Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,414 / Brendan

Posted by Gaufrid on August 30th, 2011


Uncle Yap is away on one of his hash runs today so I’m afraid you will have to put up with me instead.

An interesting puzzle from Brendan today with an instruction in 14,17 (‘they’re found in parts of other rows’) to look for something further in the completed grid. The outside (14) of all the other rows are words meaning chance (17): WINDOW [of opportunity], FATE, OPENING, GAMBLE, PROBABILITY and RISK.

7 WINDPROOF WIND (wrap) PRO (for) O (old) F (female)
8 ARROW A R (river) ROW (bank)
9 FLOOR SHOW *(FOOL) R (monarch) *(WHO’S)
10 SKATE double def.
12 OPERAS P (piano) in O (old) ERA (time) S (son)
13 BROWNING cryptic def. – a reference to Robert Browning’s poem Home Thoughts, from Abroad which begins ‘Oh, to be in England, Now that April’s there, …..’
20 GAME FISH G (good) IF reversed in A MESH (piece of net)
22 RABBLE RABB[i] (religious teacher cut short) LE (the Parisian)
24 PROBE P (small change {pence}) ROBE (garment)
26 RIFLE L (large) in RIFE (general)
1 FILLIP PILL (medication) IF (provided) reversed
2 ADJOURNS A DJ (record player) N (note) in OURS (belonging to us)
3 CRISES C (sea, we hear,) RISES (reaches a higher level)
4 NO DOUBT NOD (sign agreement) O (nothing) *(BUT)
5 BROKEN double def.
11 COSH C[asebook] O[f] S[herlock] H[olmes]
15 UNAFRAID U (university) FAN (supporter) reversed RAID (attack)
16 DAIL DAIL[y] (Guardian, for one, hasn’t finished)
18 NOBILITY double def.
19 SHOTGUN cryptic def. – pregnancy might lead to a shotgun wedding.
21 EMBALM MB (doctor) A (area) in ELM (tree)
22 REBATE E (English) B (bishop) in RATE (judge)
23 LATEST [hospital]L A TEST (an examination)


22 Responses to “Guardian 25,414 / Brendan”

  1. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid

    I missed my chances in this puzzle, although I did look for them! However, it wouldn’t have made much difference to the solvability of the crossword, which I found fairly challenging, but ultimately doable.

    Lots of excellent, tightly constructed clues, as we would expect from this setter. Just one query: why the ‘say’ in 10a? This word usually flags up either a homophone, or that the definition part of the clue is just one example of the class of things which is the solution, rather than a direct synonym. Neither is applicable here.

    My favourite clue is the &lit at 27a – a rare smile from the serious and earnest Brendan!

  2. blaise says:

    Geoff, for 10a, you could also move across an ice rink, a city street, and, for example (if you’re prepared to risk getting arrested) a station platform.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for your enviable concise clarity and Brendan for another good puzzle

    I got ‘held up’ at the end by shotgun. Otherwise little trouble and generally very enjoyable. I got Browning and realised it was a reference to April but sadly and briefly confused it with Eliot’s ‘April is the cruellest month’ before blithely sailing on.

    I enjoyed the theme and several clues including 19d when I eventually got it.

    Geoff. I take it it’s because that’s just one example of skating (on a rink, on a river, on rollers etc).

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    The ‘outside chances’ were quite difficult to find and I, for, one was glad that Brendan flagged them up in the clue.

    The puzzle would have been thoroughly enjoyable without them but Brendan always adds that little – and often not-so-little – extra.

    As you say, Geoff, lots of excellent clues – my favourite has to be Browning’s nostalgic ‘march past’!

    I read 10ac as blaise and tupu did.

  5. Geoff says:

    blaise and tupu: I take your point, but for me, ‘move across frozen lake’ is a perfectly adequate and unambiguous representation of SKATE, making the ‘say’ a trifle pernickety. The result was that I found the clue a bit more difficult than it would otherwise have been, as I was looking for a homophone!

  6. Roger says:

    Tupu @3 … sorry to hear you were held up at the end of a SHOTGUN … but I suppose it could have been an ARROW, COSH,(BROWNING) RIFLE, or even a PROBE … ouch !

  7. tupu says:

    Hi Roger

    :) You are right – it could have been worse! Pretty bloodthirsty puzzle when one looks at it that way.

  8. Roger says:

    Quite so, tupu. In fact, intentionaly or otherwise, there do seem to be a few other pairings amongst the answers :
    [Mind you, if topless SKATE was a GAME FISH BIRD I suppose we might have a FLOOR SHOW …]

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid and Brendan for a very enjoyable puzzle.

    I had wondered where Uncle Yap was and it’s good to know that he’s been allowed a day off.

    MULTITASK was my favourite but am I the only solver to have noticed Brendan’s deliberate GOOF?

  10. tupu says:

    Hi Roger

    You are right again! One might also make a case for rifle/shotgun mediated by Browning who make them both. A field day for French structuralism! BTW C.K. Ogden wrote a nice little book on ‘Opposition’ in which he expressed the hope that it might help his readers get their ‘polar bearings’.

  11. Robi says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid; clever chance synonyms, which I missed.

    Although I got BROWNING, I didn’t know the poem or quotation. I also failed on the DAILy; thought it was something to do with DA=Guardian.

    Nice puzzle though, despite my failings.

  12. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Brendan

    Got to this one later in the day and took longer than normal to finish it. Puzzled over SHOTGUN, FLOOR SHOW and GAME FISH.

    Not being well versed in poetry, sorry, BROWNING was an easy guess.

    An enjoyable puzzle.

  13. FranTom Menace says:

    A very enjoyable crossword! We flew through, which is rare for a Brendan, but were stumped by the shotgun which was a brilliant clue! Thanks very much Brendan, and thanks for the solutions Gaufrid.

  14. John H says:

    Blast it. I convinced myself that 21 was MABBLE, (a tree and also a preservation method… MA + something) which made 20 FARM FISH, and came here to find out why. Well, now I know.

  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Although easier than yesterday’s Orlando, this was another of those fine offerings from Brendan with a very typical thematic work-out. We cracked the theme almost right away, and it certainly helped us to confirm that GAME FISH was the right answer to 20ac.

    “Not being well versed in poetry, sorry, BROWNING was an easy guess” (gm4hqf @12).
    Well, the same here.

    In the early seventies, I bought a record by Clifford T Ward called “Home Thoughts From Abroad”. I didn’t know then (1973) that it was the title of a Robert Browning poem nor did I know today. But I remembered one of the lines of the title track: “and I know how Robert Browning must have felt”. Therefore we decided that the answer to this clue had to be right.

    After almost 40 years this particular clue made the penny drop!

    ” I’ve been reading Browning, Keats and William Wordsworth
    And they all seem to be saying the same thing for me
    Well I like the words they use, and I like the way they use them
    You know, Home Thoughts From Abroad is such a beautiful poem
    And I know how Robert Browning must have felt
    ‘Cause I’m feeling the same way about you
    Wondering what you’re doing and if you need some help
    Do I still occupy your mind? Am I being so unkind?
    Do you find it very lonely, or have you found someone to laugh with?
    Oh, and by the way, are you laughing now?
    ‘Cause I’m not, I miss you
    I miss you, I really do”

    (by the late and much missed Clifford T Ward, 1973)

  16. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for explainig what ‘other rows’ was about. I missed shotgun too, not really firing on all four today.

  17. stiofain says:

    Hi Sil
    I dug out my Clifford T Ward albums after this clue today, a great talent whose career was sadly cut short by unfortunate illness.
    Another great Brendan but i missed the theme and needed here for enlightenment.

  18. James Droy says:

    For once I got the theme, knew what he was on about and finished. Only Operas held me back, I just couldn’t see it.
    After a few days struggling in difficult puzzles on busses and in coffee shops with no reference material, I am in love again with solving.
    I can only quibble on Browning. I don’t know his work well but guessing the letters I had to look him up. Proper poets rarely get mentioned in cryptics despite Pound and Ezra having so much potential, Hilda Dolittle giving an endless supply of HDs and Prynne giving JH and Hester. Bob Cobbing, possibly the greatest of them all, has to fit a cryptic clue

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I missed 5d and 8ac, I was set on ‘spoken’.
    PD @16, all I can see is the anagram which I used to solve it but I still don’t get the ‘other rows’ allusion.
    There is no theme,if you take any random selection of 30 words it would be amazing if one couldn’t contrive some links.
    If you want to see a real theme set by an expert look at Araucaria’s prize puzzle last week.

  20. James says:

    I forgot to buy a paper yesterday but, following today’s less than taxing offering from Chifonie, decided to do this one online.

    I spotted a reference in 5d that appears to have eluded the other commenters. There’s an apocryphal story that Wellington Koo, Chiang Kai Shek’s ambassador in London, was guest at a formal dinner and his neighbour, not realising who he was, turned to him and said “Likee soupee”? Koo kept his silence. At the end of the dinner he gave an eloquent speech in flawless English, then turned to his (by now mortified) neighbour and said “Likee speechee”? I’m pretty sure that “like speech” is an allusion to this story- otherwise “like English” would be more appropriate (we say “broken English” not “broken speech”).

    First time comment!

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    RCWhiting, you say that you ‘still don’t get the other rows’ allusion. As you are an experienced solver I am not sure whether what you say means ‘you dó get it but you don’t like it’ or you really don’t get it what’s happening here.

    I think PeeDee made it quite clear:

    In row 2: WIND[proof][arr]OW
    In row 4: F[loorshow][sk]ATE
    In row 6: OP[eras][brow]NING
    In row 10: GAM[e fish][rab]BLE
    In row 12: PRO[be][st]ABILITY
    In row 14: RI[fle][multita]SK
    All ‘chances’ to be found on the ‘outside’.

    Maybe I am making a fool of myself by explaining this so explicitly, but, as I said, I am not sure what your problem is.

    And, btw, Araucaria’s theme, yes, fine, “a real theme”(?), but one that has been done before in the Guardian by our friend Crucible.

  22. Huw Powell says:

    Not sure if I started this and got stuck or if it just ended up buried, unstarted, in my pile of paper, but WOW. I do remember having about half the South conquered when I got 14,17, which left me underlining the parenthetical advice. I don’t know what RCW’s beef was here, this was a lovely and elegantly themed puzzle. The last few clues I struggled with were helped to an extent – I guessed BROWNING having the checks – and NING from the theme. Took a few sittings to get to the end, leaving BROWNING and SHOTGUN in pencil.

    Had SHOTGUN from early on but never sussed which definition of “labour” Brendan was working with. Brilliant clue. Delightful theme. Loved it.

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid, and for the lovely treat and challenge, Brendan!

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