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Last week I left you with this clue:

Patriotic song, Arne air Butlin’s broadcast (4,9)

and noted that the answer had a connection with the Last Night of the Proms which takes place at the Royal Albert Hall in London tomorrow evening.

The word ‘broadcast’ is a hint that an anagram is involved, since – as well as the more familiar meaning (transmission of a radio or TV programme) – the verb ‘to broadcast’ can mean to spread.  One can broadcast seeds by throwing them (scattering them is a better word) on to the ground by hand.  The full definition is here.

So, if the thirteen letters in ‘Arne air Butlin’ are scattered and put back in a different order one obtains the solution. (If you are wondering what happened to the ‘s in Butlin’s, it is short for ‘is’ so the whole expression ‘Arne air Butlin’ is broadcast.)

Did you get it?  The answer is:


which is a famous British patriotic song.  At the Last Night of the Proms the audience joins in the chorus.  You can see a clip on You Tube here.

Rule, Britannia! was originally set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740 which makes the inclusion of the word ‘Arne’ in the anagram – and the word ‘air’ (meaning a piece of music) – particularly apt.  The word Butlin is less so but not entirely meaningless. Butlin’s is a chain of holiday camps in the UK, well known for using a system of loudspeakers to broadcast music and messages to its residents.

Rule, Britannia! is not of course the British National Anthem.  That is God Save the Queen (or King), which will also be featured at the Last Night of the Proms.  It will no doubt be sung with particular feeling this year: Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest reigning monarch on Wednesday this week, surpassing the 63 years and 7 months achieved by Queen Victoria (1837-1901), after whose husband the Royal Albert Hall is named.

Musical references appear quite frequently in cryptic crossword clues.  Sometimes ‘quiet’ or ‘soft’ denotes the letter P (for piano) and ‘loud’ is an indicator for the letter F (forte). Often the word ‘note’ is used to suggest the inclusion in the answer of one of the letters A, B, C, D, E, F or G, or occasionally DO, RE, MI, FA, SO, LA, or TE.

But sometimes a little more musical knowledge is called for.  Take this clue from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,898 dated 4th September 2015:

Groups coming together chat about Wagner’s work (10)

One of the musical works Wagner is most famous for is The Ring cycle, a complete performance of which (usually over 4 days) takes about 15 hours, see here.

To chat is to talk about nothing of much importance in a friendly and informal way, see here.  Chatting with people is a pleasant way of spending the time but it can sometimes go on for a bit too long.  In that case a slang expression ‘to gas‘ can be used – to talk excessively about trivial matters (see one of the many meanings of gas here).

If GAS (chat) is put ‘about’ THE RING (Wagner’s work) we obtain the solution:


which are groups of people coming together.  You can talk about a family gathering, which is a meeting of members of the same family, often involving cousins or more remote relations who do not often see each other.

The names of composers appear not only in clues but sometimes in solutions.  Here is an example adapted from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,901 dated 8th September 2015:

Time to go over French composer’s journeys (7)

(The original clue said ‘passages’ instead of ‘journeys’ but I have made it slightly easier.)

‘Time’ is frequently abbreviated to T so that part is trivial; the skill comes in naming a French composer. That, in this case, is Ravel (1875-1937) who famously composed Boléro.  Ravel’s (ignoring the apostrophe as one is allowed to do in these clues) added to T gives the answer:


meaning journeys.

I will leave you with just one more clue which in one way or another features the world of music.  This time it relates to an instrument.  Try this from Daily Telegraph Puzzle No. 27,903 dated 10th September 2015:

Lines penned by leading business figure for musical instrument (5)

The answer will appear next week.