Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24212/Brendan – hope you like rugby

Posted by ilancaron on October 19th, 2007


I suspect that much of England has rugby on its mind even though it’s being played in France (conveniently beaten by the English last week or so). It appears that Brendan does as well. Virtually all the clues have a rugby surface. Also conveniently, rugby and American football share quite a bit of vocabulary so this puzzle is pretty transatlantic. So quite straightforward from the definition point of view — I’ve left a couple of wordplays to be worked out as we speak. It goes without saying that Brendan is the master of the clever sensible rewarding clue.

Here we go…

1 SHUT UP – two meanings (our first themed clue: lock is a rubgy position — from now on assume they all are unless I say differently).
5 BACK,PACK – without knowing much about rugby, I assume that a scrum-half is a BACK and that forwards collectively are the PACK.
9 MO,VE(ME)NT – def is “passage of play” (as in a symphony).
11 TH(RE)E,QUARTER – pretty tough clue since I only just realized that a THREEQUARTER must be a rugby position corresponding to “centre” while writing his up.
13 TRIO – def must be “small musical group” (or just “musical group”). I give up on the wordplay: “Players in front row, say, of small musical group”.
14 NE(E,DIES=side*)T – NET is ‘score’ here.
18 PRO,P – another rugby position (presumably without him the pack will collapse) where wordplay is “for power”.
20 MIRACLE PLAYS – (specially, arm)*. My fav clue: in the US, they are called “Hail, Marys”.
23 METRIC – haven’t worked this out completely: it’s probably quite clever. The clue: “25 to 22 as result of this conversion”, where 25 is ATTEMPTS and 22 is ACHE (or three?). METRIC is a type of conversion (that the US has yet to see).
25 A,T,TEMPTS – “leads on” is TEMPTS. My understanding is the English side isn’t making may of them (tries, that is).
26 RU(GGE)R – clever &lit (since I couldn’t see past the surface meaning to the wordplay at first). where EGG is our “oval object” (as a RUGGER ball) and RUR is our play by Capek (introducing the golem perhaps?)


2 HOOK – two meanings
3 TWENTY-ONE – clever &lit again which I think works for both American football and rugby – our game is either rubgy/football or the cardgame blackjack.
5 BETWEEN THE POSTS – cute but I’m not sure what “as roughly depicted” contributes (our rugby conversion is kicked BETWEEN THE POSTS). Am I missing an anagram or some reference to the location of this clue in the grid or the mail service?
7 P,OWER – the guy in red is in debt so he’s an OWER.
8 CONVERSION – “here” is in a rubgy game.
12 PRE-EMINENT – (Peter, men in)*
16 WORLD CUP – (crowd pul[ler])* which is what I think is on offer in France for the winner.
21 AG,RE,E – I think that “arguing” is AG here… not sure why though? “referee extremely” produces RE and “unwise ultimately” yields E.
22 ACHE – hidden in both “approACHEs” and “coACHEs”.

4 Responses to “Guardian 24212/Brendan – hope you like rugby”

  1. mhl says:

    There are three players in the front row of the pack, which I assume is the TRIO in 13 across. In 21 down, I think the “extremely” applies to “arguing” as well as “referee” to give AG. 23 across is nice: the 25 yard line on a rugby pitch became the 22 metre line with the metric system…

  2. Richard Heald says:

    The “as roughly depicted” in 5 Dn I think refers to the fact that the answer to 8 Dn (CONVERSION) is appropriately positioned just above the horizontal and between the vertical parts of one of the four black rugby-post-shaped H’s that appear in the grid.

    Clever stuff, even for this rugby heathen. I thought the RUGGER and WORLD CUP ‘& lits’ were particularly good. At the moment, Brendan is churning out brilliant thematic puzzles at the rate of (at least) two a week. He makes other setters look as if they aren’t trying!

  3. Will says:

    21D ‘referee extremely’ = the extremes of ‘referee’ i.e ‘r+e’; and the ultimate of unwise = the last letter of ‘unwise’ = e

    3D A goal in Rugby Union(let’s remember there are two codes – I live in Hull) is a try and a conversion which yields 7 points(unlike in Rugby League where it is 6)totalling 21 points.
    It may just be me, but it seemed that the clues which didn’t allude to Rugby Union were the ones that indicated a rugby term.
    Just one forther point, leaving aside the hype over England winning, I don’t think I’ve seen a more boring spectacle than England v France last Saturday. Just one team kicking it to the other until France realised Jonny Wilkinson wasn’t on their side. Rant over.

  4. Mick Hodgkin says:

    Particularly impressive of Brendan-Virgilius to get two rugby-themed puzzles into the Guardian and Indy in the space of a month. I think I preferred the other one, which seemed more accessible to a fair-weather follower who only takes an interest when England are unexpectedly doing well in the world cup. This one required some knowledge of (or in my case guesswork as to) the rules of the game!

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