Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,697 / Brummie

Posted by Eileen on May 12th, 2009


A welcome return from Brummie, who always entertains. After solving the puzzle, I spent a while staring at the answers, since Brummie often gives us a theme. I thought there might be one based on 18ac but, if there is, I can’t see it. I was misled [or rather misled myself] for a while by putting in a wrong answer for 5ac but eventually got back on the right track. An enjoyable puzzle.

1   SUBTEND: SUB [advance] + TEND: a geometrical and botanical word
5   BESTREW: [WEBSTER]* I think I’ve done enough crosswords to know that ‘broadcast’ indicates an anagram, but [flagrantly ignoring the repeated ‘broadcast’] I put in NETWORK, as a dd/cd. As it was so early in the puzzle, it did  cause a delay!
9   LOCUS: LOCUS[t]: I’d thought of this as a mathematical word [and only Collins gives a legal context] but, of course,  it appears in ‘locum tenens’ and ‘in loco parentis’
10  FUNGOIDAL: [A FOLDING U]*: plastic is a nice anagram indicator here
11  ALPENSTOCK: [PLANE]* + STOCK [standard]
12  SHAH: [HAS]* + H
14,23: TEARING OFF A STRIP: double definition
18  RIPPING YARN: a reference to Jack the Ripper and the Michael Palin / Terry Jones TV series
21  NECK: double definition
22  CRYSTAL SET: CRY S[LEAST*]T ‘broadcast’ again!
27  LUMP SUM: LUM [Scottish chimney] + sweeP + SUM
28  PASS OUT: an easy double definition


1   SALIAN: [ALIAS] reversed + N – Edit; move the S  from the end of ALIAS to the beginning and add N[ame] Thanks, Neil.
3   EISENSTEIN: SE in [NINETIES]* – another nice anagrind   in  ‘naughty’
6,24: SPOTLESS: a reference to ‘How the leopard got his spots’ from Kipling’s Just So Stories
7   RED SHIFT: I got this from the wordplay, not being a physicist. I’ve seen ‘red’ for wine several times lately in  crosswords and have been uneasy about it. However, I find it’s in Chambers
8   WELLHEAD: WELL [I say!] HEAD: I don’t like this one very much. HEAD = ‘educator’ is rather vague – especially      these days, when head teachers do very little, if any, teaching. I originally wondered about WOODHEAD [Chris, Chief Inspector] along the lines of ‘should’ sounds like ‘would’ [‘I say’]
15  ALGORITHM: sounds like AL GORE RHYTHM – a nice one!
19  PSYCHO: CH[ain] in [SPY]* + O
20  AT REST: cleverly hidden in theATRE STage

22 Responses to “Guardian 24,697 / Brummie”

  1. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Eileen. This was a lot of fun, I thought.

    I guessed ALPENSTICK (if a flag stick holds up a standard, maybe a stick is a standard aid?) and SALIAN was too obscure for me, but otherwise this didn’t cause too many problems.

    Even after writing in FUNGOIDAL, it took a long time for me to see why it would be “like a mould” :)

  2. Ian P says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I agree that it sort-of feels that there might be a theme but apart from Tearing Off A Strip and Ripping Yarns both involving tearing I can’t see anything.

    I think I like Brummie because he’s better at ambiguity of definition than most. I’d certainly put him in with the upper end of Guardian compilers.

  3. Ralph G says:

    3. 9a LOCUS. Interesting that classicists, you and I both, and myself a lawyer, should associate LOCUS with mathematics rather than law. Chambers does give the nominative form in the phrase ‘locus standi’, right of audience, but this is a technicality outside common usage, so I think it’s somewhat hard on the non-Latinist to have to work back from ‘loco’ and ‘locum’ to the nominative ‘locus’. On the other hand, I do go on about people knowing more Latin than they think, so the nominative form of 2nd declension masculine nouns might be more familiar than you would suppose; annus, terminus etc.
    I suppose ‘legal’ made for a better surface reading than ‘mathematical’.
    I quite like puzzles such as this one where I get two across clues ‘cold’, and four down clues, then solve it from there continuously.

  4. Neil says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    1d: if you reverse ALIAS you get SAILA, which doesn’t work; but if you take the back of aliaS and put it at the front (“back to front”), then you get Salia (+n}, which does.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks Neil. Believe it or not, I did do that when solving, then messed it up later on the blog.

  6. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Eileen. A fun crossword, as Brummie always provides. One of my favourite compilers.

    This one yielded steadily, with only 1ac, 1dn (SALIAN being unfamiliar) and 6,24 causing some head-scratching at the end before I saw the answers. I kept wanting to put SNOW in for 6dn (=’pure’), remembering the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs puzzle from a month or two back.

    And I was so determined not to miss the hidden theme this time that I checked all the solutions periodically for a connection. Only there wasn’t one. Foiled again!

  7. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I enjoyed this, but found a challenge at times. LOCUS took me ages because I couldn’t get ‘licit’ out of my head. And 6,24 defeated me because I was convinced the first word was SNOW. I know the Just So Stories really well, so I’m kicking myself for that one. SALIAN was unfamiliar to me, but pretty fair, I thought, as it was easy to get from the wordplay.

  8. Eileen says:

    Geoff / Liz: I was beguiled by ‘snow’ for a while, too. As for SALIAN, I guessed it from Salic Law, remembered from A Level History. SUBTEND was a new word, too [albeit easily decipherable by analogy with pretend, contend, extend] but the wordplay couldn’t have been more straightforward.

    Don’t speak too soon, Geoff – someone may still find a connection!

  9. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen. An enjoyable puzzle, and easier than usual for Brummie, I thought.

    “Subtend” is another word that has a mathematical meaning – specifically from geometry, where for example one can talk of the angle subtended by an arc of a circle.

  10. Andrew says:

    Oops, sorry, I see you mentioned the geometrical meaning in the blog.

  11. Shirley says:

    Yes, there were some unusual words in this one, which I solved online after being allowed (thank you Indy) to defeat Nimrod. I didn’t find the same clean precision in this one, but it was still enjoyable enough.

    That said, to be honest, I’m simply glad to be able to devote the time this week to the three top puzzles, the other one being The Times, after some very annoying problems with the water system at home! I am very glad that is over with.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed most of this – I couldn’t get my last few because I screwed up twice. I had BEST CHINA for 5d, which meant I couldn’t get 10a; and I foolishly had marked of 7, 1, 3, 5 for 14a.

  13. dagnabit says:

    Ugh – I was driven to use the online Cheat function for the first time since discovering this site. My problems started with 14,23, which I was unfamiliar with; I had put in “t_a_ing for a scrap,” on weak analogy with the expression “spoiling for a fight.” So that ruined 7d (“red throw,” anyone?), and my third cheat was 6,24, simply because I drew an utter blank.

    I did however, manage to get 1d and 27 without knowing why. :)

    The only theme I could detect was in the references to fungi in 2 and 10!

    Finally, two naive questions: in 1ac, how is a “sub” an advance? And is 5d a straight cd, or is there a connection between “mate” and “china”?

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen!

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi Dagnabit -we’ve missed you lately!

    The link for me was the number of new mathematical / physical words and phrases!

    I think some of your problems were due to the ‘two nations divided by a common language’ thing:

    ‘China’ is Cockney rhyming slang; ‘China [plate] = ‘mate’. [It often crops up in crosswords, so worth remembering!]The problem with Cockney ‘rhyming’ slang is that the rhyming word is usually omitted!

    A sub is an advance on one’s salary [or pocket money] I’d never thought to wonder what it was short for but Chambers says it’s ‘subsistence money’.

  15. dagnabit says:

    Thank you, Eileen, for the greeting as well as the answers. (Since I am only able to attempt the crossword when I’m at work, I must sadly forgo it on days when I have too much *real* work to do – sigh.)

    Ahh, rhyming slang, of course! I need to start making a list of the most commonly used examples in crosswords. And it’s lovely to learn that “sub” is short for “subsistence” – my favorite thing about dictionaries is that they are filled with wonderful discoveries like that…

  16. Will says:

    Well, not being familiar with either, put fungaloid in instead of fungoidal. Didn’t hold me up too long though. Oh, and not being familiar with either, I put defit in when the answer was defat, so that’s one wrong. Oh well.

  17. Chunter says:

    Although ‘fungaloid’ is in Chambers, the OED has only ‘pre-fungaloid’.

    I don’t think that 9ac should have been ‘Mathematical position ,,,': a locus is an infinite set of points, such as a line, circle or surface.

    Chambers also has ‘locus paenitentiae’, ‘room for penitence; time for repentance’. Useful when contacting your MP!

  18. Richard says:

    I thought this was an excellent puzzle, and particularly enjoyed the clue for “algorithm”.

  19. Bogeyman says:

    I’m wondering about 25ac: why is a fire eater “engaged” to “put down” flames? It seems the most tenuous clue in the puzzle to me. Otherwise, really enjoyed this one – first time I’ve completed a Brummie, though had a fair bit of help from Mrs Bogeyman.

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    I started off thinking it was pretty tenuous, but I guess if you hire an entertainer who happens to be a fire eater then you are engaging him to put flames down his throat. So maybe a better label than tenuous is rather indirect? Just a suggestion, no strong feelings either way.

  21. C. G. Rishikesh says:

    Dagnabit wrote: Ahh, rhyming slang, of course! I need to start making a list of the most commonly used examples in crosswords.

    ***The Complete Crossword Companion by Jeremy Howard-Williams (Grafton, 1984) gives a list under ‘Rhyming Slang’.

    It has some forty entries but China isn’t included.

  22. dagnabit says:

    Thank you for the reference, C. G.!

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