Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,819 (Brendan)

Posted by diagacht on October 1st, 2009


Not a lot of time this morning. 15a, 4d and 19d point to lots of ‘films’. Not sure how the cryptic works with any of them.

8 THANKS TO: anagram of THATS OK + N (name)
9 THE LAW: anagram of WEALTH
10 MAYA: AY (indeed) in MA (Massachusetts)
11 UNBECOMING: UN (multinational group) + BECOMING (developing)
12 GAUCHO: GAUCH(e) (mostly clumsy) + O (love)
14 YEARNING: a kind of YEN
20 CHESSMAN: cryptic definition
22 MUESLI: anagram of MULE IS
23 DRIP DRYING: DRIP (pathetic person) + DRYING (forgetting lines)
24 DIPS: double definition
25 PEELER: double definition
26 NEEM TREE: anagram of MEET + RE (about) all in NE (Near East)
1 THE ALAMO: T (temp) + HEAL + A MO (doctor)
3 PSEUDO: DUES in OP (work) all reversed
5 STACCATO: CAT in (O (old) + CATS (musical)) reversed
6 TERMINABLE: TERM (limited period) + IN + ELBA (reversed)
13 CASH SUPPLY: CAS (accountants) + H (first letter of Handled) + SUPPLY (flexible way)
16 NUMERARY: N (new) + U (university) + A (article) in MERRY
18 RELAPSED: anagram of LEADERS and P (power)
21 HERDER: tHE = oRDER without their leading letters
22 MUGGER: EG (for example) in (R (river) + GUM (tree)) reversed
24 DATA: hidden in contracteD A TAble

27 Responses to “Guardian 24,819 (Brendan)”

  1. Contrarian says:

    The answers referred to in 15,17 and 19d are just examples of cowboys, Indians, cops and robbers (Inca, Maya, gaucho, herder, the law, mugger, etc.)

  2. IanN14 says:

    I think 14ac. could do with a little more explanation.
    Yearning = yen (ie. longing).
    Y = Yen + earning (making).
    Another nice one from Brendan.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Diagacht, I thought that this was great and I particularly liked DRIP DRYING.

    I didn’t find them all that easy and I wasn’t sure that I had got them all right until I checked.

    A Peeler was also a copper, as was Cannon of TV fame whilst Dips are pickpockets.

    So nicely themed.

  4. Judy says:

    Thanks for explanation of YEARNING, which I’d filled in but not understood. Please could someone explain wordplay in CANNON, which, in spite of Bryan’s comment, isn’t supposed to be part of COPS & ROBBERS.

  5. Bryan says:

    Judy, a Cannon is also a Billiards shot which hits two balls.

  6. Bryan says:

    Sorry, Judy, it hits two targets: one another ball off which it goes into a pocket.

  7. Judy says:

    Thanks – unfortunately, my mis-spent youth wasn’t in the billiards hall.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, diagacht. Needed to resort to the check button to finish this and didn’t manage to get 10ac. I liked the theme, tho, and all the linked clues.

  9. Neil says:

    Bryan: Not exactly. Though a pot might result, in billiards a cannon is a scoring shot anyway.

    A stroke in which the cue-ball is made to contact more than one object-ball. A cannon has no scoring value in Snooker, but is commonly used to gain or improve position. In English Billiards a cannon has a scoring value of two points.”

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    I enjoyed this, but I didn’t think it was so difficult – finished, except for 10a, 2d on the way in. I suspected 26a was NEEM TREE, but I had to check that as I had never heard of it.

    I am still not sure about 2d. INCA was not a ruler but a civilization? However,I see “occupying Western state” is “in California”. Why the capital W? Is that usual? And 19d refers to 2 and 10 as being films?

  11. IanN14 says:

    I think you have to read 19d. as “opponents of cowboys in films” (Indians: definition), “Maya” and “Inca” being two examples (of Indian).
    Incidentally, I think the use of a capital W is right, just as the E is in 10ac.

  12. Orange says:

    Dave : Indians are “opponents of cowboys in films” , and I suppose Incaa and Mayans are also Indians (natives of the Americas)

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks #11 and #12, IanN14 and Orange. I had understood the “opponents of cowboys in films” was “Indians”, but I thought then I was looking for the title of two films with Indians in the films.

  14. The trafites says:

    Dave #13 – I got held up a bit as there was a film called Gaucho in 1927, so got a bit side tracked for a while…


  15. Dave Ellison says:

    #14 Nick, yes, that’s what threw me too

  16. Tom Hutton says:

    Dave, on doing some research, I find that Inca does mean paramount leader of the Incas so the clue does work though I couldn’t see it at the time and put it in in my usual state of bemusement.

  17. DJM says:

    Tom, I’m not happy about an Inca being the ruler or leader of the Incas. Wikepedia (was that where you saw it?) mentions Sapa Inca meaning “paramount leader”. So “Sapa” implies leadership, not the word Inca itself.

    I off-tracked to NC inside IA (Indiana), but NC gets me nowhere either.

  18. DJM says:

    Hmm. Looks like I spoke too soon; apologies all round.

    I dug this up:

    Like the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Inca was the all-powerful emperor, the leader of the Inca people. Inca means emperor. Sapa Inca means the only emperor. The Sapa Inca ruled everything and owned everything. The Inca was not just a ruler. The Inca was believed to be a direct descendant of the sun god, Inti.

    Can’t say that’s crystal clear to me however. 8-)

  19. muck says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle, and even finished it, but had to check 26ac NEEM TREE in Chambers

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, so you’re all aware by now that I have unusual reason to be in grumpy old man mode and I am glad that the rest of you enjoyed it, but although I finished it, it all just felt like a pointless waste of time to me. Nothing raised a smile anywhere.

  21. Brian Harris says:

    Fairly easy today, I thought. Got all but three in about ten mins. Never heard of a Neem tree and I always forget that mugger is a type of crocodile. Otherwise, nothing too objectionable or difficult.

  22. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Although there is, technically speaking, not much against this crossword, we thought it was a funny one.
    The main ‘theme clues’, 13.17ac and 4,19dn are not even the slightest bit of cryptic.
    We found that very unsatisfying.

    After a quick start, we got somewhat stuck in the SW.
    In that part of the grid HERDER was a very clever clue, we thought. As to 23ac, we think that ‘forgetting lines’ is ‘drying up’ (so with ‘up’).

    NE = Near East, initially?
    Normally ‘initially’ refers to the one word directly next to it, and certainly not to both.
    But maybe Brendan saw Near East as a kind of one thing.
    And why did he take ‘Near East” while North East would be a better (?) option. Moreover, a neem tree is to be found in the East Indies, so not really the nearest East on the globe.

    We don’t think it is right to call an INCA an Indian, as does the setter.

    In 1# THE ALAMO is defined as ‘in mission’. Well, there was a mission there, indeed, which led to a battle, which surely would be a much better definition.

    On the positive side, 7dn was a nice dd, and 24dn a good hidden clue, because the solution makes sense in the clue as a whole.

    So, all in all, mixed feelings.

  23. Tony Pay says:

    Sil van den Hoek wrote:

    >…we think that ‘forgetting lines’ is ‘drying up’ (so with ‘up’).

    No, it’s just ‘drying'; as in, “I dried in the middle of my big speech.”


  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #23:
    Well, Tony, you state – rather self-assured – that it’s absolutely ‘drying’ and therefore not ‘drying up’.
    Who am I (as a foreigner) to argue about this with a Brit?
    But the (online) Chambers tells me: ‘to dry up’ = ‘to forget lines while on stage’, while ‘to dry’ hasn’t got that definition there.
    I am not suggesting that what you say isn’t true, it will surely be right, but when we solved the crossword my (English) partner immediately said: ‘we normally say drying up’.
    Therefore in my post: ‘we THINK that ….’.
    Is that unreasonable? I don’t think so.

  25. Mike Laws says:

    Some of the posts above seem to neglect the fact that this is a cryptic, not a “concise/quick” crossword.

    For example, carping about the “precise” meaning of Inca is irrelevant. The Incas were South American Indians, so their ruler was both South American and an Inca.

  26. Chunter says:


    One of the meanings of the intransitive verb ‘dry’ in the OED is ‘Suddenly to forget or fail to speak one’s words in a play or other performance’.

    Googling for ‘”he dried” stage’ produces some examples of that usage.

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Chunter, for your explanation.
    But don’t get me wrong, we accepted ‘drying’ right from the start, but only tried to point out that ‘drying up’ is probably better.
    By the way, googling “he dried (on) stage” doesn’t give me the examples you apparently found. My Google is asking for “Did you mean: “he died on stage” ……

    I was a bit annoyed by #23 which seems to put me away by telling me “No, it’s not”, which is just not right.
    Anyway, no hard feelings whatsoever – and the clue’s OK.

    Re #25, I am still convinced that INCA people weren’t Indians.
    And certainly not in the way Brendan used them, as an opponent of cowboys in films. Ever seen a Western with cowboys chasing Incas …?
    Saying that the precise meaning of INCA is irrelevant, doesn’t make sense to me.
    Of course, it’s a cryptic crossword and not a quick one, but then not everything’s allowed.
    And I (we) still think that 15,17ac & 4,19dn weren’t cryptic at all, so very poor.

    Having said that, I (we) also want to emphasise that were some rather good clues as well (8ac, 7dn, 18dn, 21dn, 24dn).

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