Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,529 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on January 11th, 2012


A fun puzzle and fairly steady solve from Paul, with some ingenious and amusing clues, and one or two easy ones to get / keep things going and to help with less familiar words / expressions..


  ISOBARS: I [one] SOARS [zooms] around B[lack]
10,1  BEER GOGGLES: BEG [ask] around reversal [lying back] of OGRE [ugly monster] +  anagram [buckling] of LEGS: a new one on me [reference has been made before to my sheltered life] but easy to get from the wordplay and the meaning was clear!
11  EXHAUSTIVE: EX [old] + HIVE [queen's domain] round [hosting] [f]AUST [opera not opening]
12  ARDENT: DEN [office] in [aboard] ART [craft]
16  SWEET: a rather weak double definition
17,14 STICK ONE’S OAR IN: double / cryptic definition, with a pun on ‘row’
19 SPANGLISH: anagram [around] of SPLASHING: I’d not heard of this but it was clear from the crossing letters and the anagram. It’s not directly equivalent to Franglais, as I thought it might be, but ‘a mixture of Spanish and English spoken especially by Hispanic communities in the USA’
23  SABOTEUR: anagram [composed] of TO BE in SAUR [second part [tail] of dinoSAUR [old reptile]
24  VENOUS: VENUS [beautiful woman] round [secures] O [ring]; I’m not sure about the definition, ‘bloody’?
26 BREASTFEED: BREED [bear a child] round [consuming] EASTF [FEAST, large meal, with F[emale] moved to the end]: I really want this to work but can’t see exactly how it hangs together: is it ‘bear a child’ or ‘female on the end’ that’s doing double duty??
27,13,22 LEFT RIGHT AND CENTRE: an easy cryptic definition, providing some useful crossing letters
28  LYCHEES: H[ard] in LYCÉES [French secondary schools]
29  INANITY: IN A NIT [fool] + [stupidit]Y


2   OVERRUN: OVER RUN – two cricketing references which even I knew
3   GORSE: S[acrificed] in GORE
4   ELECTRA: ELECT [decide] + RA [artist]: reference to Freud’s Electra complex, the strong attachment of a daughter to her father, named after Electra, who helped to avenge the murder of her father, Agamemnon, by her mother, Clytemnestra
6   SLUDGE: SLUG [homeless snail! - because it has no shell] round [saving] D [500] + E[uros] initially: I’m sure someone will point out that a slug is not a snail but it’s a lovely idea and it made me smile
7   BATH TOWEL: anagram [wind] of THAT in BOWEL [large intestine]: another amusing clue
8   REVENGE: [cooke]R + EVEN [still] + reversal [rising] of EG [say]: reference to the saying that ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold’, which appears in a number of languages
  CHARLIE PARKER: CHARLIE [cocaine - drug]  + PARKER [one entering bay]: an easy charade leading to a nicely-disguised definition, ‘Bird’, the jazz saxophonist
15  SUCCOTASH: SUCH [type mentioned earlier] round [including] anagram [fishy] of TACOS: I hadn’t heard of this  dish  but the wordplay and crossing letters supplied the answer: I liked the misleading reference to 8dn
18  TEA TRAY: TEAT [used to 26ac] RAY [fish] – a typical Paul clue!
20  NEVADAN: reverse insertion [held up] of DAVE [Cameron casually] in NAN [granny] – a lovely picture and nice play on ‘statesman’
21  SNUFF IT: reversal of FUN’S [pleasure's up] + FIT [suitable] to give another slang expression for ‘to die’, that I hadn’t heard before: [Edit: I meant that I hadn't heard of 'hop the twig' before.]
25  NYLON: hidden in [penned by] delaNY LONgfellow

39 Responses to “Guardian 25,529 / Paul”

  1. Rick says:

    Entertaining puzzle from Paul and great blog from Eileen – thanks to both!

    My take on the queries …

    24a I believe that “venous” can describe blood that is low on oxygen (as in the blood found in veins); I think this is why “bloody” is the definition.

    26a I thought that the whole clue was doing double duty here.

  2. jackkt says:

    Had a few problems finishing this off but got there in the end with 1/9ac the last in – the tense and gender references don’t appear to have any significance which is not something I’m used to. Perhaps I’m missing something. Otherwise mostly straightforward stuff.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. 9d was in fact my last in – shouldn’t have been, not least because you blogged this bird last year. SUCCOTASH was the penultimate, never heard of it or the mob who invented this dish. Yesterday’s Americans were far more familiar to me than these two, which just goes to show.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    I agree with Rick about 26ac – I thought the whole thing was an &lit (not the greatest,) using bear in the sense of holding in one’s arms.

    Venous means having the characteristics of a vein, one of which would be to be full of blood, thus “bloody.” Not the most precise of definitions but it worked for me! :)

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Agree with Rick @1 – I think 26a’s a brilliant &lit.

    It’s been pointed out on the Guardian site that “Succotash” (15d) is in the lyrics of “Groove is in the Heart” by Dee Lite. It’s true, as googling shows, although I probably thought she was just singing “tukka tukka tukka” at the time.

  6. NeilW says:

    jackkt @2. This a rather sexist remark normally made the morning after a night on the tiles by a man explaining to his friends why, when drunk, he had made amorous advances to a lady that his friends thought unattractive: “I was wearing my beer goggles.” Thus the tense and gender.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul.

    10,1ac. reminded me of a beer commercial where a woman sitting opposite a man became progressively more attractive with each time he lowered his mug after taking a swig :)

    I hadn’t heard of SUCCOTASH, but the rest was familiar enough, including SPANGLISH – there was a fairly amusing TV series in the jargon at one time here.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, everyone, for suggestions re 26ac. It’s as I suspected, really: I agree it’s not the greatest &lit [holding a baby is not quite the same!] but I liked the idea.

    Re VENOUS: I should have looked in Collins [as I usually do!]: ‘of or relating to the blood circulating in the veins’, rather than Chambers: ‘[of blood] deoxygenated’, but I was really only playing devil’s advocate, as at 6dn.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Entertaining crossword from Paul, though not (IMO) one of his very best. The incorporation of idiomatic phrases amenable to cryptic definition is becoming one of his trade marks – here we had LEFT, RIGHT AND CENTRE and also STICK ONE’S OAR IN. This is all very well, but it makes for a rather rapid solve, provided you can see the allusions.

    I did know SUCCOTASH (from my late American great-aunt), and liked the inclusion of ‘fishy tacos’ in the clue: fish tacos being a great Southern Californian speciality.

    Favourite clues were 2d (nice reference to the wordscape of traditional cryptics)and 11a (clever construction). Some funny clues: I liked 10,1, 7d, 6d (although I found the ‘homeless snail’ a bit too obvious. BTW, Eileen, ‘slug’ is not a term of scientific classification – it’s any gastropod mollusc without a large shell. Some ‘slugs’ are very close relations of some snails; it appears that the original condition of these animals is to have a shell but that many species have lost the external shell through independent developments).

  10. Mitz says:

    Thanks Paul and Eileen. Good fun as usual, and considerably easier than some of Paul’s offerings. ‘Suffering succotash’ is a catchphrase of Sylvester the cat (arch enemy of Tweetiepie) but I didn’t know that it actually meant something before today. I agree that 26 is trying to be an &lit and doesn’t quite pull it off, but it went in without any qualms in association with 18. Enjoyed ‘saboteur’, ‘sludge’ and ‘beer goggles’ (despite the last being a little non-PC). The mis-direction of ‘row’ in the clue to 17,14 was also quite cute.

  11. jackkt says:

    Thanks, NeilW@6. I wondered, if ‘her’ was supposed to refer to the monster earlier in the clue, whether we were looking for ‘ogress’ rather than ‘ogre’ but perhaps monsters like the acting profession are now gender non-specific in their nomenclature.

  12. Ian Payn says:

    Sylvester’s speech defect (he couldn’t say his “s”s without blowing a half raspberry and spittin) made “sufferin’ succotash” a particularly appropriate catchphrase. Even better, it was occasionally elaborated. My favourite was “Sufferin’ succotash, what does a pussycat have to do around here to get some sustenance!”. Mel Blanc probably had fun with that one, but the recording technicians probably had to carry umbrellas that day. Try it!

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi jackkt

    Just for the record [if I may 17,14 ;-)] a couple of weeks ago, I blogged an Araucaria puzzle which had ‘big bad female removes leaders from advance’ [6]‘.

  14. NeilW says:

    Stella, I vaguely remembered the ad too. Here it is:

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for an excellent blog and Paul for a fun puzzle

    I decided female on the end was doing double duty in 26a and moved on. Not the most satisfying clue.

    Several words/phrases were new to me but gettable enough e.g succotash (though I remember Sylvester and Tweetiepie with affection and have a much loved old 78 of ‘I taut I taw a puddy tat’). Others checked were charlie/cocaine, beer goggles. The revenge quote was only vaguely remembered.

    Ticked 5a, 23a, 28a in a generally enjoyable solve.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. A really enjoyable puzzle from Paul.

    Like Mitz@10, Ian Payn @12 and Tupu @15 ‘succotash’ brought back lots of memories of Sylvester and Tweetie Pie — those catchphrases really stick!

  17. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks neilW@14; I couldn’t remember if it was Carlsberg or Heineken – apparently it’s Tuborg :) Pils isn’t my favourite beer!

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I had always assumed that the ‘Parrot Sketch’s’ list was 11ac,but it omitted 21d which was new to me.
    My last in was,inexpliquably, ‘ardent’.
    My favourites were 11ac and 9d (very clever).
    I knew ‘succotash’ through the cartoon too.
    26ac,I think you are all making a mountain out of…….seems perfectly alright to me. I actually solved it from 18d and only then read the clue.

  19. Mitz says:

    RCW: 21d may not appear in the dead parrot sketch, but this is from the Holy Grail – instructions for using the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch: “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.”

    Oddly enough, ‘ardent’ was my last in as well.

  20. Shirley says:

    26A We think it’s just the extra e from the end of female with Breed and feast?

  21. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Paul and Eileen. Nobody has ever accused me of leading a sheltered life but BEER GOGGLES was a new term for me. My mom used to make SUCCOTASH. I believe it was when she was experimenting with Algonquin cuisine.


  22. Robi says:

    Thanks Paul and Eileen.

    Another sheltered life as I hadn’t heard of BEER GOGGLES.

    Knowing Paul, I think it must be ‘female on the end,’ that is doing double duty. ;)

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Mitz @19
    Thanks for that reminder although ‘snuff it’ was very familiar (in the expression ‘snuff films’and elsewhere. It was ‘hop the twig’ which was new to me.
    Please explain what the problem is with 26ac.
    large meal = feast, female = f, f on the end (of feast) is ‘eastf’

  24. tupu says:

    Hi RCWhiting

    The problem, as best I can understand it, is as Eileen sets out in her blog. There seems to be no direct definition of the answer beyond instructions for arriving at it. Bear a child = breed and this contains eastf as you say. So something seems to be doing double duty as a definition as Eileen suggests. My own guess @15, like Robi’s @ 22, was that it is ‘female at the end’ since childbearing does not mean breastfeeding. It is of course nearer to childrearing, if there was a typo, but that would leave us with ‘breed’ unaccounted for. I know you don’t like too rigid definitions, but the question here is to find one at all. As far as I can see no-one has so far come up with a more convincing reading.

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Surely ‘one used to ??????’ = teat is precise enough for anyone?

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Of course that comes after ‘bear a child consuming’ which could happily be translated as ‘carry a baby drinking’ and you really cannot be more explicit for ‘breastfeed’, can you?

  27. tupu says:


    You’ve lost me I’m afraid.

    The answer to 18d (in which ‘teat’ appears) is logically dependent on the answer to 26a being ‘breastfeed’ rather than vice versa (even if you solved them the other way round). Are you suggesting that the two clues somehow reciprocally define each other? The point is that there is no obvious definitional equivalent of 18d’s ‘server’ in 26a.

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi All

    Thanks so much for your valiant efforts re 26ac. I’d love to hear Paul’s take on this. [He did use to drop in occasionally. ;-) ]

    Neil’s suggestion @4 came closest to my possible interpretation of an &lit but, as I said @8, Dad’s [or grandma's!] ‘holding in one’s arms’ [while hugely enjoyable] is not quite the same as Mum’s 26ac-ing, as I’ve seen recently when visiting my fairly new grandson!

  29. Thomas99 says:

    26a is surely an &lit, i.e. everything is doing “double duty” as wordplay and definition. The whole clue is a slightly wacky description of breastfeeding. We’re warned about the wackiness by the question mark. Think of it as instructions – bear (carry) a child, which is getting nourished, with a woman stuck onto it at one end. That’s breastfeeding. If you don’t find it funny, fair enough. If you think it’s loose as a definition, well so does Paul (see the question mark) – and so do I; it’s clearly whimsical and eccentric in several ways. “Bear” only just works for me as part of the definition. But I don’t think you can convincingly fault the wordplay. And you certainly can’t complain about there being double duty in an &lit, as that’s the whole point of them!

  30. Eileen says:

    I’m sorry – I took so long to compose that that I completely missed 25-27 but I’m going to call a halt here. ;-)

  31. Eileen says:

    Ad that goes for 29, too.

  32. tupu says:


    Ingenious reading of bear a child consuming but where then does ‘breed’ containing ‘eastf’ (= the large meal, female on the end fit in)? You have admittedly produced a definition but at the cost of losing the instructions of how to produce the answer.

  33. Thomas99 says:

    RC Whiting @26 – I think that hits the nail on the head rather more succinctly than I could. People seem oddly unwilling to accept it as an &lit. It’s very strange.

  34. Thomas99 says:

    Sorry, I won’t add any more after this. But your comment at 32 isn’t right. It’s an &lit. You don’t lose anything. Everything is both wordplay and definition. Just read the clue again. It’s so obviously simultaneously clear wordplay “AND LITERALLY” describing breastfeeding!

  35. tupu says:

    Hi Thomas99

    Thanks. I think I’ll buy that – the whole clue does double duty as a definition and as building instructions. I imagine NeilW @4 also had that in mind.

  36. carneddi says:

    Re 6d…
    Q – What did the Slug say to the Snail?
    A – Wanna buy a Big Issue!!

  37. Wolfie says:

    I agree with those who consider that 26ac can, at a pinch, be taken as an &lit. My objection to it, however, is that it is the sort of contrived and ugly sentence that only occurs in Crossword Land.

    I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle though!

    Thanks Eileen for your blog – as thorough and clear as ever.

  38. Paul B says:

    Bear a child consuming large meal, female on the end? (10)

    … is in The Guardian, it should be remembered, where as a setter, I suggest, you get a bit more leeway by tradition.

    I think others have lit upon this already, but the problem seems to be that the manipulation required to turn FEAST into EASTF isn’t particularly accurate (strictly it leads to FEASTF), which is odd for this compiler.

    But WTH: it’s still a piece full of excellent and amusing clues. The ‘row’ pun in particular I liked, with BEER GOGGLES and LEFT RIGHT AND CENTRE close behind.

  39. Huw Powell says:

    As Paul B says (re 26), this is the Grauniad, and one thing that is fun for both us and the setters is they do allow a fair amount of leeway. Personally I was content to allow as much leeway as considering 18 to contain the “definition”: “TEAT” = “one used to BREASTFEED”, but of course for that to be fair there should be a reverse reference from 26 to 18.

    A fun puzzle, fairly straightforward, with some nice twists to get one’s head around. Slowed down for a bit by spelling CENTER wrong without thinking… and 9 came last, in bits and pieces… one of the last stages was “porter” which set me looking for names, then came CHARLIE and it clicked.

    Thanks for the fine blog, Eileen, and for the enjoyable puzzle, Paul!

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