Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24832 / Brendan

Posted by mhl on October 16th, 2009


As usual, a really top quality puzzle from Brendan – great surface readings and some surprising wordplay. Thanks to IanN14 for pointing out the theme of U.S. presidents, Franklin PIERCE, Abraham LINCOLN, Andrew JOHNSON (or Lyndon B. JOHNSON), Ulysses S. GRANT, Chester A. ARTHUR, Woodrow WILSON, Herbert HOOVER and Gerald FORD. Further update (thanks again, IanN14!): there’s also a Nina down the middle column: Barack OBAMA

9. OLIVE O = “love” + LIVE = “as it happens”
11. DOORKNOBS (BOOKS DON)* about R = “queen”
12. NAVVY Add a second V = “volume” into NAVY
13. JOHNSON JOHN’S = “Saint’s” + ON = “working”. In Samuel Johnson’s dictionary, he defined “lexicographer” as ” a writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge”. This an easy clue for anyone who follows DrSamuelJohnson on Twitter, who used the phrase yesterday :)
15. NOSTRIL Cryptic definition
17. ATTIC Double definition; the first as in “of Attica, the region around Athens” (Chambers)
18. SAM SAM[uel] and S = “South” + AM = “America”
20. MACON MAN = “servant” around CO = “company”
22. SHAKE UP SUP = “drink” around HAKE = “fish”
25. LINCOLN L = “Left” + COL = “officer” in INN = “pub”
26. LOTUS Cryptic definition; I think this alludes to the land of the lotus-eaters in the Odyssey – eating the lotus caused the sailors to forget the way home (or forgetfulness more generally?)
27. EMIGRATED E = “drug” + (GRIM DATE)*
30. EQUIVOCAL E = “European” + QUI = “who, in France” + VOCAL = “singing part” (you might talk about the “vocal” of a recording, referring to the singing track)
31. GRANT GR = “king” + ANT = “queen, perhaps”; the definition is as in “I grant that” / “I admit that”
1. FORD FOR = “in quest of” + D = “note”; the definition as in “to cross a shallow river”
2. RICOCHET RT = “right” around (CHOICE)*
3. PEEK If you say PEEK twice it sounds like “peak pique” or “maximum annoyance” (Thanks to Jenny for explaining that one; I couldn’t see it.)
4. APPOINTS A nice &lit: (P[laces] IN A POST)*
5. WILSON WI[l]L S[o]ON; a nice wordplay device
6. CORNISHMAN (MONARCH)* around SIN reversed; some claim that King Arthur was from Cornwall
7. HOOVER HO = “house” + OVER = “no more”
8. ESPY Hidden answer (and a nice surface reading)
13. JEANS JEAN, pronounced as the French equivalent of John or the woman’s name in English
14. SUCCESSIVE SUCCESS = “Hit” + I’VE = “I have”
16. LINEN LINE = “Brand” + N = “name”; bed linen would be covered by a blanket
19. MULTIPLY Similar to 13d, you have to pronounce MULTIPLY in two different ways for “Reproduce” and “in many respects”. It’s quite fun to have these heteronyms as opposed to the more usual homophones used in the cryptic part. (I concede that the Venn diagram here was helpful in checking I had the right word there :))
23. ARTHUR Another nice &lit: A R = “A king” + (HURT)*
24. PIERCE PIECE = “knight, say” around R = “rook”
26. LIED Double definition; “number” as in “song”
28. RAGA RAG = “newspaper” + A = “article”; similarly, “number” is a piece of music again – RAGA is a mode used in Indian music or a piece written in that mode
29. DATA A TAD = “only a little” reversed

17 Responses to “Guardian 24832 / Brendan”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks, mhl. I thought this was Brendan at his best – as you say, some lovely surfaces and great misdirection.

    My last to go in was SUCCESSIVE, one of the easier answers but, unfortunately, I had over-confidently entered LETHE early on for 26ac and it didn’t occur to me that it might be wrong until 14dn proved impossible!

  2. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. I enjoyed this very much, but needed the check button on occasion to finish. I didn’t know the Johnson reference and that one and JEANS were the last two I got. Putting SKIVY instead of NAVVY held me up for a time.

    I thought FORD, LOTUS and LINCOLN suggested a mini theme of cars.

  3. liz says:

    Eileen — snap. Lethe was another one I had for a while.

  4. IanN14 says:

    Some nice clues, here, as usual for Brendan.
    Liz, there was a theme here, but of presidents…
    Well, I managed to find 9 in the grid, did I miss out on any?
    Also, anyone else spend time trying to find “uncle” in there?

  5. Conrad Cork says:

    Eileen and Liz were right first time, surely. ‘Nobody can remember what it tastes like’ really *is* a clue for ‘lethe’. You drink the waters of the Lethe and you forget everything.

    You eat the fruit of the lotus and you only forget friends and home (not everything) which is why you lose the desire to return home.

    A rare lapse for Brendan but IMHO unquestionably a lapse.

  6. IanN14 says:

    Thanks for updating, mhl,
    But you missed the nina down the centre…

  7. mhl says:

    IanN14: well spotted! I’ve added a note about that.

  8. liz says:

    IanN14 — How stupid of me to miss the Presidents! (and as an ex-pat American, I have no excuse!)

  9. Andrew says:

    Well spotted, Ian, I’m another one that missed the presidents, and I also had LETHE.

  10. harry says:

    Got Lotus OK, but initially had Sonia (in 0 as*) for 9ac, which held me up a bit.
    Great puzzle though, and a a nice start to the weekend.

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, a great puzzle and I missed the presidents. I was looking for a theme all through and could only spot there were many “single letter” clues: 9, 11, 12, 18, 5, 27 , 30 ac; 1, 16 23, 24, 28, 29 d. I don’t know if this was intentional?

  12. Paul B says:

    Nice work from Brendan, though also from Conrad Cork – excellent spot!

  13. cholecyst says:

    There is another tenuous (or maybe just fortuitous) link to the USA in that today is the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry. JB’s attempted armed revolt by black slaves was quickly put down by Robert E Lee and JB was executed. His name was not forgotten, particularly by Republican soldiers in the Civil War.

  14. muck says:

    Excellent Brendan, as always
    I did spot the US Presidents theme, but not all of them (thanks mhl)
    And didn’t spot the nina (thanks IanN14)

  15. Ian says:

    Brendan really is the King of Misdirection.

    A sumptuous puzzle full of wit, complexity and mischief.

    2¼ hours to complete!!

  16. Paul (not Paul) says:

    He really is just too clever for his own good.

    It’s just showing off! He does it for his own fun not ours. Some of these clues are just plain crap!

  17. Maarvarq says:

    My only objection to this puzzle was also 26ac. Really, having two different possible answers to a purely cryptic clue (especially when the more correct one is not the one intended) is dirty pool.

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