Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,180 / Brendan

Posted by mhl on November 29th, 2010


Sorry for a very rushed post today – there’s part of 22 across that I can’t see, I’m afraid. This was an excellent puzzle from Brendan – my favourites here in particular are the two &lits.

9. ROOSEVELT EVE = “first lady” + L in ROOST = “resting place”
10. ALOUD Sounds like “allowed”
11. SEPTETS PTE (private) = “Soldier” in SETS = “areas of shooting” (e.g. a film set); the definition (“such as [SEAS] and [SAMURAI]”) refers to The Seven Seas and (the excellent Kurosawa film) The Seven Samurai
12. BEAKERS A + K = “king” in BEERS = “drinks”
13. ATLAS Double definition
14. CELTIC SEA (CITE CASE)* around L = “line”
16. STARS AND STRIPES STARS = “top players” + AND + STRIPES = “bands”; the definition is “Standard combination” (“standard” as in a flag) and “originally [thirteens]”, referring to the first version of the stars and stripes flag that had thirteen of each
19. THIRTEENS “[DOZENS] for [BEAKERS] without second” (i.e. “dozens for bakers” = “baker’s dozens” = 13), and (ISN’T THERE)*
21. PHLOX Sounds like “flocks”
22. SAMURAI RUM = “spirit” reversed in (ASIA)*
23. FRIDAYS I’D = “I had” in FRAYS = “in battles”; the definition, “On particular dates, supposedly dangerous”, refers to the superstition about Fridays the 13th being unlucky
24. INUIT IN = “elected” + IT = “that object” about U = “university”
25. AGAMEMNON A really excellent &lit: A + GAME = “brave” + M[ilitary] = “military leader” + NON = “not for Paris” (“non” in French could be “not”, I think) – AGAMEMNON was commander of the Greeks in the Trojan war, while Paris (a Trojan) was very much on the other side…
2. COPPELIA CELIA = “Girl” including OP = “work” + P = “piano”; I think this is a pretty obscure ballet for a Monday, but maybe that’s just me…
4. SEAS Sounds like “seize”; “Main” in the definition should be read in the sense of “sea”
5. STABILISES Another lovely &lit: (IS A BIT LESS)*
6. CAVALIER Double definition, the latter referring to the Cavaliers and the Roundheads
7. DOZENS DOS = “Parties” around ZEN = “Asian school” (as Wikipedia says, “Zen is a school of Mah?y?na Buddhism.”
8. IDES ID ES[t] (i.e. “i.e.”) = “that is” shortened; the Ides of March are the 15th of March, but the “ides” apparently only fall on the 15th in March, May, July, and October – in other months they’re THIRTEENS
14. CONGENITAL CONGENIAL = “Warm” around T = “temperature”
15,3. AT SIXES AND SEVENS AT = “Attending” + SIXES AND SEVENS = “[THIRTEENS] when divided”; the definition is “in confusion”
17. SATURATE (A STATUE)* around R = “river”
18. POLKAING POLK = “President” + (AGIN)*
20. IAMBUS I AM = “The writer’s” + BUS = “vehicle”; presumably an IAMBUS is an iambic foot
21. PRIMES Double definition: the first is “Prepares”; the second gives four examples of prime numbers: “three”, “nineteen”, “one of [SEVENS]” and “one of [THIRTEENS]”
22. SUIT I guess this is a triple definition: “clubs, for example” (as in playing cards) and “match” are clear, but I don’t get “Inauspicious number” Thanks to Eileen, who got there first to point out that there are 13 cards in a suit, so this is just a double definition: SUIT = “Inauspicious number of clubs” and SUIT = “match”
23. FEAR F = “loudly” + EAR = “hearing organ”; the definition is “Reaction of some to [THIRTEENS]”, referring to triskaidekaphobia

20 Responses to “Guardian 25,180 / Brendan”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for a great blog of a great puzzle, mhl.

    Re 22dn: there are thirteen [inauspicious number] clubs in a pack.

  2. rrc says:

    more difficult that normal for a monday and a bit of a slog with the occasional smirk

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Brendan

    Re 22 down. There are thirteen cards in a suit.

    A quite entertaining puzzle, better on reflection than while solving.

    One way or another it involves a dozen theme-related clues: 11,12,16,19, 22a and d, 23, 7, 8, 15,3d, 21, 23.

    Enjoyable clues included 13, 14, 19, 22a and d, 25, 7, 15,3d, and 21d.

    11 Septets was last to go in – wanted to make septems out of stems but of course this makes no great sense. But it lingered on after getting the answer, since bulbs and sections of potato which shoot are ‘sets’ but not quite areas of shooting. Eventually the penny dropped!

  4. Eileen says:

    There’s a pattern emerging: the last three Brendan puzzles have come on a Monday.

    Re 8dn, we used to use this mnemonic:

    “In March, July, October, May,
    the Ides fall on the fifteenth day.”

    In his FT puzzle 13,542, Cincinnus had this brilliant & lit clue: “For Caesar that is time to go”, but Brendan’s is also extremely clever, fitting as it does so well with his theme.

    Favourite clue of all [out of many to applaud – see tupu’s list] was 25ac.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks mhl.

    This was slightly more difficult than the usual Monday offering, but for once (for me :)) the theme soon became obvious, and I found it quite enjoyable.

    I’d never heard of President Polk, though, and the —-aing string seemed impossible, so I’m afraid I did a little cheating on that one :D

    In 1ac., it’s EVE+L in*ROOTS. You left off the ‘s’

  6. Stella Heath says:

    BTW. I find MR Polk was the 11th president, which is another prime number

  7. tupu says:

    ps. 25a (Agamemnon) is also my c.o.d. The double use of Paris (in both the charade and the &lit), as mhl notes, is remarkably clever.

  8. mhl says:

    Thanks, Eileen and tupu, for pointing out what I’d missed in 22 down.

    Stella: thanks, I’ve corrected that (to ROOST rather than ROOTS :)). The four-letter presidents are occasionally useful in pub quizzes – Polk, Taft and Bush x 2, I think. Come to think of it, I’m amazed I’ve never had the question “name the seven seas” in a quiz…

  9. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks mhl.

    I agree with those who thought it a bit tougher than usual for Monday. Like tupu I’m more impressed with the clueing on reflection.

    Coppelia might seem a tad obscure but if you heard choice extracts exploited by TV advertisers over the years it might seem less so.

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    Did about 2/3, but nothing to complain about. Coppelia was easy for me being the one and only time I saw a live ballet! Very good it was too. See, ya can’t assume us uncultured ones are always thus, :)

    Mainly it was the SE that did for me.

  11. Martin H says:

    Enjoyable puzzle – I much prefer this sort of structural theme to the cryptic trivia quizzes sometimes set for us (dig out another 70s rock group or Dickens character, etc), although Brendan did manage to link thirteen to a couple of presidents – two is not a list though. I’m not sure that congenital means ‘natural’ – ‘innate’ yes, but that’s not the same. Small gripe though. This and a decent Quiptic made a good Monday.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Enjoyed this although couldn’t quite finish it – after late night watching the cricket, the Quiptic, the Indy and now this, my brain is a bit frazzled. Must go and do some work now!

    Lots of good stuff as always from Brendan.

  13. Kate says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one, though I’d never heard of Polk so for some reason wanted to put in Paliagni (who I’ve never heard of either!).
    Also couldn’t get my head away from SAPPERS for 11ac, though couldn’t see how it could be right :(

  14. jetdoc says:

    I enjoyed this too. The first one I got was AGAMEMNON, probably because it was the first clue I glanced at. Like Martin, I wasn’t entirely happy with ‘natural’ for ‘congenital’, which Chambers defines as ‘dating from birth, but not necessarily hereditary; complete or absolute, as if from birth’.

  15. Carrots says:

    Brendan is just about the only setter who will regularly allow many of his clues to be solved without the solver (i.e. me!) having the slightest idea why the answers are correct. I needed mhl`s blog to rationalise SEPTETS, AGAMEMNON (first in, in pencil), POLKAING (shouldn`t this be hyphened?) and SUIT. I also have to confess I`ve never heard of CELTIC SEA, but it couldn`t be anything else.

    I was looking forward to a nice and cosy Rufus today, but Brendan entertained me splendidly: he`s a very clever setter.

  16. tupu says:

    Hi Martin H and jetdoc

    re congenital/natural. I take your point(s) and also realise that it is no big deal for you.

    Starting at the other end with ‘natural’, I find that OED gives ‘1. Existing or present by nature; inherent in the very constitution of a person or thing; innate; not acquired or assumed’.

    The degree of overlap here does not seem too bad to me. It is very rare for two words to be complete synonyms either within or between languages, and it is this that allows for the sometimes witty dds in our puzzles. Nor does the range of meanings of a word always constitute a systematic logical set especially when metaphors take off in different directions.

  17. sidey says:

    Brendan is just about the only setter who will regularly allow many of his clues to be solved without the solver

    Not at all, that’s how I do most Araucarias.

  18. Paul B says:

    Arf arf! But it’s sooo good to backtrack and find out why oh why, innit.

    Editor and setter in one for this Guardian puzzle, and it shows.

  19. Daniel Miller says:

    Another set of well presented clues. Too many good ones to single out on in particular.

  20. Pommers says:

    I thought the solve today a bit odd on reflection! It was only when I put in the last answer that I realised the theme! Must be getting old! But the theme wasn’t needed for the solve!
    As to Coppelia – it’s my favourite ballet so not v. difficult clue for me. 1 checking letter and it was obvious.

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