Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,468 – Brummie

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 1st, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Today’s mini-theme is not exactly my forte nor my cup of tea, resulting in me spending more than an hour to solve. However, the answers are gettable from the wordplay.

ACROSS
9 IAMBI I am bi-sexual, nuff said
10 NIGHTWEAR *(RANGE WITH)
11,27  YES, WE HAVE NO BANANAS   *(NO WAY HE’S EVE) = *(YES WE HAVE NO) with anagrins, clued cryptically and bananas, respectively.  Yes! We Have No Bananas is the title of a novelty song by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn from the 1922 Broadway revue Make It Snappy. Sung by Eddie Cantor in the revue, the song became a major hit in 1923 (placing No. 1 for five weeks) when it was recorded by Billy Jones, Arthur Hall, Irving Kaufman, and others. It was covered later by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, Spike Jones & His City Slickers, and many more. It is one of the top songs of the 20th century.
12 ACORN A CORN on one’s foot would be painful
13 NAIROBI *(RAIN) + *(BIO) for the capital and largest city of Kenya.
15 DEBASED Ins of BASS (male singer) minus S in DEED (act)
17 KINDA KIN (family) minus N + *(DNA)
18,20 GET ROUND Quite self-explanatory
22 DECAGON DEC (part of the comedy duo, Ant & Dec from Newcastle upon Tyne) AGO (in the past) N (middle letter of ANT
25 ODYSSEY Sounds like Odd (quaint) DC (redundant European body?) EC (European Commission, thanks NeilW) Greek epic poem, ascribed to Homer, describing the ten-year wanderings of Odysseus (Ulysses) on his way home from the Trojan war to Ithaca; (also without cap) a long wandering, or a tale of wandering.
26 FLEES Sounds like FLEAS (insects)
30 IMRAN KHAN ha Imran Khan Niazi (born 1952) is a Pakistani politician and former Pakistani cricketer, playing international cricket for two decades in the late twentieth century.
31 SWELL S (last letter of forms) W (with) ELL, a varying measure of length originally taken from the arm; a cloth measure equal to 11/4yd

DOWN
2 OMISSION O (ring) MISSION (calling)
4 ENGAGING *(EGG AGAIN + bacoN – A, one)
5 AGREED A  GREED (vice)
6,26  STRAWBERRY FAIR STRAWBERRY (kind of blonde) FAIR (just)
8 IRON AGEIRON (rev of NORIEGA) minus AGE (time)
13 NAKED Ins of KEN (knowledge) minus N in *(AND) The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal is a 1967 book by zoologist and anthropologist Desmond Morris which looks at humans as a species and compares them to other animals.
14,7  ORANGES AND LEMONS *(LONDON’S GAMES NEAR)
16 DODGY The US truck maker is DODGE, hence DODGY
19 TROMBONE Ins of ROM (read-only memory device) B (Black) in TONE (character)
21 UNSENSED *(NN SUEDE’S)
23,3 CHERRY RIPE  Ins of HER (lady) in CRY (blubber) + *(PIER)
24 NINTHS Allusion to the saying that a cat (male is Tom) has nine lives
28 NASH GNASH (grate) minus G. John Nash (1752–1835) was a British architect responsible for much of the layout of Regency London.
29 SELF-PITY *(SPITEFUL minus U) + Y (unknown)

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 25,468 – Brummie”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. I enjoyed this – lots of quirky constructions. “Cherry Ripe” was the only title I had to dredge up from some distant memory. The mini-theme is not just old songs, of course. The titles also all contain fruits.

    You’ll kick yourself – the “European body” is the EC.

  2. stumped says:

    Seen 2 from Brummie, Gave up on both. Mental block with his style.

    Thanks for the explanations Uncle Yap. All very obvious really, even if one didn’t know most of the song titles.

    25a YSSEY = EC, European Commission

  3. stumped says:

    Apologies NeilW, didn’t notice your post :)

    Looking at solutions, I’ll nominate 12a as the kind of clue that would be favourite (if I’d got it!)

  4. Uncle Yap says:

    I still think that the homophone elements of ODYSSEY should be ODD-D-C and not ODD-E-C as clued. Try pronouncing the latter and you will agree with me.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I liked this a lot, despite having to guess the ingredients of a couple (Dec+Ant in 22a, the European body in 25a since for me the second syllable in the answer is akin to that in Battersea) and make allowances here and there (12 a’s order /logic; 13d’s tamed anagrind and endless ken). The four songs were splendidly clued and there were other goodies, eg for SWELL and IAMBI.

  6. martin says:

    … resulting in MY spending …

    Correct English please

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I really enjoyed this – lots of smiles along the way.

    The cluing for 11,27 is very clever and amusing and I liked the echoes of the fat lady singing in 23,3. There is a very nice variety of clues, covering quite a wide range of knowledge – and, as UY says, where there are gaps in that, the wordplay supplies the answer.

    It makes no difference at all to the answer but, in 13dn, I read it as K[nowledg]E ['endless' often means 'take both ends off] – I just didn’t see ‘ken’ this time but I’m sure that’s right.

    But, UY, I just don’t see your problem with ODYSSEY. I have done as you said and pronounced ODD-E-C to myself several times [much the same way as I'd pronounce 'oddity'] and I do not agree. There is only one D in ‘Odyssey’ and I don’t know why you want to put in an extra D sound. ['Homophones' seem to cause more controversy here than almost anything else - but this time I've no quarrel!]

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Don’t always get on too well with Brummie, but I finished and enjoyed this one today. Nice little theme (didn’t spot the fruit bit, though). Couldn’t see the BANANAS until near the end, because the other songs were in the traditional folk style, and I was looking for something in a similar vein. DECAGON and IMRAN KHAN were other ones I liked today.

    And martin at no 6, if you don’t mind me saying so, both options are considered correct in modern English. More importantly, if that’s the only comment you’ve got for someone who’s spent time and energy solving the puzzle and producing a blog for us all, then …

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed this, finished in one sitting, without any need for recourse to any cheat tools.

    Still don’t get 26a, though: am I missing something obvious with FLEES = LIGHTS OUT?

  10. Djawhufc says:

    Very good puzzle and as usual excellent blog from Uncle Yap.

    For some reason the one that held me up was swell. i kept wanting to try and squeeze in spell instead but finally the penny dropped.

    I couldn’t agree more with Kathryn’s Dad- Martin clearly has too much time on his hands if all he can be bothered to do is to type a snide comment about the blog. Perhaps he needs a big hug.

  11. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks UY. A very nice puzzle, where it helped to know a lot of songs! I think, Dave Ellison, you just need to accept that ‘lights out’ is a (near) synonym of ‘runs away’ and the like.

  12. ponticello says:

    Does Dec and Ant relate to Dec(ani) and Cant(oris) the two sides of a church choir? Methought Brummie had slipped up here and failed to clue the missing C, as the theme was singing.

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Brummie for an enjoyable return to childhood. For those of us who remember playing it, 14,7 is almost &lit :)

    Hi Dave Ellison, I thinks “light out” here means “run away swiftly” ie., on light feet.

  14. James G says:

    This was a good puzzle. I’m so glad someone asked about lights out being flees. I’m afraid I’ve never heard of that phrase, I don’t think.

  15. NeilW says:

    Hi James G et al. Chambers: light out (informal): to decamp. I’d certainly heard the phrase, although only in the past tense, as in “We lit out of there in a hurry.”

  16. NeilW says:

    I hope no one’s going to tell me that it should be “lighted out” :)

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, all – never heard of the phrase either.

  18. cholecyst says:

    Thanks UY for a comprehensive blog and Brummie for an enjoyable and amusing puzzle. 9 ac. IAMBI. I learn from Chambers that iambus comes from the Greek word meaning “assail” – the metre first being used by the satirists. Thought I would share this with you all!

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Brummie

    An amusing puzzle at a nice level of difficulty.

    I have always liked the 11,27 song – partly because I discovered many years ago that such syntax is quite normal in some lannguages and partly because it reminds me of Humphrey Bogart singing it to Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina Fair.

    Also enjoyed the other song clues plus 1a,30a, 2a, and 24a.

  20. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Great fun from Brummie and, for me, much easier than his usual puzzles.

    I was fortunate to spot the ‘fruit song’ theme very early. After yesterday’s ‘anapaest’, IAMBI leapt out at me (are we to expect an amphibrach sometime soon?). Thence OMISSION, which gave the first word of 11a ending in S – and I saw the answer to 11,27 at once.

    Good variety of clues here, with plenty of smiles along the way. I liked the anagram at 14,7 and the ‘fat lady’ allusion at 23,3. 16d raised a laugh and 30a is a most unlikely ‘hidden’ clue.

  21. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I was on Brummie’s wavelength this morning (or perhaps this was easy for him). V enjoyable, though I failed to spot the ‘fruit’ aspect of the mini-theme. ‘Oddly negative old song’ made me laugh as a def. A good variety of devices and a lot of fun.

  22. Robi says:

    Thanks, Brummie for a good puzzle, although like UY not exactly my cup of tea.

    Thanks UY for the blog and NeilW for OD-EC, which, like Eileen, seems to me to be a good homophone. BANANAS took a while for the penny to drop. I failed to spot the NIGHTWEAR anagram.

  23. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    This certainly was my cup of tea and very enjoyable too although I always seem to spell Niarobi incorrectly until crossing letters force a change. It always looks correct to me. I didn’t see the wordplay for NINTHS which I thought was rather Rufussy. My clue of the day has to be IAMBI which amused me greatly when it occurred to me. Also, SELF-PITY was very good.

    There have been some brilliant crosswords recently so thanks to all the compilers and bloggers for their efforts. They are much appreciated.

    Finally, Martin at 6 : if that’s the best you can come up with, then don’t bother in future.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Gosh! Finished faster than UY? That’s a major first fo me. Oh well, he had a good excuse.

    Will any of us be able to look at iambi again without smiling? It will confuse non xword people when we do though.

    11,27 is the sort of thing I don’t usually get till later on, but today it was my first in. Wondered whether NO might be the 2 letter word and that triggered all the rest all by itself in seconds flat. Very strange.

  25. Uncle Yap says:

    Just came back from a fantastic hash run. I fell three times due to slippery conditions, brought about by the rain that fell before, during and after the run. But I enjoyed the spills and the thrills ….

    Come to today’s puzzle, as a non-native, I always struggle to fully understand homophone clues … but, coming to ODYSSEY which is a three-syllabled word pronounced as ORD DEE SEE. The purist like Eileen would say it should be pronounced as ORD EE SEE (ala Brummie), but non-natives like Uncle Yap would say that the first syllable ORD has such a strong lingering effect that it overcomes the second syllable.

    martin @ 6, solly, this chinaman no speakee england good good :-)

  26. Will Mc says:

    Don’t worry UY,I wouldn’t pronounce Odyssey ODD-E-C either, I’d say od-uh-see.

  27. Jan says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Y.

    (Please – what is a hash run? You keep doing one and I worry that you are involved in nefarious dealings. ;) )

    I got really annoyed with this crossword – sorry, Brummie. The clue that really irritated was …

    14,7 London’s Games near collapsing – a brilliant anagram wasted with a trite definition – a game song.

  28. Paul B says:

    I remember discussing with some crooked old Guardian compilers the possibilities of clueing YES WE HAVE NO BANANAS using the fruit as the implied anagind, and we decided right there and then that it couldn’t be done in a satisfactory way. No? Well, NO is the difficulty with Brummie’s take on it, as the pesky thing appears in both the fodder and the answer.

    I’ve just slapped the phrase into my anagram machine, made by NHS abortion eh? (5-8), and it still doesn’t look any good …

  29. Paul B says:

    Hang on: Eve: she on way! … no? Oh all right then.

  30. dunsscotus says:

    I notice the my/me controversy rumbles on, but with a lack of analysis, so … Dear Martin. The reason for preferring ‘my’ is presumably that ‘spending’ is being construed as noun-like (i.e. a gerund). Using ‘me’ would therefore imply that ‘spending’ is being construed as verb-like (a participial construction I’d imagine.)

    So, Martin, is it such a crime to construe ‘spending’ as a verbal form? I think not. Live and let live.

  31. Paul B says:

    We should spend time that is ours, you see. We should not merely spend time.

  32. Paul B says:

    Or perhaps it is the spending that should be ours, and we should not merely spend.

  33. Wanderer says:

    A pedant writes: I don’t think Brummie can have intended YSSEY to equate to European Commission at 25a. The Commission is far from redundant! I think the redundant European body is the European Community (or European Communities) which replaced the European Economic Community and which became redundant on the signature of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. I seem to remember I once had a (British) passport with European Community on it; now, of course, it says European Union.

  34. morpheus says:

    @stumped I strongly suspect EC refers to European Community (now since the Lisbon Treaty superseded by the European Union) not European Commission, though euro-sceptics would no doubt consider that latter body redundant as well.

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