Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24774 / Brendan

Posted by mhl on August 10th, 2009


There’s frequently something special about Brendan’s crosswords and this one is no exception: every clue’s construction is of the form where a single letter is included in another word to give the definition. Quite an achievement, especially considering the smooth surface readings and that when going through the clues initially this wasn’t obvious at all to me. (Apologies for the late post – I was under the mistaken impression that I was doing tomorrow instead.)

[Links to the puzzle as HTML, PDF and Java Applet]

1. CLAIRE I[rish] in CLARE
4. CUBISTS S[tudio] in CUBITS
9. ADDICTION C = “Conservative” in ADDITION = “Reckoning in a way”
10. AGORA AGRA = “Asian city” around O = “old”
11. SITAR STAR = “top player” around I = “India on the radio?”; this is referring to India being I in the NATO phonetic alphabet
13. SOLDIER I = “one” in SOLDER = “Join, in a way” – the definition is “private”. I’m not sure why there needs to be “in a way” here
15. REGAIN I = “island” in REGAN = “princess”; Regan is one of the daughters of King Lear
17. RAGGED RAGED = “Was furious” about G[arment]
19. FORAGER FORGER = “Criminal” around A = “area”
22. ETHNOLOGY ETHOLOGY = “Study of behaviour” around N = “new”
24. AVOID AVID = “Eager” around O = “duck”
26. CARIB A = “ace” in CRIB = “card game” (another name for cribbage)
28. SEDATED SEATED around D = “Democrat”
29. AMIENS AMENS = “Expressions of agreement” around I = “person speaking”
1. CHASSIS H = “Henry” in CASSIS = “Wine and liquer”; the Henry is the SI unit of inductance, abbreviated H (as opposed to the King)
2. AUDIT ADIT = “access to mine” (new to me, anyway) around U = “university”
3. RECORDING RECODING = “Changing program” around R; as a programmer myself, I loved “RECODING” for “Changing program” :)
4. CONIFER I[ndians] in CONFER = “powwow”; the Sitka Spruce is a conifer. (“powwow” is CONFER as an intransitive verb)
5. BRACE BRAE = “Bank of Scotland” around C = “constant”; in maths and physics it’s common to use “c” to indicate a constant, or it might be “c” as in the speed of light in a vacuum
6. SMOOTHING SOOTHING = “Calm” around M = “male”; the definition, “evening out”, is a very nice bit of deception
7. SHANDY SHADY around N = “name”
8. MILDER MILER = “Runner” around D = “diamonds”; “hot” as in “spicy”
14. LEATHERED LATHERED = “Beat” around E = “energy”; both LATHERED and LEATHERED mean “beaten” (synonymous with “beat”?), and I guess either might be slang for “exhausted” – not sure what’s intended
16. GERMANIUM M = “Large number of Romans” in GERANIUM for the semimetal
18. DROWSED DOWSED = “put out” (as in a candle) around R = “river”
19. FLYING FLING = “affair?” around Y = “year”
20. RODGERS [Ginger] ROGERS = “Actress and dancer” around D = “daughter” for Richard Rodgers (of Rodgers and Hammerstein)
21. PEACES PACES = “Steps” around E = “English”
23. ORBIT OBIT = “Late notice” around R = “king”
25. OUNCE U = “uranium” in ONCE = “not duplicated”

34 Responses to “Guardian 24774 / Brendan”

  1. The trafites says:

    I completed this, but 1dn still alludes me. I first though it was C(H)ASSIS, but both Chambers and Collins define CASSIS as black current cordial. So then, I ended up with CHASSES = a dram or liqueur. So I had H in CASES [frame] with an unknown AS stuck in there.

    Where does CASSIS = wine and liqueur?


  2. mhl says:

    The trafites / Nick: Cassis is a wine region, so also a wine from that region:

    … and also Crème de Cassis is a liqueur:ème_de_cassis

  3. Andrew says:

    Thanks mhl. In 5dn I wondered whether banks and braes (o’ bonnie Doon) were really the same thing, but apparently they can be.

    Clever though this was, and fun in its way, I somehow found it less satisfying than some Brendan puzzles, and I think the theme was stretched a bit thin in places: for example, 1ac strikes me as a bit weak, and CARIB is perhaps a bit obscure – CAROB would have fitted (O in CARB) and is perhaps slightly better known. And Richard Rodgers is best known a Broadway composer, though apparently he did write some original film scores, and of course his music is also used in the films of his shows.

    But I did like the reference to “recoding” :)

    BTW I think your introduction should say “a single letter is included in another word“. When I spotted the theme I was hoping there would be a message spelt out in the included letters, but I don’t think there is.)

  4. Bryan says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this but I was unable to get 20d RODGERS although it was a perfectly good clue. I could kick myself.

    Regarding 1d, CASSIS is a Blackcurrant Cordial but Creme de Cassis is a Blackcurrant Liquor which, with a helping of white wine, produces KIR – a French cocktail.

    Many thanks Brendan and mhl.

  5. mhl says:

    Andrew: thanks for the correction to the preamble, I’ve changed that.

  6. Bryan says:

    Richard Rodgers & Larry Hart went to Hollywood in the Thirties and wrote stuff for 2 movies to my knowledge: ‘Love Me Tonight’ and ‘Hallelujah I’m a Bum’.

  7. The trafites says:

    Thanks for the CASSIS explanations. BTW, I did mean to say I had H in CASES with an extra S from somewhere.


  8. Mitch says:

    Re 21d

    Was I the only one to shudder on filling in “peaces” ? Just didn’t seem English.

  9. NeilW says:

    Perhaps I was still stunned by England’s performance or lack of, but I found this quite hard – no complaints about the clues or the excellent blog, thanks mhl, but it took me 50% longer than Araucaria’s puzzler this weekend. (I agree, though, about “peaces”, Mitch!) I’m surprised to see I’m the first to comment on this strange habit of occasionally producing something really tough for a Monday. I would have expected this more for a Friday… but then perhaps it’s just me.

    Thanks for putting my mind at rest over the relevance of “on the radio” in 11ac – I spent ages trying to get “aired” to work as “India” was enough of an indicator for me!

  10. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. i also found this hard, just couldn’t seem to get on the same wavelength as Brendan today and ended up cheating a couple of times to get the top left corner. Needless to day, didn’t spot the fact that all the clues were constructed the same way…

    I also agree about PEACES.

    All the same, v clever!

  11. enitharmon says:

    And here was me thinking that Brendan wasn’t showing much imagination in his clueing. Well, there you go!

  12. NeilW says:

    Liz, yes, I didn’t spot the pattern either! (Thanks mhl for pointing out the blindingly obvious!) I do remember thinking, though, after the first pass came up almost dry, “Not a single anagram?”

  13. enitharmon says:

    “Peaces” as in the Peace of Westphalia (which was multiple treaties), I think.

  14. enitharmon says:

    Oh, and CHASSIS was also, by chance, a solution in the Quick Crossword today.

  15. muck says:

    I did spot the unique clue construction fairly early, but agree with Andrew#3 who “somehow found it less satisfying than some Brendan puzzles”. I, too, looked for a message in the included letters but couldn’t find any.

  16. Mitch says:

    At the risk of seeming arrogant, why is Monday’s cryptic – irrespective of compiler – always the easiest of the week? Same story with The Times.

  17. NeilW says:

    Wow, Mitch. So I was right: my stupidity today must be attributable to the cricket. Particularly impressive is your prescience in knowing that this will be the easiest of the week!

  18. NeilW says:

    Seriously though; I think today’s was an example of one of those crosswords where you have to catch the wavelength, as Liz said; no good to look too deeply into each clue I suppose!

  19. mhl says:

    Mitch: this is a deliberate policy – lots of people (myself included) prefer a slightly easier crossword at the start of the week, since the weekend ones tend to be much harder work. Hugh Stephenson has mentioned this a few times in his newsletter, and, if I recall correctly, that there are lots of complaints if the Monday crossword is too hard (or non-Rufus).

    However, I should say that like liz and NeilW, I didn’t find this particularly easy! (That’s partly because I tend to look for anagrams and hidden answers first.)

  20. Mitch says:

    Thanks for your replies – even the sarky ones. I was so angry at the cricket over the weekend (and the footy yesterday), that the adrenalin rush took me through a blitz on the weekend puzzles. Never happened before, probably won’t ever again.

    Sorry if I offended anyone.

  21. Brian Harris says:

    Fab stuff today from Brendan. Had completed about half the crossword and was complaining that a lot of the clues seemed constructed the same way when my colleague pointed out that actually they ALL were and that was the theme. A great achievement, and it did make solving the remainder a fair bit easier.

  22. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed this, though it was fairly tough. I did spot the theme early on; reading through for the first time gave me an eery feeling there was something odd but couldn’t quite grasp what it was. However, once spotted the extra letter was quite useful in giving hints for the other clue connected.

    However, like others I was marginally disappointed there wasn’t an extra something else; are we still missing something?

  23. mhl says:

    Mitch: I’m sure you didn’t offend anyone – I think it was pretty clear that NeilW’s comment was light-hearted!

  24. muck says:

    I have the inserted letters…

    There could be an anagram there, but I don’t see it.

  25. muck says:

    INGENIOUS RIDDLE is in there, but the remaining letters don’t make any sense

  26. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Clever, technical, quite diffcicult … and very dull.

    Why construct a puzzle where all the clues are the same?

    I find Brendan a setter who prefers to show off rather than set an entertaiing puzzle.

  27. Mike Laws says:

    Fie on you nitpickers!

    You try to construct a crossword where every grid entry is a word which is still a word after one letter (but never the first or the last) has been removed. Then moan that there was nothing else.

    Showing off? That’s like saying a footballer is showing off by scoring a goal. Soccer players almost invariably show off after scoring. Brendan lets his talent speak for itself.

  28. ACP says:

    Brendan’s puzzle are invariably entertaining. I always enjoy going into one wondering what sort of surprise he has waiting. And I can’t remember two surprises being much similar.

    I think saying that the theme was ‘dull’ or ‘less satisfying’ is like saying your birthday present wasn’t expensive enough. Enjoy what you got.

  29. Bryan says:

    Today’s Puzzle [24775] has been printed in INVISIBLE INK and is surely the hardest ever – even for Paul!

    I’m now searching for the chemicals necessary to crack the problem.

  30. beermagnet says:


    I managed to find the pdf for 24,775:
    The normal online version is still blank at the moment.

  31. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Beermagnet, I’ve now got it!

  32. C & J says:

    Fotgive the nit-picking, but isn’t germanium a semi-conductor, rather than a semi-metal?

  33. Derek Lazenby says:

    Isn’t it just poetic licence? Never heard the term semi-metal in my young day, but as a metal is a conductor, whether semi-metal is a real term or not, it would be a valid, if whimsical, replacement in a crossword. Afterall, we all got it.

  34. Colin Blackburn says:

    Re semi-metal: it depends how technical you want to get! There are metals, nonmetals, with metalloids between the two. Then there are semi-condutors and semi-metals. Germanium is a metalloid and a semi-conductor. I’m not sure if it is technically a semi-metal.
    Chambers then adds extra confusion to the mix by defining semi-metal as an obsolete word meaning a non-malleable metal.

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