Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,903 / Paul (23/3/2013)

Posted by Gaufrid on March 30th, 2013


A fun start to an otherwise cold, bleak Saturday morning with snow falling and a near gale force wind blowing. I was fortunate that, as I often do, I tackled the clues in reverse order which meant that I quickly came across, and solved, 14dn.

This certainly helped with 9ac, 1,21 and 2dn though I needed a lot of the checked letters before I could work out the palindromes. 1,21 was my last entry and even then it took a little time to work it out as all the checked letters were vowels. I started at each end and gradually worked towards the middle when the relevance of ‘did I perceive something of the others’ became clear, the CAR OR CAT fell into place and the grid was complete.


8 Abundance of crystals treating ailments (4,4)

SALT MINE – anagram (treating) of AILMENTS

9,4 14 for weak old lions, perhaps? (6,7)

SENILE FELINES – palindrome (14dn)

10 Mother leaves African country via an African native (6)

LIBYAN – [ma]LI (mother leaves African country) BY (via) AN

11 Urgent: couple of Latins getting frisky in clandestine love affair (8)

INTRIGUE – anagram (getting frisky) of URGENT LA[tins] II (couple of Latins) – Edit: see comments 1, 2  & 8.

13 Recall wee teddy’s head cuddled by minor, producing comforting words (5,5)

SLEEP TIGHT – PEE (wee) reversed (recall) T[eddy’s] in (cuddled by) SLIGHT (minor)

15 Ride through change in Oxford or Cambridge, possibly? (7)

VARSITY – SIT (ride) in (through) VARY (change)

16 Describing lung membranes, soft with questionable allure (7)

PLEURAL – P (soft) anagram (questionable) of ALLURE

18 Strain, say, behind party rivalry (10)

CONTENTION – CON (party) homophone (say) of ‘tension’ (strain)

19,12 Start lap dancing, showing tail? (4,4)

LAST PART – anagram (dancing) of START LAP

20 Elegant, idly swimming in water (8)

LADYLIKE – anagram (swimming) of IDLY in LAKE (water)

22 Deliver key to open road in Paris (6)

RESCUE – ESC (key) in (to open) RUE (road in Paris)

23 Endless siren in sacred chant (6)

MANTRA – MANTRA[p] (endless siren)

24 A fish going backwards around little island in the Caribbean (8)

DOMINICA – A COD (a fish) reversed (going backwards) around MINI (little)


1,21 It’s one of my 14s, but did I perceive something of the others? (3,2,1,3,2,1,3,1,3)

WAS IT A CAR OR A CAT I SAW – palindrome (14dn)

2 14 — Japanese model is what it is? (1,7,1,6)

A TOYOTA’S A TOYOTA – palindrome (14dn)

3 Saint Paul’s man, perhaps, finding one with Saint Martin extremely unreliable (10)

MINNESOTAN – anagram (unreliable) of ONE SAINT M[arti]N

5 Two articles taken from a Volkswagen, over here! (4)

PSST – P[a]SS[a]T (two articles taken from a Volkswagen)

6 One of two is introduced to popular water sport, making one distinctive (15)

INDIVIDUALISINGDUAL (one of two) I (one) DUAL (of two) IS in (is introduced to) IN (popular) DIVING (water sport) – Edited, thanks R_c_a_d @11.

7 Drink containing Irish water servant’s left for traditional food (10,5)

PLOUGHMAN’S LUNCH – PUNCH (drink) around (containing) LOUGH (Irish water) MAN’S (servants) L (left)

14 One is drawn onward (10)

PALINDROME – ‘drawn onward’ is a palindrome

17 Fib about alcoholic drink being one that’s non-alcoholic? (7)

LIMEADE – LIE (fib) around (about) MEAD (alcoholic drink)


27 Responses to “Guardian 25,903 / Paul (23/3/2013)”

  1. ToniL says:

    We thought this was excellent, thank-you Paul and Gaufrid.

    For 11, the fodder is ‘urgent’ and II (‘couple’ of Latins?)

  2. michelle says:

    This was a fabulous puzzle by Paul and I am extremely pleased that I successfully solved it, even though it took me two sittings. Last Sunday I only managed to solve about 6 clues (none of which were 14d), but on my second attempt mid-week I finished the puzzle.

    It took me a while to solve 14d but after that, things went more smoothly and I enjoyed all of the clues containing palindromes. Regarding 1/21 I immediately inserted I SAW in 21 as it seemed to make sense for ‘I perceive’. I toyed with bar/bat for a while but couldn’t parse it and finally the penny dropped regarding CAR/CAT as those words tied in with the other palindromes.

    As well as the palindromes, my favourites were SLEEP TIGHT, PLOUGHMANS LUNCH, PSST, LADYLIKE & MINNESOTAN (last in)

    I solved but could not parse 10a, 15a.

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid. I parsed 11a INTRIGUE differently from you. I parsed it as an anagram of URGENT I I (two Italians = two Latins).

  3. michelle says:

    Sorry, I took too long to write my post so I doubled up on your comment regarding 11a, and I think your parsing is better than mine.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid & Paul.

    This was certainly very different but, after getting PALINDROME, everything eventually fell into place.

    SENILE FELINES were my last entries.

  5. crosser says:

    Thank you Paul and Gaufrid.
    Has anyone seen today’s prize?

  6. paulg says:

    You can find today’s prize puzzle via the archive search function. It’s number 25909. Unfortunately, I’ve already given up on it after reading the instructions!

  7. crosser says:

    Oh dear, I’d forgotten we’d been promised an Araucaria special for Easter!
    But thanks, paulg, I love Araucaria so I’ll have a go.

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks ToniL @1 & Michelle @2
    I don’t know what made me write what I did for 11ac. When solving the puzzle I took ‘a couple of Latins’ to be the Roman numeral II. I didn’t know I was going to be blogging this puzzle until a day or so later by which time I had forgotten the detail. That is still no excuse for including letters in the anagram fodder that don’t appear in the answer. Sorry.

  9. Samui Pete says:

    Took ages but finished eventually after several Changs! Thanks a lot all.

  10. coltrane says:

    Thank you Gaufrid for the excellent blog and to Paul for much of the puzzle. However, I suspect I am going to be in a minority of one in finding the palindromic answers unsatisfying. 1,21d is just made-up doggerel, and 2d not much better. IMHO the answer to a multi-word clue should be in everyday use. However, the rest of the puzzle was fun and 23a, 3d, and 5d were my favourites.

  11. R_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog.

    I think you have missed an “I” in 6d. “One of two” must be I+DUAL

  12. Robi says:

    Good puzzle; I’ll repeat what I said on 14th March for Paul’s MADAM I’M ADAM crossword:

    If you want more of the MADAM I’M ADAM, you’ll enjoy Weird “Al” Yankovic singing ‘Bob.’

    All of the anagrams (and more) are there. So, once I had got PALINDROME I could fill in the others quite easily.

    I particularly liked the surface of the clue for SLEEP TIGHT – seems appropriate for Paul with his domestic situation, I believe.

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks Guafrid and Paul

    A clever and entertaining puzzle. Once 14d was sorted the knowledge that an answer was a palindrome helped by providing extra letters towards the solution.

    I ticked lots of clues – 10a, 13a, 16a, 20a, 6d and all the palindrome.

  14. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Paul and Gaufrid

    Enjoyed the puzzle and also took a couple of sessions to finally get it out. Had 14d quite early which helped a lot … still took some work for LIBYAN, MINNESOTAN (ages to twig that St Paul was a city not an apostle!) and VARSITY (last in and when I got it – didn’t understand why it took so long).

    A lot of clues to like and do like the challenge of parsing Paul’s long ‘uns.

  15. John (Paul) says:

    Thanks ladies and gents. The inspiration was Weird Al Yankovic’s Bob, as you’ve probably guessed!

    Enjoy your weekend all,

    John (Paul)

  16. michelle says:

    Robi@12 and John(paul)@15
    thanks for the link. It was great and yes, I saw/heard all of the palindromes in that film clip – very clever!

  17. michelle says:

    Yes, I’ve seen today’s Prize. I’m about halfway through it now. I think it might be the most difficult puzzle I ever attempted.

    How are you doing with it? If anyone says this is an “easy puzzle”, I might be speechless…..

  18. crypticsue says:

    Fabulous thanks Paul, and Gaufrid too. I think SENILE FELINES is my favourite palindrome although I did like the ‘is it a car or cat’ one too.

  19. aztobesed says:

    Took me b—- ages to get WAS IN A MAN ON A MAN I SAW – and I wondered what it was meant to mean. Now that I know the real solution I find I can repeat the question.

  20. muffin says:

    I too was quite pleased to finish this.

    btw the “Ploughman’s lunch” is not all that traditional – it was introduced by the “Cheese Board” (?!) in the 1950s – see's_lunch

  21. crosser says:

    michelle @ 17 I’ve given up, to my shame!

  22. molonglo says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I got hooked on (Times) crosswords at school, lured partly by the unforgettable clue ‘Mum is, and Dad is, too’ – the answer of course being PALINDROME. Recognising it here from two cross-letters opened the theme early: then it was a matter of filling bits in both directions. Pity in a way we had St Pauls/Minnesota in 25,900 just three days before.

  23. snigger says:

    was it a man on a mat i saw

    that is the third solution. so which is correct? and why?

  24. snigger says:

    Sorry, ignore my last, the penny just dropped. “something of the others” cars and cats. Doh!

  25. Brendan (not that one) says:

    A little clunky, especially the palindromes.

    One or two nice clues but not the usual standard for a Paul prize offering.

    Regarding prolems obtaining or printing this week’s prize.

    Alternatively click on “All Prize crosswords” link in Prize Crossword section and this week’s puzzle is No 1 in the list.

    I had problems printing it from online display as it doesn’t fit on page and tries to print Portrait.

    Solution for me was to “Download” or “Save” it as a PDF doc and then print it from Adobe Reader. Works like a dream then!

    Have fun.

    Thanks to Gaufrid & Paul

  26. brucew_aus says:

    Funny how you think you’ve finished … but snigger@24’s doh moment generates an even bigger doh for me … and a greater appreciation of the clever link between the palindromes – like a week on!!

  27. Jim says:

    An appalling waste of time for me. As I didn’t get 14, I only managed to get three clues in total, and stared at it for a week feeling stupid.

    This is the last Paul I’ll ever attempt. I just don’t ‘get’ him, and solving his puzzles consistently affords me no pleasure.

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