Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,897 (Sat 2 Jan)/Brummie – Pack-drill

Posted by rightback on January 9th, 2010


Solving time: 10 mins

As usual with Brummie I had a slow start on this but then got moving once I had some checking letters. A few bits of looseness here and there but generally good clues. I think WRAITH and the AUTO of AUTOCROSS were my last two.

I only noticed the theme when I was trying to think of a title for this blog. (I’d forgotten that Brummie puzzles usually have a theme.) If you didn’t spot it, have another look and then 23dn by looking below the explanations.

Music of the day (24ac): I found a Swedish band called Scapa Flow (13dn) but they seem to be dreadful. On the other hand El Paso, sung by Marty Robbins, was a US number one (#19 over here) in 1960.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 SUB + ALTER + N – which can be an adjective, as required by the definition (‘Under a captain’), as well as a noun.
6 SNAP; rev. of PAN’S – Pan being the horned pipe-playing god of Greek mythology.
8 PATIENCE; “PATIENTS” – the woolly linking here makes this clue somewhat ambiguous. The answer is the Gilbert and Sullivan opera.
9 WRAITH; WITH (= ‘inclusive of’) containing (i.e. enriched by) RA (= radium)
10 B + RIDGE – I nearly blundered into ‘bridle’ here.
11 HEADLOCK; (LEAD)* in HOCK – a wrestling hold.
15 MAKE GOOD; MAKE (= ‘Prepare’) + GOO (= ‘sticky mess’) + D[ate]
16 NAPOLEON; NAP + O[ver] + LEON – the ‘initially’ in this clue has been rendered superfluous by Chambers 2008’s inclusion of ‘over’ (the cricketing term) in the list of abbreviations for which the letter ‘o’ stands.
19 TAOISM, from MAOIST – this clever switch has come up before.
21 HARD AT IT; HARD + A[nswer] + TIT – using ‘hard’ in the cryptic breakdown isn’t great; cf 15ac, where ‘make’ is used in the construction of MAKE GOOD.
22 PUT + SCH – I spent a while here looking for a seven-letter word meaning ‘Attempt’ from which to remove a G (for ‘government’).
24 EL PASO; [h]ELP A SO[n]
25 BAKERIES; KE in (SERBIA)* – as in 16ac the ‘initially’ is probably superfluous here, as KE is a common enough abbreviation for kinetic energy.
26 OW[n]ED
27 EYES RIGHT (one def, one literal def) – the literal definition being ‘So, no problem regarding’, with ‘regarding’ in the sense of ‘seeing’. Very clever.
2 BLINDER (2 defs)
4 EVES + HAM – a town in Worcestershire. The surface reading doesn’t seem to make much sense.
5 NEW MARKET – ‘Meetings’ in the sense of race meetings, which I didn’t think of until I saw the answer from checking letters.
6 SEA SLUG; SEAS[on] + LUG (= ‘tug’)
7 AUTOCROSS; A + (OUT)* (= ‘forced out’) + CROSS (= ‘angry’) – a type of racing with which I am not au fait.
13 SCAPA FLOW; S[un] + CAP + A + (FLOW)*
14 TWENTY-ONE; WENT (= ‘retired’) + [da]Y, all in TONE (= ‘mood’)
17 OLD MAID; OLD (= ‘getting on’), + MAD around I – ‘getting on’ was subtly worked in.
20 OUT BRAG; OUT (= ‘old hat’) + B[lack] + RAG
22 POKER; OK in PER (= ‘for each’)
23 CHEAT; H.E. in CAT – some licence taken with the quotation marks, which span part of the wordplay and the definition.

And the theme, in case you haven’t seen it, is card games: snap, patience, bridge, napoleon, old maid, twenty-one, Newmarket, poker, [out]brag and cheat all appear. Please comment if you see one I’ve missed!

4 Responses to “Guardian 24,897 (Sat 2 Jan)/Brummie – Pack-drill”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Rightback. I’m not sure how you define a slow start; it would take me about ten minutes to fill in the grid with all the answers at hand. I got there without undue difficulty but the theme never dawned on me at all.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Rightback.

    I enjoyed this but, like Biggles A, I never saw the theme until you pointed it out.

    3d LUNGE was the last one that I entered and I wasn’t sure that it was correct until I read your blog.

    Full marks and thanks to Brummie.

  3. rrc says:

    dIdn’t spot the theme, enjoyed the crossword but struggled with the bottom right corner.

  4. Sylvia says:

    I too missed the theme till pointed out. Kicking myself for not getting ‘bakeries’. Thought maybe a town in Serbia called ‘Bakerkes’! Otherwise enjoyed this.

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