Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,637 – Orlando

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 3rd, 2009

Uncle Yap.

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

Quite a delighful and enjoyable puzzle with a variety of devices

1 NOTICED Ins of IC (one constant) in Noted (marked)
5 POSTBAG Cha of Post (job) Bag (secure the contract)
9 VENOM Cha of Ven (Venerable, the honorific for archdeacon) OM (Rome minus re)
10 VERBOSITY Ins of BOS (s) in Verity
11 JACK LONDON Cha of Jack (raise) London (capital)
12 THIN Ins of H (last letter of cash) in Tin
14 THERMISTORS Ins of IS in *(short term)
18 LEGAL TENDER Nice cryptic def for a guardian
21 CLUE Odd letters of coloured
22 ANTHRACITE An + ins of IT in Thrace (ancient country)
25 RED MULLET Cha of Red (revolutionary) Mullet (a hairstyle that is short at the front, long at the back, and ridiculous all round)
26 IBSEN Ins of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy.aka Mad cow disease) in IN (at home)
27 TRICKSY Sounds like Trixie (name of a girl)
28 HANSARD Hansa (a league of German commercial cities, operating in the 14c and 15c.) RD (first letters of Reichstag debates)

1 NAVAJO Ins of AVAJ (rev of Java, Indonesian island) in NO (number)
2 TUNICS Ins of C (first letter of code) in Tunis (African city)
3 COMPLETELY Ins of Let E (permitted drug) in Comply (conform)
4 DIVAN Cha of Diva (great singer) N (last letter of Napoleon)
5 PERFORMED *(mod prefer)
6 SHOO Shoot (fire) minus T (temperature)
7 BRIGHTON Ins of Right (He has the authority to declare the seat vacant) in Bon (French for good)
8 GUYANESE Guy (man) *(seen a
13 USURPATION *(Putin as our)
15 ETERNALLY Eastern (oriental) minus as + Ally (partner)
16 BLACKRAT Ins of Lack (need) in Brat (horrid child)
17 AGNUS DEI Rev of (Ins of D  (500 or large number)in IE (that is) & SUNG + A)
19 SIESTA ha(6)
20 PERNOD Per (rev of rep pr representative or agent) + Nod (agreement)
23 HITCH dd
24 DUCK dd

39 Responses to “Guardian 24,637 – Orlando”

  1. David says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I, too enjoyed this one, completing it without being able to parse VENOM (simple, really) and HANSARD (never having heard of Hansa – but I’m sure a quick Google check would have cleared it up for me), and I had to check on Thrace, which I’d also never heard of. So: completed crossword and a new word. A good start to the day!

  2. Dawn says:

    27ac is a new word for me. I thought it ought to be trick but couldn’t get an ending to make sense. The rest of it I found enjoyable.

  3. Eileen says:

    I really enjoyed this! Too many great clues to mention really but I loved LEGAL TENDER and the surfaces of 9ac and 5 and 17dn particularly.

    I remembered the Hanseatic League from A level History, so that was a big help with 28ac – especially as there aren’t too many words for ‘parliamentary record’.

    [There was a huge temptation, initially, to put in MELBA for 4dn, although I knew Napoleon didn’t die on Elba and couldn’t account for ‘M’!]

  4. Monica M says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    I was totally convinced 4dn was Melba (not that I could explain the M… so struggled with the top left corner.

    Quite a few new words on me, but the definitions allowed me to work things out.

    What astonishes me, is that a couple of months ago, I’d have really struggled with this puzzle … I’ve learned so much …Thanks for that.

  5. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    In 18ac why is m in ‘money’ capitalised? Is it a typo in the online version?

  6. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    (After some thinking)
    Is Guardian Money a section in the paper?

  7. Eileen says:

    Rishi; it’s capitalised in the paper, too. The Saturday paper has a section called Guardian Money, so I presume it’s to help the surface – it’s permitted that way round, isn’t it?

    I’d typed this and then saw yours!

  8. Monica M says:


    I took Guardian to be someone who legally cares for a child … care = tend, hence legal tender

  9. Eileen says:

    Uncle Yap

    I’ve just noticed: we had a long discussion yesterday about ‘raise’. To raise would need to be ‘jack UP’, I think. The clue reads ‘means to raise’, which is the definition of ‘a jack’, so no problem this time!

  10. Derek Lazenby says:

    I was sat here watching the TV when I saw all these very early comments coming up on the RSS, and I hadn’t even started, so I figured I’d better get cracking.

    Very nearly finished it but I couldn’t see GUYANESE, which is annoying when you see the explanation.

    What goes around comes around I guess. So many times I’ve been saying “never heard of that”, but today I knew all the things others didn’t! Forgive me a little smile, it’s been a long time coming.

    Apart from confusing the issue there didn’t seem to be any point to having worplay in 28a, Parliamentary record is HANSARD end of story. Then I see it isn’t known by everybody, so I guess the word play was needed afterall.

  11. smutchin says:

    Monica – yes, “legal tender” can mean either “guardian” (as per your explanation) or “money” but Rishi’s query is why the cap M in the clue, and it’s because it’s trying to make you think of the “Guardian Money” section of the weekend paper (which contains financial news and advice).

    Agree with the other comments so far – really enjoyed today’s puzzle, some lovely clues – though I got a bit stuck on the top-left corner.

  12. Geoff says:

    Very enjoyable crossword, with some great surface readings to the clues. I never got quite as far a positing MELBA for 4dn (Napoleon died on St Helena and is entombed in Les Invalides in Paris, I think) but the clue is cleverly misleading.

    My first entry was AGNUS DEI – great clue with a highly plausible surface reading. 13dn (the second one I got!) is clever, but risks a visit from the man with the polonium… 5dn is very neat – surprised I have never seen anything like this before.

    My last entry was TUNICS; I was looking for a word meaning ‘dress’ as either a verb or a noun representing a single item of clothing, but the meaning here is ‘clothing’ in a generic sense. Another good decoy.

  13. Monica M says:

    Thanks Smutchin,

    Being an online solver, I don’t know the paper as such … I was merely pointing out that there was a “almost” plauisible alternative explanation … not nearly as crisp tho …


    After Realising my error I did a quick check on Napoleonic history and you are quite correct…. I’m sure the Melba option was put there to tricksy us.

  14. smutchin says:

    Geoff – yeah, 5d is good but I’m not convinced “rocker” is a valid anagram indicator. Maybe “rocking” would have been better?

  15. don says:

    I don’t think words like ‘enjoyable’ do this crossword justice. I thought it was brilliant, especially 17 Down! It reads like a dictionary definition.

    Then all clues read beautifully and there wasn’t one answer that didn’t explain itself, although thanks to Uncle Yap for explaining ‘venom’ to me – ‘ … about to quit Rome’, excellent!

    27 Across was a new word for me and the last to go in having played with ‘tern’ and ‘turn’ for 24 Down.

    One small query: I don’t really understand why ‘bos’ is ‘boss’ unceasing. Doesn’t it cease after the first ‘s’?

  16. smutchin says:

    Monica – no, you’re absolutely right with your explanation – it’s a great double definition clue and “guardian” is one of the definitions. The reference to the paper is for the surface reading only. You can be forgiven for not knowing all of the many arcane sections of the Saturday Guardian – there are so many, I suspect even the most devoted Guardian reader couldn’t name them all (and I doubt anyone reads them all).

  17. Paul B says:

    Bit like ‘Neverending Story’ for TAL, you might surmise?

  18. Monica M says:


    I wasn’t sure about TRICKSY myself initially … my familiarity with the term comes form a work colleague who often said “are you tricksy-ing me” when she thought someone was having a go at her.

  19. don says:

    Thanks, Paul – ‘unceasing’ = ‘not coming to an end’?

    Paul having cleared up my minor misconception, I’m giving Orlando a perfect 10/10 with a triple star for this one.

  20. don says:

    Monica, try spelling ‘tricksy’ with an ‘n’ in the middle like I did (see 15 above) :-)

  21. Geoff says:

    Smutchin: ‘Rocker’ is a bit of a stretch as an anagram indicator, but I can imagine a red-top headline using ROCKER as a punning synonym for SHOCK – something whipped up by the press – and anything less would spoil the lovely surface of the clue. And it’s pretty obvious what Orlando is getting at. (But then I’m notoriously libertarian when it comes to anagrinds…)

  22. Eileen says:

    Don; I’d gladly second that. [I have a sneaking sympathy for Smutchin’s doubts abour ‘rocker’ – but it’s such a perfect surface!]

  23. steven says:

    I found this difficult.Very annoying when I checked the answers seeing as I spent seven years 23ing across europe and canada reading a lot of 11’s on the way.I only solved six clues.I’d like to blame lack of sleep and stress but I always find puzzles with a lot of words in the clues difficult.Ven is a new term I’m glad to have learnt.Agnus Dei also a new phrase.

  24. stiofain_x says:

    A great puzzle by Orlando MELBA immediately sprung to mind for me too, showing it was a nice bit of misdirection.
    I think 5dn works equally well with rocker or rocking and am always prepared to forgive a bit of looseness for an excellent surface reading, nice descriptiion of a mulllet Uncle Yap.
    I asked in chat but didnt receive a reply so I will risk the wrath of the Chatmeister here, will there be a blog for last months Guardian Genius crossword? I got closer than ever to finishing it and am dying to know my missing answers.

  25. Eileen says:

    Stiofain: believe it or not, Uncle Yap’s definition of ‘mullet’ comes verbatim from Chambers!

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, it seems it sometimes pays to be slower: Melba didn’t occur to me, so 4d (albeit late in the day) was no problem.

    Had Guyanian for 8d which put me off Thermistors for a while; of course, I couldn’t rationalise the NIAN.

    All enjoyable.

  27. John says:

    Agree with all the positive comments. Completed it without knowing why in a couple of cases but the blog has cleared those up. The only one I’m not convinced about is POSTBAG. I can see that “Letters received” is a POSTBAG, or at least it is on some types of radio and TV programmes, but the answer and the solution seem to be at cross purposes. “Making job secure” could be said to be “bagging the post”, but not posting the bag.

  28. Chris says:

    It’s not supposed to be parsed that way, John. You’re trying to make the phrase in the clue as a whole correspond to the answer as a whole.

    Instead it should be “job” = “post” and “secure” = “bag” (in the sense that to bag something is to secure it). The “making” is just filler.

  29. stiofain_x says:

    I had a bit of a problem with POSTBAG too but think it is making=indicator job=post secure=bag and as you say letters received eg on a radio show.
    Haha Eileen nice to see a bit of wit in the dry world of lexicography.

  30. John says:

    Thanks Chris and Stiofain. I think I was making it more complex than it is.

  31. Ray says:

    Enjoyed this one a lot but,like others, struggled in top left. Also spent ages wondering how 10a verbosity (which it clearly was) came from a starting point of veracity – another blind alley well explored!

  32. Harley26 says:

    it’s interesting how different clues stick with different people. 4dn was the first clue i got when i realisesd that 1ac probably ended in ed. Agnus Dei is a new phrase to me, though parsable, and thanks for the explanation of VENOM – I got it but didn’t know why!

  33. Pumpkin says:

    Finished this late but take exception to 20 down – Pernod is a digestif, not an aperitif!

  34. steven says:

    Pumpkin:I see where your coming from,Fennel is associated with digestion, but drinks derived from fennel,Ricard,absinthe and pernot are generally associated with pre prandial drinks.

  35. muck says:

    Eileen #25. I knew ‘mullet’ as a ridiculous hairstyle. But well spotted that Uncle Yap, erudite as ever, had quoted verbatim from Chambers. This is why I enjoy 15sqd so much!

  36. Barnaby Page says:

    Interesting how many of us were misdirected into MELBA by 4d – I too managed to utterly banish St. Helena from my mind although I knew perfectly well that that was where Napoleon died. I wonder if the setter deliberately led us toward MELBA?

  37. Orlando says:

    A big thank-you to Uncle Yap and everyone else for the positive feedback. It’s very encouraging.

    With respect to 4d, though it was not really an attempt to deceive, I did think of MELBA when writing the clue, and I guessed it might occur to some solvers.

  38. Monica M says:

    Hi Orlando,

    Thanks for popping in. I wonder … do you have as much fun debating with editors as we do deconstructing your clues.


  39. Orlando says:

    Hi Monica,

    Fun debating with editors? It’s only a small proportion of clues that ever become the subject of debate, and such debate, while often fun, can sometimes be frustrating. I suppose the same may be said of the solving process.

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