Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,409/Brendan – Anyone for tennis?

Posted by Andrew on September 19th, 2008

Andrew.

Quite a tough one from Brendan today, I thought. I was lucky to guess the two long, cleverly cross-referenced, downs early on from some crossing letters, which was a big help, but it still took a while, with some fairly devious bits of wordplay.

Key:
dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

Across
9 ELEVATION E V in ELATION
10 HALMA Hidden Halma is a board game for 2 or (in this case) 4 players
11 WAITERS I in WATERS
12 LUCERNE LUC(e) ERNE Luce is another name for the pike (fish), and Lough Erne is a lake in Northern Ireland
13 IRIS IRIS(h) Nice reference to Bridget Jones (of Diary fame) in the surface reading
14 DEAD-NETTLE DEAD, NETTLE DEAD=”Not quick”, as in “the quick and the dead”
15 ENTICED E NT ICED NT is “bible, partly” – nice one.
17 MASCARA A SCAR in MA Old lady = mother = MA
19 NORWEGIANS (IN SNOW GEAR)* &lit A marvellous anagram to give an &lit reading to the clue
22 LAID dd “How eggs are produced”, obviously; I think also hatched=laid as in hatching/laying plots
23 BLOWOUT L in BOW OUT The enumeration is given as (7) but Chambers has this as two words
24 REPLICA P in RELIC + A
26 UNION (NO IN U)<
27 NEPHRITIC (IN PITCHER)* As in kidney stones
Down
1 RED WHITE AND BLUE A variety of cross-references here: for RED: CLARET or LENINIST, WHITE: PALE, or what is around the IRIS (in the eye); BLUE: MISSPEND or PORN, and the RW&B is a flag or standard.
2 LENINIST NINE< in LIST “List” can be the border on a fabric.
3 PALE P ALE “Beyond the pale”
4 MISSPEND P in MISS END
5 UNCLAD UNCL(e) A D
6 CHECKERS dd Checkers is the American name for the game of draughts
7 CLARET CLAR(in)ET
8 GAME SET AND MATCH More cross-refs: GAME: HALMA or CHECKERS, SET:INTENT or LAID, MATCH:REPLICA or UNION. And of course a reference to tennis that is intended to mislead us into thinking about courts of law.
16 CRETONNE O N in CENTRE* Cretonne is “a strong, printed cotton cloth, stouter than chintz but used for very much the same purposes.”
17 MANTRAPS MANTRA PS MANTRAP (in the singular) appeared in Brummie’s puzzle last Friday.
18 ARABISTS BIS in A RATS The last one I got – I guessed the word but took a while to see the wordplay. BIS is Latin for “twice” or “a second time”, and can mean “again” in various contexts.
20 ROOKIE ROOK I.E.
21 INTENT IN TENT
25 PORN P OR N, &lit P and N are the “extremes” of “passion”, so “P or N” is “an extreme..”

12 Responses to “Guardian 24,409/Brendan – Anyone for tennis?”

  1. Eileen says:

    An excellent blog, Andrew, for what I found a pretty tough but immensely enjoyable and ingenious puzzle. Getting the multiple clues early on usually guarantees fairly plain sailing, but, as you say, not this time.

    I didn’t know ‘list’ in that sense. Other than that, nothing left to comment on!

  2. Mick h says:

    I don’t think the reference is to Bridget Jones so much as just to Bridget as an Irish name(or Brigid, as my aunt spells it: I always understood -dget was an anglicised spelling, though I’m sure Brendan knows best!)

  3. Andrew says:

    Mick – I was thinking of “Bridget, without husband” as being a vague surface reference to Bridget Jones. I know it’s not really relevant to the clue.

  4. Mick h says:

    Sorry, I see what you mean – and that’ll be why it needs to be spelt that way.

  5. Fletch says:

    Terrific puzzle chock full of pennydroppers. Brendan/Virgilius is right up there with my favourite compilers.

  6. mhl says:

    Great puzzle, and thanks for the very clear post on it.

    I wondered if 12 across can be read two different ways, either with “lake” or “pike” as the definition, since (apparently) a lucerne hammer is a type of pike in the weapon sense. But then “mostly lake” would have to be LUC, and I don’t quite see how that would work…

  7. Ygor says:

    In 4-down, “Misspend” is meant to work as a homophonic synonym of “blue” or “blew”, but isn’t the tense of the verb wrong? One blows one’s wad, doesn’t one?

  8. Andrew says:

    It’s not a homophone – to “blue” money is to squander it (Chambers gives this meaning, and says it’s probably derived from “blow”).

  9. Geoff says:

    Very clever linkage without having just one theme, and some fantastic clues.

    25dn is clearly PORN, but I can’t see how this clue works. ‘An extreme of passion’ could be P or N, and I suspect the whole thing is an &lit. Can anyone help?

  10. Geoff says:

    Having just typed in that request for help I see the answer: ‘an extreme of passion’ is P OR N!!

  11. Andrew says:

    Oops, my explanation of 25dn got missed off the blog for “technical reasons” (aka cock-up on the spreadsheet front). Now added, but your reasoning agrees with mine.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    Great, original puzzle from Brendan again. I kept chugging away at it and it all eventually fell out. Nowhere as difficult as yesterday’s Pasqual, in my view. I got 1dn reasonably quickly, and, because I had put a putative L at the end of 24ac, I thought 8dn must be something and black, following a colour theme; so this held me up for a while.

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