Never knowingly undersolved.

The Guardian No 25,549 by Paul

Posted by Stella on February 3rd, 2012


Unless I’m mistaken, this is my first Paul blog, and I was not disappointed.

It took me a while to twig on to the theme,  but once there the puzzle opened itself up to me, and Paul’s clear cluing made blogging a joy.

1. Where apples found, it’s said, one has an advantage (7)
5. Having touched base, 7 behind swimmer (3,4)
SEA BASS *BASE + ASS (American euphemistic spelling :) )
9. Nureyev or I keep holding back ballet company (5)
KIROV Hidden reversed in NUREYEV OR I KEEP. I’d never heard of this, so I’m glad the cluing was obvious.
10. 11 extreme characters, revolutionary, capturing leader of unstable nation (9)
VENEZUELA *ELEVEN with A and Z (“extreme characters”) and U(nstable)
11. See 19
See 19
12. Exhaust, something on 7 car? (4)
TIRE Double definition, the second being the American spelling of ‘tyre’.
14. Compound, where Shed and Paul found drunk, getting in after midnight? (4,8)
18. Heroes reduced pain in amoebae, say (12)
PROTAGONISTS AGON(y) in PROTISTS, a new word for me
21. Kitty flips, seeing ring (4)
22. Fresh in retirement, put out about the limits of youth finding very little accommodation (5,5)
WENDY HOUSE <NEW, + Y(out)H in DOUSE (=”put out”)
25. I send over daring man, old politician Cyrus, getting ahead (2,7)
IN ADVANCE I + (“Daring”) <DAN + (Cyrus) VANCE
26. Little room with love, one between your legs? (5)
CELLO CELL + O, with the trade mark risqué surface reading.
27. Cat returning to cross river, came across eyelet (7)
GROMMET <MOG around R + MET, for a word which was only vaguely familiar
28. Show false claim about 7 (7)
1. Uplifting Japanese healing absorbing indefinite number, so darker (6)
INKIER N in <REIKI, another unfamiliar  term
2. Guarantee fatty swipes last of dinner (6)
SURETY SUETY round (dinne)R
3. Bundle of money raised to cover errant lover in court, primarily — this deciding who gets it? (7,3)
DIVORCE LAW <WAD around *LOVER I C (“in court initially”)
4. Dog runs on (5)
ROVER R + OVER, for a ‘typical’ dog’s name
5. Roaming as cousins, carefree (4,5)
6. Cutter says more in conversation (4)
ADZE Sounds like “ADDS”
7,16. Gray as a part of 17 down, say, whose unfinished elegy criminal pans out (8,8)
AMERICAN SPELLING *ELEG(y) CRIMINAL PANS. “Gray” is an example of the answer, as in the state of Colorado, for instance.
8. First of six quickies — they’re out of this world! (8)
13. Random tests making mark on 7 bank orders (4,6)
SPOT CHECKS SPOT = “mark”, + CHECKS , English ‘cheques’
15. Go crazy wriggling nose into 7 confection (2,4,3)
16. See 7
See 7
17. A party’s undertone (7) reaching 7 river (8)
COLORADO A DO under COLOR ( American “tone”). I think we are getting used to this device by now.
19,11. Having turned up, leaders in blue lingerie instantly focus (7) to force government initiative (6,10)
PUBLIC ENTERPRISE <UP + leaders in “Blue Lingerie Instantly” + CENTER + PRISE
20. Shrink from bacterium, turning tail, under bottom of sewer (6)
RECOIL E COLI, with the last two reversed, under “seweR”
23. King had one hand, finally, on paper (5)
DREAM “HanD” + REAM, the King being Dr.Martin Luther
24. Egg emu voted to gobble up (4)
OVUM Hidden reversed in “eMU VOted”

60 Responses to “The Guardian No 25,549 by Paul”

  1. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for the blog. Fairly straightforward today although I labored (7) over 3 down thinking that “cover errant” indicated an anagram for the last part of “divorce”. As a result, I struggled for a while to make sense of the rest of the clue.

  2. Rich says:

    Thanks Stella.

    I couldn’t parse 3 down as I’d used errant COVER in <WAD with L(over) & I(n), which meant court was superfluous.
    Obviously cover indicated insertion. Your explanation cleared that up nicely for me!

  3. jackkt says:

    Quite easy once I had established the theme from solving TIRE and DO ONES NUT and realising that things American were on the agenda.

    On 26ac, I think it was Sir Thomas Beecham who berated a cellist during a rehearsal “Madam, you have a thing of beauty between your legs and all you can do is scratch it.”

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    Often I come at themes in the way that jackkt did today but, for once, the anagram for 7,16 leapt out at me. Even so, this was Paul at his best, I thought, with only 9 being immediately obvious.

    Excellent blog – very minor point: MOG needs a reversal indicator in 27.

  5. Kayoz says:

    I love this site. I visit it every day after finishing the crossword (mostly). I like to look at the parsing (solving) of the clues. Sometimes I’ve got it, but haven’t finessed the finer points. I haven’t posted before because of the time problem.

    I’m from Queensland, Australia. Our local paper has the Guardian crossword but we are about a month behind the English version. One from 3 Jan 2012 was published today in “The Courier Mail”. Our numbering of the crosswords is different, and they do not appear in the same order, so the excellent search engine here helps enormously. Just put in one of the more esoteric answers (not clues) and your crossword will be there.

    Anyone interested in following the crossword as published here in Oz, please go to 3 Jan.

  6. Stella says:

    Thanks NeilW. Now corrected.

  7. molonglo says:

    Thanks Stella. I also got the theme via TIRE quickly and had a pleasant half an hour unravelling it, with some trademark Paul clues like 5 and 26a to urge me on. Dug deep for WENDY HOUSE and guessed right for protests=amoebae.

  8. molonglo says:


  9. molonglo says:

    Wretched IPad – protests with an i

  10. William says:

    Thanks, Stella, fine blog. Finished without really understanding SEA BASS and not knowing PROTIST.

    Like jackkt I had to creep up on the theme from DO ONES NUT, but then this is often the case for me. Not enjoying Paul quite as much as I used to. Seems a bit more laboured. Probably me.

    Welcome Kayoz, glad you enjoy this odd site, just flown back from your fine country.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Stella and Paul

    I found this harder than the previous two but an enjoyable solve nonetheless. Like Stella, I had to hunt out/confirm reiki and protist. It is quite good fun, given Paul’s whimsical humour, to work out the answer from the crossing letters and definitions and then sort out the parsing, but I find I have to do a bit more of this with his crosswords than I would ideally like. Perhaps I’ll improve some day.

    I ticked 1a, 26a, 27a, 7,16, and 20d on my way along. This last came immediately because I have just been learning from a visiting colleague about e-coli and its amazing mini-propeller system with forward and reverse drives – a miracle of micro-engineering.

  12. apple granny says:

    A great crossword and blog. Thanks. Masses of lovely clues, but one or two a bit below par (eg 8d “spacemen”) We were a bit slow with American spelling – got the american bit quickly, having decided that 28a was “musical”, and took off once we had the “p” from 18a “protagonists”.We stupidly failed to understand 5a “sea bass” which was our last to actually enter, having guessed it from the start – forgot about American backsides! Like others, we had to check meaning of grommet, reiki and protist. Thanks Jackkt@3 for the lovely Beecham quote. My daughter is a cellist – I wonder if she knows it?

  13. NeilW says:

    Hi Kayoz, welcome. You could always do the current puzzle online instead and then join in the fun here. If you’re not much of a night owl, you might like to know that on Tuesdays Uncle Yap, who’s Malaysian, usually puts up the blog very smartly so it’s normally available by early afternoon your time. Another regular, Andrew, who definitely is a night owl, often blogs before bedtime so, again, it’s available in good time for you. Finally, of course, it’s not really an issue when it comes to the Saturday prize puzzle…

  14. harry says:

    I’m surprised so many were unaware of “grommet” – as a parent of 3, all of whom had ear problems when young, the word was wearisomely familiar to me.
    Protists was a new one though.

  15. brucew_aus says:

    Hi Kayoz … I am also a fellow Oz – from Melbourne and like you enjoy this site very much. As NeilW@13 says, the on-line version at … – you will need to change the cryptic to prize for the Saturday one.

    … will let you join in the fun real time. I usually print it out and use the train trip home to do it(or as much as I can).

    Usual enjoyable Paul puzzle for today .. although a tad easier than his normal serving (still struggling with the final two clues from last Saturday!!). Having managed a day spa for a little while … reiki was well-known (and had it done once or twice to good effect !). Thought 15d was clever and got stuck for a while with understanding how VENEZUELA worked until 11=eleven popped.
    Thanks Stella for the blog.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A clever theme which was used in a variety of ways. This is the kind of non-list theme which can add to the pleasure.
    Not much in this case, sadly, as the whole was too straightforward to provide lasting enjoyment.
    An indication of this is that my last in was ‘wendyhouse’ and when I noticed it still blank I found that I had not even read the clue before that point!

  17. Robi says:

    Very entertaining puzzle. Once I saw the ‘CENTER’ in PUBLIC ENTERPRISE, I twigged that AMERICAN should have been somewhere.

    Thanks, Stella; for once I did know all the words. I didn’t parse VENEZUELA correctly – I thought ZUELA must be a revolutionary (he’s an Angolan/Portuguese footballer!) Usual funny Paul fodder with trademark bottoms and lingerie. Thanks for the link for the KIROV ballet; I hadn’t realised it has changed its name to The Mariinsky Ballet.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    If Stella likes the ‘risqué she might investigate the real meaning of ‘quickie’.
    I have only ever heard the term ‘quick’ to refer to a fast bowler (Chambers gives neither).

  19. PeterO says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable crossword, so thanks to Paul and to Stella for the blog. Like apple granny, I approached the theme through MUSICAL. There is one curiosity which bothers me in 7,16: the section of the clue ‘as a part of 17 down, say’, which serves to split up the passing reference to Gray’s Elegy. Paul evidently had some reason for putting it in, but I do not think Stella’s explanation pans out. The clue seems to say a part of Colorado, not Colorado as part of the USA. The nearest I can get is Gray’s Peak, which does not seem very satisfactory to me. Any ideas, anyone?

  20. Gaufrid says:

    PeterO @19
    In 7,16 I think that ‘Gray as part of 17dn, say’ is giving COLOR[ado], a second indication of the answer in addition to the anagram.

  21. ClaireS says:

    Please forgive a visitor to this site for just jumping in but …

    Surely gray is the US spelling of the colour (color) grey (color being part of 17d)? So, it’s an example (say) of American spelling.

  22. Chris Jobson says:

    Re 7,16 – I think “Gray as a part of 17 down” means “Gray as a part of COLORado”, i.e. as a COLOR, which is an American spelling.

  23. Andreas61 says:

    Well, PeterO, I read the clue to refer to “color” in Colorado. “Gray as a color” instead of “grey as a colour”. Does that make sense?

  24. Andreas61 says:

    Ooops Chris, we crossed!

  25. Chris Jobson says:

    Indeeed we did! I’ve also just realised that no-ones commented on the nice reference in the clue to Gray’s Elegey.

  26. Chris Jobson says:

    Sorry – Gray’s Elegy.

  27. Valentine says:

    Two American notes: Colorado is a state, but this clue is about the Colorado River. (And the spelling here is the Spanish one, though of course “color” is American.)
    “Ass” is no longer a euphemism here, but the word itself. A word can’t be a euphemism unless the speaker uses it in preference to the original, and here the original is unknown to most people. The original looks old-fashioned rather than coarser.

  28. Mitz says:

    Thanks Stella, and Paul.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this. ‘Musical’ steered me wrong at first, thinking the ‘us’ might be a reference to the dear old Grauniad itself, but like Robi the ‘center’ of 19 11 set me straight. ‘Sans souci’ was a new one for me, but got it easily enough as it was obviously an anagram. Again, like Harry @14 grommet’s were very familiar. Loved ‘wendy house’ and the cheeky ‘cello’ was classic Paul – thanks for the giggle jackkt!

  29. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for all your comments. I’d just like to point out, Valentine, that it was the American spelling of ‘arse’ tha I found euphemistic, not the word itself :)

  30. Mr. Jim says:

    Thanks to Stella, and to Paul for a great Friday solve. I found it tough, but every clue seems scrupulously fair, and we have Paul’s trademark style at 5a SEA BASS and 26a CELLO.

    My way into the theme was TIRE, which then led easily to the theme clue.

  31. Miche Doherty says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    A random observation: setters seem awfully fond of the pronoun “one”, which sits oddly in colloquial phrases such as 15d. Are they all the Queen? Has anybody ever uttered the words “do one’s nut”?

  32. yogdaws says:

    Thanks Stella

    Love what you’re doin’, Paul…

  33. NeilW says:

    Stella @29, I’m sure you didn’t need RCW’s help @18 either over Paul’s “quirkiness”! 😉

  34. Paul B says:

    Re 31 it’s a crosswording convention AFAIK to use ONE’s rather than YOUR in a phrase like that.

  35. Cosafina says:

    Loved today’s puzzle, but for some obscure reason it took me ages to get the theme, even though I had 12a right away. I think this might partly have been that I couldn’t get Gray’s Anatomy out of my head, and kept thinking I had the anagram fodder wrong!

  36. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Paul and Stella. Protists and Wendy House were new to me. However, ass, checks, color, donut and tire were very familiar to new. Enjoyed the puzzle very much.


  37. Tom willis says:

    Very enjoyable, thanks Paul. And I managed to complete it – a rare event! Now to check out Phi…

  38. MikeC says:

    Thanks Stella and Paul. I enjoyed this one: a nice combination of clever, varied cluing, and the odd “naughty” Paul-ine touch. Not as hard as sometimes, I agree.

  39. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    One of the best Paul puzzles for a while, IMHO, although not too tricky – I managed this on a train, without any reference materials.

    Nice mixture of science and arts, with protists, Escherichia coli and the Kirov in the same crossword. Interesting that Paul should be forced by the grid to use the spelling (LEAD) SULPHATE. The American spelling has long been SULFATE, but for quite a while it has also been the spelling used by the (UK) Royal Society of Chemistry. The Latin name for the element was ‘sulfur’, so there has never been any real justification for the ‘ph’ spelling, hence the decision by the RSC to use ‘f’ in ‘sulfur’ and all derivative names.

  40. Robi says:

    Thanks Gervase @39; I hadn’t realised that SULPHATE was extinct. What next – fosforus?

  41. RCWhiting says:

    I have lost touch with the chemistry world for some years so thanks Gervase for news that ‘f’ is now in for us.
    Just realised that ‘f’ has been in for US for a long time and is now in for UK, too.

  42. Udigower says:

    Am new to this… a “pre-beginner” if you will. Can someone indulge me with an answer to the what is clearly an obvious question… what is the “7” thing? Why is 7 a clue for America? (is that it?)

  43. judygs says:

    As a longtime 15-squared lurker in London, I’m inspired by the post Kayoz sent to say how much I also value the site – beyond parsing support and splendid bloggers, the comments are warm, wise, and witty – thank you all. (And I loved the recent YouTube links).

  44. judygs says:

    Udigower: 7 Down answer is ‘American’ ( but numbers don’t always refer to solutions, cf 10 Across)

  45. Ape says:

    can someone explain 4 down? I got it early on but didn’t quite know why, is it just that over=on? wondered if there was a cricket reference I missed

  46. RCWhiting says:

    I took it just as you explain it.

  47. tupu says:

    Hi Udigower

    As Stella points out (nb * + anagram) ‘american spelling’ is an anagram of ‘eleg(y)[unfinisdhed] criminal pans [out is the anagram indicator in the clue]. Gray is an American spelling of ‘grey’ as well as the name of the ‘elegist’. This is indicated by the reference to ‘color’ in 17 (colorado)an American spelling of colour. The two clues refer back to each other but 7, 16 is solvable on its own once one realises that ‘gray’ is to be taken as a colour word. As you can read, solvers got this idea of ‘American spelling’ = 7 sc. down from other clues as well e.g. 15d where the confection is ‘donut’ (E. doughnut) around an anagram of ‘nose’. I hope this is a help.

  48. tupu says:

    Hi Ape

    r = runs as in cricket contexts + ‘over’ which can sometimes be used interchangeably with ‘on’ (e.g. he spread the tablecloth over (on) the table, or more metaphorically when both more or less equal ‘about’.

  49. Davy says:

    Thanks Stella,

    A superb puzzle from Paul that I didn’t find that easy at all but very very enjoyable. The thing to me about Paul’s puzzles is that initially the clues are like hieroglyphics until you finally realise what he is going on about. My entry into the puzzle was the US from MUSICAL which helped before I got 7,16. I agree with whoever said previously that this was the best Paul for a while.
    It was clever, entertaining, amusing and instructive too.

    Many thanks Paul for your unique setting style.

  50. Mr Beaver says:

    Just to add to the chorus of approval. We finished it, so it can’t have been too hard, but neither were many clues easy. Most were great fun, though, with plenty of groan-inducing ones we come to expect from Paul! Great!

  51. AuntieCatherine says:

    Can some one parse 21 across for me, please. I had to go on the – well, it fits.

  52. pingu says:

    AuntieCatherine @51 – this clue refers to POOL as a synonym for ‘kitty’, which is reversed (or flipped) to give ‘ring’ as the definition – hence LOOP as the solution.

  53. NeilW says:

    pingu, actually, I think the def is “seeing ring” as a contraction of the word loophole. (Meaning 2 in Chambers.)

  54. Davy says:


    I notice that you made a comment at 4.05 am. What part of the world do you reside in or are you just a bad sleeper ?.

  55. AndrewW says:

    Thanks for clearing up a few points, Stella; this is the first time I’ve done a cryptic in a while — my wife’s American, so we tend to do the NY Times puzzle together. A very enjoyable puzzle by Paul, and I’m very happy to have finished it after a couple of hours.

  56. pingu says:

    Neil @53 – that is a more comprehensive parsing, I agree – although I think the clue needed a word to separate the definition from the subsidiary in this case, otherwise ‘Kitty flips ring’ would be ambiguous without the crossing letters.

  57. RCWhiting says:

    I always thought being ambiguous was the whole point of a cryptic clue.

  58. Paul B says:

    No, the whole point of cryptic clues is to be absolutely precise. The best of these are precise, yet misleading.

    I might be persuaded to exclude from this your CD, but even this should lead as unambiguously as possible to the required word or phrase.

  59. RCWhiting says:

    I think the solution should be unambiguous, not always the clue.

  60. Paul B says:

    I don’t see how a solution can be anything but: there it is, in front of you.

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