Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,907 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on March 28th, 2013


A very enjoyable puzzle from Paul, which caused a bit of head-scratching in the parsing department but I managed to get there in the end, apart from one clue that I’m not at all sure of. Plenty of smiles and ahas for me this morning – many thanks, Paul


1 Old Italian PM describing love, having caught twins in leather
MORO [old Italian PM, Aldo, kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigade in 1978] round [describing] O [love] + CC [twin ‘caughts’!]

5 Sharp work recalled in poet Hughes
reversal [recalled] of OP [work] + IN + TED [poet Ted, Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998]

9 Hold breath, drawing in last of air
GASP [breath] round [drawing in] R [last letter of aiR]

10 Old queen for whom clear bandages stretch too much
OVERT [clear] round [bandages] EX [old] + ER [queen]

11 Port right behind organ saving animal, one fighting for an environmental cause
RIO [the familiar crossword port] + R [right] behind EAR [organ] round [saving] COW [animal]

12 Gas explosion with fuse, both ends lit
I’m not at all sure of this but it’s better than the nothing I had after staring at it for ages: it could be an anagram [‘with fuse’? – ‘fuse’ would make much more sense!] of both ends of ExplosioN + ON [lit – like a gas burner]: I’m confident that a better explanation is on the way.

14 Chamber stood for reform, not fighting
anagram [for reform] of CHAMBER STOOD

18 Labour leader breaking old British PM’s nose, you might say, showing proof of fitness
L [Labour leader] in [breaking] BILL OF HEATH [old British PM’s {Ted’s} nose]

21 Vulgar youth listening to TV?
CHA [tea – sounds like {listening to} T] + V – this made me laugh

22 Kitchen implement keeping one on seat, baby calmer?
GRATER [kitchen implement] round [keeping] I [one] + PEW [seat]
I hope Paul and his wife haven’t needed too much recourse to this wonder-worker, which I well remember

25 Chain Hitler’s men required to restrain old comedian
SS [Schutzstaffel – Hitler’s men] round [to restrain] [Jimmy] TARBUCK [old comedian]

26 One not putting down roots, no bananas
NO + MAD [bananas]

27 Support a black and white drink that’s knocked over
A B [a black] + reversal [knocked over] of LATTE [white drink]

28 Dirty old Italian well blocked with odd bits of sock
O [old] + BENE [Italian for ‘well’] round [blocked with] odd letters os SoCk


2 Logic not referring to a daughter then?

3 Mushroom ring shining on group of whales — or squid, say?
CEP [mushroom] + HALO [ring shining] + POD [group of whales]

4 Scent: ___ Cologne, we hear?
sounds [we hear] something like Eau de [represented by the dash]: Eau de Cologne is a perfume

5 Quiet man, he struggling to get to grips with uprising one wonders?
P [quiet] + anagram of MAN HE round [to get to grips with] reversal [uprising] of ONE

6 Dislike assembling parts? Don’t go there!
hidden in dislIKE Assembling – a hilarious &lit – and a second example of the product placement which is becoming ever more common in crosswords

7 Classic body, nothing less, there getting jiggly
anagram [getting jiggly] of B{o}DY [less O – nothing] + THERE

8 Greek character seen going north, set off
reversal [going north in a down clue] of ETA [Greek character] + NOTED [seen]

13 Rest more than enough to secure promotion to the Premiership? A thousand banked
K [a thousand] in [banked] FORTY WINS, which would be more than enough to secure promotion to the Premiership, as my local team are struggling to do just now

15 Clear — ship must turn round
anagram [turn round] of CLEAR SHIP

16 A degree — is it the value of a coordinate?
A BSC [a degree] + IS + SA [ sex appeal – ‘it’]
the wordplay is impeccable and I knew this as a Latin word, so just had to check that, in Maths, it’s the intercept between a fixed point and the foot of an ordinate; the x-coordinate in analytical geometry

17 Top of chest, part receiving admiring glances, for starters
C [first letter – top – of chest] + LEAVE [part] round [receiving] A G [first letters of Admiring Glances] – not quite an &lit but a typically hilarious Paul clue

19 Block, one accommodating me, inferior to farm building
I [one] in ME [which, to me seems to be ME accommodating I, rather than vice versa] after [inferior to, in a down clue] STY [farm building]

20,1 Unfortunate gift, greed — man, one’s attracted to the food store!
anagram [unfortunate] of GIFT GREED MAN – another amusing surface

23 Bugger duck sauce!
PEST [bugger – one who bugs, pesters, so not so rude as you might think, at first!] + O [duck]

24 Late news, in short?
abbreviation of OBITuary, so news of someone late

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,907 / Paul”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Eileen
    I think 12ac is [explosio]N [fus]E (explosion with fuse, both ends) ON (lit)

    In 17dn, your parsing has ‘top of chest’ doing double duty as both the definition and part of the wordplay. I avoided this by having A[dmiring] G[lances] in CLEAVE (part {split}).

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Gaufrid. I knew 12ac had to be much more simple than I was making it!

    Re 17dn: I was aware of the ddouble duty – and decided not to mention it [or underline a definition!]. I’m sure you’re right.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Really enjoyable. I parsed 12 a all right but failed on CHAV, a word that has not made it down under, or into my ken. Loved FORTY WINKS.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I’m getting to like Paul’s crosswords more and more, especially with a puzzle like this which is themeless and doesn’t have a 30 letter anagram to sort out. I know others like that sort of stuff, fair enough; but this was much more my cup of Pauline tea.

    Couldn’t parse CHAV, so thanks for that (and to Gaufrid for NEON). FRIDGE MAGNET and IKEA were my favourites today. Wasn’t it Paul a couple of years ago who had the Madonna song LIKE A VIRGIN clued with something along the lines of ‘learner is flat pack novice’? Mebbes I’ve made that up. Anyway, thanks to him for today’s puzzle.

  5. molonglo says:

    I think IKEA is a bit nifty because of horse meat, but isn’t the clue nifty as well? The last redwoods, Imean.

  6. molonglo says:

    IPad typo: I meant niffy

  7. Samui Pete says:

    Terrific fun! As ever thanks to Paul and thanks Eileen for helping me out with a great blog.

  8. Rowland says:

    Not &lit either though.

  9. Robi says:

    Entertaining crossword with a few Paulian clues and answers.

    Thanks Eileen for a super blog, especially the parsing of CHAV. I also failed on NEON. HORS DE COMBAT was new to me, but gettable via the anagram.

    I particularly liked OBSCENE, FRIDGE MAGNET and CLEAVAGE, even if I don’t have much of one. 😉

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen and Paul. Excellent stuff.

    IKEA was, I thought, the best clue I had seen in many a while, and amusing too. Not quite an &lit, but I see what you mean.

    (No criticism of you meant, Eileen): “it’s the intercept between a fixed point and the foot of an ordinate” for ABSCISSA – from Chambers I imagine. We’ve had comments before about Chamber’s poor grasp of mathematics, and here’s another example. It is meaningless gobbledygook: you can’t have an intercept between two points (lines, at least, would have to be involved); and the foot of an ordinate is almost as wrong, since the ordinate is the y-coordinate. “the x-coordinate in analytical geometry” is OK.

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen, which I certainly needed today!

    Couldn’t for the life of me parse NEON, and failed to finish by three letters in 6dn, 16dn and 17ac. :-( Although they were precisely clued, ABSCISSA and ABETTAL were new words for me, which takes the sting out it a little. But I really should have spotted IKEA (brilliant clue!), particularly as I have recently assembled a Billy bookcase only to find I got one of the shelves the wrong way round.

    20,1 made me laugh.

  12. Trailman says:

    Enjoyable late morning fare for me. I found NEON unparseable so thanks Gaufrid for your efforts here.

    IKEA is lovely.

  13. rhotician says:

    I rather prefer Eileen’s parsing of 17dn CLEAVAGE. In an & lit the entire clue does double duty. In this “not quite &lit” only ‘for starters’ is not doing so. In Gaufrid’s (equally valid) reading there’s no joke.

    CHAV is doubly contentious. Some would object to the need to separate T and V. And T sounds like ‘tea’ equals CHA is very odd. ‘cha’ equals ‘tea’ sounds like T or TEE is normal. I couldn’t find a precedent for this use of the homophone but I gave up after inspecting only the most recent six in the archive and there’s a lot of them about.

    The Times wouldn’t allow this clue, more’s the pity.

  14. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Dave Ellison @10

    I did confess that my acquaintance with ABSCISSA was Classical rather than mathematical. 😉 I tossed up between Chambers, Collins and Wikipedia definitions, then omitted to acknowledge which one I went for – Chambers, as you guessed.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Paul

    I found this pretty hard after the first three this week. Lots of clever misleading surfaces which I was slow to home in on.

    I seem to have parsed ‘neon’ correctly but, in haste to finish, quite misread ‘chav’ (last in) as ‘Cha(nnel) 5′. A nice clue.

    Half cheated on 16d having tried to look up ‘abscisit’. I have been aware of SA = ‘it’ for years but failed at first to recall it (getting past it?) :). Another clever clue.

    I liked 14a, 22a, and 5d.

  16. Robi says:

    P.S. I, too, thought the ‘accommodating’ in 19 was back-to-front. Surely, ‘one accommodated by me’ would have been better, although the surface would have suffered a bit. Any other comments from some of the experienced ones out there?

  17. Rowland says:

    Trouble is that ‘sound of T ‘ doesn’t equal CHA. So it is wrong!! But this is mostly a good one, good clues making up for the Guardianisms, ‘Labour leader = L”, oh not again.

    Enjoyed oh the whole


  18. michelle says:

    This puzzle by Paul took me quite a lot longer than I had hoped!

    I failed to solve CHAV & NEON.



    New words for me were ABSCISSA & CHAV.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I appreciate your parsing of 16d, 13, 14, 28 & 10 which I solved but could not explain why.

  19. yogdaws says:

    We love Paul! (and also have a lot of affection for Eileen).

    Happy Easter Everybody,

    Grid Groupies x

  20. Bertandjoyce says:

    Plenty to enjoy here!

    We thought IKEA was very good and also liked the Paul clue that K’s D remembered!

    We couldn’t parse NEON so thanks to Gaufrid for that.

    Thanks to Eileen – we had your parsng of CLEAVAGE which raised a smile when we solved it.

    Thanks also to Paul. Lots of head scratching, smiles and satisfaction when it was all complete. What more can you ask from a crossword puzzle?

  21. muffin says:

    Thanks to Paul and Eileen
    Some great clues – I concur with IKEA and CLEAVAGE (I took the AG from Admiring Glances as well), but my clear favourite was the brilliant CEPHALOPOD.

  22. muffin says:

    Sorry – Imenat I parsed CLEAVAGE in the same way as Gaufrid – CLEAVE for part around AG.

  23. crosser says:

    Thanks Eileen. Is a chav automatically young?!
    I too was puzzled about what was accommodating what in 19d.
    I liked fridge magnet and gripe water.

  24. Robi says:

    crosser @23; I like the Chambers definition of chav: ‘a boorish uneducated person who appears to have access to money but not necessarily to taste.’

  25. slipstream says:

    I really enjoyed ‘Logic not referring to a daughter then?’ for REASON. Never heard of CHAV, though.

  26. nametab says:

    I, too, question the ‘accommodating element’ of 19d. Liked the ‘chav’ parsing (once it had been explained, thanks). Otherwise, typical entertaining Paul DNA.

    Thanks for blog Eileen.

    [Hope there’s a good Easter challenge coming].

  27. Mick H says:

    Good stuff – loved IKEA and fridge magnet – great definition.

  28. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Nice difficult crossword.

    I parsed everything eventually but even though I came up with CHA (Tea) and V I still don’t see how it works! The extra level of substitution seem to be a step too far! Perhaps there’s another explanation!

    Anyway thanks to Paul and Eileen.

  29. rhotician says:

    ‘one accommodating me':

    one = I,me(formal) Chambers. So ‘me’ as in “HM bestowed upon one the honour of …”,
    me – the form of I etc, also Chambers. This is a bit loose. However there are still parts of the country where people say “She gave I a …”.
    So ‘one accommodating me’ is MIE.

  30. John (Paul) says:

    Rhotician, this should really have been ‘one accommodated by me’, but I think there may have been an up of the cock kind on my part at some point. Apologies.

    All best,


  31. Daniel Miller says:

    Calling Tarbuck a comedian is stretching the rules somewhat.

  32. Huw Powell says:

    Oh, GRIPE WATER? I would never have guessed. I got GRAPE WATER, which of course parses perfectly.

    Oh well, thanks for the blog Eileen (CHAV, NEON) and the amusing hours, Paul!

  33. Samui Pete says:

    Can I just add that I loved Ikea and Starbucks? Cheers

  34. Paul B says:

    One is amused @ 29 & 30.

  35. R_c_a_d says:

    A belated thank you for the blog as I saved this one for the flight home from my Easter hols. Very enjoyable and exactly the right level for me without Internet or dictionary access. Just failed to get Chav.

  36. brucew@aus says:

    Thanks Paul and Eileen

    Had been stuck on CHAV for a very long time until a colleague at work who’d spent a bit of time in the UK unexpectedly told me about them. Still failed to parse it properly (suppose just so happy to get it done finally!) – I had thought it must have been something to do with using the TV to listen to music – CH (channel) AV (audio – video) and a bit weak … well a lot weak actually. The correct parsing was quite clever. Now another oldie finished !!

    Plenty of cracking clues, as have been identified above.

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