Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,581 (Sat 27 Dec)/Brummie – Bookish

Posted by rightback on January 3rd, 2009

rightback.

Solving time: 35 mins

It would be fair to say that I wasn’t firing on all cylinders when solving this puzzle. The clearest evidence was the five minutes I wasted trying to find an alternative to ORCADIAN at 8ac because I didn’t know an island called ‘Orcadia’ and couldn’t see the wordplay. It didn’t help that I couldn’t link the eight special answers (given in bold), though – it turns out that they are all not chickens, oranges, dogs, cars or constellations but book publishers. Well done if you spotted that!

I thought some of the clues here were very good.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’. Clues are presented in normal grid order.

Across
1 CROSS + OVER
6 COP + T (middle letter of ‘paintings’)
8 ORCADIAN; ORCA, + (AND)* around I – meaning ‘to do with the Orkneys’, as I eventually realised. The anagram indication ‘and cuckoo’ is very subtle; it’s a good job I dodn’t think of the ‘ani’, a type of cuckoo, or I would have been convinced that it formed part of the wordplay.
9 VIRAGO; VI(R)A + GO
10 VIKING, from VIEWING – not quite convinced by E,W for ‘two wings’.
11 AIRS TRIP – again very well worded.
12 BANTAM; rev. of NAB, + TAM
15 EXIGENCY; X,C separately in (EYEING)* – another lovely anagram indicator (‘eyeing rocks’).
16 ATYPICAL; (I ACT PLAY)* – fantastic anagram.
19 NEWB[y] + I.E. – the travel writer is Eric Newby.
21 BACCARAT; BAC[k] + CAR + A + T
22 PINION; “PINNY ON”
24 DIK-DIK; 2 x DI[c]K – ‘hitched’ in the sense of ‘joined’, I suppose.
25 MANDARIN; (DARN)* in MA (= Massachussetts) + IN.
26 BLUR[b] – ‘to blur’ = ‘to dull’, in the sense of a memory.
27 RURAL DEAN; (AND A RULER)* – very well-disguised anagram.
Down
1 CORGI; COR + G,I
2 ON A DIET; ON (= ‘taking place’) + A[nswer] + DIET (= ‘legislative assembly’)
3 S[o]WING
4 VINTAGE; (N + TAG) in VIE
5 RE + VERSION – I didn’t have VIRAGO in place at 9ac and all I could see here was ‘recursion’.
6 CUR-ETTE – a medical scraper.
7 PAGLIACCI; rev, of GAP, + (C[e]CILIA)*
13 ACTUARIAL; A, + A (= ‘note’) in (RAIL CUT)*
14 MUC(K,R,A)KER
17 PICADOR; (DROP)* around I.C.A. – I think the ICA is the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
18 LAT(I’M)ER – ‘one is’ = ‘I am’.
20 WAN + NAB + E – ‘white collar’ is brilliantly worked in here for WAN + NAB.
22 P(EN)AL
23 ORION; RIO in rev. of ON

4 Responses to “Guardian 24,581 (Sat 27 Dec)/Brummie – Bookish”

  1. mhl says:

    A very nice theme, I thought – I got PICADOR first (horsemen? bullfighters?) and then ORION (um, hunters?)… I think I managed to convince myself that a CORGI could be a hunting dog before working out the publishers link.

    WANNABE and NEWBIE crossing was quite funny, I thought, and I quite agree that the former was an excellent clue.

  2. Eileen says:

    I found this quite hard going and very satisfying to finish. My first was VIRAGO, which should have been a giveaway, but the second was VINTAGE, a publisher I hadn’t heard of [likewise MANDARIN] so it took a while for the penny to drop, particularly as the theme was so unusual. [To begin with, when I got 26, I thought they might be bands - then noticed the 'dull'.]

    I agree about the anagrams in 15, 16 and 27 – brilliant. [I remembered what I called at the time one of the best anagram clues I'd ever seen in an FT crossword a couple of months ago: 'a climber of rocks in Devon {10}] I missed the ‘and cuckoo’, though, although that was the first answer I put in.

    I thought 10 across was clever and have no problem with East and West wings.

    Mhl: thanks for that. I had fun imagining the Queen ‘riding to corgis’. :-)

  3. Paul (not Paul) says:

    I thought that this was way too hard even for a prize crossword. My girlfriend and I managed half a dozen answers despite giving it several hours over three days.

    And looking at the answers now, I don’t find I’m kicking myself over many. Obscure references and poor definitions. Not for me.

  4. Trevlac says:

    A very satisfying crossword with some clever clues which reminded me of the much lamented Bunthorne. Corgi was my first non definition answer and I wasted ages looking for dogs.

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