Never knowingly undersolved.

The Guardian No 25,453, by Brummie

Posted by Stella on October 14th, 2011


When I saw Brummie’s name on today’s crossword, I was a little apprehensive, not knowing quite what to expect, but I needn’t have worried.

It turned out to be a gentle pub crawl, though not entirely alcoholic.

After yesterday’s discussion about the newly-named “Brendan”, I wonder what we could call this type of puzzle where one word, in one form or another, is repeated in every clue?

9. ROUND Double definition
10. See 31 See 31
11. WATER DOWN Charade of WATER + DOWN
12. SLURP *PLUS around “baR”
15. CANDELA CAN + D(ate) + <ALE, for an SI unit of luminous intensity
17. UNLIT Cryptic definition
18. See 31 See 31
20. GULPS LP in GUS(tav Holst), author of “The Planets” suite
22. HOPSACK HOP – not often seen in the singular – you wouldn’t get much flavour from just one :) – + SACK, an old name for sherry
25. VATABLE A charade of VAT + ABLE, for a word I’ve never seen, but which seems quite possible.
26. PALAU <LAP + AU. It’s a pity Brummie uses the same reversal in the crossing down clue.
27. MANHATTAN (Isle of) MAN + HAT + TAN
31,18,10. TIRED AND EMOTIONAL *(TRIED TO LIE + MADONNA). I presume the definition is “drunk”, although it’s rather the reverse.
1. BREW BetteR, empty, + <WE
2. SUBTOTAL TOT in SUB + A L(itre)
3. ODER O + <RED (wine) for the river which flows through the Polish port.
4. LEMON TEA Hidden in “probLEM ON TEAm”
5. COGNAC COG + *CAN. it’s actually a simple reversal, but as the indication is “forced”, this seems to suggest an anagram.
6. FIRST NIGHT FIRST (in the lead) + <GIN + initials of Herbert Tree
7. INFUSE *(EU + Shark + FIN)
13. MOUTH *HUM TO. The definition made me smile :)
16. AISLE IS in ALE, for the way to the altar to join one’s groom.
19. DAVENTRY A VENT in DRY, for this town in Northants.
21. LOBSTERS LOBS + *REST,”the drink” being the sea in this case, which did throw me off to start with :)
24. KUMMEL MM in *LUKE, for a liqueur I’d never heard of, but which sound interesting.
26. PUBS B in <SUP
28. ASTI AS + <IT
29. NODE First letters of “Never Offer Drunk Eggnog”

30 Responses to “The Guardian No 25,453, by Brummie”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Stella. It wasn’t hard but it was a good test, and fun. I loved 31, 18, 10 – and all the when I checked afterwards and found the story of Private Eye and George Brown, the origin of the phrase.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Stella and Brummie

    A nice enough puzzle with, not surprisingly, a generous sprinkling of sup, lap, gin, rum, ale, can etc.

    Some enjoyable clues and nice surfaces. I was amused by 20a, 2d, 6d, 7d, and 21d.

    Comparisons are proverbially odious, but the proximity to Brendan’s offering naturally leads to thinking of the two puzzles together. I suppose the thing that particularly caught my attention with Brendan was his careful structural arrangement of clues and answers which this one seems to eschew.

  3. tupu says:

    As to a name, I wonder if some use of the prefix ‘holo’ might serve e.g. holotheme and holothematic .

  4. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    The left side and most of the right fell out like my hair does these days. However, it needed a trip to the garden to pick a bowl of raspberries before I could replace ‘potable’ (25ac) with ‘vatable’ and hence solve the very straightforward Daventry as opposed to the quite mystifying D-P-N-R- !
    So not too bad overall.

  5. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    This was a fun puzzle: not as finely crafted as yesterday’s Brendan, as tupu says, but some good clues and surfaces – and it made me smile more. Coming hard on the heels of the Brendan puzzle makes me question the wisdom of calling this type a ‘Brendan’, as he didn’t invent the style and is not the only setter to employ it. ‘Panthematic’ is perhaps the more useful general term.

    ‘TIRED AND EMOTIONAL’ is best known as a Private Eye catchphrase (like ‘Ugandan discussions’) and certainly seems to have arisen in a euphemistic description of George Brown. I thought it was James Cameron (the late journo, not the film director) who wrote that in his opinion, George Brown was as tired as a newt – but I can’t find anything to substantiate that. Of course Brummie has the alter ego Cyclops – the setter of the ribald puzzles in Private Eye.

  6. Gervase says:

    tupu @3: I think I like ‘holothematic’ better than ‘panthematic’!

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Stella.

    I think I’m feeling a little jaded with themes – but I really liked TIRED AND EMOTIONAL. There’s some amusng information here:

    which attributes [‘citation needed’] your quotation, Gervase, to a Foreign Office official but thank you for the reminder of one of my all-time favourite journalists.

    Now for my familiar grouse: the clue for 8dn seems to me to lead unequivocally to PILS.

  8. Tata says:

    I am very much a struggler with crosswords. I would just like to thank Brummie for the time and effort that he must have expended in compiling this one. I am sure it is harder to compile such a crossword than it is to solve. I have no clever comments, moans or suggestions. I am gratefull for the entertainment.Thanks Brummie.

  9. rrc says:

    Much easier and therefore more enjoyable I thought from this setter

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I don’t normally get on well with a Brummie (wavelength thing) but this one fairly flew in. Because I did it on line, I’d got about a third of it before realising that there was ‘drink’ or ‘drunk’ in all the clues (you can’t see them all at once).

    I thought it was a bit of fun, and the Private Eye TIRED AND EMOTIONAL definition of ‘drunk’ made me smile. Funny how a one-off euphemism can enter the language.

    Thanks for blogging, Stella.

  11. sidey says:

    Now for my familiar Grouse:

    No need to hit the bottle over it Eileen, 8d is indeed an 8d.

  12. sidey says:

    K’sD, (you can’t see them all at once)., unless you are using a phone screen all the clues are visible below the grid.

  13. Stella says:

    Thanks all for your comments, and especially for your elucidations on 31,18,10. I had no idea it was a common euphemism.

    My point about yesterday’s puzzle is that there is a qualitative difference with today’s, which uses a device I have seen reasonably frequently, and on occasion the repetitions become annoying – though not here :)

  14. chas says:

    Thanks to Stella for the blog.

    On my first look through I managed to make 3d into OPUS i.e. Nothing=O and <SUP. Unfortunately it had no Polish connection so I had to leave it out :(

    I loved 31,18,10 but it took me a while to get the correct anagram fodder owing to a slight mistake in reading the clue. However, I got there in the end.

  15. Strawberry Flann says:

    To conform to the serious input required; as a professor of neo indo-european linguistics, it is highly improper in 9 across to force a round word into square spaces! With so many alcoholic references I cannot stop hiccuPING!

  16. Admin says:

    Strawberry Flann @15
    After having had to intervene yesterday to delete two off-topic comments, I would ask that you read and comply with the 15² Site Policy, particularly paragraphs 3 and 5.

  17. Roger says:

    Nice one, sidey @11 … and famously in the spirit of today’s theme ! Was anybody else SOBER (albeit briefly) at 17a ?

  18. Malc says:

    I must admit I’d not heard of unlit as a synonym of sober.

  19. stiofain says:

    how about a homologue?

  20. chas says:

    Roger @17: I definitely tried to make sober fit but gave up.

    Malc @18: I have seen ‘lit-up’ as meaning drunk so unlit must mean sober :)

  21. John says:

    As I’ve said before, “themed” puzzles often make for tortuous cluing and so it is here, and was yesterday, IMHO. This type of puzzle seemds designed to show off the ingenuity of the setter rather than to test the orthographic/linguistic skills and capabilities of the solver. Still, it takes all sorts and many enjoyed both. So be it.

  22. stumped says:

    3down is a bit unfair, or does everyone know rivers in obscure Polish towns? It’s easy enough to get the answer by parsing and check letters but…

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi stumped

    I’m rather sticking my neck out here but I don’t recognise your name [please forgive me if you have posted here before and I’ve missed it and ‘Welcome’, if you haven’t!] – so perhaps you’re fairly new to cryptic crosswords? ODER is among the top favourite rivers / ‘flowers’ for crossword setters and I think this was Brummie’s way of cluing it rather more cryptically. And he had to get ‘drink’ in somehow! [I’m afraid I hadn’t heard of the Polish city either!0

  24. Eileen says:

    I can’t account for the rogue ‘O’ ;-)

  25. Stella says:

    Hi stumped and Eileen; I’d no idea of the town when solving, but remembered that, when studying German at school, I learnt that the second verse of their national anthem was forbidden until an eventual reunion, as it went something like “von der Rhein bis an der Oder”.

    Sorry to any German speakers if I’ve got my genders wrong – this was some forty years ago.

  26. stumped says:

    Hi Eileen and Stella. Thanks for the welcome, this is indeed my first post here. I am returning to Cryptics after a very long time. They’re a rare beast here in the wilds of New England. Much has changed in all matters since I did the Guardian daily at School & Univ. I’m tempted to blame it all on…

    Prime Minister threw the hat in late (6,3,3)

  27. Eileen says:

    Nice one, stumped! Hope to hear from you again.

  28. tupu says:

    Hi stiofain
    I thought about ‘homo’ words. I think this prefix usually implies sameness between one entity and another, rather sameness within an entity.

  29. g larsen says:

    I must be getting old – there was a time when the Oder was very well-known, as part of the Oder-Neisse line, the new boundary set in 1945 between Poland and (East) Germany.

    I was in Szczecin earlier this year – an interesting Hanseatic port with a splendid brick cathedral. The amazing (to a non-Pole) spelling becomes easier if you think of it under its former German name of Stettin.

  30. ernie says:

    Thanks Brummie and Stella.

    I’m in the same league as Tata @8. Good fun and I liked everything being drink/drunk. No objections: I accept dodgy clueing if I can see the answer (eg 8d). Thanks again.

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