELODY) is very well written with the oxygen/dry air connection.

    After we found GRIMIEST (our first, 25ac) and the easy RALLIES (20d), the 6 of 96 was quickly discovered – and so it hád to be ESSEX. “Essex’s” for just a place in Essex may not be everyone’s cup of tea (Andrew?), but it was immediately clear what was going on. Where London tube stations were just over the edge for us, these towns might have been one step too far for others.
    We live around the corner (and I can recommend Saffron Walden and Epping (well, the forest, that is)), so no problem here today.

    Splendid crossword.
    And Paul, good to see you dropping by.
    Don’t hesitate to do that more often, especially in case we are uncertain about the parsing of one or two clues.
    Much appreciated.

    As was the Crossword – capital C!!

  32. stiofain says:

    I think they are whisky/whiskey men morpheus.
    Another classic Paul but instead of adding gimmicks like the twitter feed the “lovely” web team should sort out the problem of clues with multiple lights like todays 6,22 across overwriting the first words of the clues. Sort out your .css file the fact it works on macs and firefox isnt good enough.

  33. Martin H says:

    A list of Essex towns, a couple of pretty feeble laddish jokes, ‘cat’ for jazz player – what I don’t understand is why I bothered to finish it.

  34. otter says:

    Just finished this one. Quite a struggle, in parts, but a very enjoyable one. Thanks, Paul.

  35. Carrots says:

    RCWhiting@25: Do you know, I think you are right. I think I`ve introduced the “Bleedin” as a chav embellishment. Thanks for pointing out where I might find some more…but don`t these rags have a lot of ferkin` footballers pictures in?

    Sil@31: your admission about having sex whilst cluing has just won you highest acclaim in my own Cruciverbalist Hall of Fame. With minor adaption, it could be developed into a very rude joke about Essex Girls…which makes it doubly accomplished!

    Robi@23: Yes, of course! Lorraine Chase. Wherever have I got this “Kelly” from? Machine-Gun?? Gene??? Grace????

  36. Robi says:

    Carrots @35; Lorraine Kelly is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorraine_Kelly

  37. MikefromBath says:

    Ford still has a production facility in Dagenham that produces engines.

  38. Tony says:

    “Favourite of 5′s … ” in 23d contains a double genitive which put me off my stroke for a while.

  39. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    This was great fun which I finished off this morning. Like skg I completed this without aids mainly due to my computer being knacked. The last one in was PLACATION which was very devious. Paul certainly kick-starts the old brainbox or what’s left of it. I’m typing this on my wife’s MAC so I’m learning here as well. The MAC is much faster than my Windows 7 box which is pretty flaky.
    Many thanks to Paul as ever.

  40. sheffield hatter says:

    Came to this rather late but finished quite quickly and without aids – must know Essex better than I thought!

    No one seems to have mentioned the helpful reference to Basildon Bond (= marriage)in 21ac.

    I’m glad that Luton, or at least its airport, has been restored to Bedfordshire.

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