Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,375 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on July 15th, 2011


This is vintage Paul – some very clever cluing and lots to entertain and raise a smile. Enough said! Many thanks, Paul.


1   FEWEST: F[our] + E[ast] + WEST
9   DAMNATION: DAM [mother – answer to 29] + NATION [land]
10  SHIVA: V [first letter of victorious] in SHIA [branch of Islam]
11  OUNCE: O[ld] +[d]UNCE: another name for the snow leopard
12  LOCAL CALL: LOL [laugh out loud] around CALCAL [CAL{ifornia} the state of Hollywood doubled up]
13  THIN AIR: T[ime] + HAIR [locks] round [securing] IN [home] – clever surface
15,27 BUNKER MENTALITY: some rather complicated wordplay here: BUNY [‘disheartened rabbit’] round [protecting] N [last letter of warren] with ET AL [and the others] outside, inside [trapped by] KERMIT [frog]
17,4  COOKIE MONSTER: anagram [new] of NOTICES MORE round [cages] OK [acceptable]: Kermit’s friend in Sesame Street
19  BOW LEGS: EG [say] in [blocking] BOWLS [game]
22  ASCERTAIN: anagram [pickles] of IN CAR SEAT
24  OTTER: a typical Paul invention: more OTT [over the top]
28  RESORTS: double definition [re-sorts]
29, 26 MOTHER-IN-LAW: a very clever anagram [funny] of WOMAN HITLER [2,8] and I suppose some might say &lit. I couldn’t possibly comment. [Isn’t Paul getting married some time around now?]


1   FADE-OUT: sounds like FEY [as I would spell it but I see Chambers also has ‘fay’ – clairvoyant, anyway] and DOUBT [scepticism]
2 WOMAN: W[estern] + OMAN [country]: ‘Frailty, thy name is woman’ – Hamlet on his mother, in his first soliloquy
3   SPACEWALK: SWALK [‘message from the lips’ – one of the more seemly acronyms written on the back of love letter envelopes, particularly during the Second World War] round PACE [lick = speed]
4   MINICAB: [do]MINICA Caribbean island minus ‘do’ [party] + B[ook]
5   NASAL: NASA [people into rocket science] + L [fifty]
6   TAIWANESE: WANE [flag] in anagram [fluttering] of EAST I[ndian] – lovely surface
7   REALLY: E [last letter of ambience] in RALLY [meeting] – as in ‘Jolly good’
8   HITLER: HIT [punched] + LER [middle letters of ballerina]
14  ISOSCELES: IS + anagram [shape] of CLOSE + E[quilateral] + S[calene] – another clever surface, which I actually understood!
16  NEW POTATO: A TOP [a lid] reversed [lift] in NEWT [something proverbially soused] + O [round]
18  ERASMUS : reversal of SUMS [totals] ARE
19  BANANA: B[roken] + AN AN A [articles]: I haven’t had one of these for decades.
20  SPRAYER: S[peech] + PRAYER [supplication]: definition, ‘its output fine’
21  CAGIER: anagram [suspect] of GRACE I
23  ROWER: double definition [and pronunciation]
25  THIGH: T [last letter of skirt] + HIGH [hitched up, perhaps]: I liked the ‘finally’, for the last clue.

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,375 / Paul”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks Eileen, and Paul.

    This was very tricky and enjoyably so. Favourites were 13A THIN AIR, 24A OTTER and 3D SPACEWALK, and plenty others.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I had the same thought as you about Paul’s impending marriage and the MOTHER-IN-LAW clue. The WOMAN HITLER anagram is quite a famous one, but I don’t think I’ve seen it used in a crossword before.

  3. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Wonderful way to further brighten a sunny morning – amusing, inventive and satisfying.

    Difficult to pick out favourite clues, but I did particularly enjoy 24a, 29a/26a, 5d, 6d, 8d, 19d, 25d. ‘Where talk may be cheap’ is a great definition. ‘Do’ for ‘party’ is common enough, but it was fun to have one ‘cancelled’ for a change.

    Nice to have OTT, LOL, SWALK and ‘et al’ all in the same puzzle!My only disappointment was that 25d didn’t ‘reveal’ NORWICH….

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. All doable as it were standing on a crowded bus, but the two long middle acrosses took some effort – the anagrind of 17, 4 was the first word of 15, 27! All of it was likeable, though, including 3d and the very neat 6d.

  5. SeanDimly says:

    Thank you for the blog, Eileen.
    Some lovely clues from Paul. Liked 6d (TAIWANESE) and 19a (BOW LEGS) the best – and always nice to be reminded of the Cookie Monster.
    Agree with you about the witty ‘Finally’ in the final clue.

  6. John Appleton says:

    Hadn’t spotted the anagram element of Mother-in-law – I thought Paul was going to attract some feminist ire for that one!

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul for fine blog and puzzle

    Quite tricky but doable from good clues. I had to guess (from clue) and check ‘cookie monster’ and also SWALK (sealed with a loving kiss it seems).

    Liked many clues e.g. 15,27a, 19a, 24a, 29,26 (I don’t remember seeing this before), 1d, 6d, 16d (took time to parse this).

    Missed ‘finally’ when didn’t solve the clues in that order.

  8. Mystogre says:

    Thanks Eileen, and Paul of course. This was a lovely way to spend the odd hour and raised quite a few smiles, seeing I am now in Manila and a long way from home base. Loved OTTER, DAMNATION and THIGH. The m-i-l was in another class though. There were a number of things here I don’t remember seeing in crosswords before. Great!
    Funny, doing these purely on the iPad is a lesson in tolerance. Printing them off and using a pencil seems far more satisfactory but I don’t have that luxury right now.

  9. Eileen says:

    I’m surprised at you, tupu, not knowing SWALK [sorry I forgot to spell it out in the blog] and at you, Geoff [tut] for introducing the other one. 😉

  10. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Great crossword only let down, I felt, by 28 which seemed very ordinary in the midst of so many gems.

    Parsing 15,27 was, as you say, quite uphill – it felt more like an algebra equation than a crossword clue!

  11. NeilW says:

    Mystogre, I sympathise. I did this today on my iPad bumping along in the back of the car on Jakarta’s backstreets. Would love a way to lock the keypad – if you ever find out how… (Sorry, Gaufrid.)

  12. scchua says:

    Hi Geoff@3….or as a pedant might write KORWICH.

  13. Martin H says:

    Good stuff from Paul as usual, but I didn’t seem to be on his wavelength today – it took me about twice as long as yesterday’s Crucible.

    One or two definitions I wasn’t keen on: Jolly = Really; Bottom number = Fewest; and RESORTS was dull; but OUNCE, HITLER and MINICAB are worth a mention in addition to those already praised.

    Nice variety in clue style, from the verbose to the snappy.

    Thanks to Paul and Eileen

  14. Robi says:

    Thanks Paul for an enjoyable crossword. When I got SPACEWALK, I thought there was going to be a shuttle mission theme (NASA, THIN AIR, FADE-OUT.) There is a WOMAN in the crew, but probably not a MOTHER-IN-LAW (great clue!)

    Thanks Eileen – on your NASA link, there are some great shuttle videos in case anyone hasn’t seen them yet. I didn’t know fey=clairvoyant, so the FADE-OUT homophone was a bit lost on me. Thanks for help in parsing TAIWANESE, which I failed on.

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I haven’t solved enough Pauls to say whether this was vintage, but I did manage it, and much enjoyed it. DAMNATION, THIN AIR AND MOTHER-IN-LAW were all excellent, but lots else to enjoy too.

    I had to use a word search to get BUNKER MENTALITY: I’d got the B and the E for the first word, then guessed R as the last letter, and was focused on B[R]ER as a my disheartened rabbit.

    Let’s not go to NORWICH. I suggest a trip to ITALY instead: ‘I trust and love you’. Much more in keeping with the demure nature of the Grauniad blog (for which thank you, demure Eileen).

  16. Eileen says:

    I think I must demur on that, K’s D 😉 but I’m glad you’re coming round to Paul.

  17. Thomas99 says:

    Way back when she was a student, Emma Thompson did a sketch about a schoolgirl getting excited about Valentine’s Day. Her letter was sealed with “ABU DHABI” – “A Bra Undoes Down Here At the Back, Idiot.”

  18. John says:

    Geoff @ 3 et al – or BURMA

  19. Eileen says:

    Oh, all right, then: here’s the link I was too demure to give earlier: 😉

  20. MikeC says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul. Lots of laughs in this one. Although I got 15,27 I completely failed to parse it!

    Eileen, I’m shocked by your link. I hope it doesn’t give Paul more wicked ideas!!

  21. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul.
    Great,fun puzzle which I found a bit trickier than some of Paul’s recent ones.
    Thanks also for the ‘World War II Postal Acronyms’ link.I always understood E.G.Y.P.T. to mean – ‘E got you pregnant then.’
    Another favourite is S.I.A.M. – ‘sexual intercourse at midnight’
    More romantically C.H.I.N.A. – ‘come home I need affection’ and W.A.L.E.S. – ‘with a love eternal my sweetheart’ are quite sweet.
    Loved 15,27 – my favourite type of clue,convoluted wordplay1

  22. Roger says:

    Thanks Paul. Especially enjoyed THIN AIR and the vision of unruly sprogs hiding in the back of the car at 22a. Thought we may have been heading for a church pew with ‘bottom number’.

  23. walruss says:

    This was pretty good even by Paul’s high standard, but the HITLER WOMAN anagram let the side down a bit for me, as it is so well-known. For me, the best clues are the completely original ones.

  24. Conrad Cork says:


    I take your point about HITLER WOMAN, but I imagine Paul does too, which is presumably why the anagram fodder was in the answers to other clues rather than in the clue itself.

  25. Carrots says:

    Another example why Paul is the heir-apparent in crossword-land. I derived much pleasure from this (for all the resons already mentioned) but have to confess I over-hastily (again!) put in KILLER instead of HITLER.

    So, thanks again Paul for a witty and crafty puzzle. If Auntie E is right and you are intending marriage soon, I can vouch for the fact that, in about 30 years time, your wife will look exactly like your M-in-L does now. I was lucky: chronic astigmatism kicked in before it became a problem.

    Thanks, Eileen, for the WW2 love-letter link. It would have needed Bletchley Park to crack some of my mine sent to `er indoors in the sixties. `Appen as well, probably.

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi walruss @23

    I can only say that [like several other commenters, it seems] I hadn’t come across that anagram before and Andrew says @2 that, although it’s well-known, he hadn’t seen it before in a crossword. It seems too good a one to waste. In any case, Conrad’s point @24 is, for me, total vindication for its inclusion here.

    And Carrots – you do sail close to the wind! 😉 At the wedding of my friend’s daughter, the groom made the same point as you – but he [of course] turned it into a charming compliment to both ladies!

    I can only say that, months ago, it was noised abroad that Paul was getting married in July. I don’t twitter or tweet, so does anyone have any up to date information?

  27. liz says:

    Hi Eileen. I *think* the happy day is this week — possibly 22nd? Soon, anyway. Paul did mention the date, either on his Cryptica blog, or on Twitter, but I can’t remember it precisely.

    (Incidentally, you don’t have to tweet to search Twitter. You can follow Paul’s tweets from his blog.) Now, there’s a couple of sentences that would have meant nothing not so long ago!

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this puzzle immensely — lots of smiles and a good variety of devices. Been out all day, so couldn’t comment earlier.

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    14d I though this was a terrible clue, so contrived. “another clever surface, which I actually understood!” – perhaps you could explain it to me, because I’m just a pure mathematician.

  29. Eileen says:

    Thanks so much, liz – I was beginning to believe [apart from Andrew’s comment @2] that I’d dreamt it all!

    “(Incidentally, you don’t have to tweet to search Twitter. You can follow Paul’s tweets from his blog.) Now, there’s a couple of sentences that would have meant nothing not so long ago!]”

    They don’t mean an awful lot to me even now!

    But the important thing is to say: Many congtatulations, Paul, whenever it is – and many thanks again for a great puzzle! :-)

  30. Robi says:

    Dave @28; no doubt as a mathematician you understand triangles better than me. Apart from Eileens’s explanation, the capitalisation of Equilateral and Scalene led to the ES, I think, and ‘the other’ referred to the other type of triangle. So is that not a reasonable clue? :)

  31. liz says:

    Eileen @29 The first time I saw LOL I thought it meant Lots of Love. LOL

  32. Robi says:

    Liz @31, Eileen @29; take your pick for LOL. 😉

  33. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very enjoyable, an excellent challenge.

    14ac Is shape close = IS OSCEL shape indicates anagram.
    Eqilateral? Scalene? a little of each, the initialletters ES.

  34. Eileen says:


    Re 14ac: I think that’s what I said!

  35. Eileen says:

    Correction: 14dn

  36. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, all, see it now, brain must have gone dead temporarily. :)

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