Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,655 by Brendan

Posted by PeterO on June 6th, 2012


I found that this one went in very smoothly.

It quickly became clear that there was a major theme of the military and battles, surely prompted by the anniversary of D-day, 6 June 1944, although only one clue involves that specifically.

5. Caught military leader, in a way, making treaty (6)
ACCORD An envelope (‘in’) of C (‘caught’) + CO (Commanding Officer, ‘military leader’) in ‘a’ + RD (road, ‘way’).
6. Everyone loaded into vessel in preparation for war (4-2)
CALL-UP An envelope (‘loaded into’) of ALL (‘everyone’) in CUP (‘vessel’).
9. At the front, protecting one, to no avail (2,4)
IN VAIN Ab envelope (‘protecting’) of I (‘one’) in IN VAN (‘at the front’).
10. Old general writing 13, for example (8)
ANTONYMS A charade of ANTONY (‘old general’) + MS (manuscript, ‘writing’). 13 is WAR AND PEACE, an example of a pair of antonyms.
11. For the French, I name area where Napoleon was dominant (4)
JENA A charade of JE (‘for the French, I’) + N (‘name’) + A (‘area’). In the battle of Jena on 14 October 1806, Napoleon routed the Prussian army.
12. Cavalier leader not retreating where Civil War started (10)
CHARLESTON A charade of CHARLES (the First of England, ‘Cavalier leader’) + TON (‘not retreating’). The Civil War is that of the USA; in the harbour of Charleston, South Carolina, on 12 April 1861 confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter, opening the war.
13. Literary classic we can read, a novel about power (3,3,5)
WAR AND PEACE An envelope (‘about’) of P (‘power’) in WARANDEACE, an anagram (‘novel’) of ‘we can read a’. War and Peace is the novel by Leo Tolstoy
18. Unending harshness, crossing line unknown in battle (10)
AUSTERLITZ An envelope (‘crossing’) of L (‘line’) in AUSTERIT[y] (‘unending harshness’); + Z (‘unknown’). The battle of Austerlitz on 2 December 1805 was one of Napoleon’s greatest victories.
21. Unpredictable sort of cannon shortened WW1 offensive (4)
LOOS LOOS[e] (‘unpredictable sort of cannon shortened’). The battle of Loos, around Loos-en-Gohelle in France, was a major offensive in the first World War, starting on 25 September 1915
22. Observe tree, say, in Utah or Omaha, for example (3,5)
SEA BEACH A homophone (‘say’) of SEE BEECH (‘observe tree’). Utah and Omaha were the code-names for two of the beaches involved in the D-Day landings.
23. Older people losing heart in parts of Air Force (6)
GROUPS GRO[wn]UPS (‘older people losing heart’).
24. They stop fighting opponents at bridge after short retreat (6)
TRUCES A charade of TRUC, a reversal (‘retreat’) of CURT (‘short’) + ES (east ans south, ‘opponents at bridge’).
25. Ben, say, disoriented in battle (6)
NASEBY An anagram (‘disoriented’) of ‘ben say’. The battle of Naseby, of 14 June 1645, was the main battle of the first English Civil War, in which the Royalist forces of King Charles I were crushed by the Parliamentarian New Model Army.
1. Architect of war cameraman shot with no end of distaste (8)
MCNAMARA An anagram (‘shot’) of ‘cam[e]raman’, with the ‘e’ removed (‘with no end of distastE‘). The was this time is Vietnam, and Robert McNamara, as US Secretary of Defense, had great responsibility for the course of the war.
2. Anger cut short in pursuit of peace (6)
IRENIC A charade of IRE (‘anger’) + (‘in pursuit’) NIC[k] (‘cut short’).
3. Historic fortress rebuilt as billet (8)
BASTILLE An anagram (‘rebuilt’) of ‘as billet’.
4. Fighters, for example, seeing point in strategic efforts (6)
PLANES An envelope (‘in’) of E (east, ‘point’) in PLANS (‘strategic efforts’).
5. Battle for bridges with a navy on border (6)
ARNHEM A charade of ‘a’ + RN (Royal Navy, ‘navy’) + HEM (‘border’). We are back in WW II; there were two engagements around Arnhem in the Netherlands; the first, in September 1944, was an attempt to secure the bridge over the Nederrijn; the second, in April 1945, finally liberated the city.
7. Artillery piece Brits put together (3-3)
POM-POM POM (a British person. to an Australian) repeated (‘Brits put together’).
8. Like the Blitz at its peak, exemplifying 10 (3,3,5)
14. Broadcast with some singers heard in military locations (8)
AIRBASES A charade of AIR (‘broadcast’) + BASES, a homophone (‘heard’) of BASSES (‘some singers’).
15. Selective slaughter terribly done, a Scottish tragedy (8)
CULLODEN A charade of CULL (‘selective slaughter’) + ODEN, an anagram (‘terribly’) of ‘done’. The battle of Culloden, on 15 April 1746, put an end to the Jacobite Rebellion, the aim of which was to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne.
16. Rugby forward, one on losing side at 25 (6)
RUPERT A charade of RU (‘Rugby’ Union) + PERT (‘forward’). Prince Rupert of the Rhine was General of the Royalist army at the battle of Naseby.
17. Roman general in naval base (6)
POMPEY Double definition; the Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and a nickname for Portsmouth.
19. To British and their country, place under siege in WW2 (6)
TOBRUK A charade of ‘to’ + BR (‘British’) + UK (‘their country’). Tobruk in Libya is a strategic harbour; Allied force in the town were under siege from 11 April 1951 1941 until 27 November 1941.
20. Evasive manoeuvre from Arizona soldier in Green Zone, initially going North (6)
ZIGZAG An envelope (‘in’) of AZ GI(‘Arizona soldier’) in GZ (‘Green Zone initially’), all reversed (‘going North’, in a down light).

27 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,655 by Brendan”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brendan and PeterO. Enjoyed this puzzle very much. When I got to 22ac, it dawned on me that tomorrow is D-day. Just wondering…why is Portsmouth nicknamed Pompey?


  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Very interesting puzzle from Brendan. Didn’t realise the anniversary was today. I think even if you’re not hugely interested in military history, most of these places would have been familiar to you; and the clueing was pretty clear anyway.

    To answer grandpuzzler’s question – I don’t know! But I can tell you that the football team’s nickname is also Pompey.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry, I forgot my manners. Thank you Peter for blogging.

  4. sidey says:

    re 8d, I don’t think The Blitz can really be described as ‘day and night’. The daylight bombings were a bit of a flop and the campaign switched to night bombing as a result.

  5. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Brendan and PeterO

    Nice puzzle but I failed with 1d. Tried to think of the names of architects. Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t fit in! Very good clue when you see it.

  6. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 2d IRENIC, I think the definition is “in pursuit of peace”.

  7. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 23a GROUPS, I would have explained that a “Group”, as in “Group Captain”, comprises a number of “Wings”.

  8. postrophe says:

    A walk in the park for me, all thanks to my late Dad who was an avid amateur historian and himself went ashore at Normandy around D-day+3.

    I’m happy to say I was able to introduce him to the delights of crosswording in his twilight years, to the point where (like his barely educated mother before him), he could dash off the Times crossword in the time it took him to read it.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO

    Very ingenious puzzle from Brendan; not all of his crosswords are like this, but it is one of his trademarks.

    I found it pretty straightforward, with just a couple of clues holding me up a bit at the end. I saw that 1d looked like *(CAMERAMA), but I had the three crossing As and there didn’t seem to be enough vowels at first, and I was looking for the name of an old general at 10a until I spotted POM-POM.

    Some very cleverly constructed clues with great surface readings; I particularly liked 13a and 18a.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks PterO and Brendan

    I was surprised to be able to dredge up all the answers for this enjoyable puzzle though I am grateful to PeterO for some of the details of who, what and when. Very nicely clued throughout, I thought, and hard to pick favourites but 10a,18a, 21a, 23a, 1d, and 15d came out a bit arbitrarily as mine.
    PeterJohnN@6 I think PeterO is right re irenic.

  11. pipeflake says:

    Re ‘pompey’- Brewers offers a number of possibilities – take your pick!

  12. Trailman says:

    This was fun. Military history is not a strong point but there was just enough stored away in my memory, aided by very fair clueing, for a single-session solve (normally I take two or three).
    Hugely enjoyed MCNAMARA. Assumed it must start CRA until the crossing C gave me the MC starter. Then all the slogans of the 70s started flooding back …
    Thanks Brendan

  13. martin says:

    Grandpuzzler @ 1. There are a number of stories as to why Portsmouth is called Pompey, none of which have any real evidence in their support; you can take your pick. My favourite,and as I was taught in school, is that at some point a group of sailors from a Portsmouth ship climbed Pompey’s Pillar whilst in port in Egypt, and were then called the Pompey Boys from which it spread to the whole city.

  14. postrophe says:

    A protracted dialogue is in hand over on the Graun site about the merits of 22’s solution SEA BEACH.

    Is it a bit feeble? Or strangely unidiomatic?

    Any thoughts?

  15. crypticsue says:

    Now if there is a day with a theme, you can rely on Mr Greer to come up trumps and today was no exception. Superb stuff. Thanks to him and Peter too.

  16. PeterO says:

    Grandpuzzler @1 and pipeflake @11

    My edition of Brewers does not go into the origin of Pompey, but here is a long list of possibilities from the horses mouth.

    PeterJohnN @6 & 7 (not @6s & 7s)

    With a little less to do in writing up the blog (which took me several times as long as solving the puzzle), I might have looked further into IRENIC. Chambers gives “tending to create peace”, so your interpretation may be the better alternative.
    As for GROUP, what you say is true for the RAF, but the term is used variously by different forces – for example, it appears that in the USAF two or more groups form a wing. I decided to steer clear of the whole morass, but I might have added yet another link to Wikipedia.

  17. Trailman says:

    Re Postrophe at 14
    22ac seems weak to me. It’s nearly a tautology, and not a commonly used phrase; to the Allies, the context here, each was a LANDING BEACH not SEA BEACH. A blemish then, but not one to detract from the overall pleasure of the solve.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Not my best subject this so I was pleased to get stuck on just 3 of them, one of which I woukd have remembered eventually, but life is too short for eventually.

    Um, PeterO, re 19, didn’t know you are a Time Lord!

  19. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to all who responded to my Pompey query.


  20. Robi says:

    Nice enough puzzle, although a bit of a general knowledge test.

    Thanks PeterO; I didn’t know IRENIC.

    postrophe@14; sea beach is in Chambers, so I don’t see there is anything wrong with it. Beach can also be used for lake shores.

  21. RobG says:

    IRENIC was a new word on me and with military history not being my forté I had to check some answers on Wikipedia or Chambers, specifically MCNAMARA, POM-POM, JENA and RUPERT.

    Also for some reason the blog shows the crossword as 15.655 when it’s 25,655.

    Thanks for the blog

  22. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks RobG. Numbering corrected.

  23. Philshep says:

    10a no one has mentioned old general Antony writing MS making up the antonym

  24. morpheus says:

    Nice puzzle which repaid my reading of War and Peace many years ago! (Though the pleasure of reading it was repayment in itself.) Second time Mark Antony has appeared to clue antonym recently.

  25. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Brendan for another super themed puzzle and PeterO for the equally super blog.

    I’ve just got round to it and it flowed nicely, as I had noted the date.War and Peace is one of my favourite novels, which I re-read recently so the novel, Tolstoy and Austerlitz flew in.

    Everything was gettable without the wonderful Wiki.

    Great stuff and more please, Brendan!

    Giovanna x

  26. Huw Powell says:

    I got to this late, and found it very slow going, hard – a real puzzle. Which is a good thing.

    What is also a good thing in my opinion is a theme that doesn’t result in instant solving of 8 clues. Early on (the first hour or so), I had solved nothing but noticed the plethora of military references – and then the anagram at the excellent clue for 13 fell! What a wonderful place to start solving.

    I hate this grid, but managed to solve, at one level or another, everything but 5, and I should have been able to at least come up with a “word” to type into the wikipedia search box to verify. Oh, and I got 11 wrong, that didn’t help. Went back and forth between JAVA and ELBA, and never quite came up with the right set of letters to research and confirm.

    Congratulations Brendan on a wonderful piece of entertainment, and thanks PeterO & friends for the blog!

  27. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Brendan and PeterO

    Actually did this one in mid June and just picked it up to parse and check it against the answers – disappointed to see that my ANTIMONY was wrong (writing I’M ANTONY wasn’t the way – but it did sort of fit)!! This guy is my nemesis on bringing on errors.

    Otherwise, an educational visit over past wars and battles from a lot of generations with clues clear enough to provide the likely answer which I needed to check up on and improve my history at the same time.

    Good work … enjoyable solve.

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