Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,886 / Brendan

Posted by diagacht on December 18th, 2009


diagacht has web access problems today but has supplied the following analysis without a preamble.

8 CALABASH: A LAB (a little dog) in CASH (rhino)
9 HARTE: ART in HE (not sure which Harte is meant, presumably Bret or Jack)
10 TAME: anagram of TEAM and also of MATE
11 TENDERNESS: ERNES (birds) in TENDS (nurses)
12 HAMMER: cryptic definition
14 EXAMPLES: EXAM (test) + initial letters of ‘Powerful Lawyers Enjoying Success’
15 CARDIAC: CARDI (short for cardigan) + A C (cape)
17 REVAMPS: VAMPS (wicked women) after RE (religious education)
20 APERITIF: anagram of PARTIE(s) (indicated by mostly) + IF (providing)
22 PATRON: P (little money, penny) + anagram of ON ART &lit
23 YESTERYEAR: YES (indeed) + RYE (whiskey) in TEAR (run)
24 LIAR: (I (current) + A (article)) splitting L and R (sides, left and right)
25 EARTH: hidden in japanesE ART Hanging
26 REORIENT: anagram of RETIRE ON
1 MAHARAJA: (AJAR (opened a part, a bit) A HAM (leg area)) all reversed
2 HARE: as in Alice in Wonderland
3 HATTER: also part of the same tea party. I think it means placing haRE HATTer together and then making an anagram of the central letters. The answer is obvious, not sure about the word play.
4,19 CHANGES OF HEART: points to anagrams in the centre of each of the indicated clues
5 SHOELACE: anagram of HOLES ACE (one) &lit
6 TRANSPLANT: PLAN (intend) in anagram of N (new) START
7 LESSEE: drop T (temp) from LE(t)S + SEE (consider)
13 MODERATORS: MODE (way) + (o)RATORS (speakers with start off)
16 AUTARCHY: H (hard) in anagram of ACTUARY
18 PTOMAINE: ptomaine poisoning is a food poisoning that was formerly thought to be cause by ptomaines. We now know only a few ptomaines are actually poisonous.
21 PEEKED: homophone of PIQUED
22 PARTON: a bit off and a PART ON
24 LAIR: RIAL (reversed) (currency in Iran)

28 Responses to “Guardian 24,886 / Brendan”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks, diagacht,
    Good luck with restoring your connection.
    I think there’s a bit more to the theme…
    4/19d suggests “changes of heart” in other ways too; straight anagrams, other definitions (cardiac revamps, transplants)
    2&3d. are the result of two anagrams of “heart”.
    Another typically comprehensively themed Brendan…

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, diagacht,


    In a comment on the Independent Virgilius [Brendan] puzzle on Tuesday, Quixote [Pasquale] said, ‘Will Virgilius ever run out of novelties?’ It appears not!

    This was a real gem of a puzzle. Even after 4,19 was cracked, there were still several variations on the theme. I enjoyed every minute of it.

  3. Andrew says:

    Yes, another great puzzle from Brendan – and quite tough too.

    I think 12ac is a double def – “things go under this” and “slege[hammer] for example”. 18dn is another &lit – P[resumed] T[oxic} O[dorous] + AMINE*. And I think 21dn is a double homphone – PIQUED and PEAKED.

  4. Andrew says:

    “Peaked” as in “looking a bit peaky”, I should have added.

  5. Phil says:

    Oh dear, it seems I don’t share other folks’ enthusiasm, but then maybe (probably) I have missed some things.

    15a – Where’s the definition? I’m also not familiar with CAPE = C but assume that’s just ignorance on my part.

    24d – Again, where’s the definition? Presumably EARTH = LAIR but that seems a bit too much of a stretch to me.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Eileen says:


    The definition of 15ac is ’19’ [of heart] – brilliant!

    I don’t see your problem with 24dn – it works for me.

  7. Andrew says:

    Phil – in 15ac the definition is just “19”, i.e. a reference to 19dn, which is “of heart”.

    24dn – you’re right, it’s a ref to EARTH in 25ac: and an earth is a fox’s lair

  8. IanN14 says:

    Yes, C = Cape (on maps)
    15ac. the definition is “of heart” (ie. 19)
    24d. yes, “earth” (25 being the definition) is an animal’s lair.

  9. IanN14 says:

    Sorry Eileen and Andrew…

  10. Andrew says:

    No problem Ian, I’m just glad we all agree ;)

    “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
    Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true.”

  11. Eileen says:


  12. IanN14 says:

    …just glad we could all “phil” him in with the same information.

  13. Phil says:

    Ah! The penny drops, the scales fall from my eyes etc.

    Thanks all

  14. Mick H says:

    I hated it at first – but then I had a 4,19 :-).
    I’m glad we all know now about PTOMAINES not causing PTOMAINE poisoning – I always thought he was a French bloke who farted a lot!

  15. liz says:

    Thanks, diagacht. I thought I would never get into this, but then I got 9ac and 4,19 and the rest followed (with the aid of the check button). Quite hard but very enjoyable, with lots of clever tricks. I really enjoyed all the variations of the theme.

  16. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Diagacht, this was too tough for me and I surrendered with 8 failures, mainly in the Top Right corner.

    I always do my puzzles off-line over breakfast and I rely on this site to show me where I’ve gone wrong and, as always, you’ve done an excellent job.

  17. Tom_I says:

    I found this tough but enjoyable, and it was a satisfying achievement to finish it. Some ingenious clues, and a nicely convoluted theme.

    I did initially worry about what the definition was in 5d, and how ‘connect’, ‘connect holes’, etc. could equate with SHOELACE. Eileen will be relieved to hear (after that business recently about ‘oracle’ being used as a verb) that I couldn’t find any dictionary which gave ‘connect’ as a noun, or ‘shoelace’ as a verb. :)

    But I see it now, of course. The whole clue is the definition.

  18. muck says:

    Thanks to Brendan: brilliant as always!

  19. Benington says:

    Andrew @ 3.

    12a is a cryptic definition referring to auctions where lots go under the hammer.

  20. Benington says:

    Thanks for this diagacht.

    3d is a delightful clue. Not only was the Hatter a fellow participant in the tea party in Alice in Wonderland along with the hare but if you take the letters of HARE + HATTER, you can make EARTH twice, hence the ‘nested’ reference!

  21. Benington says:

    I meant HEART in #20, of course.

  22. Eileen says:


    IanN14 made that point in Comment 1.

  23. C & J says:

    We finished it, but with groans rather than chuckles.

  24. Andrew says:

    Benington (19). Yes I realise that – I was making the point that the clue isn’t just a cryptic definition, as the blog seems to imply.

  25. diagacht says:

    Apologies everyone for a rather hurried blog today. The weather is playing havoc at our end. On top of the usual travel problems the firewall went down taking with it all web contact. This is still not fixed but I write now from a guest computer.
    I thought this was a most interesting puzzle but I did not find it easy. A challenge but at an acceptable level. Well done Brendan – terrific puzzle.

  26. Ashley says:


    My first post here. I have just taken to the guardian xword and pretty much rely on this site to explain the solutions and i still dont get how Rhino = cash (8ac)

  27. beermagnet says:

    Ashley, Rhino is slang for cash or money. Most dictionaries say “origin uncertain” but this site has a few suggestions:
    Look at the entry for “Pay through the Nose” (rhinos is Greek for nose).

  28. sandra says:

    hi ashley
    rhino is a slang word for money (collins).hope that helps – if you see this! welcome to the guardian crosswords.

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