Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian crossword No 25,500, by Brummie

Posted by Stella on December 8th, 2011


I never know quite what to expect with Brummie, and this one started off slowly, but in the end it turned out to be a very enjoyable puzzle, in difficulty I would say somewhere between yesterday’s and Tuesday’s.

There seems to be an astronomical theme going on here, but I’m no expert, so I’m sure other contributors will be able to enlighten us better than I can. The theme is linked to a sub-theme of entertainment, with the “stars” linked to titles which sound astronomical. Intricate fun, Thanks, Brummie.

Definitions are underlined.

1. Endlessly large rocks together with floral ring (7) 
GARLAND *LARG(e), anagrind “rocks”, + AND =”together with”  
5,10. When Sailor Lives With Presidential Family Pet: the navy’s classic film with 1 and 17 (1,4,2,4)
A STAR IS BORN AS + TAR + IS + BO, Obama’s Portuguese water dog +R(oyal) N(avy)I think the use of capitals is an extra hint that we’re looking for a film
10. See 5
See 5
11. “Eschew Ritz!”, ordered the musical missionary (10)
SCHWEITZER *ESCHEW RITZI know of Albert, the missionary, and was wondering if there had been a musical made about him, but I discover he was, among other things, an influential organist.
12. Playwright‘s an obstacle right away (6)
BARRIE BARRIE(r), the author of Peter Pan
13. Don’t ’ave to go into liquor-free town (8)
14. Spicy snack from, say, B-52’s hold, said to be sociable (6,3)
BOMBAY MIX Sounds like (“said”) “bomb bay”, ie. the hold of a bomber, eg. (“say”)a B-52, + MIX = socialise
16. See 9
See 9
17. Parent and child society member (5)
19. Being obsessed with self, say nothing about murderer, keeping mum (9)
23. Judge accepts D-Day series of battles for a sitcom with 12 and 29 (3,5)
24. Where 5 10 is unable to be made out (6)
26. Menial role of aerial nut and bolt ring? (10)
DISHWASHER (Satellite) DISH = “aerial”+ WASHER, a ring of metal placed between a nut and bolt
27. Brake loudly: road ends here (4)
KERB Homophone of “curb”
28. A centre of primitive processes in river that’s associated with Neptune (7)
29. Check on French city’s prince? (7)
2. Tone of green state party after eggs tossed (7)
AVOCADO CA (for the state of California) + DO = “party”, after <OVA
3. Like a satellite operated by universal line ascending (5)
LUNAR RAN + U + L, all reversed
4. One sort of wine’s off, waiter ultimately deserts — a joke of an eating place (7)
NOSHERY NO SHER(r)Y, without the last letter of “waiteR”
6. Record-holder’s secret kept up it? (6)
SLEEVE I’m afraid I can’t see the wordplay here – any suggestions? Thanks to my sister Marian, who’s staying with me for a few days, for reminding of of the expression “Keep it up your sleeve” :)
7. A tautness sound, as might be heard by drillers (9)
ATTENTION Sounds like “a tension”, and soldiers on military exercise (“drillers”), may often hear it.
8. Bury, archaic location of building foundations (7)
INEARTH An archaic synonym for “bury”, and building foundations are found IN EARTH
9,16. At first 5 10, becoming 23 maybe, and finally this — at which Thomas incites our rage (3,5,2,3,5)
THE DYING OF THE LIGHT This seems to describe the life of a star, although I learn from Wiki the red dwarves have a lifespan longer that that of the universe to date.The reference is to Dylan Thomas‘s “Do not go gentle into that good night”
15. Carnage, behold! Sodom’s leading triumvirate destroyed (9)
BLOODSHED *BEHOLD +SOD(om) = “leading triumvirate” or first three letters; anagrind “destroyed”.Great surface.
18. Was a consumer getting lounger for studio? (7)
ATELIER Someone who “was a consumer” ATE, and to “lounge” in to “lie” > LIER
20. Butterfly, middle of tummy, activated by cunning (7)
MONARCH “TuMmy” + ON = “activated” + ARCH – “cunning”The surface reading may sound like nonsense, but refers to the expression “butterflies in one’s stomach” to describe a state of nervousness or stagefright.

21. I appreciate that going north by jumbo is “abroad” (2,5)
AT LARGE <TA “going north” (in a down clue) + JUMBO = “large”
22. Romantic knight makes profit taking in a wife (6)
25. Supporter without a cent, one who makes bloomers? (5)
BAKER BA(c)KER, a “bloomer” being a kind of roll

27 Responses to “Guardian crossword No 25,500, by Brummie”

  1. Brian with an eye says:

    Thanks for the illustrated guide. 6d: long, long ago music came on vinyl discs, which were housed in a sleeve. And keeping something up your sleeve is keeping it secret.

  2. Median says:

    Enjoyable. Good to see a puzzle where a bit of science knowledge helps. Oddly for me, though, my way in was via the film title at 5,10. I usually profess ignorance of movies. :)

  3. jackowen37 says:

    I was so disappointed that’Dryburgh'(in the Borders)didn’t fit the grid or the clue (13A)

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Stella and Brummie. I found this a reasonably tough one, taking 50′, but finished on the first sitting (though I cheated on 9d – I had THE DYING OF THE, but couldn’t see the last word till I googled it).

    BARRIE and Craig CHARLES were star actors of the TV comedy RED DWARF.

    24a Stars are born in (some) nebulae, but it isn’t much of an &lit, I think. 9d is a bit strained.

    17a Was James Mason an actor in 5a?

    Sorry I can’t check these easily. Living in NE Fife the power keeps going off every few second at the moment.

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Stella, for an excellent blog of an equally excellent puzzle.

    Daunting on the first pass of the acrosses but then everything progressed steadily once I’d got a few of the downs. Having _O_N in 10 with the enumeration, like Median, gave me 5,10 and then I was away.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Stella. I thought this was a delightful puzzle. Don’t always get on well with Brummies, but there were enough ways in here to give you a foothold, and then it was a question of working through the themes. I found these delightfully interwoven, with the Dylan Thomas quotation, the Garland/Mason film, and two of the stars of Red Dwarf being an unlikely but very clever combination.

    Bravo to Brummie for an entertaining crossword.

  7. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the blog, helpfully laid out. Re 24, stars are formed in nebulae.

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks Stella. Had only two problems with this, finding a baker/bloomer connection in 25d,and wondering if the Bombay thing in 14a was a dip or a pie or a fig : finally resorted to Webster’s online for the right answer. Otherwise I got a lot of pleasure out of this, as 5,10 and 9,16 revealed themselves, and in the quirky 4d and 21d. Thanks Brummie.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    Good puzzle, with a lot of cleverly misdirecting clues. I particularly liked 21d – ‘I appreciate that going north’ for AT is wonderful, as is ‘say nothing about’ for EGO in 19a.

    But I failed to get 4d – although ‘nosh’ is familiar enough, I had never come across the expression NOSHERY before. There seemed to be too many words in the clue and I couldn’t break it down.

    Only other problem was that I stupidly put RED GIANT for 23a to start with. My only excuse is that I never watched the ‘sitcom’, having a strong aversion to both 12a and 29a.

  10. Stella says:

    Thanks to all, especially to Brian with an eye for resolving my doubt about 6d, before Marian had finished the puzzle :)

    I did see the connection between 23ac, 12 and 29, but didn’t mention it because it’s specified in the clue.

    If you hold your mouse over the answers, some links appear as underlining – I’d expected a change of colour, but there we go.

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Stella. I found this really entertaining and got into it quite easily via the film. A fair bit of variety and few smiles — what more can you ask?

  12. apple granny says:

    We found this much easier than some Brummies, but enormously enjoyable. For a change, managed to complete in the morning (normally we have too many competing calls on our time.) We confirmed a few ideas about stars of film and sitcom by google, Did not know that Schweitzer was also musical, but put him in anyway. In fact our only answer not fully understood was “at large” – and we live in the north, and I often say “ta” !

  13. harry says:

    Dave Eliison @5 – Yes, James Mason was in the original film. I was surprised by that, never having seen it.
    Good luck on the weather front – Forth and Kincardine bridges now both closed

  14. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Bonxie for an entertaining puzzle and Stella for a super blog (Love your dogs btw!)

    Noshery was fun at 4d. I guessed it and was pleased to be able to work out that it was correct. For me, to be at large is to be abroad in the sense of being in circulation. This was a clever clue.


  15. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Brummie and Stella, and, as it turns out, Marian; I too forgot about keeping x up one’s sleeve. Some very nice stuff here. ‘Inearth’ was new.

    Good luck to those of you who, like my old Mum, are being battered by winds in Scotland.

  16. Mick says:

    19 ac reminded me of of the brilliant clue: I say nothing (3)
    Can’t remember who it was by, but one of the all time greats.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Another example of “themes” which have a negative effect on a puzzle.
    I solved ‘garland’ immediately which of course led to the film title and the Thomas quote and that was really it for today.

  18. Miche says:

    Thanks, Brummie and Stella.

    Enjoyed this. I initially balked at “triumvirate” cluing three letters (or three of anything other than people) but, sure enough, Chambers says it can mean any trio or triad. So fair enough.

    Thanks for explaining 5, 10. I got it quickly because I already had 1a, but wasn’t familiar with the presidential dog.

  19. Wolfie says:

    I enjoyed this from Brummie. First in was ‘The dying of the light’ – perhaps a bit obvious given that the clue gave the poet’s name – but then some intriguing astronomical cross-references.

    Nice blog too Stella. Interestingly, though stars are indeed born in nebulae, the Crab Nebula photo you have used to illustrate the blog shows the death of a star – the remains of a supernova seen in 1054 when a star exploded.

  20. tupu says:

    Thanks Stella and Brummie

    I enjoyed this with its several charades and generally entertaining cluing.
    I had to go shopping before finishing and had only got the first half of 14a. Then my eye lit on the answer while perusing the Xmas snacks shelf!

    I did not remember the THomas quote but the answer was eventually clear through the related clues and crossing letters.

    I liked 11a, 14a, 24a, 8a, 6d, 7d, 21d.

    Re 6d, I guessed ‘sleeve’ and then took an odd second or two before the penny dropped. I think the original ‘secret’ reference is conjuring tricks.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to Stella for the blog. I needed you for the explanation of 9,16.

    For 26a I had DISHWASHER fairly early on but did not write it in for a long time. All I could think of was that this is the name of a machine rather than a role. Once I had all the crossing letters I looked at it again and immediately saw it was right. If I remember correctly there have been many comedy situations where somebody goes to a restaurant and is unable to pay the bill – hence finishes up washing the dishes :)

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the clarification, wolfie, I just chose it cause it looked pretty :)

  23. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Giovanna@14 – actually this was Brummie not Bonxie :)

    Thanks on their part for the complimant to my dogs. Here’s a photo I forgot to include of Bo, the dog:

  24. apiarist says:

    I was determined not to cheat with this one so I was amazed to find I had guessed my way tnrough it except for the word “night” instead of “light” assuming it would be connected to the stellar sub-theme !

  25. Trebor says:

    Good solid puzzle with nice mini-themes. Only thing I’ll add (haven’t read all comments so may have been mentioned) is that recent talk suggests Red Dwarf is to be reprised.

  26. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Stella, and to Brummie for an excellent puzzle. I do love this style of linked thematic crossword — knowing nothing at all about “A Star Is Born” didn’t present any problems.

    For what it’s worth, I solved this significantly faster than the Chifonie puzzle yesterday (which the majority of commenters described as easy) but I suppose that’s yet another demonstration of how out-of-step I am with most people’s assessments of the difficulty of Guardian setters :)

  27. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Stella. I enjoyed the rambling nature of the “theme”, it made the crossword interesting but didn’t give too much away as more conventional themes do.

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