Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,881 – Paul

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 26th, 2013

Uncle Yap.

Blogging Paul is always a special treat and today with very many different kinds of goodies. Alas, I never had a sweet tooth and would always dole out the chestnut “No thank you, I am sweet enough” when offered dessert. But it was kind of interesting to see the creativity that went into making and naming the sweets. Do enjoy Paul’s offering but remember to gargle afterwards. I still have 90% of all my teeth.

Across
8 BOOTLACE Sweet Spooner’s to plunder headquarters (8)
Sounds like LOOT (plunder) BASE (HQ) for an edible fungus aka honey fungus used in preparation of dessert. See also DrG@2
9 See 10
See 10
10,9 LOVE HEART Sweet nothing, passion about right (4,5)
Cha of LOVE (nothing in game score) + ins of R (right) in HEAT (passion) for a type of confectionery that are hard, tablet-shaped sweets in a variety of fruit flavours featuring a short, love-related message on one side of the sweet.
11 SHERBET DIP Sweet Queen Elizabeth, perhaps, protecting herself, Elizabeth and daughter (7,3)
Ins of ER (Elizabeth Regina) + BET (short name for Elizabeth) + D (daughter) in SHIP (perhaps a liner named Queen Elizabeth) for a sweet. Incidentally sherbet dip is the Cockney rhyming slang for KIP (sleep)
12 See 22
See 22
14 TICK OVER Done with credit? Then idle (4,4)
TICK (slang for credit) OVER (done) for an engine kept running while the car is stationary
15 MODESTY Doctor meeting fate lacking in reserve (7)
MO (Medical Officer, doctor) DESTINY (fate) minus IN
17 ESPOUSE Special gift, flower, for support (7)
ESP (extrasensory perception, a gift) OUSE (river, flower)
20 PEAR DROP Sweet to speak of brace and bit (4,4)
Sounds like PAIR (brace) + DROP (a wee drop/bit of whisky will improve the taste)
22,12 FLYING SAUCER Sweet evidence of bull in china shop? (6,6)
Self-explanatory imagery - Flying saucers are dimpled discs made from rice paper, filled with kali. They remain a popular sweet in the United Kingdom
23 COLA BOTTLE Bird hosting party let off, as sweet (4,6)
Ins of LABour Party in COOT (bird) + *(LET) Cola bottles are sweets in the shape of classic Coca-Cola-style bottles with a cola flavor.
24 See 25
See 25
25,24 SPACE DUST Carrying drugs primarily, a suspect not to be trusted popping sweet in mouth (5,4)
Ins of D (first letter of drugs) in *(A SUSPECT) Space Dust, aka Pop Rock is a popular 70′s confectionery brand
26 PULLOVER Top bird nursing full stomach (8)
Ins of UL (content of FULL indicated by stomach) in PLOVER (bird)
Down
1 COLORADO Above zero, oxygen and radium in frozen state (8)
Ins of O (oxygen) + RA (radium) in COLD (frozen) + O (zero) for a state in the US
2 STYE You after vacated seat? This for a viewing restriction (4)
ST (vacated SEAT) YE (old-styled YOU) for a small inflamed swelling at the edge of the eyelid, caused by bacterial infection
3 CAESAR Great military leader, one driven to catch marine up (6)
Ins of AES (rev of SEA, marine) in CAR (one driven) for the great Julius Caesar
4 SEVENTY Figure something happening in outskirts of Sydney (7)
Ins of EVENT (something happening) in SY (outskirts of SydneY)
5 THE BACKS Eye from Magdalene, Trinity and Clare — this area? (3,5)
The Backs is a picturesque area to the east of Queen’s Road in the city of Cambridge, England, where several colleges of the University of Cambridge (Magdalene, St John’s, Trinity, Trinity Hall, Clare, King’s & Queens’) back on to the River Cam – in addition to being an &lit, the word EYE can be formed from the back letters of the three colleges named … thus the backs (Thanks to stiofain@1)
6 GASTRONOMY Burps, one coming up through taste for fine dining (10)
GAS (burps) + Ins of ONOM (rev of MONO, one) in TRY (taste)
7 STRIKE Discovery — vehicle on which Scott’s setting out (6)
S (first letter of Scott) TRIKE (tricycle, vehicle) for, say, the discovery of oil
13 CLEARS AWAY Cassius claims Van Gogh’s surgical instrument possibly makes things tidy (6,4)
Ins of EAR (Van Gogh’s surgical, allusion to his cutting off his left ear before Christmas 1888) + SAW (instrument) in Cassius CLAY (aka Muhammad Ali, the Greatest)
16 TURBOJET Work routine going up, strange being in plane (8)
Rev of JOB (work) + RUT (routine) + ET (extraterrestrial, strange being)
18 SINISTER Evil in punching nun (8)
Ins of IN in SISTER (nun) … another linguistic tyranny of the majority. Left is bad, gauche and sinister and right is correct and dexter
19 EPITAPH Sound of rain at leaving an inscription in what provides the final tribute (7)
Ins of PIT-A-PAT (sound of rain) minus AT (at leaving) in EH (what?) for a tombstone inscription (final tribute)
21 EGOIST ’E with oversized head in essence? (6)
 E + ins of O (first letter of oversized) in GIST (essence). Remember the other classic? I am his favourite subject (6)
22 FEEBLE Weak charge down, uranium dropped (6)
FEE (charge) BLUE (down) minus U (uranium)
24 DIOR Christian partial to Hindi, ordained (4)
ha for Christian Dior (1905–1957) a French fashion designer

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(FODDER) = anagram

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,881 – Paul”

  1. stiofain says:

    Thanks UY – 5d EY and E are the back (last) letters of Magdelene Trinity and Clare. I wish I still had 90% of my gnashers but all the sweets mentioned were a feature of my youth.

  2. DrG says:

    Bootlace is a a sweet in the shape of a string, usually a liquorice sweet.5

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Knew only about two of these sweets, and time ran out in the bottom left corner. The rest was OK, bit of a struggle though.

  4. michelle says:

    I only managed to solve this puzzle with copious use of the “check” button as well as google for the names of the various sweets (none of which I had ever heard of as I am not a sweet lover, like Uncle Yap).

    My favourites were FLYING SAUCER, CLEARS AWAY, TURBOJET & MODESTY (last in).

    I failed to parse 3d, 5d, 6d ,19d, 21d.

    For 21d, EGOIST I was trying to parse it as the Chanel men’s fragrance EGOISTE but couldn’t work out how to do it satisfactorily!

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap.

  5. coltrane says:

    Many thanks to Paul for a challenging puzzle and to Uncle Yap for shedding light. Usually anagrams are my way in, but as there were none I was in trouble. Fortunately I have eaten my fair share of sweets, and some of these were popular when I was a lad. My COD 5d although I had to come here to fully understand it.

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks Paul and Uncle Yap
    I found this quite straightforward, despite not having gone in search of any of the themed items in 50 years!
    Some I didn’t parse – THE BACKS was a write from geography rather than solving, and I didn’t fully get EPITAPH or SPACE DUST.
    Favourite among many good clues was CLEARS AWAY – I will struggle to get the image of Van Gogh using his EAR SAW out of my head.

  7. muffin says:

    btw I seem to remember that we used the liquorice bootlaces to dip in the sherbet dip.

  8. Robi says:

    Easy (not really ;) ) puzzle bringing back some memories – thanks Paul.

    Thanks UY; didn’t quite get EPITAPH. THE BACKS was/were clever and I missed the ‘eye’ in it. Knowing Paul, I imagined Cassius would be ‘clay’ rather than the Roman. FLYING SAUCER was also good, although as usual I misread the enumeration and was puzzled by looking at 12,22 at first. We seem to have had quite a few [Christian] Diors recently.

  9. Ian Payn says:

    Sorry to swim against the tide, but I found this puzzle a bore. A stuttering theme and laboured clues had me gazing out of the train window, my ennui as palpable as the body odour of the person sitting next to me…

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Not my favourite ever Paul puzzle, although now I’ve more or less got on his wavelength I do usually enjoy having a crack at his Guardian offerings. I’m pretty much with Ian at #9, except it was my kitchen window and I didn’t have the BO experience.

    Thanks to UY and Paul.

  11. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY

    Interesting puzzle from Paul, which I found quite tough because of the tortuous (though clever) clueing and the dearth of anagrams.

    I couldn’t parse EPITAPH, but eventually managed to understand the reasoning behind all the rest. 7d misled me for a long time, as I had —I-E and I thought ‘on which Scott’s setting out’ = ICE; it needed the crossing T to put me right.

    I particularly liked THE BACKS (a write-in, though the parsing took a bit longer to work out) and Vincent’s EAR SAW.

    The ‘sweets’ in question are mostly Woolworth’s pick-and-mix staples. Eheu fugaces…

  12. michelle says:

    I’m happy to hear that some thought this a tough puzzle.

    I hesitate to mention whether I think this was a “difficult” or “easy” puzzle, beecause after sending in this post I am sure that there will be a flurry of posts claiming that this puzzle was (boringly) easy!

  13. muffin says:

    michelle @ 12
    There can be no doubt that the puzzle would have been much harder for someone who didn’t have the pleasure (!) of eating all those disgusting sweets.

  14. michelle says:

    muffin@12
    correct! As a ballet student I was not allowed to eat all of those (disgusting) sweets!

  15. jvh says:

    Thanks, UY. Re 18D, the phrase “sinister dexterity” appears in Finnegans Wake and in Billy Budd, and no doubt elsewhere.

  16. Robi says:

    Michelle @12; my ‘easy’ @8 was a reference to the synonym for ‘sweet,’ according to my Chambers Xword dic, not a comment on the puzzle. My strange sense of humour is always getting me into trouble. :)

  17. george says:

    I found some of the solutions difficult to parse, so thanks Uncle Yap.

    The theme made this puzzle easier for me although, apart from some LOVE HEARTS at primary school and the occasional PEAR DROP at secondary, I don’t think I have really indulged in the other sweets mentioned. It did make me recall those tiny packets of sweet cigarettes that you could pretend to smoke and then eat; I am guessing you can’t buy them now.

  18. coltrane says:

    Michelle @14. These sites are so interesting as characters unfold. First I imagined you as an archetypal Australian. Then a cultured Australian, then an Italian, cultured Australian, then a Chinese, Italian, cultured Australian. then a ballet dancing, Chinese, Italian, cultured Australian. And now after foregoing all those sweets a pencil thin, ballet dancing, Chinese, Italian, cultured Australian!! What next I wonder?: can’t wait for the next installment.

  19. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I found this quite hard in places and didn’t manage to see all the wordplay. My favourite was MODESTY.

    I grew up in Canada with quite different sweets (mostly banned by my mum), but I have lived here long enough to recognize the British equivalents.

  20. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Paul

    A toughie – most of the sweets had to be worked out from scratch – but an enjoyable challenge overall. I wondered for a time if 25a was ‘snake’ but then I saw the anagram.

    Oddly, as a long time Cambridge resident, I don’t tend to think of Magdalene grounds as part of the backs – perhaps because I have never been a keen punter with a consequent river view of them. But the answer was clear enough early on and the parsing and logic confirmed it.

    I particularly liked 14a and 26a.

  21. MikeC says:

    Thanks UY and Paul. Tough, but enjoyable. I had most trouble with the SW corner, COLA BOTTLE and EGOIST being last in, though the parsing of GASTRONOMY in the NE also held me up. Good stuff!

  22. michelle says:

    coltrane@18
    Yes, this website is great!. Thanks, you entertained me and made me chuckle. That is the most amusing description of myself that I have read in quite a while. I LOVE the way that I started off as an “archetypal Australian” (ie uncultured), and then and then and then…..

    I guess that you will “unfold” soon (or not).

    Robi@16 – no offence taken. I had not understood your comment, obviously.

  23. Rowland says:

    A sweet offering then, but as you have already said the clues are a bit painful, maybe trying too hard to squeeze meaning out on the ‘surfaces’. EAR SAW is clues as ‘Van Goh’s surgical instrument’ as a phrase, I don’t know whether you meant that, but it’s a bit DBE as is CASSIUS for Clay in the same clue!!

    Bit untidy today for usually v good Paul.

    Cheers
    Rowly.

  24. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY – sorry, I’ve been busy today and had to solve this on an iPad between meetings, which may not have helped my mood.

    Echoing many of the comments above, sugary as the theme was, I found it a bit of a plod, trudging from one convoluted clue to the next. (Sorry, Paul, I know you meant well.)

  25. coltrane says:

    Michelle @ 22 was the “unfold” alluding to e e cummings?

  26. Trailman says:

    Finally got there, having been held up on EGOIST and the not particularly difficult MODESTY. The sweets helped, indeed were completed before much of the rest, for it was often my duty to bring a selection back from the sweet shop to the bus home from school. It’s not often remarked on, but Paul is a past master at linking clues ie in this puzzle 22,12 and 10,9 and 25,24; these are a great help at giving lights in quarters where one can’t otherwise get a start.

  27. Otia says:

    Thanks to Paul for the puzzle and Uncle Yap for the blog. I still grapple, very often unsuccessfully, with Paul’s puzzles and this one was yet to break that mould. 1 down was the first in for me and I then thought I would be looking at sweets I’m the desert (quelle horreur when I found out otherwise)

  28. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Spookily, Alan C had an image of 10,9 across in his blog last week. If memory serves well. It’s here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/crosswords/crossword-blog/2013/feb/18/valentines-day

  29. Mitz says:

    Thanks Paul and Uncle Yap.

    Bunged in BOOTLACE with my eyes closed and thought this might be a doddle. I was wrong. Been pretty busy today and only able to get into it in fits and starts, but completing the solve was a somewhat gradual process.

    The sweets were all good fun. Loved FLYING SAUCER and considered Angel, Fairy and Pixie before finally remembering SPACE DUST (and then only when I had the crossing ‘a’ from CLEARS AWAY.

    Once again I am mystified by Rowland’s objection @23. Isn’t playful imagery, as with the Van Gogh reference, the essence of a fun but challenging crossword? Ian Payn @9 – sorry the puzzle didn’t do anything to alleviate the unpleasant tedium of your journey.

    THE BACKS was very nice, but COD for me was FEEBLE – even though I knew what I was looking for it still took a while for me to say “aha!”

  30. Mike M says:

    A good puzzle overall, but let down a bit by EGOIST, which was clued in a very cumbersome & clunky way just to try and make an &lit. Oh well, still infinitely better than yesterday’s offering… and THE BACKS was rather good…

  31. Matt says:

    Not particularly tough, but I very much enjoyed the nostalgia trip. Racking my brains for the sweets I used to eat was a lot of fun, and I swore I could taste the fizz as the answers dropped in.

    A proper Proustian rush.

  32. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Enjoyable crossword I thought and I didn’t find the clues painful!

    I knew all the sweets although the “cola bottle” and “space dust” were a little after my “sweet eating days”.

    Last in was EGOIST.

    P.S. What is DBE Rowland @23?

  33. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Paul and UY

    This was tough going for me – and although familiar with the actual sweets, they have different names down here – think we used to refer Space Dust as Whizz Fizz and that we just called BOOTLACES licorice straps.

    Still found most of the clues fun – came unstuck with TURBOJET having justified TURNOVER as work (output) with RUT, OVER (being in a plane :) ) and was still working out how strange was N!

  34. Paul B says:

    If I may interject, DBE is, I assume, ‘definition by example’, a practice frowned at by people like me.

    But EAR SAW, as a fanciful pseudo-phrase Paul spots (plus his qualifying ‘possibly’), is very harshly labelled thus, I fear. OTOH Cassius for CLAY probably is DBE, since there are many Cassiuses to choose from. So about half right there, Rowly old bean, in my opinion anyway.

    PS I’d have had ‘claiming’ rather than ‘claims’ here, as I’ve become a pedant for cryptic grammar.

  35. Huw Powell says:

    Just a painfully half-finished struggle for me, I’m afraid, since I had never heard of any of these sweets (possible exception, PEAR DROP). Couldn’t find uses for any that I consumed in the 60s in Wales, and was never sure if desserts, or afters, might also come into play, or if at least one use of “sweet” would not be the definition.

    Some nice non-themed clues here and there, but otherwise a lost cause, for me at least.

    Thanks for the effort, Paul (and you recent 100th anniversary blog!) and the blog, UY and the rest of you.

    PS, Michelle, methinks you do protest your “beginnership” too much!

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