Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize 25,646 / Brummie

Posted by Eileen on June 2nd, 2012


‘Special instructions’ always make me wobble a bit and when I first looked at this, knowing that I was down to blog it, I was getting ready to regret my recent comments about the Prize puzzles being less challenging these days. We were told: Eight clues lack a definition; their solutions, suitably paired, make four examples of a 28 down 1 down (unclued).

I had reached 24dn before I managed to enter anything [good old Homer and Horace!] and I was thinking I might have to report sick, then the very next answer, BALL, presented itself and I thought 1dn might be ‘game’. However, DRIVER put paid to that – and then suddenly light dawned! I was not hugely elated, however, since my knowledge of COCKTAILS is severely limited but, fortunately, it did stretch to SCREWDRIVER, as well as SNOWBALL and SIDECAR, and a quick google confirmed the likely-sounding WHITE LADY.

Apart from the theme, there was lots more to enjoy and to smile at in this puzzle. It was only as I wrote the blog that I noticed how many insertion-type clues there were [with a variety of indicators: recruiting, stuffed with, clasped by, without, imbibing, wears, clutching, constraining, embraced by] and also the frequent use of single letters, especially the first and last letters of words, so that obviously didn’t detract from the enjoyment.

Many thanks, Brummie, for a fun puzzle.

[Definitions are underlined]


9 Furthermore, a knight is missing a wife
a GawAIN [a knight] minus a w  [a wife]: Gawain was King Arthur’s nephew and a Knight of the Round Table

10 Nation in trouble recruiting “performing” international director
anagram [in trouble] of NATION round [recruiting] ON [performing] + I [international] for this director

11 Fliers eat fluff: bananas, stuffed with tungsten
anagram [bananas] of EAT FLUFF round [stuffed with] W [chemical symbol for tungsten]

12 Bit end of pie
WHIT [bit] + E [last letter – end – of piE

13 Love, love the sports body
SWEET [love – term of endearment] FA [Football Association – sports body]

15 Level of society wanting creative activities backed by corporation
S [society] + reversal [backed] of ART [creative activities] + TUM [corporation]

17 Make free with girl’s top by end of the watershed
RID [make free] + G [first letter – top – of Girl] + E [last letter – end – of thE] – great surface!

18 Sulphur taken out of pit
sCAR [pit] minus S [sulphur]

20 Live volts on city railway slope
BE [live] + V [volts] + EL [Chicago city railway]

22 Duck clasped by floppy winged duck
WIDGEON [alternative spelling: wigeon]
O [duck] in [clasped by] anagram [floppy] of WINGED

25 Charm to make water without hydrogen (plus LED device)
WEE [make water] round [without] H [hydrogen] + anagram [device] of LED

26 Flying knickers pointless
BRIEF[s] [knickers] minus S[south] – ‘pointless’

27 More enlightened, classy establishment?
cryptic definition: more enlightened than night school and it has classes

30 Drunk imbibing last of Martini and, later, last of wine, having no master
LEGLESS [drunk] round I [last letter of martinI] and E [last letter of winE]

31 Like a nuclear reactor made a bird sound heard
In non-rhotic accents, it sounds like [heard] ‘cawed’ [made a bird sound]


1 [see instructions]

2 Ready to drop D-E or A-D?

3 Spades getting bagged up
S [spades] + reversal [up] of WON [bagged]

4 Italian Archbishop of Canterbury (Latin), a name associated with old money
L [Latin] + A N [a name] + FRANC [old money] ; a very clear definition for the Archbishop at the time of William the Conqueror

5 Pressure point on lock
S [south, point, again] + TRESS [lock]

6 Responsible Guardian editor finally wears a new fur
WE [Guardian] R [last letter – finally – of editoR] in [wears] A N [a new] SABLE [fur]

7 Fashion follower‘s tearful, clutching Dior top
MOIST [tearful] round [clutching] D [first letter – top – of Dior]

8 Back to front, mid-month
IDES, with the last letter moved to the front: in the Roman calendar, the Ides fell on either the 13th or the 15th, so mid-month

13 Heard broadcast about book entry
I got this as soon as I saw DRIVER but couldn’t see how to parse it, without making ‘broadcast’ do double duty as meaning ‘sow’ and as a homophone indicator. I was exasperated to find, after much head-scratching, when I turned to the online version to copy the clues, that it had ‘heard’ added to the clue in the paper: ‘Broadcast about book entry’.
SEW [sounds like {heard} ‘sow’, broadcast] round CR [credit in book-keeping, hence book entry]

14 Temperature present more towards the back from then on
T [temperature] + HERE [present] + AFTER [more towards the back!]

16 Scrap steel employed internally on the rise
hidden [internally] reversal [on the rise] in stEEL EMployed

19 My word! Perversely constraining lives produces yobbish behaviour
anagram [perversely] of MY WORD round [constraining] IS [lives]

21 Moving imagery of Monte leaving the city, taking a right
monteVIDEO [city minus monte] + A RT [a right]

23 Republican embraced by Cousteau?
R [republican] in [embraced by] DIVER [Jacques Cousteau, for instance, hence the question mark]

24 Agreed Homer did so carelessly?
double / cryptic definition, referring to the saying, ‘Even Homer nods’, in the sense of ‘becomes sleepy’ [even the best people can make mistakes / have an off day] from Horace’s Ars Poetica:
‘indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus…’

26 Two lengths below what a flier might go by
LL [two lengths] after [below, in a down clue] BA [British Airways]

28 [See instructions]

29 Radio’s heart is in song
D [middle letter – heart – of raDio] in LAY [song]

22 Responses to “Guardian Prize 25,646 / Brummie”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen. Loved this puzzle but took a while to determine the theme. Thought I knew my cocktails but hadn’t heard of White Lady or Snow Ball. Must get out more.


  2. Biggles A says:

    Thanks again Eileen for another insightful blog. Rather more of a challenge this week and a welcome one at that. In trying to derive the theme LADY and DRIVER emerged quite early and with SIDE CAR set me looking for an association with road traffic.

    My general knowledge was enhanced with LANFRANC and even with the benefit of HEAR (not HEARD) in the online version I had to look at SCREW for some time before the penny dropped.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you Eileen – agree, a fun puzzle.
    Oddly enough, I had quite some trouble to find the key clue.
    Having found DRIVER, CAR, SNOW, WHITE, SIDE and LADY, I made initially the wrong combinations, such as SNOW/WHITE (even WHITE SNOW, maybe the theme was about pleonasms) and CAR DRIVER. Even thought, maybe there’s someone called Campbell (for 28,1) who was a car driver and played Snow White and was a Lady ….. :)

    Conclusion: for me the theme had its optimal effect. It wasn’t helpful at all for solving the puzzle.

    Only one clue eluded me: NODDED (24d), so thanks for explaining what Homer had to do with it [after all you’re a classicist, I’m not].

  4. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Good crossword – a lot more challenging than many recent prize puzzles, but well within solvable limits.

    I had DRIVER very early, but (since I was attempting the paper version), SCREW didn’t pop out immediately – it was WHITE and LADY that cracked the theme for me, as I was not sure of either COCK or TAIL. As it happens, the only one of the four cocktails which I have never imbibed…

    Like Sil, I couldn’t parse NODDED, although it seemed the most likely entry for 24d, until I Googled ‘Homer’ and ‘nodded’ and found the Horace quotation.

    I liked the standard of the clues, though none really stood out for me.

  5. PeterO says:


    You must be describing one of Preston Sturges’ screwball comedies. Even when the cocktail theme is settled, Brunnnie has a few tricks up his sleeve. Like Eileen, I am no cocktail maven, but when I see WHITE, I hunt for RUSSIAN, and BALL, look for HIGH.

    Thanks to Brummie for a fun crossword, and to Eileen for the blog (having used “Homer nods” against you, I must admit that I did not know the original).

  6. sidey says:

    Best prize puzzle in ages.

    13d was without ‘Heard’ in early versions too.

    And add me to the non-classicist stupid bench.

  7. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Having got DRIVER early on, I wasted time, convinced that the 4/4 key solution was “golf club”! After a bit, though, I realised I couldn’t think of a word to pair with DRIVER and so had to be barking up the wrong tree. Once I had C_C_, COCKTAIL clicked and it was all over very quickly.

    A SNOWBALL was my late grandmother’s favourite Christmas tipple, so easily dredged up from the distant past. Thanks, Brummie!

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen & Araucaria

    I don’t know much about Cocktails but, fortunately, SCREW DRIVER was on my list – not that I have ever tasted one.

    I was shocked to find SWEET FA in any non-Paulian puzzle but, I guess, that Cole Porter opened the doors with ‘Anything Goes’.

    So here goes:

    All puzzles should be this good!

  9. Bryan says:

    Oops, it was Brummie!

  10. Tonykcb says:

    Got DRIVER early and LADY. Fixated that theme must be GOLF CLUB. Spent ages in that particular bunker. Conceded the match.

  11. Eileen says:

    This is getting way beyond a joke that was not funny in the first place. I have just opened my paper at the crossword page – to find yesterday’s Orlando puzzle!

    This is after last Saturday’s ‘heard’ omission and Tuesday’s tomb / tombs mix-up – and the eventual publication, on Thursday, of Tramp’s puzzle, the premature appearance of which had caused him such distress. I’m [almost] speechless. Araucaria, you’d better be good! 😉

  12. Robi says:

    Lovely puzzle from Brummie.

    Thanks Eileen for a good blog; nice to have the definitions underlined for those who need them. Unlike you, 24 was put in near the end reluctantly and needed Mr/Mrs Google to tell me about Homer’s nods.

    Once I had WHITE, LADY and DRIVER the theme became obvious, although my early CAR sent me off on the wrong direction. Of course, SCREWBALL is another cocktail, but not, I think, SNOW DRIVER!

    I liked the fliers and the wee. Strange behaviour of Brummie late in the evening in 17. 😉

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie

    Like Eileen I was troubled by 13d and thought ‘broadcast’ was doing double suty.

    White and Lady were the first theme answers I got and then I checked their combination in the dictionary which unfortunately revealed the theme a little early. I had wondered if WL was a butterfly. But the problem with 13d plus the high quality of the cluing softened the effect of this and the puzzle was still mainly quite enjoyable.

    I liked 11a, 13a, 26a, 30a, 14d and 19d.

  14. Wolfie says:

    Thanks for alerting me Eileen – I have just printed today’s Araucaria from the website.

    Incidentally, my wife tells me that the Sudoku puzzle in today’s paper is a reprint of yesterday’s.

    We both enjoyed last week’s Brummie, despite being mystified by the sew/sow confusion. It was SNOW BALL that unlocked the theme for us. Thanks for the excellent blog.

  15. Dinohippus says:

    Enjoyed this puzzle even though I didn’t manage to complete it. Got the theme early but convinced myself that 8D (back to front, mid-month) was Mary and so spent quite a lot of time trying to parse ‘virgin’ and ‘bloody’ elsewhere in the puzzle. Needless to say I didn’t find them!

  16. bagbird says:

    sil @3 – Conclusion: for me the theme had its optimal effect. It wasn’t helpful at all for solving the puzzle.
    I second that. Having come up with SCREW and DRIVER, and the L of 1d, I was convinced for a very long time I was looking for Hand Tools, not Cocktails! Oh well, got there in the end, not sure how.
    Thanks Brummie, and Eileen too.

  17. DtD says:

    Bought a Guardian today to do the Prize crossword between acts at Field Day festival. Not impressed. Little or no care being given to the Crossword these days at The Guardian?

  18. Trailman says:

    Thanks Eileen
    My first 15sq contribution … egged on a bit by the S&B crowd in Wapping the other night.
    Great fun this was. Like many others, LADY DRIVER was an early distraction, but SCREW was the way in. I remember serving SNOWBALL many times during late-1960s bar work; never seen one since, but maybe I move in the wrong circles.
    Just opened the Sat Guardian in eager anticipation of whatever pro- or anti-Jubilee theme might have been dreamt up. Oh what a shambles. Off to the laptop we go. Does any sub ever get bollocked for this sort of thing?

  19. Rorschach says:

    Afraid I’m another GOLF CLUB pretender. But then I got LADY and knew it COULDN’T be golf.

    Fun puzzle I thought – thanks all!

  20. rrc says:

    Sorry to disagree but this was not a puzzle I enjoyed and bearing in mind the number of people seeking help on this puzzle on other web sites I do not think I am alone. I personally dislike undefined answers which I do not think helps finding the solution. I also thought for bRUMMIE this was particularly difficult. Much prefer Aracauria today!

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi Trailman – if you’re still there.

    Welcome to the site! I don’t know if I spoke to you on Wednesday evening – I don’t remember the name – but it was a good do.

    In answer to your question, I don’t think so!

  22. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Eileen. I liked this very much, especially as a prize puzzle.

    I was very dim and failed to get COCKTAIL until the very last solution. I got SNOW and and WHITE as the first pair and then confidently set off in the wrong direction looking for film refernces. Later (like others) I spent a while inventing some new tools try and finish the grid.

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