Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize 25,382 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on July 30th, 2011


I thought this was rather on the easy side for a Paul crossword, especially a prize one. The number of double definitions [eight!] was more typical of a Rufus puzzle but there were also some characteristically Paul clues, with clever surfaces, that raised a smile or two.

[As will have become clear from some of today’s puzzles, Paul is getting married tomorrow [Sunday]. Huge congratulations to you both, Paul – have a lovely day and I hope the sun shines! :-) ]


1 A rotten rotter? (3,3)
BAD EGG: double / cryptic definition

4 Cricket sides seen occasionally (3,3,2)
 OFF AND ON: double definition

9 Polynesian islands populated by small Indian grub (6)
SAMOSA: S[mall] in SAMOA [Polynesian islands]

10 Something living in whom sin a grotesque recollection (8)
ORGANISM: hidden reversal [recollection] in whoM SIN A GROtesque

11 What may suggest I get an illness (6,8)
EATING DISORDER: reverse anagram [disorder] of I GET AN: my joint favourite clue

13 Day ran short during strike for final action (4,6)
LAST HURRAH: Thur [day] RA[n] in LASH [strike]

14 Harmony, say, in act evens out (4)
SYNC: odd letters [evens out] of SaY iN aCt

16 Weakness that grips strongly? (4)
VICE: double definition

18 Sweet shop guarantees hot toffee fudge, unsurprisingly lovely, for starters (10)
DELIGHTFUL: DELI [shop] then initial letters [starters] of Shop Guarantees Hot Toffee Fudge Unsurprisingly Lovely

21 Tory minister back on the drink reaches valleys, through which views magnified? (10,4)
 CONVERGING LENS: CON [Tory] VER [reversal of REV – minister] GIN [drink] GLENS [valleys]

23 Promise to wrap box, to say the least! (1,4,3)
I TELL YOU: IOU [promise {to pay}] around [to wrap] TELLY [box]

24 Endless bend or yew, crafted by him? (6)
BOWYER: anagram of B[end] OR YEW: semi &lit, as longbows were often made of yew

25 Put off, as Heath’s volte-face went wrong (8)
DETERRED: reversal [volte-face] of TED [Heath]  + ERRED [went wrong]

26 Don’t go down river during drink (4,2)
STAY UP: TAY [Scottish river] in SUP [drink]


1 Chest requiring reparative surgery? (4)
BUST: double definition

2 Jerk brings pariah’s name up with low voice (4-3)
DUMB-ASS: reversal of MUD [pariah’s name] + BASS [low voice]: [if this puzzle had been in the FT, Paul might have played on his pseudonym [Mudd] there, as I remember him having done before.]

5 Sensation of ants crawling on skin I see in an arranged pattern (11)
FORMICATION: IC [‘I see’] in FORMATION [arranged pattern]

6 Athletic female runner (6)
AMAZON: double definition: the female warriors  and the South American river [runner], making a very nice surface

7 Pressing unnecessary key, grave message sarcastic (4-3)
DRIP-DRY: D [key] + RIP [‘grave message': Requiescat In Pace or Rest In Peace] + DRY [sarcastic]: my other joint favourite

8 Take lid off global power to fill void, at last going digital (9)
NUMERICAL: [a]MERICA [global power] in [to fill] NUL[l] [void minus its last letter – ‘at last going’]

12 Barking dog with green man, funny little chap outside (6,5)
GARDEN GNOME: anagram [barking – nice indicator] of DOG GREEN MAN

13 Bastard lived locally, friendless, broken, imprisoning husband (4,5)
LOVE CHILD: H[usband] in anagram of LIVED LOC[ally] [‘friendless’]

15 Relax with honourable Ivy League leaders in power (5,3)
CHILL OUT: first letters [leaders] of Honourable Ivy League in CLOUT [power]

17 Happy matter (7)
CONTENT: double definition

19,3 Hollywood’s behind God-awful ghastly big old film (5,2,8)
FANNY BY GASLIGHT: FANNY [‘Hollywood’s behind’] + anagram [‘God-awful’] of GHASTLY BIG: I discovered that fanny is American slang for the buttocks: on various websites I found, Americans are advised not to use this term when visiting any other English-speaking country, where it has a more offensive connotation – another example of GBS’s ‘two nations divided by a common language’! [P.S.: and I wrote that before seeing Nimrod’s Thursday puzzle!]

20 Cashier, snitch? (6)
TELLER: yet another double definition

22 Taste relegation (4)
DROP: and another!

18 Responses to “Guardian Prize 25,382 / Paul”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen & Paul

    This was certainly very easy for a Prize and/or a Paul.

    After I had several intersecting letters in 5d, I thought ‘Ooh Paul, even for you this is very cheeky’ but, in the end, it turned out rather differently. Maybe, the Editor had stepped in and used his muscle?

    It took me a while to recall that naughty sounding old film from 1945 … I’m quite sure that I’ve never seen it.

  2. matt says:

    Fun puzzle, but it didn’t really feel like a Paul to me. Pretty straightforward for a prize, until the last two that I just couldn’t get (amazon, eating disorder)

  3. matt says:

    ps: Many, many congratulations, Mr Halpern

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. As you say, not really trademark Paul.

    Bryan, I had the same thought about 5dn as you, except I would not have been shocked to have seen the other possibility clued! My reaction was one of surprise that Paul had missed such an opportunity – that would have been much more his style!

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Too easy,and Paul had DUMB-ASS last month (puzzle 25,355) only then it was without a hyphen.

  6. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen. Too easy for me too. I don’t remember the last time the Saturday Prize was the hardest Guardian puzzle of the week.

    There were some good clues such as 11ac and 12dn, but 5dn is such a clunker I cannot believe Paul wrote it, or that he would fudge the opportunity to change the m.

  7. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen. Quiet, isn’t it !

    This was plain sailing indeed, but as so often with Paul’s puzzles, many of the answers can be worked into a little story … and today’s is perhaps cheekier than usual.

    Thanks Paul, and all best wishes to you and the future Mrs Paul. Hope you both have a very happy and memorable day.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Yes, it was easy!

    Congratulations to Paul and his new wife on their big day!

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi All

    Today’s FT crossword indicates that The Wedding is, in fact, tomorrow and, after a little research, I’ve found this irrefutable confirmation:

    Sorry, everyone – I’ll change the preamble!

  10. Eileen says:

    It has been very quiet here, so I thought I’d pop back to say I just cannot imagine how on earth I missed the totally unPaul-like avoidance of the alternative entry at 5dn!

    I very nearly commented on the weakness of the clue, since it seems to me that ‘formic = to do with ants’ is so very well known that this solution practically wrote itself in – and then the other possibility totally passed me by!

    I knew the plastic laminate FORMICA kitchen surface before I met FORMICA = ant in school and wondered why it was so named but, in those pre-internet days, was never moved to try to find out. It’s not a whole lot easier today: all I’ve managed to find, in an on-line dictionary, is that it’s ‘for mica [a mineral]’ which, after fifty years of wondering, has left me vaguely disappointed. I think I had had a vague idea that there was some kind of connection with the infestation of ants I once had on my kitchen worktop.

    Anyway, that doesn’t answer the more intriguing question as to why Paul opted for such an easy and innocuous solution. Perhaps his mind is on higher things just now – but I wouldn’t mind betting that 16ac in today’s joint effort has his name on it! [But, come to think of it, it could be any of them – a really lovely puzzle, anyway!]

  11. Biggles A says:

    I’m sure the reason for the muted response to your blog Eileen is that it is so complete and so insightful that there is little room for any further comment.

  12. Jan says:

    It’s a bit echoey in here, but it was a very straightforward puzzle wasn’t it.

    I just wanted to add my best wishes for John and Taline tomorrow.

    Hi, Eileen, thanks for the blog and the link to the Wedding Site – I’ve had a lovely browse.

  13. Jan says:

    I also wondered if this John had any part to play in the Biggles puzzle today – only three of the Johns composed the FT puzzle.

  14. liz says:

    Biggles is WE Johns — all four of them –Araucaria, Paul, Shed and Enigmatist.

    Lovely puzzle today — but one clue took me all day! (Sorry Gaufrid!)

  15. Jan says:

    Hi, Liz, I know – but only Cinephile (Araucaria), Dogberry (Shed) and Io (Enigmatist) set today’s (now yesterday’s!) FT Prize puzzle, so I wondered if they’d given Paul the wk/end off.

  16. Daniel Miller says:

    Much too straightforward for a Prize Xword. They tend to be quite awkward for me to fill but this one was one of the easier variants.

  17. EB says:

    @Jan #13 & 15.

    According to ‘Big Dave’ (q.v.) three of the Johns – Graham (Araucaria), Henderson (Enigmatist) & Young (Shed) set this crossword as a tribute to the fourth – Halpern (Paul) & his bride Taline.

    To see who ‘Big Dave’ is click here:

  18. Jan says:

    Hi, EB, thanks for confirming my assumption. I do know who Big Dave is although I didn’t meet him in Derby. :)

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