Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,426 – Brummie

Posted by Uncle Yap on September 13th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Sorry if this blog comes out later than normal. I was watching the enthralling final of the US Open between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal when the daily puzzles became available on-line. In between the match I used the one-minute breaks to solve what I thought was today’s assignment. When Djokovic finally triumphed and it was time to blog, I found I had completed the Times 24953 instead of Brummie in the Guardian. Sheesh

Anyway, another hurried job on what turned out to be quite an enjoyable and not-too-difficult puzzle. It is most fortunate that I have read The Crucible by Arthur Miller and that helped tremendously with the solving and the blogging.

ACROSS
1 UNSOLEMN *(SUN MELON)
5 ARTHUR ART (paintings, etc) Ben HUR. Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE (1935–2002) an English actor, comedian, composer and musician who played the eponymous ARTHUR Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire playboy who is on the brink of an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling for a common working-class girl from Queens
9 OVERTURN Cha of OVERT (open) URN (container)
10 ADONIS Ins of DO (function) in AN (one) IS (lives) &lit
12 MCCARTHYISM *(MISMATCH CRY) see 20Across
17 ALIENATOR *(RATIONALE)
18 REASSURES Ins of ASS (nit) UR (old city) in REES (rev of SEER, prophet)
19,15,7 SALEM WITCH HUNT *(MALES) WIT (intellectual) CH (church) HUNT (meet, a meeting of participants in a fox hunt) See 20Across
20  THE CRUCIBLE *(ELECTRIC HUB) The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatization of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory to McCarthyism, when the US government blacklisted accused communists
24 OUTING 3/4 of SCOUTING (talent seeking)
25 LIMBER UP LIMB (member) ERUP (rev of PURE, honourable)
26 MILLER M (married) + ILLER (more ill or even worse) Arthur Asher Miller (1915–2005) was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge
27 METAPHOR Cha of MET (came upon) A PH (public house, pub, inn, local) OR (alternative) see 20Across

DOWN
1 UPON MY WORD A tichy way to describe a mild interjection expressing surprise or dismay
2 STENCH TRAP Ins of T (temperature) in *(SCRAP THEN)
3 LATER LATE (dead) R (right)
4 MARSH HARRIER Ins of *(HARSH) in MARRIER (a person who marries others or a wedding officiator)
6 RUDIMENTS Ins of DIME (coin) in RUNTS (tiny pigs)
8 REST ROOM REST (others) ROOM (rev of MOOR) an American euphemism for the toilet, lavatory, WC, bathroom, cloakroom, washroom, water closet, public convenience, urinal, latrine, powder room, the ladies’, the gents’, loo, John. In China, they use “wash hand room”
11 CIVIL SERVICE Cha of C (first letter of Channel) IV (Roman numeral for 4) I (one) L (live) SERVICE (employment). Heard this referred to as a misnomer ; not much service provided and the staff are not at all civil
13 STILLBIRTH *(SHRILL IT TB)
14 GRIM REAPER Ins of MR E A in GRIPER (someone who gripes or complains)
16 HESITANCE *(AT CHINESE)
21 COBRA COB (horse) RA (Royal Academician or artist)
23 HTML ha for HyperText Mark-up Language, the language used to create World Wide Web documents.

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

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,426 – Brummie”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brummie and Uncle Yap. Agree with your assessment of the puzzle and the US Open Finals. Got the theme early on. STENCH TRAP was new to me.

    Cheers…

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. All good fun, although the theme was a little too obvious.

    On your list at 8, you’ve left out that wonderful Filipino euphemism, CR for “comfort room”!

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I spent quite a bit of time at the end on 24a, and still don’t see where the spin is. I also – having got the four cross letters – wrestled with an anagram of ‘container’ before the right answer clicked. Like grandpuzzler I’d not heard of 2d, though it was obvious enough. 5a gave the theme away easily.

  4. NeilW says:

    Hi molonglo. The “spin” is as in the phrase “go for a spin in the car” meaning going out on a jaunt, as in an “outing”.

  5. jackkt says:

    Thanks, Uncle Y. I enjoyed this and got the theme early on. I thought I was going to achieve my target (anything sub-30 minutes) but I became bogged down in the NW corner and was unable to crack the anagram at 12, 9ac and 4dn for ages. I also stalled on the associated clue at 27ac. Was anyone else tempted to write TARZAN at 6ac before any checkers went in?

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY, for the blog, and Brummie for a puzzle based on one of my favourite plays.

    20ac is very clever, with ‘theatre’ doing double duty, referring also to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which is celebrating its fortieth birthday:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/gallery/2011/sep/12/crucible-40-theatre-in-pictures?INTCMP=SRCH

    Lots of other nice clues. My favourite, I think, was 1dn, partly because I spent a while trying to make an anagram of ITS WELL OLD [indicator 'fashioned'] – and then laughed when I saw that ‘well’ was the cleverly-hidden and witty definition.

    I liked REST ROOM, too. ;-)

  7. William says:

    Thank you, UY, fine blog as usual. Must confess to never having heard of a STENCH TRAP but I suppose it’s only reasonable. This, and your list at 8d put me in mind of Mick’s comment on the bidet in the hotel room in Crocodile Dundee, “Some joker’s put 2 dunnies in the bathroom”.

    Jackkt @5 I think you meant 5ac and yes, I was. Fortunately the WITCH HUNT scuppered it in time.

    Sub 20 minutes for this one. Very pleasant romp and well constructed theme. Thank you Brummie.

  8. William says:

    Eileen @6. We crossed but I wanted to add that it’s very clever of you to spot the definition ‘well’ in 1d. I missed that. One can miss the best bits by trying to complete in a fast time.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi William. I’m still chuckling about it because it’s practically a double definition: I can just hear teenagers saying, ‘That’s well old fashioned!’ – that use of ‘well’ always makes me laugh.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, UY, for your fine blog.

    I really enjoyed this one today – I’ve not had much success with Brummie in the past (a wavelength thing, I think) but this one went in nicely. The fact that the gateway clues were gentle ones helped, but having only a remote acquaintance with the play in question meant that I had to work a bit to get the related solutions. And that tempted me to get online to learn a bit more about it all, which is no bad thing.

    I too liked UPON MY WORD and fell into the same (STENCH) TRAP that Eileen did. And she’s right about the ‘well’ thing with teenagers. In the olden days (like when I was a teenager) the only correct use of ‘well’ in this sense was ‘I was well-pleased’. Now my teenagers come home and say stuff like ‘The English exam was well solid today’. Translation: ‘it was very hard’. But then when you ask them how they are, they’ll say ‘I’m good, thanks’. Aaargh!

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi, K’s D

    Just for the record, it wasn’t me you met in the STENCH TRAP! [I'll admit now, though, that I didn't know that's what it was called.]

    And re ‘good’: I know, that’s my reaction, too! ;-(

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry Eileen, I just meant that I went for the (IT’S WELL OLD)* trap as well.

  13. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Enjoyable puzzle, rather easier than most of Brummie’s (if you knew the Miller references) but with some light lavatorialisms to bring a bit of a smile.

    Notable for a couple of anagrams which didn’t seem to contain enough vowels: 12a, 2d (this was new to me also, but self-explanatory). Like Eileen et al, I assumed 1d was also an anagram, until the penny dropped.

    The incidents of 1692 in the Massachusetts colony are more often referred to as the SALEM WITCH TRIALS, but Google does show that the alternative expression with ‘hunt’ is well attested.

  14. smutchin says:

    Found this one fairly easy but got stuck on 18a for ages – until I eventually realised 4d wasn’t “Marsh Warbler”…

    Anyway, very enjoyable with some fine clues, as already mentioned. But surely I’m not alone in having heard the term “stench trap” before?

    d.

  15. smutchin says:

    Gervase – there had to be a Salem Witch Hunt before there could be any Salem Witch Trials…

  16. Eileen says:

    Sorry, K’s D – you were being too clever for me! ;-)

  17. Stella Heath says:

    It’s always nice to see I’m not the only one to bark up the wrong tree or get led down the garden path or whatever :) I read 1d the same way as Eileen did, and am about as familiar with the play as Kathryn’s Dad confesses to be. Fortunately, though, I’m blissfully unaware of how teenagers (mis)treat English.

    Can anyone explain what Dudley Moore has to do with Tarzan?

  18. smutchin says:

    Stella – Peter Cook and Dudley Moore once did a brilliant sketch in which Dud was a one-legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan. Look it up on YouTube. Very funny.

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks smutchin, I will

  20. Ian Payn says:

    For those of us who’d just read the Arts section of the paper, which included an interview with Anthony Sher in which he discussed his participation of a play by Arthur Miller, the playwright was the first Arthur who sprang to mind…

  21. Robi says:

    Interesting crossword, made easier by the theme and several anagrams.

    Thanks UY; you may be aware that the CRUCIBLE is where the World Snooker Championships are held, apart from more erudite functions. Yes, I looked at Tarzan before ARTHUR – a hilarious (NOT ‘an’hilarious!) film. I was a little surprised with HTML, rather than ATOL; perhaps the latter has been used too many times in crosswords.

    I’m another not having heard STENCH TRAP, although it is certainly a suitable name!

  22. John Appleton says:

    Enjoyed this one, mostly because of the references to a favourite play of mine. Hadn’t noticed a theme running through the clues but after getting 20 and 5 across it seemed a little bit of a coincidence.

  23. rrc says:

    I lost interest in doing this and eventually gave up – brummie is not on my wavelength at all

  24. mike04 says:

    Thanks for a great blog Uncle Yap.
    And many thanks for what could be a very beneficial addition to our REST ROOM euphemisms.

    I don’t know about the “LADIES” here in the UK, but the other one urgently requires a new name. I think “THE WASH HAND ROOM” would be most appropriate.

    And thanks Brummie, for an easier than usual Brummie Crossword.

  25. chas says:

    Thanks UY for the blog. There were a couple of places where I needed you to explain why I had the right answer!

    When I saw Dudley in 5a I thought of Dudley Moore but I was unable to think of any role he had – I’m not a great film watcher. I tried to remember the names that Pete and Dud used for their off-colour act but failed again. However, the clue was well-enough written so I was able to put in ARTHUR without hesitation (or should I say hesitance :) )

    On 19,15,7 once I had spotted the anagram I extracted SALEM WITCH easily enough so that just left HUNT. I was a little bothered by the thought of TRIAL but nothing else would go in.

    I also have never heard of STENCH TRAP!

  26. Chaz says:

    Hi all,
    Should 21d be venom rather than poison as it is injected and has a zoological context?

  27. Jan says:

    I played Elizabeth Proctor when we did the play at college so the puzzle brought back many ancient memories.

    Thanks Uncle Yap – although OUTING was fairly obvious, I couldn’t think what the longer word was. My brain got stuck on TOUTING.

  28. Gervase says:

    smutchin @ 15

    Chambers only lists the figurative meaning of WITCH HUNT: the searching out and denouncing of political opponents. The SOED does acknowledge the literal meaning, but the earliest usage is late 19th century. Strangely, ‘witch hunting’ is a much earlier expression – contemporary with the events in Salem. This was an activity carried out by a ‘witch-finder’ – also an old term.

    But, as I recall, there wasn’t much ‘hunting’ of witches in pre-revolutionary MA anyway, just a lot of malicious finger-pointing.

  29. Qaos says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed today’s puzzle. A few more “full” anagrams than we normally see from Brummie, but his usual trademark noun/verb misdirection which I always admire (tip, spin, bolts).

    MCCARTHYISM had me stumped for a while at the start (before I’d worked on the thematic clues). I couldn’t convince myself that it could be such a long anagram with only 2 vowels!

  30. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Brummie for the entertainment.

    Like Eileen et al, I fell for the teenage + version of well for 1d. I solved Miller before I got Arthur and thought that there may be a Chaucerian theme. The Crucible, with all its layers of meaning, soon made everything fall into place. This made 12ac particularly apt.
    The theme is quite topical following a recent showing of the BBC4 programme on the Pendle Witches.

    Giovanna

  31. apiarist says:

    I really got stuck in the NW corner as I was convinced 3 down was “amend” !! Otherwise no real problems although “stench trap” is new to me.

  32. Derek Lazenby says:

    rrc @23, know what you mean, that’s what usually happens to me, but ye hah, not this time!

  33. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    This was a very enjoyable puzzle from Brummie and considerably easier than some of his previous offerings. I thought the clues were excellent and all gettable without any vagueness in the wording. Took me a while to spell MCCARTHY correctly and also to get the anagram for ‘rationale’.

    Just to pick a few clues, I liked ARTHUR, OVERTURN, ALIENATOR, MILLER, LATER and RUDIMENTS(which had a great surface).

    Thanks Brummie.

  34. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Brummie

    Solved after lunch but have only now got to a computer.

    Pretty enjoyable – a mummy bear puzzle neither too easy nor too hard.

    I got stuck over ‘spin’ for a time but then it clicked – too used to Campbell, Coulson et al. At one point I was juggling with ‘spotting’ and ‘O.T.T.ing’ but sense prevailed.

    Some excellent clues and a manageable theme.

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