Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24217: Brummie — Aspiring (expiring) divas, take note

Posted by jetdoc on October 25th, 2007


I was already in Brummie mode when I completed this, having just finished this week’s Cyclops. An entertaining puzzle, with the usual witty touch we’d expect from this setter.

1, 25 CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION — Mimi, the herione of La Boheme, by Puccini, died of tuberculosis, then known as consumption. A helpful Diva’s Dying Guide, on the website Opera Talent, tells us that: ‘This is the key to a diva dying convincingly: realising that the disease takes time to run its course… The key for the diva is to hint at the illness first, to be almost unaware of it’.
9 OMNIBUS — The Number 10 is a bus (or, as Chambers defines ‘omnibus’: ‘a large road vehicle for carrying a considerable number of passengers of the general public’).‘Omnibus’ can also mean ‘widely comprehensive; of miscellaneous contents’ — so, presumably, ‘including everything’.
10 ALLENDE — Hidden word.
11 THEME PARK — ‘the ark’ including ‘MEP’.
13 WITH — ‘wit‘ = comedian; H = henry, the SI unit of inductance.
14 REFRACTION — *(for certain). ‘Ray’ here means light.
16 TRAWLERMEN — *(relent warm). Trawlermen need to practise with their nets.
19 ATOM — With only A to M, N to Z is missing from the dictionary.
21 NORTHWEST — ‘rest’ = resort; without (= around) *(worth). Normally written with a hyphen.
23 NUTCASE — ‘case’= action (especially for Private Eye regulars); on ‘tun’ reversed.
24 REIGATE — ‘rate’ can mean scold or chide, hence ‘lecture’; ‘e.g.’ going round I (the setter).
1 CONCEPTUALISTIC — *(i count sceptical). Strictly speaking, this doesn’t refer to conception in the sense of embryogenesis; but never mind.
3 PASSAGE — ‘Entry’ is the definition. S = ‘Gladiators ultimately’; in ‘pa’s age’.
6 SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN — Does the wordplay refer to the plot?
7 MOUTHWATERING — ‘mouth’ = Estuary; ‘water’ = drink; ‘in’; ‘glass’ without ‘lass’.
15 PLANTAIN — a coarse green-skinned banana. ‘Plant’ = factory; A = grade; ‘in’ = popular (a very popular usage in crossword clues).
17 RONDEAU — *(or Duane).
18 EARDROP — An earring, which is introduced to a listener, or the lobe thereof. ‘Peardrop’ without P (soft).

13 Responses to “Guardian 24217: Brummie — Aspiring (expiring) divas, take note”

  1. Ciaran McNulty says:

    The title song of the movie takes place in the rain (‘tempestuous shower scene’) and ends with a policeman appearing.

  2. muck says:

    For 21ac to work, resort has to be ‘nest’ – N(ORTHW)EST.

  3. jetdoc says:

    For 21ac to work, resort has to be ‘nest’ – N(ORTHW)EST.

    Oops! That was a typo, and I was too busy to proof the blog properly before posting it. I did know it should be ‘nest’, honestly!

  4. David says:

    18d: Not sure why you’re talking about ‘earring’. Surely the definition is ‘medicine introduced to the listener’ – giving eardrop?

  5. jetdoc says:

    18d: Not sure why you’re talking about ‘earring’. Surely the definition is ‘medicine introduced to the listener’ – giving eardrop?

    Yes, I did get that when I solved it — another consequence of having to finish a blog too quickly! Blame the people who turned up 2 hours earlier than expected to do some work on my house…

  6. Fred Dowson says:

    AAgghh! You have mentioned all the ones I got, and mentioned the two I didn’t get!
    8dn and 12a. Is 12a “Laird” and if it is, why?
    Fred the bewildered.

  7. Fred Dowson says:

    Sorry, that should have read “didn’t mention the two I didn’t get”
    Fred the even more bewildered.

  8. bensand says:

    12a is Laird. “air” for “look” in initial letters of line dancing.

    8d is the town of Reading plus matter for “assume importance” to give reading matter.

    I’m still hoping that there’s more to 6d than a description of the plot? Anyone got anything else to offer?

  9. Geoff says:


    I put LAIRD for 12ac – “into line dancing at first” is presumably L…D (intitial letters), but that leaves look = AIR, which seems a bit abstruse. Any better ideas?

  10. Geoff says:

    My comments crossed with those of bensand.

    I’m also a bit puzzled by the clue to 6d. “Film with tempestuous shower scene ended by a cop” might decoy the solver into thinking along the lines of “Psycho”, but Brummie apparently spoils this misleading surface by inserting “musical”. I’ve been trying to find evidence of a fiendishly clever &lit in here, but without any success so far.

  11. jetdoc says:

    Re 12ac: one of the definitions of ‘air’ in Chambers is: ‘bearing, outward appearance, manner, look’.

    Re 6d: I assumed that the apparent references to Psycho were a deliberate red herring. I am not familiar with the plot of Singin’in the rain, and Wikipedia’s summary doesn’t mention anything that relates to the clue, but the answer was obvious from the checking letters so I didn’t check it out any further. Maybe there is a ‘fiendishly clever &lit’, but I didn’t spot it either; I suspect that this isn’t really a cryptic clue as we understand it.

  12. Geoff says:

    12ac: Thanks, jetdoc – I was stuck on “look” as a verb. As a noun “look” = AIR makes perfect sense.

    6dn: Although the correct solution came to me almost immediately, I didn’t insert it until later, not realising at the time that the first word in the film’s title is SINGIN’ and not SINGING. The other possible red herring is that “tempestuous shower scene” might be construed as a pointer to (SHOWERSCENE)*. But almost none of the connecting letters are consistent wlth this, so it doesn’t work as a serious misdirection. Strange allusive clue – very un-Ximenean!

  13. Testy says:

    As Ciaran pointed out in the first comment, this is surely a cryptic definition just referring to the iconic scene in the film not the entire plot. The scene is the one where Gene Kelly dances (and sings) in the rain before being moved on by a policeman. The misleading surface is obviously intended to make you think it is talking of a much raunchier kind of movie.

    I didn’t see the clue itself so if it did mention “musical” then that might indeed make the supposed cryptic reading more obvious than the intended surface reading. IMAO “Film with tempestuous shower scene ended by a cop” would have been sufficiently misleading and a perfectly good clue without having to include the word musical.

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