Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,361 / Brendan

Posted by Eileen on June 29th, 2011


I was thinking it was a while since we had a Brendan puzzle, so I was very pleased to see his name on this one. Unusually, his last offering told us, ‘There is no theme in this crossword’ but I don’t think I am giving too much away at this point if I say that there are several ‘themes’ in this one!

One thing I love about Brendan’s puzzles is the way in which the layers of the theme emerge gradually – at least for me. In this one, my last entries were the four four-letter answers, 24ac and dn and 10ac and 2dn – and then everything fell harmoniously into place. This is a beautifully – crafted puzzle, I think, with many fine clues, almost all with musical references.  [After an even more careful look, I realise I should have omitted the ‘almost’.] Many thanks, Brendan, for a really absorbing solve.

I’m off out for the day soon, so will have to deal with any errors or omissions much later on – but I hope someone answers my queries at 25ac and 3dn before I go!


8   SAVANNAH: A V [‘variation’s start’] + A N[ew] N[ote] in SAH [‘has turned’]
9   ERATO: hidden in opERA TOsca: the Muse of lyric poetry and the lyre
10  GOLD: GO[u]LD: Brendan has adopted the American spelling of ‘disc’ in this sense, a gold replica of a record achieving sales of [in the UK] over 100,000 copies; Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist, was a leading exponent of Bach, the answer to 24dn.
11  GAME THEORY: the first appearance of the word THEME [anagram] in GORY [gruesome]
12  UTOPIA: cleverly hidden in martinU TO PIAnist: the book by Sir Thomas More : I have seen UTOPIA clued as ‘More work’ before but it’s blended very skilfully into the theme here.
14  ROENTGEN: ROENT [anagram of TENOR] + GEN [information]
15 ASPIRIN: anagram of AIRS round P[iano] + IN [at home]
17  ADDICTS: DDI [anagram of DID] in ACTS [performances]
20  ANTHEMED: AND with THEME [again] inside: I’ve never come across ‘anthem’ as a verb before but ‘hymn’ is used that way, so why not?
22  BRAHMS: BRAHM[in]S dropping ‘in': I only knew Brahmin as the highest or priestly Hindu caste and not this US slang usage: ‘a highly cultured or socially snobbish person, especially of the Boston upper class’ [Chambers]
23  PROMETHEUS: PRO [for] + anagram of THEME + US
24  BERG: double definition: a South African word for a hill or mountain and the Austrian composer Alban Berg [or, alternatively, the Danish composer Gunnar Berg]
25  ELGAR: I’m missing something here, which I hoped would come to me as I wrote the blog. Sir Edward Elgar played the piano and violin as a child and later ‘scored’ as a composer but what about ‘in game, for example’? Is there another ‘player’ with that name? Edit: thank you, Duncan, Comment 1: ‘there’s none so blind …!
26  DEDICATE: DATE [1812 for example] around reversal of [El] CID, the Spanish hero Edit: I accidentally omitted E [uropean] from the wordplay – thanks, NeilW!


1   GAVOTTES: GAV[e] [performed] + reversal of SET-TO [argument]
2   BAND: B[ach] + AND [together with]: a reference to Bach, Beethoven and Brahms being known as ‘The three Bs’. [It’s a pity there’s no place in the puzzle for Beethoven – unless he’s cunningly hidden and something else I’ve missed!] Edit: I would really like to delete that idiotic last remark but that wouldn’t be cricket: please see my comment 38 for my best attempt at an ‘excuse’ for my oversight!
3   ENIGMA: I think this is a double / cryptic [!] definition, referring to the Variations written by Elgar [25ac] and the cipher used by the Germans in World War II but I’m sure I haven’t quite got it all: does ‘below’ simply mean lower in the grid – and why ‘finishing?’  Edit: please see Andrew’s  [thanks!] comment 12.
5   MEATHEAD: anagram of A THEME and A[ntonin] D[vorak]: it took me a minute or two to realise that that second A came from the composer’s first initial.
6   PALESTRINA: PALE [feeble] + STRING [violin part] wth the G [note] changed to A
7   SOURCE: anagram of COURSE [of course!]
13  PAID HOMAGE: P[ressure] + anagram of ADAGIO HE around M[aiden]
16  IMMATURE: IMMURE [shut up] about A T [theme’s opening]
18  TEMERITY: T[h]EME [melody, not H[ard]] + anagram of I TRY
19  ADDENDA: DEN [study] in ADDA [middle of bAD DAy]
21  NERVES: N [9th letter of Beethoven] + anagram of VERSE
22,4 BESIDE THE MARK: anagram of THEME – yet again – in anagram of BARE DISK: I gather this means the same as ‘beside the point’ but I hadn’t heard it before.
24  BACH: double definition: abbreviation of Bachelor [but not really when meaning a single person!] and the composer of the GOLD BERG [10ac + 24ac] Variations - and here, to finish, is Glenn Gould playing them.

49 Responses to “Guardian 25,361 / Brendan”

  1. Duncan Shiell says:

    I think for 25 ‘IN GAME’ is an anagram or variation of ENIGMA. Elgar wrote ………

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Duncan: of course it is – I’ve actually seen that anagram before!

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen & Brendan

    This was too tough for me as I had never heard of PALESTRINA before – has anybody? – and even though BRAHMS was my prime suspect for 22a, I couldn’t pin anything on him.

    I settled for BESIDE THE MARK but rather uncomfortably.

    GAVOTTES was my COD.

  4. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Eileen & Brendan

    I confess I had to look up PALESTRINA, a new one for me.

    Wasn’t too happy about BESIDE THE MARK and ANTHEMED and I don’t get the in game part of 25a ELGAR either.

    I didn’t like to see a nicely themed puzzle have a word like MEATHEAD include. I’m not a lover of slang words in puzzles but I suppose it’s in Chambers.

    Minor gripes as I enjoyed the puzzle.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen for some much needed explanations. I guessed 6d from the wordplay – after trying “lame” for ‘weak’ – and 25ac from the theme, and these weren’t the only ones I had to come here to find clarification for.

    That said, the theme and its variations were in plain sight, which much facilitated the solving even with numerous guesses; except that, on my first reading through, I refused to believe it could be that simple :)

    A well crafted offering from Brendan, cleverly intertwined. Thanks.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for an interesting blog and Brendan for a very entertaining puzzle.

    I found the music plus variations on ‘(a)theme’ itself very enjoyable.

    I too was puzzled by the letter count in 5d. I like your solution – I myself decided that ‘a D’ was the initial letter of the name.

    25 and 3 also puzzled but then I saw the anagram. I assumed the ‘talented etc’ related to early prowess but did not check.

    Many excellent and carefully contructed clues. I especially liked 12a, 17a, 19d (clearly ‘addicted’ to insets of one sort or another today!). But the Bach, Gould, Gold, Berg links were also very nice. Brahm(in)s made intuitive sense and I suspect I’ve come across the idea before.

  7. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. “Intricate” is the word, I think, to describe this crossword.

    One little point – 26. You have to include the European.

    By the way Beethoven is in the puzzle, by way of the clue to 21.

  8. Thomas99 says:

    Excellent blog from Eileen as per usual for an excellent Brendan, as per usual.

    Palestrina is really not very obscure. In Simon Russell Beale’s BBC series there was a whole programme about him. He was probably the most important composer of the European Renaissance.

    But if that makes me sound erudite, I should confess I didn’t know about the “three Bs”, despite being a big fan of two of them. Perhaps the problem is that to me there are far more than 3 Bs (an incredible number of top-flight composers begin with either B or S) and if I were choosing a top 3 Bs, Bruckner, Berlioz, Berg, Bartok and Britten would all come ahead of Brahms. It seems particularly unfair to bump out Bruckner for Brahms as they had similar outputs – often grouped with Mahler as the 3 great classical-romantic symphonists of their era. I thought the trio was just a trio of letters, JSB, although I wasn’t very happy with it; or possibly GEB (Douglas Hofstadter’s abbreviation for his bestseller Goedel, Escher, Bach). I see the “3 Bs” works far better.

    I loved the Gould reference – the icing on the cake.

  9. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. 20 ac ANTHEMED. Chambers has anthem as verb though it’s new to me as well.

    I thought Palestrina (The greatest composer of liturgical music of all time, according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia) would have been well known to 15sq polymaths!

  10. tupu says:

    NeilW and Eileen
    Thanks. I suddenly realise that I did not read the blog carefully enough re 26a and did not get the point despite getting the solution. I simply treated it as celebrating Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.

    Re the musical references, checking reveals there is a West Cork Chamber Music Festival on at the moment and I wonder if this connects with Brendan’s choice of theme.

  11. scchua says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan for a nicely challenging (initially) puzzle.

    Last in was 6D PALESTRINA, found by googling “pale…”(=”feeble”) when “string/a” then fell into place. Having “theme” as anagram fodder helped with a few of the answers. Favourites were 22A BRAHMS, liked the device “…dropping in”; 28D DEDICATE; and 18D TEMERITY, I liked the definition, though I thought it was half-complete; isn’t it usually followed by the reverse crytic “OO”? – but I guess that would have spoiled the musical theme. Is there an explanation for 24D BACH, “…10 with other 24…” – why is “other” in there, when the clue reads just as well without it?

  12. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen – another great puzzle from Brendan, and right up my street with the musical references. (Palestrina obscure? Hah!)

    I rashly put in OVERTURE at 26ac (“offer as a tribute” = “make overtures”?), which caused me some trouble with the crucial 24s until ADDENDA proved it wrong.

    I took “one finishing below” to refer to the fact that the last letter of ELGAR is directly below 3dn.

  13. Andrew says:

    scchua – “other 24″ means 24 across as opposed to 24 down, giving GOLD (10ac) + BERG (24ac)

  14. scchua says:

    Thanks Andrew, blind spot on my part…had assumed the clue couldn’t be refering to itself.

  15. Thomas99 says:

    I’m sure you’re right re Enigma – the last letter reference makes it tighter than I realised and I’m sure Brendan intended the connection, although it would have been easier if the words were a bit closer on the grid – but a lot of Enigma machines did also end up in U-boats (“below”) so that’s in the background too… I’m not sure if the WWII part is a red herring or a deliberate doubling of the clue. I’m leaning to the former, but at least it enabled me to fill it in before I’d done 25a!

  16. Robi says:

    Thanks Brendan for a nicely crafted puzzle, and to Eileen for explaining a thing or two.

    Not being a polymath, I found this a rather unrewarding slog with Google and word search programmes. Perhaps one of the polymaths could give me the context where NERVES=provides resolution.

    I should have known More about UTOPIA as I appeared in ‘A Man for All Seasons;’ (not in the cast list, though!)

    Eileen, your Gould/Goldberg variations link doesn’t seem to work; try this one instead.

  17. John Appleton says:

    Not one of Brendan’s better ones; too many “variations on theme”.

  18. Thomas99 says:

    Nerves must be a verb, meaning “provides resolution to”:

    [From an online dictionary – Wiktionary, I think:]
    NERVE (third-person singular simple present nerves, present participle nerving, simple past and past participle nerved)

    (transitive) To give courage; sometimes with “up”.
    “May their example nerve us to face the enemy.”

  19. otter says:

    I really enjoyed this puzzle from Brendan, and especially the way the theme (and ‘theme’) interlinked in different ways in different clues. My favourite was the BACH / Gould / GOLD / BERG variations in 10 and 24a and d. Wonderful. Funnily enough I almost put on a CD of the Goldberg Variations (the wonderful Andras Schiff recital) before sitting down to attempt this puzzle.

    Eileen, many thanks for the blog, and especially for explaining ‘looked up to by some Africans’ in 24a, which I feel a little cheated by as it’s a word I’d associate more with the Alps. Hey ho. Not a complaint, but a minor quibble about referring to Africa only when it’s a European word which has been transferred out there.

    Thanks also to the person above who pointed out that ‘in game’ in 25a is an anagram of ‘ENIGMA’, something which I hadn’t twigged.

    Had little trouble with Palestrina, another composer whose work I adore, although a musicologist friend finds his works ‘too good’, in the sense of too fancy, I think – she prefers Tallis.

    Lots more that could be said, but a very pleasing and clever puzzle, which provided an enjoyable challenge this morning. Thanks, Brendan.

  20. crypticsue says:

    When I first saw the theme, I did think I might struggle with this one, but it didn’t take me that long to finish and I did enjoy myself, thank you Brendan. However, I did need some of Eileen’s explanations, so thank you to her too.

    If like me you have a go at all the available cryptics, you might wonder whether there is some sort of setter’s ‘conspiracy’ as we have had several instances of 8a and 14a this week already.

  21. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Thanks as always to Eileen & you other fine bloggers. You truncate a lot of mental anguish!

    However, a couple of points about today’s fare. 11a needs to have the initial “A” in the clue included in the anagram fodder, and also not sure about getting “a” and “d” from ‘Dvorak’ in 5d. This is surely a bit much, though if I was asked “what are his initials?” I’d come up with AD, so maybe fair play.

    Otherwise great fun.

  22. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Typically well-crafted puzzle from Brendan which looked at first to be rather difficult, but yielded steadily at first then rapidly towards the end. I know from my own experience that having to check answers and references online can detract from the fun of a crossword; I was fortunate that I was familiar with them all in this case, including the A(ntonin) D(vorak), which I thought was particularly clever.

    The only jarring note for me was the spelling of ‘disk’ in the clue to 10a: in British English this is the standard spelling for a computer storage device (hard or floppy), whereas all other uses, including those relating to recorded music, normally take ‘disc’. However ‘disk’ is part of the anagram fodder in 22,4 so it would have seemed odd to have two different spellings of the word in the same puzzle.

    My fisrt two entries were ERATO and UTOPIA – I thought there might be a hidden answer theme as well…..

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    That’s better. A really good challenge with some clever and ultimately faultless clues.
    This obsession with non-theme themes continues. It did nothing to spoil this delightful puzzle but neither (in my opinion) did it assist in solving any clue.
    I spotted the elgaR reference but missed the 3 Bs (since I have never met it). Thomas @8 sems to make a good point but as an ignorant pop fan I will leave the argument to others.

  24. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog – there were several cases where you explained why my answers were correct.

    I was amused by how many times the theme word appeared (in whole or in part) in the answers.

  25. Dave Ellison says:

    Have I missed something? ENIGMA just means puzzle, too.

    Thanks for the blog – I needed explanations to a few. 21d, which I got, wasn’t explained tho! I didn’t know that meaning of the word.

    Having been in the computing world for so long, I cannot remember the English spelling of DISK these days; CENTRE is going that way, too. (That reminds me of the sentence that can be spoken, but not written down: there are three ways of spelling the word —–: too, two, to)

    Thanks also Brendan. Enjoyed it.

  26. MikeC says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan. An excellent puzzle and splendid blog. Re 2d, the B that is one of a trio – I toyed with B as part of ABC in BACH (24d). Later thought of JC, JS and CPE. Eileen’s explanation makes a lot more sense. I think 25a is my COD, as well as last in. The answer was obvious, from crossing letters, but I didn’t see the *in game until some time later.

  27. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen — I needed your explanations for a few of these. Missed the GOLD BERG connection.

    And thanks to Brendan — really enjoyable puzzle.

    I’ve heard of Palestrina — but I’m with otter’s friend @19 — I really love Tallis.

  28. Arachne says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, and thanks to Brendan too for a puzzle which was right up my street! Not too keen on Palestrina (or polyphony) myself, but he did influence my idol JS Bach.

    It was a real pleasure to meet you last weekend, Eileen, and I apologise if I became bibulously incoherent as the afternoon progressed, ahem! Hope you had a safe journey home, and that we’ll meet again soon x

  29. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan for a very entertaining puzzle and a welcome explanatory blog. I couldn’t parse Elgar and feel stupid for not thinking of South Africa for the explanation of Berg. I know the meaning as mountain from Norwegian but was 12,000 km from making the connection. And I am afraid I still cannot see how “Provides resolution” becomes NERVES.

    I have seen Brahmin used frequently to describe a cultural snob but in a limited circle I suppose.

    I agree that “bach” isn’t used as a noun meaning single person but as a verb it is very common – to “bach it” or “go bach” is to live alone or attend alone.

    One remarkable coincidence for me today. As soon as I saw the reference to variations I was looking for Goldberg, not because I am a huge fan of 18th century harpsichord music but because in one of the dialogues in Hofstadter’s Eternal Golden Braid (EGB)the Tortoise presents Achilles with a ‘very Asian gold box’ which is initially a play on the Goldberg Variations but ultimately an oblique reference to the Goldbach conjecture. I tried to make that connection for 10a/22d but it wasn’t to be. Then by sheer coincidence Thomas99@8 mentions the same marvellous book for different reasons.

  30. MattD says:

    Thought this was going to be pretty easy as I got several on my first pass, then ground to a complete halt when knowledge of classical music was required… Finally finished this with the help of Google once I’d figured out the Bach reference.

    My gripe is about having 10a and 24d both referencing each other creating a kind of circular logic I’m not a fan of. This was not helped by 2d and 24a also being involved in the internal referencing. I had guessed Gold and Band a long time before I dared put them in as I needed Bach and Berg to get the links.

    As I know setters read this blog (see Arachne above!) can I please put in a request for some scientifically themed crosswords once in a while? Astronomy for example (lots of nicely obscure moon and star names out there…) I’m afraid the recent psychotherapy one doesn’t count as “science” themed.

    Great blog Eileen, your enjoyment was obvious.

  31. Thomas99 says:

    Tokyo Colin-
    I wondered about Goldbach too, but you’re right – one step too far. Actually I only recently bought GEB/EGB (?) and haven’t read it yet – I see it by the bed every morning when I get up though, and have read the introduction (he uses the three-letter abbreviation(s) there quite a lot), hence it came to mind very readily. I really must get started on it – I’ve been intending to read it for years.

    I pasted in a definition of “nerve” as a verb at 18 above. It’s a bit archaic, I’d say, but I think Brendan’s got it right. That clue and “Berg” both remind me a bit of Azed.

  32. MattD says:

    Tokyocolin@24 – I think we are overthinking “bach” – the clue says “Single person, in short” so we put in “Bachelor” shortened – whether or not a bach is a single person isn’t important as it isn’t the definition.

  33. MattD says:

    Thats Tokyocolin@29 obviously. Sorry

  34. Arachne says:

    MattD – Given the backgrounds of so many of today’s setters I’m surprised there aren’t more sci/tech-themed puzzles (and I quite agree that psychotherapy doesn’t count as a science!). Regrettably, Snow’s “Two Cultures” seem to be be as far apart as ever. TBH, I think the “literary” culture is, rightly, a little ashamed of its scientific ignorance, but also fearful of making what to scientists would seem very basic schoolboy(girl!) howlers. Anyway, I sense a challenge coming on…

  35. Derek Lazenby says:

    A bit of a rare occassion, but, and with apologies to all my fellow uncultured solvers, Palestrina isn’t obscure! Yeah, I know, traitor to the cause of ignorance. :D

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Matt D and Arachne
    I couldn’t agree more. It is so deeply ingrained in our society that I fear it won’t change soon.
    Crosswords are really the very least of where it is not just annoying but positively dangerous. My pet bugbear is journalists who can be actually a threat to our health due to their scientific ignorance.
    I read Ben Goldacre each Saturday (Bad Science)and am increasingly astonished at the ridiculous nonsense which is published in some of our widely read newspapers.

  37. MattD says:

    Thank you for responding Arachne. I am very used to displaying my literary ignorance with these crosswords, so maybe it’s time to share the discomfort around!

    RCWhiting – what is worrying about Ben Goldacre’s pieces is that even though he is only making commonsense points, he is the only one making them.

    My bugbear is the all-encompassing use of the word “Science” to cover absolutely everything remotely scientific, whereas the humanities and arts get broken down into more granular terms – Brian Sewell is usually introduced as an “art historian” for example, but Stephen Hawking is usually a “Scientist”. Going off topic slightly I know. Sorry.

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi All – and very many thanks for all the amendments and suggestions. [I’ve had a very enjoyable day out at the Roman sites at Letocetum [Wall] and Viroconium [Wroxeter], neither of which, to my shame, I had seen before.]

    My delight when I saw that this puzzle was a Brendan was soon matched by apprehension when I saw how much checking of references there was to do – not that I mind doing it but it does take time, of which I had little, on this occasion. This made me feel guilty, because I’d already thought I should perhaps have asked for a swop or a substitution, as I was going out early, and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do the puzzle justice. I stayed up to do the puzzle as soon as it came on line – not my usual practice – and I won’t tell you what time I got to bed, having become totally engrossed! I then had to get up early to transfer the blog and do the links, etc. [Very many thanks, Robi, for supplying the Goldberg link: that is the one I had – I listened to it while writing the blog – and I hoped the message that came up this morning meant that it was too long to upload immediately and it would sort itself out later on: thus I betray – again – my deficient computer knowledge / skills.]

    So I can only offer bleary eyes as the cause of missing the anagram in 25ac – as I said, I’ve seen it before – the E in 25ac [it was a typo, Neil, honestly!] and as for Beethoven …!

    Thomas99 – I didn’t have time to say this but, actually, as you can see here: the three Bs did originally include Berlioz. Like you, I’ve always been fascinated by how many of them there are!

    Geoff, I agree with you about ‘disk’, as I suggested, and almost added something like your “However ‘disk’ is part of the anagram fodder in 22,4 so it would have seemed odd to have two different spellings of the word in the same puzzle.”

    Andrew, my initial response to 26ac was ‘overture’ but fortunately it didn’t beguile me for long. I do agree about the lack of acquaintance with Palestrina – I like both him and Tallis! And thanks for the ENIGMA explanation – I hadn’t spotted that ELGAR finished in that column.

    Arachne, I really enjoyed meeting and talking with you: “I apologise if I became bibulously incoherent as the afternoon progressed, ahem!” I can’t think what you mean – I wonder why! :-) I was going to say I look forward to blogging one of your puzzles soon but now you’ve sensed a challenge, I’m not so sure: I’m no polymath, either! – but, like others, I found today’s puzzle just my cup of tea.

    This ‘comment’ has turned out to be longer than the blog! Apologies for that and the errors and thanks again for the help.

  39. Jim says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle. Last one in was 21dn.

    Like Robi, I had difficulty in justifying the solution from the definition, “provides resolution to”

    However, with all the check letters in place, N?R?E?, the likely solution appeared to be NERVES – an anagram of N and verse.

  40. tupu says:

    Thomas99 @31 et al

    Re ‘nerve’ v. tr. I have a feeling that I have heard the expression ‘nerve oneself for the struggle/task ahead’ (rather than the idea of nerving someone else. There is of course the more common opposite ‘unnerve’.

    Arachne and MattD re science.

    As a non-scientist in a majority scientific community, I agree very much that the 2 cultures problem is generally one of ignorance on the part of ‘arts/humanities’ people than on that of scientists (though there are of course some philistines about). This is not altogether surprising when ‘science’ is so technical and, often, mathematically based and scientists themselves live in society and culture.

    At the same time to set a crossword on linguistics, or anthropology, or French medieval literature or post-structuralist philosophy does not seem a very good idea either compared with one on music or English literature where a wide range of people with different backgrounds can hope to participate.

    More positively, I suppose a ‘scientific’ topic that is broad enough and topical enough to be more feasible might be ‘evolution’ but I have a feeling that may have been tried (I don’t have an archive to check).

  41. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Another nice one by Brendan.
    Even though halfway I got a bit (only a bit) annoyed by yet another anagram of THEME (in 11ac and 23 ac they were even identical!).

    Last ones to go in the 4 short ones.
    What a well worked out idea, GO[U]LD/BERG-BACH.
    2d’s B stumped us (we liked ‘together with’ for ‘and’ – sometimes we like simple things).
    I have hundreds of classical cd’s and a subscription to two classical music magazines, but I have never come across the 3B’s. But, Eileen, you must be right.

    The AD for Dvorak was a bit sneaky, we thought, but it’s all right.
    Re 5d and also 23ac, it is perhaps worth knowing that both Dvorak and Brahms made famous variations too. Dvorak wrote “Symphonic Variations”, while Brahms enriched the world with his “Variations on a theme of Haydn”.

    We understood the ‘one finishing below’ bit of 3d, explained by Andrew, but were defeated by the ‘in game’ anagram in 25ac.
    Of course, a very nice combination: ‘…. scored in game ….’.
    Nobody seems to care about the anagram indicator here. It isn’t ‘for example?’, is it? Or am I missing something?

    Clever puzzle.
    We first thought that it would be a walkover (after starting with the two hiddens), but it was not. A four-setter that we won without understanding how we scored the final two points ….

    Thanks Brendan!

  42. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil et al

    Re 25ac: you have added to my chagrin over my failure on this one, which I know I would have got on another day! [But it’s not so bad if it stumped you and your P-in-C, too’ :-)] Scored’ can mean ‘composed the music for’, i.e. Elgar scored ‘Enigma Variations’ or [Collins] ‘arranged’ [music] which is, for me, a perfectly acceptable anagram indicator for IN GAME.

    I can’t tell you how frustrated I am at not getting this, especially since I had met this anagram before, in a similar clue, and then not being able to find it. Usually, it’s a not too difficult task to look back through the site archive. In this instance, it throws up every single ‘Enigmatist’ puzzle plus all the ‘Enigmatic Variations’!! I haven’t had time today to trawl through anything else, so I must let it lie, I think. Grrrh!

    “The AD for Dvorak was a bit sneaky, we thought, but it’s all right.”

    Far better than ‘all right’, I think: I thought it was excellent – when I got there!

  43. Carrots says:

    Eileen: you are such a star…and I would even swap you for my favourite Weimaraner (if he was still alive) who tended to eat crosswords rather than solve them.

    The problem I had with Brendan`s spiffing puzzle today was to attempt it whilst glued to Tsonga trouncing Federer. This caused something of a cognitive overload and I woke up with strawberries and clotted cream smeared all over my shirt already soaked with Pierre Jouet. Maybe I was unduly distracted, but on more than one occasion (O.K.,…seven of them) I found myself guessing the answer and working backwards to parse the clue.

    But, having cracked most of Brendan`s masterpiece (BRAHMS and BERG were my downfalls) I thought the least I could do was toast Murray on his way to the semi-finals…..

    …and, you guessed it: GAME THEORY won and I`ve just woken up (again!)

  44. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Eileen, I don’t want to blow up the discussion around ELGAR, but personally I am not very convinced by ‘scored’ as an anagram indicator. I cannot find something in Chambers that points in that direction and its Crossword Dictionary doesn’t mention it in its extensive list.
    But I am hardly ever against stretching the boundaries, so: I surrender! :)
    (because my intuition does agree with you)

  45. Eileen says:

    As indicated earlier, perhaps, I had intended to go to bed earlier than this tonight, but I’m glad I didn’t or would have misse two nice messages.

    Hi Carrots!

    I was so glad to read your comment yesterday and know that it was only [!] transport problems [I was worried!] that kept you from us on Saturday – you were sorely missed!

    Your second paragraph makes me very envious of what I missed during my day out – arranged before I realised the significance of the date [should have known better – but then look at last Saturday!]

    And Sil, I’m glad we broadly agree: as I said, Collins [hush, say it softly, my personal favourite :-)] gives ‘arrange’.

    And now, seriously, as Pepys said, …

  46. Gerry says:

    I finished without really understanding some clues…eg I kept looking for a place-name to explain Berg and got Palestrina only over breakfast.

  47. tupu says:

    Hi Sil and Eileen
    Re 25a Sil asks re ‘for example’. As I understand it ‘scored’ is the main anagram indicator. But ‘for example’ must relate to ‘variation(s)’ which is also then a partial indicator that anagrams are about ‘e.g. in game is a variation of enigma’ which is itself a set of variations. Duncan @1 seems to encapsulate this nicely.

  48. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, tupu, sometimes the penny drops a bit late.
    But you and Duncan are of course right.
    The anagram indicator isn’t ‘scored’, it is indeed ‘in game, for example?’=(a possible) variation of ENIGMA.
    Giving us within the surface of the clue: …. scored ‘ENIGMA variation’
    Reversing the device, very clever.

  49. otter says:

    May I just put in a request of Arachne that after setting a science-based puzzle or two she sets one while bibulously incoherent? That would be fun.

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