Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,715 – Brummie

Posted by Andrew on August 15th, 2012


To my surprise it seems to be almost exactly two years since I last blogged a Brumnmie puzzle. I said then that “I always feel a little nervous when I see Brummie’s name on a puzzle”, and that was my initial reaction here, but either I was completely on the right wavelength or this was a very easy one, as I raced through it in about ten minutes. I think one reason for my quickness is that, as I’ve seen others comment, many of Brummie’s clues tend to reveal their structure rather too easily.

There’s a bit of a theme involving Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (10a and 6d) and some of their works.

1. UPSWING UP (finished) + SWING (jazz – not exactly the same thing, but close enough I suppose)
5. EGGHEAD EG (say) + GO AHEAD less O
10. FRED FIRED less I, the “TV family man from way back” presumably being Fred Flintstone, though for the purposes of the theme of the puzzle this refers to Fred Astaire
11. GREEN LIGHT GREEN (raw) + LIGHT (easy to digest)
12. TOP HAT OP (work) in THAT (=which) for Fred and Ginger’s famous film of 1935
13. PRETORIA [dodg]E in AIRPORT; the definition is “city”
14. CANDLELIT Cryptic defintion, or perhaps a sesquidef
16. BLITZ An “intertwining” of BT and LIZ (Elizabeth Taylor)
19. THIRTIETH An anagram of T-SHIRT, with THE I replacing the S[ally]
23. PRATTLER P + RATTLER (rattlesnake), definition “One who goes on”
24. PISTOL Double definition – character in Henry V, and a pistol was used in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, which happened in a theatre
29. REGRETS R + EGRETS. Edith Piaf famously sang Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, usually translated as “No, No Regrets”
2. PERGOLA PER (for each) + GOAL*
3. WIDTH D[ate] in WITH (being escorted by)
4. NIGHTIE Cryptic – a nightie might be worn by someone “in the sack”, i.e. in bed
6. GINGER SINGER with the first letter (intro) changed to G. Ginger=reddish=sandy,but of course this also refers to Ginger Rogers, dancing partner of Fred (10a) Astaire.
7. HOI POLLOI H (“He’s first”, i.e. the first letter of He) + POLL in OI! OI!
8. ATHEIST Hidden in panamA THE ISThmus
9. TERPSICHOREAN (I ECHO PARTNER’S)*. A terpsichorean is a dancer (from Terpsichore, muse of dance) – Fred and Ginger were genuinely skilled dancers, so the “humorously” seems unnecessary.
18. PURLOIN PURL (stich) + O IN
20. REPLETE Homophone (surely an uncontroversial one this time) of RE-PLEAT
21,27. TWO LEFT FEET My only difficulty with this puzzle came in understanding this clue (though the answer was fairly obvious). The explanation seems to be that Fred and Ginger’s “supporters” would be their feet, half of which could be TWO LEFT FEET, which can also refer to someone who is hopeless at dancing. If I’m right it seems rather a weak clue.
22.15. FLYING DOWN TO RIO (WRONG FOOT IDLY IN)* – a nicely inappropriate anagram for Fred and Ginger’s first film together
25. SO FAR SOFA (Chesterfield, possibly) + R[oad]

42 Responses to “Guardian 25,715 – Brummie”

  1. PeterO says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. Like you, I found this fairly easy, and I agree that Brummie’s clue structures are often easy to read; on the other hand, not many of his clues have answers that write themselves in.

    A couple of obvious slips – in 5A, G[o a]HEAD is answerless as well as loveless, and in 15A it is AIRPORT*.

    Just to be contrary, I would say that in 20D, the first E in REPLETE is nearly a schwa, but in RE-PLEAT definitely not so.

  2. PeterO says:

    Oh yes, and in 19A, THE must be included in the anagram.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. As you say, definitely Brummie-lite. Good for a change on a Monday.

    I suspect I was not alone in wasting a couple of minutes trying to find a way to put Barney as the answer to 6, having presumed, like you, that it was FRED Flintstone in 10!

    Unlike you, I liked TWO LEFT FEET.

    PeterO @2, I agree with your corrections @1 but think, since he capitalised THE in his parsing, Andrew’s got it right.

  4. JollySwagman says:

    Easy but fun – and a nicely handled theme – thanks both.

    I think “humorously” at 9d is just to help the definition along as the word is a bit archaic and generally used humorously (some dictionaries indicate that). Of course it works well in the surface too.

  5. Fat Al says:

    Thanks Andrew. Many thanks to Brummie as well. I thought I was finally going to finish a Guardian Cryptic without references, but couldn’t be definite about 9d without looking it up. Terspichorean seemed as unlikely to me as most other combinations of the anagram letters.

    I assumed this one would be deemed very easy by the long time solvers here, but I hope the occasional one like this can be included to keep we novices motivated. After an hour of pondering Aracuria last Friday, all I could show for my efforts was SHEBA and OVERT!

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    As you say, this was pretty plain sailing [after a few mad moments inexplicably confusing ‘Flying down to Rio’ with ‘Road to Rio’ and so trying vainly to fit Hope and Crosby in place of FRED and GINGER!] but it was a pleasant cruise, once I’d stopped kicking myself.

    Thanks, Brummie, for the fun. I’m enjoying listening to this now: 😉

  7. harhop says:

    Please, what’s a sesquidef?

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brummie. The only one I couldn’t sort out was 19a THIRTIETH.

    I, too, found it easier than the usual B. I was convinced 14a would begin COLD…, pencilled it in, and thus misspelled PERGALO, which in turn held up TOP HAT. Sometimes the pencillings help, sometimes not.

    3d –D-H, at first sight, seems like one of those words such as_ENY which I would deny was possible.

  9. John Appleton says:

    Pergalo gave me trouble (last in), but aside from that I found the them to be one of those that educates – I’m nto too au fait with Fred and Ginger but the clueing was precise enough to keep the themes answer gettable.

  10. dtd says:

    Fairly straightforward fun – 9 was my first in, the anagram having leapt of the page. That helped with all the thematic answers. Last in was 4. Had to stop trying to fit a vowel between the g & t.

  11. Jerry says:

    @harhop – see 10A here:

  12. rhotician says:

    Neilw @3: You quibble with Petero’s quibble @2 but fail to correct his correction @1. There is no 15A.

  13. rhotician says:

    rho @12: I think you mean NeilW and PeterO. Try to get it right.

  14. Ian SW3 says:

    I was inadvertently helped by my daughter’s waking me up to say she wanted to watch 10 and 6 today (as films are only allowed on rainy days), and thus was listening to 6 singing (though not in 12 or 22 15) as I entered her name. This immediately suggested 10, which eluded me on the first pass, and the rest fell in quickly. Good fun, though.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brummie

    Easier than some but I enjoyed this a lot with 2d and 18d my favourite clues. As noted yesterday under General Discussion in response to RCW, I like clues such as 12a where the word play strongly reinforces only vaguely remembered knowledge.

    I wondered about Fred and whether it might be a reference to the man who was regularly to be told about British Gas privatisation, but Flintstone seems right given ‘from way back’.

    re 3d I was reminded of an old bit of Swahili slang in which a broad-beamed woman was admiringlyt described as a ‘true Scania’.

  16. Andrew says:

    tupu – the British Gas man was Sid, not Fred.

  17. William says:

    Thank you Andrew, and Brummie for a good fun puzzle.

    Eileen @6 – many thanks, loved revisiting this after so many years. I always thought Fred’s singing a little ‘dry’ but the dance routine is so slick it’s worth waiting for. Those of us who attempt music in an amateur way can appreciate the incredible counter-rhythms he creates between his feet and his cane. Wonderful stuff!

    COD – TOP HAT @12a

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not the best Brummie, sadly.
    Last in was ‘candlelit’ because I fell for the ‘sort’ = anagram misdirection. As it turned out it was hardly cryptic at all.

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew – you are of course correct.

  20. Robi says:

    I didn’t find this particularly easy; certainly, I thought, harder than the usual Monday slot.

    Is the double ‘in which’ in 12 a typo? I would have thought that the clue would read better with just one example. Thanks Andrew, I didn’t quite parse THIRTIETH correctly. I thought TWO LEFT FEET was quite a good clue.

    Unless I am missing something (screws perhaps?)the surface of 25 seems unnecessarily daft. I liked NIGHTIE and CANDLELIT.

  21. Eileen says:

    William @17

    You know, of course, the report on his first screen test: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Balding. Can dance a little.” 😉

  22. rhotician says:

    ‘far’ in 25ac is redundant, unfortunately so, given it is part of the solution. I think it’s just a slip, possibly made in haste.

    12ac is more problematic. The surface can be fixed by allowing ‘Work in which’ to do double duty as the cryptic bit and part of the definition but then it condenses to just a simple definition. The cryptic bit becomes so hidden as to disppear! I’d be happy with “Work in which…? Work in which 10 and 6 appeared.”

  23. rowland says:

    I was reminded here of the ‘pudding on my top hat’ etc joke of a few years back. It had something to do with micriwaving as I recall! Anyway, this was a very easy puzzle, made easier by a theme that was got in a jiffy.


  24. NeilW says:

    rhotician @22, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to point out to you that there is no 25ac… 😉

  25. Ian SW3 says:

    Am I missing something? There are two references in the blog (@3 and 20) to Monday. I could have sworn it was Wednesday, though it can be hard to tell in summer.

  26. rhotician says:

    NeilW @24, Damn!

  27. kp52 says:

    The Fred that came to mind for me was Fred MacMurray, the father in the ancient sitcom My Three Sons. But then, I am getting on a bit.

  28. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    I was puzzled by 19a: what part does ‘milestone’ play? I do not regard 30th as special at all.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    Often ages which are multiples of ten are considered ‘a big one’ or a milestone. ie a marker on life’s journey.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry,I have just realised that you probably did not mean that the clue/solution was special. Rather that you do not conside the age special. I expect it depends on how much you enjoyed your twenties.

  31. bat020 says:

    is the “humourously” something to do with the notion of “humours”? I was thinking that the “terpsichorean humour” might be some metaphor for the ability to dance.

  32. bat020 says:

    ah, google reveals that “terpsichorean” is a “formal or humourous” term for a dancer

  33. Trailman says:

    Did this while being driven to lunch, rather against expectations when I saw the setter’s name.
    My take on Fred: got to be Flintstone, but I too remember McMurray (just). And 30th? At this remove, seems breathtakingly insignificant. But young people I used to work with seemed to view the passing of their 20s with terror.

  34. William says:

    Eileen @21 – sorry been to the dentist.

    Yes, I had heard that but don’t know who said it.

    This is my favourite of all time


  35. Eileen says:

    Wow! Thanks, William.

  36. chas says:

    RCWhiting: I think you have the right idea there that 30th, 40th etc are considered special. As I am now retired I can look back and think what was special about those birthdays?

  37. RCWhiting says:

    Me too chas.
    I was lucky enough to have a wife who organised surprise parties for each milestone except the last (70) when my daughters gave me a delightful day.

  38. Paul B says:

    Fred Milestone? I think you’re getting all mixed up.

  39. Busby Berkeley says:

    Someone mention tap ?

  40. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    I agree that this was a pretty easy Brummie but still entertaining. It took me about an hour which is not very good
    compared to your ten minutes but there again, you’re the expert and I’m just a dabbler. You are quite right of course
    that some clues were a bit too revealing and REPLETE is a perfect example. I wonder how many solvers forgot that Cate
    spells her name so. I don’t know of any other Cates. My favourite today was PURLOIN but there again, I suppose purl
    for stitch is fairly obvious but I always forget the spelling. Thanks Brummie.

  41. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Brummie and Andrew
    More straightforward than easy for me – still took a while to work through – probably not knowing the Fred and Ginger movies at all – meant a check was necessary for all. TERPSICHOREAN was also new.

    An enjoyable solve all the same with 29 last in after given up looking for a 6 letter river bird :(

  42. Sally says:

    kp52@27 Concur with Fred MacMurray as theme of programme was him raising his family whereas Fred Flintstone, though he had a family was not a typical “family man”.

    I too liked TWO LEFT FEET.

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