Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,468 – Brendan

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on August 15th, 2008

Ciaran McNulty.

A very entertaining crossword, with two strong interconnected themes and a very neat trick of having three famous people’s names sitting in the grid (17 21 7, 2 23 7 and 17 6), but without them being directly clued.

  • dd = double definition – the answer is based on a double meaning
  • cd = cryptic definition – the answer is defined in a roundabout way
  • char. = charade – the answer is hidden in the text of the clue
  • * = anagram – the answer is based on rearranging the words
  • “” = homophone – the answer is based on how the words sound


  • 9. OTHER HALF. dd
  • 10. ERATO. char. libERATOrs. One of the poetic muses, specifically of erotic poetry!
  • 11. SIMON. SIMPLETON – P LET. Let means hindrance as in the tautological ‘without let or hindrance’.
  • 12. AARON’S ROD. A yellow flowering plant a.k.a. Goldenrod. The title of a novel by D.H. Lawrence.
  • 13. WASTREL. WALTER* around S.
  • 14. BACONER. BACON + ER. Presumably a type of pig.
  • 17. DAVID. There is a French artist called David, and a Saint, but their names are pronounced differently.
  • 19. PEA. “P”.
  • 20. ADENI. A + DEN + I. An inhabitant of Aden.
  • 21. HERBERT. HER + BET around R.
  • 22. WITNESS. IT among W,N,E,S,S.
  • 26. ROWEL. char. heRO WELcomes.
  • 28. OMANI. O + MAN + I. Someone from Oman.
  • 29. CROP-EARED. ROPE inside CARED. A painter is the name for a type of rope on a boat.


  • 2. THOMAS. dd., Dylan Thomas and ‘doubting’ Thomas the apostle.
  • 3. IRONBRIDGE. IRON + BRIDGE, site of the first cast iron bridge in the world and now a UNESCO heritage site.
  • 4. BACALL. B.A. + CALL. The Actress Lauren.
  • 6. LEAN. dd.
  • 7. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. ACELEBINAWARFORA*. The name of a movie by Edward Lean, which was about TE Lawrence who features elsewhere in the grid. EDIT: Andrew points out I’m getting confused with all the cross-referencing – the director is David Lean.
  • 8. WOOD. dd. a golf club and conductor Henry Wood.
  • 13. WIDTH. WITH around D.
  • 16. RUINS. RUNS around I. Not very happy with ruins meaning ‘financial collapses’.
  • 18. VIRIDIAN. VR around I + INDIAN*. A blue-green pigment.
  • 19. PATIENCE. dd., a Gilbert and Sullivan work and a card game.
  • 22. WISDOM. The last word of “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” written by T.E. Lawrence
  • 23. EDWARD. dd. King Edward and Edward Lear.
  • 24. AMOS. Reference to the Book of Amos, plus a char. in fArMhOuSe.
  • 25. OMIT. O + M.I.T.
  • 27. LADY CHATTERLEY. cd. referrring to the D.H. Lawrence novel.

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,468 – Brendan”

  1. Andrew says:

    7dn – you mean David Lean, of course 😉 .

  2. Pricklewedge says:

    I’m still really new to cryptics (about 12 months or so) and my strike rate is erractic. nfortunately, so is my ability to rate difficulty could I ask you more experienced colleagues whether I should be pleased to have completed this one? I found it really satisfying – especially 18d and 25d which took me as long as the rest of the puzzle put together.

  3. C G Rishikesh says:

    Re 10a, 26a

    As far as I know, the clue type known as charade is where the answer is made up of two or more components strung together. E.g., A well-bred fellow envoy (5) AGENT (a,gent)

    The clue-type where letters are strung from a group of words to form the answer is known variously, I think, as “hidden” (though there is nothing hidden about it), telescopic, or en clair.

    in Madras that is Chennai, India

  4. Eileen says:

    Pricklewedge – it’s hard to say, ‘Well done’, without sounding patronising!

    I almost always feel satisfied to finish a Guardian crossword, because they’re usually so well-clued, as was this one. I thought it was a delight.

    Brendan is rated ‘easy’ [though always ingenious] by the Fifteensquared website – but then so is Brummie and I found his puzzle earlier in the week one of the trickiest I’ve done in a long time. So, I think it’s a case of ‘horses for courses’, really.

  5. beermagnet says:

    PW: Of course you should feel very pleased you have finished this one! I thought this was quite a stiff challenge.

    Just to show how different solvers can be I should point out that 18D and 25D were among the first I solved – In fact I’m know I started solving 24D, 28A, 18D then 25D most of which are clues solved by spotting the correct way to parse the subsidiary part of the clue, derived from solving experience. The one I had trouble with was 12A – not a well-known DHL book (by me anyway).
    The clue I loved was 27/15 with its footballing surface.

  6. Eileen says:

    Agree about 27,15 and another of my favourites was 29ac with its misdirection of ‘painter’. I also liked 8d. I often find it’s the shortest words that are the trickiest. [I thought 25dn was clever.]

  7. Pricklewedge says:

    Thanks for the encouragement. It’s strange isn’t it how different solvers’ brains function? 12A seemed a logical double (treble? Biblical reference/Plant/DHL book?) definition to me and was one of the first I cracked.

    2d completely misled me – I was obsessed with an anagram of ‘with’ being in there somewhere (“with doubtful”).

  8. Peter Owen says:

    2dn – Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) is not the only modern poet called Thomas. There are also R S Thomas (1913-2000) and D M Thomas (b 1935). I wonder which one Brendan had in mind.

  9. Geoff says:

    Pricklewedge: You have every right to feel pleased at having finished ANY cryptic crossword. You’ve probably experienced the rising panic which comes when you have stared at the thing for what seems like an hour without making any progress. Often just putting it away until later in the day does the trick. Although practice undoubtedly makes the solving of cryptics a faster process, one’s frame of mind is as important as skill and experience in determining which crosswords seem ‘easier’ than others.

    And a lot depends on getting an early foothold in the puzzle by spotting a few solutions in useful parts of the grid. I glanced at the clues and spotted OMANI straight off, then AMOS, so the middle word of 1,24 had to be AND – hence VIRIDIAN was also one of my early entries. LADY CHATTERLEY was my entry point to the linked clues.

    I found this one the easiest of the week – but that doesn’t mean that anyone else did!

  10. Colin Blackburn says:

    Trivially, the B-movie director EDWARD WOOD puts in an appearance too.

  11. John says:

    Colin. Where?

  12. Andrew says:

    Just to add my 2p worth, I also found this one pretty easy, with the interlinking themes being more helpful than confusing. Like yesterday’s Araucaria it required perhaps slightly more “general knowledge” than usual.

    Talking of how different solvers’ minds work: LADY CHATTERLEY was the first one I got (I seem to have got into a habit of solving the last Down clue first..), but I didn’t even notice the footballing surface until Beermagnet mentioned it.

    Pricklewedge: keep at it, and don’t be discouraged. It does get easier with time, as the conventions and clichés get embedded in your DNA. Geoff is right about putting the puzzle away for a time. It’s amazing how often a clue that seemed impossible suddenly becomes obvious after a couple of hours not thinking about it.

  13. nmsindy says:

    “LADY CHATTERLEY was my entry point” Maybe you should reword that, Geoff…

  14. Geoff says:

    My surname is not Mellors, as it happens, although one of my great-great-grandfathers was a gamekeeper…

  15. golgonooza says:

    Pricklewedge. You should be chuffed to have solved this one. It wasn’t massively difficult but was definitely challenging in parts. The sense of satisfaction you talk about was definitely there for me; in fact Brendan crosswords are almost always satisfying, but this one seems to me to have been almost a work of art! I loved the interconnection of the famous people and novels. Very clever indeed.

  16. muck says:

    I may have said this before, but I find Brendan the most satisfying of the current GXW setters. I started today’s after visiting an exhibition at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

    sitting outside in hazy sunshine, and distracted by mother-and-toddler groups. Finished it at home later, still without recourse to Chambers or the internet. Challenging but not threateningly so. Entertaining linked themes. It made my day.

  17. beermagnet says:

    I say Muck, how did you manage to get a link in a comment like that?
    Every time I try to the blog system puts it in the spam bucket.

  18. muck says:

    If I tell you Beermagnet, the blog will probably stop me doing it again.
    Highlight the link and Copy (ctrl-C in Windows)
    Go to your blog comment and Paste (ctrl-V in Windows)

  19. Henri says:

    At first I had an alternative answer for 8dn
    IRON a golf driver(?) and a conductor of electricity.

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