Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,451 – Brendan

Posted by Andrew on October 12th, 2011


I’m always pleased to see Brendan’s name on a puzzle, but somehow I found this one both harder and (perhaps as a result) a bit more of a slog than usual, though there are plenty of clever and witty clues. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that the theme this time is based on the use of the word “event” in many of the clues, used in a variety of ingenious ways.

8. MILLRACE (John Stuart) MILL (economist) + RACE (nation). The clue gives the enumeration as (8), but surely this should be two words, or hyphenated (I have no dictionary to hand to check).
9. BRACED R[ing] in an anagram of ABCDE (“leading characters”). There’s no indication that the letters aren’t in alphabetical order, but perhaps describing them, as “characters” is enough.
10. EPEE Hidden in lifE PEErs
11. EVEN TEMPER TEMPE in NEVER*. I presume the beauty spot is the Vale of Tempe in Greece.
14. TACK ROOM TACK (food) + reverse of MOOR (secure)
15. AT WORST A TWO (couple) + R (“are”, reportedly) + ST[umped]
17. SEVENTY Hidden in inningS EVEN Typically. 70 is a score (20) over 50. See also 4dn.
20. RACEMOSE ACE M in ROSE. For the botanical technicalities see here.
22. UPSHOT UP (not sleeping) + SHOT (exhausted)
23. DISCUSSANT DISC (record) + (AS NUTS)*. Not a word I’ve come across before (it means someone taking part in formal talks), but the wordplay is clear.
24. DASH Hidden in floriDA Shop. Another word for a sprint (a short event). I’m rather surprised to see it described as “American” – perhaps someone with a Chambers or Collins could confirm.
25. JUMPER Double definition
26. EVENTFUL Double definition – “memorable” , and describing the many occurrences of “event” in the clues.
1. MISPRINT (PRIM ISN’T)*, with a nicely cryptic definition
2. BLUE Double definition – “sad” and as in Oxford & Cambridge sports
3. GAMETE ME in GATE (confine)
4. SEVENTH Hidden in thiS EVENT Happens. It seems a bit of a weakness to have both SEVENTH and SEVENTY (17ac) in the grid, and with similar clues.
6. HAMMERLESS LES in HAMMERS (nickname for West Ham). Name for a type of weapon.
13. IN ONE’S CUPS Double definition – to be “in one’s cups” means to be drunk
16. SPONSORS N + S in SPOORS (tracks)
18. TROTS OUT Double definition
19. RELAYED Reverse of YALE in RED
21. ANIMUS Reverse of SUM (problem) IN A[rea]
22. UNTIED Double definition – if you’re not “even” in an event then it’s not a tie.
24. DATE Double definition

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,451 – Brendan”

  1. duncanshiell says:

    Given that the themeword EVENT is contained in the answers to 11a, 17a and 4d, I wonder if Brendan was tempted to clue them all by an oblique reference to the theme, but intead fell back on standard forms of cluing?

  2. IanN14 says:

    I think there’s a bit more to it than that.
    Including those alluded to in the clues, I counted at least 16 answers which include words for types of event, or races…

  3. Andrew says:

    Ian, you’re right, I’d missed that (apart from casually noticing the appearances of EVENT that Duncan mentioned). That makes the puzzle a lot cleverer than I though – I should have known better!

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I agree with IanN14. Knowing Brendan, I spent a little time going over the grid and there are Olympic events, past and present, hidden all over!

  5. NeilW says: more generic stuff like, game, race etc.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brendan

    A lovely puzzle, the full extent of which only sank in at the end.

    A quick scan after solving seems to show that the clues which do not contain ‘event’ in their wording have one in their solution e.g sprint in 1d, hammer in 6d and discus in 24d.

    Ienjoyed 12a, 26a, 13d, 16d and others in the course of solving.

  7. tupu says:

    re 6 above
    A more systematic look confirms this ie
    8 and 9a race
    11a event
    12a mile
    17a event
    20a race
    22a shot
    23a discus
    25a jump
    26a event
    1d sprint
    3d game
    6d hammer
    19d relay

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    Like you, I’d noticed Duncan’s events and also RACE in 8 [no hyphen in Collins or Chambers btw] and 9ac but top marks [and welcome back!] to Ian N14, for opening up the rest – and thanks to tupu for filling it out.

    And there was I thinking that Brendan had spelled out his theme more obviously than usual! I should have known better, like NeilW!

    Chambers has ‘dash: a sprint [athletics, esp. N. American]

    Many thanks to Brendan, as always.

  9. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Thanks. It is the systematic nature of the distribution which struck me. I also note 10a and 24a differ from other marked clues as simple event names hidden in the surface, whereas those I listed are hidden ‘events’ in the answers. 17a is different again since ‘event’ is hidden in both clue and answer.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    It’s amazing – an “event” is in every single clue, either in the clue itself or in the solution! I had to have this pointed out to me but it does explain everything, including the otherwise exasperating “racemose”. What a stunning achievement.

  11. tupu says:

    Hi Thomas99
    If one counts ‘innings’ as (part of?) an ‘event’, 17a is even more complex than I first realised, since, as noted, it also contains ‘event’ hidden in both clue and answer.

  12. NeilW says:

    Hi Thomas99 – he did make it clear in 26 – the puzzle is “full” of events! :)

  13. sppaul says:

    Yes a lovely crossword with a cunning theme. Thanks to Brendan and Andrew. I hate to be picky but in 25a aren’t they Jump leads rather than jumper leads?

  14. Brian H says:

    I believe the correct term is a “pantheme” for such a puzzle, where either the solution or the clue (or even both) contain a reference to a unifying theme. Am I right?

  15. NeilW says:

    Hi sppaul, you’re right although, as you say, maybe being a little picky. :)

    Chambers: Jumper cables (N American) = jump leads

  16. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    For once (I am very bad at these things) I realised that every clue and/or solution had some sort of ‘event’ contained within, which did help with the completion of the puzzle. Nice one, Brendan.

    ANIMUS was my last entry, rather hesitantly, as I couldn’t see either the definition or the wordplay. RACEMOSE is a lovely word, and far less outre than, for example ‘cymose’ or ‘corymbose’!

  17. tupu says:

    Hi sppaul and NeilW

    re 25a. Chambers also gives under jumper ‘a multi-core flexible cable connection between the coaches of a multiple-unit train’ (and also one of a group of Welsh methodists who used to jump about!).

  18. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. What a lovely puzzle from Brendan, one of my favourite setters (my birthday today, too!). For once I managed to spot the theme and all the hidden words referring to ‘events’. I did find this quite hard, though, and had to use the check button a few times to finish. 20ac and 19dn were my last ones in.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A very good challenge. True, the ‘events’ were clever although the kind of theme which everyone discovers after they have solved the whole puzzle is not my favourite.
    Nevertheless, it kept me puzzling for a good while and for that many thanks.

  20. crypticsue says:

    A lovely themed challenge, thank you Brendan. Thanks to Andrew too. And happy birthday Liz.

  21. Rich says:

    Pure genius from Brendan as usual

  22. liz says:

    Thanks crypticsue @20!

  23. Sean McCarthy says:

    It was only 9ac that I could not figure out for the life of me. I guessed the answer was “braced” but could not see why. So thanks for the enlightenment. Apart from that it was challenging but fun, especially as I was sitting in the little envelope of sunshine we had in “Sleeping Accommodation for 500″.

  24. Trebor says:

    Brendan might be the best.

  25. Electric Dragon says:

    It’s pan in another way too: the clues are pangrammatic.

  26. Robi says:

    Nice one, Brendan; I’m amazed that people didn’t see the events at the beginning. First one in was MISPRINT, which gave me the ‘sprint’ key. But then I like watching Athletics, although Lord Coe won’t give me any tickets for the Olympics.

    Thanks, Andrew – it was pretty difficult; can’t say the Vale of Tempe is an everyday beauty spot. I thought BRACED had an especially good clue.

  27. Allan_C says:

    Nice try, Electric Dragon @25, but I can’t find a J.

  28. Electric Dragon says:

    Yeah, I just noticed that myself. It’s the only letter that is missing though.

  29. Paul B says:

    Re Brian @ 14, I don’t know. If you were asking. If you find out, post it up. The word PAN-THEME has given me one or two ideas, however …

    Splendid construction and clues from Brendan, who is (re 24) at the very least among the best. Great stuff.

  30. Robi says:

    Allan_C @27; JUMPER, but I can’t see a ‘Q’ or ‘Z.’

  31. Robi says:

    Sorry; looking at answers, not clues!

  32. John says:

    Brian H @14. It is now.

  33. Eileen says:

    Hi Brian H and John

    Pantheme? Where did this come from? I can’t find it anywhere – and would question it if I could!

    Pangram [Pan [all] + gramma [letter] [all the letters]] is fine [and is in Chambers:’a sentence containing all the letters of the alphabet, eg the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’] which we seem to have appropriated in crosswordland to define a grid which contains all the letters of the alphabet, which is fair enough, I think, since we all know what we’re talking about – but ‘pantheme’ = ‘all the themes’ doesn’t quite work, does it?

    However that may be [or, as my grandchildren more succinctly say,’whatever’] this was a great example of whatever it is we are trying to define [more suggestions welcome!] – thanks again, Brendan!

  34. MikeC says:

    A terrific puzzle. Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I spotted quite a few events but only saw the literal truth of 26 after coming here. Chapeau, Brendan.

  35. Robi says:

    What about ‘unifeme’ for unifying theme?

  36. PaulC says:

    Well that was eventful.

  37. Huw Powell says:

    I only got this about half done back when I first attacked it, and finally worked my way back down the stack to it today, managed to bang out all the answers though, with a few aids.

    Back then I had noticed the heavy use of the theme in clues and answers both, and realized it was some sort of “salute” to the upcoming Olympics. Very glad I waited rather than rushed here for answers! I have already seen the praise and later comments scattered through the next few blogs after this one, one of the few puzzles I have seen have that effect on here – an afterglow effect, I suppose.

    Thank you Brendan for going all out on this one, and Andrew for the blog, and a few of you others for listing the “rest” of the theme examples. I often use a highlighter on puzzles like this to track things, if I had done that while solving this I think every square would be bright yellow!

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