Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,196 – Brendan

Posted by manehi on December 17th, 2010


Enjoyable as ever from Brendan with a nice theme around a recent anniversary [spoiler]. Solved pretty quickly after the theme fell, then had to stare at 10a for a good while before the penny dropped.

Edits thanks to JS and MikeC

9 ALICE Girl’s headband, and a town in Australia
10 ENDEAVOUR =effort. Inspector Morse’s first name, as revealed in the final episode
11 MAD HATTER (that dream)*
12 JETTY like jet, the black stone
13 ANOTHER hidden in piANO THERefore
15 DUENNAS Spanish governesses. rev(ANN) in DUES
17 SALSA L[ine] in S[outh] A[merica] twice
18 CHA =tea, and third of a cha-cha-cha
20 INTER hidden in maIN TERrace
22 MOORHEN (hormone)*
25 HOGWASH (how gas)* + H[ydrogen]
27 MARCH HARE HARE=”move quickly” after MARCH=protest
30 GUNPOWDER rev(ED) inside (grown up)*
31 RATER T[ime] in rev(REAR=raise)
1 WARM M[inutes] after WAR
2 WILDFOWL sounds like [Oscar] “Wilde”=playmaker, and sounds like “foul”
3 FETA F[ine] + (tea)*
4 NEOTERIC (erection)*
5 ADORED A + DO=party + RED=”far left”
7 BOSTON A card game and scene of the Tea Party.
8 GREY Sounds like [Thomas] Gray
13 ASSAM rev(MASSA)[chusetts]
14 HEATHENDOM ATHEN[s] inside HE=male + DOM[inion]
16,26a SARAH PALIN (A rash plan I)*
19 ADHERERS A DR’S outside HERE=present
21 TEA PARTY rev(YET=still) outside A PART
23 OOLONG “tOO LONG”=”needing to be cut”, with the first letter removed
24 NOMADS MAD in NO’S=numbers
26 PAGE P[ressure] + AGE=mature (as a verb)
28 HERB third hidden clue, in FatHER Brown.
29 EARL EAR + L[iberal]

46 Responses to “Guardian 25,196 – Brendan”

  1. crypticsue says:

    Very enjoyable solve today. Loved the theme.

  2. JS says:

    Thanks manehi & Brendan

    Another superb crossword (IMO)from Brendan.
    10ac Endeavour was revealed as Morse’s first name in the penultimate novel – long before he appeared on TV. Great clue – top ‘solver’ in more than 1 way of course; his job and one of his hobbies.

    18ac CHA – not covered but is of course a ‘slang’ term for tea & the dance cha-cha-cha.

  3. MikeC says:

    Thanks to Brendan and Manehi for excellent puzzle and blog. Small typo at 19d – should be ADHERERS (yes, I think that’s an odd word!).

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Manehi.

    Crucible then Brendan – as far as I’m concerned, Christmas has come early!

    The only disappointment was that I thought I’d guessed the expected theme when I solved 10ac, which would have been far more my cup of the themed stuff. I never liked ‘Alice’ as a child.

    But how clever of Brendan to link several separate themes – this is classy stuff!

    11ac is an excellent &lit. – and some might say 16,26 is, too!

  5. Barbara says:

    I love how Brendan was able to link these three famous Tea Parties together, plus all these different kinds of tea. Fabulous!

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Manehi

    Even though I guessed ENDEAVOUR correctly, I knew next to nothing about Inspector Morse.

    Never having read much fiction or watched much TV.

    Well done Brendan!

  7. Andrew says:

    Thanks manehi – another goodie from Brendan, with a nice bit of &littery in 16dn/26ac. I suspect (to put it mildly) that the modern Tea Party is not entirely to Brendan’s political taste.

    I didn’t realise the significance of the date (not that it made any difference to solving the puzzle), so thanks for pointing that out.

    I read 1ac as a triple definition – girl, band and town.

  8. muz says:

    Thanks, Manehi

    Loved this – maybe I just like themes; the feeling of mild triumph once you get them and it all falls into place.

    Had “can” for 18a for a sec, but the penny eventually dropped.

    Never seen the TV show 10a refers to, so it was last in. Only got 15a from the wordplay.

    BTW: I think there is a typo in the 19d adhere(r)s. Could we look at 9a as a triple definition; girl, band and town?


  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Manehi and Brendan, for a well-structured puzzle and informative blog.

    That said, I think 10ac. could have had a little extra information or word-forming for those of us who don’t have access to British TV or detective books.

    Finally, a tidbit of information for those who are ‘into’ these things: the ‘nn’ in 15ac. was usually written as just one, with a line (or ’tilde’) on top, and in time the geminated pronunciation, similar to Italian ‘donna’, became palatalised as a result of the diphthongisation of the ‘o’, giving rise to present-day ‘dueña’, with that useful little letter exclusive to Spanish keyboards 😀

  10. mhl says:

    A brilliant crossword, I thought – MAD HATTER is a wonderful &lit… Thanks for the post, manehi, in particular for explaining how ASSAM works, which I couldn’t see this morning. I was wondering whether I could make WALLANDER work for 10 across – it strikes me that but for the Inspector Morse / Colin Dexter / crosswords connection, that clue might produce more comment…

  11. Geoff says:

    Well done setter and blogger.

    I found this surprisingly straightforward for one of Brendan’s but that didn’t detract from the clever triple theme and some really good clues. I loved (T)OO LONG.

    Just one quibble: I don’t think 8dn is up to the standard of the rest. I read the clue as “Poet, whose name sounds like ‘dismal’ “, so I entered GRAY. It probably does read rather better the other way, but I think there is an ambiguity. And GRAY is just an alternative spelling of ‘grey’ anyway (rather old-fashioned in the UK but still current in the US).

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Nearly finished, damn.

    Inspector Morse was not the original top solver ofcourse. That was Jeremy Morse, one of Dexter’s crossword rivals and where the DI’s surname comes from.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks manehi and thanks Brendan for a great puzzle.

    Been a bit too busy to contribute here, but I just had to say how much I enjoyed this.

  14. Eileen says:

    Glad you’re OK, liz – I missed you!

  15. malc95 says:

    Thanks manehi & Brendan.

    Don’t mean to be picky but I think Mass. is the usual abbreviation for the eastern US state, reversed after A; and 7d is the state capital.

  16. Mitz says:

    Like most of the others, I loved the triple theme, and am more than ready to forgive the slightly awkward “adherers”, but only if someone can explain why “gunpowder” is listed along with the other answers that lead to “cha”.

    PS: Never a massive Morse fan – too miserable for my taste, but even so I can’t believe how long I struggled to make “endeavour” work as an answer to the clue until the penny dropped…

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Brendan for a good blog and lovely puzzle.

    I was held up for a time by the sw corner. A main problem was that I first mistakenly put heathenism in for 14d, thinking there might be a concept ‘he-ism’. I also first read ‘mature’ in 26d as an adjective rather than a verb. Once these were rethought, the ‘gunpodwer’ answer emerged.

    Although the blog does not mention, there is a double meaning here – gunpowder is, I discover, botha kind of tea and an explosive!

    The theme once grasped, was helpful for solving (though I still had to check Boston as a card game as well as gunpowder above).

    Some very fine clues, with lots of clever wit. Too many to list. ‘Oolong’ amused, as too did ‘cha’ in their simplicity.

  18. malc95 says:


    Gunpowder is a type of Chinese green tea, shaped into pellets.

  19. tupu says:

    Hi Mitz
    see above @mid 17. It is a fine green tea of granular appearance.

  20. tupu says:

    Hi malc95
    Sorry. we crossed.

  21. malc95 says:


    No probs.
    Apparently gunpowder is also granular in form, so your description is probably better than mine.

  22. Mitz says:

    Well, there we have it! Thanks tupu and malc95. Incidentally, I put in “heathenism” at first as well – great minds…

  23. Robi says:

    Thanks to manehi and Brendan. Although I got OOLONG, I didn’t understand the clue properly until I saw the blog. I had to grit my teeth to fill in Sarah Palin – you know, the one who thinks North Korea is our friend!

  24. Martin H says:

    Thanks manehi for the Inspector Morse reference – I was wondering how that worked; and it didn’t help having ‘Adele’ for 9a (Adelaide minus ‘aid’) – obviously ‘aid’ doesn’t mean ‘band’, but I thought it was an unsatisfactory reference to band-aid, and once in, answers tend to stick. For the rest, the theme was well done, but I found the clues a bit bland – not much witty or ingenious wordplay to unpick – and two solutions (RATER and ADHERERS) that look very much like space-fillers, where nothing else could be found to fit. Just a change in level I suppose after the last three days.

  25. liz says:

    Eileen @ 14 — thanks for that! I missed commenting on your blog, which was excellent as always. Caught up in a work deadline at the moment, hopefully not for too much longer. (Apologies to Gaufrid for straying off-topic here).

  26. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Brendan and manehi for your fine efforts. Haven’t seen the Inspector Morse series on PBS so thanks for the explanation of 10A.


  27. walruss says:

    Well it wasn’t bad was it?! Good interweaving with the Alice and Boston themes. Off now for Xmas hollies so to all a great time and New Year!

  28. John says:

    Good puzzle, but I don’t think the Palin woman has any official connection with the Tea Party.

  29. Carl says:

    John: You are right – Palin is not an official leader, but is an unofficial one.

    Also, I am no supporter, but the Tea Party is not anti-government; rather it is anti big government.

  30. Carrots says:

    Clever and absolutlely accurate clue-ing. I was stumped by ENDEAVOUR but it couldn`t be anything else…for some daft reason I thought Tarquin or Tarquill was Morse`s first name (Gawdknows why!). This was an excellent puzzle, weaving themes and cross-references very elegantly. Thank you Brendan and Manehi…you helped to make my day.

    PS I have just received a (doctored) photograph of (16 Dn/26 Ac) Sarah Palin`s Xmas card, depicting the mad-woman with a hunting rifle, posing in front of the trophy-mounted head and antlers of Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer. It was sent by American friends who believe this woman could bring the world to an end.

  31. malc95 says:

    Hi Carrots,

    Are you absolutely sure the photo was doctored?!

  32. Leroy says:

    Cha is also the Japanese word for tea.

  33. dupin says:

    The usual analytic poetry from Brendan. I seriously think his stuff could be used in certain drug addiction rehab programs.

  34. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Manehi,

    Hats off to Brendan, this is a contender for my Grauniad puzzle of the year. First class.

  35. Davy says:

    Thanks manehi,

    An absolutely marvellous puzzle from Brendan who is expert in putting together entertaining puzzles with inter-related themes. I thought ANOTHER was very clever and didn’t see it for quite a while. However, I did see Endeavour (one of Captain Cook’s ships) and quickly had a resolution (sorry). I saw MAD HATTER quite early on and thought it an excellent clue and also GUNPOWDER. Full marks to Brendan for a brilliant puzzle.

  36. mike says:

    Loved the puzzle, but am I the only one too stupid to have not heard of “NEOTERIC” ? (I did get the rest despite taking ages to spot ” another” was a hidden word. I hate missing those……Mike

  37. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, first class puzzle from Brendan whose crosswords are not that hard but extremely satisfying to solve.
    As others said, three themes (around tea) well woven together.

    I’ve seen every single Morse episode, but the problem is when you show me one tomorrow, it’s like new to me. Therefore I (must say: we) couldn’t explain ENDEAVOUR (10ac).

    My PinC was (only slightly) annoyed by Massa(chusetts) being “A state in East”. It is indeed for Americans (and Brendan is – I guess, more or less – one of them nowadays), but as a Brit she felt “East” meant something else – verdict: ‘unfair’.

    Small quibble re 9ac too: we were convinced that the ‘town down under’ is called Alice Spings (and not just Alice).

    Apart from this, a magnificent crossword with the superb MAD HATTER (11ac) and the witty OOLONG (23d) as Our Highlights.

    Crossword of the year (as Dad’s Lad said)?
    Well, for me that is still Brendan’s very controversial War & Peace crossword (10 Feb 2010).

  38. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Um, Alice Springs, of course (not Spings) :)

  39. Dave Ellison says:

    Sil, maybe Brendan had in mind Neville Shute’s “A Town Like Alice”; I did.

  40. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    Re 9ac: yes, the town is, strictly, Alice Springs, but there is the Nevil Shute novel, adapted as a film, ‘A town like Alice’, which made it OK for me.

    As for ‘crossword of the year’, I had the privilege of blogging the one that you mention and my preamble was, “I don’t know how many times I’ve read comments like, ‘How does he [Brendan / Virgilius] keep doing it? I’m always afraid I’m going to miss the theme in a Brendan puzzle but today there was no danger: every single clue and / or solution referred to it and I think this was probably the best of his puzzles so far – and that’s saying something. The surfaces were stunningly witty and pertinent and so many of them produced an ‘aha’ [and a couple proved too clever for me]. Sheer brilliance! Thank you, Brendan.”

    So, unless something mind-blowing comes up in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be agreeing with you!

  41. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Dave E – I spent so long typing I missed yours. :-)

  42. Roger says:

    ALICE works ok for me, Sil, if you read from as ‘part of’.

  43. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks manehi & Brendan indeed.

    My only tiny regret is that as I was slogging through this, I pulled up today’s Xmas prize which only comes as a pdf, and was casually looking it over when I realized I was also looking at the solution to this puzzle. All I read before quickly scrolling away was MAD HATTER (which I already had) and ALICE – which I might have taken days to guess. The “I” in ALICE then gave up WILDFOWL, which led to another missing word, etc., until I was finished. I was only sad at that point to see that Brendan did not invite the dormouse to this party.

    The triple theme was wonderful, especially the “secret” words – ones that weren’t “obviously” linked to the theme by referring to other clues/answers. My first glimpse of it was getting TEA PARTY and then instantly SARAH PALIN, which was just enough to work from CHA and all its references to get EARL and GREY, OOLONG, DARJEELING, BOSTON, etc.

    Managed to fill in ENDEAVOUR in ink, but didn’t get the reason why, so thanks for that explanation!

    PS, as far as MASSA, the “modern” post office etc. abbreviation is “MA” – all the states have a two letter abbr now for the convenience of computers, I suspect. However, in days past, many states had other, longer ones, with both MASS and MASSA seeing use. I was lucky in that the clue part “state” already had me thinking of US states as potential fodder, and I had even considered Eastern US states along the way to reaching A_S_M… cool, yet another (double!) themed clue/answer. Brilliant.

  44. PLL says:

    @Sil: Alice Springs is the full name, but it’s commonly known just as Alice. (According to various novels (Shute, Gunn etc.), it used to be “The Alice”, but I’ve not heard that in modern usage.)

  45. Tenniel says:

    “Alice” is fine without “Springs”. Many Australian place names are informally shortened and the shortened version can also become almost universal. For instance, the town of Wagga Wagga is almost invariably called simply Wagga. In fact, the naval vessel bearing the city’s name is HMAS Wagga (not HMAS Wagga Wagga).

    Also the clue is “FROM town under”, so an abbreviation is more than acceptable.

  46. ernie says:

    Sorry, extremely late, but so good, had to comment.

    Thanks, manehi and Brendan. Most enjoyable.

    Did this in an hour, apart from WILDFOWL and ENDEAVOUR: obvious now: usually the Grauniad takes me ages.

    Mike @36: count me in too: I just made an anagram of it starting with neo- and messing with the leftovers assuming the ending -ic.

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