Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,758 / Brendan

Posted by Andrew on July 22nd, 2009


A very enjoyable romp round theatre-land from Brendan, but also quite an easy one, for me anyway: it must have been one of my quickest solves for a while. The strange grid, with most of the edges blacked out, made me suspect a Nina, but I can’t see anything obvious.

9. PINTER Hidden in grouP INTERview
11. MIMI MIMI(c) – tragic heroine of Puccini’s La Bohème
13. SHAKESPEARE (A SPEAKER)* in SHE. He had to be in here somewhere!
18. PASSING OUT Double definition
21. HAIR H + AIR. Hair was first produced in 1967, so I think it’s a bit of a stretch to call it an “old” musical (compared to other examples of the genre). I saw it at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London on my 17th birthday – a few years ago..
23. O’CASEY O + CASE (=suit, as in law) + (pla)Y
24. EXTRAS Double definition – acting and cricket
25. CASSIO C + I in ASSO(ciation). ASS + I in CO (thanks to beermagnet and medici for the correction). Othello’s Lieutenant.
1. DIETRICH DIET + RICH – there she is again!
2. HENRYS Double definition – or just about, since both “definitions” are examples of people called Henry. Fits nicely with the theme though.
3. PINAFORE PIN + A + FOR + E. The “craft of musical theatre” is HMS Pinafore (which is, aptly, an anagram of “name for ship”).
5. OLIVIA (b)OLIVIA – she’s a Countess in Twelfth Night
7. GAIETY IE + T in (John) GAY (writer of The Beggars’ Opera). The Gaiety Theatre was demolished in 1956.
8. A DOLL’S HOUSE Play by Ibsen. A “musical guy’s partner” is a DOLL, and her theatre is a HOUSE.
14. KING LEAR KIN + REGAL – and a nice &lit
16. RACINE IN (popular) in RACE
19. STARTS T (“west end”, i.e. the end of “west”) in STARS
20. THOMAS Double definition – Doubting Thomas, and Dylan Thomas, whose “Under Milk Wood” is subtitled “a play for voices”, and written as a radio play.

33 Responses to “Guardian 24,758 / Brendan”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew – and especially for the anagram in 3dn!

    I loved this puzzle – a fine illustration of how a relatively easy solve can be just as satisfying. There were some great surfaces and some nice ‘aha’ moments. Brendan does it again!

  2. beermagnet says:

    When I saw the blog was here already I thought I’d pop in to say …
    … exactly what Eileen’s already said.
    This was a brilliant example of how an easy puzzle can be enjoyable.

    I would deconstruct 25A as: ASS (charlie) I inside CO

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew.

    This was as easy as they come but when I saw 1d I had to double check just to make sure that it wasn’t another Araucaria puzzle.

  4. Chunter says:

    24ac: we had EXTRA on Monday.

    Not a Tree to be seen!

  5. medici says:

    I read 25 ac as ASS (Charlie) +I in CO (company)

  6. Monica M says:

    Thank-you … A record time for me as well.

    Even though my knowledge of the theatre is limited the way Brendan created his clues I was still able to solve them. Google allowed me to confirm the rest of the clue … terrific all around.

  7. Bryan says:

    I suggest that 8d is an allusion to ‘Guys and Dolls’,

  8. Andrew says:

    Thanks beermagnet and medici, you’re right about 25ac – I was trying to be too clever there, or something.

    Bryan – you are also right, hence my link to Guys and Dolls in the blog..

  9. The trafites says:

    Why is this posted under the category Private Eye/Cyclops too?

  10. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks Andrew for a comprehensive blog.

    My only problem was with 3d – because I spelt SILHOUETTE wrongly. Hard to fit an “H” into a pinafore…

    Enjoyed it very much; but not as much as the Puck puzzle published in our local paper this morning, which you would have seen about five weeks ago. That was a corker!

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Re comment #9, error rectified.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Agree with the others — this was fun! The only one that held me up for a while was O’Casey. Lots of nice surfaces.

    I keep meaning to ask — what does ‘nina’ mean? I understand that it’s a hidden unclued message but what do the letters stand for?

  13. beermagnet says:

    Liz: Re: Nina. Can I refer you to
    Gaufrid, this question comes up so often maybe it’s worth adding to the faq.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks, Beermagnet!

  15. Bryan says:

    Thanks Andrew: I hadn’t followed your link.

  16. Ralph G says:

    Very enjoyable tour de force.
    12a SILHOUETTE. Just to enlarge on the diffident etymology in Chambers. The word certainly derives from Étienne de Silhouette, Finance Minister of France in 1759, and three explanations have been advanced.
    a) Silhouette’s reputation for cheese-paring and ineffectual financial measures. He had promised grand reforms..
    b) Silhouette’s brief tenure of office.
    c) Silhouette’s amateurish outline drawings on the walls of his château at Bry sur Marne.
    I am persuaded towards (a) by Le Trésor which cites the phrase “à la silhouette” as indicating cheese-paring and ineffectuality. One is put in mind of Chesterton on the puppet theatre – “ A remarkable economy of means and of effect”.

  17. Colin Blackburn says:

    Liz: I got O’CASEY quickly but see how it could be a tough one as I have been caught out with apostrophes in names before. In blocked cryptics spaces and hyphens are indicated but not apostrophes. This doesn’t normally matter with phrases where the dropping of the apostrophe makes little difference to the feel of the phrase, like LOSE ONES MARBLES, say. But dropping it from OCASEY looks distinctly odd and when faced with, say, OCA??? adding an apostrophe isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

  18. liz says:

    Colin — that’s it exactly. It took me a while to see that there could be an apostrophe in there. I have the same problem when I’m doing the Azed, where hyphens aren’t indicated!

    Ralph — thanks for a fascinating account of the etymology of ‘silhouette’! I never would have imagined that the word came from a person of that name!

  19. stiofain says:

    I thought it was great that every clue was related to the theme in some way, as others have said a quick solve but very satisfying.

  20. JimboNWUK says:

    I groaned inwardly when I realised the thespian theme to this puzzle but was rescued by the ‘Puzzle Solver’ bit of my trusty Sharp E500A having a ‘dramatists’ section. Still had to guess stuff like Olivia, Mimi and Cassio (‘Summer with a bit more time’ would have been good there I thought for no good reason whatsoever) from the crypto bits though. Tch.

  21. Mick H says:

    I always thought Étienne de Silhouette was the shadow finance minister!

  22. Dagnabit says:

    Thanks, Andrew and all. My only grumble is that I wish that 6ac and 11ac weren’t so similar in form.

  23. Andrew says:

    This must be “be kind to solvers” day: today’s FT has a puzzle by Cinephile (aka Araucaria) that is at least as easy as this one, with a theme that makes it easier still when you spot it.

    Available (now in large-print PDF format) at

  24. Eileen says:


    Agreed – I couldn’t believe it was ‘Araucaria’!

  25. Andrew says:

    I’ve only just started doing the FT puzzles regularly (since they started producing the nice PDFs in fact) but my impression so far is that in general they are easier than those in the Guardian (and possibly also the Independent, though I don’t do these very often as there is no printable version at all).

  26. liz says:

    Eileen and Andrew — quite agree. (See my comment on the FT blog.)

  27. Eileen says:


    If you’re going to be doing the FT crosswords more regularly, it will be interesting to hear your continuing comments on the relative difficulty. I don’t do the FT every day, by any means, though I usually take a look at the blog, but, like you, have done it more regularly since the introduction of the more friendly format. Several of the compilers set for both papers and there are differences, not necessarily in difficulty, but certainly in style, between their contributions for each. [Don’t ask me to define them!] Did you do the Dante on Monday and compare it with the Rufus?

    Guardian crosswords are set primarily for Guardian readers, as Sandy Balfour says in his fascinating book, ‘A clue to our lives: 80 years of the Guardian crossword’. I know not all 15² Guardian solvers are Guardian readers – correction: not all buy the paper, which is not the same thing – but they do seem to be more argumentative than solvers of the other papers’s puzzles, judging by the number of comments on this thread!

    As I’ve just said on the other side, it’s nice to see some of us over there!

  28. Eileen says:

    I really do know how to use apostrophes – “PAPERS'”!

  29. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Agree with everyone that this was both fun and fairly straightforward.

    Failed to get OCASEY and PINERO. I got the O’ opening and the Y ending but Suit as a definition of CASE beat me.

    I still don’t get PINERO. Was Nero sanctimonious or does this indicate the PI in some way?

    And why were miracles the subjects of old plays in 22ac?

  30. Mr Beaver says:

    Paul (np)
    ‘Pi’ is old slang for ‘Pious’, one of those crossword favourites no longer found in real life.

    I think there was a tradition of miracle plays in mediaeval times

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Eileen? Argumentative? Us? Surely not? We just enjoy chewing the cud with atypical vigour! Oh dear, that’s not arguing is it? Dang! LOL.

  32. Chunter says:

    Yesterday (22/7) was (at least in those countries that use a sensible date format) celebrated as Pi Approximation Day. Coincidence?

  33. Bryan says:


    Good news re your 25 above (that’s a change from 25 across, isn’t it?)

    Where you wrote:

    … and possibly also the Independent, though I don’t do these very often as there is no printable version at all …

    There are ways of printing any stuff that appears on screen if you use a PC, dunno about Macs.

    I use both:

    Snippy and


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