Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,589 – Orlando

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 6th, 2009

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

Not that difficult a puzzle. Quite entertaining but nothing really special. This blog will nevertheless attract probably 20 or more responses whereas the superb Christmas puzzle (FT12,956) by Cinephile (aka Araucaria) with its jumbo plus an alphabetic soup of capital cities attracted a grand total of zero response. Ditto for FT 12,957 by Dante which required solvers to make up the 15×15 grid as well.

1 REDCOATS *(ted oscar)
5 ROOTED *(TE, first and last letters of troublesome + DOOR )
9 FLETCHER What a lovely clue for a maker of arrows and also Fletcher Christian who led the mutiny on the Bounty
10,21 ATOMIC ENERGY *(geometry I can)
11 SPECIMEN dd (calling someone a specimen is like calling him shit)
12 WEALTH *(the law)
14 MARY BARTON Ins of BART (Simpson) in *(Romany) the first novel by English author Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1848, set in Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s and deals heavily with the difficulties faced by the Victorian lower class
18 SIDEWINDER Ins of WIND (flatulence) in SI (rev of is) DEER (rev of reed, grass)
22 OOLONG Cha of O (round) ditto LONG (yearn) I think the first “after” is unnecessary
23 PETER PAN Simple cha for a well-known book
24 INSTAL Cha of IN (home) S (middle letter of music) + TAL (first letters of then actually listen)
25 STRAINER Ins of R (recipe) in Stainer (Sir John Stainer (London,  1840 – Verona ,1901) was an English composer
26 NURSES dd nurse2    n a shark; a dogfish.
27 ERRANTRY Ins of R (first letter of reporter) RA (Royal Artillery or Gunners as in Arsenal) in ENTRY (lanes between houses)

2 DIESEL Cha of Dies (passes on) el (elevated railway in the US
3 ORCHID Cha of OR (other ranks or soldiers) Chid (rebuked)
4,6 THE REMAINS OF THE DAY There (present) main (chief) + ins of OFT (frequently) HE’D (he would) in SAY (for example) The Remains of the Day (1989) is the third published novel by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It is one of the most highly-regarded post-war Britain novels. It won the Booker Prize in 1989 for Best Fiction, and was later adapted into an Academy-Award nominated film, staring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The novel ranks in the Sunday Times list of 100 greatest novels. However, I have one small misgiving about this clue. Present is normally ‘here’ as the answer to a roll-call. If so, how do you explain the first ‘t’?
7 TEMPLATE Cha of temp (office worker) late (former)
8 DECKHAND too simple to warrant further explanation
13 TYPESETTER Cha of type (kind) setter (dog)
15 ESTONIAN Ins of S (first letter of state) in Etonian (college student)
16 IDOLISER I (middle letter of faint) + *(soldier)
17 SWAN LAKE S (first letter of Siegfried) Wan (pale) Lake (lake2
n a reddish pigment originally derived from lac)
19 NEVADA Ins of Evad (rev of Dave) in NA (North America)
20 SPINET Ins of Pine (wood) in ST (street)

46 Responses to “Guardian 24,589 – Orlando”

  1. Andrew says:

    Good morning Uncle Yap – here’s the first of your 20+ comments. Actually I don’t have much to add to your excellent blog, except that I think THERE for “present” is fine in 4/6dn. And I liked 8dn despite its simplicity.

  2. TwoPies says:

    Thank you Uncle Yap. I found this morning’s quite straightforward too. I didn’t know that specimen was as strong a derogatory term as shit though!

  3. Eileen says:

    Good Morning, Uncle Yap. Thank you for the blog.

    Like Andrew, I have no problems with ‘there’ in 4,6. If you were ‘present’ in the past [if you see what I mean!] you would say, ‘I was there.’

    A little thing to add to 17dn: Siegfried is the prince in ‘Swan Lake’, so that’s quite neat.

  4. smutchin says:

    Morning Uncle Yap! I too have noticed that the Guardian blogs tend to attract a lot more comments than blogs for other papers’ puzzles. Perhaps that says something about us Guardian readers – that we’re more opinionated/argumentative? Or maybe there are just more of us online. Or that we have too much time on our hands… I don’t often look at puzzles from other papers but on your recommendation I have printed off the Christmas FT puzzle to look at on the train home tonight – looking forward to it! Thanks for the tip-off. I shall endeavour to post a comment on it in due course.

    Don’t know about the Sunday Times top 100, but The Remains Of The Day would be in my personal top five – a superb novel, beautifully written, immensely powerful and moving.

  5. Eileen says:

    Best of luck with the print-out, Smutchin: I printed it out on the day but it came out so small that I got fed up and gave up over halfway through. You’ll probably tell me there’s a way of reproducing it in a larger format but my computer skills weren’t up to that. I enjoyed what I did do but not so much as Rev John’s Christmas offering in the Guardian on the same day.

    [I agree with all you say about ‘The Remains of the Day’.]

    Uncle Yap: you provide such full blogs that there’s rarely anything left to add – and you said Geoff Moss had already made his contribution! I’ve noticed that commenters on other papers’ puzzles tend to confine themselves to comments on the puzzle itself. That’s not quite the way with Guardian readers…

  6. brisbanegirl says:

    Sorry, I’m not here to blog on your “today’s puzzle” … for me this will be in my local paper in about 6 weeks in the future (very Dr Who). I stumbled across your site some while ago … when I was completely stumped … and googled the most obscure words ever. These words lead me to you. This leads me to the reason for my blog. As a self-taught cryptic-er, I have learned so much about solving cryptics and how clues are constructed. I am also to be blown away by how clever some of the setters are, as are you …. SO I wanted to say thank-you.

    It is rarely I am on the Net at night (10:10 pm)…But I was looking for some help on a Chifonie (your number 24558)… and found it as usual. Thank you again. I think you might be surprised who looks in on you all daily.

    Happy New Year … Mon

  7. don says:

    “That’s not quite the way with Guardian readers … .”

    What on Earth do you mean, Eileen?

    In trying to save paper and the world, I did this on-line and, with just 4/6 left, I cheated. Which I’m glad I did, because I would never had got the answer, even with all the crossing letters. I found 4/6 ‘too clever by half’ and I think, Uncle Yap, this type of clue explains why there are zero comments on Cinephile’s Christmas contribution.

  8. Andrew says:

    Brisbanegirl, nice to hear from you. All the Guardian crosswords are available free online at , so there’s no need for you to wait those six weeks.

  9. brisbanegirl says:


    I had worked that out, but the sad reflection is, that … if I did it online and then did it in my local, I probably would do no better on either account, hopefully my memory of the online puzzle would help me.

    Unfortunately, I have noone to brag with, if and when I get them out (not that often) … I no longer know anyone who’s into it, other than my ex-boss … and I can’t find a local group to talk words with ….

    Given the population of the UK and the culture of Australia that doesn’t surprise me. I do love test cricket though 😉

    Thanks for acknowledging me.

  10. smutchin says:

    I got the solution to 4/6 from the checking letters and definition, and didn’t bother deciphering the subsidiary, but Uncle Yap’s explanation makes sense and it seems like a “fair” clue – but I know what you mean, Don. I’ve had similar thoughts on occasion.

    Today’s puzzle is pretty eclectic, isn’t it. Old soldiers, ballet, US states, shark breeds… and I love the fact that one clue requires the solver to show knowledge of 19th-century novels and late-20th-century kids’ cartoons.

    Eileen – yes, it did print out quite small, and yes, it is possible to make it print bigger, but I’ll spare you the computering lesson.

  11. Geoff says:

    Most of this crossword was very straightforward, apart from 4,6 with its complex charade clue. I did manage to get it, but not until I had all the intersecting letters. Unlike Don, I have no complaint about it, but it does seem to have crept in from a far more difficult puzzle!

    I was pleased to see ENTRY in 27ac. Chambers confirms that the word is dialectal. It was familiar to me (coming from SW Lancs) as a name for the alley between the backs of rows of terraced houses – known as a jigger or ginnel in other places. Did this word stump any solvers?

  12. Tom Hutton says:

    I have a little difficulty with equating diesel with locomotive. It another of those clues using metonomy.

    I apologise, Uncle Yap, for commenting on a crossword I did do rather than one I haven’t done.

  13. JimboNWUK says:

    OK it’s time for my first bitching session of the year — “Remains of the Day”, despite its apparent infamy, is not what I would regard as a “classic known by all” such as a Dickens novel.

    Also there is ‘summat not quite reet’ about the explanation — THERE is ok as ‘present’ and MAIN as ‘chief’ and OFT as ‘frequently’ — whence cometh the errant S after MAIN then? Then we have HE so what about DAY? Where does “for example” and “frequently” figure in the surface? Not only a bummer of an answer but a bummer of a clue methinks. Either that, or we have all missed the correct interpretation…

    Geoff, I started with GINNEL then went for the more posh ENTRY for 27ac!

    Finally why did Orlando feel the need to patronise us with the completely redundant coffee-time addition of “the Sagebrush State” in 19dn?

  14. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well, I’m glad you all liked it. I couldn’t see what he was on about most of the time, even when I saw the answers. Some of the word associations were stretching a point to my way of thinking. Like the lanes between houses. Entry? Why? Lanes are roads going somewhere. Drives may be entries, but who ever uses lanes to mean entries? Which planet are you lot on? But then I’m just the passing idiot, so what do I expect?

    Specimen as an insult is surely pure fiction. I am 60 next week and I have spent much of that time being insulted and being insulting. I am an expert at it. But I have never heard of that. Sounds a bit public school. Yet another way of exercising snobbery on to us mere grammar school boys? My sense of humour can be as obscure as some of those associations. I leave it as an exercise to the reader as to whether the last was a serious comment or not. Can’t tell? Well now you know how I found this puzzle.

  15. Ron says:

    Tom, those of use who work or volunteer on preserve railways always refer to them as diesels, and never diesel locomotives, whereas we talk about steam engines or steam locos rather than steamers.

    Much as it hurts to agree with Jimbo, I struggled through ‘The Remains of the Day’, and found it both tedious and pointless.

  16. mhl says:

    Uncle Yap: nowadays I do the Guardian in preference to the Independent and the FT solely because there’s a printable and legible version available online. To be honest, I’ve been enjoying the Independent more than the Guardian recently, but the usability of the Java applet is appalling compared to a bit of paper, and the Guardian’s PDF versions are pleasingly typeset as well. The GIF versions of the crossword on the FT website are irritatingly difficult to read in comparison. I suspect many other people are in the same position.

  17. Owen Jones says:

    Jimbo: the errant S and the AY of DAY are the word SAY, which is clued by “for example”. So the bit of the clue before the dash gives you THERE MAIN SAY. The bit after the dash tells you to insert OFT HE’D into the SAY. Hence THERE MAIN S(OFT HE’D)AY. Uncle Yap made this quite clear in his explanation.

  18. Testy says:

    Mhl, I agree with you completely.

    JimboNWUK, I couldn’t disagree more. Regarding the parsing of 4/6, try reading Uncle Yap’s blog which explains it perfectly apart from the initial T which was subsequently clarified in the very first comment! Why should the book/film have to be “known by all” before being included in a crossword; if that same rule were extended to all entries in a crossword then they would end up consisting of just elementary words like CAT, DOG, TABLE etc.

    Derek, I suspect that “specimen” is rarely (if at all) used in isolation as an insult but I guess it comes by extension from phrases such as “he was a useless/dispicable/filthy specimen”.

  19. John says:

    Jimbo et al.
    The parsing for Remains of the Day is “There” “main” “oft he’d” (in) “say”.
    I liked it.

  20. Testy says:


    And I see you beat me to it Owen.

  21. John says:

    And me

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Which one you with Ron? I’m with the Wallingford mob.

    So Testy, if me or Ron set a clue which was pure railway preservation and couldn’t be expected to be known to all, you wouldn’t blanch at that?

  23. Claire and Steve says:

    Just thought we ought to mention the fantastic Christmas crossword from Araucaria – took us about 3 days to complete, but was great fun to do, even if we didn’t win the prize! Today’s had a couple of nice puns, but found the puzzle a not altogether satisfying mix of the very obvious with some rather obscure clues (still took quite a while to complete, however!)

  24. Speckled Jim says:

    Uncle Yap: don’t be so bitter about the number of comments a puzzle attracts. Perhaps we were all enjoying our Christmas holidays rather than posting comments on a blog! It’s not the yardstick of a puzzle’s quality, is it?

    There were some exceedingly difficult answers on today’s, not least 4/6 (as already commented upon), 14, 18, 24 and 27. I suppose they were ‘fair’ and you have explained them well, which leaves me with only one question: for 25, in what context is “recipe” abbreviated to “r”? That clue really stumped me, even after thinking of ‘strainer’, because I couldn’t see what ‘recipe’ was referring to!

  25. Geoff Moss says:

    Speckled Jim

    r is the abbreviation for the Latin word ‘recipe’ meaning ‘take’.

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    Most of this I found straightforward (for an Orlando), but I am a bit surprised there are so few comments saying top left was a struggle; surely not just me?

    Derek L: My mother was educated to age ~13 at a small (10 students when I started there) country CE school (no public school this) which she left in 1925; she often used the word “specimen” in a rather more jocular than derogatory sense.

  27. bridgesong says:

    Can I add a comment about a puzzle that I, for one, found rather hard (and in fact gave up without completing)? 14 across is, I think, a subtle reference to another Victorian novel altogether, Romany Rye by George Borrow.

  28. Testy says:

    Derek, a railway specific clue would be perfectly acceptable if the crossword were appearing in “Steam Railway Monthly” where it would be reasonable to expect a decent proportion of the target audience to be familiar with it. It would not be appropriate for a national daily.

    However, I think it is reasonable to assume that a decent proportion of a quality daily newspaper’s crosswording readership would be familiar with a Booker prize winning novel which appears in a list of the top 100 greatest and which has been turned into a relatively recent, internationally successful film starring household names and nominated for 8 Oscars!

    Unfortunately some people (not naming any namesNWUK) seem to want crosswords to only cover things that they are familiar with. Perhaps if they were to give the setters a list everything they know (I suggest there may be room on a postcard) then the setters could restrict themselves to it and keep those few people happy (whilst boring the pants off the rest of us).

  29. Eileen says:

    Speckled Jim: I’m not absolutely sure this is still the case now that doctors’ prescriptions are computer-generated but there used to be, in the top left hand corner, a R[ecipe] introducing the instructions to the apothecary.

    Re the number of comments on a blog: I am full of admiration for those people who week by week provide immensely painstaking explanations of Azed, Enigma Variations and [particularly] Inquisitor puzzles, with very little – and often no – comeback. I’d love to be able to give them some appreciation – if only I could understand the blog, let alone the puzzle!

    Bridgesong: I knew ‘Mary Barton’ but I was not familiar with the novel you mention. Smutchin has already commented on the interesting combination of components of this clue. This extra information makes it superb! [I was commenting only the other day on how we can sometimes miss just how good clues are.]

    Testy: Hurrah!

  30. Eileen says:

    Sorry – that doesn’t look very clear now that I see it: I meant to say a ‘R'[ecipe].

  31. Ralph G says:

    Bridgesong, Eileen, (27,30 above). George Borrow’s “Romany Rye” is one of his travel/personal experience books, a sort of ‘my life with the Romanies’, with an admixture of fiction. “Lavengro” is another. GB taught himself Romany, Welsh and Spanish. Other recommended reads: “Bible in Spain” and “Wild Wales”. Anybody read “The Zincali, an account of the Gypsies in Spain”?

  32. ACP says:

    try the Australian Crossword Club –
    You’ll find a few fans in there.

  33. Derek Lazenby says:

    No testy that is not reasonable. Some of us despise films and film stars as being so much superficial trash, so the number of Oscars is meaningless.

    As for the books, there have been times when I have read the precis of the Booker entries and equally thought, why the hell would any sane person want to read that rubbish.

    In just the same way some people think steam railways are total rubbish. But there are more people visit steam railways than go to films or read snob books. The BBC recently did a steam evening and totally captured the audience figures.

    It’s about time you realised that we are all different and on pure numbers you are in a minority. Thats fine, I’ve been in more minorities than I can remember. A national newspaper appeals to more than just your minority, or mine. Therefore its crossword setters should either refrain from appealing to one minority in preference to another, or they should pander to all minorities. After all, if there is accurate word play you don’t need to understand the definition, you don’t have to even know the word.

    Note, I wasn’t the one who mentioned any objection to esoteric book titles. I was merely interested in whether you would allow me the same indulgence you expect for yourself. Clearly you don’t.

    Gosh, this is fun, nothing like a verbal to distract from the old still healing leg twinges. I’m grinning not looking stern.

  34. dave says:

    Isn’t part of the pleasure derived from crosswords that we learn new things, whether they be novels, obscure biblical prophets, or a north Greenlandic dialect word for the mating call of the walrus? It seems rather churlish to complain about unusual answers, as the prospect of completing the puzzle every day in 10 minutes or less would soon, for me, render the exercise pointless.

  35. Daniel says:

    Smutchin “I have printed off the Christmas FT puzzle to look at on the train home tonight”

    Where can I print off the FT puzzle? I couldn’t find it on their website.

    Thanks, Dan

  36. Fletch says:

    Which reminds me, bloggers used to post their solving times but I think that stopped quite a while ago. People were getting a bit wound up when bloggers were posting times of 8-15 mins and it was taking your average solver at least twice that long.

  37. Geoff Moss says:

    Look for the ‘Christmas crossword’ (20th December) here:

    or go to:

  38. Geoff Moss says:

    I totally agree with your comment!

  39. George says:

    Entertaining thread as always! Recently discovered this superb site and it is rekindling what had been a dormant enthusiasm for the Guardian crossword. Keep up the good work all! I’m getting back into the swing of things: almost completed today’s, only missed 2, 9 and 27, and really kicked myself for not seeing ‘fletcher’, a very pleasing clue.

    My Grandma (b 1923, also educated in village school up to age 13) used to refer to people she slightly disapproved of as ‘a specimen’. It was a somewhat affectionate insult. I’d never heard any one else use the word in this context until today’s puzzle. Certainly an obscure one.

    To humbly offer my two cents: as a cultural artefact, Remains of the Day is certainly more rooted in the ‘general consciousness’ (whatever that might meaan) than is Mary Barton, which I had heard of but which is hardly read these days. So if obscurity is the issue, is 14 not more objectionable? Alternatively, if one objects to the reference to contemporary culture, rather than the classics, (and I recall the action thriller ‘Die Hard’ was a recent answer!), one can hardly approve of Simpson (meaning ‘Bart’) being an element of a clue. Perhaps people who object to this sort of clueing should change to a different puzzle with a more austere house style…

  40. Rich says:

    Tought i would add my thoughs as the 4th post of today :) And I am glad we have exceeded posting expectations, even if it mostly taken up with arguing whether a book/film is well known enough!

    I have to say that I think The remains of the day crosses the threshhold of being well known enough, if not the xcellent book then the film must be in everyone’s consciousness unless one has been living under an operahouse for the past 1 years.

    I have to also recommend all of Kazuo Ishiguro’s books if only for an insight into the rigid japanese culture:-

    * A Pale View of Hills (1982)
    * An Artist of the Floating World (1986)
    * The Remains of the Day (1989)
    * The Unconsoled (1995)
    * When We Were Orphans (2000)
    * Never Let Me Go (2005)

  41. Rich says:

    Also, May I reply to Fletch’s comment about the lack of solving times being posted now.

    Posting times on a certain other crossword blog to do with the times crossword was one of the main reasons i stopped doing the times crossword, that and it was like being quized by your dusty old uncle with none of the wit and fun of the guardian red(hot) setters.

  42. Brian Harris says:

    Only had time to look at about three or four clues in this yesterday. Thought 9ac was particularly well-crafted. FLETCHER – Christian first name and one who produces for “the archers” !! Brilliant. That’s the sort of wordplay that keeps me doing cryptic crosswords.

  43. Mike says:

    Derek Lazenby – the use of entry may be a regional thing. In Birmingham, one of the most common house types is a long row of terraces with a ‘tunnel’ every 2 to 5 houses to provide access from the street, through the front garden, then through the tunnel, to the back gardens. This access is always referred to as an entry. As a brummie, I had no problem with the use of lane between houses to mean entry.

  44. Harley26 says:

    Entry is also a northern thing, too, and the clue (lane between houses) is an exact definition. I can’t understand why those who complain about such a clue as this do crosswords at all. Likewise, The Remains of the Day, a very famous (hardly ‘minority’)book and film well clued – as it happens, I didn’t get this one but I attribute this failure to my lack of skill not a lack of fairness in the setter.
    Do you want a crossword to teach you nothing?

  45. Derek Lazenby says:

    Northern thing? I was brought up in Yorkshire and never heard lane or entry used in that way. Lane was always a type of road, entry would require some sort of gate or gateway, which lanes never have. In any case we used dialect words for such things as gaps between houses, as any proper northener would.

  46. Ron says:

    Hi Derek,

    I’m with the West Somerset

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