Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,546/Orlando

Posted by Andrew on November 14th, 2008


After a rather contentious week, I was a bit apprehensive about what to expect for my blogging slot today, so it was quite a relief to get this fairly straightforward but enjoyable puzzle from Orlando. There were a couple of slightly obscure references (9ac, 10ac, 19dn, and perhaps 15dn for younger solvers), but clear and accurate clueing meant these weren’t too much of an obstacle.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1. TROOPS O (second letter of “command”) in SPORT<
4. PREMIUMS S (point) after UMPIRE* + M
9. DEBATE (A BED)< + T.E. Shakespeare famously(?) left his “second best bed” to his wife Anne Hathaway. T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) is more common in crosswords than D.H.
10. O’CONNELL O CON NELL – Daniel O’Connell was an Irish political leader of the early 19th Century, after whom the main street in Dublin is named.
13. RADIO TIMES (I AM SO TIRED)* The RT is a weekly (magazine)
14. CHEF CHE (Guevara) + F, reference to Heston Blumenthal, owner of the Fat Duck restaurant, where you can get a “tasting menu” for a mere £125.
16. CRAM dd – Steve Cram is the runner
18. DOMINATRIX (ADROIT MINX)* – nice one: almost an &lit in the wordplay
24. INSULT INS(t) + ULT. These two abbreviations for “this month” and “last month” are common clue-fodder, but you don’t often see both in one clue.
26. TENNER Sounds like “tenor”
1. TO-DO A to-do is a stir (22dn), and a “to-do list” has items requiring action.
2. ON BOARD dd
3. PETITION PETIT (French for small) + (NO I)<
8. SILVER FOX SILVER (money) + FOX (fool – as a verb)
15. MARIANNE A triple clue: Marianne Faithfull (singer etc, probably best remembered for her relationship with Mick Jagger), ARMENIAN*, and MARI (French husband) + (Queen) ANNE.
17. APPRISE “A prize” – I suppose prize/champion in the adjectival sense.
19. RAEBURN BEAR< URN. Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), Scottish portrait painter. A bit obscure, but the wordplay is clear.
20. MANUAL MAN + (d)UAL. In view of recent events (and depending on how far in advance the puzzle was composed), I wonder if Orlando was tempted to use MANUEL here..
22. STIR dd – stir/jug = prison

14 Responses to “Guardian 24,546/Orlando”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for an excellent blog, Andrew.

    I really enjoyed this – straightforward without being too easy. 9ac made me smile: I think Shakespeare’s bequest is sufficiently well-known for this not to be too obscure.

    15dn is a brilliant clue. I wondered whether the ‘sic’ was strictly necessary – that was an instant giveaway for me, without looking at the rest of the clue. Surely Marianne Faithfull is still well enough known even for younger solvers? Like Tom Jones and Cliff Richard, she’s still around!

    I stared at MAISONETTES for a minute or two, wanting ‘one’ to be ONE but then the penny dropped – another great clue!

  2. Ian Hinds says:

    Quite elegantly constructed clues throughout. Straightforward.

  3. JamieC says:

    A really enjoyable puzzle, this one. It must have been pretty easy, because Orlando normally leaves me with a wet towel round my head, but some clever clues, some nice misleading definitions, and a few that made me chuckle, so after a slightly mixed week, a definite thumbs up for this one.

  4. smutchin says:

    An almost disappointingly uncontroversial puzzle today! Maybe one very minor gripe: shouldn’t 10ac be (1,7) or even (1’7) rather than (8)?

    Being one of the “younger solvers”* did cause me problems – not with 15dn, which I got easily, but because my relative inexperience means I’m still not fully accustomed to some of the common crossword setter’s tricks. For example, I didn’t pick up on “second in command” for “o” in 1ac. But this kind of solidly constructed, straightforward puzzle is an excellent one for the likes of me to learn from (with the help of the excellent fifteensquared bloggers, of course).

    *Which is to say younger than the average crossword enthusiast but older than the average Facebook enthusiast.

  5. Orlando says:

    Thank you, Andrew, for a fine blog, and to all for your generous comments. I’m really pleased that the crossword seems to have been enjoyed.

    Smutchin, regarding the length indication of (8) rather than (1,7) or (1’7) for O’CONNELL – you’re logically correct but it is just one of those crossword conventions that apostrophes are ignored in the length indicators. I suppose it’s because it would be too much of a give-away if they were indicated.

  6. muck says:

    Orlando, I enjoyed the puzzle too. And good to have another setter commenting on 15sqd!

  7. Paul B says:

    I don’t think there’ll be 50+ comments for this one. Really good.

  8. JMo says:

    Good puzzle – did it this morning as yesterday was an early start.

    I’ve been getting into cryptic crosswords over the last month or so, after years of avoiding them and have been finding most of the Guardian’s offerings (including this one) surprisingly doable. This blog has been a great help for the times when I’ve arrived at an answer and known that it’s correct, but could only see part of the reason why. That having been said, occasionally I’m none the wiser even after a clue has been broken down on here – for example, in this puzzle I managed to arrive at 23 across, but cannot understand where the initial ‘I’ fits in (could anyone enlighten me?).

    I also struggle with the abbreviations (e.g. 24 across eluded me here), especially with those whereby it seems one simply needs to know the convention and has no other possible logic for figuring it out. I was doing a puzzle this week in which ‘young girl’ was supposed to lead to ‘di’ – which I simply cannot fathom. ‘Lady’, ‘princess’, ‘police officer’, ‘dual’ or several others might have given me a chance, but why ‘young girl’?

    Great blog, thanks to all for the insights.

  9. Geoff Moss says:

    23a is I QUIT (I abandon) in I (island) NY (state)

  10. Eddie Nabook says:

    Needed a little help on this one (I’m a novice), and was about to say that I really enjoyed 18a – then thought better of it.

  11. Ian Stark says:

    Boarded a plane at Heathrow yesterday armed with The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian.

    Finished The Telegraph before we had left the ground (a long standing personal challenge at which I always seem to succeed, boringly). Finished The Times before the drinks trolley came round. Enjoyed the drinks trolley and its subsequent visits, perhaps a little too much. Slept the rest of the journey. Woke up, 4am, in a dingy East Coast hotel. Turned to The Guardian crossword – and now I am happy. Thoroughly enjoyed this and it was pitched at exactly the right level for a weary traveller!

    Through bleary eyes I managed to raise a smile at 11a, 13a and 23a, and almost cheered when I tumbled 22d. Simple but great fun. Thanks Orlando.

  12. smutchin says:

    JMo – “inst” and “ult” are letter-writing abbreviations, as in “Re your letter of the 14th inst…” In their time, they would have been considered jargon but now they seem a bit old-fashioned and, as you rightly say, rarely see the light of day outside crossword clues. “Re” has survived due to its adoption in email.

    I’d like to see crossword setters use a few contemporary abbreviations and acronyms occasionally – ROFL, IMHO, RTFM. Surely even the most fuddy-duddy of Guardian readers is familiar with these examples?

  13. Ralph G says:

    JMo, I don’t think your query about DI (#8 above) has received an answer. I reckon it is a throwback to an earlier age, pre-1960?, earlier?, when such diminutives were used principally of and by young children. DI happens to have alternative clues but in other cases ‘boy’,’girl’ etc are a sort of conventional clue, helpful once you’re aware of the convention!

  14. JMo says:

    Thank you for the info on ‘di’ Ralph – like you said, it’s all about learning the conventions.

    Geoff: yes, this occured to me after leaving the comment – it was an example of getting to the right answer via the wrong thought process. ‘Island state’ led me to play around with the abbreviations for Hawaii and Rhode Island before settling on New York because of Manhattan, Staten, Ellis etc, as it later occured to me, Island was a separate entity in the clue and gave the I. Just one of those things that sometimes happens.

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