Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,811 – Brummie

Posted by Andrew on December 5th, 2012


I took a while to get started on this, but one of my earlier answers was 11, which led me to 22 and 4,26, after which the rest followed without too much difficulty. An enjoyable workout, with a good theme for me. Thanks Brumnmie.

Two composers and their works are featured – Antonín Dvorák and George Gershwin, with a guest appearance by Ivor Novello in 23. (Apologies to Dvorák for missing out the accent over his R – I’m having trouble making it appear correctly and don’t have time to sort it out now.)

8. DEBONAIR A DEB is “coming out” or emergent, and ON AIR = broadcasting
10. PSST SS (vessel) in PT (Platinum)
11. HUMORESQUE M[ajor] in (QUEUE HOURS)* less one U (socially acceptable). Dvorák wrote a set of nine Humoresques, of which this one is by far the most famous.
12. SWEATY WASTE* + [sweene]Y
14. HYACINTH Double definition – flower that grows from a bulb and Hyacinth Bucket from the Tv series “Keeping Up Appearances”
17. IMITATE I’M IT (setter’s the thing) + ATE (polished off). Definition =ape (copy)
20. ESSENCES ESSEN + “tops” of Central European Situation
22. DVORAK V O in DARK* for the Czech composer
23. OMNIVOROUS IVOR [Novello] in OM[i]NOUS
25. EXACT Double defintion, the second using an old-fashioned meaning of “nice”
1. GERSHWIN RANGERS less RAN (managed) + H[ome] WIN. Our second composer.
2,9. FORT WORTH “Fought” + WORTH. The city of Fort Worth, Texas is close to Dallas and shares an airport with it.
3. SASHAY HAS* in SAY (e.g.), with “square dance movement” as the definition
4,26. FROM THE NEW WORLD (MONTH DR WEREWOLF)* for Dvorák’s last symphony
5. SWORD-ARM I think this is just a cryptic definition, but maybe I’m missing something
7. THRUST H[at] in TRUST
13,15. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Gershwin’s Tone Poem (based on the music he wrote for the film of the same name), and Warhol at the Louvre would be an American in Paris
16. INCHOATE (TO CHINA)* + [hors]E.
18. TRAMMELS The first third of MELbourne in TRAMS
19. ASTOUND Hidden in hAS TO UNDergo
21,24a. SUMMERTIME SUMMER (adder) + TIME (stretch, as in a prison sentence) for the well-known song fronm Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”
22. DISOWN IS (lives) in DOWN
24. THOR Homophone of “thaw” (soften)

43 Responses to “Guardian 25,811 – Brummie”

  1. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew

    I really enjoyed this one, and rattled through it, although it appeared daunting at first glance. I am similarly at a loss as to how to insert the ‘hacek’ in DVORÁK (BTW, accented letters have separate tiles in Czech Scrabble). Perhaps someone can tell us the appropriate HTML code? Are you listening, Alberich?

    1d confused me, because Glasgow Rangers is often referred to simply as ‘GERS (hence the subtraction of RAN is superfluous). I particularly liked 8a, 17a, 6d, 16d. Last in was ASTOUND; a well disguised ‘hidden’ clue, which I was convinced was (HOUSING)*.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the great blog, Andrew. I’m sure Dvo?ák [I copied that from Wikipedia ;-) ] will forgive you.

    My way in followed much the same pattern as yours. I didn’t get the GERS parsing in 1dn, though, so thanks for that.

    A lovely puzzle – right up my street, too. The New World Symphony was the first LP I bought.

    I think there might be quibbles about MEL as one third of the city, but the TRAMS made the solution obvious.

    Many thanks, Brummie – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. Stella says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brummie. My experience was similar to others’, though I didn’t know 11ac, so the NE corner was the last in.

    You may want to check your parsing of 17ac. – the definition is “ape” and the wordplay gives ATE = “polished off” :-)

  4. William says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    What a smashing puzzle, really enjoyed it. Toughish but fair.

    Needed your blog for Mrs Bucket – never heard of her.

    Lovely to be reminded of the old-fashioned definition of ‘nice’ – as in “a nice billiards shot”. Implies precision with just the right amount of effort.

    Bravo Brummie, more please.

  5. Andrew says:

    Oops, thanks Stella – 17a now corrected.

  6. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brummie. Only managed PSST on the first run through but then guessed the musical numbers and then it was easy. By the way, Eileen: who is Dvo?ák?

  7. Eileen says:

    What’s happened to my ‘Dvo?ák’ @2? It was fine when I first posted – as is this one!

  8. .molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. No trouble here, despite the barest familiarity with Dvorak and his works. The answer, though it seemed obvious early, that troubled/s me most: SWORD-ARM. Anybody?

  9. Eileen says:

    That’s weird – the preview was perfect!

  10. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    molonglo @8, I think Andrew’s right: it’s just a cryptic definition.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    Re the cryptic definition for 5a – I think the intended sense is that you could use your sword arm to split the enemy (opposition) in two, a nice clue, but my first thought was actually about the distance between the government and opposition in the House of Commons (measured as two swords + arms, so they can’t kill each other).

    I liked the musical references – I was surprisingly slow to get them (I like both of them). I kept expecting another American I think. Re Hyacinth Bucket, I was also slow to get this, probably because it hasn’t been on much recently, but a Canadian contributor on the (now almost unnavigable) Guardian site found it easy enough – it’s obviously still going down well over there. I couldn’t help thinking Brummie was a bit tired when he got to “Trammels”, assuming we’re right about Melbourne – either that or it was a late edit. But he kept it straightforward so fair enough I suppose.

    Thanks for the blog.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    Eileen @ 9. As far as I can see, when you copy the text from a web page, you get just the characters; behind the scenes there is some styling being applied as the page is displayed, to which you will not have access. I wondered about doing the same as you, but also wondered if it might constitute plagiarism – how big is the atom of plagiarism?

    Thanks, Andrew. I enjoyed this and didn’t find it too difficult. First in was DVORAK.

  13. Peter Murray-Rust says:

    @1 @7 @9. Please excuse the length of this reply but some readers may find it interesting.

    This is a problem of character encoding which those on the anglophone world are spared from. There are over 111,000 characters potentially in use in the world and at the start of the electronic era there were many different standards leading to the present problems (characters displayed as ?, etc.). There is a universal solution (UTF-8 encoding of Unicode characters) but unfortunately many software systems don’t employ it. It is possible that the authoring system on the blog is corrupting characters outside the “normal” Anglophone range (technically ANSI).

    The character under discussion is formally described as
    Unicode Character ‘LATIN SMALL LETTER R WITH CARON’ (U+0159)
    and is described in detail at
    (as are another 65,000+ code points). The same visual effect (but not the same representation) can be achieved by combining the normal R with a diacritic caron (i.e. two distinct characters)

    If you are able to author in XHTML in this system the character can be represented by an & (ampersand) followed by #345; displayed (in brackets) as (ř) [Note that until I submit this I don't know whether it will work!]

    For those who want to know more there is a well written and very entertaining account (The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)) at:

  14. Robi says:

    Clever setting to pack it all in, although I’m not a great fan of being bounced around from clue to clue. I felt quite dizzy at the beginning.

    Thanks Andrew; I’m not sure why the definition of FROM THE NEW WORLD was 13,15 rather than just 13. Have I missed something?

    My way in was via SUMMER=ADDER; then I thought we were in for a GERSHWIN-fest. I’ll try Eileen’s trick with Dvo?ák and see if it gets the same result. I’m more familiar with SASHAY relating to models on catwalks rather than to square dances, but each to his/her own. ;) I stared at HYACINTH for a long time before the bucket dropped!

  15. Robi says:

    and, yes, I’ll try again: Dvo?ák

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Brummie’s one of the Guardian setters I often struggle with, so I was pleased to finish this one eventually. The two composers and their works are pretty well known, so a fair enough theme.

    ASTOUND was my last in too – usually a sign of a very well crafted hidden answer.

  17. Robi says:

    OK, the character came from the Arial library in Word, so I’ll stop playing as it obviously is not read properly in html or whatever.

  18. Mitz says:

    Thanks Brummie and Andrew.

    Enjoyed this. Antonin (I’m not even going to bother trying to muck about with special characters, but thanks very much for your efforts at #13 PMR) was my first in – not a promising start if, like me, you start with a numerical sweep, but everything fell in reasonably steadily after that. I foolishly thought I knew how to spell “prosciutto” and just blithely shoved it in with the “i” and the “u” the wrong way round, which made “Hyancinth” more of a challenge than it should have been. Also embarrassingly, “Thor” was my last in, as even though the snow has come and gone in just a few hours this morning “thaw” simply didn’t occur to me for ages.

    Gershwin must have appeared in dozens of crosswords, but I reckon this is the best clue I’ve ever seen for him.

  19. Sylvia says:

    Debonair was my first in until sword arm occurred to me from the shape of the spacing, as did ‘from the new world’, both of which I was delighted to discover fitted the clue. Strange how your brain manages to do this! The remaining answers continued to please. Wonderful half-hour’s entertainment, Brummie, and many thanks.

  20. Robi says:

    Peter @13; thanks for the explanation. I missed it with the site playing up when I tried to post a comment.

  21. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Brummie and Andrew.

    Like others, Astound was the last in. What a clue!

    Hyacinth brought a smile – a favourite character.

    Peter Murray-Rust @13 – wow!

    Giovanna x

    All good fun

  22. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Brummie and Andrew. Lovely puzzle. My first in was ODIN at 24d. I thought that ODIN could equate to Zero Noise which could very loosely translate to soften sound. Wrong! Eventually entered THOR but had to come here to get the explanation. Turns out I’m the only one that pronounces that word “thore”. Had the same problem with Fought Worth. But the learning experience is a reason why I love doing these puzzles.


  23. Trailman says:

    This looked like being a slog on first run through (ten minute train journey to French class) with just PSST to show. With themes though you know that a way in can fill a lot of squares quickly and so it proved – HUMORESQUE first, then the Czech composer who is causing so much trouble, and all unfolded rapidly from then on. (At French class we talked a bit about opera and maybe that was just enough to get the creative juices flowing.)

    TRAMMELS entered with little enthusiasm. Guessed there must be a nine-letter city with MEL in it but maybe I needed Strine class to help with that.

  24. muffin says:

    Thanks makes at least three of us who had a grid with only PSST entered for some considerable time!

  25. Eileen says:

    Thank you , Peter Murray-Rust @13. Wow. [I've been out in the meantime, so apologies for the delay.]

    Sorry, all, for the trouble – that’s what comes of trying to be clever. :-( ]

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    An enjoyable solve. I am no exoert but the musical references all seemed to be very popular examples so the cryptics gave me the answers.
    Robi @14
    I think just ‘American’ would not indicate the ‘from the’ part of 4,26.
    Last in was ‘essences’. Favourite was ‘astound’; as said above this was a very nice misleading piece of hiding.
    I too was looking for something extra for ‘sword-arm’ but nobody has found anything other than the cryptic (?) definition.
    I guess the Mel(bourne) came to my mind (and others’) quite quickly, probably because it was the leading third. If it had been otherwise then I think the setter would have been chancing his arm.

  27. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Brummie

    A ‘nice’ puzzle which I solved in bits and pieces between various expected and unexpected chores. One was that my computer screen images suddenly went sideways on, so one had to manipulate the mouse in counter-intuitive ways. I eventually turned the monitor itself on its side and then solved the problem via google. :) A good example of lateral thinking? (The solution seems to be control and alt plus upward arrow).

    Overall very enjoyable. I ticked 1a, 23a, 2,9, 5d (as a cryptic def),and 19d but others pleased also.

  28. Gervase says:

    Thanks to Peter M-R @13. I haven’t come across the name ‘caron’ for the inverted circumflex used in Czech, Slovenian, Croatian and some other languages with Latin script; I know it by the name ‘hacek’ (which should itself have one over the ‘c’!), the Czech name, and by which it is listed in Chambers and the SOED, which don’t have ‘caron’, (at least in my editions).

    The Czech ‘r with caron’, as in Dvorák, is commonly pronounced by non-Czechs as ‘rzh’, but is more properly a raised alveolar trill, a vary rare phoneme indeed.

  29. Robi says:

    Thanks RCW @26; my reasoning was that AN AMERICAN is FROM THE NEW WORLD, whether he is in Paris, London or even New York. It’s a small point though.

  30. Robi says:

    Gervase @28, thanks – see

  31. Wanderer says:

    Enjoyed the caron/hacek debate almost as much as the puzzle. It should of course be remembered that Leslie Caron starred in An American in Paris and NOT Leslie Hacek…

    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  32. Bamberger says:

    Having usually few problems with Brummie’s alter ego Cyclops, I thought I’d have a bash at this -and after 45 minutes gave up with only 17a solved.
    Main problem was the number of interlinked clues-e/g 22a sends you to 4 & 26 which in turn sends you to 13 & 15 which sends you to 1.
    Apart from that just too hard for me. Rangers from the zillions of football teams and unknowns of inchoate and humoresque.
    Should have got the hidden but don’t really think it was likely I’d have got any other if I’d spent all day!

  33. buddy says:

    Aren’t Melbourne trams especially noteworthy? I seem to remember there’s some strange ritual when driving in Melbourne about the lane you wait it when turning so as not to be demolished by them. Perhaps some Strine contributor could help.

  34. POS says:

    Yes Buddy, there are certain intersections where to turn right (we drive on the left) you have to get in the left lane (the streets are wide and possibly up to 3 lanes either way) and wait until the traffic clears (essentially when the lights turn amber) and then you turn ie you turn right from the further most left lane. It’s somewhat strange and a good reason to live in Sydney as do I.

  35. Dave Ellison says:

    GrandPuzzler at 29. No, you’re not the only one. But I have pointed this sort of thing out so often, I thought I would hold back today.

  36. Robi says:

    Wanderer @31 – nice one!

  37. Peter Murray-Rust says:

    Thanks for the positive responses.

    It is the cut-and-paste operation that destroys the encoding. Typing the numeric character reference in HTML will almost always work. So type:
    Dvořák and you should get Dvořák on the blog. [Note: this system will corrupt HTML refrences such as & - you must use numbers.]

    There are some wonderful words in typography that might make an amusing themed crossword. They include Guillemet, Interrobang, Macron, Obelus and Solidus, Tilde, and Pilcrow. Add characters such as Eth and Thorn …

  38. Eileen says:

    Please, Peter Murray-Rest, don’t encourage them! ;-)

  39. Martin P says:

    Peter Murray-Rust

    “..There are some wonderful words in typography that might make an amusing themed crossword. They include Guillemet…”


    I think “wonderful” should have been like that: entre guillemets.

  40. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Well a second disappointing day for me. Worst Brummie ever IMHO (and I usually enjoy him/her?)

    Poor surfaces I thought and very “contrived”.

    First in was PSST and nothing much else after the first pass. Oh dear!!! Word play gave American in Paris quite soon after. This was typical of the puzzle as I solved most of the references backwards!! American in Paris to Gershwin etc.

    Nobody has commented on the use of “sad” as an anagrind? Have I been abroad too long (2 weeks) or is it the alcohol?

    Anyway it was finished I’m and looking forward hopefully to some amusement tomorrow.

    Thanks to Andrew and Brummie. (Also to P Murray-Rust for the link which I will digest in a more sober state tomorrow. I do remember Unicode being introduced and had some professional interest in its mainframe implementation. Never did get round to reading a full article on it though!!! We shall see ;-))

  41. Lennie says:

    Spent an enjoyable hour on this one. But please can anyone tell me why “Scorer” is needed in 1 down?

  42. mistley says:

    Hi Lennie @41

    Scorer is the definition as in composer

  43. Martymutt says:

    5d pans out if the opposition is a swarm and the member is a rod*

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