Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,860 by Brendan

Posted by PeterO on February 1st, 2013


Again, I have had a problem (quite different this time) with a utility. Is it out to get me? At least, I am getting adept at the work-around.

This puzzle has a thoroughgoing theme of Sherlock Holmes, with some related matters thrown in. I found it not difficult, but pleasing.

5. Doing crosswords and so on? Not I — I’m a philosopher (6)
HOBBES HOBB[i]ES (‘doing crosswords and so on’) without the I (‘not I’), for the 16-17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, best known for the book Leviathan, in which he says that the natural life of man without a political state is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
6. Take back ringleader, you heard, caught by English policeman (6)
RECOUP An envelope (‘caught by’) of U (‘you heard’) in R (‘Ringleader’) plus E (‘English’) plus COP (‘policeman’).
9. Part of sentence, as separately entered in this, for example (6)
CLAUSE A and S (‘as separately’) in CLUE (‘this, for example’).
10. Asia trip arranged for 5 down in retirement (8)
APIARIST An anagram (‘arranged’) of ‘Asia trip’. The first of the directly themed Sherlock Holmes clues: in His Last Bow, Holmes came out of retirement on a Sussex farm, where he had taken up beekeeping.
11. Piece of clothing repeatedly featuring in detective’s travestied investigation (4)
VEST Hidden three times in ‘detectiVES TraVESTied inVESTigation’.
12. Simplelike copper, say (10)
ELEMENTARY … My dear Watson, as Holmes never said. As copper is chemically an element, this is a double definition.
13. Tries scheme that goes awry, resulting in lists of offences (5,6)
CRIME SHEETS An anagram (‘that goes awry’) of ‘tries scheme’.
18. Old character in fictional case I caught on river with fish eggs (7,3)
RICHARD ROE A charade of R (‘river’) plus ‘I’ plus C (‘caught’) plus HARD ROE (‘fish eggs’). The definition seems a little odd: surely it is the name that is fictional, not the case.
21. 5 down initially seen in connexion with American fraud (4)
SHAM An envelope (‘seen in’) of H (‘5 down initially'; the answer to 5D is Holmes) in SAM (Uncle, ‘connexion with American’).
22. Inspector quickly moves back inside sheltered position (8)
LESTRADE An envelope (‘inside’) of STRAD, a reversal (‘back’) of DARTS (‘quickly moves’) in LEE (‘sheltered position’), for the Police Inspector in the Holmes stories.
23. Prejudice wrongly treated as crime, mostly (6)
RACISM An anagram (‘wrongly treated’) of ‘as crim[e]’ cut short (‘mostly’).
24. Oddly deficient clue thus confused investigator (6)
SLEUTH An anagram (‘confused’) of ‘[c]l[u]e’ (‘oddly deficient’) plus ‘thus’.
25. Landlady with a bank near Wall Street (6)
HUDSON Double definition: the West River is the estuary of the River Hudson in New York; and Holmes’ landlady.
1. Kind of criminal, awfully bad, disrupted court (8)
ABDUCTOR Anagrams (‘awfully’) of ‘bad’, and (‘disrupted’) of ‘court’.
2. Withdraw from some case, detective being extremely selective (6)
SECEDE First ans last letters (‘extremely selective’) of ‘SomE CasE DetectivE‘. An unusual construction.
3. Boxer, possibly, was this dog (8)
PEKINESE Double definition: the Boxers were the Chinese Righteous Harmony Society, who staged the Boxer Rebellion at the end of the 19th century.
4. Journey north twice broken by old private eye (6)
POIROT A reversal (‘north’, in a down light) of TRIP (‘journey’) with O (‘old’) inserted twice.
5. Consultant whose medical assistant chronicled his cases (6)
HOLMES Cryptic definition.
7. Hesitation among group of constables, mostly — three-pipe problems? (6)
POSERS An envelope (‘among’) of ER (‘hesitation’) in POSS[e] (‘group of constables, mostly’).
8. Where, in London, dozens of tradesmen are generous? (5,6)
BAKER STREET I take it that the question mark indicates the homophone of BAKERS TREAT (‘dozens of tradesmen are generous’, with an oblique reference to “bakers’ dozen”). 221B provides another thematic reference, of course.
14. Notorious professor misrepresented Tory aim about part of basic education (8)
MORIARTY An envelope (‘about’) of R (‘part of basic education’, reference the three Rs) in MORIATY, an anagram (‘misrepresented’) of ‘ Tory aim’.
15. Part of legislature’s act setting up exemplary legal process (4,4)
TEST CASE Hidden (‘part of’) reversed (‘up’) in ‘legislaturES ACT SETting’.
16. Information’s provided about four — from which certain conclusions may be deduced (6)
GIVENS An envelope (‘provided about’) of IV (‘four, Roman numeral) in GENS (‘information’s’).
17. Things scheduled, apart from hospital, for famous doctor (6)
WATSON W[h]ATS ON (‘things scheduled’) minus the H (‘apart from hospital’).
19. Wrongfully take them in as killers (6)
HITMEN An anagram (‘wrongfully take’) of ‘them in’.
20. Visibly unhappy after rejecting first reprimand (6)

35 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,860 by Brendan”

  1. Tonil says:

    Easyish Brendan particularly with the theme.

    Thank-you Brendan and PeterO.

    Only thing to add, I parsed 21 slightly differently.

    Initials SH (Sherlock Holmes) and Am (as in PanAm)

  2. michelle says:

    This is probably one of the first times I quickly realised that I was doing a themed puzzle. I greatly enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes and general law & order theme.

    First in were ‘BAKER STREET’, ‘CRIME SHEETS’ and ‘MORIARTY’ so I had no reason NOT to see the theme!

    I needed help via google with 18a and 5a, and then decided I liked 18a and 22a the best today. Regarding 18a I agree with you that it is the name RICHARD ROE that is fictional rather than the case.

    Although I “solved” them, I found it hardest to parse 3d, 5a, 7d, 15d, 17d and 10a so thanks for the blog, PeterO.

  3. michelle says:

    Tonil@1, I also parsed 21a the same way as you as I have gotten used to ‘AM’ being an abbreviation for ‘American’ so I did not even think of ‘SAM’ for American.

  4. Paul says:

    I got messed up for a time because at 20 down I put in the “obvious” BERATE, meaning reprimand, with word play of BE IRATE without the initial I of IRATE (and the 23A checker that I had fits too). It took me forever to remember Holmes’ landlady’s name with the wrong checker throwing me off.

    I parsed SHAM with the SAM approach although seeing it now I’m sure SH+AM was Brendan’s intention.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. Although a policing theme seemed at once on the cards, none of the across clues revealed themselves first off: it took the too-easy 5d to open the door. Sleuthing thereafter, however, was no doddle. The HUDSON landlady was well hidden, and 18a, last in, only remained when all other possibilities had been eliminated. Nice work Brendan.

  6. CynicCure says:

    Super crossword from Brendan, who is one my favourite setters. We don’t see enough of him.

    Thank you PeterO. A very minor point – you’ve spelled ELEMENTARY wrongly at 12a.

  7. Andrew says:

    Thanks Peter. I’m normally a big fan of Brendan, but I didn’t think this was one of his best. 8dn (which really needs a proper homophone indicator) leapt out at me straight away, perhaps helped by the heavy hint of “three-pipe problems” in the clue above, after which it was easy to mop up the thematic answers, most of which were very obviously clued; 5d is hardly cryptic at all. The other clues were generally very straightforward as well, so it was all over rather too quickly.

  8. Chris says:

    I’m going to be a dissenting opinion on 8dn – I don’t think it’s a homophone at all; rather Brendan is saying that on Baker Street the tradesmen’s dozens would be generous (since the tradesmen would naturally be bakers, so their dozens would contain 13 items).

  9. Ian Payn says:

    I agree with Chris@8. I don’t think it’s a homophone either. The clue stands up exactly as Chris describes it.

  10. PaulW says:

    Enjoyed this crossword. Only sticking point was “Richard Roe” whom I had never heard of except as a cricketer:

  11. Mitz says:

    Thanks Brendan and PeterO.

    I’m with Andrew @7 – once the theme was twigged (pretty early on, and funnily enough for me it was LESTRADE that let me in) there were too many write-ins. There were many times that the crossing letters I had gave me a Holmes-ish idea (MORIARTY, WATSON, ELEMENTARY, HUDSON and HOLMES himself) and only a very perfunctory glance at the clue confirmed my suspicions. Certainly not even a two-pipe problem, never mind a three.

    That said, RICHARD ROE made me pause as I was more familiar with his brother “John”, and I only wrote in PEKINESE reluctantly, having totally forgotten the Boxer Rebellion. POIROT seemed a bit out of place and was my last in.

    However, there were some neat clues, the best of which were HOBBES and SLEUTH.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Brendan

    I enjoyed this though I was much helped by seeing the theme at once since Holmes was my first entry.

    I think Chris @8 must be right though I fell for the homophone idea when solving. Iagree with others re SH + AM in 21a.

    Thanks for the clarification re Richard Roe.

    Last in and my favourite was 3d.

  13. Meic says:

    Typical Brendan – breathtakingly brilliant construction, but very easily solved.
    I think 5Ac is another Holmes reference, as Carleton Hobbs (no “e” though) was one of the great interpreters of the role on the Beeb in the late 1960s.

  14. William says:

    Thanks PeterO.

    This yielded rather quickly once the theme was identified.

    Who was Richard Roe? I knew PaulW’s cricketer but what’s he doing here. Anyone?

    Lastly, PeterO, you may have a little typo at 15d – isn’t it legislature?

  15. Andrew says:

    On reflection I agree with Chris et al about 8d, making it a better clue than I thought, though still very easy.

    Richard Roe’s sister Jane is well known as the anonymous (though subsequently identified) plaintiff in the landmark US case on abortion, Roe v. Wade.

  16. Mitz says:

    “Richard Roe” is a name given to an unidentified male (in cases where their identity is to be protected or simply not known) if there is more than one and “John Doe” has been taken.

  17. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Peter

    The barely cryptic 5d leapt out at me (as it did tupu) and the rest of the puzzle was thence virtually all write-in – much faster for me than the average Rufus!

    Fun, nevertheless, as Brendan always produces a good variety of well crafted clues with plausible surfaces. My favourite today was the ‘reverse hidden’ 15d. I had also interpreted BAKER STREET as an unmarked homophone clue, but the cryptic def explanation is much more convincing.

  18. michelle says:

    Andrew@15, I think that Jane (Doe) is John Doe’s female equivalent or “sister” if you prefer, not Richard Roe’s.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog.

    I was puzzled by RICHARD ROE even though I managed to construct it from the clue and the crossers. Thanks to 15sq for explaining it.

    When I came to 22a I thought of Holmes’ Yard inspector and decided his name was Lestrange – which has too many letters so I did not put it in. Eventually I saw the light :(

  20. Rowland says:

    Richard Roe is the second unknown person, John Doe the first.


  21. Trailman says:

    I had Roe v Wade at the back of my mind too, but progress on this clue (last in for me too) was slowed by my forgetting that ROE can be proceeded by HARD (or indeed SOFT).

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I seem to be well out of step with this one.
    I found it very tricky involving lots of deep thinking.
    There were several GK clues which I had a vague inkling of (Pekinese, apiarist) or no knowledge of (R.Roe, I was obsessed with Wade v. and ignored the ‘hard’ part – my last in).
    A strange theme since it was not cross referenced in many cases but it had no effect on my solving.
    5 down is not at all cryptic.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this, well done compiler.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    One of the problems with themed puzzles is that often you can just throw away the wordplay and just use the definitions, as here.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    Well,Derek,there’s a turn up for the book.
    And I will not say a word of objection to your comment.

  25. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog, & Brendan for a non-taxing start to a Friday.

    Although I have a rare talent for missing themes (even if “THERE IS A THEME TO TODAY’S CROSSWORD” was printed in 72-point bold text & underlined three times, I would miss it two times out of three), I did spot this one straight off!

    I did think 5d rather weak though. It could reasonably appear as a clue in the Quick. Also perhaps too many anagrams? My offering for 1d would be something like Criminal muscle? (8)

    My understanding of John Doe/Richard Roe is that they are architypal names for an anonymous or unknown plaintiff/defendant respectively.

    And how about Brendan suggesting doing crosswords is a hobby(5a)? Heavens, it’s a thankless task that someone has to do. These grids don’t fill themselves in.

  26. Mitz says:

    If we’re going to start offering alternative clues, then I reckon we should start with 5d today, which depending on your point of view was either too easy, too obvious or simply not cryptic, especially as it was the main signpost for the theme.

    “Detective abhors salmon: fleshy insides (6)”

  27. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Mitz @26

    Nice one, especially as it complements 2d in it’s methodology.

  28. buddy says:

    21ac, if you switch “with” and “in”, becomes “scam”. Just thought you’d like to know.

  29. muffin says:

    I wasn’t intending to comment today, but Derek Lazenby’s post @23 so echoed my own thoughts about this crossword that I decided to post my agreement.

  30. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Not difficult but pleasing is about right, I think. Not one of Brendan’s trickiest, but some nice clueing nonetheless. Thank you to S&B.

  31. claire says:

    Enjoyable, but certainly only a one pipe problem, if that. Elementary, even.

    Having said that, it highlighted, for me, the inherent problem with themed crosswords – if you know the theme, the rest is a write in. I still enjoy working out how the clues work, though, and these were good fun

  32. Kriscros says:

    For me it was gentle but still amusing, thanks go to Brendan and PeterO

    Parsed 8d just as Chris @ 8 did without cogitation

    Confectionary surfaces to a readily unlocked grid

  33. Jford says:

    Is 5D cryptic? Is there a decision?

    Off the point, is it politic to try out clues here? I’m assuming not or everyone would do it. But, from a very US point of view: “Someone new in the Great Lakes finds justice.”

    I won’t do it again–promise.

  34. Brendan (not that one) says:

    As many have said this was all too easy once the theme revealed itself which wasn’t too long into the solve.

    Only hold up was RICHARD ROE. I’ve not heard of this so I was looking for a Holmes character called ROE!

    Thanks to PeterO and my namesake.

  35. Thomas99 says:

    8d still hasn’t been corrected in the blog…

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

nine × = 27