Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,955 / Brummie

Posted by mhl on March 11th, 2010


A rather rushed post, I’m afraid, so apologies for errors and omissions, which I probably won’t be able to fix until much later. Overall, an enjoyable puzzle, with the odd bit of tough vocabulary. (After seeing “Dude” and “tenpin” bowler in the surface readings, I was hoping for a Big Lebowski theme, but I can’t spot any other references…)

1. SUDDEN (DUDE)* in S[ati]N
4. SPACER S = “second” + PACER = “one to step out”, as in pacing out a distance
9. STAG S = “second” + TAG = “name”
11. RIGOUR RIG OU[t] = “outfit” (?) + R = “river”
12. NOTORNIS N = “new” + (ROOST IN)*
13. AGRONOMIC [s]A[aviour] + (COMING OR)*
15. FLOG GOLF reversed; HAWK as in “to sell”
16. WEFT WE = “This newspaper” + FT = “another [newspaper]”
17. EGG WHISKS (WEIGH KGS)* + S[cales]
21. ALLEY CAT A “hip tenpin bowler” might be a [bowling] alley cat
22. UNLINK UK = “nation” around N = “n-” + NIL reversed
24. WINTER-CLAD INTER = “Lay to rest” in WC = “loo” + LAD = “youth”
25. IPOD I = “Independent” + POD = “school”
26. GREEDY G[arden] + REEDY = “of tall grasses”
27. ADAGES AS = “Like” around (AGED)*; not sure about “circular” as an anagram indicator Thanks to Petero, who points out that “circular” is more likely to indicate rotating the letters, as in AGED -> DAGE (-> GEDA, etc.)
1,5. SITTING PRETTY Double definition
3. ESPARTO ES = “drugs” + O = “ring” around PART = “member”
6. CONTRALTI C[oncern] + ON = “about” + T = “time” + (TRAIL)*
7,20. RUNNING SCARED RUNNING = “operating” + SCAR = “mark” + E = “bearing” + D = “date”
8. STANDING STILL STANDING = “suffering” + STILL = “even”
14. OFF-CENTRE (EFFORT)* around C = “Conservative” + EN = “measure”
16,18. WALKING WOUNDED Cryptic definition
23,2. LYING DOGGO LYING DOG, GO! = “Said to dismiss deceitful cur”

26 Responses to “Guardian 24,955 / Brummie”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks mhl,
    Not Big Lebowski, but the long down answers obviously all contain various states of animation, in a two-word phrase.
    I don’t know if this should lead to a further theme?…

  2. jmac says:

    Well spotted IanN14, and there was me thinking the theme had to do with the large number of single letter abbreviations used!

  3. molonglo says:

    This took an hour, much of it getting into the Brummie style, where ING seemed to dominate in many clues and in the first half of all five double-worded answers. For ages I assumed ‘no lining’ meant no outer letters (the SN) rather than no innards. I liked the deviously concealed anagrams in 10a and 13a.

  4. Rob says:

    Like the comment – jmac #2!!

    I wonder if anyone has ever set/thought of setting a pangrammatic crossword where each of the 26 letters is used as a single letter abbreviation. I reckon it could be done but would probably need a biochemist to help set/solve it!!

  5. cholecyst says:

    Rob. No! For God’s sake don’t encourage them!

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Took me ages to get into it as well, and I nearly gave up, but then got a couple of the longer answers and finally managed it. A good challenge, and unlike yesterday, some smiles: SITTING PRETTY, ALLEY CAT and WINTER-CLAD tickled me. But rig out = outfit? Hmmm …

  7. Rob says:

    Cholecyst #5.

    I’m with you!! Tongue was firmly in cheek as I typed; just thought it was funny that so many 1 letter abbreviations cropped up in 2 days.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, I enjoyed this. I finished on the bus well before I reached work, with just 12a to check for confirmation. First time through it looked pretty daunting, but I found it turned out to be fairly straightforward, albeit with some original cluing (for example, HEM in 11a, IPOD for store of music).

  9. harry says:

    rigout is in pretty coomon use in Scotland as a synonym for outfit. Its a bit old-fashioned though.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. I found this much more enjoyable than yesterday and I liked the mini theme — sitting, walking, etc — in the long down clues. NOTORNIS was new to me, but just about gettable from a combination of checking letters and the check button.

    I know the surface of 10ac is absurd but it made me laugh!

  11. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, mhl.

    Cholecyst #5 Absolutely – they need no encouragement at all! [I know you were only joking, Rob.]

    Interestingly, though, I hadn’t noticed the number of single-letter abbreviations today – they were all so much more familiar ones.

    I liked the use of ‘hem’ in 11ac and had no problem with outfit = rig-out. I agree with harry in that I haven’t heard it for a long time but it was commonplace when I was a child – in England. [And it’s in Chambers.]

    I’d never heard of NOTORNIS but I thought the clue was great. [It reminded me of one of my all-time favourite clues, from Cincinnus [aka Orlando] which I know I’ve mentioned before: ‘A climber of rocks in Devon [10]’.

    I loved LYING DOGGO and the pregnant bats!

  12. Ian says:

    Though i’m familiar with Brummie/Cyclops, I don’t think I’ve seen such a welter of single letter abbreviations being used in a Guardian puzzle by him before.

    That said, this was a solid challenge that had me worried till I started looking at the double word answers.

    Additional to the mini-theme of ‘movement’, there was a smaller collection involving animals.

    Excellent clues included ‘ALLEY CAT’, ‘FLOG’, ‘OFF-CENTRE’ and ‘KINROSS’.

    65′ solving time

  13. SimonG says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    Regarding rig out, my dear mother, a sprightly 85, regularly talks about getting a new rig out, most recently for her forthcoming Diamond Wedding anniversary lunch with my equally dear father, also a sprightly 85. All of which backs up the point about this being a rather old fashioned phrase…

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Okay, peeps, I hereby withdraw my ‘hmmm…’ about rig out. Clearly I’m just not old-fashioned enough. Old, but not old-fashioned.

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hard for me but got there eventually. Had to guess a bit ‘cos as usual I don’t always seem to be on this setter’s wavelength. Having seen the blog, it could have been a lot easier if I had have been.

  16. Petero says:

    I’m not sure how many people had considered ‘outfit’ as a verb, for which rig out would seem a reasonable synonym. In 27A, DAGE is not just an anagram of aged, but the letters rotated circularly.

  17. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Got nowhere with this. Bring back Chifonie.

  18. mhl says:

    Petero: good point about “circular” – I’ve updated the post. (I was thinking of “rig out” and “outfit” in the verb sense too.)

  19. Brian Harris says:

    Not bad, but had anyone here actually heard of a NOTORNIS? And is “Winter clad” actually a phrase, rather than just two words that can be placed together? Apart from this, pretty solid stuff, with some nice linked answers. Particularly liked Alley Cat. Oh, and thought 16ac was very nicely constructed – WE + FT. Simple, but effective.

  20. norm says:

    I had to use for NOTORNIS. With all the crossing letters in I was sure it had to end in RAIL. Turns out a notornis is a kind of rail after all.

  21. slipstream says:

    I am celebrating. Second Guardian cryptic I have solved cleanly. Notornis and Kinross were new to me, but the clues led me to them. Being an American, I had “off-center” for a while until I remembered British spelling “off-centre.”

  22. Jim says:

    Can I ask where does WE come for a newspaper? Probably mad obvious (like FT) but I cannot figure it out.

    p.s. Liked the crossword, only got back into cryptics in the last few months (after nearly 20 years) so it’s taking a while to get going. Kudos to this site and the bloggers, the full crossword explanations are one *serious* aid in getting back into the whole thing, really excellent. Have even managed to finish a couple recently without having to come here for help :)

  23. Rob says:

    HI Jim #22

    In this case ‘WE’ doesn’t stand for anything like Weekly Express or a name of a paper – it’s simply the pronoun ‘we’ as clued by ‘this newspaper'; you’ll often see ‘us’, ‘our’ etc used in the clue in a similar way.

  24. Jim says:

    Aha, thanks Rob, clearly explained, very good, will remember that for future reference!

  25. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    It took a long while to get into this crossword but it was worth it in the end. I wasn’t overly enamoured by some of the surfaces but there were many great clues including 22a, 24a, 26a (all wonderfully misleading) and the superb 19d. Thanks to Brummie.

  26. Bullfrog says:

    I struggled towards the end, but got there, with esparto and notornis the last to go in. I saw rigour for 11a, but couldn’t really say why. I thought the construction of the anagram in 13a was particularly elegant.

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