Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,564 – Brendan

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 21st, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Thanks to stiofain@3 last Tuesday, I went to the recommended site where all the clues to today’s puzzle can be downloaded alongside the answer.  I then had a pro-forma where I could write my analysis and comments in my usual style. To read a clue, all you have to do is to point your cursor over the clue number. Neat eh? whoever made this template, thank you very much … well, we learn something new everyday. Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks ?

As for the puzzle today, Brendan did not disappoint with his immaculately crafted grid,  with a mini-theme that vigilant solvers are always on the look-out for. In case you haven’t noticed, all the Across answers have even number of letters, with the diametrical opposite answers having their halves inter-changed;  thus GAVE became VEGA and GUTROT became ROTGUT. Even with that, there were no awkward AZED-type words for the Down clues. Most enjoyable, Brendan, thank you .

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue.

Across
7 BIRDSONG Ins of D (note) in *(ROBINS) + G (another note). What a melodious surface from this quasi &lit
9 EAT OUT  Reversed anagram where the answer is clue for TEA.
10 GAVE  Acrostic – Geniuses Are Very Exceptional
11 WATER  TABLE  *(A BETTER LAW)
12 GUTROT  G (good) + *(TROUT)
14 BOOKCASE  Ins of *(COOK) in BASE (HQ)
15 END OFF  ha
17 OFFEND  OFF (a switch position, the other is ON) END (goal)
20 CASEBOOK  cd
22 ROTGUT  Ins of G (gallon) in rev of TUTOR (teacher)
23 TABLE WATER  cd
24 VEGA  ha
25 OUTEAT  Alternate letters in rObUsT rEpAsT
26 SONGBIRD  Ins of *(BRING) in SOD (obnoxious person)
Down
1 DISABUSE  *(BAD ISSUE)
2 IDLE  Odd letters of InDuLgEd
3 GODWIT  GOD (rev of DOG, retriever, for example) WIT (intelligence)
4 TEARS OFF  TEARS (sign of distress) OF + F (female)
5 STEAM-CHEST  S (small) ins of M (minute) in TEACH (train) EST *(SET)
6 BUGLES  BUGLESS (free of bugs or insects) minus S. I have just learned that there are at least three meanings to the word BUGLE, hitherto known only as a musical instrument
8 GATSBY Rev of STAG (animal in Highlands) BY (beside) The Great Gatsby is a novel, first published in 1925, by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald.
13 REDBELLIESMM  Ins of *(BLED) in RELIES (banks) for a kind of fish. In case anybody is wondering, the two cancelled M’s are space-stretchers so that all the answers are displayed on one line
16 FOOL WITH  *(HOW TO FILm)
18 DRUDGERY  Ins of RUDGE (Dickensian character) in DRY (dull)
19 SKATES  dd think of ice-skating, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding
21 ABACUS  Ins of A C (speed of light) in A BUS (vehicle)
22 RARING  R (runs in cricket) A RING (syndicate)
24 VIBE  Ins of B (British) in VIE (contest)

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

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,564 – Brendan”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY.

    The problem with this device was that I started with the across clues, filling in the top half very easily and looking for the theme. As soon as I saw the easy TABLE WATER, the rest of the acrosses were just write-ins. With all the crossing letters, the downs went in very quickly with a couple of seconds spent checking GODWIT and BUGLES, neither of which I’d come across before. All over far too fast – nice snack but not very filling!

    There’s almost something going on in the downs as well, with repeated letters in the vertical solutions but I don’t think it works – maybe Brendan was trying to do something but abandoned it?

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brendan and Uncle Yap. Extremely clever I thought. Hadn’t heard of REDBELLIES but easy enough to get. You have an inadvertant typo in 1D.

    Cheers…

  3. NeilW says:

    By the way, UY, I just noticed in the online comments that a few people are saying that it’s Shrove Tuesday so Brendan is flipping pancakes in the across clues! I think they’re right. :)

  4. NeilW says:

    …Makes my comment @1 about this being a snack quite apposite.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks UY.

    Like Neil, I twigged the theme very early on, which made life pretty easy. But it was a bit of fun, and you could enjoy Brendan’s always elegant clueing and admire the construction. Pancakes? Probably!

  6. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    As NeilW says, the device is easily spotted, so that the puzzle becomes straightforward to complete – it took me a lot less time than yesterday’s Rufus.
    Clever, though, to do all this with very little unfamiliar vocabulary (REDBELLIES was new to me). Contains some fun clues, with good surfaces: I enjoyed the &littish 7a and its counterpart 26a is a nice construction; 21d is my COD for a great surface, incorporating an unusual, but very apposite, indicator for ‘c’.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Brendan

    An enjoyable and fairly easy puzzle to solve. I noticed the ‘flips’ early on which helped, but did not think about Shrove Tuesday.

    Like NeilW, I began to wonder about down clues as well. Going from left to right the links gradually become more tenuous. 1d and 21d contain ‘a bus’, the letters of 2d form part of 13d, 3d and 16d contain ‘wit’, 8d and 19d have ‘at’, and then it seems to peter out. Is there a message there?

    I had not knowingly encountered ‘steamchest’ and ‘redbellies’ before.

    Some good clues inc. 7a, 11a (it took a little time to realise the significance of ‘well’), 17a, 6d, 8d.

  8. William says:

    Thanks Uncle. Like the ‘hover’ tool in the blog – almost like a young person!

    I loved this puzzle – right up my street. I had more fun than most as I spotted the flipping pancakes gag late. Perhaps it’s because I concentrate on down clues with this sort of grid.

    Brendan really is my favourite compiler lately; I thought STEAMCHEST

  9. William says:

    …oops, tab key by mistake submits the blog, apparently…

    …was a delight.

    More please, Brendan.

  10. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, although I have to admit I didn’t spot the flipping pancakes; I was too busy looking for a NINA around the edges.

    Thanks, UY; it’s good that you have used the software to get the hidden clues. I was looking for your explanation of CASEBOOK, but was disappointed to find that it was supposed to be just a cd. Didn’t seem very cryptic to me, or have I missed something?

    As I didn’t really know what Shrove Tuesday was about, I’ll post the following in case it is of interest: ‘The name Shrove comes from the old word “shrive” which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began.’ I’m not sure to whom I am supposed to confess my sins, though. Perhaps the cat, as he is a very good listener.

    I liked the clue for SKATES. Brendan gave us a similar one in August: ‘Fish move across frozen lake, say.’

  11. Phaedrus says:

    Great fun, but I did spot the theme after the very first clue I solved (EATOUT)…. I immediately looked to see if OUTEAT was in the opposite slot, and it was. Reason was that it was a Brendan, some years ago, that was the very first cryptic crossword I completed – and he used this same device there. Ahhh, happy memories….

    Thanks for the blog UY.

  12. Andrew says:

    Robi – I think the CASEBOOK clue is a reference to Sherlock Holmes (a “consultant”) and Dr Watson, the narrator of The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes.

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. Another new thing for you to learn: rather than your crossed-out Ms, you can use the HTML code   to get a “non-breaking space”, which you can use instead of a normal space to force multi-word answers to stay on one line.

  13. Andrew says:

    PS I should have said that “Medical records” is a definition of CASEBOOK, so it’s not just a CD.

  14. tupu says:

    HI Andrew
    I think too (cf Chambers) that a case book is available for others to ‘consult’.

  15. Gervase says:

    Robi @10: Although ‘shrive’ can (confusingly) mean ‘confess’, its primary meaning is ‘hear someone else’s confession, absolve’ (it’s related to the German verb ‘schreiben’, ‘to write’, as in ‘write down an absolution’). Anyway, I hope you are suitably shriven by your cat. Happy Shrovetide!

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. And thanks to Brendan for a lovely puzzle. Anyone who wanted this to last a bit longer should have done what I did and put ROTGUT at 12ac. It was only when I realised that R???U? at 22ac had to be ROTGUT and there couldn’t be two in the same puzzle that I noticed what was going on…

    STEAM-CHEST was new to me.

    Happy Shrove Tuesday!

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Gervase at no 15 – that’s interesting; I’d never realised the connection with schreiben and all the other Germanic derivatives. And of course today in French is Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday – whose derivation is from the tradition of using up all the fatty stuff to make pancakes and such like before the start of Lent. Which is a period of fasting – to fast in French is jeuner, which is where déjeuner comes from – to ‘defast’, like our ‘breakfast’. But the French being the French, they have that as their lunch, and ‘petit déjeuner’ is their breakfast.

    Anyway, happy Pancake Day to all! (And I forgot my manners earlier on – thank you to Brendan for the puzzle.)

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Andrew @12&13; I thought there must be more to the clue.

  19. Hobnob says:

    I enjoyed this one a lot – as with others I thought the device made it pretty easy, but that’s fine by me. My only complaint is that rotgut and gutrot are pretty much the same thing! Thanks for the blog, UY.

  20. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Brendan, for a topical crossword – much enjoyed – also to Uncle Yap as ever.

    Looking forward to pancakes later and possibly visiting the shriver!

    Steamchest was one of my favourites, which leapt out at me thanks to my interest in steam locomotives!

    Giovanna x

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I had been thinking that 20a was a bit weak – then I saw Andrew @12. Now I realise that Brendan was cleverer than me. What pains me even more is that I have The Complete Sherlock Holmes on my shelves :(

    I also started off with ROTGUT at 12a which fitted with GODWIT. I then found that no other down clues here worked so I had to change it.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Themes all passed me by*.Consequently I found this much trickier than yesterday’s which was a pleasant surprise.
    I did finally see rotgut and gutrot and thought it was a bit of a copout to use almost identical words in the same puzzle. This led me to wonder, on a standard 15×15 grid, what is the minimum number of distinct words which are necessary to fill the grid, repetitions obviously allowed (demanded).

    Could 20ac be connected to “Dr. Finlay’s casebook” the TV series.
    Last in was ‘bugles’, I didn’t know the plant reference.

  23. Matt says:

    Thanks UY,

    Change it back! I hate this style!!

    (joke: I think it’s good, and glad to have lost none of your distinctive flavour in the process)

    Good puzzle. I’ve always admired Brendan’s inventiveness with devices, conceits etc. I’d be interested to see what he did with a Genius puzzle.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    I think the reason why people have reported initially putting in ROTGUT at 12a (as I did) is because that is the answer defined. ROTGUT is what you drink, GUTROT is the result of drinking it. Of course one wouldn’t expect the refined personages that inhabit this place to be aware of that! I’ve been asking around and I find that is what others also understand to be the meanings. So 12a should read “Effect of…..”|

  25. FranTom Menace says:

    Well this was a first for us! As ever we started at the first across and went through the across clues then down clues in order, the only difference being we got every single solution at the first time of asking! Almost got stuck when we were 8 for 8 on CASEBOOK but had to persevere after a start like that.

    A fun puzzle, we only spotted the theme after getting TABLE WATER which helped with the last three across clues.

    Thanks Brendan for being brave with the clues, very clever, and thanks UY for the blog.

  26. liz says:

    Derek @24 I don’t want to stir up the dictionary debate again, but Chambers defines ‘gutrot’ as ‘rough, cheap alcohol’, so I think the def can be allowed to stand :-) (I remember gutrot from my student days so bad it stained your mouth and teeth blue…)

    I think it’s funny that the literal translation in German is ‘good red’.

    Also thought it was clever of Brendan to have the puzzle hinge on two words that mean the same but whose parts can be flipped.

  27. g larsen says:

    This was great fun. The clever flipping, once noticed, made the acrosses easier to get but added to the enjoyment. Thanks to Brendan (and UY).

    I jibbed at the dd at 19 on the grounds that the plural of skate (the fish) is not skates but skate. But a quick online search does not support this, so perhaps it’s only to my ears that it sounds wrong.

  28. Derek Lazenby says:

    liz, am I supposed to be impressed by what ivory tower land has to say? I thought you knew that I don’t belong to the gullible band who take the contents of their publication as being unquestionable holy writ. So how would you expect me ever to take their word on anything as final?

    Give me quote from somewhere else. In other words, what is the evidence that they are correct, what are their sources, because so far that evidence (on this subject) has passed me (and the people I’ve checked with) by. So I would be happy to be educated, but not by unsupported quotes from the ivory tower.

    Note, I’m not discussing them either.

  29. Wolfie says:

    Derek – you want evidence? Here it is from OED:

    gut-rot n. colloq. unwholesome or unpalatable liquor or food (cf. rotgut n. and adj.).

    1916 A. H. Macklin in A. Lansing Endurance (1959) v. vi. 217 ‘Gut Rot, 1916’?served only to turn most of us teetotallers for life.
    1938 S. Beckett Murphy 83 The customer?was paying for his gutrot ten times what it cost to produce.
    1941 S. J. Baker Pop. Dict. Austral. Slang 33 Gutrot, unhealthy-looking food or strong drink.
    1965 F. Sargeson Mem. Peon ii. 32 The garish-looking sweet stuff he made his living from.? ‘I make a dishonest living by trading in gutrot.’

  30. RCWhiting says:

    I’ve always assumed that ‘gutrot’ referred to both the cause and effect.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Thank you Wolfie, that is so much better than a bald, unsupported statement “so and so says”.

  32. RCWhiting says:

    ……………….but I was wrong.

  33. RCWhiting says:

    Somebody elsewhere has pointed out that the date is (was) 21.2.12.
    Possibly more Brendan like than pancakes?

  34. mersea says:

    I completely agree with Derek in that “Rotgut” is something cheap and nasty that one drinks, and that “gutrot” might well be the result – but not the noun – but I am a Yank, and “Rotgut” is a well-known phrase over here, even all these years after Prohibition, where I believe the word gained popularity. I have never heard of “gutrot” on this side of the pond – not that you should care, and Chambers (tugging forelock) notwithstanding. I merely point it out.

  35. Peter says:

    RCWhiting@33: a multiply palindromic date — 21.2.12, or 21.02.2012, or even 21.ii.12. Marvelous Brendanry all round — the theme did make the crossword a bit less of a challenge, but the elegance is quite brilliant enough to justify it!

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