Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,713 (Sat 30 May)/Puck – Loss Leader

Posted by rightback on June 6th, 2009


Solving time: 13:43

This puzzle was themed around bandleaders, of which an impressive 11 appear in the grid, plus BANDLEADER itself at 21/19dn. The wordplay to the thematic entries (asterisked below) must have been helpful because I managed to work out the ones I hadn’t heard of (about 4), but I imagine a solver with little interest in music would have found this puzzle pretty testing.

I had a few quibbles but these were easily outweighed by the many excellent clues.

[PS: I’m racing the LAMM this weekend and will not be able to respond to any comments until Monday, so apologies in advance for any errors.]

Music of the day: Jazz Club… nice.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

* 1 GOODMAN; (MAN)* in GOON – Eccles was a character in The Goon Show; I think this band leader is Benny Goodman.
* 8 HENDRIX; END in ‘HR IX’ (= ‘hour nine’) – I liked the wordplay here (which rightly had a question mark) and the choice of Jimi Hendrix who led a very different kind of band.
* 9/10 DUKE [w]ELLINGTON – ‘duke’ is slang for the fist, hence ‘boxer’s glove insert’, which is devious in the extreme but seems perfectly fair. Duke Ellington is maybe the most famous bandleader (Hendrix excluded!) in the puzzle.
* 12/20dn BILLY COTTON – a British bandleader. I think the intended wordplay is Billy Budd (an opera by Benjamin Britten, originally a novel) followed by ‘cotton [bud]’.
* 13 TED HEATH – two people, one a bandleader and the other a Prime Minister and Conservative leader (hence ‘blues leader’ – although there’s a missing apostrophe here).
15 I SPY – as James Bond might say. I liked this one.
16 ABETS; A + B + (SET)* – just an ordinary ‘B’ this time.
17 BOND[i] – referring to the famous surfing beach in Australia.
18 HELL-BENT – I thought this was brilliant (‘Disinclined?’, with ‘Dis’ = Hell).
* 20/12dn COUNT BASIE; (A BONE IS CUT)* – another candidate for the most famous of the thematic answers. This was the first thematic clue I solved.
21 BRAZIL NUT; BRA + Z[est] + (UNTIL)*
* 22 B + ILK – great clue. Acker Bilk was known to me thanks to a terrible joke by my physics teacher who referred to F = BIlk as ‘Acker’s equation’.
* 25 JOE LOSS; JOE (= ‘Bloggs’) + LOSS (= ‘bereavement’) – founder of the Joe Loss Orchestra. This was a lucky guess for me.
1 TOFU (hidden)
* 2 ADDER + LEY – another lucky guess. A ‘ley’ is a straight line in a landscape but I couldn’t make anything of the ‘Cannon and Ball’ reference as I hadn’t heard of Cannonball Adderley and spent some time trying to come up with a word which could follow both words, like ‘fodder’ or something.
3 NAMELY; rev. of MAN, + ELY – ‘Rampant’ means ‘standing in profile’, as in a lion rampant, but this doesn’t seem the same as ‘upside down’.
5 ODETTE (hidden backwards) – this got a ‘very good’ tick…
6 LI[sb]ON – …and so did this. Non-Brits not interested in sport may not know of the British and Irish Lions who are currently touring South Africa.
* 11 LYTTELTON; (T,T,T,LONELY)* – “Humph” Lyttelton, jazz musician and presenter of Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, who died last year.
14 TENET (palindrome)
16 AMERICAN; (MAN)* around ERICA
17 BLUE (= ‘obscene’) BELL (= ‘clanger’)
* 23 LAST (2 defs) – the least confident of my guesses; James Last is a German musician.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,713 (Sat 30 May)/Puck – Loss Leader”

  1. Biggles says:

    3d. I hesitate this time but is not ‘rampant’ used in its violent context and an anagram indicator? I don’t follow the reference to ‘upside down’.

  2. Mr Beaver says:

    Biggles – I took rightback to mean he thought ‘rampant’ to be a (dubious) reversal indicator. It works as an anagram indicator, though.

    Enjoyed this once we (eventually) twigged what B was.
    As 9/10a was the first themed clue we got, the initial guess was Bluesmen – which was finally disproved with 12/20 ! (radio-listening oldies may remember ‘Wakey, wakey !’)

    I must say I thought Jimi Hendrix didn’t really belong in this company, though I liked the clue.

  3. Duggie says:

    Did anyone else think the preamble was unnecessary, since the theme was given in 21,19?

  4. Peter Owen says:

    3d. The first definition of “rampant” in Chambers is “rearing”. Since “rearing” means “rising” I think that this is a perfectly good indication to write MAN upwards (rather than backwards). The clue only works for a down answer.

  5. Colin H says:

    I got in a bit of a mess with this one – having got the theme, I somehow managed to convince myself that 21,19 was KING OLIVER, which as you can imagine made a bit of a mess of the bottom left-hand corner. It was only on coming back to it later in the day that I realised where I’d gone wrong, and the last few fell into place.

    Great set of clues, my favourite Saturday one for a long time.

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    I think the preamble helped, as I got 21d very late in the day. Enjoyed this, though I didn’t manage to get a few at the end.

    Having enormous trouble getting going with Biggles today.

    Enjoy the LAMM, Rightback – will you do it in 13:43?!

  7. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. Had to do this without looking things up, as I was on a train, but managed it with a little struggle. I really liked some of these clues, especially 18ac, 22ac and 6dn. Spelled LYTTELTON wrong at first, which held me up at 13ac.

    James Last is definitely right. I remember his records from the ‘easy listening’ section of the record shop where I was a Saturday girl too many years ago to mention.

    Dave Ellison — keep trying with the Biggles…it looks forbidding but there are some nice things in there!

  8. sidey says:

    I am now kicking myself, that is all.

  9. Colin H says:

    Dave – the Biggles gave me a bit of trouble, too, but I got there in the end. Have fun with 28 ac!

  10. stiofain says:

    I loved the inclusion of Hendrix and thought it was a great clue.

  11. Colin Blackburn says:

    The grid was very impressive: getting the 11 bandleaders and BANDLEADER itself without too many obscure entries. I didn’t even think there were that many.

    Re comment 6: 13:43 would be a reasonable time for the LAMM if it’s hours:minutes!

  12. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Count Basie was our entry into the themed clues too and leonidas was our last as we’d never heard of him.

    How did you get on in the Lamm? Nice weekend for it!

  13. Crypticnut says:

    Sorry to be so late with this but it was published in our local paper only this morning.
    Just wanted to point out that 17a – BOND – is also a band; all female string quartet specialising in up-beat versions of some of the classics. Definitely not one for the purists!

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