Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,572 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on March 1st, 2012


This is Paul on the very top of his form, I think. Many thanks, Paul, for all the fun!


1   WINDBAG: WIND [gas] BAG [reversal – ‘back’] of  GAB – talk]
5   GOODWIN: GOOD [great] WIN [success]: a brilliant, topical clue, with a great surface, referring to [Sir] Fred Goodwin, who was stripped of his knighthood just a month ago.
9   RHOMB: HOMB [two thirds of HOMB[re] [Spanish chap] after R [last letter of gutteR]
10  STRIP CLUB: STRIP [runway] CLUB [wood, say – golf club]
11  OPIUM POPPY: PIU [Italian ‘more’ – used in musical notation] in OM [Order of Merit] + POPPY, which could describe modern music
12,19  BOLL WEEVIL: BOV[r]IL [meat extract minus [to be extracted] R{right}] round LL [couple of litres] and WEE [little]
14  UNDERWRITTEN: anagram [criminal] of WENT ID RETURN
18  VINCENT PRICE: VICE [gripping thing] round [gathering] IN CENT [money]  and PR [promotion]
21  RHEA: hidden in banneR HEAdline: the rhea is a flightless bird
22  HUMOURLESS: cryptic definition: ‘imploded eyeball’ rang a gruesome bell and I found, thanks to our wonderful archive, in a Paul puzzle of a few months ago, HUMOURLESSLY clued as. ‘How one’s eyes could implode in a serious way’. [I’m commenting, not complaining!]
25  ELIMINATE: ELATE [cheer] around I’M + IN [inside]
26  ANVIL: V [last letter – conclusion – of Nabokov] in A NIL [a blank]
27  RELAPSE: R [last letter of slumber] + anagram [not sound] of ASLEEP – clever
28  TITULAR: T [first letter of Torturing] + anagram [appalling] of RITUAL


1   WARHOL: WAR [action] HOL [break]
2   NOOKIE: NOOK [recess] IE [that is] – a typical Paul clue!
3   BABY MINDER: ‘maybe [perhaps] binder’ [file]
4   GISMO: ISM [doctrine] in [to cut] GO [energy]
5   GIRL POWER: GIR [reversal – up] of RIG [fix] + LOWER [reduced] around [packaging] P [starter of Pilau], with a reference to the Spice Girls, who popularised the term
6   OOPS: OO [ring, ring] + PS [post script – more to say]
7   WILD OATS: anagram [liberally] of I WAS TOLD – and a wonderful Pauline double entendre!
  NIBELUNG: NI [reversal – turn – of IN] + BE [live] + LUNG [organ]
13  DISCORDANT: anagram [nuts] of C [first letter of Cheese] + ADD TINS OR
15  ENTOURAGE: Anagram [foolishly] of TEN + OUR AGE [we act thus with maturity – a reference to the injunction to ‘Act your age, not your shoe size!’]
16  OVERHEAR: sounds like [on the radio] ‘Over here’ – a reference to the WWII description of GIs being ‘Overpaid, over-sexed and over here’, which no doubt would have been heard on the radio – great clue!
17  IN DENIAL: does this need spelling out? It came readily to me because, only yesterday, my Latin reading group were recalling examples of mondegreens  – whose existence I learned
of through 15²: hours of fun – and a lovely clue!
20  OSTLER: anagram [pickled] of STOLE + last letter of cucumbeR – nice surface
23  OVERT: O [second letter of gOlf] + VERT [green]
24  WIMP: WI MP: Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’ is the anthem of the Women’s Institute [WI]: perhaps a little hard on non-UK solvers but a super clue.

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,572 / Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. This was tricky and three times (18a, 8d and 15d) I needed help. Plenty of ahas and oh nos in the end, with 16 and 17d, and OPIUM POPPY where I got the piu=more but wonder how many did. GOODWIN’s airlessness only revealed later via Google. Prize worthy as well as praiseworthy, Paul.

  2. Frank says:

    Thanks,Paul: ingenious and saucy as usual – and thanks, Eileen, for the explanation of WIMP and OPIUM POPPY in particular.

  3. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul.
    24 dn – definition WUSS. I always thought this was a South Walian expression meaning bach , man or mate, hadn’t heard of the WIMP meaning.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi cholecyst

    That’s interesting: when checking the origin of ‘wuss’ in Chambers [it’s apparently chiefly North American slang – though a favourite word in my family] I was surprised to find the Welsh word [first spelling given as ‘wus’] – as a completely separate entry.

  5. Meic says:

    22 is not just a crytpic defn but a double defn clue, one straight (Dry, as in lacking in humour), one cryptic

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. This was pretty tough but, with Paul, I always know that, if I persevere, I’ll get there.

    Stared at OPIUM for ages – I saw the OM bit but, having never come across PIU before, it was a while before I got the dictionary out and all was revealed!

    I don’t think you need to worry too much about Fred – even here in Indonesia we’ve heard about and suffered from his adventures (but I wonder if he will mean much to someone delving into the archives a year or two from now…)

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Meic @5

    Of course you’re right. [I got sidetracked by my archive research.] That’s certainly the way I parsed it when solving, because I remember thinking that it’s interesting that ‘dry’ can [ironically] mean ‘humorous’ and meant to make that comment.

  8. Tramp says:

    Lovely puzzle — as usual. Great blog — as usual.

  9. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen. I read 25 as: {ELATE (‘cheer’) around (‘ringing’) IN (‘around’) with IM inside} where IN is being used in the sense of there was no one around, for example. It has the benefit of relieving IN of working overtime but maybe I’m making things too complicated …

  10. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen (you got a good one today!)

    Splendid puzzle from Paul – one of his best for a long time. It was quite tricky and only yielded slowly for me; the NW corner in particular had me stuck for a while. ‘Source of misery’ is a wonderfully opaque definition for OPIUM POPPY (Agreed RCW?), which I could parse, unlike WIMP, which eluded me.

    Favourite clues were the topical &lit at 5a, the ingenious Spoonerism at 3d and anagram at 7d; also 5d, 16d and 20d for their construction and surface.

  11. crypticsue says:

    Lucky Eileen, although people might have been waiting a bit longer if I was blogging this tricky, great fun Paul. A fellow blogger emailed me this morning to say that ‘Paul is outstanding’ and he wasn’t wrong. Splendid crossword for a lovely sunny day.

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A very pleasant solve. Yes, Gervase, I did appreciate some very allusive definitions. As well as the one which you mention I liked ‘source of misery’, ‘catch’and ‘Spices strong with it’.
    The latter illustrates something raised here a while back: (mis)use of punctuation, especially capital letters.

    I have noticed that several compilers have made use of the new(ish) Ford model, Ka. I wonder how long before we see (or miss) the new Volkswagen: up!.And will there be objections over the absence or not of the !

  13. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Eileen. Excellent puzzle from Paul.

    Had to look up Wuss in Chambers to get WIMP.

    17d IN DENIAL, how does he get away with it!

  14. crypticsue says:

    gm4hqf at 13 – I had to blog a crossword with DENIAL in it at the weekend and was only thinking that I hadn’t heard the old joke about where a crocodile could be found for a very long time. Obviously a case of ‘ask and you shall receive’

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Of course, ‘no sir’ was the very best allusive definition of the day.

  16. PeterJohnN says:

    Thanks Paul and Eileen. Enjoyed the puzzle which at first seemed difficult but became easier as I went along. I suppose that’s normal!

    5a GOODWIN was bitchy but I loved it! There should be many more like him.

    Got 11a OPIUM POPPY, from crossing solutions, but had to look up PIU, which was new to me.

    First in was 12,19a BOLL WEEVIL, as Bovril immediately came to mind. Didn’t like the surface much, especially “extracted” from “extract”. “Removed” for example would have been better. I would have mentioned that the Boll Weevil is or was notorious for destroying cotton crops. Like Meic, I took the definition to be “dry”, but didn’t regard it as a double definition.

    Re 16d, OVERHEAR, for the benefit of novices, “on the radio” is a commonly used device to indicate a homophone (a word that sounds the same as another, but has a different spelling and/or meaning). It doesn’t need to have actually been heard on the radio.

    17a IN DENIAL. I will spell it out. Homophone of “In de(the) Nile”. Groan!

    Re 22a HUMOURLESS. Gruesome surface! I would have explained that the eyeball is filled with (vitreous) humour, and the lens with (aqueous) humour.

  17. Robi says:

    Nice one, Paul.

    Thanks Eileen; I wondered why he hadn’t used WI as Women’s Institute, doh! WARHOL was the last in; is ‘from’ used elsewhere as a juxtaposition down indicator, or is that just being too precise? ‘PIU’ looks like typical crossword fare that I haven’t come across before. I’m more familiar with RHOMBus rather than the short version and would normally spell GIZMO as such.

    I don’t know whether WINDBAG GOODWIN, who had a TITULAR RELAPSE are coincidences or intended associations at the top and bottom of the puzzle.

  18. Gervase says:

    Robi @17: GIZMO occurred to me early on as a possibility for 4d, but the Z ruled it out. It was a long time before I went back to the word, but with an unfamiliar spelling.

    I like your (highly contrived) NINA!

  19. Cosafina says:

    Excellent puzzle! Last in was 10a as I couldn’t see why STRIP meant runaway (my eyes adding letters that didn’t exist).
    COD(s) 2d and 1d.
    Thanks Paul!

  20. Thomas99 says:

    Robi @17-
    Re the “from” in 1d, I don’t think it’s an indicator. It’s just that as “School hol” means a break from school, “War hol” might mean a break from war (“action”).

  21. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Fantastic puzzle, which I rushed through this morning before going out. That’s my excuse for failing to get ENTOURAGE and missing the brilliant definition ‘no sir’…

  22. Eileen says:

    I’ve been out since mid-day and am glad to see everyone enjoyed this puzzle as much as I did. I actually wrote a longer preamble [in my usual hyperbolic style] but ran out of superlatives, so summed them up in one sentence. I certainly think it’s one of Paul’s best puzzle in ages.


    Just a couple of points on how I [and several other people] do blogs:

    It seemed quicker to supply a link for BOLL WEEVIL, which explains that it’s notorious for destroying cotton crops.

    Re 16dn: I put ‘on the radio’ in brackets immediately after ‘sounds like’, as I would with ‘reportedly’, ‘they / some say’, to show that’s the indicator [cf 14ac: ‘anagram [criminal]'; 15dn: ‘anagram [foolishly]; my further comment that this might actually have been heard on the radio was to emphasise what a good clue it was!

    I agree that it would have been helpful to explain ‘humour’.

    Re GISMO: I meant to check the spelling. I’d have thought it was GIZMO but the ISM leapt out at me, so I assumed this must be right. Chambers does give this as the first spelling.

    I read 1dn as Thomas99 did.

  23. Robi says:

    Thanks, Thomas99 @20; I get the sense now.

  24. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul
    Completed this on return from a day out. Some very good, amusing clues. I did not understand ‘wimp’, and I misinterpreted ‘gismo’ as an anagram of egoism minus e. I much enjoyed ‘in denial’, and also ticked several others including 10a, 11a, 18a (some fond memories of that great ‘hamster’ especially with Mitchum and Russell in ‘His KInd of Woman’), 3d, 7d, 15d.

  25. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Paul, for an excellent puzzle and Eileen for her superblog.

    Came to it late today, as the fine weather tempted me into pruning duties.

    I followed your lead into mondegreens etc., Eileen, and had a good laugh.
    Lots of brilliant clues and more of a prize puzzle than a Thursday one. I liked Ostler at 20d, which leapt out at me and reminded me of Tim the ostler, who had ‘hair like mouldy hay’ in The Highwayman!
    5a reminded me of stranding on the Goodwin Sands as a possible extra layer of meaning.

    Giovanna x

  26. Eileen says:

    Thank you,Giovanna, for the reference to ‘The Highwayman’ which I nearly mentioned, as being my first [and perhaps only] acquaintance with OSTLER – but, more importantly, for me, age ten, it opened up the world of poetry.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the mondegreens. ;-)

    Buona notte x

  27. Richard says:

    In Australia wimp and wuss are fairly common and, in the UK, probably familiar to viewers of neighbours.

  28. Rorschach says:

    Anyone else have Opium House instead of Opium poppy? House is a modern form of music right..? haha – getting old…

  29. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Eileen for explaining WIMP, I would never have got that one by myself. A very good puzzle.

  30. Bertandjoyce says:

    I printed this out because I read your preamble and thought I’d print it out to enjoy on holiday…… And we dis! The last one in was 17d and it really made us smile. Paul on top form. Great fun.

    Thanks Eileen, see you soon!

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