Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,512 by Paul

Posted by PeterO on December 22nd, 2011


Happy holidays all round, with a delightful Christmas present from Paul.
The puzzle hinges on 13D, introducing some wild homophones; curiously I solved several of them before coming up with the answer for that clue! A number of the clues require close attention to syntax to get the required cryptic reading.

1. Bit of an exercise, instruction to lift operator? (5-2)
PRESS-UP Definition and cryptic definition, with ‘lift’ being an elevator.
5. Hard, Proust, funny old comic (7)
HOTSPUR A charade of H (‘hard’) + OTSPUR, an anagram (‘funny’) of ‘Proust”. The Hotspur was a British boys’ paper, which adopted the comic format in 1959, and went out of publication in 1981.
9. Further Essex traffic jams (5)
EXTRA A hidden answer (‘jams’) in ‘EssEX TRAffic’.
10. Arch, perhaps, to correct — getting better (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND The definition is ‘getting better’, and EMEND is ‘correct’ (for what it’s worth), but it is open season on the rest.
11. One-on-one combat taken outside that is, character this pumped in the tank? (6,4)
DIESEL FUEL An envelope (‘taken outside’) of IE (‘that is’) + SELF (‘character’) in DUEL (‘one-on-one combat’). But choose the right tank!
12. 24 a 24 — on the contrary (4)
ARIA The answer to 24 is SONG, so this is a charade of ‘a’ + a reversal (‘on the contrary’) of AIR (the second ’24’), with the first ’24’ as definition.
14. Posh tea (unfinished) included sandwiches produced by machines? (12)
COMPUTERISED An envelope (‘sandwiches’) of U (‘posh’) + ‘te[a]’ (‘tea unfinished’) in COMPRISED (‘included’).
18. Making sweet love in windy act, ruing gas (5-7)
SUGAR-COATING An anagram (‘windy’) of O (‘love’) + ‘act ruing gas’.
21. Hitler had a little one — thanks mum! (4)
TASH A charade of TA (‘thanks’) + SH (‘mum’). The surface follows a variant of Colonel Bogey.
22. Former ANC president, wee thing shaken (10)
TAMBOURINE A charade of TAMBO (Oliver Reginald Tambo, ‘former ANC president’, led the African National Congress 18671967-1991, and was succeeded by Nelson Mandela) + URINE (‘wee’).
25. Flying reptile, frightening thing with lots of teeth, as 13? (9)
PTEROSAUR 13 is PRONOUNCED, and this is the first of the outrageous homophones. The first part is terror (‘frightening thing’) + saw (‘thing with lots of teeth’). As I read it the ‘thing’ is shared, and of course the whole phrase amplifies the definition ‘flying reptile’.
26. Archer prize idiot, discard one and many books (5)
CUPID A charade of CUP (‘prize’) + ‘id[iot]’, discarding I (‘one’) and OT (‘many books’).
27. Scent block in the shape of roadworks? (7)
COLOGNE An envelope (‘in’) of LOG (‘block’ of wood) in CONE (‘shape of roadworks’).
28. Christian hoarding treasure primarily after gold, as money expert (7)
AUDITOR A charade (‘after’) of AU (‘gold’) + an envelope (‘hoarding’) of T (‘Treasure primarily’) in DIOR (‘Christian’ Dior, the fashion designer).
1. 13 bread-maker on reservation, quite possibly? That’s false! (6)
PSEUDO Another homophone, of Sioux (‘reservation’?) + dough (‘bread-maker’).
2. It doesn’t matter which here, it turns out (6)
EITHER An anagram (‘turns out’) of ‘here it’.
3. Fish and snake on the road, one sliding down the street? (10)
SKATEBOARD A charade of SKATE (‘fish’) + BOA (‘snake’) + RD (‘road’).
4,20. 13 two girls, one required by the Grauniad? (11)
PROOFREADER A homophone of Pru + Freda, with an ingenious definition.
5. Southern African’s sexy figure, baby! (9)
HOTTENTOT A charade of HOT (‘sexy’) + TEN (‘figure’) + TOT (‘baby’). The name given by Europeans to the South African Khoikhoi people has a derogatory air to it.
6. 13 drop down the face, piece of cake? (4)
TIER A much simpler homophone of tear (‘drop down the face'; drop is presumably to be taken as a noun). The cake is evidently a multi-tiered wedding cake.
7. 13 fish, orangey-red for some pastry (8)
PIECRUST A homophone of pike (‘fish’) + RUST (‘orangey-red’).
8. 13, studied and criticised a Chinese mammal (3,5)
RED PANDA A homophone of read (‘studied’) + panned (‘criticised’) + ‘a’.
13. It’s said to be obvious (10)
PRONOUNCED A double definition, and the major culprit in this crossword.
15. Promote correct manner of ambulation, as 13 (9)
PROPAGATE A homophone of proper gait (‘correct manner of ambulation’).
16. Iodine thus something to discuss regarding similar elementary forms (8)
ISOTOPIC A charade of I (‘iodine’, chemical symbol)+ SO (‘thus’) +TOPIC (‘something to discuss’).
17. Potential layer in this painting finish? (8)
EGGSHELL Definition and cryptic definition.
19. Weak character from outer space, a Klingon, as 13? (6)
LIMPET A charade of LIMP (‘weak’) + ET (‘character from outer space’). This time the homophone is if the “definition” part of the clue (cling-on), but none the less outrageous.
20. See 4
See 4
23. Something cheeky about capital of Rhodesia, a nation now renamed (5)
BURMA A charade of an envelope (‘about’) of R (‘capital of Rhodesia’) in BUM (‘something cheeky’, in two senses) + ‘a’.
24. Number of prison gates (4)
SONG A hidden answer (‘of’) in ‘priSON Gates’.

29 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,512 by Paul”

  1. dialrib says:

    10a is rather naughty – cf (M)ARCH and (M)ONTH

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO. Lots to like here, even if some of the puns were gruesome, none more so than 1d’s Sioux-dough. Just as joyfully mind-boggling was 22a for its fabrication and its surface, especially when preceded by the Hitler reference. Ditto for the Klingon clue, and the CUPID one (last in) not to overlook the ONTH in 10a which took a lot of pondering, afterwards. Thanks Paul for another tour de force.

  3. Allan_C says:

    Interestingly, ONTH (pronounced ‘wonth’) is a dialect word in some areas for ‘first’, generally in the context of the first day of a month. Might have made an interesting clue, something like “Getting better on New Year’s Day, say? – correct”

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Allan-C –

    Or you could have:
    “Onth upon a time…” – mocking the toothless? (6)

    (To save time/annoyance: the answer would be “Ageist”)

  5. Chris says:

    re 22ac: Tambo was very old when he left office, then :p

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thank goodness someone worked out 10a! We looked at it for ages, everything else cross-checked but we couldn’t parse it.
    Thanks to PeteO for comprehensive blog and Paul for entertaining solve!

  7. JohnH (not the setter) says:

    Lovely crossword.

    4 down was our favourite clue of the year.

    Seasons Greetings

    Pru & Freda

  8. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This puzzle was rapidly winging its way to the shelf marked ‘washout’ but was diverted to ‘not bad for a Thursday’ by the arrival of 26 and 27 ac and 1 and 19 d.
    I too failed to unravel (m)onth,so thanks for that.
    After a struggle I decided 1d was zoo-dough. As equally dodgy as Sioux,eh?

  9. PeterO says:

    Dialrib – welcome to my corner of fifteensquared, and thanks for the contribution. Rather naughty indeed.
    Chris – you spotted today’s deliberate mistake. Mr Tambo has now been returned to the right century.

  10. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 5a, I was slow to find the anagram of HPROUST, despite remembering the comic, and being an Arsenal fan (Tottenham being our deadly enemies)! Did Hotspur feature Roy of the Rovers?
    Re 10a, I also failed to parse ONTH. Thanks dialrib.
    Re 18a, I would have pointed out “windy” in the sense of winding, not blowy.
    Re 26a, I know that this is a very common device in crosswords, but for the sake of inexperienced solvers, I would have explained that OT is short for Old Testament, which comprises many books, e.g. The book of Job, etc. NT (New Testament) is often used similarly.
    Re 25a, I didn’t see the need to use “thing” twice. I read it as TERROR being used as an adjective, followed by SAW (thing with many teeth). Similar to Horror Comic say.
    Re 4,20d I would have pointed out that “Grauniad” has long (for many decades) been Private Eye’s name for the Guardian, due to its infamous frequency of typos.
    Re 23d, I would have pointed out that BURMA is “a nation now renamed” (as Myanmar).

    Thanks Paul and PeterO

  11. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul

    Enjoyed this one. Took a long time to get 5a. Tried to remember old music hall and radio comedians but nothing made sense. A bit of a disgrace for an old HOTSPUR reader!

    Seasons greetings to all.

  12. Shirley says:

    PeterJohnN Roy of the Rovers was originally in The Tiger before he had his own comic I think.

  13. Rich says:

    Thanks PeterO

    Excellent puzzle as usual from Paul, I think he must have been channeling his alter ego PUN King today.

    Only real problem I had was assuming the fodder for 5a was H MARCEL which unfortunately gave me chalmer & charmel as options – which gave me grief for a while, but on the upside didn’t Proust say something about grief developing the mind?

  14. PeterJohnN says:

    Thanks Shirley.

  15. MikeC says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul. Enjoyed this one – but needed help to make sense of ONTH. So that’s only a 1d-completion from me!

  16. Cosafina says:

    Loved this one, and as usual am grateful to the blog (for helping me understand Onth) so thanks for that.
    Last day at work tomorrow – looking forward to what I hope will be a goodie on Saturday.
    Merry Christmas to one and all!

  17. Frank says:

    Paul in good fettle here. Nice to see “Archer”, “idiot” and “books” in the same clue!

  18. Mick H says:

    Excellent, what good fun. Last in and loudest laugh was SIOUX DOUGH. Course, not everyone will agree some of these are 13d the same, but the puns worked for me.

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul

    Only got to this in dribs and drabs during a busy day. A clever and at times amusing puzzle.

    Help! I missed the parsing of 10a and am not yet quite sure of the logic which is still not spelled out. I suppose it is ‘onth em end’ i.e. like arch an ending for ‘m’ in March.?

    I also missed the parsing of ‘pseudo’ which I should have got even though it is a rather wild ‘homophone’.

    Like PeterO I got several related answers before 13d.

    4,10 was my COD too especially after mistakes in the previous two puzzles.

  20. FranTom Menace says:

    We thought this was a good’un. Similarly to you, PeterO, we didn’t get the homophone answer until we’d already sussed what it meant from other clues! We completed the lot with a little help from the Wiki list of former ANC members, and we also got the solution to 10a without sussing ‘onth’ for a few moments. Fran sussed it!

    Hottentot was a word I’d heard but we had to look up the definition after putting it in.

    Thanks PeterO and Paul, a good theme and a good puzzle.

  21. Thomas99 says:

    Several people have suggested that pseudo/sioux dough is a weird homophone but online dictionaries suggest that the pronunciations are identical. (As it happens I (southern UK) would normally pronounce pseudo with a “y” sound before the first vowel but that isn’t reflected in the dictionaries.)

  22. morpheus says:

    Just shows one mans meat etc. Found this a real struggle and some of the clues a bit of a stretch.

  23. Martin P says:

    I like Paul’s puzzles.

    Although the devices are often devious, the solutions are usually commonplace words. That’s a plus to me.

    That said, I completely failed to analyse 10a, but wrote it in anyway, the way you do…

  24. tupu says:

    Hi Thomas99

    There seems to be a difference between American and English pronunciation.
    My Collins gives a phonetic reading of what seems to be your and my version with an ‘i’ or ‘y’ sound between the s and the eu/ou sound. American online samples seem to pronopunce it as soodo.

  25. FranTom Menace says:

    I’ve always pronounced it “soo-doe” although occasionally with a light “y” there, the homophone I still got very quickly. I don’t think it’s a poor clue by any stretch of the imagination, it seems perfectly fair to me. I’ve seen far, far worse homophone-type clues in the Guardian!

    It’s grand that we all seem to find some crosswords easier than others – I reckon that with me at least it’s not the setter and it’s not always their style of cluing that particular day – it’s more the frame of mind I’m in when looking at their puzzles.

  26. madman says:

    There’s another layer of ‘meaning’ to the clue in 5d: Khoisan women have a pronounced steatopygia, considered to be sexy by their menfolk.

  27. tupu says:

    Re my comment @19 re 10a. The penny has now dropped. It is clear that ‘arch’ (like ‘ay’) is an example of ‘month’ without its initial ‘m’ i.e ‘onth’.

  28. g larsen says:

    I thought this was a lovely crossword – Paul at the top of his form. Like most, I couldn’t understand the ‘onth’ until visiting here, but it’s perfectly fair.

    Spike Milligan : ” He walked with a pronounced limp, pronounced ‘limp’.”

  29. Huw Powell says:

    Came here to find the parsing of ONTH… lovely indeed. Didn’t understand the fuss over Sioux until some of you explained the strange way you say PSEUDO – surely those who pronounce it syoodo would also pronounce the tribal name syoo?

    Like quite a few of you, 13d came quite late, although fairly early on I knew roughly what it was going to mean (from 25 and the wonderful 4). In fact, it and 3, 14, and 15 were my last four solutions. I really liked 7 a lot.

    This was classic Paul – devious, funny, cheeky, and downright fair in its insanity-provoking liberties.

    Thanks for the ‘onth of ‘arch, dialrib, for the blog, PeterO, and especially to Paul for the romp!

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

− 2 = four