Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,352 by Paul

Posted by PeeDee on June 25th, 2011


A mixed avian theme this week with birds, bird songs and Birdsong.  The clues are very tight, no unused words or vague cryptic definitions – nice one Paul.

1 TITCHY sCavenging cHeetah and hYena (second letters only) following TIT (bird)
4 ACTS UP A then ST (street) reversed inside CUP (competition)
9 KITE Definition and cryptic definition
10 TENNIS BALL Soprano inside NIB (part of a pen, writer) all inside TEN ALL (an even score) – ‘ten all’ would also be twenty goals/points in total, a score, but I’m not sure if this is intended or not.
11 STATUE Uprising (leading letter) inside STATE (Lenin’s body famously lay in state with 900,000 mourners viewng the body)
12 OPPOSITE SITE following PP (pages) in bOOk (middle of)
13 CRASH DIVE DISH* in CRAVE (fancy as verb, clothing=going round the outside)
15,16 BIRDSONG Cryptic definition – novel by Sebastian Faulks
16 See 15
21 FAIR GAME AIR (song) Grate (beginning of) inside FAME (1980’s musical)
22 RECESS Double definition
24 DIABOLICAL LOB (tennis shot) AID (charity) all reversed I CAL (California, state)
25 EDAM English DAM (stop) – popular Dutch cheese
26 HEXOSE EX (old lover) inside HOSE (stockings, underwear)
27 ISOPOD SO (this) inside IPOD (a place to keep your music)
1 TWITTER Time and WITTER (to go on talking)
2 TWEET sounds a bit like “to eat”
3 HOTHEAD THE and A in a HOD (the=definite article, a=indefinite article, hod=tool for carrying bricks)
5 CHIRPY Double definition
6,20 SEBASTIAN FAULKS SULKS (appears petulant) containing (penning) Erotic (opening letter) Book (abbrev) and FANTASIA* – author of Birdsong
7 PILOTED LOT (fate, fortune) in PIE (dish) and synoD (last letter of)
8 INCONVENIENCE IN (popular) CONservative (political party) and mEN (topless people) in VENICE
14 SENTRY BOX SENT (mailed) (BY OR)* redirected=anagram X (10 Roman numeral)
16 SLAVISH LAVISH (shower with, supply liberally) following State (first letter of)
18 See 23
19 BUSTARD STAR in BUD (in bud=ready to blossom)
20 See 6
23,18 CHEAP THRILLS CHEAP sounds like “cheep” (birdsong) and TRILL (birdsong) around Hospital


Hold mouse over clue number to see clue, click a solution to see its definition.

21 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,352 by Paul”

  1. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Peedee for an precise analysis of a precise puzzle. I had to trawl Wiki for the name of the author, having guessed 16ac but still wondering what 15 might be. Once I found him, everything went smoothly.

    Just one thing, no doubt a typo or a slip at the end of a day’s blogging: in 23d, the BIRDSONG is CHEEP – hence “Hearing” in the clue.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Peedee and Paul for a very good blog of an amusing and extremely well constructed puzzle focussed on ‘bird (and/or) song’ including the author of the novel of that name.

    Paul displays a nice light touch here. The overall level of cluing was very high so that few if any clues stood out strongly from the rest.

    19d was enjoyably innovative, and many of the surfaces were nicely misleading but all ultimately penetrable. If I had to choose, then 10a, 11a, 13a and 2d all raised a smile but so did many others.

    I agree with Stella (and am sure you do) re 21d.

  3. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Stella, 23dn is now corrected. I wrote this last weekend intending to come back during the week to tidy it up a bit, but then forgot all about it.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee and Paul. This was very enjoyable.

    I had heard of SEBASTIAN FAULKS but I did not know any of his stuff, so also thanks to Google for coming to my rescue.

    I bet Uncle Yap was thrilled when he saw TITCHY, a word that he loves and may even have invented.


  5. Biggles A says:

    Thanks PeeDee. I found it hard to get started on this one but once 6.20 revealed itself then the rest followed reasonably quickly. Rather more than usual I found it necessary to write the prospective answers down before I could explain them to myself. (I refuse to use the word ‘parse”!) I thought it was one of the more satisfying of recent offerings and particularly liked 11 and 19.

  6. tupu says:

    Hi BigglesA
    I’m interested by your reluctance to use ‘parse’. It seems basically to mean analysing sentences into their constituent parts according to the rules of syntax in a particular language and this is what we do with ‘superficially’ English data according to the ‘rules’ of crossword language.

  7. stiofain says:

    Paul back on form for me a few recent outings havde been a bit weak . Like Stella i also needed to look uo the SB novel (though in reverse).
    I also think this was a reference to the recent addition of a twitter feed to the online xword, a nice modern touch but they still havent fixed a glitch in their site where if a clue has multiple positions in the grid the numbers overwrite the first letters in some browsers and mobile devices.

  8. yogdaws says:


    With ref to today’s ARAUCARIA PRIZE PUZZLE NO 25,358…

    We don’t want a solution just clarification re 10, 15 ACROSS:-
    a) Is the solution word order 10,15 or 15,10?
    b) Has there been a cock-up or is it actually possible to solve this one?

    Many thanks for anticipated assistance…

  9. Gaufrid says:

    Hi yogdaws
    We don’t normally discuss prize puzzles on this site until after the closing date for entries but I can confirm that the clue for 10,15ac is correct and solvable.

  10. yogdaws says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid.

  11. yogdaws says:


    Got it.

    All I needed was a little reassurance…

    Will not break with blog protocol in future.

    Thanks again

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    I enjoyed this and like most Paul puzzles, it’s hieroglyphics to begin with and slowly it all begins to make sense.

    Favourite clues were ON STAND BY, RECESS and HEXOSE. Last clue in was TITCHY. Paul definitely is a one-off and his clueing style is like no-one else on this planet. Thanks Mr Halpern.

  13. Biggles A says:

    Hello tupu,

    Having spent my fair share of time in English and Latin grammar classes the word has for me the very specific meaning which you have quoted. I’m unable though to make the leap of logic which applies it to the explanation of crossword clues. It’s pedantic of me I know and I also know that change in the meaning of words is inexorable in a living language. Even so, I still think we lose something when the precise meaning of a word is compromised.

    I’m aware of 2 in the OED definition but this is mainly to recognise the decline.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi BigglesA

    Thanks for getting back – I’ve only just seen your reply.
    More figurative uses seem to go back to the 1780s.
    I have raised this sort of issue before some time back having been reminded of Chomskey’s ideas of surface and deep structure (nb the use of ‘surface’ too in Xword jargon). There the idea seems to be to get to the underlying structure and meaning of an often ambiguous surface by choosing a structuring of the parts that makes sense. I feel parsing is a fair term for that exercise in ‘disambiguation’ (e.g. ‘time flies like an arrow’ could refer to how you time them) and so by extension for dealing with ‘ambiguities’ in Xword clues, though there we tend to choose the less likely structures.

    As I say, I appreciate your getting back – and less prescriptively than you first ‘sounded’ – and I am very happy to agree to differ amicably!

  15. Biggles A says:

    Thanks tupu,

    Points taken and I’m very happy to respect our differences.

  16. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Managed to solve this while out watching a kids’ footie game, hence sans aids. Lucky I’d read 15,16. Lots of good and droll clues, including 13a and 23,18. The two guesses, last two across, were well cued.

  17. Malcolm says:

    Ummm… may be I’m stupid or something but the online prizepuzzle is by Araucaria and is completley different

  18. RCWhiting says:

    A prize puzzle cannot be blogged on the day it appears since everyone would then know the solution. Hence the Araucaria will be blogged next weekend after the closing date.
    This blog is therefore for last Saturday’s (18th).
    I hope that clears up things for you.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Does anyone know why, under “Leave a Reply”, one’s name and e-mail sometimes remains in place for several days but then randomly disappears?

  20. Davy says:

    Hi RCW (19),

    I asked this very same question on Site Feedback back in January. See comments 10 and 11.

  21. Malc says:

    Hi RCW

    Of course, that molishes sense.

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