Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,369 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on July 8th, 2011


An excellent and highly enjoyable puzzle from Paul to end a rather mixed week, with lots of his trademark humour. Hooray! (And don’t forget to listen to Araucaria on Desert Island Discs on Sunday.)

5. PAUL THE OCTOPUS PAUL (“me”) + (CHOSE TO PUT)* with “balls” as a cheeky angram indicator. This “unlikely World Cup hero” correctly “predicted” a series of results in the 2010 World Cup.
9. PUTIN PUT IN (installed), and Vladimir Putin, currently Prime Minister of Russia.
10. TWO-SEATER T[orode] + SOW reversed + EATER. For the surface reading , John Torode is a celebrity chef.
11. SQUARE ROOT SQUARE (dinosaur, as in an old-fashioned person) + ROOT (ferret, search). The strange definition indicates that 1 is the square root of 1.
12. ORCA MALLORCA (island) less MALL (shopping centre)
14. PAT ON THE BACK Double definition, invoking a comical if somewhat distasteful picture. I originally put PAT ON THE HEAD, but “lying face down” clearly indicates the correct version.
18. KEY SIGNATURE Cryptic definition. In music notation the key signature which notes are (normally) to be played as flats or sharps. Some of you may remember the mnemonics for the order they appear, such as Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle for the sharps and its near-reversal for flats, so it could be “a block of flats”. A more interesting alternative, invented by a friend of mine at school, is Father Christmas Goes Down An Escalator Backwards.
21. TOTO TOT + middle letter of dorOthy, and Toto was Dorothy’s dog in ‘The Wizard of Oz’
22. SPECIALIST E (last latter of polypropylenE) in (IS PLASTIC)*, with “buff” as the definition (as in “film buff” for example)
26. ICE UP Homophone of “I SUP”
27. REAWOKE (OKRA WEE)*. I’ll pass on that particular cocktail, thanks!
28. GREASER AS in [Germaine] GREER
1. OPPOSE OP + POSE (model)
2. TUT-TUT Tut=Tutankhamun = Mummy, twice
3. PANCREATIC Shortened CREATE (“form”) in PANIC (= hysteria); definition “of an organ”
4. SATYR T in SAY (utter) + R[ogue]
6. USER “US ER” could be Queen of America, so democratic or republican – for complete accuracy perhaps those words should have capitals.
8. EARMARKS E + ARM + ARKS, with “flags” as a verb.
15. OENOPHILE PIGEONHOLE* less G. Rather a giveaway clue if you know the word, perhaps less so otherwise.
16. SKETCHER KETCH in [maid]SER[vant]
17. HYSTERIA Homophone of “hiss, tearier”
19. BICEPS CEP in BIS (twice)
20. STUPOR ST (street, way) + UP (high) + OR
23. CLANG CLAN + last letter of planninG
24. NONO Double definition – Luigi Nono was an avant-garde Italian composer, and double negatives are a NO NO (which is a double negative itself, I suppose)

29 Responses to “Guardian 25,369 – Paul”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew & Paul

    This was very enjoyable and, although I guessed KEY SIGNATURE correctly, I hadn’t the faintest idea of its meaning. It was my last.

    Also, I couldn’t work out BICEPS but now I know.

    I see that Monica revisited us again after yesterday. Busy girl!

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks Andrew and Paul.

    This was a good end to the week (together with today’s other dailies). Lots of wit and cheek. Favourites were 5,1 PAUL THE OCTUPUS, for its new (to me) anagrind, 14A PAT ON THE BACK, for its vivid imagery, 17A HYSTERIA, nice homophone, and 11A SQUARE ROOT. And coincidentally, Monica and Ketch have made a couple of appearances this week.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Andrew – as you say, a good end to the week.

    Nothing much to add, really: vintage Paul, with some great surfaces, eg 5,1 and 15dn. Yes, I knew the word and it went straight in – but what a hilarious picture!

  4. Matt says:

    Just started getting into cryptic crosswords, have to say this blog is proving very useful – although no amount of practice would have helped with 19D – I’m obviously pig ignorant on the subject of fungi as I’d never heard the word ‘cep’ in my life! Enjoyed 1,5A and 2D.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Yes, “balls” is a good eccentric anagrind but I think Cyclops set the bar pretty high in Private Eye a few months ago with “bastard”.

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew, including for explanations of 18a and 24d, and who Torode in 10a was. Not hard (because of superb clueing, and I liked esp HARMONICA and PHOTOSTAT, last in.

  7. scchua says:

    Hi Thomas99, good point…but in some circles, “bastard” is a term of endearment; can’t say that for “balls”!

  8. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew … and Paul, for a nice one this dull, damp morning. Ran out of ticks when marking off the good’uns. TUT-TUT was probably top of the pile, just ahead of ?1=1. Oh, and balls was different.

    Might be worth mentioning, btw, that the g-less pigeonhole at 15d needs to be anagramated (if that’s a word !).

  9. Roger says:

    Um, somewhere between the preview and the post my square root sign @8 has metamorphosed into a question mark. Sorry.

    Damn gremlins !

  10. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Great fun – it’s good to see Paul back in top form after a run of (for him) relatively po-faced puzzles.

    I found this one a moderate challenge, with a lot of laughs along the way: 5a/1a, 14a, 27a, 28a, 2d especially. Paul’s cephalopod namesake took me a while to get – great anagrind, which fits the surface reading so well. Nice &lit at 21a. 11a is particularly Araucarian.

    Andrew and Eileen have both commented that 15d is obvious if the word is familiar (as it was to me). The converse of this is 19d, which was my last entry: a more difficult clue for a much more familiar word. Combining ‘easy’ clues for ‘hard’ words and vice versa makes for a good crossword in the hands of a skilled compiler.

  11. nusquam says:

    This puzzle was good fun, and thank you for the blog.

    I am easily bamboozled by repetitions, so my heart sank when I saw ‘one’s one’s one’. I got it, but I feel the wording to be slightly unidiomatic. I would have been happier with ‘One’s one’s’ or ‘One’s is one’. Swan in Practical English Usage section 391.8 says that one(s) (substitute word) is not normally used after a noun with a possessive ‘s. That is the source of my discomfort. (BTW there is a superfluous ‘one’ in the blog explanation too, but that is surely just a typo.)

  12. MattD says:

    Always love a Paul and thank you andrew for parsing 5d for me. Obvious now I see it.

    One quibble: 19d. Surely there’s a missing s in the clue? Biceps is plural, muscle is not. I know you can “build muscle” with muscle being used as the general term, but as we needed a particular one, it should be plural. Not keen on definition of cep either and never heard of bis meaning twice.

    Minor quibble. Lots of aha moments and a few smiles. Cod? 18a by a mile.

  13. Andrew says:

    MattD – “biceps” is actually singular. The occasionally-used “bicep” is an incorrect back-formation.

    Bis is French for twice, and is what French audiences shout instead of “encore”.

  14. Andrew says:

    nusquam – thanks for pointing out the superfluous “one”. It’s not quite a typo, more a leftover from when I originally wrote that 1 is one of the square roots of 1 (the other being minus 1); but the clue works better with my revised (and now corrected) version.

  15. Geoff says:

    MattD – further to Andrew’s comment, BICEPS is most definitely singular but also used unchanged as the plural. To be strictly Latinate, I suppose the plural should really be ‘bicipes’, but that would be a litle over-pedantic even for me…

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Paul

    An amusing teser of a puzzle with some, for me, cleverly misleading clues that were all ultimately gettable.

    I found it hard to pick my way through 5d and 8d. In 8d I thought at first the second part would be jacks but earjacks brought only an urban slang expression for cutting off ears to steal valuable earrings!

    Lots of ticks for me too: 1,5 ( I did not remember this now dead creature), 14a(P’s usual fun), 27 (unlikely anagram), 28a, 2d (first in), 5d, 8d.

    I had to check Luigi Nono and only vaguely remembered Toto (incidentally a common ‘kitchen swahili’ word for a little child).

  17. MattD says:

    Geoff and Andrew. Thank you for explaining that. Shouldn’t have doubted Paul.

  18. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog. I have to admit that for me this was a mixed bag, which started off very disappointingly, with a bit of workaday cluing: OPPOSE went in as soon as I saw ‘work model’; PAUL THE OCTOPUS as soon as I read ‘Unlikely World Cup celebrity’ (it was also too obvious given the name of the setter); USER as soon as I read ‘druggie’; PUTIN; TUT-TUT; and so on. The clue for PAT ON THE BACK is almost one of the jokes from my childhood (‘What do you get if you stand under a cow?’): like Andrew I initially entered ‘HEAD’, but this was soon corrected, and the clue didn’t require thinking about. These were the first few clues I looked at, and I wasn’t particularly impressed.

    Thankfully things got better in other parts of the crossword. I do think though that a lot of the definitions are too obvious: again, OENOPHILE went in as soon as I saw ‘wine lover’, then confirmed by glancing at (rather than actually engaging with) the wordplay. Ditto TOTO and possibly one or two others.

    My favourite is probably KEY SIGNATURE. Although I saw what was probably going on (musical reference) and got KEY early, I couldn’t think of the phrase until I had several more connecting letters. Actually, scratch that – my favourite is the definition for SQUARE ROOT – ‘one’s one’s one’ – lovely stuff. I thought of ROOT for ferret but the definition was so cryptic that I didn’t think of entering it where it should be for a long time. That’s my clue of the day.

    Apart from these two, I didn’t find anything to write home about. Having said that, I was stuck for longest on TUTORIAL, ORCA and EARMARKS, none of which I managed to parse until I entered them. And although STUPOR went straight in, I didn’t manage to parse it fully until I read the blog.

    Thanks, Andrew, for the blog; thanks, Paul for the puzzle, although I didn’t find it one of your best.

  19. nusquam says:

    Geoff @15 ‘bicipites’, surely.

  20. Geoff says:

    nusquam @19: Gosh, you’re right – I’ve just checked it in the dictionary. I was thinking of princeps/principes.

    That means we must also have the delightful ‘quadricipites’.

  21. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. I thought this was a little tougher than Paul’s puzzles have been lately — and a lot funnier! Quite a few made me smile…

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Paul is one of a decreasing number whom I regularly get beaten by, but not always, and not this time, ye hah.

    Matt @ 4, commit cep to memory. It comes up in crosswords regularly. I’d never seen it used elsewhere either when I was just starting.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Quite enjoyable although not a product of a ‘master’.
    I did get slowed at the NE corner because I also used ‘pat on the head’ but on correcting the rest unravelled easily.
    Square root was the most enjoyable.

  24. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew & Paul

    I am another ‘pat on the head’ entrant which made 7d and 8d make no sense. Gave up, went back to it later and it all fell into place.

    Quite an enjoyable puzzle.

  25. Robi says:

    Very entertaining crossword, made more difficult by reading 5,1 as 1,5 – I thought it was a Grauniad typo when I found that 1 had to be octopus (doh!)

    Thanks Andrew for a good blog and explaining the parsing of BICEPS. I thought CEP was an acronym; I should know better. I also failed to connect TUT with Tutankhamun/Tutenkhamen/-amon!

    I’m glad to see MALLORCA spelt/spelled correctly rather than the News-of-the-World version. I didn’t know Luigi NONO, although the clue was sufficiently clear to get the answer. PHOTOSTAT is going back a bit, and I hadn’t realised it was originally a trademark.

    I particularly liked PAT ON THE BACK and HYSTERIA.

  26. FranTom Menace says:

    What a great puzzle! This was the first from Paul I’ve managed to complete myself at work, leaving none for poor old Fran to help with when I got home. I couldn’t parse ‘biceps’ although I got the answer, but did know that it’s the singular from my old Ladybird book of the body!

    3d was one of my favourites. My eye was drawn straight to 2d which I got right away, a very amusing clue! I feel very clever today.

  27. NealH says:

    If I were to be very picky, shouldn’t 17 be “Sound of the sound of a snake” since hiss is the sound of the snake and hys is a homophone of it. I suppose I’m just a bit annoyed because I interpreted it quite logically and spent a while looking for something that started adda.. or vipa.. before I got the y from key signature. Other than that, I found this quite a nice, challenging puzzle, although I did forget about Mallorca and was trying to work out why a shopping centre should be either a Maj or a Min.

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    And if I were to be very picky, 1 has two square roots.

  29. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for the explanations to a few. Like several others, ONEOPHILE went straight in – I really must remember how to spell it. That held me up in the bottom left for some time.

    Haven’t we seen G8 for PUTIN before?

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