Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,704 – Brendan

Posted by manehi on May 20th, 2009


A nice puzzle by Brendan with all but a few clues linked by the “capital” theme. Plenty of nice surfaces, and quite a few hidden clues.

1 PEKING PE KING, and the former name for Beijing.
4 HELENA HELEN of Troy, abducted by Paris + A [as I was solving it I had it as HELEN + Paris minus "pris", French for taken]. State capital of Montana.
9 OSLO hidden in “toO SLOw”. Capital of Norway and site of the Oslo Accords
10 CHARLESTON CHARL[ton H]ESTON. A dance and the state capital of West Virginia.
12 ISTANBUL (built as)* around N[orthern]
13 ISLAMABAD (Lima’s)* A BAD
15 LIRE hidden in “capitaL I REinvested”
16 AGRA hidden in diAGRAm
17 SCHILLING Former Austrian currency i.e. capital. S[outh] CHILLING
21 BUDAPEST Invested in the sense of surrounding – a nice cryptic def, but it’s hard not to read capital=city in the context of this puzzle.
22 LISBON LION around S[econd] B[illion]
24 MONTGOMERY Capital of Alabama
25 DILI DILIGENTLY minus GENTLY. Capital of East Timor
26 SYDNEY Sounds like (Sir Philip) Sidney, the Elizabethan poet. Capital of New South Wales. Only put in SYDNEY over SIDNEY as it was another capital.
27 FRANCS FRCS around AN.
1 PESETAS hidden in EuroPE SET ASide
2 KRONE K R ONE. Singular of the Norwegian Kroner
3 NICOSIA Capital of Cyprus. rev(IS) inside (a coin)*
5 EOLITH (the soil)* gives EOLITHS.
6 ESSENTIAL ESSEN, a German city + T[hat] I[s] A[t] L[east]
7 APOLUNE (one a pul[l])*
14 ABREACTED (create bad)*
16 AQUEOUS Cryptic def – aqueous humour is found in the eye.
18 INLAYER (I nearly)*
23 SIDON rev(NOD IS)

14 Responses to “Guardian 24,704 – Brendan”

  1. Ian W. says:

    Re 10, it’s Charlton Heston, not Charles. I was convinced it was somehow CHARLTON with EpicS inserted but was straining to parse “disheartened” to get there. I suppose it is just CHARL[ton h]ESTON.

    Otherwise, I thought it was pretty straightforward, if not a bit too much so. I don’t think 21 and 24 even count as cryptic.

  2. Andrew says:

    An enjoyable enough puzzle, with a nice theme and some good clues, but not as good as Brendan’s best, I would say.

    Ian W – I agree about 21ac, but 24ac seems fine as a double definition to me (manehi didn’t mention the other reference, to General Montgomery).

    23dn – Brendan used NOD=”signed agreement” just a couple of weeks ago in puzzle 24,692. (Of course they may have composed months apart and ony appeared close together by editorial coincidence.)

  3. manehi says:

    Ian – thanks for pointing out the typo, corrected.

  4. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, manehi. This was very good fun, and I was delighted to be able to complete it despite having a terrible memory for capital cities and the like. My favourite clue was definitely AQUEOUS :)

  5. Ralph G says:

    Thanks Manehi for locating the more obscure capitals, and Ian for the explanaion of 10A CHARLESTON. Great fun I thought.
    In 12a ISTANBUL re ‘at one time’, this ‘one time’ was from 1453 (fall of Constantinople) to 1923 (establishment of the Turkish Republic with Ankara as the seat of government).

  6. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this — eventually, after a shaky start, putting ACERBATED for ABREACTED. Didn’t get EOLITH or SIDON, and relied heavily on google. If I’d been on a train, I wouldn’t have got anywhere with this!

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    And if anyone who has not tried it is wondering why the puzzle was not 100% themed, then you should have a go. It’s almost impossible, given grid layout restrictions, even with resorting to two meanings of a theme word. So whilst this wasn’t my favourite puzzle, it’s hats off for getting so many theme answers. It must have taken him ages to juggle that lot around.

  8. Geoff says:

    Thanks manehi.

    I enjoyed this one a lot and managed it without external assistance, although I did have to check that EOLITH was kosher. ABREACTED was my first entry!

    The city/currency double ‘capital’ theme spiced it up. BTW, with respect to 2dn, KRONE is (the singular of the) Danish currency also. All the Scandinavian countries have ‘crowns’ but the Swedish crown is KRONA (pl KRONOR) as is the Icelandic one (pl KRONUR).

  9. Shirley says:

    Thanks Manehi.

    I agree with Derek on this one. A very wonderful grid-fill by Brendan, but something lacking, mysteriously, in the overall thing. By a miracle I managed to complete 5 puzzles today, and this was definitely among the best.

  10. tim the newbie says:

    Never heard of capital=currency so started off at a major disadvantage. Also, 7 and 20 down are examples (for me) of lazy clues, using obscure definitions as a substitute for witty setting.a

  11. dagnabit says:

    Thank you, Manehi. I enjoyed this, despite a few brainless stumbles. I had GENEVA at 4ac, thinking that Eva was somehow the woman referred to, and ignoring both that Switzerland is not a U.S. state and Geneva is not its capital; and SUDAN at 23d – not only ignoring the wordplay but landing in the wrong part of the world entirely!

  12. Agentzero says:

    I thought this was a fabulous puzzle. As it happened, the first ten clues I solved all fit the theme, and I started to wonder whether they all would. Very impressive. And, as always with Brendan, a lot of nice cluing along the way.

    One question regarding 17ac. The definition in the clue refers to “part of old European capital.” I read the inclusion of the words “part of” (otherwise unnecessary to the clue) as suggesting that a subdivision of a currency was wanted (as, for example, the centime was “part of” the franc). However, the schilling was the basic unit of Austrian currency. That is to say, it corresponded to the British pound, not to the British shilling. As far as I can tell, no other country used a schilling as a subdivision of its currency.

  13. Roger says:

    This is my first posting; many thanks all for the useful decipherings and debate. Please let me offer my own small contribution:

    Re. 4 ac.:

    While Geneva as an answer is indubitably incorrect, the clue was “state capital” and Geneva appears to be the capital of the Canton (“state”) of Geneva, and thus would seem to qualify as a “state capital” as much as the correct answer does or indeed Sydney (26ac.). (I got stuck on the wrong “Paris” for this clue; “Juliet” wouldn’t fit)

  14. dagnabit says:

    Welcome, Roger, and thank you for the partial defense of my answer. :)

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