Regardless of the setting for number of results per page.
I'm getting all results returned (they are all correct matching results).
This becomes a problem with categories or searches which have hundreds or thousands of results, and the page sometimes never loads.
You can see an example here, 1 per page selected, but 21 results showing: I have configured the defaults in the admin console, and I've also tried to configure it in local.xml but the settings don't seem to be honored,i'm always getting all results returned.
It also doesn't matter whether I use Magento's built in database search, Solr, or ElasticSearch, the same problem exits which suggests to me that something before it gets as far as asking for results is failing to paginate.