Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25318 – Brummie

Posted by Uncle Yap on May 10th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

It’s always a bonus to get another one-eyed puzzle in addition to my fortnightly ration in Private Eye. Brummie managed to weave in a mini-theme of a best-selling book and author

8 KOHLRABI Helmut Josef Michael KOHL (former Chancellor of Germany) RAB (rev of BAR, rod) I (Independent) for a variety of cabbage with a turnip-like edible stem.
9 TOOTH TOOT (sound of trumpet) H (hot) def piece of the mouth written cryptically as mouthpiece
11 ANTIPODEAN A (first letter of Amazon)*(POINTED) AN (one)
12 GROUND dd
14 REHEARSE RE (note as in a drop of golden sun) HEARSE (late person’s vehicle)
16 DOODAHS DO (party) OD (ytrap) *(HAS) Ross Beresford’s TEA also gives (in the singular) doodad, doohickey, doojigger, gimmick, gizmo,  gubbins, thingamabob, thingumabob, thingmabob, thingamajig, thingumajig, thingmajig, thingummy, whatchamacallit, whatchamacallum, whatsis, widget for something unspecified whose name is either forgotten or not known.
18 ENDLESS What a devious way of saying that if you remove the end from the word EVENT, you get EVEN … my COD
21 BORROWER *(OR BREW OR) The Borrowers is a series of children’s fantasy novels by Mary Norton about tiny people who live in the homes of big people and “borrow” things to survive while keeping their existence unknown.
23,4,22  A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME *(BOTHERSOME IF I RATIFY) a book by STEP-HEN HAW-KING, composed of answers to 5,15,17 & 25
24 STEAK KNIFE S (first letter of Sherwood) TEAK (wood) KNIFE (cutter)
27 MOURN Keen (noun and verb) connotes lamentation over a dearly departed, whether silently or loudly … I suppose it will not be wrong to call this a cd
28 HELLENIC Ins of L (left) in HELEN (of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships) + I C (one cold)

LOTHARIO L (short length) + *(HAIR TOO) for a seducer and rake
2,26 BLOWPIPE Ins of PIP (radio signal) in *(BELOW)
3 HAZARD Ins of A Z (one unknown) in HARD (firm)
5 STEP Rev of PETS (cats and dogs, not of the rainy kind)
6 LOUDHAILER Cha of LOUD (conspicuous) HAILER (person calling for taxi)
7 SHE-ASS This not-so-cryptic clue should be self-explanatory
13 UNDERVALUE *(V A nude rule)
15 HEN Possibly sounds like the last letter of bacoN; Barbara at 1 parsed it probably more correctly as HE (rev of EH, what did you say) + bacoN; Thank you, Barbara also ‘Little Hen’ is a term of endearment used in Scotland.
17 HAW Height A (indefinite article) Width
19 SHEEP DIP Ins of *(DEEP) in SHIP (boat)
20 FREIGHT Ins of E (energy) in FRIGHT (scare)
23 AGE-OLD Ins of GE (rev of EG, say) in *(LOAD)
25 KING KINGSTON minus S minus TON
William Henry Giles Kingston (1814 – 1880), writer of tales for boys
S is a derived SI unit, the unit of electrical conductance, defined as the reciprocal of ohm.
TON is a weight Barbara at 1 has a neater (and more correct) parsing viz ins of IN (inch, small measure) in KG (abbre for kilogramme) and Stephen King is of course a very famous author

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

44 Responses to “Guardian 25318 – Brummie”

  1. Barbara says:

    25. King
    I interpreted this clue as:
    Def. = King (writer)
    weight reduced = KG (kilogram)
    short measure = in (inch)
    which gives K(in)G

    15. Hen: what did you say? = Eh reversed + N from bacoN

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for solving the Borrower mystery for me in 21a. Likewise I guessed but was ignorant of 15d’s Scottish endearment. This was an odd mix of the glaringly obvious (27a and 7d notably) and some neat deflections – 11a’s ‘pointed rocks’, 16a’s ‘has awful’, 2d’s ‘shifted below’ and of course the one you liked, 18a. I saw Barabara’s two that way too.

  3. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the blog and explaining nuances I didn’t get (in particular BORROWER and little HEN). I like misleading definitions, so I smiled over the definition when I got TOOTH, and I liked the wordplay in DOODAHS. LOUDHAILER was unfamiliar to me (I’m more used to the word loudspeaker), but it was deducible from the wordplay and crossing letters. Finally, on 23d, I inexplicably entered OLD AGE at first and that slowed me down for a good while. I really should have noticed the hyphen in the word length!

  4. Mystogre says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    As I am new to this level of solving, does that mean Cyclops is Brummie?

    I also got 25d as Stephen King by the same method as Barbara. But I only managed 15d when I saw the mini theme and realized it couldn’t be anything else, so thanks for the explanations.

    I did like 11a, seeing I am one. 8a gave me chuckle too.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap, this was very enjoyable.

    It took me some time to unravel the mini-theme but I got there in the end.

    Once again, it’s great to have no obscurities.

    Many thanks Brummie or may I call you Eddie?

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap.

    This was a pleasant enough solve, made even quicker by the very obvious mini-theme. Very straightforward for Brummie though.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the blog, UY.

    I enjoyed this, for the most part, and would have just loved the ‘fetching Trojan’ in 28ac – except that it’s so wrong!

    Helen is often [usually?] called ‘Helen of Troy’ but she was the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta, abducted by Paris, a prince of Troy and taken back there. This sparked off the Trojan War, when Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon raised an army and sailed to Troy to bring her back.

  8. malc95 says:

    Thanks Brummie & UY.

    Nice gentle solve until I got to SW corner. For 20d I had CARGOES ie *SCARE + GO (energy). Not sure about “loudly” @ 27d.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    I also thought this was much easier (~20′) than the usual Brummie, but enjoyable none the less.

    I didn’t read 25d too carefully (having seen it was the latter part of HAWKING, I quickly passed on), thinking the BSA was Miles Kington, and just took the TON off. However, looking a bit more carefuly I see Barbara’s comment explains it.

  10. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. The Camptown Ladies will now be racing round my head all day as a result of 16a … thanks (I think) Brummie !
    Great puzzle, though. Anyone particular in mind at 7d ?

  11. Ian says:

    Well done to both Brummie and UY .

    This was reasonably straightforward for a Brummie I agree.

    The only one O failed to parse was ENDLESS from the wordplay.

  12. Geoff says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Enjoyable puzzle, as expected from Brummie; somewhat easier than usual and with some cheeky cryptic definitions scattered about. My favourite was also 18a, and I smiled at the very faintly risque 12a.

    It took me while to understand MOURN for 27a; although I could see the significance of ‘keen’, I didn’t at first get the rest of the clue. My eventual interpretation was that ‘keening’ is MOURNing out loud, ie wailing.

    Last in for me were 3d and 8a – it was a while before I realised that the ‘unknown’ in 3d was Z rather than the more usual X or Y, and I played with BORLOTTI (as in beans) until the turnip-rooted cabbage hit me.

    Only quibble for me was HELEN = Trojan at 28a (see Eileen’s comment at #7).

  13. IanS says:

    Like Malc95 I first put cargoes for 20d.

  14. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap, I needed it for a couple of explanations (11 and 18ac), although I read the ones Barbara parsed as she did.

    Thanks also to Eileen for confirming my suspicion that Helen was not Trojan. I was looking for a way to fit Hector in, or part of his name at least, as the former didn’t even occur to me.

    Apart from that, I enjoyed this. My first in, TOOTH, made me smile, as did the NW corner (12ac) when I finally solved it, so you might say I was smiling from beginning to end :)

  15. Jim says:

    Solved 5ac as “measure up”, giving Pets. When I worked out the theme: “petshen hawking” it was obvious that I had misinterpreted the definition. Is there a general rule about these sort of clues?

  16. Eileen says:

    Hi Jim

    Re 5dn: some people loathe cryptic definitions. My pet [!] hate is this kind of clue: I [with impeccable logic, I think :-)] interpreted it in the same way as you did.

  17. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, although it took a while to get started. Once I got the book, the rest fell into place.

    Thanks UY for a nice blog – I hadn’t parsed ENDLESS, which turns out to be a brilliant clue. Like Jim @15, I thought 5 was pets at first. Interesting that in 8 RAB is also the name of an ex-chancellor – RAB Butler. I didn’t much like the clue for MOURN. Professional mourners might do so noisily but in general I don’t see that mourning has to be noisy.

    I speculated on why STEPHEN HAWKING was mentioned today; perhaps it relates to the programme on the Discovery Channel today.

  18. Robi says:

    P.S. Maybe the link above is to Indian tv! Try this one instead.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I was baffled by BORROWER: I had the anagram and the crossing letters so it could only be this but why? Now that I have come here to Fifteensquared I see the reason.

    For 5d: I have complained in the past about clue syntax of (idea1) (rev or up) (idea2) but on this occasion I had already got TOOTH so 5d worked.

    My memory of the Trojan war is limited so I was not bothered by Helen’s nationality.

    My favourite clue was 16a.

  20. Robi says:

    P.P.S. Maybe I get 27 now as Geoff @12 explained: to keen is to mourn noisily. Still rather a strange clue, I think.

  21. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Brummie

    I’ve been away a few days (enjoying sunny Amsterdam with old friends of fifty years celebrating their ruby wedding along with others of the same vintage. I imagine some of you have enjoyed the peace and quiet).

    I read Hen as Barbara. For King I read KG including 1 n (short measure) but Barbara’s is better.

    Thanks Eileen for the comments re Helen. I tend to see the name itself as meaning Greek but am pretty sure it doesn’t. Is it related to Eileen?
    :) it may be that her marriage to Paris gave her automatic Trojan citizenship.

    I enjoyed several clues as I went along inc. 23,4 etc. and also 9a, 11a, 2,26, 6d.

  22. duncan says:

    agreed re 5d; could’ve been fixed by moving “up” to the end.
    “tooth” fixed it, although I didn’t actually see “stephen hawking” until the grid was filled.

  23. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. Not too difficult for a Brummie, as others have pointed out, and very enjoyable overall. My favourite was 16ac and now that I’ve come here and seen the explanation for 18ac (the wordplay escaped me at the time) I like this one very much too.

    7dn was barely cryptic as UY says. At the time of solving, I wasn’t too happy with 27ac, either, but Geoff@12’s interpretation has redeemed it for me somewhat.

  24. Eileen says:

    i took quite a time over 27ac, too, because ‘noisily’ often indicates a homophone. It’s a sort of inverted double definition, isn’t it? – depending on two definitions of ‘keen’ rather than of the answer.

    There was a similar thing in a Bonxie puzzle that I blogged recently, where RETCH was clued as ‘a sick gag’. I couldn’t remember having seen that kind of thing before.

    Hi tupu – and welcome back!

    I’ve always understood that Eileen was a variant of Helen, which means ‘[ray of sun] light’, so, presumably, derived from ‘helios'[sun {god}].

  25. Alan Moore says:

    It is very rare that I get a cryptic crossword correct without any help from the internet. I thought I’d done it this time. However, as I was going through Uncle Yap’s solution, and getting increasingly smug as all my answers, that I’d noted as not being sure of, turned out to be correct, I should have known better. I got to the final answer before I discovered I’d gone wrong. I put “Pier Show” not “Peep Show” thinking from saucy postcards through the seaside to the end of the pier shows.

  26. deke says:

    Eileen @ 7

    I saw 28a as “Greek fetching Trojan” = Helen (fetching Paris) having “left” = l, and 1=i, cold=c, with the whole an &lit describing Helen attracting Paris and leaving Menelaus cold. A bit of a stretch, perhaps.

  27. Robi says:

    Eileen @7; not sure I quite understand your objection to 28. As you say, after her marriage in Troy she was known as ‘Helen of Troy.’ Because of her looks, could she not be described as a ‘fetching Trojan.’ (?) :)

  28. Matt says:

    A crossword referencing Stephen Hawking and the Iliad (which I am currently reading) as opposed to Shakespeare for a change. Marvellous. Thank you Brummie and thankyou Uncle Yap for the blog to help me with 25d

    As Eileen says, Helen is known as “Helen of Troy” which means “Trojan” is OK- she was originally Greek, but became Trojan after leaving Menelaus for Paris. Or rather after she passed from Menelaus’ possession to Paris’ seeing as women are seen as spoils of war little more than treasure in the Iliad.

    Was misled on “cats and dogs” as we’ve had that so often recently meaning “rain” that I had 5d as “Pour” for a while.

  29. Eileen says:

    Hi deke

    I do see what you mean – but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intention: if ‘Trojan’ is the object, there are more elegant ways of expressing it.

    Although ‘fetching’ is in all my dictionaries as variations of ‘fascinating, charming, attractive’, none of them gives ‘to fascinate, charm, attract as a definition of ‘to fetch’.

    Robi, you’ve come into the discussion while I’ve been typing. I think she’s known as Helen of Troy because she was the cause of the Trojan War. And ‘Helen of Troy’ does not = ‘Trojan Helen’, any more than the title of ‘Clive of India’ makes Robert Clive Indian.

    In any case, Helen remained married to Menelaus, who took her back to Sparta after the fall of Troy.

    I think there’s a really good clue lurking in there somewhere – but the whole point of the Trojan War was that Helen was Greek! I know I’m flogging a dead [Trojan?] horse here and that most people think it’s really sad to bother about such things, so I will now retire.

  30. Eileen says:

    Just one last thing, since Matt’s comment came while I was typing:

    “Or rather after she passed from Menelaus’ possession to Paris’…”

    This was not as a result of war: Paris abducted her [she was probably not unwilling!] – justifiably, he thought, because Aphrodite had promised him the most beautiful woman in the world, after he awarded her the prize of the golden apple.

    [Now I really am going to keep quiet! 😉 ]

  31. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen et al

    The website you linked us to says Paris and Helen married around 1200 BC but I don’t remember if a marriage is mentioned in the Iliad. Beautiful as she was originally, her face must have got a bit battered launching all those ships.

  32. walruss says:

    In the Eye you maybe absolve Brummie’s occasionally cluny clueing by means of the funniness or rudeness, but not so much in The Guardian. It was still an enjoyable solve though, even where I couldn’t see much point in splitting the great Professor all about the grid. Strange one really.

  33. Robi says:

    I should have known better than to discuss with a classicist. Eileen, no doubt you are right – I liked your Clive of India allusion. However, for a crossword, I think Trojan=of Troy, which after all was what Helen was called.

    I’ll shut up now!

  34. Bob M says:

    This was a delightful crossword and I loved the mini-theme and the way it was presented; I understand now what a ‘pleasing surface’ is, and this one was very pleasing indeed.

    Unusually for a Brummie, I didn’t have too much trouble with this one, although I couldn’t get the reasoning behind 18 across until checking this site.

    Thank yous to Brummie and everyone who has contributed – this site is such a lovely find.

  35. Martin P says:

    GF and I did this in the pub as a one-drink wonder!

    Two heads are always better than one, though.

    All the same, (perhaps it’s me that changes), but we seem to be on a run of easier puzzles just now: for a couple of weeks a while back there were some real head-scratchers, in fact I thought I might be losing it. I wonder if I’m alone in this?

  36. Pete says:

    Sorry feel like a plonker but 18a ENDLESS is still not understood – help!

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Pete
    Just a blind spot I’m sure.
    The definition is ‘everlasting’. The answer is ‘endless’. ‘Event so’ (i.e. with no end) is ‘even’.

  38. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am a bit surprised by the generally luke-warm reception of this Brummie, which we thought was an excellent puzzle.
    Yes, ‘Trojan’ doesn’t equal ‘of Troy’ [but we didn’t notice that while solving] and, yes, SHE-WAS (7d), HAW (17d) and PEEP SHOW (26d,10) are rather weak, but overall it felt just right for us.

    Unlike Walruss @32, we found the breaking up (which according to today’s Punk and/or The Carpenters is hard to do :)) of Stephen Hawking a very clever move in this crossword.

    Indeed, it wasn’t a hard puzzle, but so what?
    For us there was just the right balance between accessibility, non-obscurity, level of difficulty, elegance and imagination.
    And therefore we liked it very much.

    18ac’s ENDLESS has been mentioned as a highlight, but clues like 8ac (KOHLRABI), 9ac (TOOTH) or 1d (LOTHARIO) are also splendidly written. As was in fact HELLENIC (28ac)[despite …] .
    Some might understand that in 14ac I had a déjà vu, so REHEARSE being my first entry.
    Normally I don’t like ambiguous clues like 5d (STEP), but this time it was justified by 23,4,22.

    It may be clear that for us this crossword hit the right note.

    Thanks Brummie (and Uncle Yap for a fine blog).

  39. Hornet says:

    I really enjoyed this one. I had a bit of “poorliness” 2 years ago and found I had lost my cryptic logic but thankfully I seem to be getting back on track with the help of these blogs. Not only the explanations but the sometimes off the wall humour !!!

  40. Tramp says:

    I loved it as I do all Brummie/Cyclops puzzles!

  41. walruss says:

    Menelaus and Helen married around 1200 BC did they? How anyone can deduce that is beyond me!! There’s no literature as far as I know from the Mycenaean period, (which would be in Linear B!!)then you have the Sea Pweoples or Dorians rushing in to turn all the lights off for a couple of hundred years, then the Phoenecians sail in with their vowel-less alphabet, and hey presto! Iliad! Which can hardlyt be describesd as a historical document. That’s an oral mish-mash that could represent just about anything.

  42. Sylvia says:

    Struggled at first with 16a. Howdahs – no, purdahs – no, word shy (unable to name) – aha! Only later suddenly saw doodahs!

  43. Davy says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    Thought I’d post a belated comment after sleeping on this one. I enjoyed the puzzle as a whole and there were loads of good clues but … I still think ENDLESS was too clever by half. If the wordplay has to be explained to make it clever then I would suggest that it’s not a good clue. I also didn’t like MOURN.
    Thanks Brummie. I always enjoy your puzzles.

  44. Davy says:

    Just one point that nobody seems to have mentioned. PEEP SHOW is a reference to the old arcade feature “What the butler saw” where you peer through a lens and see naughty goings-on silent movie style. Ah, the good old days.

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