Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,735 / Brummie

Posted by Eileen on September 7th, 2012


A not-too-taxing but interesting puzzle, with some very nice touches, including several ‘lift-and-separate’ clues, which I enjoyed solving and blogging. There is a mini-theme, which I only discovered when writing the blog, so there may be more of it! Many thanks, Brummie, for the fun.

[Looking forward to seeing some of you at the Sloggers and Betters get-together tomorrow.]


9   NEIGHBOUR: anagram [breaking] of BE ROUGH IN
10  JOYCE: anagram [awfully] of COY in J[an]E [Jane without A N – a name]
11  WHEEL: W [with] HEEL [snake in the grass]
12  ENCIRCLED: CIRCLE [section of the theatre] in [gripped by] END [bottom]
13  ULYSSES: anagram [latitude] of LESS round [stifling] last letter [vestige] of democracY in US [America]: a very nicely constructed clue for Grant the ex-president 
17  BASRA: SR [senior] in [to cut] BAA [beastly noise]: we’re all too used to hearng Basra thus described on the news
19  SHE: SHE[d] [setter minus [off] D [day];  Guardian setter Shed has had several outings in other setters’ puzzles lately: the author of the book is the answer to 22ac – and there’s a similar connection between 10 and 13 ac [and, as NeilW points out @1, between 1dn and 24,14 and 27d and 2dn.]
20  LOYAL: r[OYAL] [as a king] with R[right] changed to L [left]
21  WHISKER: sort of double definition but I think the question mark is to indicate that Brummie knows that you make meringues with a whisk. ;-)
22  HAGGARD: HARD [tough] round [having to accept] anagram [cracking] of GAG – if you were run-down you might well look haggard
24,14 CORRIDORS OF POWER: anagram [corrupt] of CID PROOF OR WORSE + R [first letter – source – of rumours]: definition Whitehall – a cleverly constructed clue with a great surface
26  SKUNK: K [king] in [interrupting] SUN K[ing] [Louis XIV, Le Roi-Soleil, briefly]
28  LEAPT: A P [first letter – chief – of Police] in LET [restriction – as on your British passport]
29  ILL-GOTTEN: anagram [involved] of LONG and TITLE: a rather more tactful clue than Brendan’s for Elgin, that I blogged a couple of weeks ago – I shall make no comment this time!


  SNOW: SOW [broadcast] round [over] N [western tip of Norway] – remember this?
2   MISERY: anagram [going round] of IS ME on [before, in a down clue] RY [abbreviation – reduced – of railway [public transport]
3   WHALE SHARK:  W [with – the second use of this, which is a pity] + H [hot] ALES [drinks] + HARK [listen out]
4   BOXERS: double definition
5   FRUCTOSE: anagram [spun] of CURE SOFT
6   AJAR: A + reversal [up] of RAJ [ruler – although I think perhaps it should be ‘rule’]
7   CYCLEWAY: CYCLE [revolution] + WAY [road]
8,24  HEAD COLD: an amusing sort of double definition: a blocked nose and streaming eyes are symptoms of a head cold and if your head’s cold you should wear a hat
13  UP-BOW: UP [finished] + BOW [acknowledgment of applause]: UP-BOW is the string-player’s action but I can’t find a ‘pushy’ definition
15  PHLOGISTON: I wasn’t familiar with this theory  but the wordplay is crystal clear and very apposite: PH [public house – local] + LOG [firewood] + O [oxygen] in anagram [freed] of ISNT
16  RILED: IL [Illinois – American state] in [accepted by] RED
18  SLIP ROAD: reversal [Northbound, in a down clue] of OR [alternative] and PILS [lager] + AD [ publicity]
19  SARDONIC: SONIC [moving jet-like] round [over] A RD [a road]
22  HASSLE: HALE [hardy] round [grabs] S S [smalls]
23  ACUITY: [v]ACUITY [emptiness] minus [lacking] V [very]
25  IOTA: IO  [lover of Zeus]  + TA [thanks]
27  KING: KIN [= family = stock] + G [grand – £1000 – sum of money] : definition – ‘that may well be checked’, as the king in chess

31 Responses to “Guardian 25,735 / Brummie”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Stephen KING wrote MISERY and C P SNOW CORRIDORS OF POWER were the other two I spotted.

  2. Eileen says:

    THanks, Neil. I did think there might be a King novel there but I’m not an afficianado. I certainly should have seen the Snow, though!

  3. NeilW says:

    I thought WHISKER was fine by the way, since the person using the whisk is still the meringue “maker” – perhaps the question mark indicates the likelihood nowadays of a mechanical aid? [Not my specialty ;)]

  4. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen. A down bow starts at the heel and moves to the tip, an up bow vice versa. If you try it, I think you’ll agree that up is a push, down a pull.

  5. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Brummie and Eileen.

    13d Up-Bow suggests a pushing up movement to me with Down-Bow being a pulling down movement. A good clue, I thought with several shades of meaning.

    Thanks for the links. I’ve never heard of the theory but it was workable out from the clueing.

    Have fun tomorrow.

    Giovanna x

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie

    For some reason I did not enjoy this greatly though I did like 24,14 and 29a.

    I vaguely noticed Joyce and Haggard but there did not seem to be much else going and I did not pursue a theme.

    I found some clues quite tricky especially in the NW – I first put in ‘whisper’ for 21a and corrected it on getting 3d (which I first thought was white shark with 11a as (im)plausibly ‘wheat’ for grass ). I also thought Basra might be Basle or Basel but naturally could not parse them and did not check if they were in fact CH’s ‘second city’).

    27d was my last in. My first thought was ‘kine’ (for stock with K + an unfathomable ‘in e’) and then ‘kink’ which naturally led to ‘king’.

    A better puzzle in retrospect than it felt in the course of solving.

  7. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I enjoyed this, but failed to spot the author/book mini theme. The NW corner gave me the most trouble, for some reason…

    I liked 24,14.

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. I missed the min-theme, including JOYCE-ULYSSES, but I liked the puzzle anyway.

  9. Querulous says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen.

    Re 6d, I think the ruler is raja.

  10. Eileen says:

    THanks, Querulous: i had a senior moment there. I wanted it to be RAJA but the A seemed to be in the wrong place – doh!

  11. dirkybee says:

    I so agree with tupu @6 – Brummie seems far better, recollected in tranquillity. Thanks, Eileen, I really needed your help today.

  12. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    Most enjoyable, even if I failed to spot the mini-theme – not that it would have helped much with the solving, as the linked clues were not too difficult to break down, although SHE was one of my last entries, requiring both crossing letters .

    It took me a while to parse RILED because I thought at first that the ‘state’ was Rhode Island (RI) and not Illinois.

    I liked PHLOGISTON (excellent clue) – we had COLD FUSION yesterday, so there seems to be a bit of a ‘failed scientific theory’ theme going on here.

  13. BertandJoyce says:

    Too distracted by seeing one of us in the puzzle to notice the min-theme!!

    Bert remembers 15d (along with spirogyra – don’t ask!) from his schooldays and you should have seen his smile when it came back to him – such a stupid word that he wondered at first whether he had dreamt it!

    Enjoy tomorrow – we are sorry that we won’t be there.

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie for the fun.

  14. John Appleton says:

    Spotted the She/Haggard link but failed to notice the others. Only real quibble I’d have is with the reference to another setter in a clue; it’s a little way outside of the expected realm of general knowledge (particularly for newer solvers) for my liking.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I really am surprised and disapointed to see people failing to recognise ‘phlogiston’.
    The piece of chemistry is not important but it is frequently quoted in discussions about the true nature of science. It illustrates beautifully that there are no facts/beliefs in science, just the latest theory which can be dismissed when convincing experimental evidence arrives.
    We recently had ‘cold fusion’ (still being debated),there is an obituary for Martin Fleischmann in today’s Guardian.

  16. RCWhiting says:


  17. William says:

    Thank you, Eileen. Staggeringly, I missed the theme completely. (I don’t think I ever really look for one, just sort of get on with it.)

    I think dunscotus is on the money re the UP-BOW. Essentially, the up-bow pushes the bow towards the player and the down-bow pulls it away from the player.

    G for sum of money defeated me in KING even though I wrote it in. I suppose it’s fair enough, just seems a little weak.

    Thank you Brummie, nice puzzle.

  18. NeilW says:

    I’m surprised not to see any comments on “moving jet-like” defining SONIC… not my field any more than meringue making, though, so perhaps it’s OK?

  19. Eileen says:

    NeilW @18

    Collins has ‘having a speed about equal to that of sound in air’, which seemed OK to me, as a non-expert. [I thought there might be a comment!]

  20. Trailman says:

    Sitting in the sun at the Olympic Park waiting for our friends to join us. Maybe that’s why I was too clever by half, writing louiSQUATorze at 26ac. Reckoned there must have been a useless Roi Charles the squat. So that’s a failure today bur given the amazing atmosphere where I am, well I can cope.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog. I needed you to explain why I was correct with ULYSSES even though nothing else would fit.

    I led myself astray on 16d by thinking there must be a state known as AG giving me RAGED. Eventually I found LOYAL so had to rethink 16d :(

  22. chas says:

    I might add that I totally failed to spot any mini-theme even though I enjoyed Rider Haggard’s She. I have heard of the other book&author instances but have never read them.

  23. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen. Charles the squat – great visual Trailman! PHLOGISTON? I remember asking my High School Science teacher if knowing this theory was really necessary. 55 years later he was right. Apologies, Mr. Jorgenson, wherever you are.


  24. RCWhiting says:

    Like William I failed to see the theme but like him I never look for one,just get on with solving each clue.
    I know every writer/work in today’s so it must be a total lack of lateral thinking. It is a strange phenomenon since time after time I come here to find avid discussions about something which completely passed me by.

  25. Eileen says:

    Funny, I never see the word ‘haggard’ without mentally adding the Rider [pun not intended ;-) ]. I was just about to write, in my comment on 19ac, that there could have been a cross-reference to 22ac, when my eye was drawn to Joyce / Ulysses and the penny dropped! By then, time was getting on and I wanted to get the blog posted. If I’d spent a few more minutes, I’d surely have seen the 1dn / 24ac link but can’t say I’d have got the King connection, because he’s not my cup of tea at all.

  26. sppaul says:

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this but never spotted the theme. If I had I might have got 27 down. I had Kind – ie £1,000 in old pennies K in d. Which I would definitely check if someone gave them to me!

  27. Norman L in France says:

    I had the same thought for Louis XIV and managed for a long time (well, a couple of minutes) to convince myself that it parsed. Diddly squat it was, though.

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    I must agree with RC Whiting @15, today. It’s a pity the Snow title were not “The Two Cultures”.

    Thanks, Eileen; I failed on She and had KIND instead of KING

  29. Toby says:

    The use of “setter” to refer to a setter other than the one currently setting, is not nice at all. It’s silly and while I love jokes it’s just too in-jokey. And slightly smug!


  30. MikeC says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brummie. A good puzzle, though I failed with 27, entering KINE (stock) – yes, I know it doesn’t parse!

  31. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Brummie and Eileen

    Found this one quite enjoyable and although not all that quick on picking up themes / mini themes, this one came to my help.

    KING was my last one in this morning (was off to the finals of the our footy – Australian Rules last night)- and it was with the knowledge of the writer KING that I could go back and find the link to MISERY that got it – came here without the clue-based parsing and like William@17 found it weak when it was explained.

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