Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,795 by Brummie

Posted by PeterO on November 16th, 2012


Having done the Private Eye crossword for many years, I am familiar with Brummie’s distinctive style, and attuned to some of his deviousness.

This puzzle revolves around the keynote clue 17/1/23; with all its cross-references, it looks formidable, but it was well worth plugging away until the penny dropped.

1 See 17
See 17
5 BUCKRAM Coarse material from bold young man — drive home! (7)
A charade of BUCK (‘bold young man’) plus RAM (‘drive home’).
9 BIBLE Anger surrounding Black’s manual (5)
An envelope (‘surrounding’) of B (‘Black’) in BILE (‘anger’).
10 EVOLUTION Descent of Democrat excluded from transfer of power (9)
A subtraction [d]EVOLUTION (‘transfer of power’) with D (‘Democrat’) ‘excluded from’ it.
11 MINERALOGY Rock-studying person who digs a record by Yes (10)
A charade of MINER (‘one who digs’) plus ‘a’ plus LOG (‘record’) plus Y (‘Yes’).
12 PIER It goes into the main dish with rook (4)
A charade of PIE (‘dish’) plus R (‘rook’, chess notation).
14 CREATIONIST Intricate, so designed, one might think, based on 9? (11)
An anagram (‘designed’) of ‘intricate so’. A fine semi-&lit.
18 GLOVE PUPPET Handy prop for entertainer of little weight (sugar pressure raised by stroke) (5,6)
A charade of G (gram, ‘little weight’) plus LOVE (‘sugar’) plus P (‘pressure’) plus UP (‘raised’) plus PET (‘stroke’).
21 OILY Sebaceous thing on cake tray died off? (4)
A subtraction [d]OILY (‘thing on cake tray’) without the D (‘died off’).
22 SCREENWASH Second team accepts measure has revolutionised means of improving visibility (10)
A charade of an envelope (‘accepts’) of EN (‘measure’) in S (‘second’) plus CREW (‘team’); plus ASH, an anagram (‘revolutionised’) of ‘has’.
25 TRY SQUARE Carpenters would use one “you’ve only just begun” in rough quarters (3,6)
An envelope (‘in’) of Y (‘Youve only just begun’) in an anagram (‘rough’) of ‘quarters’. Not an expression I have come across before, which is why I spent a little while wondering why TEE SQUARE did not quite make it.
26 DR WHO Back way western house mover from time to time (2,3)
A charade of DR, a reversal (‘back’) of RD (‘way’) plus W (‘western’) plus HO (‘house’).
27 CRUSADE When backing is needed in oil campaign (7)
An envelope (‘in’) of SA, a reversal (‘backing is needed’) of AS (‘when’) in CRUDE (‘oil’).
28 TENANCY Possession of musical note by Sinatra? (7)
A charade of TE (‘musical note’) plus NANCY (‘Sinatra’, Frank’s daughter).
1 ALBUMS Whole set of left out Drifters’ records (6)
A charade of AL[l] (‘whole set’) with the L (‘left’) removed (‘out’) plus BUMS (‘drifters’, with deceptive upper case).
2 ALBANY Top grade weight reduction no matter which New York location (6)
A charade of A 9’top grade’) plus LB (‘weight reduction’, being an abbreviation) plus ANY (‘no matter which’).
3 AGE BRACKET Take ‘C’ bra off outside for example, being up for 18-30s? (3,7)
An envelope (‘outside’) of GE, a reversal (‘being up’, in a down clue) of EG (‘for example’) in ABRACKET, an anagram (‘off’) of ‘take C bra’. The interrogative suggests indication by example.
4 DWELL Live date source (5)
A charade of D (‘date’) plus WELL (‘source’).
5 BROUGHT UP Was sick of unpleasant time in flipping bar (7,2)
An envelope (‘in’) of ROUGH (‘unpleasant’) plus T (‘time’) in BUP, a reversal (‘flipping’) of PUB (‘bar’).
6 CLUB Iron suit detailed? (4)
A subtraction CLUB[s] (‘suit’) with the last letter removed (‘de-tailed’).
7 RHINITIS Fool interrupts Irish composition, which results in inflammation (8)
An envelope (‘interrupts’) of NIT (‘fool’) in RHIIS, an anagram (‘composition’) of ‘Irish’.
8 MINORITY Less than half of processed iron on the object in well (8)
An envelope (‘in’) of INOR, an anagram (‘processed’) of ‘iron’ plus IT (‘the object’) in MY (‘well’!).
13 COTTONED ON Understood cloth gets done differently (8,2)
A charade of COTTON (‘cloth’) plus EDON, an anagram (‘differently’) of ‘done’.
15 ENUNCIATE Utter backing of Church includes devoted type, one consumed (9)
A charade of an envelope (‘includes’) of NUN (‘devoted type’) in EC, a reversal (‘backing’) of CE (‘church’); plus I (‘one’) plus ATE (‘consumed’).
16 AGNOSTIC Improvised acting, so unlikely to be a 14? (8)
An anagram (‘improvised’) of ‘acting so’.
17,1across,23 WOULD YOU ADAM AND EVE IT A, um, devotional dude, way out 14 might exasperatedly say so of 19’s 20 of 10? (5,3,4,3,3,2)
An anagram (‘out’) of ‘a um devotional dude way’. Adam and Eve for believe seems to be one of the few pieces of rhyming slang generally rendered with the rhyme.
19 DARWIN Blast engulfing Caribbean islands capital (6)
An envelope (‘engulfing’) of WI (West Indies,’Caribbean islands’) in DARN (‘blast’), for the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.
20 THEORY Politician’s full of gas, it’s supposed (6)
An envelope (‘full of’) of HE (helium, ‘gas’) in TORY (‘politician’).
23 See 17
See 17
24 AQUA Militia quarantine housing water (4)
A hidden answer (‘housing’) in ‘militiiA QUArantine’.

28 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,795 by Brummie”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle – many shades of Cyclops’ irreverent style peeping through, without the smut.

    The only clue I wasn’t very keen on was 5dn. It didn’t hold me up but the inclusion of “of” after the def for the surface reading diminished this otherwise excellent clue. “Was sick of” means something entirely different.

  2. NeilW says:

    Might “Made sick by…” have worked better?

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter – including for parsing GLOVE PUPPET which was my first in (opening the path to 16d and the theme) but which I decided not to wrestle with at all. Never heard of 25a but the anagram was unequivocal. A Goldilocks puzzle: just right in terms of trickiness and entertaining-time. Thanks Brummie.

  4. Brummie says:

    Good morning, Fifteensquared.

    Since my last plug for my web site blog, I’ve added to new pieces. The latest one addresses criticism, made on this site, of one particular clue in my previous Brummie puzzle. You can read it here.

    NeilW #1 Thanks – the ‘of’ was meant as ‘made up of (the following)’. Would you accept that?

  5. NeilW says:

    Hi Brummie. Yes, of course. It was a very minor quibble anyway: thanks for a highly entertaining puzzle.

  6. KhanivorUS says:

    As a dilettante solver, I found this very difficult. It would have been impossible for me without the help of the “check” function on the web page. Still, satisfying, finally to finish.

    I’ve just read Brummie’s blog and have to say – both to Mr X, and the other ‘outraged’ commentator – “fer crying out loud, these are cryptic crossword puzzles, not social commentary!” Keep up the good work, Brummie!

  7. muffin says:

    Thanks PeterO and Brummie
    I found a weakness of the puzzle was that, having got CREATIONIST, I was able to write in all of the linked solution without having to parse them – indeed I had no idea of the explanation for Darwin before reading this blog. Did anyone else have a similar experience?

  8. jim says:

    I thought this was an excellent puzzle, and even having got CREATIOIST it took me ages to get the long anagram.
    Many thanks, Brummie

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Brummie

    An enjoyable ‘solve’ which grew on me as I proceeded. I liked the minitheme and especially 14 and 17,1,23 with its rhyming slang element.

    Another excellent clue was 26a and the ‘My!’ in 8d also took my fancy.

    I worked out 25 but felt a need to look it up afterwards. The sense of try + square is of course pretty straightforward.

    The odd clue e.g. 18a seemed more designed to help one parse rather than get the answer.

  10. Robi says:

    Well done Brummie, a highly entertaining puzzle.

    Thanks PeterO for the good blog; it’s always handy to have the clues as my copy of the Guardian is always downstairs! There were a number of good clues here – I liked the simple PIER. MINORITY, CRUSADE, ALBUMS and BROUGHT UP were also notable. Like tupu, I thought 18 was a strange clue until I Googled ‘sugar pressure’ and found it is a legitimate expression (presumably used more in the US?) A ‘TRY SQUARE’ was new to me and needed the Interweb to check; otherwise, all the answers avoided obscurities.

    I’ve only just linked the MINORITY THEORY; perhaps an intentional dig at 14’s – would you ADAM AND EVE IT, they can’t help it they were just BROUGHT UP in that way.

  11. John Appleton says:

    A relatively quick solve, but with some fun along the way, particularly the long solution. Like Muffin @7, CREATIONIST lead me right to the theme.

  12. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Good fun. For some reason I was having difficulty with anagrams this morning, so it was a while before I saw CREATIONIST (after the long anagram, in fact), and I didn’t immediately equate ‘descent’ with EVOLUTION (it’s semantically related, but hardly a synonym), so all the linked answers were amongst my last entries.

    I enjoyed the expletives MY and DARN, and my list of favourites is virtually the same as Robi’s (@10).

    Pedants’ corner: DR WHO is the name of the programme, and is not an eponym (the protagonist is ‘The Doctor’) and MINERALOGY is the study of minerals (duh) – the study of rocks is petrology.

  13. muffin says:

    Gervase @12
    I tried PETROLOGIST and PETROLOGY – unsuccessfully, of course
    I neglected to say in my previous post that I found it mostly very enjoyable – thanks again, Brummie.

  14. CynicCure says:

    25a It’s worth pointing out that ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ is a song by the Carpenters, making this clue a rather cleverer one than some might have noticed.

  15. Mitz says:

    Thanks Brummie (especially for dropping by) and PeterO.

    As I have said before I always start be doing a quick sweep of all the clues in order, just to make sure that I hoover up any easy ones before properly getting down to it. Sometimes this means that a crossword is pretty much completed in one go. Not today. I got down to “Dr Who” before I broke my duck, and was starting to feel as bewildered as an English batsman facing spin.

    However, once the reasonably straightforward anagram for the key solution at 14 fell, the rest came at a gallop. Loved the long anagram. The NE corner was last to yield – yet again it was the excellent little four letter solutions at 6 and 12 holding me up. “Minority” was also a brilliant clue – took me ages to realise that “well” = “my!”.

    Sometimes I have an image of Brummie, a besuited and respectable Dr Jekyll, letting his hair down, donning a leather jacket and metamorphosing into Cyclops, the foul-mouthed Mr Hyde…

  16. Trebor says:

    Seemed to be on Brummie’s wavelength today and finished this one quite quickly, with only SCREENWASH not properly figured out. 14ac was my favourite.


  17. Mitz says:

    Just read Brummie’s blog (linked to at #4), including the story about the unforeseen and unfortunate reactions to two recent clues. I would urge all 225 readers and contributors to have a look.

    For my part, I have to admit that in both instances the controversial interpretations did come to mind. Neither offended me at all, but the important point is that of intention – I completely accept that it was my own mind that led me to the good professor’s physical condition and the 7/7 atrocity, not Brummie/Cyclops.

    Also, I would suggest that some people just need to relax a bit. If you are offended or upset by something, ask yourself if your reaction is really proportionate to the perceived insensitivity.

    I now realise that I sound like I’m on “Thought for the Day” so I’ll shut up. Thanks Brummie, and all power to your elbow. Except for when you’re dancing – don’t want to have someone’s eye out.

  18. PeterO says:

    Welcome KhanivorUS – I think you are new to my corner of the blog, and I think I might have noted your distinctive moniker if you had contributed to others’ blogs. I hope our work will enable you to make less use of the check button.

    Gervase @12

    There is a direct connection, in the title of one of Darwin’s books, The Descent of Man.

  19. Trailman says:

    Another cracker to follow on from yesterday. Completely different though, in that yesterday’s flowed from the start, while today the first read through only led to AQUA / TRY SQUARE. After a break, SCREENWASH filtered through and I was away. Theme didn’t help till near the end though.

  20. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Took me a couple of minutes to get started, but once I saw the theme there were a couple of write-ins (if a clue mentions “19’s 20 of 10,” and you have 19=DARWIN, 20 and 10 are evident without looking at their clues). A fun puzzle all the same.

    Gervase @12: Though (mostly) not so called by other characters, the Doctor was named as “Dr. Who” or “Doctor Who” in the credits of every episode for the first 17 series.

  21. Davy says:

    Thanks Peter,

    An excellent puzzle from Brummie which was very entertaining. It was also one that I finished without aids and for which I didn’t require
    an explanation for any of the clues. That must be a first !. So many good clues so I choose just two : TRY SQUARE and WOULD YOU ADAM AND
    EVE IT. Thanks Brummie.

  22. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I needed you to explain several cases where I actually had the right answer without being able to explain it.

    You said in your introduction that you have had several years experience with this compiler – under one name or another. I have not had that experience so I found this puzzle hard going. I am just not on his wavelength at all.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not without some pleasures but rather straightforward from this compiler.
    Last in was 18ac.

  24. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Another really enjoyable puzzle. This must be the best week for a long time. Four absolute crackers in a row.

    I always enjoy Brummie and he didn’t disappoint today. Although it was an easier solve than usual for him.

    Interesting to read Brummie’s response to “INNERTUBE”gate. At the time I thought it was a storm in a teacup and I admire his robust response.

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog.

  25. Sylvia says:

    Failed to get ‘screenwash’ and consequently ‘enunciate’. I was convinced the improved visibility referred to reading glasses or to an optical operation. Doh!

  26. Coffee says:

    One of the few I didn’t get was DR WHO – am ashamed to say that my mind was not entirely on the puzzle as I was watching… Dr. Who.
    Damn Messrs Moffat, Gaiman, Smith & co.

  27. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Brummie and PeterO

    Another one caught up in the wash of the testing puzzles over the past few days – only got to look at it on Sunday. Well worth the wait … didn’t latch on to the theme until finished and final parsing.

    Curiously DARWIN took ages as I tend to look beyond my own backyard … tried making TAIWAN fit for ages – not even a capital! Wasn’t familiar with the Cockney ‘believe it’ which held up that line for a while. Hadn’t seen TRY SQUARE either.

    Last in was SCREENWASH in what was an enjoyable solve.

  28. brucew_aus says:

    Did forget to mention the clever mini theme in the clues of singers and songs in 9, 11, 25, 28, 1d and 15 as well as other entertainment items in a few other clues – 14 and 7.

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