Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25, 493 by Brendan

Posted by PeterO on November 30th, 2011


A thorough working-out of a theme by Brenda, which I found very satisfying.

The main theme of the crossword is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with a couple of mini-thenes thrown in.

9. Passionate fellow in back of Italian car? (5)
ROMEO Double definition, with reference to the Alfa Romeo car manufacturer.
10. Addition to letter that could come from one’s cruel pen (9)
ENCLOSURE An anagram (‘could come from … pen’) of ‘ones cruel’. I suppose that the idea is that if you write the letters in the right order you come up with the answer. Can anyone come up with a better justification for the ‘pen’?
11. See 13
- See 13
12. For example, drug supplier for 7, or murder investigator in … (5)
FRIAR Double definition; in Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence gives Juliet (7D) a potion to simulate death, and in The Name of the Rose (the following clue, as indicated by the ellipsis), William of Baskerville (also a Franciscan friar), investigates several murders.
13,11. … 18’s work that’s irrelevant when it’s 17 (3,4,2,3,4)
THE NAME OF THE ROSE 18A is (Umberto) ECO, and this is his best known novel. The remainder is another reference to Romeo and Juliet:

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

17A is NOSED

15. Calms down — in past, passed a test (7)
SEDATES A hidden answer in ‘pasSED A TESt’.
17. Moved cautiously to sign agreement, including opponents at table (5)
NOSED An envelope (‘including’) of S E (South and East, ‘opponents at (bridge) table’) in NOD (‘to sign agreement’).
18. Author announced what precedes foxtrot (3)
ECO In the NATO phonetic alphabet, ‘foxtrot’ ( F ) is preceded by echo ( E ), which indicates a homophone (‘announced’), ECO (Umberto Eco, the ‘author’).
20. Fish from 6 to 7 (5)
NURSE In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s nurse acts as a go-between for the couple. The fish is a nurse shark.
22. Unusually apt clue for “playhouse”? (7)
CAPULET An anagram (‘unusually’) of ‘apt clue’, for one of the houses in the play Romeo and Juliet (the other appearing at 30A).
25. Scene of play in which fighting takes place (7)
THEATRE Double definition – and, of course, Romeo and Juliet encompasses both.
26. He won the heart of a beauty in romantic city (5)
PARIS Double definition; Prince Paris of Troy won Helen, but Paris in Romeo and Juliet did not win Juliet.
27. Facing early light daters saw spread around (9)
EASTWARDS An anagram (‘spread around’) of ‘daters saw’.
30. Sequences of film about upper-class family (9)
MONTAGUES An envelope (‘about’) of U (‘upper-class’) in MONTAGES (‘sequences of film’); the rivals of the Capulets (22A), but this time referred to as a ‘family’ rather than a ‘house’.
31. Expedition from way down South, heading West (5)
SPEED A reversal (‘heading West’) of DEEP S (‘way down South’).
1. Some learn of what divides houses in Italian city (4)
ARNO A hidden answer (‘some’) in ‘leARN Of’. The houses here are buildings; the Arno flows through Florence and Pisa. Verona, of Romeo and Juliet, is on the Adige.
2. Suppresses son Mike et al (8)
SMOTHERS A charade of S (‘son’) + M (‘Mike’) + OTHERS (‘et al’).
3. What causes global revolution? Nothing (4)
LOVE Double definition, referring to the expression “love makes the world go round”, and the tennis score.
4. Like Valentine I put in poetic form (8)
VERONESE An envelope (‘put in’) of ONE (‘I’) in VERSE (‘poetic form’). The definition references Shakespeare again, but not R&J; Valentine is one of the Two Gentlemen of Verona.
5. It enables entries with top cards, holding clubs and spades (6)
ACCESS A charade of an envelope (‘holding’) of C (‘clubs’ in bridge) in ACES (‘top cards’) + S (‘spades’).
6. Trusted friend’s name appearing in end of Act I, possibly (10)
CONFIDANTE An anagram (‘possibly’) of N (‘name’) + ‘end of act I’. The definition may well be a nod to the Nurse as Juliet’s confidante.
7. Theatrical miss with little time — she was meant to go to 26 across (6)
JULIET A charade of JULIE (‘theatrical miss’, referring to August Strindberg’s play Miss Julie) + T (‘little time’)’. Juliet’s parents intended her to marry Paris (26A).
8. Scoff at European cafe, finally, between 7 and 9 (4)
JEER An envelope (‘between’) of E (‘European’) + E (‘cafE, finally’) in J (Juliet, ‘7’A) and R (Romeo, ‘9’A). Juliet, Romeo, and Mike in 2D are all part of the NATO phonetic alphabet that popped up in 18A.
13. One century after another — that’s invigorating (5)
TONIC A charade of TON (‘century’) +I (‘one’) + C (Roman numeral 100, ‘another’ century).
14. Like some Spaniards having a change of land in USA (10)
ANDALUSIAN A charade of ‘a’ + an anagram (‘change of’) ‘land in USA’.
16. Part in play understood in audience (5)
SCENE A homophone (‘in audience’) of “seen”.
19. Zero on bungled subtest? That’s extremely stupid (8)
OBTUSEST A charade of O (‘zero’) + an anagram (‘bungled’) of ‘subtest’.
21. European left-winger held up by another came back (8)
RETORTED An envelope (‘held .. by’) of a reversal (‘up’) of E TROT (‘European left-winger’) in RED (‘another’ left-winger).
23. Annual payment for accommodating contents of 2, perhaps (6)
PARENT A charade of PA (per annum, ‘annual’) + RENT (‘payment’). 2D is SMOTHERS, so that the ‘contents of 2′ is MOTHER.
24. How 9 described 7 in morning paper (3,3)
THE SUN A reference to the Balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet:

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

26. Interrogate arrogant young man about maiden (4)
PUMP An envelope (‘about’) of M (‘maiden’) in PUP (‘arrogant young man’).
28,29. Sets composed in extra musical setting for tragic story (4,4)
WEST SIDE An envelope (‘in’) of ESTS, an anagram (‘composed’) of ‘sets’, in WIDE (‘extra’, cricket again). The musical with music by Leonard Bernstein, West Side Story, is a retelling of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
29. See 28
- See 28

54 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25, 493 by Brendan”

  1. Uncle Yap says:

    Brendan becoming Brenda, the Queen ERII according to Cyclops in the Private Eye?

  2. Richard Strasbourg says:

    Excellent puzzle, and thanks Brenda(n) and PeterO, though I am still a little perplexed by the precise construction of 1D – ARNO.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO, including for explaining 23d for me. Like you I ondered about the apparently redundant ‘pen’ in 10a; also seeming redundant is ‘past’ in 15a. But there was lots to like in this puzzle, eg the phonetic alphabet theme with Alfa, Echo, Foxtrot, Juliet, Mike and Romeo. I also got an aha, eventually, out of the expedition in 31a.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks PeterO. I thought “pen” in 10ac was another definition of “enclosure”.

  5. Richard Strasbourg says:

    Yes Andrew, that’s how I understood “pen”. Interesting to see the answer at both ends of the clue, but I think valid.

  6. Eileen says:

    A beautifully crafted puzzle, with very clever interlinking of the themes of Romeo and Juliet, the alphabet and the Eco. Another of those puzzles I didn’t want to come to the end of. Very many thanks, Brendan.

    And many thanks, PeterO, for your thorough and sympathetic blog. You obviously enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did.

    I think there’s another reference to your quotation from the balcony scene in 27ac EASTWARDS: I like the idea of the young lovers as ‘daters’. :-)

  7. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to PeterO and Brendan. I too took ‘pen’ to be an extra definition; is this frowned upon by some? I loved ‘playhouse’ and was dreadfully slow with the upside down trotsyite! Most enjoyable.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeterO and Brendan. I’ve little to add, since the “pen” question has already been addressed, and Eileen has expressed my exact feelings about this puzzle.

    I was amused by the gender change in your preamble, and said OIC when I came to 18ac – as usual, I’d forgotten the NATO alphabet, though this didn’t hinder my solving, fortunately.

    To Richard Strasburg@2, the answer is hidden in “leARN Of”, with “Some” as an indication to look for a ha.

    BTW, the river doesn’t exactly diide houses in Florence, since the Ponte Vecchio has a row of them built along it :)

  9. Richard Strasbourg says:

    Thanks Stella. I was looking for something more complicated for “divides houses”. In the context of R & J probably justified. I have been a reader of, rather than contributor to, this site for some time but really appreciate it. But time for Ralph in Norwich to add a few more classical glosses.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Brendan

    A good blog of a super puzzle. Most enjoyable.

    The interconnections were wonderfully sown together.

    I missed the pen = enclosure idea, so thanks Andrew. I was too busy wondering if some variant of curlicue might be the idea, and then when I saw the answer I assumed ‘pen’ was the anagram indicator. We have had some double and even triple definitions recently from Araucaria as I remember.

    The link to Eco’s book (via rose) is not wholly sound, it seems. In his short monograph of further thoughts on the book, Eco points out that this explanation of his title is wrong. Rather than the rose being the same irrespective of the name, for him only the name remains after the rose has gone. This fits closely with all the uncertainties about the past in the book. Eileen, as a Latinist, might possibly like to unravel the little verse at the end of the novel, if she has not done so already. I found it difficult in my time, but the sense (as above) is pretty clear.

    Back to a great puzzle! Full of fine clues and allusions. Many thanks again, Brendan.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    This was a delightful puzzle, with the theme cleverly interwoven throughout. I got ECO and THE NAME OF THE ROSE as my first two answers, and was off on one looking for albino monks until I got ROMEO and JULIET.

    Lots to enjoy today; as Eileen says, a well-crafted and enjoyable crossword.

    The image of Her Maj sitting in her office filling a fifteensquared grid for our enjoyment will stay with me for a long time … I am going for this as my typo of the year.

    Only teasing, of course – thank you, Peter, for a fine blog as always.

  12. Eileen says:

    Dear tupu

    To my shame, I have to admit that ‘The Name of the Rose’ is on the list of great books that I haven’t read [yet].

    I’m somewhat comforted by this:

    but I’m afraid I haven’t got round to buying that book, either. I think it should go on my Christmas list!

    [Yes, K’s D – hilarious! I wonder how Brendan feels about it. Thanks for the laugh, PeeDee.}

  13. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Thanks. I’m sure my own list is a lot longer than yours!

  14. PeterO says:

    Thanks, Andrew et al, for pointing out the function of ‘pen’ (and dunsscotus, while the device is – hardly surprisingly – uncommon, I do not think many people would look down on it. The only criticism I offer is to myself for not spotting it.)
    With due apologies to Brenda(n), I do not think I will correct the typo.
    Are they catching, or am I being sent up here?

  15. Eileen says:

    Oh dear – so sorry, not intentional! *PeterO*, of course! :-(

  16. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Lovely puzzle, with its multifarious interlocking themes. I got ROMEO almost immediately and the whole thing fell out surprisingly quickly, but with much enjoyment, however fleeting.

    I also saw ‘pen’ in 10a as a secondary definition. Fine by me – it fits the surface perfectly.

    tupu @10: In my Italian edition of ‘Il Nome della Rosa’ (he said, vaingloriously), Eco suggests in a postscript that his choice of the title came from the many medieval references to ‘roses’, both mystical and symbolic (including our very own ‘Guerra delle Due Rose’) and he makes no reference to R&J.

    But Eco is a semiotician, and the tenet of Juliet’s ‘What’s in a name’ speech is the arbitrariness of the labels we use to name things; he can’t have been entirely blind to this – his allusions are often multilayered. The protagonist of ‘The Name of the Rose’ is the Franciscan FRIAR, William of Baskerville: the allusion to Sherlock Holmes is obvious, but Baskerville is also the name of a typeface, which is fitting for a novel in which books feature so prominently (albeit set pre-Gutenberg).

    ‘The Name of the Rose’ is a great book – I commend it highly. Also ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’, the thinking man’s ‘Da Vinci Code’.

  17. Mitz says:

    Thanks Brendan, and PeterO. Really enjoyed today’s theme, which gradually unfolded for me. ‘Capulet’ came first (loved its clue as well) but then I got into a bit of a pickle by putting in ‘romantic’ at 4 and ‘fate’ at 8. Eventually realised my mistakes however, and it turns out that I can’t be as much of an old softy as I thought because ‘love’ was the last to go in – seems so obvious now!

  18. tupu says:

    Many thanks Gervase and :) wow re the Italian text!

    I take your point re Eco’s awareness of allusions, but as a ‘pre-post-structuralist’ I am going by what he says in his ‘Reflections’ – he expresses surprise at the number of reviewers interpreting the text via the R&J link. Perhaps this is naive of me. Perhaps too he was laying a trap. As I recall, he also wonders whether an author should write his book and then die, leaving the stage to others!

    The actual Latin looks simple enough but I struggled with it. Stat rosa pristina nomine. Nomina nuda tenemus. As I gloss it this reads ‘The rose remains as it first was in its name. We keep hold of bare (or less literally ‘empty’ might do) names.

  19. nusquam says:

    With reference to 13.11 If tupu @10 intended to suggest there was something wrong with the crossword (and if gervase@16 thought he needed to defend it). I think their erudition is misplaced. The name of the book is one thing, the Shakespearean route to the same words is another: there is no need for any match between Eco’s meaning and the Shakespearean part. Both the clue and PeterO’s explanation are spot on.

    I agree with Gervase about The Name of the Rose being a great book, but I found Foucault’s Pendulum to be a nightmare. Still could be ‘the thinking man’s Da Vinci Code’ perhaps.

  20. crypticsue says:

    Eileen has once again (@6) said everything that I was going to about this puzzle. Brendan in superb form as usual – he really is the master of the hidden word, and indeed every other type of clue too. Thanks to Peter O (or should that be Petra :D )

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I had decided that SPEED should go into 31 as fitting Expedition but I could not see why. Now I understand.

  22. tupu says:

    Hi nusquam

    Thanks. I am not sure it is as simple as that. I was not suggesting there was anything wrong with the crossword as such – I think my admiration for it is clear enough. I was merely pointing out that the connection between the R&J quotation and Eco’s title has often been assumed in reviews of his book and that it is rather questionable.

  23. NeilW says:

    Thanks PeterO.

    What a great puzzle! The only question I would have for Brendan would be: in 27, why “daters saw” rather than “saw daters”? Surely that surface was what you had in mind?

  24. dunsscotus says:

    Hello again Gervase @ 16 and elsewhere. Interesting as ever. I’ve never been sure where Eco stands regarding ‘the myth of authorial intent’. Can we ever shed light on the meaning of a text by reference to intentions?

    I can recommend ‘The Prague Cemetery’. I think you’ll like it.

  25. Gervase says:

    Hi nusquam and tupu

    The cross-referencing of the (excellent) clues in the puzzle is absolutely fine. My point was to suggest that nothing in Eco’s novels is exactly what it seems, and even his own explanations are perhaps a tad ingenuous.

    The quotation at the end of ‘The Name of the Rose’ is a parody of the earlier:

    Nunc ubi Regulus, aut ubi Romulus, aut ubi Remus?
    Stat Roma pristina nomine, nomine nuda tenemus

    (Where now is Regulus, and where Romulus, and where Remus?
    The original Rome exists only by its name, and we hold [only] empty names)

    The author was Bernard of Cluny, a 12th century Benedictine monk, appropriately enough.

  26. Stella Heath says:

    Hi NeilW, I find “daters saw” more romantic.

    To Mitz@17, I made the same mistakes as you, and LOVE was also my last in :)

  27. PeterO says:

    Wow! Shakespeare, lit crit, semiotics (I can’t even get up to demisemiotics), Latin verse construed … Get them all here, folks.

  28. Jim morton says:

    Isn’t Verona the setting of R&J?

  29. Erish says:

    Delurking to say that 4d is indeed connected to the Romeo and Juliet theme. The opening lines of the prologue, as I vaguely remember from my O Level English are:

    “Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,”

    Great puzzle making for a very fun start to the day.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Gervase @25
    Many thanks indeed for the original. I’ve been out all afternoon. I’m glad you too think ‘empty names’ is a satisfactory gloss (I imagine incidentally that the second ‘nomine’ is a typo).

    More generally, as you say, it is a magniificent book. The multilayering is at times bewildering – the ‘author’ ‘finds’ a manuscript apparently written by a monk who returns in his old age to a ruined monastery which he remembers uncertainly from his younger days etc.

  31. NeilW says:

    Stella, I’ve tried to construct 27 every way possible but don’t see “romantic”! “Saw spread around?” Perhaps I’m missing something but it sounds a little bizarre to me.

  32. tupu says:

    Hi dunscotus @24

    ‘Can we ever shed light on the meaning of a text by reference to intentions?’

    The answer must be yes but how much is less certain. This case is interesting if only because we only learn explicitly about Eco’s asserted intentions from the later volume of ‘Reflections’ (though we learn of them implicitly in the quotation). I agree with Gervase that Eco’s statements about these may be subject to scrutiny, but to contradict them, while thinking you are expressing them, as seems to have happened here in the reviews he mentions, does not seem very sensible practice. And in any case it seems unlikely to me at least that a common-place reference to a line in R&J (which is fine in crosswordland as nusquam argues) is the real opposite meaning that his stated intentions are concealing.

  33. tupu says:


    :) Semiotics: listening with half an ear? Boom,boom!Sorry!

  34. Robi says:

    Got to this late; thanks to Brenda and Poo.

    I was also a ‘last-in’ LOVE.

    Very erudite stuff about the Name of the Rose. I would ‘eco’ the comments of others that the book is superb. If you don’t have time to read it, the film wasn’t half bad either.

  35. buddy says:

    Not sure about the relevance of the word “past” in the clue to 15 across. Is it just a red herring to distract from the hidden word? If so, the surface is still a bit clunky.

    Or perhaps I’m just being picky because, for once,
    (a) I could do the crossword, and
    (b) I understood most of the references,
    but perhaps most importantly
    (c) the only thing I needed to know about Umberto Eco was The Name Of The Novel.

  36. William says:

    What a smashing puzzle? Thank you PeterO. Filled them all in but needed your blog a lot for the parsing.

    Can anyone say what ‘in past’ is doing in 15ac? Is it just for obfuscation or am I missing something?

    Held up because I don’t think I’ve ever heard Umberto Eco’s name pronounced and thought it was Eco as in eco-friendly!

    Mitz & Stella Heath – me too, I’m afraid. Last in was also LOVE.

    Must also confess to RETURNED instead of RETORTED. By this time their were so many I couldn’t parse that I just went for the fit with ‘came back’

    Brendan is now my favourite compiler, thank you.

  37. tupu says:

    Hi buddy
    The Oed gives the general meaning of ‘To make calm or quiet; to assuage, allay’ as obsolete – hence, I assume, the ref. to ‘past’. This is in contrast to doing so specifically with drugs. Collins, however, suggests that the verb is formed ‘backwards’ from sedative which somehow suggests it has been reinvented to refer particularly to giving sedatives.

  38. morpheus says:

    Very nice puzzle though perhaps rendered a little too easy by the familiarity of its theme. Now when can we get back to the likes of Spongebob?…

  39. Davy says:

    Thanks PeterO,

    An excellent puzzle from Brendan as ever. The theme emerged quite quickly but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment. I got the last two wrong and just put in answers without really thinking. I put NONE for 3d. Doesn’t anybody know that none makes the world go round ?. I also put GENOVESE for 4d as I thought some of Will’s plays were set in Genoa. How I managed not to think of Verona is just amazing but I’m very capable in that respect. Maybe Shakespeare intended to write The Two Gentlemen of Genoa but had a re-think !.

    Favourite clues were MONTAGUES and CONFIDANTE.

  40. Stella Heath says:

    HiBuddy@35, I think the only explanation is the whole clue: “Calms down — in past, passed a test”. That is to say, one who passed a test (necessarily taken in the past) calms down.
    I’m reminded of my self-deprecating daughter, now 26, who for as long as I can remember has always been convinced she was going to fail her exam, and even now is amazed at her own achievements – her average at university was the equivalent of an A-.

    To NeilW@23, there’s no parsing to it, it just felt like a nice cd which went with the theme :)

  41. Dave Ellison says:

    Buddy @35 and William @36 re 15ac. Despite Stella’s explanation, I think the surface doesn’t make much sense. The “in” clearly indicates a hidden answer, but “Calms down – in passed a test” makes no sense at all, so presumably Brendan introduced “past” to give some sort of surface. I suppose “past” and “passed” are homophones, so maybe this adds something.

    I wasn’t really happy with this clue.

    I, too, had RETURNED, wrongly.

  42. rrc says:

    i really do not share the enthusiasm shown by many today on this puzzle. I found it difficult to start and never really got going on it before looking at the blog where for me the theme was even more less impressive.

  43. tupu says:

    Hi Dave Ellison and Stella

    I am surprised it seems irrelevant to you that the OED describes the simple (non sedative) definition of sedate(v) as obsolete.

  44. IanN14 says:

    “Past” is there because the answer is included in the word (ie. it’s SEDATES hidden in PAST. Or PAS[sed a tes]T.
    Think of it as a kind of reversed Printers Devilry clue, if you will…

  45. tupu says:

    Hi IanN14
    Thanks. You seem to be right. That is the most straightforward answer. My own is logical but demands a particular, though well documented, dictionary reading.

  46. Giovanna says:

    I came to this rather late this evening but a big thank you to Brendan for a wonderfully entertaining puzzle and PeterO for the blog.

    Eco went in first followed by Romeo. The Italian car reference in 9a gave me Alfa Romeo Giulietta which made everything fall into place. Like Eileen, I must read The Name of the Rose but I am busy enjoying Il Gattopardo at the moment,(The Leopard,) which is absolutely fascinating.

    More please, Brendan!

    Giovanna x

  47. ElTel says:

    I’ve been doing these things for 40 years and, either I’m getting dimmer or they’re getting harder. Is it a sign of weakness, or am I too addicted, that I came here to reveal the (for me) unsolved last three – 4,10, and eight? And worse; to discover I got one (21) completely wrong!

    Still, better than waiting for tomorrows paper!

  48. tupu says:

    Thanks Giovanna
    I missed the further possible allusion to Giulietta in 9a.

  49. Meic says:

    Tupu: I clued SEMIOTIC as “Of signs detected with half an ear” in a Crossword Club clue back in the 1980s

  50. mhl says:

    A really lovely puzzle, I thought, with so many interlinked themes and illusions – I particularly enjoyed the links between The Name of the Rose (great book!) and Romeo and Juliet. I’m still hoping there’ll be a compilation book of Brendan’s crosswords published by someone.

  51. mhl says:

    A really lovely puzzle, I thought, with so many interlinked themes and allusions – I particularly enjoyed the links between The Name of the Rose (great book!) and Romeo and Juliet. I’m still hoping there’ll be a compilation book of Brendan’s crosswords published by someone.

  52. mhl says:

    Oops, apparently I didn’t cancel fast enough to correct my typo :(

  53. tupu says:

    Hi Meic
    Thanks. :) Great minds!

  54. Huw Powell says:

    While I only skimmed the last 15 comments or so, did anyone else notice that LOVE @ 3d is also a HA in rEVOLution? Not that there is an indicator, of course.

    Loved the theme, Brendan, thanks for the blog and the lovely typos, PeterO!

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