lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Naughty but nice

If it is Tuesday it is going to be Paul, I always think, like that film. He usually features on Tuesdays. I love Paul's puzzles. He has a disconcerting sense of humour and he always makes me laugh. I've mulled over the title of this post longer than I've spent solving Tuesday's Guardian puzzle (Missus Em's biology lessons, was one title I considered and rejected). It was a treat.

When 1 Down, the first clue in the grid makes you giggle, you are prepared for the rest of it. And the rest of clues are a treat too. Before I get into biology and bawdiness, let me give a few innocent clues he set.

Land on one's head? (6)
Cannon for Englishmen abroad? (3-3)
Where bird found fish (5)

These are simple enough to solve, and a good way to get into the puzzle. Land on one's head is Panama, and Englishmen abroad are Poms. While I am a vegetarian, I have learnt a lot about cuts of beef, kinds of meat and names of fish during my cryptic crossword solving career, so it was a no-brainer to ask me where bird found fish, it's perch, simple.

And then there were the other clues, the funny very Paul kind of clues. There was the first across clue, which was a laugh:

I appreciate that, darling, nothing turns one on- it happens once a month! (9)

This is a brilliant clue and typical Paul. You need to think slang here. Ta, luv, O all written backward and then i and on. Biology lessons, anyone? Ovulation happens once a month.

There was 1 Down too. Couple under a hundred above sum total (10)

This is a splendid clue. C for hundred, okay? C, on for above and then sum and then mate for couple. The definition is total, and solution consummate.

Just in case we were thinking of holy matrimony, Paul sets us right with this: Good representative, a solicitor (4) While I was still giggling about that, there was the next gem: Coarse quality needs attention (she isn't refined) (10)

Pi for being goody goody, and MP for representative. Heh. And ear for attention and an anagram of 'she isn't' and there you are- earthiness.

When I finished solving other clues there came a humdinger, and I saw it late because I was on my 'by numbers' stint. There is this urge to try and solve clues by numbers, I confessed to being prey to it.

Release of man reflected one's fate (7)*

This is so brilliant, I tell you. I am tempted to let you figure it out yourself and giggle all the while. These compilers are a wonderful lot, I tell you. Paul had some simpler ones too, like

Good to get together again with fruity thing (9)
Old writer about to end tale at first profitable (9)

Here is advice gratis. The thing with cryptic crosswords is to ignore punctuation if any; it is only there to misdirect. Instead if you deal with the words as precise instructions, it gets easier, as these clues are fair.

G+ re engage or ex pe(die)n+t are clues old hands can solve in their sleep. But release of man reflected is special. Paul must have been smiling as he compiled these irreverent clues. I certainly was smiling as I solved them. Naughty but nice, right?



Blogger Lalita said...

Sigh. So I won't bother to post on Brendan's about turn puzzle then. You philistines, you.

10:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:04 am  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Once Punch ran a reader's Poll - "Does the Queen Mom wave when coming out of Buck Palace even when no one is watching ?"
They had a reporter with a tele-lens atop some building, and yes, she does !

10:31 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Heh, indeed.

Sivaram- Really? The mind boggles. So Missus Em shall post on Brendan's puzzle after all.

10:46 am  

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