Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,126 / Brendan

Posted by Eileen on September 27th, 2010


It’s always rather disorientating not to start the week with Rufus but even more so to see Brendan’s name on a Monday puzzle. However, this was more straightforward than many of his, since the entertaining theme was clearly spelled out in the middle row and then exploited to the full. Impeccable cluing, as ever, and some neat misdirection. Many thanks, Brendan, for a great start to the week.


9   PRIVATEER: P[quietly] ATE [corroded] in RIVER [stream]: I spent far too long trying to make an anagram of ‘in stream’, especially after all the checked letters fitted.
10  STAIR: hidden in belfaST AIRport
11  CLUBS: double definition
12  RITUALISM: hidden in spiRITUAL IS Maintaining
13 PLANETS: PLANE [flat] + T[enant]S: reference to ‘The Planets’, an orchestral suite by Gustav Holst, first performed in 1920.
14  LEAGUES: LE[d] A[s] GUES[t]
17,19,20 MAJOR AND MINOR: the statement of the theme.
21 SUBJECT: double definition:
22  BARBARA: BAR + BAR [two pieces of music] +A : ‘Major Barbara’ is a play by George Bernard Shaw.
24  RESOURCES: anagram of CURES SORE – a nice surface
26  TWEAK: concerT + WEAK [delicate]
28  OATHS: anagram of HAS TO
29  AMOROUSLY: anagram of MORALS YOU: another nice surface


1   EPIC: hidden in somE PICture
2   VICUNA: CU [copper] in anagram of VAIN
3   PASS DEGREE: P[ressure] + anagram of SEE GRADES
4   HEARTS: [t]HE ARTS: in cards, hearts are a major suit and clubs [11ac] a minor
5   PRATTLED: P[age] + RATTLED [made nervous]
6   ASIA MINOR: anagram of ROMANIA IS
7 TACITURN: anagram of ACT + I TURN: the surface made me smile.
8 DRUM MAJOR: D[aughter] + RUM [drink] + [John] MAJOR [PM once]
13 PUMPS: M [James Bond’s boss] in PUPS
15  ADMIRATION: anagram of MAID + RATION: another fine surface
16  SYRIA: AIRS: reversal of [broadcast] around [tyrann]Y
18  JEBUSITE: BUS [vehicle] + I in JETÉ: a jeté is a step in ballet, in which the dancer springs from one leg and lands on the other: the Jebusites were the people who inhabited Jerusalem before the Israelites.
19  AUTOCRAT: AUTO [car] + CRA [anagram of CAR] + T[ime]
22  BISHOP: I in B[ritish] SHOP: a [thanks, Martin H, comment 4] bishop is [I discovered today] a hot drink of mulled red wine flavoured with bitter oranges.
23  AGEISM: anagram of IMAGES: yet another great surface
24 ROOK: double definition – ‘do’ meaning to swindle – very clever misdirection: in chess, the rook, together with the queen, is a major piece and the bishop [22dn] a minor.
25  URSA: hidden in toURS Abroad: reference to the constellations, also known as the Great Bear and the Little Bear.
27  KEYS: double definition: keys, like planets [13ac] and leagues [14 ac], can be either major or minor.

21 Responses to “Guardian 25,126 / Brendan”

  1. Andrew says:

    Tbanks for the blog Eileen. This was certainly a treat for a Monday morning, despite some problems with the online version resulting from the fact that 17ac was part of two answers. Like you I spent some time trying to make something of P + INSTREAM*, and also from PAGEMADE* in 5dn.

    My only niggle is that perhaps 21ac should have indicated that talking about “major” and “minor” for students’ subjects is (I think) mostly an American usage.

  2. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Eileen. A bit tougher than usual for a Monday. A bit rusty on my ballet steps(!)so your explanation of ‘jeté’ helped.

    22ac was nicely concealed and last in. I was trying to be too clever assuming it was a piece of music in A major, until I remembered the GBS play.

    I knew a vicuna was an animal but was not sure what they look like. To save anyone else the trouble of checking they are a bit like llamas.

    Re “bishop”, my wife will be incredulous that there is a drink that – until today – I had not only not tasted but not even heard of……..

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan

    A very good blog as usual. As you say, a surprise not to find Rufus on a Monday but a pretty straightforward puzzle on the whole.

    I too was initially misled by 9a. 8d also misled me for a time looking for a way to fit NCO into the answer.

    Andrew’s point re 21 crossed my mind too.

    I am not completely happy re 25d. We put the adjective in front of bear (great or little) but ‘ursa’ is, I think, followed by ‘major’ and ‘minor’. It is of course just about possible to read the ‘following’ as applying to these words. But no hindrance to getting the answer.

  4. Martin H says:

    I too went up the garden path at 9a, a neat clue – like many others here (15 and 19 stand out for me) neatly and cunningly constructed, and with a real theme, not a catalogue. I wasn’t aware of the hierarchy of chess pieces or students, so thanks for that Eileen. Your comment for 22 should really say, “bishop is a drink…..” ‘A bishop’, well we know what a bishop is, and indeed we might order one in a pub (but with what degree of confidence I don’t know).

  5. Matt says:

    A few new words and I’d never heard of Major Barbara but a LOT of Googling found it (try googling any combination of Major, play, etc. and you get a lot of American Drama student sites). Almost convinced myself it was Major Barraga as it parses just about OK (he exists but doesn’t have a play written about him).

    Really enjoyed the crossword and for once I liked the theme. Thanks for the blog Eileen – couldn’t see why it was Hearts as I got confused with the similarity to an anagram of Theatres (minus the t and a troublesome r and there being no anagrind) although it’s patently obvious now you’ve explained it.

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    I hope you’ve had a good holiday! Good spot re 25dn: it seemed so straightforward that I didn’t notce that the order was wrong.

    Thanks for the correction re 22dn, Martin H – a surfeit of ‘a’s, corrected now.

    As Andrew pointed out, it’s the hierarchy of subjects rather than students in 21ac. I did think of commenting but then thought that ‘s/he majored in …’ was probably familiar enough over here.

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to have been beguiled by 9ac.

  7. Phil says:

    Good to get a Brendan at last but it was straightforward even for me in a dozy mood. Thus I am a bit disappointed that I was very much less pleasantly beguiled than usual – except perhaps for 9 across where I was probably more beguiled than Eileen. I didn’t see the possibilities of *(instream) and so left it well alone to the end when I saw the answer before understanding why. Could the Guardian either ban Brendan from Mondays or promote him to a once-a-weeker like Paul or Araucaria?

  8. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Brendan puzzle this morning, even though I do like Rufus. I enjoyed the theme very much too, and all the different ways it was used. Once I’d twigged it, I rather hastily put JOHN at 8dn, but eventually realised my mistake. I needed the check button to get the first E in JEBUSITE and thus spot the Jete part of the wordplay. 13ac was my last one and took a while to see. 9ac was a guess from the checking letters for me. 4dn made me smile, as did many of the surfaces.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan.

    This was an entertaining solve, where I fell into the same pitholes as many others, from what they say: 9ac., and ‘John’ rather than ‘drum’ for 8d., though the latter was soon corrected, as I couldn’t see where a daughter came in :)

    Being unfamiliar with ballet terms, I assumed the spring in 18d. was a jet, and wondered where the extra ‘e’ was clued.

  10. William says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, very complete blog as usual.

    From your description of jeté, I would faint just trying it.

    I can see the MAJOR/MINOR theme with planets, leagues and keys but where is it with HEARTS/CLUBS & ROOK/BISHOP? I suspect I need a little bridge and chess lesson here.

    Nice to finish a Brendan, though.

  11. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    Felt that this was what Sil might (later ?) call a Brendan Lite, but good fun nevertheless. Looked around for some Irish reference (thought there often was one ?) but in vain ~ unless GBS at 22a counts.

    Knew Jebusite but learned jete in the process (at least your ballet steps are rusty, Dad’sLad ~ I’ve never indulged, myself !).

    22d always brings to my mind Patrick Stewart at the end his film version of A Christmas Carol:
    “A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss our affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop!”

    Oh, and how do you do, tupu. Nice to have you back !

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Roger (#11), since you ask – a Brendan Lite?
    I see what you mean, but apart from the fact that this crossword was on the easy side [but after all it’s Monday], it had all the ingredients of what Brendan stands for, including a theme spread out all over the grid.
    Moreover, I would like to use the word Lite exclusively for Araucaria: an Araucaria Lite is just a pleasant stroll as opposite to an Araucaria at full speed which can be a pleasant struggle.

    Anyway, this was – as Eileen said – impeccable clueing (or did she say: cluing? :) ).
    A pity that the theme was cracked too soon [after we had M-N-R in 20ac, and KEYS for 27d], but it is nice to see (occasionally) a theme on a Monday anyway [which, btw, is not a guarantee for a good crossword – but it is when Brendan’s involved].

    Stand-out clues the much mentioned ADMIRATION (15d) – indeed! – and my PinC’s favourite AUTOCRAT (19d) – btw, she found this puzzle not challenging enough [but I don’t have an opinion on that for the next few weeks after last week’s emotions :)].
    Agree with Eileen that AMOROUSLY (29ac) was another splendid surface.

    Also agree with tupu [a warm welcome back!] on URSA (25d) – in fact, it’s not right here, but, I am tolerant today :).

    My Clue of the Day was PLANETS (13ac) because both ‘Suite’ and ‘flat’ were used in a way that had nothing to do with the ‘housing’ surface of the clue (with ‘t[enant]s’ adding to that nicely). Very neat – a clue that can make my day.

    Just a good puzzle.

  13. morpheus says:

    good puzzle, but jebusite was a bit of a stinker to get unaided!

  14. Tim says:

    Wine was the first bishop of Winchester…

  15. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I agree that this was a very entertaining puzzle from Brendan but there again, he doesn’t usually disappoint.
    It had all the elements of a good crossword to me which are a theme, an integrated structure and excellent, fair clueing. I especially liked the clues for PLANETS and LEAGUES. RITUALISM

  16. Davy says:

    Gone and hit the wrong key obviously ……
    RITUALISM was also very well hidden. Yes, the puzzle was on the easy side but still made for an enjoyable couple of hours. Thanks Brendan.

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi William

    I’ve been out, not ignoring your query! Not being a bridge or chess player, I only found this out today but, as I said in the blog, in cards, hearts are a major suit and clubs a minor and, in chess, the rook, together with the queen, is a major piece and the bishop and knight are both minor pieces, hence the major / minor pairings of 4 and 11 and 24 and 22dn in the clue for 17.19.20.

    Roger – there’s Belfast airport. :-)

  18. john goldthorpe says:

    Elegant and accurate from Brendan, as always. Couldn’t we have a weekly Brendan, whether on Monday or any other day?

  19. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    I don’t understand ‘Do’ in 24. Please could you explain? Thanks.

  20. Gaufrid says:

    As Eileen said in her blog, to ‘rook’ is to ‘swindle’ or cheat as is ‘to do’.

  21. Richard says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, I didn’t realise that rook can mean swindle.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

+ 1 = three