Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,832 / Crucible

Posted by Eileen on December 31st, 2012


Manehi has had travel problems today, so I’m a late substitute

A most enjoyable topical puzzle on the theme of bells from Crucible, with all his usual wit and ingenuity, with lots of clever and amusing misdirection.  I won’t delay the blog any longer by waxing lyrical, though I certainly could – I loved it! Many thanks, Crucible and a very Happy New Year to you and everyone else.

Definitions are underlined.

1 Grow into suit
double definition

9 Stoker’s back from Spanish resort, leaving girl
marbELLA [Spanish resort] minus reversal [back]  of BRAM [Stoker]

10 Training nights also covering day’s agenda
anagram [training] of NIGHTS + TOO [also] round [covering] D [day]

11,4 Winning three set out, appearing after 8
anagram [out] of  WINNING THREE

12 Bush in suitable place, one assumed originally
GARDEN [suitable place for a bush] + I [one] + A [assumed originally – thanks to mike@2]

13 Bird in illuminated tableau left by a British king
LIT [illuminated] + TabLEAU minus ab [left by a British] + K [king] – what a lovely construction!

15 Can good come of a little 2
TIN [can] + G [good] for a little CLANG [2dn]

16 Basis of economy in China more sound than 15
E [first letter – basis – of economy in PAL [China] – very clever misdirection!

17 Scottish team faces local team as outsiders
I think this is the first letters [faces?] of Scottish team + RANGERS [local team]

21 Stir nuts into evergreen mint
anagram [nuts] of STIR in PINE [evergreen]

22 In the style of eg Titanic wake-up calls?
À LA [in the style of] RMS [Royal Mail Steamer, eg Titanic]

24 They go 15 etc for you but not for me, dammit!
‘The bells of hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling [for you but not for me]’ was a First World War song and was used in ‘Oh! What a lovely war’.

25 Tax loss
double definition

26 Ship’s bell‘s old first note falls within range
UT [old name for the first note of the scale, now called doh] in LINE [range]

27 Wizard of Oz Dorothy initially cautioned
[Shane] WARNE [‘wizard of Australian cricket] + D [Dorothy initially]  – great surface!


1 Call independent Northern Ireland painter
BELL [call – as in ‘Give me a bell’] + I [independent] + NI [Northern Ireland]

2 20’s resonance a feature of Celtic languages
hidden in celtiC LANGuages

3 PM’s performance tense in headquarters
T [tense] in MAIN [head] + EE [quarters

5 Light opera with no plot twists, causing exodus
anagram [twists] of lIGHt opERA  minus plot – my favourite clue, I think

6 15 aren’t engaged in gossip
anagram [engaged] of TING [answer to 15] + AREN’T

7 Row in golf club curtailed match celebration
DIN [row] in WEDG[e] [golf club curtailed] – a lovely story-telling surface

8 Steptoe’s cry topped first of Lord’s seasonal line?
[b]RING OUT THE OLD [rag and bone man Steptoe’s cry ‘topped’] – but I don’t get the ‘first of Lord’s’] [Please see comments 6 and 7]

14 As conductor may comment on note: “I mean it!
double definition

16 Yank hosts exceptionally rich English barman

PULL [yank] round [entertains] RC [alternate letters – exceptionally – of RiCh] E [English] – witty definition for the English composer

8 Great Lake too reduced in extent
ALS[o] [too reduced] in AREA [extent]

19 Red plum duff not ordered
anagram [duff] of RED PLUM

20 Striker‘s being replaced after bad start
anagram [replaced] of BEING and B [bad start]

23 One of The Three Bells in W3

double definition:
Acton Bell was the pseudonym of Anne Brontë [Charlotte’s being Currer and Emily’s Ellis] and Acton is a district of London. [I forgot about this one when I said 5dn was my favourite!]

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,832 / Crucible”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks very much to Crucible for a really fun puzzle and to Eileen for explaining 2 or 3 that I hadn’t parsed.

    I think there is an &lit element to ARAL SEA as well – it is much reduced in area due to Russia’s irrigation policies.

  2. mike says:

    12a has “a” as first letter of “assumed”, I assumed…..

  3. Eileen says:

    Of course – thanks, mike.

  4. crypticsue says:

    What a lovely themed puzzle to end the year, thank you Crucible and Eileen too.

  5. Trailman says:

    Hello Eileen and happy new year to you and your fellow bloggers for enlightening us over the year. And thanks to to Crucible, rapidly becoming one of my favourites for his clever use of themes such as this.

    Plenty of good stuff here, not all of which I understood till I saw the blog. I had forgotten the Brontë-Bells (despite being seduced into Belle de Jour’s BBC blog on ‘anonymous’ this very morning) but do know how London postcodes work. The China misdirection sent me well up the garden path, so I tried hard to find a Chinese currency called Ping. HEGIRA I didn’t know, but I know Hajj, effectively its opposite, so worked it out from there.

    Match celebration = WEDDING. Wonderful. Don’t recall ‘barman’ for composer but maybe that’s just failing memory.

  6. jkb_ing says:

    8d. first line of Lord (Tennyson)’s seasonal poem, I think?

  7. rhotician says:

    “Ring out the old, ring in the new” is from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Ring Out, Wild Bells.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, both @6 and 7. Now I really am kicking myself. :-(

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A pleasant hour of entertainment.
    I thought ‘Warne’ was quite brilliant and I liked 13 ac.(especially ‘t(ab)leau’)
    Last in, although I never actually wrote it,was ‘Purcell’.
    I love the way Eileen so calmly writes that ‘exceptionally rich’ is ‘rc’.
    I am used to odds and evens and regular but have I somehow missed this new device; this combined with the ‘barman’ (I am used to ‘noted’ and ‘scaled’)
    made me reluctant to commit to HP.

  10. RCWhiting says:

    I should have added that,in spite of the supposed rules, this was a lovely surprise for a Monday.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Crucible

    A fine puzzle which I all but completed before going out (hegira was my last in on my return). Thanks for the parsing of that one – I kick myself for missing the unlikely anagram. I also missed the Bell/Bronte reference till I googled Acton Bell. And I missed the Alfred Lawn Tennisball reference too.
    There is a nice story about the noble lord that he visited King’s College, Cambridge where he was introduced to Oliver Browning who was one of the fellows. ‘I’m Browning’ said the hapless Oliver. ‘No you are not!’ responded T.
    My favourite clues were 13a, 16a, and 16d.

  12. Miche says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    Most enjoyable, though I failed to parse PEAL and raised an eyebrow at “exceptionally” in 16a. ACTON my favourite of all the bells.

    I hope 20d rings in a happy new year for all bloggers, setters and commenters. May 2013 be good to you.

  13. Derek Lazenby says:

    Jolly fun indeed despite getting stuck with 3 to go.

    RCW @10? At the risk of repeating myself, what rules? There aren’t any. There are guidelines. You understand the consequential difference of course.

  14. Stella says:

    A happy new year to all, and thznks to Eileen for stepping in. I finished this this morning, but was left with several doubts about parsing, so was looking formard to coming here.

    Thanks also to tupu, for making me laugh out loud by reminding me of the sort of quip my father would come up with, probably from his time in the RAF, given that one of them was “He jumped from forty thousand feet without a parachute,… and he ain’t gonna jump no more” (when in mass singing “My eyes have seen the glory…”) :-)

  15. Stella says:

    More apropos, though, would be “Land of Soap and Water” :-)

  16. Robi says:

    Difficult surprise for a Monday.

    Thanks Eileen; I didn’t get the parsing of ELLA. I didn’t know the HELLS BELLS context, nor the ACTON connection. The ‘barman’ had me scratching my head for a while.

    Happy New Year [celebrations] to everyone!

  17. David Mop says:

    I couldn’t finish the top left as I had “Bram” for 9A. (And I still think it fits the clue just as well as “Ella”. :-( )

  18. MikeC says:

    Thanks Crucible and Eileen. Good fun and quite tricky. I failed on 16a, entering “plan” – the basis for China’s economy (maybe no longer!). Couldn’t link it adequately to “ting”, so I was not surprised to find I’d got it wrong :-(

    Happy New Year to all.

  19. David Mop says:

    I had the same trouble as MikeC with 16A. It’s one of the new type of clues, where the wordplay is more of a comment on the solution than a means of reaching it.

  20. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Hmmm. Some iffy ones today.

    20d: Big Ben is striken by a striker. Would you define a car as a driver?

    14d: just random words to me. I’ve never heard of anyone emphasising a point by saying “that’s flat!” “That’s that!” more likely.

    16a: not at all convinced by basis to mean first letter. Last letter perhaps.

    16d: I’m another left uncertain by exceptionally meaning alternately.

    However I enjoyed 2012’s last challenge & look forward to next year’s light-bulb moments & pencil-throwing fits of annoyance.

    Happy New Year to all setters, bloggers & everyone else under the misled-toe!

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Eileen, for stepping in.
    I started this puzzle just after midnight (in bed!) and was amazed to see how I was breezing through it.
    A fine puzzle to say goodbye to 2012. I think, it was doable enough for those who were expecting something lightweight, and adventurous enough for those wanting to have a non-Monday challenge.
    And although I didn’t find this the hardest of Crucibles, the SW defeated me (14d, 24ac, 26ac).
    Unlike Miche and Monkeypuzzler I liked the ‘exceptionally’ device in 16d.
    Just like I admired 17ac (STRANGERS) with ‘faces’ for me with a ! and not a ?.
    ‘Basis of’ for the first letter – I think, it’s OK.

    A lot to enjoy today.
    Happy New Year to everyone.

  22. ToniL says:

    Sorry to anyone if I’ve missed it but has anyone commented on the ‘New Year’ connection with 5d?

  23. muck says:

    Well done Crucible and Eileen
    Happy New Year to all at 15sqd

  24. tupu says:

    Happy New Year to ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :)

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Up with numerology!

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi Monkeypuzzler @20

    I didn’t make all the comments that I might have today, as I was anxious to get the blog posted as soon as possible. I did notice that ‘exceptionally’ was a device that I don’t think I’ve come across before and, like Sil, I like it.

    I agree with Sil, too, about ‘basis of’ for the first letter. I didn’t really think twice about it, thinking of a basis as being a starting point, which is borne out, now I look, by Chambers: ‘groundwork or first principle’ and Collins: ‘a principle on which something depends or from which something has issued’. I think it could also be used for the last letter, as you say, [but only in a down clue?]

    I’ll grant that those are both ‘Marmite’ devices, on which we’ll have to agree to differ.

    But as to your other quibbles:

    Do you not talk of Big Ben striking midnight?

    And ‘That’s flat’ caused me no problems at all: Chambers has ‘I tell you plainly’ and there’s more authentication here:

    Apart from that, how did you enjoy the play? ;-)

    Thanks, tupu – and for the Alfred Lawn Tennisball!

  27. RCWhiting says:

    Eileen @ 26
    ” I did notice that ‘exceptionally’ was a device that I don’t think I’ve come across before ”
    Hence my comment @ 9. I was only admiring your insouciance.
    I quite liked it too, it is usually good to see innovations.

  28. Michael Morrell says:

    Great clues,though I thouht Bellini was a composer.

  29. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I had filled in MATINÉE without being able to parse it :(

  30. RCWhiting says:

    Michael @28
    He was (Vincenzo) but also a painter (Giovanni).

  31. Eileen says:

    Hi ToniL @22

    Apologies for somehow having overlooked your comment. That’s something that had completely passed me by, so thanks. [I choose to think that this is another failure through lack of time. ;-) ]

  32. Bertandjoyce says:

    Well, we are two of the 60 ish% who are not out celebrating this evening. This puzzle however was a reasonable substitute given the theme!

    Some good misdirections and innovations as mentioned above although we do vaguely remember ‘exceptionally’ being used in Another Place.

    Can’t be bothered to wait until midnight to be the first comment in 2013 (GMT) but Haapy New Year to one and all, especially Crucible and Eileen for standing in!

  33. Bertandjoyce says:

    Decided to watch the fireworks so perhaps we can be.

    Happy New Year!

  34. Audrey says:

    I don’t understand what pal has to do wit China in 16a.

  35. NeilW says:

    Happy New Year to all and, to Audrey @34, cockney rhyming slang: china plate = mate and, thus, PAL.

  36. Paul B says:

    CHINA has a seperate entry in Collins for ‘friend, a companion’ and can thus legitimately be so defined without reference to the rhyming slang connection.

  37. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Crucible and Eileen

    Very late to comment here – was one of the banked up puzzles and it took a few days to actually get out – harder than some prizes in my opinion. My hold ups were the same three as Sil in the SW along with 16. Eventually came across the WW1 song to put me out of my misery – still think that this corner was one of the hardest for a long time. Had not heard of the phrase THAT’S FLAT before and it took a bit of digging to find it on the net as well. Also did not know the LUTINE BELL in at Lloyds.

    As commented above, there were many fine clues and a great contest with some new learning to finish the year.

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