Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,778 / Brummie

Posted by Eileen on August 14th, 2009


There’s a mini-theme of improbability going on here, in 14, 18ac, 4dn and 24dn etc. There are one or two rather lame charades, I think, but an entertaining puzzle on the whole, as we would expect from Brummie.


1   LATVIAN: LAT[e] [almost dead] + VIA [going by] + N[ame]
5   CYNTHIA: anagram of AN ITCHY
9   SHELF: SH [don’t talk] + ELF [fairy]
10  VITRIOLIC: TRIO [three] inside V[5] I[1] LI[51] + C [100]  Iliked this one!
11  INACCURACY: IN +AC[invoice] + CURACY [assistant clerical post]
14  PIGS MIGHT FLY: PIGS [sows] MIGHT [power] FLY [at speed?]
18  IN YOUR DREAMS: cryptic definition, a reference to Freud’s ‘The interpretation of dreams’
21,12: DEAD SLOW: anagram of O [duck] + WADDLES; another nice clue
22  INGRESSION: INGRES [20dn] + reversal of IS + ON
25  LIONHEART: LION [English / Irish Rugby Union international] + HEART[s] [football team, Heart of Midlothian] Edit; I meant ‘BRITISH, of course – thanks, Chunter! [Whatever would my husband have said?!]
26  RULER: RULE [law] + [make]R
27  OVERTLY: T[ime] inside OVERLY [too] – nice surface
28  RAWNESS: N[ame] in anagram of WEARS + [succes]S


1   LES SIX: LESS [short of] IX [9]: the six [I had to look these up] are Milhaud, Poulenc, Honegger, Auric, Durey and Tailleferre
3   INFECTIOUS: INF[ormation] + anagram of ETC + IOUS [debts]
4   NEVER: [Jules] VERNE [SF writer] with the last two letters moved to the beginning
5   CATECHISE: anagram of  [vi]CE [six dropped] + AITCHES
6   NAIL: A [one] in NIL [nowt]; Collins tells me a clout is a  short, flat-headed nail
7   HALF-LIFE: ‘the period of time in which activity of a radioactive substance falls to half its original value’ [Chambers]: the cryptic part of this clue is 35, which is half of three score and ten, our biblically-allotted life-span
8   ARCHWAYS: ARCH [knowing] WAYS [mechanisms]
13  THUMBSCREW: THUMBS [seeks lift] + CREW [team] I liked the definition!
15  SEDENTARY: DENT [diminish] in anagram of YEARS
16  VINDALOO: anagram of LAID-ON in VO [middle of ‘favour’] – another nice surface
17  SYCAMORE: anagram of YMCAS + ORE [metal] – nicely misleading definition: Edit update: sycamore = an American plane treeapologies for the earlier omission
20  INGRES: IN [accepted] + G[rand] + RES[idence] ; Jean Auguste Dominique, French painter 1780-1867
23  ROTOR: RO [OR turns] TO R[ight]
24,19,2: THAT WILL BE THE DAY: ‘Unabridged version’ of the great Buddy Holly’s 1957 song ‘That’ll be the day’

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,778 / Brummie”

  1. Bryan says:

    I consider this to be the Best of the Week.

    At times, I thought that I would never finish it but eventually everything fitted nicely into place.

    Many thanks Brummie & Eileen

  2. Uncle Yap says:

    “Many thanks Brummie & Eileen”
    Hear hear
    Another very entertaining day with 10Across being my favourite

  3. Chunter says:

    Hi Eileen,

    25ac: … or Scottish or Welsh! It’s a reference to the British and Irish Lions.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi Chunter

    Oh dear, egg all over my face – I knew that, of course! I was being so careful to include the Irish!

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, Eileen. This was entertaining! I also liked 10ac, 17dn and 16dn. Nice surfaces. I was going to look up ‘Les Six’ but thanks to the blog I don’t have to! I found this quite a bit easier than yesterday.

  6. Shirley says:

    Thanks Eileen – Can anyone explain the reference to US in 17D?

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Shirley

    sycamore: an American plane tree [Collins]

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, I liked and enjoyed this one, though I needed some help with explanations; thank’s, Eileen.

    17d Sycamore – I took the US plane to be a Sycamore Helicopter, which I now discover is British, anyway!

  9. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Eileen and particularly the explanation of SYCAMORE! I thought this was very enjoyable – a good level of difficulty for the daily crossword.

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks, mhl. I’ve now updated the blog to include the explanation!

  11. johnson says:

    This was a bit disappointing too, with THAT WILL BE THE DAY being a low-light! Bliminy. Who says ‘That will be the day!’? And the Lions aren’t British either, with the ***** now integral. The Irish have got it right really, with their national team including anyone from the island. Brits r still hung up on those boundaries.

    * offensive slang edited out. Gaufrid.

  12. Bogeyman says:

    Fun crossword – seems easier than the last Brummie I attempted, which I struggled with. I liked the misleading surface of 16d, and the rhyming 6d.

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi Bogeyman

    Thanks for pointing out the rhyme in 6dn. I’d been trying to make a connection between ‘clout’ [which I thought might possibly be a Northern expression, though it’s used down here in the Midlands, and found that it wasn’t, specifically] and ‘nowt’.

    I agree that it seemed easier [and I’m not complaining, since it was my blog!] than your usual Brummie.

  14. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well there are several meanings of clout. Ye olde worlde dodgy internet sources generally don’t indicate any regional usage in general, although one or two are so marked, depending on which source you are looking at, but they then totally fail to say which region or dialect. So maybe you were thinking of one of those meanings.

  15. PJAJ says:

    Thank heavens! After a few near misses, this is the first guardian cryptic I have completed. As answers such as ‘pigs might fly’, ‘never’, and ‘in your dreams’ began to emerge, it really felt like the setter was goading me.

  16. mhl says:

    Congratulations, PJAJ :)

  17. enitharmon says:

    When I was in B & Q yesterday (after completing the crossword) I saw clouts for sail amongst the nails. I don’t think it’s dialect and I do think it’s been a good crossword word for yonks.

  18. Eileen says:


    It was in the ‘hit’ sense that I was wondering if ‘clout’ was dialect. I shall file away the nail definition.

    [‘Clouts for sail’?] :-)

  19. enitharmon says:

    I suppose quite a lot of things I’ve used all my life might be dialect – possibly picked up from my mother whose parents came from West Cumberland and who still slips the odd dialect word into her discourse. “A clout round the ear” seems mainstream to me but might be strange to others, I agree. It was years before I realised that ‘daft’ wasn’t universal English!

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