Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,797 / Brendan

Posted by Eileen on November 19th, 2012


When I opened my paper this morning to find Brendan’s name on this puzzle, rather than the expected Rufus, with a fair number  of inter-connected clues, I wondered whether I was in for my third stiff blogging challenge in just over a week. [Actually, perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised, because I find that this is the seventh time in a row that the non-Rufus Monday has fallen on my blogging day, and each time it has been a Brendan puzzle. I’m still not complaining!]

It’s rather daunting to discover that the key clue, as 15,22 here, is itself dependent on a number of other clues. I ignored it for the time being and concentrated on solving as much of the rest of the puzzle as possible. By the time I went back to it, I had CROP, INNER, GREAT and SOCIAL, all of which could be followed by CIRCLE, and PLAZA, which is a SQUARE, and from then things started to fall nicely into place.

Not that it was a complete doddle: there was enough neat cluing in the rest of the answers, as well as the theme, to keep the interest going and I found it a most enjoyable solve. Many thanks to Brendan for a pleasant start to the week.


9 Part of target some attain nervelessly
hidden in attaIN NERvelessly

10 Run in front of a flag at sea secured by sailor in naval battle
R [run] before anagram [at sea] of A FLAG in [secured by] TAR [sailor] for this famous naval battle

11 Cheese, one of ER’s favourites
double definition: the famous Red Leicester cheese and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, one of the favourites of ER, Queen Elizabeth I [plus a name-check for my home town]

12 Nincompoop that writes in ridiculous prose, initially
initial letters of That Writes In Ridiculous Prose – which took longer to see than it should have, as I’ve only ever seen it spelt with an E

13 Understood? May doubt, if it’s not pronounced quite right
sounds like [if it’s not pronounced quite right] ‘May doubt’ – but they both sound exactly the same to me!

15,22 With 20, 26 across and 26 down and things that may be 8, 9, 17, or 24 repeatedly does the impossible?

17 Big jar, say
sounds like [say] GRATE [jar]

18 Service in some games of tennis
double definition, service as in a dinner / tea set

20 In open space most of drama is about extreme characters
most of PLA[y] [drama] round AZ [first and last letters [extreme] of the alphabet]

25 Ideal as some 15 are, such as 9 and 16
no cross-referencing of clues here: 9 and 16 are mathematical perfect squares

26 Confuse extremely elderly old conservative
FOG [confuse] + EY [first and last letters of ElderlY – and a fogey, old or young, is a square

27 Punitive person is more restrained outside
CHASTER [more restrained] round [outside] IS

30 Educational establishment about to raise national standard
UNI [educational establishment + ON [about] + JACK [raise] – a nice surface

31 Increase interest in security against debt very shortly introduced
V [Very shortly] in [introduced] LIEN [security against debt]


1 Female coming to harm with Jack
not very cryptic definition for the girl who tumbled down the hill after Jack  Edit: as pointed out by Rick @4, it’s J [jack – in cards – + ILL [harm] – which makes it & lit

2 Section of womenkind leaders get fired up
hidden in womEN KIND LEaders

3 Torture restricted to odd positions? Right
odd letters of ToRtUrE

4 Laws in parts of US covering organisation of workers
STATES [parts of US] round [covering] TU [Trade Union – organisation of workers]

5 Dramas broadcast in Indian city recalled
anagram [broadcast] of MADRAS [Indian city,  ‘recalled’ because its present name is Chennai]

6 Work of Da Vinci remains superior
LASTS [remains] UPPER [superior]

7 Girl EU treated in a way that’s not so fair
anagram [treated] of GIRL EU

8 Whip ringleader held by officer
R [ring leader] in [held by] COP [officer]

13 Like a lot of 15 and one amongst 22 — marvellous!
there are many magic squares [Maths again] and one Magic Circle

14 Excelling on court, given latitude in trip
PLAY [latitude] in OUTING [trip]

16 Hardly any conform to metric system on weight, ultimately
SCAN [conform to metric system] + last letter of weighT

19 As for pupils, notice put up about book
reversal [put up] of SPOT [notice] round MARK [second book of the New Testament]
Grade As are top marks – my favourite clue, I think

21 Putting off claims I have reduced
AVERS [claims] + I’VE [abbreviation – reduced – of I have]

23 Get back area in African country after rising
A [area] in reversal [rising] of NIGER [African country]

24 Gregarious like this — unlike ministers, turned up
SO [like this] + reversal [turned up] of LAIC [not like ministers]

26 Announced warning after mistake on course for crew
sounds like [announced] FORE [warning]: I don’t understand ‘after mistake on course’, as I thought it was simply a warning from a golfer about to make a shot – and I don’t know why ‘four’ is specifically a crew, which, in crosswords is usually eight: however, 4 is a square!

28 Put down 15, say, as piece in game
double definition, referring to Scrabble tiles

29 Something shaped like 22 for lover or 15 for fighter
double definition: a ring given to a lover would be circular but a boxing ring is square

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,797 / Brendan”

  1. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan. What I call an easy/difficult puzzle. Took ages to find all the links but then things rapidly became clear. 28d TILE: there are other games that use these e.g. Hopscotch and Mahjong.

  2. sidey says:


  3. Gazza says:

    26d Fore is a warning shouted after a golfer has hit a wayward shot that might hit some spectators. I thought it was a homophone (crew) of FOR.

  4. Rick says:

    Great blog Eileen and I really enjoyed the puzzle – thanks Brendan! Quite a few mathematical asides – right up my street! (-:

    I parsed 1 down differently – “ILL” for harm with “J” for Jack (so “harm with Jack”); I suspect that yours is the correct intention (it’s better than my convoluted one anyway) – I just missed it! )-:


    PS Nice to know that your home town is the one I work in (and live close to).

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Rick

    You’re right, of course! I thought that was much too simple for Brendan – apologies to him.

  6. Eileen says:

    And you’re probably right about ‘for’, too, Gazza @3

  7. muffin says:

    Thanks eileen and brendan
    Loved 19dn as it was my last in – not reading As as “A”s of course.
    Pedants’ corner – “Union Jack” is a bit iffy for “national standard” as a “jack” can only be a small flag flown from the jackstaff at the stern of a boat.
    “Fore” unfortunately is much more frequently uttered AFTER a shot – seen to be heading in a dangerous direction.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Brendan

    An entertaining puzzle, with some very easy fodder e.g. 1d – perhaps because it’s Monday – and some more amusingly testing devices.

    Living near the Cam, though my own rowing ceased long ago when I moved away from the park lakes of Boggart Hole Clough and Heaton Park in Manchester, I am well used to hearing about ‘fours’ (coxed and uncoxed) as well as the more usual eights and also pairs and single sculls.

    I liked 15,22 and its various associations, and I also ticked 16d (a nicely disguised answer) and 26d which reminded me of my own large number of youthful mishits when my then short-sightedness led to umpteen fruitless searches for lost balls after desperate cries of ‘fore’ to anyone in hearing distance!

    Thanks Eileen for explaing the ‘recalled’ in 5d which at least persists in take-away menus.

  9. tupu says:

    ps Thanks too Eileen re 19d and the obvious As which nonetheless went past me I’m ashamed to say.

  10. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I started at the top and, as soon as I saw TRAFALGAR and LEICESTER, was looking for other squares (this being Rufus) which made it all pretty straightforward.

    I’m pretty sure that Brendan was trying for a pangram with this too – which would have made for an appropriate “special square.” He missed out on B (oddly) and X, which should prove to the naysayers that pangrams aren’t as easy to manufacture as all that!

  11. John Appleton says:

    A bit trickier than a Rufus, to my mind, but not too much so for a Monday. 19d COD – Nice misdirection with “As”.

    Pedant’s (or maybe pedants’) corner: Muffin @7, I’m sure your definition of a jack is correct, but I believe that the Flag Institute advises that “Union Jack” and “Union Flag” are interchangeable, regardless of where they’re flown. Probably something that’s developed from the common misunderstanding of what a jack is.

  12. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Brendan and Eileen

    Nice to get a bit of a breather with this one. Even so, there was a lot going on with it.

    The crew of four was well known down here with our Awesome Foursome in a couple of Olympics and one less than awesome womens one when one of them laid down in the final in Athens I think!

    Last in and cod was 19 – didn’t spot the obvious A’s either until coming here.

  13. rowland says:

    Yes, very easy, but with a complex themed kind of ‘intro’! Strange actually, and I’m not sure the combo works too well, but there’s reall accuracy in the clues – wow!!


  14. NeilW says:

    Just seen that @10 I said, “This being Rufus”!!

    Thank you for, Brendan, for a simple but pleasing puzzle and for not being Rufus on a Monday!

  15. William says:

    Thank you Eileen for explaining the additional ‘recalled’ in the MADRAS clue.

    Thinking about the TRAFALGAR clue, I feel sure Paul would have been unable to resist some sort of reversal!

    Best clue definitely TOP MARKS – completely missed the A reference.

    Nice puzzle, thanks you Brendan.

  16. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I did not understand the full parsing of 15,22 until I came here: I had not spotted that FOUR-SQUARE is a standard phrase and a few other of the 15,22 links passed me by. :(

  17. postrophe says:

    More on the Union Jack debate: the jack staff is found on the bow not the stern.

  18. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I really enjoyed this one, although it took me a while to finish, even when I’d worked out SQUARES and CIRCLES. As well as TRAFALGAR and LEICESTER, have we also got, at 18ac, a SET SQUARE?

    Delightful puzzle with many layers to it; thanks to Brendan too.

  19. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brendan and Eileen. I also missed the “recall” element of 5d and elder grandaughter is from Chennai!


  20. Moose says:


    I also had problems with the flag/jack interchangeability – especially since you ‘flag’ something up to ‘raise’ an issue/problem… Any reason (aside from the crossing letters) why Jack should be used?

    Otherwise a nice Monday puzzle to come back to after a week off :-)

  21. Rorschach says:

    Given I’ve spent my life in the metric system could someone explain the significance of SCAN?

    A fantastic puzzle – I thoroughly enjoy Brendan’s puzzles these days – utterly brilliant!

    Thanks Eileen as usual! Do hope you are well :)

  22. muffin says:

    Rorschach @ 21
    THere was a young man of Japan,
    Whose verses never would SCAN,
    When asked why it was,
    He said it’s because,
    I always try to get as many words into the last line as ever I possibly can.

  23. blaise says:

    Muffin, that’s very NON-metrical

  24. muffin says:

    My favourite, though, is:
    There is a young poet of Wick,
    Whose verse is unpleasant and sick,
    He distorts and deforms,
    All conventional norms…..

  25. Eileen says:

    Hi Rorschach @21

    I thought initially that Brendan was being a wee bit naughty with ‘metric’ [though it amused me] but I found that both Collins and Chambers give it as an alternative for ‘metrical’ – which makes a great clue, I think.

    [For a famous example of verse that doesn’t scan, see here: ]

  26. Martin P says:

    Thanks all.

    For some reason I saw “squares circles” straight off from the definition, meaning that much of the puzzle unravelled rather unsatisfyingly.

    However, there was still enough left to engage and entertain the mind.

    Otherwise I thought this quite closely resembled a Rufus Monday setting, curiously.

  27. Brendan (not that one) says:

    A nice pleasant start to the week.

    Complex, multi-layered and easy enough for the “Monday” brigade.

    Well done Brendan. (Again) and thanks to Eileen.

  28. Rorschach says:

    Brilliant RE SCAN – sometimes I’m so slow!

    Thanks all – how uncultured I am. However, having spent my undergrad life in St Andrews and crossed the Tay bridge in all its finery I am familiar with McGonagall’s bletherings!

  29. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I lost my broadband connection yesterday which meant I couldn’t complain about this puzzle.

  30. Mick H says:

    A pedant writes: Jill didn’t come to harm, she just tumbled after Jack, but was clearly not badly hurt as she was able to patch him up in the second verse with vinegar and brown paper.
    (Nice clue though!)

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