Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24608 / Orlando

Posted by mhl on January 28th, 2009


This was a nice fun puzzle to do – we found this unusually fast to do, and finished it off without needing to resort to external help (which makes a pleasant change :))

4. STATIC Double definition
6. DONATION DON + [he]ATI[ng] + ON
9. SUPPLY Double definition
10. TREKKIES TRIES about E = “eastern” KK = “kings”; some say Trekkers is the preferred nomenclature
15. USTINOV [d]USTIN + OV[er], for
17. NANKEEN NAN + KEEN; Nankeen is a type of cloth, original from Nanking
22. PARSNIPS PARS[o]N followed by IS around P = “soft”
23. MEDICI MED “the sea” + ICI = “here in France”; the definition part is “Lorenzo the Mangificent was one”
24. STEATITE Hidden answer; the definition is soapstone
25. TELL ON TELL + O = “nothing” + N = “new”
3. PACK IT IN PACK + I = “island” + TIN = “can”
4. SISYPHUS A nice cryptic definition for Sisyphus
5. APPETITE PA reversed + PETITE
13. REMEDIAL REME = “soldiers” + LAID reversed
14. ENDYMION (DONE IN MY)* for the poem by Keats
19. ELEVEN A side in cricket, and 1 is duplicated to give 11
20. OPUS O + PUS[s]
21. ERSE [v]ERSE; Erse is defined in Chambers as “formerly, and still occasionally, the name given by Lowland Scots to the language of the people of the West Highlands, as being of Irish origin; sometimes used for Irish Gaelic, as opposed to Scottish Gaelic”

27 Responses to “Guardian 24608 / Orlando”

  1. TwoPies says:

    Thanks mhl. Similarly straightforward here. Point about learning something new, Nankeen came up in the last few weeks so it went straight in this time!

  2. Dawn says:

    I agree it was fairly straightforward today but thanks mhl for explaining some of the clues. I had donation and could see the don bit but couldn’t see the central heating bit at all.

  3. brisbanegirl says:

    Thanks mhl,

    11ac Putto, was a new word for me, but a quick check of the dictionary confitmed my solution.

    2dn Corrigenda, another newie (2 in one day phew). Although after looking up its meaning I wonder whether it could also be described as a cd.

    In response to some of yesterday’s blog … yes I did go back and read it.

    Dave Ellison:

    1. Kurilpa Bridge is definitely well underway, possibly a third of the way across the river. And before you decide that Kurilpa Bridge is far more romantic than the original working name of Tank Street Bridge, Kurilpa means in the indigenous language of the area “place of water rats”.

    2. By saying the tone changes in the evening, perhaps it is that the language changes slightly, no criticism was intended.


    I had a go at your clue for Gobblers Knob, loved the use of a spoonerism, and I’ve never seen briber used as nobbler, I always think of the word in a sports (certainly not sporting)sense.

  4. Ian Stark says:

    Apart from one significant hiccup (see below), I cheerfully sailed through this one, but did have to turn to the books for confirmation of ‘putto’, ‘steatite’ and ‘Endymion’ (I’m an ill-read lout, I confess).

    I went a bit awry in the top right corner by putting in GAGA for 8d (A GAG ‘sent home’, i.e. backwards). That held me up looking for an *ING word for both 6 and 10a. Got there in the end!

    I saw a similar use of ‘rolling stone’ as part of a SISYPHUS clue elsewhere and many years ago (probably in my Telegraph days). Still jolly clever though!

    Here’s a page discussing the difference between Trekkies and Trekkers. Well, fun if you’re a Trekk**, I guess . . .

    A pleasant half hour. Thanks mhl (and Orlando).

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    I enjoyed this a lot – another example of a puzzle that was straightforward but still provided some pleasing ‘aha’ moments, eg 4dn. There were some lovely surfaces, providing endearing pictures, such as the cherub on the stairs and the parson with his veg and 18ac and 8dn were clever, too. I thought 2dn was a splendid &lit.

    Altogether, a very satisfying puzzle. Thank you, Orlando.

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, I agree with all these comments. 24a was one of the better hidden clues. I had to look up soapstone, and it still took me a second or two to see the answer was hidden. I thought for a while 7d was hidden too, trying to convince myself there were rivers called IBER or BERN.

    Brisbanegirl, danke beautiful pour uw comentarios:)

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Apparently the Romans used IBER for the river EBRO in Spain

  8. brisbanegirl says:

    Dave Ellison:

    Get back to work you cheeky bugger.

    This comment is an example: the tone changes because the language seems a bit more conversational.

    And remember, sometimes flower means flower, not river.

    PS… I knew the Kurilpa info because I work in the infrastructure business (strangely, as a social worker) … Brisbane is construction central at the moment … 2 tunnels under construction 1 tunnel seeking finance, 3 bridges and about 40 major road upgrades … life is busy, hence I like the distractionof a good xword.

  9. smutchin says:

    Really struggled today for some reason – probably tiredness – and filled barely half the grid. Never heard of Lorenzo the Magnificent or steatite, and not a Keats fan, but they were three of the clues I did manage to solve.

    But, of course, it all seems so obvious now I can see the answers – thanks for the lucid explanations, mhl. And well done Orlando for some very neat, pithy, enjoyable clueing.

    Coincidentally, I’d also printed off Saturday’s FT prize crossword by the same setter [as Cincinnus] and got on much better with that. Saving today’s FT Cinephile for the journey home – should be an interesting challenge…

  10. Paul B says:

    Nice work from Orlando – SISYPHUS = 10/10.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Smutchin

    I bet you’ve heard,
    ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ [first line of ‘Endymion’ – shades of A Level English!]

    Good luck with the Cinephile – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Just one new word for me, unconnected with the theme, which is not too hard to get [the theme, I mean].

  12. smutchin says:

    Aha! Thanks for that, Eileen – yes, I’ve heard the line but never knew where it was from.

    My first cursory glance at the Cinephile had me baffled, the theme utterly inscrutable. Hope that’s not the case when I look at it properly later.

  13. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’m with Smutchin on this one. As well as the literary ones I had to ask about Liver Spots. Never heard of ’em, but as I’ve turned 60 now I guess I’ll be finding out soon enough. Sigh.

    I just took this one as yet another sign that one persons General Knowledge is another persons black hole. For example, “Gangster prefering roofing material of a higher class we hear. He had a metal one. (5)”. You see all my mates would know that! If no one gets it I’ll post an answer later. And if it’s still a mystery I might even explain it!

  14. smutchin says:

    Who was it who said: “It’s only easy if you know the answer”? I’m familiar with the myth of Sisyphus (via Albert Camus) but wasn’t able to recall the information this morning. However, you’d never have solved that clue without at least a passing knowledge of the story. Is it reasonable to expect all solvers to possess that knowledge? Not sure, but if I were crossword editor, I would have passed the clue. It’s a tricky one to balance, but on the whole, I’m in favour of “interesting” words and phrases being used to spice up the crossword, and there were certainly plenty of “interesting” words and phrases today (none as “interesting” as Gadsden Purchase, though).

    Another unnamed philosopher came up with the line: “The clue is in the question.” He may have had any number of today’s clues in mind. The way 24a is formulated, it looks like a hidden answer clue, and steatite sounds like it’s probably the name of a type of stone, so I didn’t hesitate to fill in the answer even though I’d never heard of it. Lucky guess? Maybe a little. Again, I think it’s a fair clue – but I got the right answer so I would say that, wouldn’t I?

  15. don says:

    Many thanks to Orlando – I’ll even forgive the foreign language bits (just for once).

    I didn’t finish the top left, not being Greek, but I thought this was a beautifully crafted crossword and far better than more immediate efforts that others have waxed lyrical about. (Yes, Derek, it should have been ‘tusfoe': I don’t ‘buy’ Andrew’s excuse for a poorly worded clue).

    No need to apologise for not knowing any Keats, Smutchin'; he’s been dead for 200 years, give or take a decade or two. Some of us didn’t take the easy ‘reading and writing’ option for A level, but given Eileen’s previous generous dispensation for ‘completing’ a partially filled in clue, I did ‘solve’ Endymion – and happily guessed it right.

    Too many good clues in this to mention, but I too warmed the image of an unloved parson, alone, quietly sipping a bowl of well-stewed vegetables.

    Derek, elsewhere you defined a ‘fair’ clue as one that could be solved on it’s own, but I think that such clues, taken together, would comprise a quiz, rather than a word-based jig-saw puzzle. I think today’s crossword has a number of ‘fair’ clues, some which I wouldn’t have been able to solve alone. For example, asked in a pub quiz for another name for a sci-fi addict, I wouldn’t have a clue, but the ‘k’ from 3 Down helped me to think about ‘kings’ and, given the other letters, I was happy to put in ‘trekkies’ – and pleased to find it was the correct answer.

  16. Garry says:

    Started at 2pm. Just finished, with help on 4dn (never heard of that before) and 24ac – didn’t notice hidden answer – tch. I loved this. Overall quite easy but some of the clues were fantastic nonetheless, eg 6ac, 10ac, 25ac, 1dn, 5dn, 8dn and 19dn. A joy – thanks Orlando.

    Eileen, I write a bit of poetry and for ages I’ve been trying to make something of “A thing of duty is a boy forever”. Something will gel eventually. My son is 26 now!

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Fair point Don, but then I wonder what is the right mix? In other words how many stand alone clues does it take for the whole puzzle to be solvable? Is there any such number even?

    No point digressing too far today, no doubt we can sqeeze in the odd comment day by day.

  18. smutchin says:

    The foe/tus vs tus/foe question is interesting to me because of a clue I’ve been tussling with in one of my own puzzles. The clue would read better if I could give the two parts of the charade the “wrong” way round, but I wasn’t sure if that was allowed… I’m none the wiser after today’s comments.

  19. Ian Stark says:

    Smutchin, at the risk of starting an all out war, I personally am happy with ‘by’ meaning ‘next to’ but not specifying the position. Sure, it would be more elegant and ‘clever’ if the two parts were in the desired sequence, but I’m not convinced it’s necessary to understand the clue. ‘I am standing by my wife’ just says I am next to her – doesn’t say whether I’m to the left or right, or in front or behind. (although in that context, the answer would probably be behind . . .)

    A few more of my efforts posted, by the way. Any more of yours on the horizon? Hope so, they are excellent :-)

  20. smutchin says:

    Ian, here you go then: xwd5. Enjoy! I’ll have a look at your new ones later too.

  21. Jim says:

    Being in the States, never heard of billy-o, but got it from the cryptic part.
    15 minutes, which is close to my best time.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ian, the ambiguity of by was not the issue. It was the ambiguity caused by “cut by”. Is that one instruction or two? We all know we shouldn’t let ourselves be too literal with these things, but it takes a degree of will power to separate cut from by. If you fail then you reach my original point. It was one ambiguity too many in my view. So Smutchin, use by as you wish, just take care over the preceding word.

    See, not a war at all, grin.

    BTW, the freebies I’m using for my one off are Crossword Writer and Across Lite. You wouldn’t beleive the nausea in transfering between the two. And it might all be a waste of time if printed and scanned images are unusable, sigh.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, it’s gone 8pm. The answer to my example in post 13 was Belly.

  24. Ian Stark says:

    Derek, I do take your point about the dangers of ‘one ambiguity too far’, although I’m not sure that applies in that particular clue(IMHO!). For me, at any rate, the ‘cut short’ was clearly relating to ‘long tooth’.I was working with FAN(G) first but quickly got TUS(K) when I had 3d in the grid.

    Go on, I’ll fight ya for it 😉

    Still stumped by Belly! BTW, Crossword Compiler offers a discount to people who take less than two (I suppose that’s one or none!) flights per year, in the name of greenness. I personally think it’s a terrific programme, although there is the danger of putting your own brain into Park while the software takes care of your anagrams. I confess to having used those facilities when stumped. I wonder if the professionals do? Crossword Compiler ain’t free but it also ain’t expensive – and it’s excellent.

    Thanks Smutchin – I’ll have a crack tomorrow!

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, it’s my bed time. I put that together to illustrate we have different things which we recact to by saying “what! you don’t know that?”.

    Gangster gives hoody, roofing material gives lead, higher class gives better, which together sound like Huddie Leadbetter a legendary blues singer. He had the nick name Leadbelly etc…

    Too late for scrapping, next time, grin.

    If I were committing to more than a one off I would be looking at Crossword Compiler, but I ain’t hence freebies, for now at least. Yeah I know, I set a precedent and then it’s “Derek? Can you do another?”.

  26. Paul B says:

    There was a freebie available at the Crossword Centre called Crossword Utility. I have that stashed away somewhere, and very good it is. But as to The Professionals, I think you’ll find that both Bodie and Doyle use Crossword Compiler, while only Cowley uses Tea and Sympathy. I use the lot, but usually send in CC.

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ta for that, I’ll check it out.

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

one × = 3