Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,548 / Brummie

Posted by Eileen on February 2nd, 2012


I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle from Brummie – I just wish it had lasted longer! There is some clever, witty  cluing, with amusing surfaces, and a number of interesting references for me to look up.

We have a couple of dictators and a couple of composers but, apart from that, I didn’t spot a theme [but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one!] [Of course – thanks, greyfox, comment 1: I did notice, when I wrote up the blog,  that SCOTTISH immediately followed ENGLISH but I’d forgotten the other two!]

Many thanks, Brummie, for a fun puzzle


1   GADDAFI: anagram [nudged] of A FIG round ADD [count]: the clear cluing meant I didn’t have to check the spelling this time!!
5   MAHATMA: [t]HAT [that topped] in [crushed by] MAMA [child’s name for mother]
9   WELSH HARP: WE[l]LS [cathedral city minus l[arge] + H H [double height] + anagram [free-style] of RAP:
10  INSURANCE: insertion [included] of two separate Ns [names] in an anagram [at sea] of A CRUISE: one of my favourite clues,  for the clever reference to the underwriting syndicate of Lloyd’s ‘names’
11  SQUIREHOOD: a straightforward charade, for a clue that looked as if it might be more complicated: S[mall] QUIRE [folded paper sheets] HOOD [cover]
12  BYRD: sounds like [on the radio] ‘bird’ of which the chat  is an example [say] The composer is William Byrd – a neat clue, I thought
14  ENGLISH ROSE: ENGLISH [race] ROSE [got up]
18,21  THE SCOTTISH PLAY: THE SCOTTISH [certain people] PLAY [have fun]: a reference to the superstition that it’s unlucky to refer to Shakespeare’s play by name in a theatre [hence ‘discreetly’]: there are some explanations here
22  SHANTYTOWN: SHANTY [song of work] + anagram [sadly] of NOWT: a shanty  is a song traditionally sung by sailors while heaving on the ropes
25  CONSTRUCT: sounds like [it’s said] CONS [prisoners] TRUCKED [transported by lorry]
26  AWFUL: [l]AWFUL [legal] minus [cut] l[ine]: I feel this clue’s the wrong way round – but then I often do and others disagree
27  LARAMIE: A [top grade] RAM [‘butter’] in LIE [lounge]: I’m afraid I’m old enough to remember this
28  NUNNERY: NUNN [Trevor, theatre director] + anagram [converted] of RYE: the surface amused me!


1   GO WEST: double definition,referring to this quotation
2   DELIUS: DELIS [shops] round [nassa]U to give this composer   [he assembled scores] – another nice surface
3   ABHORRENCE: anagram of HERE CARBON: and this one is superb – my favourite, I think
4.19 IRISH COFFEE: IRIS [part of eye] + H[ospital] + COFFEE [instant? – the question mark indicating tha t instant is one type of coffee]
  MUSSOLINI: anagram [poor] of SOULS in MINI [small car]: I liked this picture!
7   TENNYSON: TEN [figure] NYS [New York’s] ON [performing]
8   ABERDEEN: ABE [Lincoln] + R[ight] + anagram [to change] of NEED
13  THE HAYWAIN: THEY [those people] round [crossing] HA [first letters – ‘peaks’ – of High Andes] + WIN [triumph] round [taking] A: I’m sure this
is the well-known picture intended, so I would question the enumeration. [I did find this one, too, which would be correct!]
15  GATEHOUSE: anagram [novel] of THE USAGE + O [love – thanks, NeilW] and a clever reference to this novelist
16  ATYPICAL: hidden cleverly enough in floATY PI CALculation to make me look for a minute for an anagram of ‘floaty pi’
17  RETAINER: double / slightly cryptic definition
20  IN PLAY: double definition
22  NOT ON: a palindrome [going up and down]
24  ATOM: A TO M

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,548 / Brummie”

  1. greyfox says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle. The English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh are all included, but I can’t spot a theme either.

  2. Rick says:

    Many thanks for the great blog Eileen and thanks to Brummie for a very enjoyable puzzle (this one much more on my wavelength than some). I thought that 26a was alright (Foul is (given by) a word for “legal” if you do something to that word, namely remove an “L”) but I agree that one could construe this differently.

  3. brucew_aus says:

    Pleasant enough … and whilst it filled out at a steady rate … there was still enough grist to keep the mind churning. Liked the clever 20d and 24d and had to look up “The Scottish Play” to confirm that it was Macbeth – clue was clear enough to work it out all the same.

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen for the very clear blog.

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie

    Solved without too much trouble and would have liked a little more time than I have this morning to savour this clever puzzle which I did not enjoy quite as much as yesterday’s smooth offering. But many nice clues – ticked 11a, 18,21, 25a, 3d, 16d, 24d – including the odd surprise anagram and ‘misdirection’.

  5. Rich says:

    Thanks Brummie & Eileen.

    Best puzzle for some time I’d say. Nothing horrendous, everything parses, and nothing too obscure although I had forgotten the chat was a type of bird (a thrush I believe), so that was last in and really came from the crossing letters.

    I too tried to anagram floaty pi and was wishing for “cal” to replace “flo”. I then briefly toyed with looking at the periodic table to see if a new element with an unusual name had been added. A real aha moment when I saw it.

    Bravo Brummie!

  6. NeilW says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    Small point – you’ve left the love out of 15.

    You liked the picture evoked by 5dn. Unfortunately, I saw railway “cars” and concentration camps – Italy had their fair share – which was not such a pretty sight.

  7. NeilW says:

    …which of course then linked up unpleasantly with 25 but I’m sure it wasn’t intended by Brummie at all.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Neil – fixed now.

    Re 5dn: you’re right, of course. I’m sorry – that didn’t occur to me.

  9. Rick says:

    By the way Eileen, I see that I misinterpreted 12a when solving. I saw that “Byrd” sounded like “bird” but I thought of “bird” as slang for “word” (as in “dickie” or “dickie bird”), and then “word” could be “chat” (“having a word” as opposed to “having a chat”). I thought it was OK as a clue but a little weak. Your explanation is much more convincing (and I’m sure what was actually intended). Thanks!

  10. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    i solved this faster than the average Rufus, so it didn’t last long enough to savour. Much less thematic than most of Brummie’s puzzles – having got WELSH HARP and IRISH COFFEE easily made finding the clues relating to the other two ‘home nations’ very straightforward.

    Favourites were 7d and 9d for their construction, and I smiled at the ‘chat’ in 12d. Last in was 11a: a slightly unusual word, certainly, but I had my usual problem of not seeing immediately that a U can be preceded by a Q. It gets me every time.

  11. jackkt says:

    A good straightforward and entertaining solve that didn’t detain me long. Interesting that MUSSOLINI is defined as ‘dictator’ and GADDAFI is ‘old dictator’.

  12. Robi says:

    Good puzzle that I thought was fairly easy.

    Thanks, Eileen; I forgot (again) butter=RAM, but I, too, remember ‘The Man from Laramie.’ I didn’t see the fairly obvious (in retrospect) A TO M. SQUIREHOOD was the last in – as you said, I was looking for something more complicated. I thought I had seen the ABE=Lincoln in ABERDEEN: Everyman Jan 30th, 2011 – ‘City, Lincoln, run by university administrator, we hear.’

  13. apple granny says:

    This was a fun and fairly easy Brummie. We were mystified by “discreetly” in 18a. Thanks for the explanation, Eileen. We had all four nationalities before we realised the mini-theme. Got “sguirehood” at 11a quickly, In 12a we saw “Byrd” knowing the composer, and missed the bird “chat” since I assumed, like Rick@9 the slang for talking a lot. We just wished that it had lasted longer!

  14. molonglo says:

    Like Gervase I found this perhaps the easiest Brummie ever – but it was enjoyable nonetheless.12a and 18, 21 were both guesses, but evident enough. Some good surfaces.

  15. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen …just another small point (!) …at 10a the Ns need to be mixed up with A CRUISE.

    Agreed, jackkt @11. I wonder if Brummie tweaked an existing clue in the light of recent events !

    Gervase @10 … you and me both regarding Q.

  16. Rick says:

    With regards to “the Scottish play”, I can’t resist a quick reference to:–HR7PWfp0

  17. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Rick, for the link – I’d forgotten that one!

    And thanks, Roger, for the correction – ‘A’ now added.

    [I have to go out now, so any more errors / omissions will have to wait until late afternoon.]

  18. rrc says:

    Have just discovered this compiler does the Private Eye Crossword where there is as much fun in solving as in this one.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well I enjoyed this right up until I got to a certain link in the blog! Oh Eileen, how could you? Making us remember that when you could have remembered the far superior

  20. Tramp says:

    Great blog Eileen — lovely puzzle.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not a very satisfying workout for me.
    Last in was ‘byrd’ which intrigued in several ways. I thought ‘chat on the radio’ was a brilliant homophone indicator; Byrd the composer was very familiar but exists in that strange section of my general knowledge ie I know absolutely nothing about him except that he is an ‘old composer’.
    I wonder how extensive this section is and how much is due to solving cryptic crosswords?
    Abe = Lincoln has lost its misdirection power after so much overuse. Even the adjacent ‘city’ was not powerful enough.
    Nobody seems to have noticed that every single entry starts with a letter of the alphabet. What a cunning theme!

  22. Eileen says:

    Just home to find that Alan Connor’s current ‘Meet the setter’ interviewee is Arachne:

    Sorry, Derek, @19 – and thanks for that. That’s two for the price of one now.

  23. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Lovely puzzle — as others have said, over a bit too soon. Would have completed it faster if I hadn’t put WHITE at 4dn.

    Thanks also for the Arachne link. I particularly enjoyed reading it having met her at Derby…

  24. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    It’s been a great week for puzzles and although Gordius often appears on a Friday, my guess for tomorrow is Arachne.

    A very entertaining puzzle from Brummie with his usual excellent clueing. It was admittedly on his easier side, although when I first read through the across clues, I didn’t see anything. Then on the down clues I saw MUSSOLINI followed by GATEHOUSE and slowly it all came together. The last clue in was BYRD but I didn’t spot ‘chat’ as a bird.

    So many good clues of which I’ll mention DELIUS, ABHORRENCE (great surface and anagram), THE HAYWAIN and ATOM which was my favourite clue. Thanks Brummie.

  25. Howard says:

    Oh you clever people who found it all so quick and easy. It took me all the way from Oxford to Stoke on the train and the last one in was squirehood. I’m a relative newbie to cryptics, and I completed the whole thing without having to look anything up. It made my day and so I am simply rejoicing! Thank you Brummie.

  26. Huw Powell says:

    Lots of fun here, got pretty much to the end except for not getting that a chat was a bird. Wasted some time by pencilling in PUT UP at 23D, of course it doesn’t work anyway. Also spent a lot of time waiting for the anagram to pop at 16D.

    Ended up with GO WEST still in pencil – I see no explanation of why or how it can mean “get lost!”? Anyone?

    Regarding Gaddafi, I have read that there are scores if not hundreds of latinizations of the ex-dictator’s name. The cluing, of course, makes it certain exactly which one was intended. I think it was my first answer entered.

    Thanks for the fine blog Eileen, and one of the more enjoyable puzzles this week, Brummie.

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi Huw

    Chambers: ‘go west: … to be destroyed or completely dissipated’.

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