Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,388 by Biggles

Posted by PeeDee on August 6th, 2011


For those that don’t already know, Biggles is used a psedonym on crosswords compiled as a group effort from Araucaria, Enigmatist, Paul and Shed.  Biggles was the eponymous WWII hero of the series of novels by W.E Johns, and since all the above compilers have the first name John, they call themselves ‘We  Johns’.

This time I believe three of the Johns (Aruacaria, Enigmatist and Shed) are getting together to celebrate the marriage (1,30ac) of the fourth, Paul (28ac), to his fiancee Taline (26ac) in an Armenian church (5ac) with reception at Richmond Park (14ac).  Taline is a painter (12,31,29,19,21) and etc… etc… congratulations to all involved!  Hopefully by the time this post goes live we will be able to view the photos of the happy day on John and Taline’s wedding site.

Can anyone guess which clues are by who?  My guess is 12,31,29,19,21 is Araucaria, but what about the others?

5 ARMENIA MEN (folk) in ARIA (song)
10 BEIRUT BE (live) wIre (second letter of) RUT (mating season)
13 PICNIC PICk (select) NICk (man) with the Ks (thousands) missing
14 RICHMOND RICHe MONDe (affluent + society in French) without the letter Es
15 AGAIN NIAGarA (fall) without RA (Royal Academician, painter) reversed
16 WITNESSES (SWEET SINS)* – peoply who testify.  Testes is Latin for witnesses, hence the ‘translation’ element of the clue – thanks to Eileen for this.
19 See 12
21 See 12
24 EQUATION (ONE and IT)* containing (comprehends=’takes in’) QUA (as)
27 GAL GALe (tempest without last letter)
28 MIND GAME (AND ME)* containing (suppressing) Giggle (a little of) on the M1 (arterial road in UK) – Paul’s clue’s are games for the mind
29 See 12
30 See 1
31 See 12
2 EVENING Double definition (or cryptic definition?)
3 TARANTINO TAR (pitch) ANTI (opposing) NO (gainsayer, one who votes ‘no’)
4 NOTICE Double definition
6 RETICENT RECENT (fresh) containing IT reversed
7 EGHAM HG Wells in MAE West reversed (viewed from the bottom) – town in Surrey, UK
8 IN RANGE GRANNIEs* (without s=seconds, batty=mad=anagram) – can be ‘bagged’ i.e. shot
9 GUARDIAN ANGEL anagram of A UGANDAN GIRL guidE (last letter of)
17 SHORT LIST Shirt (introduction to=first letter) with HOIST (lifter) holding RT and L (Right and Left hands)
18 ASPIRATE AS (like) PIRATE (corsair) – the H sound is unpronounced in honour and honesty so they are lacking aspiration
20 TEQUILA QUITE* and Los Angeles – a ‘short’ is an alcoholic drink
22 DRIFTER RIFT (cleft) inside (pinched by) RED (Marxist) reversed (revolutionary) – definition bum=tramp
23 DELPHI DEL (Del and Rodney from UK sitcom ‘Only Fools and Horses’) PH1 (very acidic on ph scale) – home of Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi
25 ADDER LADDER (with top removed) – opposites in ‘snakes and ladders’ board game


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

23 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,388 by Biggles”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Peedee and thanks too for the enlightening preamble. I note 12 et seq is the opening line of If by the band Bread which was popular rather a long time ago.

    18 was my last and i still don’t much like G as a little giggle. In 17 there is a ‘t’ unaccounted for – unless it is a contraction of ‘the’.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks Peedee. I didn’t look in detail at the wedding site so was wondering how ARMENIA and RICHMOND related to the theme. Thanks for the elucidation!

    I took the other T in SHORT LIST to come from RT for “right”.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee, including for the parsing of 7d. This was all a tad self-indulgent. Not hard, esp for a prize, no ahas.

  4. molonglo says:

    I don’t know if anyone else is baffled by the intersection of 22a and 20d in today’s prize.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee and Biggles this was very enjoyable and relatively easy for a Prize Crossie.

    When I did this, I had no idea that it was themed but that mattered not a jot.

    However, I did try to identify who set what and the only suspects that appeared were Paul for 10a BEIRUT and Araucaria for 9d GUARDIAN ANGEL which, I presume, was their nod to Hugh Stephenson.

    Quite possibly Hugh was among the guests? It certainly does no harm to butter up your boss.

    Good Luck to the Happy Couple!

  6. NeilW says:

    Hi molonglo. Yes, there’s a misspelling in 20dn – quite a common one if you google it! Paul sipped a little too much wedding champagne while composing this, I think! Good old Grauniad.

  7. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog. You explained why I had the right answer to 7D. I normally remember that West in crosswords can refer to Mae – but this time I forgot. If I had got that I might have penetrated to HGWells :(

    In 1,30 I loved the way the surface and answer fitted together!

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeeDee, for the blog, and Biggles for a highly entertaining puzzle.

    There’s a bit more to 16ac: ‘Testes’ is Latin for ‘witnesses’ [‘e.g. of virility’ Chambers!]. If we hadn’t been told otherwise, my money would have been on Paul for this one. :-)

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Biggles

    I found this pretty hard. I missed the theme references and failed to understand Egham. I guessed 12 etc. but it took some time to parse.

    Nonetheless quite enjoyable. Ticked Beirut, again, notice, guardian angel (!), and tequila but others also pleased.

  10. Roger says:

    Thanks PeeDee and the Johns. 28a seems to have something of Araucaria about it (g = a little giggle …) and could well be &lit.

    DELPHI and ADDER amused.

  11. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks peedee for the explanations. I’d forgotten Biggles’ identities, so completely missed the theme. Another thing I must commit to the subconsious is that directions and place-names can point to people.

    Finally, I got DELPHI, but with this and yeterday’s, it seems I shall have to familiarize myself with “Only Fools and Horses”. Unfortunately, there are a great many British sitcoms that don’t find their way over here, whereas the US seems to have no difficulty in selling us theirs.

    Nevertheless, I completed the puzzle in a reasonable time, and with no little enjoyment – except, of course, 5d.

    Thanks to all the Johns, and good luck to Paul and Taline.

  12. PeterO says:

    I did not know the details of the (other) Wedding, so thanks PeeDee for the explanation.
    An oddity – how did the word ‘man’ creep into 13A; surely ‘prison’ would lead to the same answer, and would conform with ‘escape’ in the surface.

  13. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    Very entertaining puzzle from the J-1 gang of three. It took me a while to complete this so maybe not as esay as some people maintain. Nice anagram and surface in 1,30. Favourite clues were BEIRUT, GUARDIAN ANGEL and TEQUILA (where is the misspelling NeilW ?).

    PeterO – you are quite right, substituting prison for man in 13a would have led to a much better surface.

    Thanks J-1

  14. Andrew says:

    Davy – the misspelling is in 20dn in this week’s prize puzzle, not the one being blogged here.

  15. Stella Heath says:

    Hi PeterO and Davy; not a very good (or select) prison IMO. I had no problem with the original wording.

  16. Shed says:

    Thanks to Peedee and all who commented, especially Eileen #8 for getting the smutty Latin joke – that was me – and Bryan #5 for pointing out that you didn’t need to know anything about the theme to be able to complete the puzzle. That was the idea. But hopefully a bit of extra fun for those who did, especially the happy couple (well, they were looking pretty happy when I last saw them).

    Biggles A #1: there was also at some point a cover version by Telly Savalas which was even worse than the original and has been coming back to haunt me ever since we produced this thing.

  17. Biggles A says:

    Shed @ 16.

    I know! I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind either.

  18. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Shed, for dropping in – and for the confirmation! :-)

  19. John H says:

    One of the best things about a Biggles is how wrong solvers can be when assigning clues!

    John (Paul) had no input to this puzzle, or its FT equivalent on the same day, though he did know that there was jiggery-pokery afoot. But he had no knowledge about the extent of the mischief: Anax (Sunday Indy), Brian Greer (aka Virgilius, Brendan et al) in the Sunday Telegraph and Paul McKenna in the Sunday Times Mephisto all had various messages for the happy couple, as you will see if you inspect the solution grids.

    For a Biggles, each of us sets a complete set of clues which are judged “blind” by our checkers Jane, Jane and Linda. Responsible for bum cleft, batty grannies, shirt lifter, testes and Sex in the City was Araucaria (no, only joking, Shed), AGAIN, ARMENIA and ADDER were fittingly A’s, and I did Egham’s mind games with battered maids. Clue of the Day in my opinion was ASPIRATE from Shed, who also produced the long anagram. Mrs Halpern jnr is an artist, hence the reference to words (Mr H) and pictures (Mrs H).

    On behalf of Biggles, thank you for your kind comments and see you on our next outing.

    That is, if we can catch Araucaria, last seen skipping off into the night in pursuit of Mrs Halpern snr. At his age…


  20. Bryan says:

    John H @ 19

    Very many thanks for your comments but please don’t be too surprised if Gaufrid now tries to recruit you and Shed as bloggers.

    And Good Luck to Araucaria and his quarry. They’ve probably hot footed it to some desert island. Or, at least, The Isle of Dogs.

  21. Shed says:

    Enigmatist is too modest to mention it but he’s the one who gets all the theme words to fit in the grid, which is the hardest bit of a puzzle like this (even with a computer to help you). Also, there were several cases where two if not all three of us came up with very similar clues so it was pretty much toss of a coin as to which one got picked.

  22. rfb says:

    Very late to say this but … the number of the crossword in the heading is wrong. This made this entry hard to find! It should be 25,388 NOT 25,338.

  23. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks rfb. Now corrected.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

− 2 = six