Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,544 / Paul

Posted by mhl on February 4th, 2012


We thought this was fairly tough for one of Paul’s puzzles, but very enjoyable, as usual. Our main problem was putting an incorrect (but fairly plausible) answer in for 28 across.

1. ATHEISM HE = “God” + IS in ATM = “a noted hole”; Definition: “thinking to the contrary?”. I like “a noted hole” for an ATM / cash machine.
5. ASEPTIC A + SEPT I = “date of despair for Poland” (German invaded Poland on September 1st 1939) + C = “cold”; Definition: “clean”
10. SOLE Double definition: “One” and “part of a shoe”
11. RUEFULNESS (FLU ENSURES)*; Definition: “sorry feeling”
12. WARSAW WAR = “action” + SAW = “which may be [CIRCULAR]” (referring to a circular saw); Definition: “European city”
13. CIRCULAR Double definition: the letter O is circular (sort of) and a circular is a letter that might be sent around many recipients.
14. BREATHING (BEAR)* + THING = “object”; Definition: “that may be [CIRCULAR]”, referring to circular breathing
16. POTTY Double definition: “Penny spent training here” (you might consider potty-training as training for “spending a penny” and “not the full shilling” (an expression to suggest that someone is a bit crazy, one sandwich short of a picnic, etc.)
17. SHAPE Hidden in “fiSH, A PErch”; Definition: “Form”
19. LEICESTER Sounds like “less to” or “Not as much to”, Definition: “[SQUARE]?” (referring to Leicester Square in London)
23. CAST-IRON (RIOTS)* in CAN – something that’s been filmed is said to be “in the can”; Definition: “Certain”
26. TENNIS BALL S = “son” in NIB = “bit of a writer” in TEN ALL = “a tie”; Definition: “Bouncer”
27,24. DEAD PARROT “[POLYGON]” sounds like “Polly gone”, which suggests Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch
28. POLYGON Y = “unknown” + LOP = “cut” all reversed, followed by GON[e] = “almost disappeared”; Definition: “[SHAPE]” – This was our more troublesome clue, confidently putting in NONAGON, thinking that perhaps ANON = “Unknown” reversed (“cut back”) – did anyone else make the same mistake?
29. STARLET STALE = “old” around R = “right” followed by T[high] = “thigh at kick-off?”; Definition: “Young player”
2. TWO PAIR (OR PAW IT)*; Definition: “Possible hand”
3. EVENS [s]EVENS = “Top card game”; Definition: “toss of a coin?” i.e. 50-50 odds
4. STREWTH STREW + “loosely scatter” + TH[is] = “half of this”; Definition: “oath” Corrected; thanks, Biggles A
6. SQUARE Double definition: “[SQUARE]” and “behind the times?”
7. PENDULOUS LOUS[e] = “crawler, not entirely” below P[a]U[l] = “Paul, regularly” around END = “bottom”; Definition: “Swinging”
8. INSTANT (ISN’T)* + ANT[i] = “against taking foot off”; Definition: “Second” Another silly mistake corrected – thanks, Biggles A
9. TERCENTENNIAL RC = “Catholic” in (NINETEEN)* in T[ot]AL = “total forgetting biblical text”; Definition: “relating to 1712″
15. APPETENCY [f]ANCY = “topless lust after” around P = “softly” + PET = “favourite” + [uncl]E = “uncle’s rear”; Definition: “Desire”
18. HEAVE-HO Double definition: “Man on board’s call” and “dismissal”
20. CO-PILOT COOT = “Baldie” (as in “bald as a coot”) around LIP = “nerve” reversed; Definition: “assistant in the air”
21. EVOCATE EVE = “the oldest woman” around O = “old” + CAT = “Tom”; Definition: “Summon from the grave”
22. TRESCO R = “runs” in TESCO = “what’s destroying the high street?”; Definition: “Island off Cornwall”
25. RADAR Palindrome; Definition: “Tracker”

11 Responses to “Guardian 25,544 / Paul”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. 17 was one of the first I entered and 28 followed shortly afterwards without NONAGON occurring to me. I did fall into the trap and tried to fit the letters of LEICESTER into the 9 anagram for a while. In which context I thought the ‘less to’ homophone was questionable. APPETENCY was a new word but readily enough derived.

  2. Biggles A says:

    I thought the TH in 4 was the first half of THIS. What is the significance of RE in 8? Is not ENGINEER an anagrind ?

  3. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul
    Well … this was a puzzle – what a cracker!!
    Struggled with 16a and 19a for most of the week – and as it turned out because I had put in PENDULANT downwards (anagram of PAUL around END) with an (A)NT as my ‘not entire crawler’ … aggghhh. Penny finally dropped this morning (Oz time)… when I discounted some of the crossings and ‘aha-ed’ LEICESTER Square.
    Did parse 1a slightly diffently A T-H-E (hole in TE, note) ISM – but your version is much better – ATM is a gem !
    Unfortunately Paul still wins … had HEAVE TO rather than HEAVE HO
    Filled with excellent, clever and humorous clues – 1a, 12a, 16a, 27-24a, 9d, 15d were stand outs.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl. I agree with Biggles A about 4 and 8 but, in the context of the whole clue, the homophone worked for me – if I say “less to” it sounds like “less too” but if I say “less to say” it sounds like “less t’ say” – still that’s the dangerous world of homophones for you!

  5. mhl says:

    Thanks for pointing out my couple of silly errors (now corrected) – I parsed them fine at the time, but just wrote the post in a rush a few days later…

  6. Paul Wolfarth says:

    Thanks for the blog MHL. I didn’t finish this till Tuesday – you’ll be pleased to know that your were not the only one to enter NONAGON – I made the same mistake, which left me struggling with 15d until the penny dropped.

    An excellent challenge from Paul. Thank you.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Paul

    A very good puzzle. Unaccountably ‘sole’ proved a bit harder to see than several other more difficult entries.

    28a was teasing but entertaining too. My first thought was hexagon (before I had 19d) on the very dubious basis that Planck’s H constant might be thought of as an unknown + >axe + gon. Then I tried nonagon and lastly saw the joke along with 27,24.

    Ticked 16a, 19a, 29a, 3d, 4d. Good fun overall and also liked the ATM in 1a (Some feminists might well not like the He!). I saw 4d and 8d as Biggles A @2.

  8. Robi says:

    Pretty difficult but entertaining crossword. ATM=noted hole is outrageous! (ly good) Paul had me running around in circles with this one. TEN-ALL for tie was clever. His trademark bottom made a usual appearance.

    Thanks mhl; I assumed the ‘TH’ in 4 came from oath, although that would mean double-duty. I didn’t know APPETENCY and EVOCATE, although the clu(e)ing was faultless. The LEICESTER homophone was OK, I thought, once I had considered it afresh.

  9. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog. Good to see that I was not alone in confidently entering NONAGON at first.

    I found quite a few of these hard, returning several times before finishing. Great! Exactly what I want from a prize puzzle. Well done Paul.

    LEICESTER and CIRCULAR were my favourites, amongst many, with POTTY nearly driving me potty.

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Nice to see a prize puzzle which lives up to the name (although today’s Crucible surpasses it).
    Plenty of tricks and misdirections. I was a nonagon thinker although I resisted writing it in and discovered my error through the ‘dead parrot’.
    I,too, admired ‘the noted hole’ and the ‘Leicester’ homophone.
    A very satisfying exercise (the dementia remains delayed).

  11. Jan says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    I followed exactly the same reasoning as Tupu – hexagon, then nonagon – until the deceased bird raised it’s head!

    All in all, an enjoyable puzzle.

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