Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,692 / Brummie

Posted by Eileen on July 19th, 2012


An entertaining puzzle from Brummie, with some cleverly interlinking clues which may perplex non-Brits. My only quibble is that some of the clues are over-long and / or clunky but, overall, it was fun to solve and not too taxing. Thanks, Brummie.


1   STREWTH: reversal [backing] of HERTS [home county] round [to gain] WT [weight]
5   TUSSLES: T [temperature] + LES[s] [not quite reduced] round [restricting] US S [sulphur in America]
9   STONE: S [second] + TONE [character]
10  UNTHANKED: anagram [hassled] of HAUNTED round [impregnated by] N [knight in chess] K[king]
11  MOBILE HOME: MOB [Mafia] + ILE [French island] + reversal [back] of MO in [to plug] HE [His Excellency – the ambassador]

12  WAR: for non-rhoticians, sounds like [it’s said] WAUGH [Evelyn, English novelist] – a war correspondent for the Daily Mail who based his satirical novel ‘Scoop’ on his experiences
14  CLACTON-ON-SEA: anagram [rigged] of LOCA[l]  CONSENT minus l [to get rid of line] + A [China’s last]: we’re more used to seeing ‘resort’ as an anagram indicator but here it’s the definition
18  CHOLMONDELEY: anagram [limp? – Collins gives ‘not firm’] of MY COLONEL HE’D:
this is one of those eccentric English pronunciations – CHUM [24dn] LEIGH [26ac] – designed to make fools of foreigners.  Here’s a handy guide to some of the other pitfalls : I did manage to find a Colonel Chomondeley, which made me smile

21  FAN: in FANtry minus [dismisses] in [chosen] and try [test]
22  HOUSE-TRAIN: ‘coach to ‘go’ in the specifically provided container’ must be one of the longest definitions I’ve seen but it certainly raised a smile: the wordplay is HOUSE to TRAIN [first leg of rail commuter’s journey]
25  OFF THE AIR: double / cryptic definition
26  LEIGH: [s]LEIGH [winter transport failing to start] and a reference to actress Vivien and writer / director Mike
27  DOORMAT: reversal [rejected] of ROOD [crucifix] + MA [mother] + T[eresa]
28  FEATHER: FATHER [sire] round [acquiring] E [energy]: and here’s another [it’s on the list]: FEATHERSTONE[9ac]HAUGH[4dn] is pronounced FAN[21ac]SHAW[6dn]


1   SESAME: anagram [when crushed] of A MESS + [by] E [earth]
  RHOMBI: anagram [rocks] of BRIM round [full of] H [hydrogen] and O [oxygen]
3   WHEEL-CLAMP: W [with] HEEL [part of boot] + C [last letter – back – of traffiC] + LAMP [light] – another rather long definition, which, with the hyphen and the crossers, made this a write-in
  HAUGH: HA [hectare] + UGH [that’s horrible]
5   TOTEM POLE: anagram [fancy] of TEMPLE TOO
5   SHAW: sounds like [broadcast – again, to a non-rhotician] SHORE [seaside location]
7   LIKEWISE: LIKE [fancy] WISE [Ernie, comedy partner of Eric Morecambe]
8   SIDEREAL: SIDE [team] REAL [Madrid – Spanish football team]: what is ‘part’ doing?
13  POTENTILLA: POTENT [powerful] + ILL [Dicky] + A: again, we’re more used to seeing ‘Dicky’ as an anagram indicator
15  CONSONANT: CANT [hypocritical talk] round ON [working] SON [relative]
16  SCAFFOLD: S [small] CAFF [vulgar eating place] OLD [behind the times]
17  TO AND FRO: F [first letter – head – of Fellow] in anagram [poor] of TORNADO: ‘caught’ is not strictly necessary
19  GARISH: GAR[n]ISH [to apply decoration] minus N [not new]
20  ANTHER: AN THE [two articles] R [river]
23  SERIF: reversal [lifted] of FIRES [sacks]: [I can’t see this word without thinking of the wonderful Guardian San Serriffe spoof  that Andrew [I think] reminded us of fairly recently]
24  CHUM: anagram [maligned] of MUCH: china as in rhyming slang – china plate = mate

43 Responses to “Guardian 25,692 / Brummie”

  1. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to Brummie and Eileen. I found this easier than much that came our way earlier in the week. On 8d I took ‘part’ to indicate that we only had ‘part’ of ‘Real Madrid’, the club’s full title.

  2. Querulous says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen.

    Re 8, there are several teams in Spain with Real in their name so the “part” probably refers to that.

  3. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen – needed you for explanations to 5a, 22a and 3d.

    (8d “part” I took to be take a part of REAL MADRID; 18a – I think you have a typo – the anagram fodder doesn’t include LIMP but HED)

    Quite enjoyed this. 28a looked impossible to fathom out, at first. I had the answer FEATHER, but had wrongly put HOUCH at 4d, which didn’t help, until the penny dropped.

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie

    At the easier end of Brummie’s spectrum but a pleasant enough solve.

    I liked the contracted name clues (18a and 28a etc). Auchinleck/Affleck is another possibility and :) Bottomley? I also liked 23d and my COD is 22a.

    Some rather long definitions which gave the clues in question a slightly clunky feel.

    I felt a bit sorry for the rhotics.

  5. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Entertaining puzzle, which gave me a lot less trouble than the previous two this week (and than most of Brummie’s previous Guardian crosswords), perhaps because the parsing of most of the long clues is pretty transparent. Some of these have really good surfaces, e.g. 11ac, 3dn; others don’t quite make it (22ac, 16dn).

    I agree with dunsscotus about the reason for ‘part’ in 8dn, but as the team is often referred to simply as ‘REAL’, I don’t think it’s really necessary.

    Interesting that both the homophones (12ac, 6dn) require a non-rhotic pronunciation. Definitely defiant!

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen.

    The first two posts have cleared up what I was going to say about Spanish football clubs.

    Regarding the linked clues, I remembered 18a, though I often forget how it’s spelt. 28,9,4, however, did not spring so readily to mind. Fortunately, the individual answers were gettable.

    A slight slip at 18a, Eileen: in the anagram fodder, you’ve written LIMP for HE’D :)

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Dave E: I was preoccupied with pondering ‘limp’ as an an anagram indicator – amended now.

  8. Gervase says:

    tupu @4: Paul or Arachne could have had a lot of fun with COCKBURN….

  9. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen, especially for the explanation of FEATHER – I may be a Brit, although a long way from home, but still had no idea about that pronunciation! Otherwise, very straightforward for Brummie.

    I’m not sure about TO AND FRO, though. Poor comes before fellow so can’t be the anagrind for tornado as well as F so I think “caught” is the indicator that F is inserted in the anagram fodder.

  10. rhotician says:

    Thanks Eileen for another fine blog. My only quibble is that I can’t find the word rhotician in Chambers. As for the puzzle? Terrible surfaces, a bit easy, quite enjoyable.

    Incidentally there is recorded evidence that Shaw was seriously Rhotic.

  11. Eileen says:

    I know – I looked it up when I first saw your pseudonym – but I’ve found several uses for it since, so thanks. ;-)

  12. NeilW says:

    Eileen, I take back my comment @9. You’re quite right! :(

  13. John Appleton says:

    Nice theme, but it would have been good to see one or two more of those in (though I can see how some might have seen it as somewhat esoteric).

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    If Gervase doesn’t mind:
    “Entertaining puzzle, which gave me a lot less trouble than the previous two this week (and than most of Brummie’s previous Guardian crosswords)”
    sums up my view entirely.

  15. crypticsue says:

    I enjoyed this very much. Lots to make me smile but not too complicated as to take up too much of my day off. The Olympic Torch must be getting nearer, the black clouds are building up very nicely.

  16. SeanDimly says:

    Thank you Brummie and Eileen. I confess I was grumbling a little about 6 and 12, but I stopped grumbling when I twigged the amusing pronunciation theme. Last in was 12 – nice to end with a smile.

  17. NeilW says:

    Thanks for the link to the odd pronunciations page, Eileen. It suggests, though, that Brummie made a mistake as the spelling given is without the E at the end of the STONE bit! Google, though, shows that either spelling is acceptable and throws up the fact that an episode of the TV series “The Nanny and the Professor” in 1971 was titled “Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh”! Must have stuck in young Brummie’s subconscious for 40 years! ;)

  18. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. With the exception of last-in 22a which still bothers me, the rest was a doddle with even the unknowns, HAUGH, POTENTILLA and ANTHER, fitting right in. The chummy /fanshaw mini-theme was droll and just justified the iffy homonyms in 12a and6d.

  19. rhotician says:

    molonglo @18: You mean homophones not homonyms. But I know what you mean. And you’re quite right.

  20. Eileen says:

    Hi molonglo @18

    What’s bothering you about 22ac?

  21. Trailman says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen.
    I’m at one with Gervase and RCW here. I do worry though when I see the sub has had to squeeze the font size down a pt or 2 to fit all the clues in. There’s a bit of artificiality in some of the clues – is there such a thing as a knight king, for example?
    Still, first-rate misdirection with Dicky at 13d. I kept on counting the letters of ‘powerful’, and there were never enough! And let’s hear it for Clacton-on-Sea, gem of the Essex coast.

  22. Thomas99 says:

    Trailman @21
    I suppose Amfortas (keeper of the holy grail) is a knight king?

  23. aztobesed says:

    Thomas @ 22

    I thought he was the fissure king…

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist it.)

  24. Trailman says:

    Thomas99 @ 22, not sure ‘king’ is quite right – he was chosen by his peers to rule the Grail community.

  25. snigger says:

    Had to complete this on line. Ran out of ink printing the clues.

  26. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    On the ‘knight king’ matter I took these two words in their chess usage: knight contributes N and king contributes K to the final result. It is just a quirk of Brummie to put the two words next to each other in the clue – perhaps to try and mislead solvers.

  27. Thomas99 says:

    Trailman @24-

    Yes! Amfortas is a king.

    Parsifal, Act 1:
    Jetzt auf, ihr Knaben! Seht nach dem Bad.
    Zeit ist’s, des Königs dort zu harren.

    I was more wondering if he continues to be a knight. I think he does. He’s a king and a knight. But does that make him a knight-king…

  28. Trailman says:

    I guess it does. Mea culpa for making sweeping generalisations, but I still think the clueing at 10a is a bit forced. Maybe I should have queried the mystery Mo in the next clue.
    (I only have solver’s German by the way – ich, ein etc – so I’m taking the text on trust. I see my opera at the ENO.)

  29. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Eileen – we needed you for the parsing to 28a. Neither of us had come across this one although we were fine with 18a. Enjoyed 22ac.
    A quick solve but enjoyable despite a few clunky clues – thanks Brummie.

  30. John Appleton says:

    Trailman @21 – I too was confused by Brummie’s Dicky – he does like to use it as an anagrind in his Private Eye corsswords.

  31. Trailman says:

    John @ 30: is Brummie Cyclops then? I ask as I regularly do the Eye.
    I’ve realised I moaned at Brummie for using the name Mo but not Dicky. I actually do know a Mo but does anyone here know a Dicky?

  32. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    COD for me was HOUSE-TRAIN.

    I used to get tetchy about homophones that required non-rhotic pronunciation, but I’ve mellowed. No homophone will work in everybody’s idiolect, and it makes sense for RP to be the default.

    Trailman @31: Yes, Cyclops and Brummie are both Eddie James.

  33. John says:

    Aren’t there two Os in Oxygen?

  34. John says:

    Or am I thinking of the gas?

  35. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Brummie and Eileen for my birthday entertainment!

    Loved 18 across even more when I saw the links. It’s not just the non-Brits who would struggle with the pronunciation. Anybody who had not been told, would never guess at its pronunciation!This is the sort of thing that makes English so enjoyable.

    Gervase @ 8… the imagination boggles!!!

    Giovanna x

  36. Martin P says:

    A one-pint-solve but fun all the way.

    Thanks again Brummie, keep ‘em coming :)

  37. Eileen says:

    Hi Giovanna

    Buon Compleanno e tanti auguri!

    Yes, I meant to say that Cockburn wasn’t even on that list!

  38. molonglo says:

    Eileen @20 – only the awfully long definition, which eluded me for as much time as completing the rest of the puzzle.

  39. Eileen says:

    Hi molonglo

    You seem to imply now that you got there in the end and I really don’t want to patronise you if you did – but neither do I want you to miss the humour of the clue if you didn’t!

    I can’t remember if you are one of our transatlantic commenters: if so, you may not be familiar with two elements of the wordplay;

    Chambers: 1: ‘house-trained: [of animals] taught to urinate and defecate outdoors or in a place provided for the purpose
    2: ‘to go: to urinate’

    so the length of the clue is what makes it so amusing!

    [If you’re not American, a thousand apologies :-( ]

  40. RCWhiting says:

    John, the gas does exist as diatomic molecules,hence O2.
    But the symbol for the element is simply O.

  41. drago says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie. A pleasant stroll.
    I wonder if Brummie is a fan of modern dance? The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs are all-female and all-male dance companies founded by Lea Anderson.

  42. drago says:

    PS you have two 5-downs

  43. Huw Powell says:

    Clunky in my opinion. 3/4 easy clues, 1/4 bizarre British place names that no one has ever heard of.

    18 lacks a definition.

    To finish the 1/4, I found that Brits call them WHEEL-CLAMPs. Then I just went brute force at onelook. Found my wild guess of CLACTON-ON-SEA exists. Embarrassed at missing CONSONANT. Onelook gave me some obscure village at 18a. I think house-train is very poor. FEATHER was what, again? Oh, yes, an obvious clue with an impenetrable cryptic def.

    OK, I understand that sometimes these puzzles will be full of Britishisms and local lore, but this one was just weird. It should have had a title, or directions, so some of us would understand why some of the clues were unsolvable.

    As always, thanks Brummie for the confusing path to solution, and Eileen for the blog.

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