Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,596 – Paul

Posted by Andrew on March 29th, 2012


Yes, it’s me again – I’m standing in for Eileen, who is away. After Brendan yesterday I was delighted again to get Paul today, with a lot of his trademark humour and cheeky clues, including some very nice &lit-ish surfaces

1. HOP SACK ASP (venomous snake) reversed (“repellent”) in HOCK (wine). A hop sack is just a sack to hold hops.
5. ICECAPS Reverse of SPACE C I
10. EDGE Hidden
12. FIDDLE A definition-and-a-half – to fiddle is to trick, and a fiddle is a violin, which can be played
13. MILLBANK MILL (grind) + BANK – Former location of Labour Party HQ
14. SLAP-HAPPY If Happy outraged the other six dwarves, they might slap him
17,27. NAPPY RASH PP in reverse of RYAN, plus ASH (residue), and the whole clue describes a possible cause of the condition
23. LADYBIRD LADY and BIRD are genteel and slang words respectively for a woman
26. BACON BUTTY CON (party) + BUTT (behind) “sandwiched by” BAY (horse)
28. MANKINI KIN in MAIN* for this horrible garment, notably worn by Sacha Baron-Cohen’s character Borat
2. OLD BILL OLD (obsolete) + BILL (paper money), and “the old Bill” is slang for the police
3,24. SPEED DATING (DESIGNATED P[artners])* – very appropriate surface
4. CHOLERA HOLE in reverse of ARC
7. CLAMBER UP CLAM + B + PURE reversed
8. PHOENIX O in HEN, all in PIX
9. HERMAPHRODITE (MARRIED HOPE TH[is])*, and a hermaphrodite is “both man and woman”
15. POPPYCOCK POPPY (flower) + COCK (male), and “cobblers” = rubbish, nonsense
18. ATACAMA A CAM in [f]ATA[l]. The Atacama Desert is in northern Chile.
20. GIDDY UP GIDDY (dizzy) + UP (on a horse)
21,6. WINDSOR CASTLE Barbara Windsor, actress, and Barbara Castle, politician, making up one of the Queen’s residences.
22. GIBBON Reverse of NOB (head) + BIG (like an elephant)
25. TAROT O (circle) in TART

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,596 – Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. Held up by 18d (wellknown desert, but I found no explanation for the “sight” in the clue) and finally altogether defeated by 28a – the Pauline style made me stop short of testing all the possibilities of -A-KIN-. Big ticks for his NAPPY RASH and POPPYCOCK and the ‘this is not’ in 9d. A shrug for FIDDLE.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Andrew; you have been busy recently!

    My kind of Paul today. When he does themed stuff or twenty-five letter anagrams, I seldom get over the line, but this was perfect for me today. Plenty of wit, with MANKINI (and thanks, not, for the link btw), NAPPY RASH, SPEED DATING and FROGSPAWN all raising a smile.

    The wordplay rather than the definition led me to my answers to a few of the others, which is always a pleasing way round to solve a clue.

  3. Gervase says:

    Bravo, Andrew – at least you’ve had some interesting puzzles to blog.

    Entertaining crossword, with some of the usual seaside postcard humour and amusingly ingenious clues. I found it slightly harder than the previous few Paul offerings, and failed completely with MANKINI (I did think WANKING might be a suitably Pauline answer, but couldn’t really justify it….)

    HOP SACK took a while to see – I think it should be hyphenated, and the definition is off-beam: hops flavour beer, but can’t really be described as a ‘source’ of it.

    Favourites were 26a, 3,24 and 9d, but much to enjoy here.

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew (yet again) and Paul

    A good puzzle with lots of clever stuff.

    I ticked 5a, 19a, 8d, 9d.

    28a kept me guessing – I wondered about smoking first (sm – excruciating – + ??) but it made no sense and didn’t fit after I got Atacama. Then my mind turned to other possibilities ( :) the devil makes work for idle hands they say) but sensibly rejected them too and eventually came to the right conclusion. Paul is often a good source for new (to me) words.

  5. tupu says:

    Hi Gervase

    We crossed on 28a!

  6. Gervase says:

    tupu: So did molonglo @1, but I was less coy about it!

  7. Mitch says:

    Shouldn’t the clue for 12a be “play trick” ? As given, the answer should be ‘fiddled’

  8. Gervase says:

    MANKINI is a nice example of playful etymology. Two-piece beachwear for women had been around since classical times (the Villa del Casale in Sicily has a famous mosaic of girls playing an early version of beach volleyball), but when the modern two-piece beachwear was introduced in the 1940s it was named the ‘bikini’ after Bikini Atoll, the Pacific island site of nuclear testing. When Gernreich ‘designed’ the topless bathing suit in the 1960s he termed it a ‘monokini’, re-analysing the ‘bi’ of ‘bikini’ as the Latin/Greek prefix for ‘having two’. This opened the door for all manner of bizarre variants.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Mitch@7 – we thought the same thing until we noticed the ?. We think that suggests that fiddle is fine asit can be played.

    Mankini was the last one in! Thought about banking as that seems to be the main problem at times but couldn’t parse the rest.

    Thanks Paul – enjoyable solve and thanks Andrew for the blog.

  10. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A satisfying work out.
    I had similar problems to the above although my last in were ‘icecaps’, Phoenix’and ‘proxy’. The __ fooled me.
    I was baffled for a while over ‘mankini’ because I assumed ….ing and took ‘main’as a sea reference.
    I liked ‘slap-happy’

  11. Robi says:

    Very entertaining solve.

    Thanks, Andrew for your stirling work. I didn’t see the space in 5 for a long time. I had little problem with MANKINI as I assumed the family=kin at the beginning. I particularly liked HERMAPHRODITE, SLAP-HAPPY and BACON BUTTY. As Gervase @3 pointed out, HOP-SACK is either hyphenated or one word in Chambers.

    I sometimes forget about GIBBON as an ape (lesser) after Richard Dawkins’ comment about humans being the fifth (great) ape.

  12. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew and Paul

    Nearly gave up on this one because I got stuck with the top right corner. Went back to it later and found enlightenment.

    In my opinion 12a should be DIDDLE. FIDDLE doesn’t quite make sense

  13. snigger says:

    28a last one in. Crossing letters and “kin”, and Paul, did make me consider the previously mentioned answers. “Smog” and “wang” did not seem to fit main problem, but an improvement on my first glance/guess, tsunami.

    Pleased it is just not me that nearly fell for it.

  14. Robi says:

    gm4hqf @12; surely DIDDLE would just be a straight definition (unless you mean the N. American meaning of diddle!) FIDDLE is a dd, as pointed out by Bertandjoyce @9.

  15. gm4hqf says:

    OK Robi

    I just thought that diddle meant to play with something and also to trick someone.

  16. crypticsue says:

    What a lucky Andrew! Why do all the good puzzles turn up on days when I haven’t got much time to solve them. Sneaked this in between bouts of work and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks Paul for a very enjoyable Thursday puzzle – lots to make me smile, top favourite being 21,6

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Andrew and Paul. I needed elucidation on 5a and 16a (which seems so obvious now).

    I, too, was a WANKING man for a while, but couldn’t get any satisfaction with it; a move too far even for Paul? Then went back to my original thoughts on using MAIN, and to my surprise GOOGLE checked out for me. (I saw a MANKINI in Four In A Bed recently; I expect no one else here watches this!)

    Enjoyable crossword again today.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Got it all apart from mankini, being unenlightened enough to try sticking main around things. Never heard of it. Neither had any of the missing letters gadgets I tried.

    Thought there several clues which might be problematical to non-Brits.

  19. slipstream says:

    American bias: PHOENIX was easy, but I have never heard of BACON BUTTY. Bacon sandwiches, sure.

  20. Rosmarinus says:

    Mitch #7 If played is used as an adjective it just about works.

  21. tupu says:

    I wonder if it is completely accidental that Miliband also fits the crossing letters of 13a. As far as I can see it won’t parse and ultimately makes poor sense but one is initially tempted to try it as with alternatives to 28a. The mention of Labour and the idea of Mil(l) and (l)and (territory) come to mind.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    slipstream, butties are specifically buttered sandwiches, whereas the generic term sandwiches could mean buttered or un-buttered. Those of us of a more downmarket outlook think Chip Butties are the best. Ask your nearest cook to explain the difference between chips and fries!

  23. stiofain says:

    A great fun xword from Paul I did it in the garden in our unseasonably hot weather, strangely enough i was wearing my mankini and eating a bacon butty at the time.

  24. pennes says:

    I’m a bit late as I was left with just Hopsack, i first thought that there must be a “b” in the answer. Picked up the crossword this morning and saw it quickly, but I agree that hops are not a source of beer and I did try to think of every grain posible that could be used in beer making. Apart from that and, like others not finding fiddle working very well, I thought this a lot of fun, rather liking ladybird and icecaps.

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