Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,448 / Paul

Posted by mhl on October 15th, 2011


As usual with a Paul crossword this was full of fun and lovely surface readings.

The longest two clues and their referent constitute something of a mini-theme, which Jenny guessed within seconds of looking at the crossword – even so, I thought the difficulty was on the easy side for a prize crossword, apart from LAMBENT and AGOUTI (although the latter is seen quite frequently in crosswords).

9. OUTWITTED O = “Old” + U = “posh” + TWIT = “eejit” + TED = “blaspheming father” (as in the hilarious TV series “Father Ted”); Definition: “duped”
10. HAGUE H = “Howard’s only leader” + AGUE = “fit”; Definition: “Tory leader once”
11. LAMBENT LAM = “Hit” + BENT = “ears may be” (you might “bend someone’s ear”); Definition: “glowing” – a new word for us, LAMBENT is defined in Chambers as “moving about as if touching lightly like a flame; gliding or playing over; flickering; softly radiant, glowing; (esp of wit) light and brilliant; licking” from the Latin lambered, meaning “to lick”
12. MARQUEZ A MARQUE is a brand, so the “ultimate brand” might be MARQUE Z; Definition: “South American author”, the wonderful Gabriel García Márquez, past winner of the Nobel prize for literature
13. THIEF A nice &lit: I = individual in THE + F[ilch] = “first to filch”; Definition: the whole clue
14. SAN MARINO SINO = “Chinese” around A followed by M = “McDonald’s” in NA = “North America” + R = “runs”; Definition: “country” – Paul clearly likes M = “McDonald’s” (referring to the “Golden Arches” logo), and I do too – it’s nice to see new crossword indicators being introduced (as with “key” = TAB, ESC, etc.)
16,15. ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE An excellent anagram: (STORY DONE USUAL HERO DEFINED)*; Definition: “work of [MÁRQUEZ]” – an excellent novel (also, I’m an occasional member of a pub quiz team called “One Hundred Beers of Solitude”)
19,3,22. LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA Another impressive anagram + surface reading: (NOVEL HEROIC THEME IF A LOT)*; Definition: “Work of [MÁRQUEZ]” (again, thoroughly recommended)
21. PETAL LATE = “dead” + P[enguin] = “penguin’s head” all reversed; Definition: “Bit of a bloomer”
23. SHOT-PUT SHOUT = “Cry” around T[o]P = “vacant top”; Definition: “event”
24,22down. DRESS CODE E = “English” + SS = “ship” + COD = “fish” in (RED)*; Definition: “What one should put on”
25. KIDNAPPED Double definition: “Book” and “taken” (the book being Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson)
1. TOILET ROLL ELIOT = “Author” reversed + TROLL = “hideous creation”; Definition: “paper not for reading!”
2. PTOMAINE TOM =”Male” in PAIN = “agony” + E = “drug”; Definition: “poison” – Chambers defines “ptomaine” as “a loosely used name for amino-compounds, some poisonous, formed from putrefying animal tissues, eg putrescine, cadaverine, neurine and choline”. It also suggests that “ptomaine poisoning” used to be used to mean food poisoning in general, but the assumption that ptomaines caused food poisoning is now discredited.
4. STET Hidden in “priest, ethically”; Definition: “Let it be” – a surprisingly useful editor’s note meaning to disregard a previous correction
5. ADAM AND EVE A lovely double definition: “Couple with little on” and “credit” (as in the rhyming slang for “believe”, e.g. “Would you Adam-and-Eve it?”)
6. PHARMACY H = “heroin” in PARMA = “Italian city” + CY = “Cyprus”; Definition: “Drug dealers”
7. AGOUTI [r]AGOUT = “Topping French dish” + I[deal] = “ideal starter”; Definition: “large rodent!”
8. BENZ Z[o]NE B = “second area, nothing less” all reversed; Definition: “Motor manufacturer”, most famously Karl Benz is the Benz in Mercedes-Benz
14. SIDETRACKS SIDE = “Team” + TRACKS = “numbers”; Definition: “draws away”
17. UNIVERSE IS around REV = “clergyman” reversed (“heaven-bound”) all in [t]UNE = “melody, save the introduction”; Definition: “Everything”
18. ANTIPOPE APE = “Primate” around (PINOT)*; Definition: “not the official pontiff!”
20. VIOLET I in VOLE = “rodent” + [ca]T = “ending in cat”; Definition: “Plant”
21. PROZAC The initial letters of “chamber all zonked out, rather pitifully” reversed; Definition: “Upper”
23. SODA SOD = “Odious chap” + A; Definition: “pop” – both are US words for fizzy drinks

17 Responses to “Guardian 25,448 / Paul”

  1. Trebor says:

    Going to continue what is no doubt looking like a bit of a vendetta, but I have no time for these crosswords that feature long “knowledge based” answers. Particularly bad in this case as the long clues are anagrams and hence the letter positions are somewhat arbitrary and while guessable, cant be confirmed without knowledge / use of resources. A very poor show again from Paul.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. DRESS CODE gave the first letter of ‘cholera’ and a path straight to 12a. Nevertheless his 16, 15 title was a total novelty – it needed work with the anagram letters, overcoming a fixation that ‘yuletide’ was its final word. The SAN MARINO clue bamboozled me, 23d made me laugh, and PROZAC was the last of all. Thanks Paul for another ideal puzzle, i.e. tough but doable in fair time without outside help.

  3. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. I have at least some sneaking sympathy with Trebor. Never having heard of Marquez or his works I stalled on this one about two thirds of the way through. The anagrams look easy now but were too hard for me then, not even being sure of which words to take. Eventually I had enough crossing letters to make a guess at 16,15 and Google did the rest. This took me quite a lot longer to complete than most Prize Crosswords.

  4. crosser says:

    Many thanks, mhl.
    I loved 6d, a typical Paul clue. And, knowing that it was Paul, I managed to get 1d but, to my shame, couldn’t parse it. So thanks for your help there.

  5. Captain Haddock says:

    I’m moved to make my first posting on this site to defend Paul against Trebor. What’s wrong with “knowledge-based” answers? Most clues require a degree of knowledge and the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez are hardly obscure. I enjoy the (partial) free ride afforded by these themed puzzles (Paul’s Elton John songs being another recent example): it’s only a few clues, it’s fun to get a small reward for knowing these things and provided the clues are good (like mhl, I loved the Marquez anagrams), I’m very satisfied. I don’t have that much time and I’m not a very quick solver, so I don’t mind a bit of a leg-up when the rest of the puzzle remains challenging and fun. I thought this was a great puzzle – I particularly liked 1d and 6d. Thanks, mhl.

  6. r_c_a_d says:

    I also have some sympathy for Trebor. Took me quite a long time to get going as I couldn’t quite put my finger on Marquez.

    Was slowly making progress, then Marque hit me and bang I had a few dozen letters for free (or so it felt).

    I so much prefer themes where the connection emerges rather than being shoved in your face at the start.

    Having said that I did like a lot of the other clues, so over all a positive score from me – even though I didn’t appreciate the publicity that my favourite writer appears backwards in toilet!

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul

    Enjoyable enough. The Marquez novels are both masterpieces, very different from each other (100 years much more ‘politiical’ than ‘Love in the time of..’ ) but each quite masterly pieces of story telling. He won the Nobel Prize in 1982 so he is scarcely an obscure figure. Also the anagrams are rather good.

    I was amused by 14a, 24,22, 6d, 17d and 21d!.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul.

    I was looking for a pangram here, but unfortunately the “j” is missing :)

    I had heard of Marquez long before his being awarded the Nobel prize, but having read his most famous novel in Spanish, I had to look up the English titles – they are direct translations, which doesn’t always happen, but I had doubts with articles, and whether “Years” would be in the genitive or followed by “of”. Of course, the letter count could easily have solved these, but I was lazy :)

    I failed to get 2d until this morning, having unforgivably spelt THIEF wrongly!

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Usually, having solved the author, I would resort to google for the works, but, being away for the weekend, I had no such facility. However, despite not being familiar with the titles, there was enough in the old brian to solve all except 2d, eventually. I think it is probably a little more satisfying this way.

    13a I wasn’t so keen on: I guessed it early, but couldn’t quite convince myself it was correct.

    6d – liked it.

    Thanks for 2d mhl

  10. sidey says:

    I have to agree with Trebor about the unsatisfactory nature of anagrams as clues to the titles of thematic works. As mhl points out, they can so easily be spotted by those who know the works, those who don’t are faced with an unsatisfying slog. In these cases the anagrams possibly have some relevance to the contents of the books, very clever, perhaps too clever as it only shows the setter’s superior knowledge over those unfamiliar with them. It’s not as if the titles don’t lend themselves to other clue types

  11. Wolfie says:

    Marquez was my first clue solved, so the novel titles went in next with only the word counts as a guide. I agree that the long anagrams were clever, but their cleverness was wasted on me, I must admit, because I couldn’t be bothered to work them out at the time, given that the solutions were so obvious. Nevertheless I enjoyed the puzzle, which demonstrated some typically witty cluing from Paul.

    Thank you mhl for the blog.

  12. AndyB says:

    I think most people asked to name a South American writer would say Marquez first, and the books are hardly obscure. So that was a lot of the grid filled in within two minutes. Like the Ealing comedy puzzle on Thursday – surely most people do this by enumeration.

    On a point of detail, Ted isn’t a “blaspheming” father. An RC friend once said he should be regarded as a good Christian, all his many weaknesses notwithstanding. Not an unfair clue but Ted’s reputation must bs defended

  13. Trebor says:

    Must add that Paul is responsible for some of my favourite clues (from memory): “Quiet solver was man covered in the Telegraph – having a great time” for Wi(Sh You Were He)re = Wish You Were Here.
    His puzzle themed around the word vegetarian where meat types or animal names had to be removed before entering some solutions was also magnificent.

  14. Robi says:

    Yes, the anagrams were clever, and yes, I had to Google to find the titles.

    Thanks mhl; I hadn’t appreciated the credit=believe (it)=ADAM AND EVE.

    Still quite a satisfying puzzle, even with my poor literary knowlege.

    AndyB @12; ‘I think most people asked to name a South American writer would say Marquez first.’ Maybe not: my vote would be for Mario Vargas Llosa – ‘Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation. Some critics consider him to have had a larger international impact and worldwide audience than any other writer of the Latin American Boom.’

  15. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    An enjoyable puzzle from Paul where I failed just on PROZAC which I considered as an answer but couldn’t see how it fitted the wordplay. I was fixated on ‘Upper chamber’ and so failed to see Upper as the definition.

    I wasn’t familiar with the works of Marquez but I could see that the last word in 15 was probably solitude so I simply googled ‘novel solitude’ and it came up as the first entry in the list.

    Favourites were TOILET ROLL (very sneaky) and OUTWITTED. Thanks Paul.

  16. pangapilot says:

    I agree with AndyB that Marquez must be among the first few names to spring to mind for a “South American author”. Thus, I thought 12a was a gift.

    For me, Paul is one of the most entertaining setters (school of Araucaria) and so I want to put in another word in support of him.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Like panga and others Marquez is the only SA author I know so 12 was a write-in.
    I had a vague recollection of his titles so they went in and opened the whole puzzle.
    I did misremember 19 as “Life in…” rather than “Love in….” which made 20d impossible.
    This was not really suitable for a prize puzzle.

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