Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,613 by Paul

Posted by PeterO on April 18th, 2012


As usual, the definition is underlined in each clue.

I found this fairly easy going for a Paul, with plenty of humour (though more decorous than is often the case), including a running joke about shellfish.

1. Country where God has executed priest? (6)
PANAMA A charade of PAN (‘God’) + [l]AMA with its head cut off (‘executed priest’).
4. Audio equipment taking call from gambler, being on another planet (7)
HEADSET A charade of HEADS (‘call from gambler’) + ET (‘being from another planet’).
9. After conversion, a metric ton dropping to give, initially, a much smaller unit? (9)
CENTIGRAM An anagram (‘after conversion’) of ‘a metric [to]n’ + ‘g[ive]’.
10. Drinker on drugs, recovered (5)
TOPER RE (‘on’) + POT (‘drugs’), all reversed (‘recovered’).
11. Enthusiastic about bracketing beginning of Renaissance as early music (5)
INTRO An envelope (‘bracketing’) of R (‘beginning of Renaissance’) in INTO (‘enthusiastic about’). The definition is  nicely misleading.
12. Principal in hospital showing diagrams (3,6)
BAR CHARTS An envelope (‘in’) of ARCH (‘principal’) in BARTS (‘hospital’).
13. Leave old hat in the grass (7)
HOLIDAY An envelope (‘in’) of O LID (‘old hat’) in HAY (‘grass’).
15. Strong, like a crustacean, we hear? (6)
MUSCLY The first of related jokes: a homophone (‘we hear’) of mussel-y.
17. Looker more drunk, it’s said, in southwest Europe (6)
IBERIA A homophone (‘it’s said’) of EYE BEERIER (‘looker more drunk’). Taking the definition as just ‘southwest Europe’ sidesteps the frequent complaint  about ‘in’ with geographical references.
19. Square existent, almost round (7)
SIXTEEN An anagram (’round’) of EXISTEN (‘existen[t] almost’). 16 = 4².
22. Granny worn out, we hear? No! (6,3)
AFRAID NOT A homophone (‘we hear’) of A FRAYED KNOT (‘Granny worn out’).
24. Sauce bore olives, for a start (5)
PESTO A charade of PEST (‘bore’) + O (‘Olives, for a start’).
26. See 3
- See 3
27. Miliband completely out of it, they say, not expected to recover (5,4)
STONE DEAD A homophone (‘they say’) of STONED ED (‘Milliband completely out of it’).
28. Too much to wrap a carpet (7)
OVERLAY An envelope (‘to wrap’) of ‘a’ in OVERLY (‘too much’).
29. Moist, like a crustacean? (6)
CLAMMY Another seafood joke.
1. Hungry, like Gregory? (7)
PECKISH Gregory PECK -ish. My film career was a scene with him.
2. Group seeing potential disaster for the human cannonball? (5)
3,26. Desperate individual married with older bloke, principally? (4-5,5)
MAIL-ORDER BRIDE An anagram (‘desperate’) of I (‘individual’) + ‘married’ + ‘older’ + B (‘Bloke principally’), with an &lit definition.
4. Pedestrian has drone to beat (7)
HUMDRUM A charade of HUM (‘drone’) + DRUM (‘beat’).
5. One of Hugh’s extremities given a tickle (5)
AITCH A charade of ‘a’ + ITCH (‘tickle’). Hugh begins and ends with an aitch.
6. Criminal rues leg up, discovering maximum security product? (9)
SUPERGLUE An anagram (‘criminal’) of ‘rues leg up’.
7. Refuse to accept hard to beat (6)
THRASH An envelope (‘to accept’) of H (‘hard’) in TRASH (‘refuse’).
8. Cross, like a crustacean? (6)
CRABBY Double definition.
14. Party queen can start to enjoy being a womaniser (9)
LIBERTINE A charade of LIB (Liberal ‘party’) + ER (‘Queen’) + TIN (‘can’) + E (‘start to Enjoy’).
16. It ups record on peace in mark of approval (3,6)
SEX APPEAL An envelope (‘in’) of XAPPE, a reversal (‘ups’) of EP PAX (‘record on peace’) in SEAL (‘mark of approval’),
18. Pen underlining wrong name, granting forgiveness (7)
AMNESTY A charade of AMNE, an anagram (‘wrong’) of ‘name’ + STY (‘pen’).
19. It gets caught in storm every so often — that’s supposed to be funny? (6)
SITCOM An envelope (‘in’) of ‘it’ + C (‘caught’) in SOM (‘StOrM every so ofren’).
20. Commercial number to divide that coming up as twelve (7)
NOONDAY An envelope (‘to divide’) of AD NO (‘commercial number’) in YON (‘that’), all reversed (‘coming up’).
21. Chinese shoots tail off deer with two rounds (6)
BAMBOO A charade of BAMB[i] (‘deer’) with its end removed (‘tail off’) + OO (‘two rounds’).
23. Perfect fool’s last hypothesis over the top (5)
IDEAL A charade of IDEA (‘hypothesis’) + L (‘fooL‘s last’).
25. Given sheikhdom’s capital, Manchester City, say, demonstrating power (5)
STEAM A charade of S (‘Sheikdom’s capital’) + TEAM (‘Manchester City, for example’).

43 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,613 by Paul”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Paul and PeterO. Loved this puzzle. Film career? I’ll try The Sea Wolves (1980)


  2. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    PECKISH my favourite.

    But mussels and clams are molluscs…

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Got to this late in the day, for me, but glad I made time for it. All good fun. Loved 3,26 with the well disguised construction – I have to admit that I took it at first as just a not very cryptic definition, perhaps because we see so much of it around these parts, sadly.

    27 was unusual for Paul – he’s not normally much of a political commentator.

    I have to agree with Miche that Fruits de Mer is clearly not Paul’s favourite dish!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Peter and Paul.

    A lot of fun, which I too found a little easier than Paul sometimes is. AFRAID NOT and STONE DEAD made me laugh, and I also liked BARCHARTS, but I suspect everyone will have their own favourite in this one. There is that stuff about molluscs and crustaceans, though – but hey, it’s science and not arts …

    Film career? My ex-wife’s sister was a child extra in Women in Love (1969).

  5. nusquam says:

    I enjoyed this. Thanks for the excellent blog.

    I first tried ‘brawny’ [prawny] for 15ac, thinking ‘Not even Paul, but I might as well check.’

  6. John Appleton says:

    My only quibble was the mollusc/crustacean confusion. But like our old friends infer and imply, I’m aware enough of the common error to not let it get me in a crossword.

  7. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul

    Had to think for a while about 16d SEX APPEAL because I didn’t think that 15a MUSCLY was a proper word. It is in Chambers, though I have never heard it used.

    Very enjoyable puzzle. My pet hate of hopping about the grid to reference clues was thankfully absent.

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO. Slowed down inthe SE but the crustacean mini-theme ending in -Y gave the link from29a to 20d where ‘twelve’ was noon as opposed to 16d’s SIXTEEN=square, all good stuff. Favourite was the political 27a.

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    What a theme! Thirty-two overly easy clues.
    Then 22ac which took me as long to solve as all the rest combined.
    A brilliant end to a dsappointing crossword.

  10. William says:

    Thanks PeterO.

    Molonglo @8 may have slowed down in the SE, but I ground to a halt. Took ages to get NOONDAY & SIXTEEN – both of which were jolly clever.

    A FRAYED KNOT, PECKISH & STONED ED were great fun.

    John Appleton @6 please say more – to my discredit I don’t really know the difference.

    Fine puzzle, Paul, thank you.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Paul

    An enjoyable puzzle. I carelessly wrote in muscle (as e.g. in muscle-man), I’m afraid, and missed the nice &lit in 3,25.

    Lots of clever clues and wit. I ticked 4a, 17a, 22a, 2d, 16d, 19d.

  12. John Appleton says:

    William @10, I think (and I’m sure I’ll be corrected if wrong) that to purists, infer means to work something out, imply means to suggest something – although I believe there’s debate as to whether one of them can also mean the other (Chambers goes so far as to mention the confusion between the two).

  13. bertandjoyce says:

    Like Tupu @11 we wrote in muscle although we questioned it as a synonym for ‘strong’. Didn’t even think about ‘muscly’ as an alternative.

    Smiles for 22a – our COD!

    Thanks Paul for another entertaining solve and PeterO for the blog.

  14. Robi says:

    Enjoyable puzzle that I didn’t find as easy as RCW. The outrageus NOT AFRAID was particularly good.

    Thanks PeterO for the exemplary blog. It took me a while to get NONET. According to Wiki: ‘More than 30 human cannonballs have been killed. The latest was in Kent, United Kingdom on April 21, 2011, where a human cannonball died due to failure of the safety net.’

    My career in film was in ‘A Man for All Seasons,’ although you won’t find me in the credits!

  15. Robi says:

    William @10; if your query was about the seafood:

    ‘Crustaceans are aquatic animals that have jointed legs, a hard shell and no backbone, such as crab, crayfish, lobster, prawns and shrimp. Shellfish (also known as molluscs) have a hinged two-part shell and include clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, and various types of octopus, snails and squid.’ I hope this is right.

  16. Waswallin says:

    RCW@9 If you’re going to be sour and unpleasant,try at least to be accurate…there are only 31 clues in the crossword.

    I’m sure we’ve all endured enough of your snide comments not to be asked to put up with your inaccurate pedantry as well.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    I do apologise Walwallin – and you went to all that trouble counting them.
    I must stop loosely using ‘clue’ when I meant light.
    There is nothing sour or unpleasant in my comment. It is not possible to be either to a clue. They are inanimate pieces of journalism.

  18. crypticsue says:

    Lovely puzzle – lots to smile at, particularly the aforementioned STONED ED. Thanks to Paul for brightening up a very wet East Kent morning and to Peter for the blog.

  19. tupu says:

    Hi RCW
    :) No need to apologise. Your comments are inanimate pieces of written discourse for which you have no responsibility.

  20. Bertandjoyce says:

    Get a life folks – it’s only a crossword!

  21. Col says:

    Bad compiling Paul! Simply no excuses. If you use biological terms, crustaceans belong to the class crustacea, within the phylum arthropoda. Clams and mussels belong to the phylum mollusca. They are as different from one another as either is from us (phylum chordata). So, it was like asking for crustaceans when the answers were mammals. No wonder I had job getting those 2!

    The way to do it would have been to ask for shellfish, not crustaceans. All marine molluscs and crustaceans can be referred to as shellfish, as the term is based in cuisine, not biology, and has no clear definition.


  22. Waswallin says:

    RCW @17 Wrong again, I’m afraid. There’s no need to count the clues – the grid format generates the total very simply. What? Can’t do it? Oh dear, perhaps you’re not as clever as you try to appear. Never mind, keep up the inanimate contributions.

  23. crypticsue says:

    B&J @20 – hear hear

  24. William says:

    Robi @15 thanks – I did mean the seafood. Your answer was generally what I thought but Col @21 seems to have been truly injured by the slip!

    Hey-ho, what have you started, Paul?

  25. Admin says:

    Your two recent comments are not in keeping with the spirit of this community, nor the Site Policy. They also appear to have been made by a regular contributor who has adopted a different user name solely for the purpose of having a dig at RCWhiting without anyone knowing who was doing so.

    Except in exceptional circumstances (eg setters with several pseudonyms), multiple identities are not acceptable on this site and anyone found to be using them will be placed under moderation.

  26. PeterO says:

    Grandpuzzler @1 – No, it was Arabesque (1966). To see me, you need the widescreen version, or I am pan-and-scanned out of existence.
    I must have been particularly indulgent/dozy to let pass the crustacean bit without comment. Still, it’s all part of the fun.

  27. Pipeflake says:

    Although rarely commenting,I enjoy the site – and explanations that have escaped me!
    Could do without squabbles though.
    Have to agree about crustacean. I immediately thought of a play on ‘mussel’but dismissed it as being plain wrong.
    Was it an oversight or just sloppy?

  28. Waswallin says:

    Admin @25. Apologies, bad day I suppose.

  29. crosser says:

    B&J @20 and crypticsue @23 Couldn’t agree more!
    Thanks PeterO
    Loved 22a

  30. andy smith says:

    Thanks Peter for the helpful blog.

    FWIW the ‘frayed knot’ gag occurs in Neil Gaiman’s entertaining fantasy ‘Neverwhere’, worth a few hours of anyone’s time IMO. But he probably didn’t originate it…

  31. apiarist says:

    Phew ! I nearly enjoyed the mini sqabble as much as this crossword. Cross words about a crossword ! Can I just add that it is nice to know that the letter aitch still is with us and not haitch as most radio and television people seem to think.

  32. RCWhiting says:

    apiarist @31
    Agree. Is it true that during the troubles in NI the allegiance of a stranger was ascertained by the way in which they pronounced the 8th letter?

  33. stiofain says:

    Yes RCW, that is true generally those from a nationalist background would pronounce a hard h at the start.
    A good fun xword from Paul I was glad to see he seems to be weaning himself off the multiple light clues – they really are a mess in the online version.

  34. Chris says:

    I must agree with the chrous decrying the mollusc/crustacean error – it’s really quite an egregious category mistake. Like clueing ‘Macbeth’ as a Dickens novel, except that would never happen.

    I initially tried to make a ‘prawny/brawny’ homophone work for 15ac before getting ‘clammy’ and realising that ‘crustacean’ must actually be referring to a totally different type of animal!

  35. NealH says:

    I slightly object to 1 across on the grounds that there are plenty of methods of execution that don’t involve chopping heads off (electric char, firing squad, lethal objection, hanging…). I suppose the clue does have a question mark, which covers all sins.

  36. NealH says:

    Electric chair, even – I always manage to mistype something.

  37. Wolfie says:

    Chris @ 34 – I totally agree with you, and was bemused to read some of the comments here that seem to suggest that the crustacean confusion was a minor fault. It actually held me up for ages, since though ‘clammy’ and ‘muscly’ had occurred to me I ‘knew’ (as a retired biologist) that they must be wrong. It was only after much fruitless brain-bashing that I conceded defeat and resorted to the check button on the website.

    I am surprised that a setter of Paul’s status should have used a scientific term without ensuring that he knew what it meant and equally surprised that the crossword editor did not intervene to spare the setter’s blushes. If an equivalent error had been made in, say, the authorship of a novel it would have been greeted with howls of protest and derision. But, as I have commented before on this site, the ‘Two Cultures’ still prevail in the intellectual life of this country.

    Apart from this, I enjoyed the crossword! Thanks Peter O for the blog.

  38. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Well, somehow I managed to enjoy this puzzle.

    I didn’t notice how easy it was (although I was expecting Paul to tax me more)

    I wasn’t appalled by the terrible confusion of mollusc and crustacean. (actually didn’t notice!)

    I didn’t count the clues or lights.

    Am I a bad person?

    Several laugh out loud moments though.

    Thanks Paul and PeterO

  39. Chris C says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the puzzle and Paul’s still my favourite setter.

    But just because many people wouldn’t have spotted the error doesn’t mean it’s any less of an error. Biololgically speaking, it would have been less of an error to have clued, say, ‘tigrish’ as ‘like a fish’ as tigers and fish are at least in the same phyla as each other and thus more closely related than clams are to crustaceans.

    As Wolfie says, it’s proper Two Cultures syndrome, this one. An error of this magnitude relating to an arty subject would have been absolutely howled down, but when it’s a science error, those who have been irritated by it are pedants or bores.

  40. Chris C says:

    ‘Phylum’, not ‘phyla’.

  41. Paul says:

    What a prawn that Paul is!

  42. Huw Powell says:

    Mostly came by to see how the horrible biological errors played out in the comments… I was really hoping to find that CLAMMY and MUSCLY were wrong, but sadly no.

    To make a better comparison than the Macbeth/Dickens one above, this would be exactly like calling Macbeth a novel in a clue.

    Having to think while writing in an answer “well I guess the setter and editor have no idea what this word means” is a bit frustrating in a WORD puzzle.

    Otherwise, I agree this was a moderately easy puzzle, although I usually do pretty well with Paul’s offerings. Loved CENTIGRAM, and AFRAID NOT reminded me of an old joke I don’t remember, but it involves something about a piece of string walking into a bar.

    Thanks as always for the blog, Peter, and of course for the generally enjoyable puzzle, Paul!

  43. Dave Ellison says:

    huw @ 42 could this be it:

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