Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,307 – Brendan

Posted by Andrew on April 27th, 2011


It’s been a while since I blogged a Brendan puzzle, so it was a delight to get this – one where every across clue includes the word “queen”, used in various ways, including some actual female monarchs but with some other variations. As usual with Brendan I found it mostly quite straightforward, but with lots of entertainment along the way.

1. MANNER ANNE in MR (“title for chap”)
4. POP STAR OP in PARTS*. Each of the members of the band Queen could be called a pop star.
10. MAEVE MA (mother) + EVE (“first lady”). Maeve (variously spelt) is queen of Connacht in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.
11. TOAST S[tate] in TO A T. “The Queen” is an example of a toast
12. ELIZABETH Our own dear Queen, of course; the letters E.R. appear in the answers to 9, 16 and 27 (and also 1ac)
13. NEW YORK (KNEW + ROY[als])*. Queens is one of the Boroughs making up New York City
15. TORQUE Hidden in ancesTOR QUEen, and torque can mean a type of necklace
17. RANEES SEEN A R, all reversed. Ranee or Ranie is a Hindi word for Queen – the female equivalent of “raja”
19. COLLEGE LEG (the “on” side in cricket) on [Old King] Cole (who was a merry old soul). As a college, Queens really needs an apostrophe – before the S in Oxford and after in Cambridge
22. ALEXANDRA ALEXANDR[I]A. Alexanrda was the consort of Edward VII.
24. PAWNS PAW (hand) + NS (bridge partners). Pawns can be promoted to Queens in chess
27. CATHERINE THE R in [Michael] Caine. Take your pick for which queen this refers to.
28. ELEANOR NO in E LEAR. Again there’s a wide choice, but as it’s a Frendch queen presumably Eleanor of Aquitaine best fits the bill.
29. ASTRID I think this is: A + ST (short step?) + R (queen) + RI (Republic of Ireland) + D (Germany), and a sort of &lit, as Queen Astrid of Belgium was originally from Sweden. Thanks to commenters:actually the wordplay is much simpler: A + STRID[e]
1. MEGATON Reverse of NOT A GEM
2. NAIRA N + reverse of ARIA. Slightly obscure (it’s the currency of Nigeria), but the wordplay is very clear.
3. ELECTRODE ELECT (chosen) + RODE (travelled)
5. PAMPA M in PAPA, The singular form of the more usual “pampas”
6. THEME TUNE MET in THE + UNE. “Music associated with East End, say” seems to be the defintion – surely it would have to be “EastEnders”?
7. RE-ECHO Hidden in fREE CHOice
8. REBECK RE (on) + BECK (sign, as used in “beck and call”). The rebeck or rebec is an old stringed instrument
14. WHALEBONE WHALE (“to thrash; to strike violently” says Chambers – news to me) + BONE (of contention). Whalebone was used in corsets (“foundation garments”)
19. CRAFTY A F[oo]T in CRY (keen)
20. EAST END Hidden in enterprisE AS TEN Dividends. The third hidden clue in the puzzle – it’s unusual to have so many
21. BARQUE BAR (embargo) + QUE (“what” in French)
23. ASHEN AS (like) + HEN (“female of certain fishes and crustaceans” – e.g. lobsters)
25. WHIRR Initial letters of West Ham In Rare Recovery

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,307 – Brendan”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks Andrew and, of course, Brendan.

    Have to say that Brendan is one of my favourite setters, always enjoy his elegant wordplay and am always on the look-out for the theme. Didn’t have to look very far this time!!

    RE 29ac – I think you may have overcomplicated this – A STRID(E) ia a ‘short’ step.

    RE 6d & 20d – I was puzzled by reference to “East End” but then realised 20 (say) is also a “Score” which could be a theme tune.

  2. caretman says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew, and thanks to Brendan. As you say, the theme was obvious but there was still good variety in how the queens were used. Thanks for explaining 1 ac which I completely misparsed although I solved. For 14 dn, a common expression here in the States is “to whale on” meaning to attack with great force, so solvers on this side of the pond would find that clue somewhat easier to solve.

    To challenge myself with crosswords I try to see if, after entering the first solution, I can solve it looking only at clues that cross with solutions I’ve already entered. Didn’t quite manage it here, the northwest corner eluded me and required a second uncrossed entry. If I could have figured out 1 ac, which is so obvious once it’s pointed out, I could have managed it. Well, maybe next time. Do others set themselves similar challenges?

  3. Mystogre says:

    Thank you both.

    I agree with the above comment on 29a.

    A tour of European queens and others is a bit of a stretch for one from a great distance. Strangely, I originally came up with pawks (24a) -a trick – until I read it properly.

  4. molonglo says:

    Good to be back, with a Brendan. Some great surfaces, including 25a, and too many ingenious queens to mention. I was looking for a tennis ref in eg 13a but the instead answer was an aha. Very nice, all of it.

  5. molonglo says:

    25 down, rather.

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I found this odd, in that the right side fell out immediately but then the left took rather longer. (Agree with comments above about the short stride…)

    re your comment about Liz appearing in 1 ac as well, to be fair to Brendan, she is only there at the end, not “inside” so it seems OK to me.

    I think WHALE as ‘hit” has appeared a few times of late.

  7. Matt says:


    I like to get at least one letter in each column and row of the grid first, then I like to make sure that all answers have at least one crossing letter in them. If I fail to achieve both in a reasonable time, then I class the crossword as too hard and sulk.

    Enjoyed this a lot. Not too tricky but a nice challenge midweek. Thanks Andrew for explaining the parsing on the couple that I couldn’t work out despite getting the answers.

  8. Ian says:

    Thank you Andrew. As is always the case with Brendan it is necessary to read most – if not all clues – before attempting to start and then look for the easiest pickings.

    I agree with NeilW @ #6 that the right side, especially the NE corner where the embedded 7ac set the ball rolling, was the obvious entrance to this well executed puzzle.

    For me the champagne moment was 3dn.

    Well done Brendan!

  9. Roger says:

    Thanks A & B …great puzzle … all those Queens and, unless I missed it, none of them clued ‘er’ !

    Liked maeve (‘the Irish clue’), toast, college … and today I learn that 1 Naira = 100 Kobo … must look out for that one.
    Google suggests a Jack Rose is a cider based Sidecar variation so I wonder if any &lit was intended at 18 … any barmen out there ?

    Pity Boleyn (boilin’ ?) didn’t fit at 26, though !

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Andrew.

    I do enjoy themes like this, where the key word is used in a variety of ways. Brendan cleverly spun a royal web for us today: I particularly liked POP STAR, PAWNS, and ELEANOR for its elegant surface.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brendan

    A good puzzle which was easier to solve than I first feared, though parsing the solutions was sometimes rather less straightforward.

    I got 1a eventually, having toyed with ‘minder’ for a time.

    College was OK but I got caught up with a double duty ‘for example’ which left me with a spare l which I read as ‘left’ etc. Thanks Andrew for the simpler and correct answer.

    As Andrew also notes, there were surprisingly many hidden answers.

    Not surprising to have an Irish queen in 10a.

    I agree with others re 29a.

    Some checking needed re ‘beck’ and ‘hen’.

    re 6d, I assumed there was a reference to the familiar theme tune of Eastenders.

    Enjoyable solving moments in 9a, 10a, 11a, 13a, 24a, 25a,27a, 14d (we have had whale before), 18d, 19d and 25d. Whew!!

  12. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew. As a long-time Queen fan (my brother introduced me to them long before Bohemian Rhapsody), I could kick myself for not parsing 4ac :(

    I agree with all comments above, this was enjoyable and accessible. I was able to do it without gadgetry, leaving my doubts and suppositions for the blog to clear up – as it duly did, thank you, including my mis-parsing of 19ac much on the same lines as tupu.

    I don’t know about English, but ‘la pampa’ is usually single in its original Spanish :)

    Thanks to Brendan for an entertaining start to the day.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew, and thanks to Brendan for a very enjoyable puzzle. Always happy when I’m clued :-)

  14. Eileen says:

    Great blog [you deserve this one, Andrew 😉 of a great puzzle.

    No more to add, except many thanks all round.

  15. Colin Greenland says:

    Good fun, and very satisfying. Thanks for explaining 9a and 11a: I got both but couldn’t see why.

  16. Finbar says:

    For 1ac I put “minder” which could, in a way, mean a chap guarding the queen. It didn’t affect any of the down solutions so i assumed it was correct. I now see that “manner” is a more suitable solution though it is quite ambiguous,

  17. Robi says:

    Clever puzzle, although brain-freezing; I don’t wish to see the word ‘queen’ again today (there will be plenty of that on Friday.)

    Thanks Andrew for a good blog. I can’t believe that I missed TO A T, I was trying to link AT with perfection (doh!) I got a bit stuck in the NW corner, thinking that in 1d there must be an anagram of big. NAIRA, the sense of WHALE and TORQUE new to me.

    The Queen has said that “it’s a job for life” – but why? Most people retire from their jobs, and what happens if she gets dementia?

  18. crypticsue says:

    I knew when it said Brendan at the top of the page we would be in for a treat and I wasn’t wrong. Great fun solving this one and it didn’t take as long to do so a I thought it might. Thanks to Andrew for the blog and Brendan for the fun.

  19. otter says:

    Blimey, I found this difficult. Am having a bad brain day. It was enjoyable, but ultimately defeated me, which was a shame, because with so many themed or linked clues I would have liked to have really got buried into it.

  20. otter says:

    Sorry, meant to say thanks for the blog, which has cleared up for me a couple of clues which I didn’t understand. Back to bed for me, I think.

  21. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Good puzzle from Brendan, which I didn’t find too difficult.

    Nothing to add to previous comments, except that, like tupu, I couldn’t parse COLLEGE, having taken the ‘for example’ to be the EG and therefore being short of an L. I also prevaricated between MINDER and MANNER for 1a until I spotted the correct parsing.

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Robi@17

    I asked muself that one when Charles and Diana had their second son. It might have saved a lot of pain if she had done so!

  23. chas says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew.

    I realised that the queens were unlikely to be all monarchs but even so I missed the pop group and the NY borough – blast!

    I needed the blog to explain why I had the right answers for 11a and 23d.

    My favourite was 6d.

    As for caretman@2: no I do not do that sort of thing because (usually) I find the crossword itself is enough of a trial without adding extra difficulty!

  24. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very satisfying.

  25. Martin H says:

    Queen – Rock Stars, not pop stars (come on Stella, back me up). Other loose/lame definitions: ‘film player'; ‘one kind of crustacean'; ‘our capital'; ‘music associated with East End, say'; ‘produce sound reflections’. Some of these are wavelength things perhaps, and I rarely find myself on Brendan’s.

    Some nice ones though: 1, 11, 25 excellent.

  26. muck says:

    Thanks Andrew & Brendan

    tupu@11, finbar@16 ,geoff@21: I too had MINDER for 1ac

  27. Stella Heath says:

    Hi MartinH@25, I certainly back you up on that one. I’m no fan of pop.

    On the others too, as it happens. Though I had not too much difficulty with the crossword, I did get the impression that some of the definitions were excessively vague.

  28. frustrated bachelor says:

    caretman @2 how very interesting. Personally I like to do the crossword standing on my head without the use of any aids (including pen and paper). If I find the blood rushing to my head and become faint before finishing I find an aspirin does wonders. 😉

  29. blaise says:

    Here’s hoping this gets syndicated worldwide and Brendan gets the huge royalty cheque he deserves…

  30. Carrots says:

    Luvverly Jubbly Jubilations! The theme of this puzzle presented an opportunity to absolve the forthcoming Royal Wedding and leave one with a sense of having “doing one`s bit” without the maudlin sentiment attendant on the real thing. What the hell I`m going to do on Friday, if there isn`t a challenging puzzle, set by a staunch Republican, Gawdonlyknows. Cry into my beer, I guess.

  31. Brendan says:

    I defer to the superior knowledge of Martin H. and Stella in the field of music, but I find that rock (or rock music) is defined in both the Concise Oxford and Collins as a form of pop music. Dictionaries are, of course, far from infallible.

    Further, on checking out the Wikipedia entry for Queen, I find that footnote 66 refers to a BBC TV program from earlier this year called “50 Years of Pop”, wherein photo 5 is of Queen performing on “Top of the Pops”.

    By my logic, if rock is a type of pop, then a rock star is a type of pop star.

  32. stiofain says:

    Dale Winton will be feeling all left out.
    Immaculate stuff from Brendan.

  33. paul8hours says:

    Good puzzle & thanks for the blog. I totally blew the top left corner.
    Did any one else think ‘Squire’ for 1 ac ? QU in SIRE meaning title.

  34. Ian says:


    That musical bible, the equivalent of Chambers 11th, The Virgin Encyclopaedia of POPULAR Music, (A steal at just £50) uses that title to offer histories of musical artists that include genres as diverse as grunge, psychedelia, folk, soul, jazz, ambient, hip-hop, blues, rock, pop, reggae, acid house, chill, downtempo, shoegazing, lo fi, country, country & western, schlager, punk and R’n’B.

    Just ignore this mild outbreak of pedantry and sleep soundly.

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