Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,804 / Brendan

Posted by Eileen on September 14th, 2009


Something of a surprise – but by no means an unpleasant one – to see Brendan on a Monday. Brendan’s puzzles often have a theme and, after my miserable failure with Fungie last week, it was a relief to spot this *planetary one [with the sun thrown in for good measure], generously indicated by HOLST at 20ac, although clever cluing meant that none of the planets immediately leapt out as such. A most enjoyable puzzle.


9   *EARTH: hidden in clEAR THat; The first of the planets, though this one is not included in Holst’s suite ‘The Planets’. Earth, air, fire and water were the four ‘classical elements’.
10  HERMITAGE: double definition: the State Hermitage art museum in St Petersburg – and cryptic: in which ‘one’s’ at home
11  SANHEDRIN: anagram of HAD SINNER
12  GAUNT: G[ood] + AUNT: John of Gaunt was a son of Edward III, so called because he was born in Ghent
13  *JUPITER: PI [devout] in JUTE [old German] + R [king]
15  STAUNCH: double definition: an old crossword favourite but a nice surface
17  POSER: anagram of PERSO[n] – I really liked this &lit!
18  SUN: sounds like ‘son’
20  HOLST: HOLS [short break] + [concer]T
22  *NEPTUNE: N[ew] + EP [record] + TUNE [piece of music]
25  *MERCURY CU [copper] in MERRY

26  MARCH: a cryptic reference to the first line of Robert Browning’s poem ‘Home-thoughts, from Abroad’
      ‘O, to be in England
        Now that April’s there,’
30  RESOURCES: SO [thus] in anagram of SECURER
31  *VENUS: homophone of ‘venous’. [I didn’t know this mollusc]


1   TEES: T[ren]T
  GRANDPAS: GRAND PAS – French for ‘big step’. [I don’t think it’s necessarily done by two people, though]
3   SHOE: double definition
4   CHARTRES RE [on] with CHARTS  ‘passed round’
  *URANUS: UR [ancient place] + A[mong] + NUS [Greek ‘Ns’]
6   BIOGRAPHER: cryptic definition
7   *SATURN: S[ucceeded] + A TURN
8   LEFT: double definition
13  JAPAN: P[er] A[nnum] in JAN[uary]
14  THROUGHOUT: homophone of ‘threw out’
16  HOTLY: [zealo]T in HOLY
19  NAMELESS: anagram of SALESMEN.  [Is ‘deliberately’ necessary?]
21  LOUNGING: I GNU reversed in LONG [pine] – an amusing surface, especially since it’s a reminder of the Flanders and Swann song, ‘I’m a gnu’
23  PHRASE: R[un] almost in the middle of PHASE [stage]
24  ETHICS: E[uropean] + C[aught] in THIS
26  *MARS: hidden in gramMAR School
28  LIVE: reversal of EVIL – and, as in 18ac, no ambiguity: hurrah!
29  TEST: SET [a lot of pupils] reversed + T[ime]

32 Responses to “Guardian 24,804 / Brendan”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, I hope that no one now complains that the Monday puzzles are too easy because this one had me stumped.

    It didn’t help after I had entered STEPFATHER at 6d but there were several others that I didn’t get.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen, this was indeed good fun. The non-planetary definitions meant I didn’t even notice the theme until I’d got three or four of them.

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    Thank you Eileen and Brendan. Who was it who said to a voluptuous lady “If I were to say you have a heavenly body, will you hold it against me?”

    I have one abservation about the planets revolving around the sun. Isn’t it a Ximenean rule that each clue must have a unique answer? 18A could have been SON since the homophone indicator is in the middle.

    I once had such a clue “Prepare for take-off (5)” in a competition puzzle with the configuration ?N?I?. I had to accept UNFIX, UNPIN, UNTIE & UNZIP

  4. IanN14 says:

    Uncle Yap,
    I see what you’re getting at re. 18ac., but I think “for” makes all the difference.
    If the answer had been “son” this would have been unnecessary.

  5. Eileen says:

    Uncle Yap

    We have had a number of irritatingly ambiguous reversal / homophone clues lately but, as I indicated in the blog, I didn’t think there was any ambiguity here. ‘Relative reported’ indicates a homophone of ‘son’, I think, and the ‘for’ removes any doubt. [I see that while I’ve been typing this, Ian has made the same point.]

    I meant to comment that all the homophones today were genuine – but then Brendan has a rhotic [and aspirated] accent!

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Eileen. I finished this on the way in, so it must have been relatively easy. Enjoyable too. My first answer was HOLST, and then MERCURY, so the planets quickly followed. I did have problems seeing the explanations for 1d and 7d; is Saturn a type of car?

    I also missed seeing the light with the sun in the middle; thanks for this Uncle Yap. What a pity Brendan couldn’t have arranged them, say clockwise, in their order from the centre of the solar system, but I guess that would have been too difficult.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi Dave

    I’m glad someone else hadn’t heard of the Saturn Car Company [a subsidiary of General Motors, I find from Wiki.].

  8. Ian W. says:

    What a delight not to find a Rufus “crossword” on a Monday! Brendan’s cosmic offering was quite manageable but not simple-minded, and quite nicely playful in places.

    By the way, I’ve never complained that Monday crosswords are too easy — only that too many of Rufus’s clues are not even cryptic, and too many of his answers can be filled in before even reading the clue all the way through. Some think this elegant, but I don’t.

  9. Orange says:

    Anyone care to enlighten me please about what Mozart is doing in 13ac?

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Orange

    Mozart’s Symphony 41 has the nickname ‘Jupiter’

  11. Peter Owen says:

    In 2d “couple” is part of the definition – it refers to how many grandpas we each have.

  12. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Peter. :-)

  13. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’m trying to type this on the useless bedside contraption of the hospital room in which I have just been told about the cancer so please understand the bluntness. but 6 is rubbish. A biographer is responsible for the representation of a life and not the life itself.

    The bad news is you lot are stuck with me for several years yet! I’ll tell all in chat when I’m home.

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi Derek

    Sorry to hear you’re in hospital and hope you’ll be home soon.

    Re ‘Lives': I was hearing a lot about Samuel Johnson yesterday – it’s the tercentenary of his birth tomorrow – and his ‘The Lives of the Poets’ is often referred to as ‘Johnson’s Lives’. I think that’s probably why I saw nothing amiss in the clue and didn’t think to look it up but I just have done and both SOED and Collins, as well as the dreaded Chambers :-) have ‘biography’ as one meaning of ‘life’.

  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I don’t really want to be the next post after Derek Lazenby’s at #12.
    But probably I am.
    As to that I am speechless.
    And as to the crossword, I can only say there is hardly anything that’s wrong today.
    We only did’n’t find (and know) SANSHEDRIN.
    We discovered the theme relatively late, but that makes it even more exciting.
    The theme, ‘given away’ in 22ac (Neptune being the final movement of ‘The Planets’).

    Most of the posts are a bit like ‘well, there’s not much too say about it’, and I am only #13 today.
    The reason for that? I think, this was a splendid crossword.

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am a mathematics teacher, but got it all wrong with numbers.

  17. Eileen says:


    I hope my earlier comment did not sound over-flippant. I was being encouraged by the second paragraph of your post. I’m sure we all send you our very best wishes and look forward to your being able to write more comfortably again.


    Like you, I’ve been rather surprised at the small response. Neptune was the one that gave it to me, too – and I’ve only just noticed that I didn’t say that it was the last movement: it was certainly in my notes!

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Before they tuck us all in, I thought I’d check back. I disagree with no equation of life and biography. I’m surpised you’d think so. But the only people responsible for my life is me and those whose responsibilities might affect it’s progress. No-one who subsequently writes about that is in any way responsible for it, they are merely responsible for providing an interpretation and a recording. They have no reponsibility for the actual living of my life. The clue implies the reverse, which is senseless.

    If I suddenly write about Julius Caeser how can that make me responsible for his life?

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    oh this stupid machine, could have sworn I correted the e

  20. muck says:

    Very enjoyable Brendan puzzle
    I didn’t solve it all, so thanks Eileen & others for enlightenment.
    I was trying to fit Pluto in, but I guess it’s been redefined as a non-planet.

  21. Dave Ellison says:

    Muck, Pluto had not been discovered when Holst wrote the Planets, if I remember correctly.

  22. gsgeorge says:

    You are correct in noting that Pluto was only discovered in 1930, whereas Holst wrote The Planets in 1916. If I am not wrong Earth was not included in his composition.

  23. anagram says:


    The point is that “life” is a synonym of “biography”, e.g. Richard Ellman’s life of James Joyce. So “the lives of others” just means “biographies”. Best wishes.

  24. Chunter says:


    The use of ‘life’ in this context is common. For instance, Googling for ‘is writing a life of’ produces about 650,000 hits!

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oh people. people, thank you all for your indulgence, but you have said nothing that I didn’t already agree with and none of you have even mentioned the problem phrase, taking responsibility……

    regardless of prior crossings of swords, it was all a bit of fun really, and I have missed you all, no exceptions, but this machine drives me potty so don’t expect much till next week somtime.

  26. anagram says:


    Yes, I know. That was kind of my point.


    “responsibility” in this context just means that they are responsible for writing the biography.

  27. RB says:

    10D: HERMITAGE I don’t get how this is clued by “in which one’s at home”. Is it that if only one person is at home, then that person must be a hermit? If so, I say Pshaw!

    13D: What’s the second “in” doing in this clue? Why is it there?

    19D: As Eileen noted, why “deliberately”?

    26D: How does the clue “Ruins” lead to MARS?

    29D: How does the clue “a lot of pupils” lead to SET? I’ve seen lots of meanings of “set” via Google and “pupils” ain’t one of them. I guess if I looked long enough I’d find it, but the many different things that can be in sets seems to highlight the tenuous nature of this clue.

  28. Brian Harris says:

    @RB “set” is used in schools to mean a class of a certain ability level, in a school where streaming of ability levels is used. I was in various sets for different subjects, eg top set for English, second set for maths, and so on.

  29. Matt says:

    I think the taking responsibility might be taking the “rap” in biog-rap-hers.

  30. Colin Blackburn says:

    @RB ruin = mar, as in to damage something, hence ruins = mars.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    anagram. ty for being the one to understand the question and give what looks a reasonable answer. As you may have guessed, that isn’t the way I would have implied that. Oh well, there you go and thanks once again.

    Nice one Matt :)

  32. RB says:

    Thanks Brian Harris #28. I can’t remember whether “set” was used in that way when I was at school many decades ago. And the term is not used in that way here in Australia.

    Thanks Colin Blackburn #30. I should’ve spotted that!

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

7 + one =