Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,674 / Crucible

Posted by Eileen on June 28th, 2012


I’m really sticking my neck out here but there seems to be some problem about today’s blog. The normal practice would be for Gaufrid to ask for a replacement, or to await offers, when a blog fails to appear, but he’s not able to be contacted at the moment. I thought this puzzle was far too good not to have a blog – and the musical theme is right up my street! – so I’ve taken the liberty, very late in the day, of hastily producing a rather minimalistic blog, in order to facilitate discussion.  Many thanks, Crucible – I really loved it and I’m only sorry not to have had time to expand on it and do it full justice

There may well be minor errors in this: I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine and have been watching the amazing tennis, and  so I hope minor typos may be forgiven on this occasion.  😉


1   TWIN TOWNS: odd letters of TuNeS round [enthral] W [women] IN TOW [drag]: very topical reference to this story: ‘towns’ is a bit of a liberty but it’s a lovely clue!
6   AGOG: A GO [an attempt] + G [good]
10  UNDUE: DU [of the French] in [is intrusive] [t]UNE [timeless tune]
11,3,16: ON HEARING THE FIRST CUCKOO IN SPRING: double definition: a total give-away – but it wasn’t too much of a spoiler
12  PREVIEW: P [paper’s first] REVIEW[ critique]: apologies to non UK solvers but, if it means nothing to you, you need to watch this in full
13  REISSUE: anagram of SERIES around U [ Schubert’s fourth [letter}]
14  TRANSPOSITION: anagram [prepared] of SOPRANO ISNT around [prepared to accept] IT
17  ORCHESTRATION: anagram of NORTHEAST CHOIR minus H [hard going]
21  EARACHE: hidden in [piece] overEAR A CHErubini – has to be my favourite clue, I think – but maybe there are others!
22  NONSTOP: N [name] + ON [working] + STOP [set of organ pipes]
24  IMPROMPTU: PROM [concert] in [boring] anagram of IMPUT – yes, another candidate!
25  VERDI: anagram [managed] of I’VE round [to pen] first letters [overtures] of Rigoletto and Don carlos – and another – they’re coming thick and fast!
26  SWAN: anagram [shaking] of WAS + N [start of Nutcracker] – they just get better and better!: ref Tchaikovsky’s’Swan Lake’ and pen = female swan


1    TRUMPETS: RUMP [behind] in anagram [broadcast] of TEST
2   INDIE: with NOUS anagram of UNIONISED
4   WHO’S WHO: WHO [rock group] + anagram [developed] of SHOW
5   SCHERZI: sounds like [on radio] skirts – avoids + first lettwer [opening] of Iolanthe]
7   GLISSANDI: anagram of IN SLIDING
8   GIGUES: hidden in nothinG I GUES
9   SATIRICAL NOVEL: brilliant anagram of  CLARINETS and VIOLA
15  APOCRYPHA: alternate letters of O-C-Rin anagram [transposition]
18  EXEMPTS: anagram [new] of MPTHREEXS, minus [output] of HR [hour]
19  TEN QUID:anagram [played] of [mostly] QUINTE{t] + close to [last letter of] the enD
20  DELIUS: DELI[rio]Us minus [bypassing] RIO the well-loved croos word port
23  THROB: I’m afraid I can’t see this one, except, of course, THROB = beat – so it really was worth posting this, in order to give you something to talk about!

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,674 / Crucible”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Full credits to you, Eileen!

    When I saw that there was a musical flavour about this puzzle, I thought: that’s right up my street. In fact, if I remember well Crucible did something similar a while ago.

    A very nice crossword in which, for me, the long one was rather crucial.
    After I suspected that it contained ‘the first’, I thought ‘wait a minute, what was it again?’ – ah, yes!
    I couldn’t be bothered about the clue as such (was initially looking for something that fitted the enumeration anyway), but I must say unlike you, Eileen, it did more or less spoil the party.
    The solution plus its companion (DELIUS) were spread all over the place, which made finishing the puzzle a piece of cake.
    That said, I did enjoy the puzzle nonetheless.

    See for an explanation of THROB yesterday’s Brendan blog (the posts after that appalling one @43).

    Chapeau, Eileen.
    Well done Crucible, too!

  2. Bhavan says:

    Re 23, is it

    by=THRO’ + B=beat at the beginning

  3. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Crucible and especially to Eileen. What a trouper! 23d THROB: Chambers gives THRO

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    As I was saying before I interrupted myself… pipped by Bhavan at @2. 27ac SADDLEBAG missing in action. This Yankee hadn’t heard of the long answer at 11,3,16. Luckily for me, GOOGLE has.


  5. William says:

    Well done Eileen – into the breach.

    I really enjoyed this – not very difficult but finely clued throughout.

    I read THROB in the same way as Bhavan @2.

    Loved the clever inclusion indicators like IMPROMTU, and also Tchaikovsky’s SWAN.

    I didn’t know about DULL & BORING but its great fun isn’t it.

    I may as well start the homophone debate…I’ve always pronounced SCHERZO to rhyme with scare not skirt, but its so gettable no one can seriously complain.

    Thanks again for the blog, Eileen.

  6. flashling says:

    Hmm Scchua has now missed 2 in a row and Gaufrid hasn’t said anything or asked me to stand in as he said he would, slightly worried about both of them and the FT blog hasn’t appeared either. Anyone able to contact Gaufrid or Scchua? Thanks for the blog Eileen – rather a shock about Nadal though.

  7. Eileen says:

    I’ve realised I omitted 27ac – thanks so much for not pointing it out!

    SADDLEBAG: reversal [recalled] of G and S round [securing] anagram [awfully] of BAD DEAL

  8. stiofain says:

    Well done Eileen and great for getting it posted before midnight so retaining a 100% record of Guardian blogs on the day.
    My fav was the PEN device.

  9. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen and well done!

    I had thought that the only fault I could find in this puzzle was that Crucible had missed the full set by one, in that every other clue is musical in one way or another apart from AGOG. But then I’ve just gone back to yesterday’s crossword and noticed that capital P in Patience and a quick Google reveals it’s an (apparently) well known Guns N’ Roses song!

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Neil

    Better known to me as a G and S operetta, aka ‘Bunthorne’s Bride’. 😉

  11. liz says:

    Thanks, Eileen and well done for stepping into the breach! You are a hero. I solved this out and about today and checked the blog when I got home…and checked again…so many thanks for maintaining the fifteensquared reputation. I enjoyed this v much. A little held up by putting ‘of’ rather the ‘in’ in the long clue about cuckoos, but soon sorted.

    Neil @9 Patience is perhaps better known as a G & S operetta! Or did you have your tongue in your cheek?

  12. liz says:

    Eileen @10 Snap!

  13. stiofain says:

    Ah Neilw – Guns ‘n’ Roses the only Rock ‘n’ Roll band with a deliberately anagrammatically named lead singer.

  14. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    You’re kinder to 1a than I would have been. Dull isn’t a town, so – no matter how charming the conceit – the clue doesn’t fit the solution.

    2d: “this band” for INDIE is a bit off, too, since indie is a genre. “These bands” or “such a band” would have worked better, I think.

    Those niggles aside, it was a fine puzzle. I especially liked the clarinets+viola anagram. And, of course, there’s a further musical allusion: Candide is also an operetta by Bernstein.

  15. chas says:

    Many thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I am with William @5: ‘scare tso’ is my pronunciation, so I was utterly scratching my head.

    I think there was an error in the printed puzzle. 15d referred to ‘happy 17′ which I think should have been ‘happy 14′.

  16. Mrs T says:

    Bless you Eileen – I`ve just finished the Rev and only then saw that there WAS a Crucible blog.
    It`s so late now, I`ll look forward to reading this over coffee `in the morning`, but had to thank you for being so good and kind and enterprising, straight away. x

  17. rhotician says:

    chas & William

    Chambers gives 2 sounds for ‘scherzo’, neither of which matches ‘scare’. One of them matches ‘skirt’.

    I think Chambers should be our reference source of choice, on this and many other matters.

  18. rhotician says:

    PS. Eileen, you’re a star.

  19. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks Eileen – good neckoutstick – wondered what had happened. Lovely puzzle but all over too soon.

  20. MarianH says:

    Eileen, you’re a star!

    I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. Being something of a philistine – I am more familiar with the works of Guns & Roses than Delius, and the ‘Andrew Preview’ sketch is the stuff of UK TV legend! – I had only a vague recollection of the main clue, but was able to work it out once I had a number of crossing letters. There were a number of other unfamiliar refernces, eg scherzi and gigues, but, thanks to clever cluing, I was able to work them out without resorting to electronic aids.

    Well done, Crucible.

    P.S. Surprised not to see a comment from Stella here – she’s a great fan of G&S :)

  21. Trailman says:

    Thanks Eileen. I checked for the blog several times during the day so guessed there was a problem.
    This was probably my quickest ever solve (Liverpool St to Gt Portland St, or seven tube stops for non-Londoners). As by no means the hottest solver on the block, I felt a warm glow of achievement, if at something of a loss for the rest of the day. But, and quite a big but, if you know your classical, a lot of answers can be written in with just a few checking letters, 14ac and 17ac for example.
    Most enjoyed the non-theme 1ac (had read the story) and the rather wonderful 26ac.

  22. Eileen says:

    Hi chas @15

    I don’t think there’s an error: Chambers: ‘orchestrate – to organise so as to achieve the best or greatest overall effect’ – a perfect anagram indicator, surely?

  23. madman says:

    Thanks to setter and to valiant stand-in blogger. My only quibble was: since when has ‘eg’ displaced ‘e.g.’ in English (rather than written Singlish, where I was fighting a losing battle)?

  24. sitywit says:

    re 5dn: would a reference to Liverpool in the clue have dealt with the reservations?..

  25. nmsindy says:

    madman at #23, not sure when it happened, but it has happened for sure eg is accepted for e.g. and ie for i.e. also. Handy, as it speeds writing up – well, just a little.

  26. Stella Heath says:

    I finally found the blog this morning, after finishing the Reverend’s puzzle. Thanks for filling in Eileen, and for the links to the two I didn’t quite understand. I spent an enjoyable quarter hour watching the sketch 😆

    H Marian@20, I thought it might be you – then the final comment was rather a giveaway :-)

  27. stanXYZ says:

    Eileen, Many Thanks for stepping up to the plate. “One volunteer is worth two pressed men!”

    Needed your assistance for the Delius one and also the Tchaikovsky one!

  28. Ian SW3 says:

    Many thanks, Eileen, and Crucible.

    I didn’t know what cuckoos had to do with Times correspondents, but am informed by my friend Google that there is a collection of letters to the Times published called “The First Cuckoo,” so presumably it is (to others) either a familiar term or a well-known book.

    nmsindy @25 — presumably the widespread omission of stops in e.g., i.e., et al. is to compensate for the extra ink required to insert apostrophes in all plural words. I am also perturbed by Mr and Mrs (though, logically, the former should always have been written M’r, and as the latter cannot be written out in full it defies all logical rules of abbreviation).

    Incidentally, when the names of new members of my chambers were painted up recently, the sign painter wrote, in addition to “Mr. X” and “Mrs. Y” (etc.), “Miss. Z” I thought this terribly amusing and pointed out to Miss Z that the painter must have thought “Miss” was an abbreviation for something (Mississippi is all that springs to mind). Alas, Miss Z, being under 30, replied, “Oh, isn’t it?”


  29. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Crucible for a very enjoyable puzzle and a huge thanks to Eileen for saving the day on the blog front.

    When in Italy, 5d would be scare tsi but skirtsie is more common in England, I feel. Collins Italian Dictionary gives skertso for the singular.

    The crossing letters gave the composer without being aware of his composition – so everything was gettable and hugely enjoyable in the process.

    Giovanna x

  30. Miche says:

    Ian SW3 @28 – It used to be that one of the seasonal markers, like the first strawberries or the first asparagus, was the appearance in the Times letters page of a claim to have heard the first cuckoo. For all I know, the tradition continues.

  31. Paul B says:

    Logic has nothing to do with style. But apparently, where the first and last letters of a word are part of the abbreviated form, no stop is (necessarily) required. So, Mr, Mrs, Miss (Mrs and Miss are both shortened forms of the same word, Mistress).

  32. Ian SW3 says:

    I did not know until today that “Miss” is apparetntly derived from “Mistress,” but in any event it has never to my knowledge been written “Miss.” in the same way as “Mr.” The latter is seen in very old texts as “M’r” — which is more logical, but not what become the accepted form. To omit any typographical indicator or an abbreviation or contraction, though, seems both lazy and potentially confusing. I don’t know what to make of Miss, though, if it really is an abbreviation of Mistress.

  33. Paul B says:

    Well Ian, it *really* is.

    What’s your opinion on sha’n’t vs shan’t?

  34. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Just to confuse further, do you favour MS or Mz and are they abbreviations.

    Too late to comment but thanks Eileen.

  35. RCWhiting says:

    That was just being corrected to Ms when it leapt skywards.

  36. Paul B says:

    Sorry, we seem to have lost radio contact. I was thinking of GBS.

  37. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Dull is certainly no town, more of a hamlet of half a dozen houses. Beautiful round there, excellent orienteering country.

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