Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,605/Brummie

Posted by Andrew on January 31st, 2009

Andrew.

A tough puzzle from Brummie, with a theme that eluded me for some time. The first thematic answer I got was CLOSE, which made me think they were all cricketers. It was only when I got BLESSED that I realised that the undefined solutions are all surnames of actors, neatly divided into six acrosses and six downs. Some of the surnames are of more than one person, as confirmed by the online solution.

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

Across
1. DEMOBS B in DEMOS. “Tersely” because it’s a contraction of demobilises.
4. BAD TRIP BAD = “off”, TRIP = “spin”, as in “go for a spin”.
9. ELSEWHERE LEWES* + HERE. Nimbies would want development done elsewhere.
10. Terence STAMP S(cout) TAMP
11. Charles DANCE N in DACE. The N comes from FIN with IF removed – “provided backs off”
12. VISCOSITY VI’S + SO* in CITY
13. NORTHER Hidden
15. DIMWIT DIM (hard to make out) + W(if) + IT (sex appeal)
17. Jodie FOSTER SET* in FOR.
19. Lloyd BRIDGES, or Jeff or Beau B RIDGES
22. EVERSIBLE BELIEVERS*
24. Kevin BACON (NO CAB)<
26. Dennis PRICE or Vincent P + (Sir Tim) RICE
27. KICK ABOUT KICK A (=top-level) BOUT
28. ENGINED GIN E in END
29. METEOR METE OR
 
Down
1. DRESDEN D + RESIDENCE less ICE
2. James MASON MAHON (capital of Minorca) with S instead of H
3. BOWLER HAT BOWLER + (t)HAT
4. Brian BLESSED LESS in BED
5. DISCO DIS CO
6. REALISING EA L in RISING
7. PAPAYA PA PAY A
8. Sigourney WEAVER (or Dennis,
not mentioned in the solution)
WE AVER
14. REOPENING E OPEN in RING
16. MAINBRACE B in AMERICAN*
18. REBUKED REBULKED less L
19. BREACH RE in BACH
20. SENATOR (STAR ONE)*
21. Shirley TEMPLE TEMP + LE
23. Martin SHEEN, or Charlie SHE (h)EN
25. Glenn CLOSE SOL< in C(ologne)E

20 Responses to “Guardian 24,605/Brummie”

  1. TwoPies says:

    Thanks Andrew. We had quite a heated discussion in the week preceding this about Araucaria’s European capital city theme, which I actually liked. This I didn’t because the number of actors is too great. It would have been better had there been some additional connection between them, e.g. Oscar nominations, which is what I thought at first.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I agree with TwoPies’ comment but I thought the puzzle was extremely clever, because each of the solutions was a valid word, as well as the name of an actor, and was not defined. I had half of the themed clues before I tumbled to it, having ranged through archbishops, characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, cricketers, philosophers/artists [I'd never heard of Kevin Bacon, I'm afraid, so that bamboozled me for quite a while!] et al. I wasn’t aware that Brian Blessed had been in films, so that was the last to go in – a good one, I thought.

    Can you explain the significance of ‘quite’ in 24ac and ‘all’ in 23dn?

  3. Eileen says:

    PS: I thought, despite living where I do, that ‘city’ for ‘football team’ was rather stretching it!

  4. TwoPies says:

    Thanks Eileen. That’s the connection I was missing, actors with valid words for surnames. I’m happy now.

    Can’t explain quite and all though.

  5. Andrew says:

    Hi Eileen ..
    23dn: I meant to expand this explanation but forgot. I think you have to read it as “Woman, all + female, topless”, so SHE is “all woman”… Obviously the “all” isn’t necessary for the wordplay but it gives a nice surface reading and isn’t actually wrong.

    24ac – maybe transport is quite (i.e. a little) lacking if there are no cabs – there might still be buses and trains!

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew. That makes sense. They were only little niggles, because I thought the clu[e]ing was excellent, overall, apart from my comment 3 [where I should really have said 'football team' for 'city'].

    I particularly liked 1ac, 9ac, 8dn, and 20dn. The ‘hogs’ in 17ac flummoxed me for ages!

  7. smutchin says:

    I rather enjoyed this one.

    The theme became apparent quite early on for me, thanks to the high proportion of theme words in the bottom left corner. After an hour or so, I’d got very close to completing the puzzle, with just a couple of gaps in the top left corner.

    I guessed 1d was probably DRESDEN but couldn’t work out why, so thanks for the explanation, Andrew. DANCE and MASON were the two theme words that eluded me. Might have got these too if I’d had access to reference sources.

  8. John says:

    I believe the all female in 23 dn is “hen” (as in hen party) topless = EN.

  9. Fletch says:

    A hugely enjoyable puzzle with a tricky top left corner.

    And now on to the long-awaited Bannsider in the Indy!

  10. Ian Stark says:

    Really enjoyed this one, with similar minor reservations already spelled out. After a dire first pass in which I maybe got two or three only, I picked up and managed to enjoy several lovely half hours over the day. I actually suspected the theme after CLOSE (being the last clue in the puzzle but the first undefined clue I solved, believe it or not) but needed SHEEN or TEMPLE (forget which) to confirm it. After that I was pretty sure I was looking for actor’s names with meanings, although some of the answers were apparent before I understood the clueing. Top left was a struggle, with MASON being the only answer I didn’t understand until today. Thanks Andrew.

  11. Ian Stark says:

    Fletch, or anyone, is there a printable version of the Indie?

  12. mhl says:

    I read 23 down as John did – SHE + [h]EN.

    I really liked the theme in this one, for reasons that Eileen articulated well in comment #2. Incidentally, Eileen, if you weren’t previously aware of Kevin Bacon, then it’s worth noting the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and the wonderful related concept of the Erd?s–Bacon number. I hope that in the future some mathematician will co-author a paper with Kevin Bacon so that the actor also has an Erd?s number.

  13. mhl says:

    Oh dear – it would be nice if Fifteenquared used a version of WordPress that copes properly with UTF-8. sigh. The latter link was supposed to be: Erdos–Bacon_number.

  14. Fletch says:

    I don’t think so Ian and it won’t be online til next Sat. I got the paper, a last-minute switch from my usual Guardian when I remembered to check who was in the Indy.

  15. Eileen says:

    Mhl: thank you very much for that – very entertaining. I don’t know how all that has completely passed me by. Shades of the old song ‘I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales’.[I still don't recognise the photograph, I'm afraid.]

    Ive never looked at the Indy Saturday prize puzzle bfore, so didn’t realise until now [trying to take up Fletch's recommendation in comment #9] that it isn’t online until a week later – after it’s been blogged on fifteensquared. However, I’ve already had my quota for today from Rev John’s two highly enjoyable offerings in the Guardian and FT.

  16. Barnaby Page says:

    A “difficult but doable” one that kept me occupied, on and off, all week. The first of the themed solutions I got were PRICE, CLOSE and BRIDGES, plus an erroneous POINT for 10ac (point man = leader of a military patrol) – which led me down the mistaken path of thinking the theme was something to do with banking or stock markets.

  17. stiofain_x says:

    I thought the theme was too vague. I decided it was actors whose surnames were also a standard word but was expecting to find out here that there was some subtle connection I had missed, alas it wasn’t to be.
    There were some great clues though and great surface readings especially 12ac which made me laugh.
    Being a scrabbler I loved the new scrabble puzzle in todays Guardian mag its the first time ive seen one of these.
    Stiofain

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree with Stiofain_x; I was also looking for them to be Oscar winners or something similar. Gave up on 9 clues or so in the top half, after spending quite a while on it.

    The scrabble puzzle seems a nice idea, and not too difficult. I managed the Futoshiki today in about 5 mins, the Killer in about 40 and Araucaria in about 30, so was very pleased with myself. And we, my wife and I, managed 10 on The Quiz, which is pretty good for us.

    Nothing to do till Monday now, unless you count listening to the Secret Policeman’s Ball while doing the washing up (What DO You Know having been replaced with the detestable Quote – Unquote)

  19. chunter says:

    17ac: also Barry and Julia Foster.

  20. Gordon says:

    I agree with those that thought that ‘names of actors’ was far too general for a theme subject. I toyed for a while with the notion that the common element was ‘dynastic’ acting familes and indeed some of the solution were just that..Bridges, Sheen, Mason etc

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