Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,408 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on August 23rd, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a pleasure to wake up to a Paul puzzle with all its multi-various devices of all hues, shapes and sizes; and none boring. If you were to see me solving and working out the wordplay, you might think I have gone bonkers as I laughed, grimaced, guffawed or quietly smiled as I went along. Extremely entertaining fare

ACROSS
1 PETITE Ins of TIT (bird, not the female breast – Paul is on his best behaviour this morning :-) in PEE (When you have to go, you have to go)
4 STRANGER STRANGLER (killer) minus L (last letter of ghoul)
9 SHREK SHRIEK (scream) minus I (one) Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film loosely based on William Steig’s 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!
10 BEE-EATERS Another tichy Paul original. Those hitting are BEATERS ; just add two E’s (second letter, as though one were stammering) any bird of a brightly plumaged family (Meropidae) closely related to the kingfishers, which feed on bees.
11 CARROTTOP Ins of R (first letter of RED indicated by redtop) & OTTO (German boy) in CARP (fish) reminds me of Jane aka jetdoc, that irrepressible fellow-blogger
12 SUSHI ha
13 DUTCH COURAGE What an original turn of phrase for artificial courage induced by drinking alcohol.
17 FALLEN ARCHES FALL (American autumn, season abroad) ENARC (Rev of CRANE, bird) HE’S (man’s)
20 EVERT dd turn inside out; to turn outwards and of course,
Christine Marie “Chris” Evert (born December 21, 1954) a former world number 1 professional tennis player from the United States often cited as the third best female player of the 20th century, after Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.
21 SPIDERWEB *(BIRD WEEPS)
23 STAR APPLE Ins of RAP (knock) in STAPLE (important) edible fruit of the West Indian sapotaceous tree
24 APRIL Ins of P (pence) in rev of LIRA (currency) one of the 12 months in the Gregorian calendar
25 FLUIDITY FLU (influenza, a common disease one might catch) I (one) DITTY (song) minus middle letter T
26 STADIA Rev of AID (support) ATS (first letters of All Temporary Staff) plural of STADIUM, sporting arena

DOWN
1 POSTCODE POST (after or future) COD (fish traditionally used in F&C) E (English) One way of explaining the wordplay is that traditionally the English fish and chips (chippie) used cod as the fish. Due to changing circumstances, cheaper variety such as haddock or plaice are now used.
2 TARTRATE TART (sweet as in a dessert item) RATE (consider) a salt of tartaric acid.
3 TOKYO Ins of K (king) in TOY (play) O (nothing)
5 THE APPRENTICE T (time) HEAP (a great deal) PR (first letters of participant rarely) ENTICE (appear attractive) A lovely and altogether true description of this reality show on TV
ALAN SUGAR   Ins of LAN (PLAN minus P, leaderless strategy) SU (rev of US) in AGAR (a jelly made from seaweeds misleadingly called SETTER, which got me trying to form an answer involving Paul. Naughty naughty.
7 GREASY GR (GiRl) EASY (piece of cake)
8 RUSSIA Sounds like RUSHER (sprinter)
10 BOTTOMLESS PIT MINE (pit) minus the bottom. This one cracked me up. My COD
14 HEARTLAND *(had learnt)
16 ISABELLA Is A Bell (there to be rung) A (last letter of TEA)
18,15 NEWS OF THE WORLD Cha of NEW (fresh) SOFT (velvety) HEW (cut) OR LD (first and last letters of laminated) The former Sunday rag closed for its involvement in the telephone hacking scandal
19 DEJA VU JAVA (island in Indonesia) minus A in *(DUE)
22 EXACT EX (former) ACT (legislation passed by Parliament) At this point, I just had to go to YouTube to see the Dead Parrot Sketch and hear Mr. Praline, played by John Cleese: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

25 Responses to “Guardian 25,408 – Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I fully agree this was a lot of fun. I’m surprised you didn’t have 18,15 – identifying the buggers so explicitly – as your COD. Good cod-work in 1d, too. I amazed myself getting some of the tricky ones like 5d and 6d early (did AS wind us up? I guess he did) and slowed down towards the end of the hour in the bottom left corner – last in 25a.

  2. caretman says:

    Thanks, UY, for your customarily excellent blog. My experience was the mirror image of molonglo; 5d and 6d came late while the bottom half of the puzzle was almost entirely done before I made any significant headway in the top half. But getting 10d and then working out 5d finally broke the logjam. I admit I had to look up the host of the UK’s version of 5d since, like UY, I was fixated on making ‘setter’ = PAUL. That was excellent misdirection. My last in was 10a. It was well signposted but I needed the crossing letters to see how it worked.

    Thanks, Paul, for an outstanding puzzle.

  3. Mystogre says:

    A lovely way to pass the best part of an hour. I appreciate UY’s explanation for 1d as I got the word but did not know the background. I got stuck in the bottom SW corner trying to find the required apple variety. Bugger should have told me earlier but I didn’t see it. I do have a quibble with 21ac though. I always thought that was two words, although the word play was easy enough to work out. The word I learned today was EVERT.

    Lots of smiles here while solving it and I particularly liked 10 & 17ac. And 10d is brilliant!

    Another very good puzzle from Paul, so thanks to him too.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Excellent stuff, thanks Paul, and UY (for the word play on 6d). Completed in one sitting, a first for me for a Paul, I think. What a pleasant contrast from yesterday’s offering.

    13a, 10d and 18d all tied for COD.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, UY. I almost gave up on this one, but kept plugging away, and I’m glad I did. There’s some outrageous stuff in here but hey …

    POSTCODE is clever; NEWS OF THE WORLD made me laugh; and BOTTOMLESS PIT is, well, just Paul …

    For those who fancy seconds, there’s a Punk in the Indy today. I much preferred this one.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Paul this was a real cracker!

    It took me much longer than usual but was worth every minute.

    I am undecided between BOTTOMLESS PIT and NEWS OF THE WORLD as my COD.

    I also loved the way in which the anagrind was hidden in Butcherbird.

    At first, I thought Navratilova was a ballet dancer but then the light dawned.

    Certainly, my Puzzle of the Week – so far.

  7. Geoff says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Good fun, with a lot of smiles (my favourite LOL was 7d). Took me a bit longer than usual, as Paul is quite a bit more libertarian in this one than in most of his other recent puzzles: 1d, 10a, 16d and of course 10d are far from Ximenean – and none the worse for that, in my book.

    Re 13a, there are a several pejorative expressions in English involving the word ‘Dutch’: as well as ‘Dutch courage’ we have ‘Dutch uncle’, ‘Dutch comfort’ (‘it could be worse…’), ‘Dutch treat’ (= ‘go Dutch’), ‘Dutch bargain’ (ie one-sided), ‘double Dutch’ (nonsense) etc. These all date from the time of the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 17th century, when the two nations were vying for naval supremacy to secure trade routes.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks UY for an excellent blog and Paul for an extremely good puzzle

    I did not think I’d get anywhere with this at first. Sushi came first and then the rest followed slowly. I enjoyed the many misdirections and lateral thoughts around a very loose bird theme.

    Lots of pleasing clues inc. 10a, 13a, 17a, 2d, 10d, 19d. Favourite probably 10d.

    8d reminded me of a picture postcard I saw years ago. Man to woman surrounded by lots of children ‘Was your husband a Russian?’. Woman ‘No, he took his time’.

  9. PeeDee says:

    Thanks UY for explaining EVERT, which I was stuck on.

    NEWS OF THE WORLD was my favourite, closely followed by BOTTOMLESS PIT.

  10. Wolfie says:

    Thanks Paul for an entertaining and challenging morning. I got precisely no solutions on first pass but it all came together after I cracked the SE corner.

    Thanks also to UY for the blog – especially for the Wikipedia link for ‘star apple’. The photographs there explained the ‘purple’ in the clue. My favourite clue was 1ac. Didn’t much like the charade for ‘News of the World’ – rather a strained surface in my opinion, but good to see the Murdoch press get another kicking.

  11. Le Petomane says:

    “Carrottop” was a bit of a cheat – shouldn’t it be hyphenated? “Min” was superb.

  12. crypticsue says:

    You can always rely on Paul for a challenge and this was definitely one, albeit lots of fun. I needed what I call cogitation for this one – ie do what I can and then put it down and ignore it for an hour and its surprising how it all falls into place. THe subconscious cryptic brain cell is a thing of wonder. Thanks to Paul for the mindstretching fun and to UY for the usual entertaining blog.

  13. sppaul says:

    Yes, Paul is always a treat.

    I got stuck with NotW because I was thinking of buggers (i.e the CIA or SMERSH etc). Technically were not the News of the World agents ‘hackers’? Although buggers of course in a different sense.

  14. Disco says:

    It’s not rare for me to finish a puzzle with a few answers I don’t quite understand. This one went above and beyond and left me floundering and getting by more on luck than judgment. I’m still grumbling (with the utmost respect, of course) at “butcherbird weeps”. Way too good for me!

    “Min?” put a huge smile on my face when I figured it out. Great clue.

    Thanks Uncle Yap – great blogging as always.

  15. David W says:

    “Min” was great but I did not like “Butcherbird”. It’s one thing for a clue to be worded so that it can be misunderstood. It’s another for it to give false information.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Quite straightforward but very enjoyable.
    Favourites were 13a, 1d, 10d.
    Dave, what exactly is the false information? I liked the misleading ‘butcher’.
    I spotted what he was about in 10d quickly but it still took me a while to solve it. I was trying mind, mint and mini as well as mine.

  17. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Paul

    Took me ages to finish this one. Struggled with too many till I got started. Once I got ALAN SUGAR, THE APPRENTICE fell into place and helped a lot.

    Too many excellent clues to mention but I liked BOTTOMLESS PIT, POSTCODE, PETITE, I toiled with the TL corner.

    Very enjoyable.

  18. apiarist says:

    Le Petomane. Well blow me ! A fellow hyphen enquirer. Or is it a wind up ?!

  19. William says:

    Thanks Uncle and Paul.

    Loved this puzzle and there were many nice ‘aah!’ moments but (and I hate to be the one to say it) I don’t agree that ‘Min?’ is a great clue. It’s clever, like geg and hijklmno etc., but it’s not really a crossword clue, is it? It’s just a Dingbat, for those familiar with that game. It doesn’t have a definition or surface, and is therefore just clever. In contrast with 21a which has an elegant misdirecting surface and a definition.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed the puzzle and thanks again.

  20. FranTom Menace says:

    What a great puzzle! After missing three from yesterday’s crossword, only EVERT beat us today. While looking at 10d I said to Fran “It’s probably going to be one like ‘Pot? = Spinning top’” which I’d just made up and felt very clever. We were close with our thinking!

    Reminds me of my favourite clue to date (when you removed one of the words from the solution), I forget whose it was but it was recent…

    Must’ve? (5,7,3,3)

    Thanks Paul for a great crossword, and to Uncle Yap for explaining 20a.

  21. Jam Roll says:

    Le Petomane, apiarist: I wondered about carrottop as well. As far as I can see, it’s acceptable as a single word in US English (Merriam-Webster lists it, for example), but I couldn’t find any reputable British English sources for it.

    I still liked the clue though, although ‘min’ was the one that made me laugh out loud today.

  22. apiarist says:

    Jam Roll…… or could it be jam-roll ! Sorry, I’m a tad giddy. Off to London for the Rugby League Challenge Cup on Thursday. Highlight of my social calendar !

  23. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Really enjoyed this one.

    Thanks to UY and Paul.

    My fastest Paul yet at just over 45 “bottomless pit”s!

    Got of to lucky start with 5d and 6d almost immediately and everything went well from there. (Never seen the TV programme but it does get a lot of publicity!)

    Bottom left corner at the last! I had “rest of the world” for some time although I knew it was unlikely. Thought it was some derogatory Australian cricketting reference. All fell into place when I realised there are other types of “buggers”!

  24. Mr Beaver says:

    Like others, we thought this an excellent puzzle. I suppose William is right to say 10d is more at home in Dingbat than here, but I think this sort of clue is fine if used sparingly and adds to the fun. Come to think about it, a crossword composed only of dingbat-styled clues would be an interesting challenge – for both setter and solvers. Just once, mind… perhaps one for Araucaria ?

    By the way, did anyone else think 11a was a sly reference to Rebekah Wade, another 18,15 casualty ?

  25. David W says:

    @ 16

    I like ambiguity. My objection in this case is to separate words being run together, to create a specific (and false) reference to a shrike.

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