Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25288 / Brummie

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 5th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Brummie is one who can tantalise and amuse but his Guardian offerings are quite tame.  I wish he would introduce more of his Cyclopic style here but then the Eye wouldn’t be unique, would it? Today’s puzzle is quite challenging but ultimately solvable.

9 INSTALLER IN (fashionable) STALLER (prevaricator)
12 SPECIAL S (second) PEC (pectoral muscle) I (Brummie) AL (aluminium)
13 OFLAG O (round) FLAG (answer to 24D) German POW camp for officers
14 SCHEDULED Ins of HE (male) in *(CUDDLES)
16 STARS AND STRIPES S (small) Jack TAR (seaman) SAND (beach) + ins of E (eastern) in STRIPS (goes naked) I figure Cyclops would not have missed the chance to use “to embrace sweetheart” instead of “outside eastern”
19 LAS PALMAS Ins of PALMA (town) in LASS (girl)
21 FENCE dd
22 FOUNDER dd Chambers confirms that founder is to fill a ship with water to sink it and of course, someone who establishes something must be the founder
23 ROOTLES ROOTLESS (having no settled home) minus S. Rootle is to grub or dig for food with the nose
24,8 AUGUR WELL AUGUR (sounds like AUGER, a boring tool) WELL (hole or bore)
25 INNKEEPER Ins of KEEP (rev of PEEK, butcher?) in INNER (target sector in archery or in darts)

2 ISABELLA *(SAIL ABLE) Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) – his discovery voyages were indeed funded by Isabella I of Castile
3 PAVING STONE PA (father) Dr David  LIVINGSTONE minus LI (51 in Roman numerals)
4 BLUE The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach or marina meets its stringent standards.
5 PROSTHESIS PRO’S (expert’s) THESIS (dissertation) and of course we all remember that character in Stevenson’s Treasure Island;  portrayed with a parrot perched on his shoulder and using a prosthesis to help him get around.
6 ASCENDER AS (like) C (carbon) ENDER (stopper)
7 JOVIAL JO (one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women; the others being Margaret, Elizabeth and Amy) VIAL (medicine bottle)
14 SAND MARTIN S and M (sado-masochism, sexual activity) + *(TRAIN) At last a glimpse of Brummie’s other alter ego, whose work I look forward to eagerly every fortnight in Private Eye
15 DISPENSARY Ins of S (sulphur) PENS (small enclosures or compounds, usually for animals or birds) in DIARY (log)
17 STANDARD Street and a road written in short as ST AND A RD
18 PENELOPE PEN (write) ELOPE (escape) for the faithful wife of Odysseus who waited 20 long years while he went gallivanting :-)
20 SMUDGE Ins of D (date) in SMUG (self-satisfied) + E (last letter of smile)
21 FLOWER Rev of RE (about) WOLF (womaniser) for IRIS, flag
22 FLAG F (female) LAG (insulate ; keep from getting too cold)
23 RANT Outrageous is FLAGRANT. Take away FLAG (answer to 22D)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

45 Responses to “Guardian 25288 / Brummie”

  1. Coffee says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, found this solvable but a tad dull. Still don’t get 21D- IRIS? FLAG? Lost me there… there were quite a few that I got and then struggled to work back, and am kicking myself over Livingstone! Got it but, like many, but not sure why till you explained.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap and Brummie

    I enjoyed this, especially PROSTHESIS as I recently heard of Peg Leg Bates who performed as a Tap Dancer:

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    Chambers gives flag as
    n an iris; reed-grass
    and we know an iris is a FLOWER, answer to 21D

  4. malc95 says:

    Thanks UY and Brummie, most enjoyable –

    25a – “butchers” refers to rhyming slang; “butcher’s hook” = look = peek

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Brummie

    A fairly fast solve today. Some enjoyable clues inc. 25a, 1d, 3d!, 5d!, 14d, 20d, 21d.

    Ascender is the upright (part of) a letter (character).

    I had to guess that ‘blue flag’ was a European cleanliness award.

    Founder is also an intransitive verb with a closely related sense i.e. to sink under the waves.

  6. tupu says:

    Sorry. Ascender is an upright letter or upright part of one.
    I assumed the intransitive form of ‘founder’ is meant in the clue.

  7. Tykeitfromme says:

    Please see Chambers online dictionary for prevaricate, noting the comments in the box.

  8. Ian says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I really liked this Brummie.

    Sadly, for me anyway, it took a long time for the penny to drop re 22dn which kind of scuppered me in solving most of the 22dn related clues.

    Thankfully the NW corner was relatively straightforward and once 16ac and 18dn, (the trademark Cyclopsian risqué humour) went in it was plain sailing. Apart from 13ac which I guessed correctly but confirmed via a google.

    Eventually the Blue Flag connexion came to mind and all was well with the world.

    Commendation also goes to the well written, cleverly constructed 25ac.

  9. Geoff says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Good fun, with quite a few laughs today – I enjoyed PROSTHESIS as well as the several faintly 4d clues.

    I didn’t recognise 1d and 11a as anagrams at first – much self-kicking when the penny dropped.

    Brummie used FLAG = ‘banner’,’iris’,’paving slab’ but not ‘become tired or droop’, curiously – there could have been an opportunity for a bit more ribaldry here. Parenthetically, it seems that all of these different usages are etymologically unrelated.

    Araucaria used ‘speedy butchers’ as the definition for ‘glance’ in a recent prize crossword.

  10. tupu says:

    Hi tykeitfromme
    I am not sure if you accept stall = prevaricate or not. Chambers gives ‘avoid a direct or truthful answer’ for ‘prevaricate’, and under ‘stall’ it gives ‘be evasive’ with an example ‘quit stalling and answer the question’. These seem pretty close.

  11. Tykeitfromme says:

    Hi tupu. Grudgingly so.

  12. tupu says:

    Hi geoff

    Thanks for the point re links which has tempted me to explore. The etymologies, it seems from OED, are not all related, but it is possible that some are. There is some suggested link for example between flag = droop and flag (banner)for example. There is also a meaning of ‘cut piece of turf’ which might be a variant of flag(stone). And there are connections possibly to an old word meaning a (baby’s) cloth. It is certainly a pretty complicated little word! My instinct suggests (no doubt unreliably) that ‘a cut piece of material’ may underlie several meanings which go off in different directions of their own.

  13. Robi says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle; thanks Brummie.

    Thanks UY. I got a bit stuck in the SE corner, although in retrospect I can’t see why. I guess the rather disappointing clue to OFLAG had to be simple – I thought at first it must have been gulag, although the wordplay could not support it. I particularly liked FENCE, INNKEEPER, SANDMARTIN, DISPENSARY and STANDARD.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Tykeitfromme

    :) That’s a bit measly.
    Many thanks for the general Chambers link, which I’ve put into favourites. I use OED on line, but not Chambers till now.

  15. Robi says:

    Hi Geoff and tupu :) ; the ODE seems to think that the (national) flag and verb may be related to ‘droop’ and Chambers speculates that this may be related to the Latin ‘flaccus’ (Eileen to comment?) The paving stone and flower seem to have roots in Old Norse and Middle Dutch, respectively.

  16. Robi says:

    However, I think Chambers may well be wrong – see for what ‘flaccus’ may (or may not) mean!

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    I found this enjoyable and reasonably easy today, not needing any explanations for once.

    I got 16a on first run through (from S TAR and the number of letters), so the key clue followed immediately.

    OFLAG I knew I had seen before, too. With a bit of searching, I found it in the Araucaria Prize (Alan Plater) Puzzle 28 August 2010.

  18. Geoff says:

    Hi Robi & tupu

    ‘FLAG = banner’ is the only usage with sound cognates in other modern languages, and these are Germanic (‘flagg’ in Swedish and ‘Flagge’ in German, for example).

    ‘FLAG = droop’ has no such Germanic cognates, and it does look suspiciously like the Latin verb ‘flaccere’ (to fail, or become flabby, cf English ‘flaccid’).

    Whilst these words might be ultimately related, I am rather doubtful. Flags (on poles) are at their LEAST impressive when they flag!

  19. Ian says:

    Stop it Geoff. That’s quite enough!

  20. tupu says:

    Hi robi

    The link to Latin seems OK – I don’t know about flaccus as a noun (Eileen may) but there is a verb flaccere meaning to flag or droop. We have the word ‘flaccid’ (flabby, droopy) from this root.

    There was a Roman general called Cornelius Flaccus, and as a schoolboy I decided he was the original discoverer of the stuff Mr Kellog later patented. Unfortunately the teacher was not amused.

  21. tupu says:

    ps sc. Mr Kellogg

  22. tupu says:

    pps Geoff. Sorry we crossed. I had written mine @20 earlier but was interrupted by defrosting the freezer.

  23. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I found this fairly easy, but enjoyed all the different uses of the theme word. My route in was 16ac, which I got pretty early on. I liked 5dn.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    How many ‘maiden aunts’ post here?
    “once 16ac and 18dn, (the trademark Cyclopsian risqué humour) went in it was plain sailing.”
    Risqué? Obviously not a Cyclops solver.

  25. Mick H says:

    Enjoyable stuff, with some lovely concealed cryptic definitions at 5dn and 14dn. I was less keen on ‘sexy’ as an anagram indicator, and ‘flag’ to give flower without an ‘e.g.’ or ‘say’ – a flag, or iris, being an example of a flower rather than a definition.
    (Just thought I’d run that one up the flagpole and see who salutes!)

  26. Ian says:

    Not true. I’ve been subscribing to Private Eye since 1967 and tackling Cyclops, and his predecessor Tiresias (Tom Driberg) every fortnight.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Ian
    I did not know that Tom Driberg was a setter. I know rather more about his brother, Jack, who was also a quite remarkable man in his own way. If you are interested tou might like to read the following short piece:

  28. Ian says:

    Thanks tupu


  29. Stella Heath says:

    For what it’s worth, ‘flaco’ in Spanish means weak, not floppy or droopy, although of course one thing easily leads to (or comes from, etymologically) another.

    And after reading Robi’s link regarding rabbits’ ears, I can quite see why an iris is called a flag.

    BTW, not all words used in Norse or Germanic languages are unrelated to Latin. Indoeuropean origins affect us all, and then there are later influences and borrowings, so I would hesitate to state categorically that present acceptions of a word are unrelated. I wonder if Eileen’s around.

    On first reading through, I thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this, despite getting 1ac. straight away, but I then saw 22d. (thanks UY for reminding me of the definition of ‘lag’), and all fell into place except 1d., for which I did some serious selk-kicking when I saw it was just an anagram. I was looking for some sort of double or cryptic definition, when I usually spot anagrams immediately, grr!

  30. walruss says:

    Well it was nice to see 14 down, for a bit of Cyclops, and the theme of 22 down for interest, but I have never been a fan of this compiler’s clues. In the Eye and here I find them often clunky and unimpressive, although I think I am in a bad mood today!

  31. tupu says:

    Hi robi

    Thanks for the reference @16. I have just read it and thought at first it was an April 1 spoof, but it appears genuine enough. When I said I did not know of ‘flaccus’ as a noun, I forgot it might well be an adjective, which it was though, as you hint, a much contested one, and also it seems a rare one at least in literature.

  32. Mark Hanley says:

    Slow going for me, just left with “prosthesis” and “paving stone”, so obvious now. Very enjoyable, thanks Brummie

  33. Stella Heath says:

    Where’s Eileen?

  34. Wolfie says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle very much. Just the right level of difficulty for a midweek cryptic when many of us are short of time. Unlike, I would say, Enigmatists’s offering last week. Very fairly clued I thought; I particularly liked 23ac, which I eventually solved after wasting some fruitless minutes trying to remember names for kinds of insect larvae .

  35. Median says:

    Wolfie @34, I agree – just the right level of difficulty for a day when I was short of time. Enjoyable and, in places, amusing – PROSTHESIS made me laugh.

  36. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella @ 33

    Still here but with Other Things to do today – including, like tupu, defrosting the freezer!

    I did this puzzle early on and was slightly disappointed with it, for a Brummie. I looked at the first couple of comments and rather agreed with Coffee’s ‘tad dull’ assessment.

    By the time I got round to it again, Robi and tupu had both answered their own points – yes, ‘flaccus’, according to my Lewis and Short, occurs only twice in literature [but one of those times is in Cicero] and ‘flaccere’ is, indeed, a verb, which Lewis and Short translate as ‘to flag, droop’.

    As for your own point, re Indo-European origins, I’ve nothing to add, except, of course, to agree. I did only a little philology as part of my degree – I wish I’d done more.

    [I was quite taken with mhl’s comment on his blog last week, to the effect that he tries not to reply unless he has something new to add. I thought that was quite salutary for me, so I made a mini-resolution! 😉 ]

    Having said that:

    Hi tupu

    I loved your Cornelius Flaccus. My first thought was that he must have had an extra cognomen, Spurius, but, after research, I find that he was one of Julius Caesar’s deputies. I somehow managed, throughout my career, to avoid having to read Caesar’s Gallic Wars in toto, whereas, unfortunately, for so many students, it seems to have been their only experience of Latin literature. :-(

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Thanks. I don’t have a Lewis and Short but have to rely on a large old Dr Smith’s which is pretty good.

    :) I kept hoping Cornelius would have another famous Roman cognomen Cerealis but no such luck.

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi again, tupu

    I’m [already!] breaking my resolution – but it’s getting late.

    Smith’s is my usual resource – since it’s downstairs! – and today I found L and S had nothing to add.

    I could never afford Lewis and Short as a student but acquired it,’for free’, as they say nowadays, when my place of employment went comprehensive and Latin dropped out of the syllabus, so it would otherwise have been binned! [O tempora … ]

  39. Paul B says:

    Wolfie’s ENIGMATISTS’S has had me going for hours …

  40. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    It took me ages to get into this puzzle and really enjoyed it eventually. Looked at it for about an hour yesterday afternoon and only got SPECIAL and JOVIAL; broke the back of it in the evening; and finally finished it this morning. I found it quite difficult but all the clues were fair. I particularly liked PROSTHESIS, PAVING STONE, STARS AND STRIPES and DISPENSARY. Thanks Brummie and I did like this crossword a lot more than some of the commenters here. I was also able to understand the wordplay completely which is rare.

  41. sheffieldhatter says:

    Didn’t Long John Silver use a crutch rather than a prosthesis?

  42. Wolfie says:

    Sheffieldhatter: if you are still reading this blog, congratulations you are dead right. Have just checked in my copy of ‘Treasure Island’ where it is stated that Silver has lost his entire left leg at the hip and hops around with a crutch. No mention of an artificial leg. A crutch is an aid, not a prosthesis.

  43. Uncle Yap says:

    According to : A pegleg is a prosthesis, more specifically an artificial limb of carved wood fitted to the remaining stump of a human leg, as often seen in pirate movies.

    The article also has this :
    Not Quite Peglegs in Fiction

    * Long John Silver in the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, was missing a leg, but did not have a pegleg. He used a crutch.

    I think the notion of LJS moving around with a pegleg was created by illustrator like N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945) and that notion has stuck, judging by the number of hits when you google Long John Silver Prosthesis

  44. Huw Powell says:

    Well I thought this was rather fun! And, as mentioned, a nice mid-week stroll rather than last week’s Enigmatist which took me 87 hours to solve.

    I started last night, but due to double vision, only caught a couple of clues.

    16 busted the theme for me, but I was delighted to see the theme used so many ways. Very ingenious.

    I never twigged FLOWER, kicking myself for that since I am reasonably familiar with irises being called “flags”.

    Not thrilled with “prevaricator” = “staller”, but I did ink it in. Thanks for the explanations regarding “character’s upright” everyone.

    A perfect Wednesday puzzle, thank you Brummie/Cyclops. And thanks for the blog Uncle Yap and everyone else.

  45. Huw Powell says:

    Did I say Wednesday? I meant Tuesday, obviously.

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