Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,223 / Brummie

Posted by mhl on January 19th, 2011


Apologies for the late post – I’ve had no free time yet today. I hope I can get the post up in the next hour… OK, an unfortunately rushed post follows below – good stuff from Brummie today, I think.

7. FOR REAL ERR = “blunder” reversed in FOAL = “young animal”; Definition: “Genuine”
8. BLOATER L = “left” in BOATER = “hat”; Definition: “Breakfast possibly”
9. OKRA Hidden in “coOK RAre”; Definition: “vegetable” – I’m not sure about “coreless” as a hidden answer indicator – “cored” seems better, with more suggestion that you’re left with the core If I’d read the comment from Muck below, I could have saved some crossing out – if you take “core” out of “COok raRE”, you get OKRA
10. EPISCOPAL (PICS)* in E = “English” + OPAL = “stone” Definition: “church may be so described”
12. MUSIC MU = “Character” + SIC = “repeated without correction”; Definition: “of which [ROCK] is a type”
13. TUTORIAL (OUT)* in TRIAL = “pilot”; Definition: “seminar”
15. STUN NUTS = “Potty” reversed; Definition: “[ROCK]” (as in “to rock someone”)
16. HORDE Sounds like “hoard” = “store”; Definition: “Army”
17,21down. MOONGLOW MOO = “low” + N = “neutral” + G[reen] = “green initially” + LOW = “blue”; Definition: “Night light”
18. BRIGHTON B = “Book” + RIGHT ON = “fashionably OK”; Definition: “city made into novel by [ROCK]” referring to Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
20. SWING SOWING = “Broadcasting” without O = “but not round”; Definition: “[ROCK]”, presumably as in a rocking / swinging motion
21. GIBRALTAR BIG = “Lofty” reversed + R = “Regina” + ALTAR = “the point of marriage”; Definition: “[ROCK]”
22. SACK Double definition: “Lay off” + “dress”
24. BOULDER Sounds like “bolder” = “comparatively cheeky”; Definition: “[ROCK]”
25. KARAOKE KA = “Small car” + RAKE = “sloping angle” around O = “nothing”; Definition: “performing over track”
1. ROCK Cryptic definition: you buy rock in sticks
2. DR WATSON (TOWARDS NEW)*; Defintion: “famously slow assistant” – I think this is a bit unfair to Watson…  :)
3. MALEIC MALE = “Masculine person” + IC = “briefly in charge”; Definition: “a type of acid”
4. BLACK TIE LACK = “Miss” + TIE = “Truss” after B = “bishop”; Definition: “evening wear”
5. JASPER J = “Jack” + AS PER = “in accordance with”; Definition: “[ROCK]”
6. REEL LEER = “Lewdly look” reversed; Definition: “[ROCK]” – similar to STUN, I suppose
11. INTERKNIT INTER = “to bury” + K = “King” + NIT = ” Wally”; Definition: “Come together”
12. MOTOR MOOR = “Make fast” around T[unnel] = “tunnel’s entrance”; Definition: “move quickly!”
14. AMONG A + GNOM[e] = “dwarf endlessly” reversed; Definition: “Surrounded by”
16. HOT WATER I guess this is just a double definition – “In which punishment is likely” (i.e. being in hot water) and “(held by copper in the old days)” referring to copper baths
17. MAINSTAY MAINS = “Public power supply” + TAY = “river”; Definition: “[ROCK]”
19. GOBBLE GOB = “spit” followed by E = “English” + LB = “pound” reversed; Definition: “Scoff”
20. SERIAL AERIAL = “Antenna” with A = “one” changed to S = “south”; Definition: “in instalments”
23. CAKE Double definition: “might follow [ROCK]” referring to rock cakes; and “Brownie, say”

45 Responses to “Guardian 25,223 / Brummie”

  1. John H says:

    I wish you better luck than i had. Nightmare.

  2. Mitch says:

    At least it made sure that I battled through to the end without taking a surreptitious peek at the blog :-)
    A beautifully crafted puzzle which made me really struggle. Took me ages afore the penny dropped re 1d

  3. Mitz says:

    Hope this will suffice while we wait for the over-worked mhl…

    So many uses for rocks!


    7) FOR REAL – err backwards inside foal
    8) BLOATER – l(eft) inside boater – a type of kipper, I think
    9) OKRA – concealed in coOK Rare
    10) EPISCOPAL – pics* in E(nglish) opal
    12) MUSIC – mu (Greeak letter) + sic
    13) TUTORIAL – out* (dished to indicate anagram? New one on me!) in trial
    15) STUN – nuts reversed
    16) HORDE – sounds like hoard
    17/21d) MOONGLOW – moo (low) + ng (neutral green initially) + low (blue)
    18) BRIGHTON – b(ook) + right on = Graham Greene classic
    20) SWING – sowing without the O
    21) GIBRALTAR – big (lofty) reversed + altar
    22) SACK – dd
    24) BOULDER – sounds like bolder
    25) KARAOKE – Ka (small car made by Ford) + a rake containing O


    1) ROCK – dd, referred to throughout the rest of the puzzle at 12, 18, 20, 21, 24 across and 5, 6, 17 and 23 down
    2) DR WATSON – towards n(ew)*
    3) MALEIC – male + i(n) c(harge)
    4) BLACK TIE – b(ishop) + lack tie
    5) JASPER – j + as per
    6) REEL – leer reversed
    11) INTERKNIT – inter (bury) + K(ing) nit (wally)
    12) MOTOR – moor (make fast) around t(unnel)
    14) AMONG – a + gnom(e) backwards
    16) HOT WATER – dd
    17) MAINSTAY – mains (power supply) + Tay (river)
    19) GOBBLE – gob (spit) + E(nglish) lb backwards
    20) SERIAL – aerial (antenna) with S(outh) instead of a (one)
    21) see 17a
    23) CAKE – a (chocolate) brownie is a type of cake

  4. muck says:

    Thanks Mitz, but…
    9ac: CoOK RAre less core
    23dn: Is a (Rock)CAKE really a brownie?

  5. Mitz says:

    Thinking about it, 1 down isn’t really a double definition, is it? More of an &lit with its tongue in its cheek. Nice clue, anyway.

    PS: for 8) read 8 ) !

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Brummie

    A fine puzzle, very hard to see in places, but many enjoyable clues including the odd nice misdirection (e.g. 4d) and clever dd inc. 1d.

    Good use of variations on the 1d theme.

    I was held up for a long time by 5d (I kept wondering if Tarper could be a possible ref. to the Tarpeian Rock), 9a (Klipper kept nagging at me but got me nowhere of course) and 25a which took a long time even after seeing Ka. But it all became clear in the end.

    Like others, I await your full blog with keen interest.

  7. Mitz says:

    Muck – of course you’re right re: 9 across – hadn’t even spotted that.

    re: 23 down – no a brownie isn’t a rock cake, but the clue brownie does lead to cake, which can follow rock.

  8. tupu says:

    I misthought of 1d as a dd because of the double use of ‘stick-y’, but it isn’t quite (as Mitz says).

    Thanks muck re core-less. In haste I accepted the hd as sufficient.

    I’d say brownie is a kind of cake, as NB is ‘rock-cake’

  9. tupu says:

    Sorry. For NB read ‘too’. (The NB was for Mitz who did not explicitly mention rock in his explanation)

  10. rrc says:

    This puzzle I abandoned having completed about half very little enjoyment – as per normal with this compiler

  11. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the fill-in Mitz.

    I thought 1dn was just a cryptic defintion, rock being a type of sweet that comes in sticks.

    Definitely a hard puzzle (though, looking back, most the clues are straightforward enough), but good fun and satisfying to finish.

    One of the answers also appears in today’s FT puzzle by Cinephile (aka Araucaria), which is well worth a go.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. I enjoyed all the variations of the theme. A clever puzzle and quite a tough one for me. Judging from the comments so far, I may be the only one who found the theme clue, 1dn, to be a bit disappointing. But then cds are not my favourites :-)

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks mhl. I completed this in more or less normal time, but with not so much enjoyment as Paul yesterday. It’s correct, but not inspiring.

    I agree with you re 2d, didn’t know 3, though it was gettable, and got 5 without being able to parse it.

    I also interpreted 9ac the same way you did – well spotted, Muck

  14. Mitz says:

    I like puzzles that lead me up the garden path, and this qualified. Having got Rock, I was mentally storing up possibilities like granite, limestone, gneiss, schist etc. Plenty of slapped-forehead moments – good fun IMHO.

    Still annoyed that I didn’t spot the correct way to get okra, though…

  15. Jim says:

    Does the KA in small car come from Kart?

    Thought clue for 16dn was weak.


  16. MikeC says:

    Thanks for the blog. I quite enjoyed this one – though it had some wrinkles! Re 16d, in former times (up to early C20) a copper was what water was heated in for baths, laundry, etc. For more than you could possibly want to know, see

  17. Mitz says:


    There is a small car, made by Ford, called the Ka.

  18. Geoff Chapman says:

    @MikeC post 16 – ‘early 20th century’? My dad was still boiling water for my bath in 1971. Or as Brummie sees it, ‘the old days’.

  19. Carrots says:

    I enjoyed this even though it was quite tough. I failed to get MALEIC and made a mistake with INTERGRAL (whatever that is…it just seemed to fit the clue (BURY+GR+AL)and I had to get GIBRALTAR to get back on course again.

    Jim@15: “KA” is a small ford which looks like a blob on wheels.

    Thanks Brummie & mhl…this was fun!

  20. Robi says:

    Thanks Brummie, mhl and mitz/muck. I’m relieved others found this difficult.

    Thanks for explaining 5d, I thought the Jack just referred to Jack Jasper as in a Dickens novel: but the ‘as per’ looks neater.

    After my Monday rant about dated/archaic words, I was pleased to see in 16d that there was an indicator to a dated word :) . I saw OKRA as a hidden word, but missed the ‘coreless’ – a neat clue. It also took me a while to get 1 although when the penny dropped, it clanged.

  21. Martin H says:

    Excellent puzzle, with some masterly examples of misdirection: OKRA, for instance, contained a phony anagram indicator (cook), ‘core’ hinting at a ha, and then the true cryptic instruction was seen to be blatant, hardly cryptic at all, and staring you in the face all the time.

    Like Liz I wasn’t too keen on 1d, but the many synonyms and references scattered throughout the puzzle made a sort of multiple definition; you don’t know this at first though.

    ‘Moor’ doesn’t really ‘circle’ around the T in 12d, and the impression given is that the circles are the O’s. A bit of gratuitous misdirection here, I felt, but overall this was terrific stuff with a (rare?) genuinely creative treatment of the theme.

  22. Mitz says:

    Martin H: I think in 12d Brummie is saying that the “circles” of moor, ie the “O”s, are to go around the “t”. But maybe I’m reading too much into it…

  23. Martin H says:

    Hmm – you didn’t say that in your analysis above, Mitz, so I suspect a bit of ducking and weaving here. It’s a nice move though, but with the lack of any sort of possessive indication in the clue, I think yes, you’re probably reading too much into it.

  24. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl for your stressed efforts!

    Re 20 swing There are lots of internet references to the musical connection between rock and swing.

    re 16d Like Mike C, I think of coppers as ‘boilers’ rather than baths.

    re Maleic :) Oh the wonders of a classical ed!
    It derives from the acid in apples.

    To the collection of wrong words I kept trying to fathom, add ‘alabaster’ for 21a.

  25. tupu says:

    ps I don’t see a real problem with 12d. Isn’t ‘circle around’ a reasonable indicator of ‘enclosure’ (encirclement)?

  26. Robi says:

    P.S. I agree with tupu @25; ‘moor’ circles around ‘t’ seems very logical to me.

  27. Martin H says:

    Hi tupu – my problem with ‘circle around’ is that it implies movement. I’m probably too literal about these things. ‘Encircle’ I might have been a bit happier with, and T after all is at the centre. Now had ‘moor’ been a palindrome and so, as it were, free to rotate about the T, ‘circles’ might have been an ideal indicator. But then it isn’t.

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Martin
    OK. A fair point but a bit draconian! (: In any case, it has to move around to get there and it needn’t carry on in perpetuity!?

  29. John H says:

    I finally cracked 1D at 5pm whilst outside having a fag – despite having got jasper early on.

    Stupid cereal for breakfast possibly.

    I would have been less distressed about this if I was not a geologist.

  30. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the blog

    This one by Brummie was too hard for me. Long time since I failed to get three answers in one puzzle. 5d, 20d & 25a

    I look forward to his next one!

  31. Robi says:

    @30. If it’s any consolation, I had about three attempts at 5d with the check button before getting the correct solution, but even then didn’t parse it correctly!

  32. Stella Heath says:

    Hi tupu@24 re ‘maleic’. I’m no scientist, as you know, but my parents were, and I like to know where words come from :)

    John H@ 29, that’s the trouble with specialised knowledge, when setters tend to make use of the diversity of meanings and uses language, especially English, offers

  33. Stella Heath says:

    I meant to say thanks, tupu 😀

  34. Mikes says:

    How embarrassing 1) I lost my way yesterday despite being a petrol head and 2) somehow found this a walk in the park. Such are the mysteries of various setters!

    Best wishes to Brisbane Girl

  35. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Like Stelle@13 I found this pretty normal. The theme I thought was ingeniously handled, and came via JASPER. The key element, 1d, took a while and was curiously straightforward. Despite Muck’s explanation for OKRA, which jumped out, that’s the core – so ‘coreless’ is actually wrong. I did like GIBRALTAR, KARAOKE and 16d.

  36. Robi says:

    Stella @32 and tupu @24. I think the acid in apples is malic acid.

    For maleic acid see: . It is used in drug manufacture.

  37. Sarah says:

    May I add an extra thought to the ‘reel’-‘rock’ link? Perhaps a reference to Chuck Berry’s “Reelin’ and rockin'”?

  38. tupu says:

    Hi molongolo
    Re okra 9a. Coreless is right surely. Okra is ‘cook rare’ when CO+RE are removed from the front and back respectively.

  39. tupu says:

    Hi Robi
    Yes and no!!
    There is clearly a link for a start between the two words ‘malic’ and ‘maleic’ and the Latin for apple (malum). Then Chambers says under ‘maleic’ see ‘malic. There it says that malic (acid) is obtained from apples and ‘maleic acid’ is obtained from ‘malic acid’. As far as I can tell from Oed, the name maleic comes most directly from French maleique which was coined to mark the difference from and the connection to malic (malique)acid.

    Of course it quickly becomes clear that life is more complicated than this. One source says you can make malic acid from maleic acid! It will be clear I am no chemist – but I guess they are maleic acid may be simply synthesised industrially these days.

    As I don’t want our fellow commentators to get too excited about all this juicy stuff at this late hour, I think I’d better stop here.

  40. tupu says:

    Please delite ‘they are’ in penult. ara.

  41. tupu says:

    in penult. para!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) This damned keyboard can’t mind-read!!

  42. Robi says:

    :) tupu – it is a bit late for this. I think malic acid is the predominant acid in apples, but you might find some maleic acid as well. Anyway, it was nicely clued – I thought at the beginning it might be formic, although that didn’t parse (but did have the right number of letters.)

  43. molonglo says:

    Tupu@38 – you’re right: I missed it. Extra good clue, therefore.

  44. tupu says:

    Hi Molongolo
    Yes. I missed it too (see 8).

  45. maarvarq says:

    I too usually find Brummie’s efforts an unrewarding grind, and this was no exception. I thought 1 dn was unnecessarily opaque for the root clue of the puzzle.

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