Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Nº 25,387 by Paul

Posted by PeterO on July 29th, 2011


The first time I have had a Paul to blog, and it did not disappoint, unless perhaps by being over too quickly – good for the blog if not for savouring the challenge.

The cross-referenced clues pointing to 26 looked formidable, but with the V in place, 26 solved readily, and the others followed. The trade names at 3 and 16 have passed into generic usage, and 19 refers to the person more than the brand.

8,13. East African 26? (3,5,4,6)
THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY The answer to 26 is CLEAVAGE, giving this as a straight definition.
9. Courage of the artillery (5)
HEART This was my last entry, and it turns out all too obvious: a hidden answer (‘of’) in ‘tHE ARTillery’.
10,24. Bird wasn’t emu in disguise (4,4)
MUTE SWAN Anagram (‘in disguise’) of ‘wasnt emu’.
11,17. West Country 26? (3,7,7)
THE BRISTOL CHANNEL Again, a straight definition, once you have got 26 as CLEAVAGE. Well, maybe there is a passing reference to rhyming slang.
12. Dull old farceur showing grid of data (6)
MATRIX Charade of MAT (matt or matte, ‘dull’) + RIX (Brian, ‘old farceur’).
14. Richard I badly scarred, Anjou finally claimed (8)
CRUSADER Envelope (‘claimed’) of U (‘AnjoU finally’) in CRSADER, an anagram (‘badly’) of ‘scarred’. King Richard I of England, generally known as Coeur de Lion, was a prominent crusader
15. Building provided rocks behind shed, half removed (7)
EDIFICE Charade of ED (‘shED, half removed’) + IF (‘provided’) + ICE (diamonds, ‘ice’).
17. See 11
20. Bone, right angle in weakness behind collar, oddly (8)
CLAVICLE Envelope (‘in’) of L (has the form of a ‘right angle’) in CLA (‘CoLlAr, oddly’) + VICE (‘weakness’).
22. Far from messy wood (6)
SPRUCE Double definition.
23. What idealistic is — as it’s fanciful? (10)
ITALICISED Anagram (‘fanciful’) of ‘idealistic‘.
24. See 10
25. Wonderful to expand (5)
SWELL Double definition.
26. Narcotic bagged by toilet in prison, split (8)
CLEAVAGE Envelope (‘in’) of envelope (‘bagged’) of E (ecstasy, 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine – did that have the desired effect, ‘narcotic’) in LAV (‘toilet’) all in CAGE (‘prison’).
1. Solver no longer above S&M? (8)
THOUSAND Charade of THOU (‘solver no longer’) + S AND (‘S&’). Definition M, the Roman numeral. Very clever – does the surface refer to Paul’s crosswords in particular?
2. Fit bloke shortly entering hospital department? (4)
AGUE Envelope (‘entering’) of GU[y] (‘bloke shortly’) in AE (A&E, accident and emergency, ‘hospital department’).
3. Hybrid meets with cross, which is explosive (6)
SEMTEX SEMTE, an anagram (‘hybrid’) of ‘meets’ + X (‘cross’). Semtex is a trade name for a powerful plastic explosive.
4. A pet shot, one dead (2,5)
AT PEACE Charade of AT PE, an anagram (‘shot’) of ‘a pet’ + ACE (‘one’).
5. Comprehensive school’s centre in depression (8)
THOROUGH Envelope (‘in’) of HO (‘scHOols centre’) in TROUGH (‘depression’).
6. 3-D imagining device, one preserving musical, might you say? (3,7)
CAT SCANNER Charade of CATS CANNER (‘one preserving musical’), with the ‘might you say’ suggesting the whimsy, not a homophone.
7. Flasher finds way to overcome the habit (6)
STROBE Charade of ST (street, ‘way’) + (‘overcome’, in a down clue) ROBE (‘habit’). Another ingenious surface.
13. See 8
16. Chilled, containing carbon, not entirely terrific, a drink (4-4)
COCA-COLA Envelope (‘containing’) of C (chemical symbol, ‘carbon’) + AC[e] (‘not entirely terrific’) in COOL (‘chilled’) + ‘a’.
18. Old coins providing conversation (8)
EXCHANGE Charadde of EX (‘old’) + CHANGE (‘coins’).
19. Fashion icon, with some poetry, catching a cold (7)
VERSACE Envelope (‘catching’) of A C (‘a’ ‘cold’) in VERSE (‘some poetry’).
21. Hot-off-the-press Hollywood paper? (6)
LATEST Charade of LA (‘Hollywood’, by metonomy) + TEST (‘paper’, in the sense of a written examination).
22. Wet bit of ground covering home of the beast (6)
SODDEN Charade of SOD (‘bit of ground’) + DEN (‘home of the beast’).
24. Free husband (4)
SAVE Double definition.

36 Responses to “Guardian Nº 25,387 by Paul”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this crossword – found it somewhat easier than usual for a ‘Paul’ (although, on reflection, I think I’ve found a few of his recent offerings a bit easier than I used to.)

    I don’t think there’s a “duff” clue in the whole Xword and there are loads of gems.

    11,17 is a classic – very Paul I think and I reckon there’s more than a passing reference to rhyming slang – “Bristol Channel” = “Cleavage” indeed – I’m still smiling about this one as I type – brilliant, best clue I’ve seen for some time.

    Loads of other great clues – too many to mention – I’m sure there’ll be lots of other positive posts on here with the posters’ own favourites.

    Thanks again PeterO and Paul for a smashing Xword.

  2. Mystogre says:

    Thanks PeterO. Now that I am home again, I have time to think about these things. Generally I enjoyed this one but I have a few reservations. I didn’t like 20ac because of the right angle bit. Seems a weak way of doing it. The downs – 16 & 19 – are suspect because they are commercial names. In fact the drink I did not like at all and groaned when I realised what it was.

    On the really positive side are 23ac & 1d. They are gems. And I had a good grin at the 11,17 pair following on from CLEAVAGE. Also getting close to the top class was EXCHANGE. Lots other good ones too.

    So, thanks Paul for filling in part of a winter afternoon.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO and Paul, this was truly wonderful.

    Funnily, I didn’t get CLEAVAGE until after I had solved the related clues but maybe it wouldn’t have helped me anyway.

    It took me ages to figure out THOUSAND although it’s so obvious afterwards – like all good clues.

    I also liked ITALICISED.

    Next, I shall try the Mudd (aka Paul) in today’s FT. I suspect that the Crossword Editors get together in coordinating such appearances – they happen too often to be purely random.

  4. Madeleine White says:

    I think there’s another cheeky part to this crossword – typical of Paul – the words across the final line read Swell cleavage!

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Peter – I agree with the consensus that this was typically good fun from Paul. I caused myself some trouble by putting ABLE (=fit) for 2dn – BL[oke] in A[&]E: I’m glad I was wrong because I wouldn’t have been keen on BL = “bloke shortly”.

  6. PaulG says:

    Andrew. Yes, I had ABLE for a while, too.
    3-D imagining [sic] device is something which I’m finding hard to imagine. Grauniad strikes again!

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Put me in the ABLE camp as well. I did enjoy this one: plenty of trademark Paul humour, especially with the nod to BRISTOL CITY supporters. I thought THOUSAND was an outstanding clue, and was really taken with the use of L for ‘right angle’.

    Well spotted, PaulG – the misprint had completely passed me by!

    Excellent blog, Peter, for which thanks.

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO. This was Paul at his best (unlike last Saturday’s Prize). Many splendid surfaces (none better than 7d) and great clues – to single out are 20, 23 and 26a, and 1 d. No aids required, either.

  9. Roger says:

    Thanks P&P, this was great fun … and hardly needed the words ‘set by Paul’ … rather stating the obvious, perhaps.

    While THOUSAND was very clever, for me THE BRISTOL CHANNEL won hands down, so to speak. UY would wax lyrical, methinks! SPRUCE is something of an old chestnut but no harm in that.

    Wouldn’t “Idealistic is fanciful” work better at 23a ?

  10. crypticsue says:

    Not the hardest Paul but definitely one of his best fun ones. Thanks to him and to Peter too. In case he is reading the blog today, can I just wish him the best for his wedding tomorrow.

  11. Tentative says:

    My first post; Richard I was also Count of Anjou, which gives a lovely surface to 14A

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    After a wonderful Wednesday and a testing Thursday this was a feeble Friday.
    Just because a setter discovers an interesting anagram (23a) that is no reason to use it in such an obvious way.
    I was an ‘able’ sucker too.
    I did admire 1 d among the dross.

  13. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul

    I enjoyed this one although I also entered ABLE at 2d for a start.

    Nice to see Sir Brian Rix get a mention. Must be the only past president of the Radio Society of Great Britain to earn a living dropping his trousers!

  14. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO and welcome to Tentative. An interesting snippet of information for your first contribution.

    I enjoyed this, and didn’t fall into the ABLE trap, as I already had the across letters by the time I read the clue. That said, it was my last in, and I don’t understand AGUE = “fit”.

    With al the references to the ‘tichy’ link between 11/17 and 26ac, it occurs to me that 8/13 also fits the bill, so to speak :)

  15. PeterO says:

    Welcome Tentative. I had noted the Anjou connection, but it did not get through to the blog. Thanks for pointing it out.
    Stella, although one thinks of AGUE, in as far as one thinks of it at all, as an old word for some undiagnosed fever, Chambers does give specifically “a shivering fit” among its definitions.

  16. NeilW says:

    Hi Stella – haven’t commented yet as I was a bit late to the party, although I had, like others, intended to comment on Able and imagining.

    There’s nothing wrong with AGUE = fit. The ague is a high fever giving rise to shivering fits.

  17. NeilW says:

    Sorry, Peter. We crossed!

  18. Andrew says:

    Re the “straight definition” at 8,13 – it’s (perhaps) a shame Paul didn’t take the opportunity to LEVERAGE TARTY FILTH.

  19. otter says:

    Thanks, Peter, for the blog, and thanks to Paul for a lovely puzzle. Most of it not too difficult, with a few which had me scratching my head for quite a while. Like some others, I got Bristol Channel and Rift Valley fairly early on, before I had managed to get CLEAVAGE (for some reason, only thought of ‘loo’ and ‘WC’ for ‘toilet’). When I wrote in ‘Bristol’, I thought ‘I bet this is Paul being cheeky’, but when I finally got cleavage, I didn’t get the cheeky connection. I also didn’t manage to parse COCA-COLA, try as I might, so thanks for the explanation how that fits together.

    I think the cleverest clue is THOUSAND, which foxed me for quite some time. Plenty of other enjoyable clues in there.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks NeilW and PeterO for the explanations. I hadn’t thought of that kind of fift, d’oh!

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Or fit, even :)

  22. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul

    A good puzzle which I found rather difficult to work though especially on the eastern side.

    I fell down on 6 which was my last one. I had thought of ‘Cats’ earlier but somehow forgot it when I saw the (s)canner idea. I immediately thought of bar (s)canner but when that did not make proper sense I thought of map scanner, googled it and found a musical CD called Maps. At that point inertia set in.
    I should have seen the proper answer!

    I was also held up for a time by 11, 17. I thought of Cheddar and then found it hard to dismiss it. I missed the Paulish pun, so thanks EB.

  23. Giovanna says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul. It’s great to end the week on a good laugh.


  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, PeterO, for a nice blog which was quite handy for understanding the middle bit of COCA-COLA (16d) [the second ‘ace’ in this puzzle]. I am still not very keen on the use of brand names (as the final solution, that is).

    We thought this was a gentle crossword, and I hope Paul will still be a 24ac after the biggest day of his life [as crypticsue @10 announced: tomorrow]. :)

    Curious what’s going to happen in the broadsheets then.

    Many of you liked 1d (THOUSAND) very much and rightly so.
    However, Paul had a clue like this before – and because I remember things rather well, the idea and the answer were quickly there.
    A bit unusual for Paul to copy himself (well, more or less).
    Too tempting, I guess.
    In the prize puzzle of Jan 9, 2010 (24,903) he had the even better: “Kinky full S&M (8)”.

    I think, in the end we enjoyed the simple but elegant HEART, AT PEACE and STROBE the most – all three not mentioned by anyone else so far, so there must be something wrong with us today …. :)

    Thanks, John, and have a great day!

  25. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oh Gosh!
    “…. and I hope Paul will still be a 24ac after the biggest day of his life ….”
    In a way quite a hilarious mistake – 24d [the clue]!!!

  26. Bryan says:

    Congratulations and Best Wishes Paul

    Sorry I won’t be able to join you tomorrow …

    But then I never received an invite.

    However, I shall be taking my family to the Chichester Festival Theatre tomorrow to see ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

  27. Harry says:

    2down confused me – I thought ‘able’ was a better fit, and threw me on 8ac.

  28. Davy says:

    Thanks PeterO,

    I thought this was an excellent example of Paul’s style and humour. Yes, it wasn’t that difficult but there are always problematic clues. It took me an eternity to get MUTE SWAN as I was convinced that SMEW was part of the answer. THE BRISTOL CHANNEL was the last one in and caused much amusement. So many good clues and a big thank you to Paul for the great entertainment.

    RCW may think this puzzle was largely dross but who cares what he thinks. He is so smug and I shouldn’t let him get under my skin but he does. Let’s see RCW’s attempt at a crossword.

  29. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I actually found this a little harder than usual for a Paul.

    Also in the ABLE camp, and CLEAVAGE was my last entry!

    I must ask Andrew at 5. why if he wouldn’t have liked BL for “bloke shortly” then why was GU any better?!!!

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Brendan (not that one), in Crosswordland ‘shortly’ usually indicates the deletion of the last letter (unless your name is Araucaria, of course :)), therefore ‘bloke’ wasn’t really an option here. ‘Guy’ was, though. Only the ‘y’ had to be removed.

  31. Carrots says:

    Little left for me to add this late in the day, but thanks, Paul, for providing the very best clue I`ve seen this year: THE BRISTOL CHANNEL had me crying into my beer with laughter!

    I wish you and your bride-to-be every happiness tomorrow…and always.

  32. caretman says:

    Found this a quite straightforward and pleasant puzzle. I add my best wishes to Paul tomorrow!

    Since I’m from the States, I’m unaware of much of British slang, so after reading the first few comments I had to follow the links to see what all of the discussion around THE BRISTOL CHANNEL was about. I now admire the clue and its link to CLEAVAGE all the more. But it’s hard for me to imagine the circumstance in which I will use this new-found bit of knowledge about the slang meaning of ‘bristols’ save possibly for solving crosswords in the future. At the rate I’m going, I think that the information in my brain that I use solely for solving crosswords will crowd out all of the other information sometime in the next decade. I may not recognize family and friends, I may forget my address and phone number, but at least I’ll be able to parse a clue.

  33. Jamie says:

    I thought this was quite hard, cf the previous prize puzzle. But then I did put BALLS for 9 ac..

  34. Daniel Miller says:

    Thousand & Coca-Cola – excellent clues!

  35. Huw Powell says:

    Lots of fun, and solvable using only my brain, for a rare once – and I needed something easier after the day before’s brutal Araucaria anyway. I love the sassy rhyming slang which is plausibly deniable! Also that the “flasher: wasn’t cheeky at all…

    Ironically, CLEAVAGE was the last word to go in for me (CLAVICLE and EDIFICE were enough to get me the African lake system, which was enough to know where I was headed for THE BRISTOL CHANNEL).

    One tiny quibble, which people seem to think was a typo, was “imagining” device – which was pointing me towards CAD MACHINE or PROGRAM, which really is one, as opposed to an “imaging” device. No big deal since the rest of the clue was tight.

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO, since I wasn’t able to “prove” Rix to myself, and Paul for the fun!

  36. Huw Powell says:

    Amusingly, I went straight from this to this month’s puzzlecrypt offering, and it had a similar theme! But, alas, no cleavage…

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