Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24017/Brendan – symmetrical anagrams

Posted by ilancaron on March 6th, 2007


Solving time: 20’

Rather fast for me for a Brendan. Though I didn’t get all the wordplays while solving and had to rely on definitions. There are a couple of themelets here (war and peace, politics – nothing coherent).

But the tour de force is the symmetrical across anagram pairs: (1A, 27A), (4A, 26A), (9A, 15A), (10A, 24A), (11A, 22A), (12A, 21A), (15A, 16A). As a result a couple of the words are a little underwhelming (e.g. SPADER) but certainly the brilliance of the trick more than compensates.


1 WAR,DEN – Straightforward charade. Our first warlike clue.
4 SPADER – spread*. Not my favorite word for someone who “digs”.
10 ESTREATING – (ring, estate)*. New word for me which must mean: “legally enforcing forfeit” only solved once I had the crosses.
11 RETORT – def is “answer” but I don’t see the chemistry lab: offers?
13 IN,TR(OD)UCE – rev(do=party) in TRUCE. Our next (un)warlike clue.
15 PETS – rev(step=walk). This is the kind of clue that I’m told you wouldn’t find in The Times under Brian Greer: “Favourites getting walkover?” – “walkover” is in the same category as “indeed”.  Does the question-mark provide sufficient acknowledgement of the transgression?
17 R(ED)UCTION – RUCTION is more familiar to us as ruckus.
21 AL[l],ARMING – another warlike clue.
22 R,OTTER – nice clue: def is “unpleasant type” which must be separated from “of animal”.
24 IN(TE)GRATES – middle of “hoTEls”.
25 LIST – 2 meanings: the first LIST refers to declaring a listed building in Britain.
26 RA,SPED – “artist” is invariably RA.
27 ANDREW – he’s a saint and he’s an anagram of warden which is how I got it but only worked out the wordplay as we speak: “drive” must be ref. St. ANDREWs golf course.


1 WRITE=”right”-IN – first political clue.
2 RETRO – hidden rev in: “repORTERs”.
3 ELECTED – Clever cryptic definition and our next political clue.
5 POE,TRY – another nice charade: ref. Edgar Allan POE.
6 DET(RIM)ENT – I didn’t know that DETENT was part of a clock mechanism until I looked it up but RIM and DETRIMENT were pretty straightforward.
7 RUNWAYS – cryptic definition. I felt a little let down when I solved this at first but upon re-reading I realize that it’s not bad: RUNWAYS as in both fashion catwalks and airport runways.
8 ATOMIC WEIGHTS – a brilliant clue: “He” for Helium and “I” for Iodine – very well hidden and clever with perfectly acceptable capitalization in the surface and cryptic readings!
16 PILSNER – well-hidden in “puPILS, NERvously”.
19 OVERS,A,W – our requisite cricket clue.
23 [Wat=”what”] TYLER – looks like we really have adopted Wat TYLER as our canonic rebel.

7 Responses to “Guardian 24017/Brendan – symmetrical anagrams”

  1. says:

    Re Brian Greer and your comment on 15 across. I thought Brendan/Virgilius were both Brian Greer. Have I got that wrong? If it is Mr Greer, perhaps he practises ‘do as I say not what I do’. :-))

  2. says:

    In chemistry, a retort is a piece of glassware used for distillation

  3. says:

    11ac A retort is a type of flask or beaker with a long, bent neck used in chemistry.

    27ac – Didn’t like this clue, as the place is called St Andrews, not St Andrew

  4. says:

    Have to say I never spotted the matching anagrams theme – would have made life much easier!

    8d has to be one of the best clues I’ve seen for a while.

  5. says:

    BG is both of those names, yes. I suspect he’s taking advantage of the local style a little, but I think you could make a case for “walkover?” being fairer than “indeed”. The connection from the whole word to the meanings of “walk” and “over” seems stronger to me than the connection between “indeed” and “in” and “deed” – the verb form “walk over” is still two words, for example. Lets see whether he drops that question mark in a similar future clue. A notional fiver says not.

  6. says:

    What do you call it when one compiler sets the Guardian and the Indy on the same day? Can I be the first to say ‘SNAP!’

  7. says:

    Thanks for the retort re retort. Really must take some of my own medicine… it’s in Collins!

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