Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,640 – Brendan

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on March 6th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

This blog was accidentally published early – apologies if it looked a little incomplete!

A really enjoyable puzzle, with a few very closely interwoven themes/clues that kept me going.

” = homophone
< = reversed
* = anagram
(X) = inserted
(x) = removed


12. ECLAT. TAL(C)E<.  Means ‘Brilliance’.
13. FROM THE NEW WORLD.  9ac and 29dn are both in the ‘new world’.
17. BRAVE NEW WORLD. Novel by Huxley, and a quote from the Shakespeare play. Odd that the clue doesn’t refer to 5dn.
18. NEW WORLD ORDER. ‘DR LOW’ is an anagram (new order) for WORLD.
22. ENDLESS. Both eternity and a ring are ‘endless’.
25. MIRANDA. M + R (I) AND A.  The Royal and Ancient is a golf club.
26. GROUP. GRO(W) UP.  Bush as ‘W’ is interesting!
27. RUNNERS-UP. RUNNERS + UP A feasible idea is a ‘runner’.


1. ACID. ‘A(llucinogeni)C I(ndee)D.
3. FETE.  “FATE”, as in one’s lot.
8. TEST. A river, and India and Pakistan are both test nations, but the clue could do with the word ‘game’ in there or something similar.
13. FABLE. F + ABLE.
16. NADIA. N + AIDA<
19. WOMANISE. W(OMANIS)E. Doesn’t fit the def, ‘womanisers’ would.
26. GIST. GIS + T.
28. ETON. (fift)E(enth) + TON.

52 Responses to “Guardian 24,640 – Brendan”

  1. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    17a: It’s MIRANDA (25)in The Tempest who makes the speech in which Brave New World occurs.

  2. smutchin says:

    Ciaran – “Odd that the clue doesn’t refer to 5dn.” I was glad that it didn’t – might have been too much of a giveaway and made it all a bit too easy?

    As it is, most of the grid was filled in very quickly once I twigged the theme – although some of it was pure guesswork. 25a, for example – I guessed from the checking letters that it was probably MIRANDA before I’d got the theme, and getting 14d and 17/18/20 confirmed it, but I didn’t fully understand the wordplay – thanks for the explanation, Ciaran.

    I enjoyed this anyway for the clever use of a recurring phrase to link several mini-themes – not something you see every day.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks Ciaran – I failed to explain 25ac, though I knew the quotation.

    19dn: this does work, if you take ‘are philanderers’ = ‘womanise'; cf one of my favourite clues of all time [Araucaria 24,559 blog 6th December 09: ‘Royal couple are flirting': PHILANDER

  4. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    I think 23ac is R (runs) in DVOAK (anag of vodka).

  5. smutchin says:

    Oh yes, and well done to Brendan for 28d – a lovely &lit.

  6. Eileen says:

    Sorry – meant 6th December 08, of course!

  7. smutchin says:

    Rishi – yes, that’s how I understood 23a too. “R” being runs in cricket.

  8. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    I too thought that if some people are philanderers they “womanise”.
    The online version of the clue is
    19 We must accept sultan’ people are philanderers (8)
    The punctuation mark is inexplicable.
    Is the clue in good taste? What is the general opinion?

  9. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Smutchin 5: It was nice to see 28d avoiding the overworked homophone ‘eaten’.

  10. smutchin says:

    Rishi – there’s an “s” missing in the online version (it’s “sultan’s” in print). I hadn’t considered the tastefulness of the clue, but interesting point. I would hope any Omanis reading don’t take it personally!

    And yes, agree about 28d. Eton being a nice filler word for crossword setters, we do see it often, so it’s nice to see a genuinely new clue for it – especially such a good one.

  11. ilan says:

    ETON was excellent (though I had to check that it was indeed established mid-15C). I see no reason why insulting Omanis is any more objectionable than the general class of “married men” that Chifonie accused of being adulterers the other day :)

  12. Eileen says:

    Talking of discrepancies, the paper version, which some of use, had the enumeration of 13,18,20 as 4,3,3,2, which was even more confusing! However, DVORAK made it all plain.

  13. beermagnet says:

    I thought the ETON clue particularly fine given that the school was founded in the fifteenth century.
    Hopefully someone will now confirm that that makes it &Lit…

  14. beermagnet says:

    Eileen, try filling in the 31A light on the online version – to hilarious results – it skips to and splats 12A.

  15. Ian Payn says:

    Always happy when Brendan turns up. His puzzles aren’t necessary that difficult, but are enjoyable to solve, with a certain amount of feelgood-factor when the scales fall, the penny drops and light is shed.

  16. Eileen says:

    Beermagnet: I see what you mean – spooky!

  17. Chris says:

    I think I’m right in saying that the Eton clue isn’t strictly &Lit because only the second part of the clue is cryptic. In a true &Lit, the entire clue is a cryptic indicator of the answer, and also, in its entirety, a pleasing definition of the word being clued.

    So because “School” in 28dn is only there as the definition and isn’t doing any cryptic work, it doesn’t count as &Lit – although the aptness of the wording of the cryptic part gives a very pleasing surface reading that nicely links to the answer.

  18. John says:

    Can anyone explain why “first seen” is necessary in 24 dn? I presume Sunday gives the S, (although another dodgy abbreviation IMO). If not what’s it there for?

  19. agentzero says:


    I thought it meant “first [letter] seen in Sunday …” If so, that obviates your complaint about the abbreviation.

    This was an extremely enjoyable puzzle, by the way. I love wordplay-in-answer clues, so “Dr Low” was my favorite bit.

  20. smutchin says:

    Chris – totally agree with your comment, but see Peter B’s comment #79 in the General Crossword Discussion. Ximenes would probably have called it an “offshoot type” &lit.

  21. Mick H says:

    Lovely linking, though the definition ‘answer to all our ills’ for New World Order raised an eyebrow – I’m not sure even Bush senior made that claim. Chambers defines the phrase as “an aspiration to peaceful coexistence in the world”, but I’d associate it more with an aspiration to unipolar dominance. Maybe a reference to the band New Order would have been less controversial. (Then again…)

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    There were other things in the online version

    Could someone check the paper but 17, 18, 20 refered to being “in 14″??? = “in the”??? just as well that the actual intention (in 14 18 20) wasn’t hard to spot then.

    The cross-linking failed miserably for 31, enter 1 letter, selected word jumps to another word, reselect 31 and enter 2nd letter, selected word jumps to another word and so on. Clearly the crossword department have no concept of quality control and testing, either that or the software they use has serious problems.

    And for 6d, was that shown as (10) in the paper? ‘cos it should have been (4-6), well at least the on-line sources I’ve checked think so.

    I was beginning to remember the old “Grauniad” joke.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    Eileen, tell the resident thicko gently, but despite what you said above, wrt 19dn, I still don’t see why it’s just womanise, other than there are not enough squares for what it should be.

    I tried what you said and got womanise are philanderers, wrong word type, so I tried womaniser are philanderers, wrong number, then I try womanisers are philanderers and yipee, I have proper English.

    What else should I have tried?

  24. Chris says:

    “Those men are philanderers.”

    “Those men womanise.”

    Pretty much equivalent, wouldn’t you agree?

    PS Thanks for that link, Smutchin. I’d missed that discussion thread.

  25. Mick H says:

    The question you need to ask is “can you substitute the answer for the definition?” ‘They womanise’ = ‘They are philanderers’, so it works.

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Nope, The first applies a label, the second specifies an activity, different parts of speech.

  27. Eileen says:

    Derek: Chris saw your comment before I did but he’s said exactly what I would have. [But, in the meantime, I see you still don’t agree!]

    Re your comment 22, I’d like to help but don’t quite understand the question! The paper version has for 17,18,20,’Novel utterance from 25, originally in 14′. I don’t know what your ref to 14,18,20 means!

    6dn was shown as 10 [our friend Chambers has it hyphenated.]

  28. smutchin says:

    The compound verb “be a philanderer” is precisely equivalent to the simple verb “philander”.

    “Philander” is given as a definition of “womanise” in Collins.

    Ergo “They are philanderers” = “They philander” = “They womanise”

  29. Chris says:

    Yep, Smutchin’s nailed it.

  30. Shirley says:

    26Ac Ciaran – why is W for Bush just interesting? I thought he was always known as DUBYA from his middle initial – I thought this was a beautifully misleading clue.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    If compound verbs are precisely the same as simple verbs then they are totally pointless. One day maybe I’ll do set a puzzle that includes something similar, just to see the objections.

    Eileen, the clue reads, when you translate the references, ’Novel utterance from Miranda, originally in the’ whereas what was meant was ’Novel utterance from Miranda, originally in the new world’. The words new and world are not to be found in 14.

  32. Dave Ellison says:

    world = Dr Low possibly
    new world = Dr Low
    world order = Dr Low

    Is this what you meant by “anagram (new order)”, Ciaran?

    I’m with Derek; these explanations of philanderers don’t do it for me either; or is there a penny to drop?

  33. agentzero says:

    Derek: no, I think 14 down is meant. In other words, it’s a dd, the two halves being “novel” and “utterance from Miranda, originally in The Tempest.”

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oh right, i was thinking Brave as in the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

  35. ray says:

    Enjoyable puzzle – but forced to ponder on 25a for a long time. Looked as if it should be MIRANDA, but I got hung up on golf club being ‘iron’ – the crossing letters draw you that way too – and I hadn’t spotted the connection to 14d.

  36. smutchin says:

    So, we don’t like “be a philanderer” = “womanise” but we don’t mind “be critical” = “pan” in 4d? But critical and pan are different parts of speech!!!

  37. smutchin says:

    Derek – I haven’t misquoted (or even quoted) anyone. And don’t take my comment personally because it wasn’t aimed at you personally – you’re not the only one who has expressed dissatisfaction with 19d.

    The point of my last comment was merely to highlight the fact that there is another instance of [compound verb] = [simple verb] in this same puzzle, yet it has attracted no comments.

    If one is OK, the other is surely OK too. If not, why not? I really don’t get the objections to 19d.

  38. Brian Harris says:

    Was convinced that golf club was IRON and couldn’t figure out where the IRAN required for MIRANDA came from, until my co-solver pointed out it was “R and A”. Very nice.

    We discussed the “are philanderers” issue for a while, but concluded it was probably OK, but just a little awkward.

    Lots of great cross-references by Brendan today. Enjoyable stuff.

  39. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ok, OK, let’s try to be helpful.

    IMHO, the reason is that critical isn’t a noun and therefore leads to no problems with singular/plural.

  40. Derek Lazenby says:


  41. Eileen says:

    Derek; re comment 31 [sorry for the delay, since you addressed the query to me – I’ve been feeding grandchildren in the meantime]

    My parsing of this clue is:
    ‘Novel’ [BRAVE NEW WORLD, by Aldous Huxley]
    ‘utterance from 25′ [MIRANDA]
    ‘originally in 14′ [The Tempest’, Shakespeare]
    in which Miranda says,
    ‘O brave new world!
    that has such people in it’.

  42. dagnabit says:

    Eileen, thank you for mentioning Aldous Huxley in connection to clue 17-18-20. After solving the puzzle I realized I’d read this clue too quickly and assumed that “utterance from…” was going to point not toward Miranda but toward Huxley–that is, I’d gotten the answer correct based on a misunderstanding that favored my knowledge of Huxley titles over my (much poorer) knowledge of Shakespeare quotations. So your careful parsing just now enabled me to discover my mistake.

  43. Derek Lazenby says:

    I finally figured it. I already had NEW WORLD so I managed to let the split answer create the illusion I was only looking for one word. Even though I read the answer as three words when I’d put it in, so half of me was looking at it one way, the other half another. The two halves never spoke to each other.

    Call the hospital.

  44. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A really good crossword with some very clever clues.
    We enjoyed this one a lot more than Brummie’s (slightly overrated) entry a day earlier.
    8d was the last one we got. Well, we assumed that it had to be TEST. Never heard of the river Test, but we thought of test as in “test match”, but then it is a pity that “test match” has already been used in 14d. Moreover, we think that in this clue, “that’s” is superfluous.
    Ciaran, thank you for the blog.
    Although we think that 4d should be seen as: P(AN ACE)AN.

  45. stiofain_x says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle I saw a connection with 1down ACID (though I didnt like the clue) as Aldous Huxley also wrote “The Doors of Perception” about his experiences with LSD.
    This is where Jim Morrisons band “The Doors” got their name, I was hoping to find that they had did a version of The Eagles song “Desperado” for another subtle reference but alas it wasnt to be.

  46. Mike says:

    19D would make sense if only it were:

    “We accept sultan’s people will philander” (8)

  47. Paul B says:

    They’re not necessarily ‘signalled’ with anything. Yeah, some have a question mark if the surface ends up leading naturally to it, and some have an exclamation mark for the same reason. But there’s no hard and fast rule that dictates they *should* have either. My current fave ‘The jungly mass one cleaves’ didn’t have one, as far as I can remember, and quite right too.

    ‘Are philanderers’ and ‘womanise’ are directly synonymous: hate to sound rude, but try thinking about the cryptic grammar for five seconds or so before taking that headlong, and somewhat perilous leap.

  48. Sil van den Hoek says:

    One more question.
    Responses 9,10,11,13 and 17 all more or less praised the ETON clue. I am sorry, but we can’t see why. TON = Century??
    We thought of the middle of “fifteenth” + the middle of “century” + the word ON (as in: from now on).
    Apparently, that’s not the way to look at it.
    Which is the right way?

  49. Fletch says:

    Ton = 100 = century.

  50. stiofain_x says:

    Century is a pretty standard device for clueing TON meaning 100 ( 100 mph is commonly a ton )
    As for music clues I try to send one each week to Pauls competition, where i see you are a regularly commended poster, but with little success apart from my
    “Tiny Irish singer smells like monkeys” (7)
    I remember an excellent big clue for the Tom Waits quote “Id rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy”
    but dont remember which setter.
    btw I was 7 in 1972

  51. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Ton = 100? In the country where I come from, a Ton = 1000 kg.
    And then: weight = time??
    I am sorry, but not everything is acceptable.
    That is, not for me.
    Having said that, I still think this crossword was a cracker.

  52. Owen Jones says:

    ton = 100 in cricket. To score a ton means to score 100 runs, though a century is a more comment term for the same thing.

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