Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,739 by Paul

Posted by flashling on September 12th, 2012


Paul isn’t suffering from writer’s block today…

Not Paul’s hardest or rudest but I can’t suss out 18 properly so suggestions welcome. [Note the clue was changed later to be: Attendants semi-dressed, including daughter in plaits ]

Being brought to Book – er…

4 BARKER Double definition, Clive or Paul possibly no, a different one, Pat or possibly Nicola maybe
6 ISHIGURO IS + HI + GUR(u) + O(ld)
17 NAIPAUL [IN A]* + PAUL (the setter…)
18 BRIDESMAIDS Can’t get this to work, it’s (IDE + SM(ocks)) in BRAIDS, go=DIE but the order’s wrong.

Second version is (D in SEMI*) in BRAIDS

23 BERGER sounds like “burger”
24 DISTASTE (eviden)T in DISASTE(r)
25 BARNES sounds like “barns”
1 BETONY ETON in BY (near), aka STACHYS
3 DISRAELI (IS + (b)R(e)A(d)) in DELI
7 UP TO (fo)U(r) + OPT*
8 OKRI Hidden in (to)OK RI(sks)
14 ALL-SORTS [L(uton) + LSO] in ARTS
20 USED (sodok)U (i)S (don)E (an)D


Hold mouse over clue number to read a clue.

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,739 by Paul”

  1. Miche says:

    Thanks, flashling.

    Pat BARKER at 4a, I think. They’re all Booker Prize winners.

    It’s dodgy homophone time! John BERGER’S name rhymes with verger. It doesn’t have a hard G.

    All good fun. BLADDERS my last in, and it made me laugh.

  2. EB says:

    Thanks flashling.

    18ac – there have been a couple of mistakes in recent crosswords, could this be another?

    Could the intention be “ride + sm” for “go with sm(ocks)” inside “braids” – but the “r” has been used twice, mistakenly, if you see what I mean.

  3. Miche says:

    18: I thought it was RIDE (go) + SM(ocks) in BRAIDS, but now I see that’s an R too many!

  4. Miche says:

    Sorry, EB – I should have refreshed the page before commenting again.

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, flashling. Dredged these writers up with relative ease, which surprised me.

    I fear EB @2 is right. (I’d be very happy if both of us were wrong.) I see Shed came on the blog late yesterday to own up but perhaps this is a new style for the Guardian cryptic, the deliberate error?

    What’s “number” doing in 11, apart from making a better surface?

  6. EB says:


    Ha – no problem – “great minds think alike” as they say; but there’s also “fools seldom differ” – not sure what applies here but it does look like a mistake to me. Flashling’s use of an anagram of “ide” doesn’t work as he (she? – sorry don’t know) says and anyway there is no anagram indicator as far as I can see.

  7. JudithF says:

    Hello all, first time posting.

    18a: beware the ides of March!

  8. JudithF says:

    Not sure if I’ve been too cryptic – 3rd March is the Ides, so ‘braids’ around ‘idesm’ to get ‘bridesmaids’

  9. Paul B says:

    @3 is the intended parsing I think. But, as you say …

  10. JudithF says:

    Almost thought I’d messed up by forgetting the smocks, but a bit of googling showed bridesmaids wear them these days.

  11. yvains says:

    @JudithF – nice ide(a), but the Ides are the 13th/15th.

  12. muffin says:

    Not very enjoyable – finished OK with considerable use of Google, but “writer” is really too loose a definition, in my opinion.

  13. JudithF says:

    Oh dear. How embarrassing.

  14. Eileen says:

    Thanks, flashling.

    I’m saying nothing about mistakes today. [Hugh has apologised on the Guardian thread for ‘the redundant R’.]

    Did no one else confidently start off with SETTER for 4ac, before looking at the rest of the clues?

  15. muffin says:

    I pencilled “setter” in too!

  16. Rich says:

    Ditto Eileen. I also very briefly thought 5D might be wordiest which I thought amusing for a most unruly editor.

  17. William says:

    Thank you Flashling.

    Eileen @14 ‘fraid so.

    Become a bit inured to error recently so blithely accepted BRIDESMAIDS as being just one more.

    Loved the construction of MIGRATOR and MCEWAN.

    For Paul to find a way to patiently steer an ignoramus like me to all these unknown authors is a triumph on his part, not mine.

    Really enjoying Paul’s puzzles these days, more please.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks flashling and Paul

    Like Eileen I thought ‘setter’ was a sitting duck for 4a but quickly had to get my brain to work a bit harder.

    A difficult crossword in places with some excellent clues, though the error in 18 was annoying. Freud (much reviled these days) was very keen on the way one error seems to precipitate another (he tells of an insulted ‘bottle-scarred’ veteran and the offending newspaper’s apologetic correction to ‘battle-scared’).

    I had to check the O.D. after getting Atwood. This was one of a couple of clues where pronunciation cleverly changed in the word-play – the other was in McEwan.

    Amis seems to be becoming (like bra and Emin) a too predictable crossword staple.

    I liked the unlikely anagram in 11a, and also 17a,4d and many others.

    Despite the false dawn of ‘setter’ and troubling 18a, a very entertaining puzzle.

  19. Gervase says:

    Thanks, flashling.

    The Guardian seems to be determined to include one error in each puzzle. If we knew this was a deliberate feature it would add some extra interest to the solve. However….

    SETTER did cross my mind for 4ac, but seemed unlikely – I got OKRI immediately and thence ISHIGURO, which gave me the Booker theme, although some of the rest proved more elusive. The shortlist for this year’s Man Booker prize was announced yesterday, which makes this puzzle topical.

    Like William @17, I enjoyed MIGRATOR and MCEWAN, but my favourite was DAIRY CATTLE for the cleverly hidden anagram (necessitating the inclusion of the word ‘number’ to make the surface grammatical. CATTLE is a singular word for a group, so ‘number of farm animals’ is fine, though clearly just ‘farm animals’ would otherwise have sufficed).

  20. Eileen says:

    Hi JudithF @7

    Welcome to 15²!

    Re your comments @8 and 13, don’t be too embarrassed to comment again – most of us here make idiots of ourselves from time to time. 😉

  21. John Appleton says:

    Again, I missed today’s mistake – I’ll have to put more effort into that tomorrow.

    A number of the themed answers (Ishiguro, Okri, Naipaul) were new to me, but as I think should be expected from such themes, the clueing was perfectly fair.

  22. Robi says:

    Not particularly enjoyable with a list of authors to consult, although I knew most.

    Thanks flashling; the corrected clue for 18 now reads: ‘Attendants semi-dressed, including daughter in plaits.’

    I did like the typically Paulian ‘BLADDERS.’

  23. crypticsue says:

    Not the most difficult Paul, and I surprised myself by knowing all the names, which always pleases me with a themed crosswords, as I hate having to solve a clue and then consult the interweb as to whether such a person/thing exists. BLADDERS is brilliant, well I thought so anyway.

    Thanks to Paul and flashling too.

    Will the Graun be offering a small prize for those of us who spot the errors tomorrow and Friday? :)

  24. rowland says:

    Not the best offering from a very good compiler, it’s bashed into third place today by two very fine puzzles in other places. The mistake doesn’t help at all in that, just makes The Guardian look really slapdash, ‘Writer’s dog’ was ambiguous, and, oh I’m putting the downers on! But I do wish they’d be more careful.

    Sorry, I know I’m whingeing,

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Some time back I criticised this compiler for what I saw as an inconsistent product.
    A number of recent puzzles of a pretty high standard are causing me to change my attitude; this one maintained the improvement.
    I got all the writers (but didn’t realise they were all Booker winners) but a lot of names inevitably makes a puzzzle more difficult as one cannot look for common syllables found in non-proper nouns (viz MCE, NAIP, ATW). This was welcomed.
    I enjoyed 11 ac for a clever anagram and no complaints (a la @5).
    I saw the error (no doubt at all) quickly and ignored it.
    Last in was ‘migrator’, another good clue for which vibrator/aviator thoughts held me up.

  26. liz says:

    Thanks, flashling. The topical theme of this puzzle was right up my street and I guessed fairly early on that the writers would all be Booker winners. I still found this quite challenging in places and particularly struggled in the NW corner, with BETONY, BLADDERS and ATWOOD being the last ones in.

    Missed today’s deliberate error, as I didn’t bother to work out the wordplay once I saw BRAIDS was containing something…

    Seriously dodgy homophone at 23ac. 4dn was classic Paul!

  27. Sylvia says:

    I don’t agree that there is a mistake in 18a.’Go ‘ = die, + ‘sm’.

  28. Robi says:

    Sylvia @27; the editor thinks there was a mistake as the clue has been changed – see @22

  29. Sylvia says:

    Robi – I should have said ‘ I don’t agree that there was a mistake’, despite the editor!

  30. Paul says:

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    My apologies for the error. I take responsibility, and will take a little more care in checking in future.

    Many thanks for the opportunity to learn from you all.

    Have a great day.

    John (Paul)

  31. Robi says:

    Sylvia @29; I’m no expert but if ‘go’=DIE, there seems to be no indication that this should be rearranged from IDE in BR(IDE){SM}AIDS. Is that what you meant?

  32. Robi says:

    Paul @30; thanks for dropping by and clarifying things.

  33. Rorschach says:

    Does the Guardian have an crossword editor these days? 😉

  34. Robi says:

    Rorschach @33; he did have the grace to apologise: ‘My humble apologies for the redundant R in the parsing of 18 ac.

  35. Dave Ellison says:

    RCWhiting @ 25. I had similar thoughts too, but could only in the end come up with TITrator, which didn’t fit the definition no matter how hard I tried.

    I had stupidly mispelled Ishiguru, so thought 8d was URIS (almost RISK?), which didn’t fit with TITRATOR either.

    Otherwise no problems.

  36. Brendan (not that one) says:

    I struggled awhile, Also having confidently entered setter.

    2d finally convinced me that setter was incorrect leading to “Barker”. Not long after finding “Barnes” gave the Booker connection away so the rest was pretty much a write in.

    I was post the “error” so was working with the amended clue.

    Enjoyable crossword from Paul as ever.

  37. Sylvia says:

    Robi – My apologies! I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. I was wrong to jump to this conclusion.

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