Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,771 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on August 6th, 2009


My heart sank somewhat, initially, when I saw a preamble to an Orlando, who can usually be relied on to be straightforward, but soon all became clear as the names of the 60’s avenging angels appeared down the sides of the puzzle. There was nothing too taxing in the clues – just one I’m not sure of but I know help is on its way!
[7dn reminded me of one of my favourite ‘Yorkshire’  jokes: when asked by a visitor why Dent station [the highest mainline station in England] was some four miles from the village of Dent [which is in Cumbria but in the Yorkshire Dales National Park] a local replied, ‘Happen they wanted it near the railway’.]


9   ORLOP: O[rdinary] R[anks] [men] + L[eft] + OP [work] I have only ever seen this word in crosswords –  many times! It’s the lowest deck of a ship. [Edit: I meant ‘other ranks’, of course: thanks, Sidey!]
10  NOVITIATE: ON reversed + VITIATE; I liked the use of  ‘in order’, which usually means something else in crosswords [eg in 26ac]
11  NEVER MIND: VERMIN [obnoxious people] in reversal of DEN [room]
12  NEPAL: N[orth] E[ast] + PAL [comrade]
13  SIT-UPON: anagram of TOP IN US
15: STANNIC: nice anagram of TIN CANS
17  ELDER: triple definition : elder bush / elder statesman + reference to Bushes George and George W
18  SET: double definition
20  KAPUT: KA [car] PU [reversal of UP] T[ime]
22  DYNAMIC: MANY in CID, all reversed
25  UTTERLY: UTTER [articulate] + L[uc]Y
26  EDICT: anagram of CITED
27  ANNEALING: ANN [girl] EALING [location for studios]
30  MADE READY: MAD [crackers] + ERE [before] + anagram of DAY
31  GOGOL: GO + GO [try  repeating] + L[ine]: Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer [1809-1852]


1   JOHN: double definition: Augustus John, Welsh painter [1878-1961]; ‘smallest room’
  ELEVATED: VAT [tax] in E[ast] LEED[s] [Yorkshire town]
3   SPAR: SPAR[e]
4   ANCIENTS: anagram of INSTANCE
6   ETON JACKET: I’m not sure of this one: ETON [reversal of NOTE [mark]] and French connection is ET [and] but I can’t see how JACK equates to 1, unless it’s a score in cards
  HAPPEN: double definition: Northern dialect for ‘perhaps’.
8   PEEL: double definition: Sir Robert Peel, twice British Prime Minister in the 1830s and 40s
13   STEED: ST[reet] + reversal of DEE
14  PEREMPTORY: reversal of REP [traveller] + OR in EMPTY [hollow]
16  CATHY: CATH[a]Y: poetic name for China
19  TOURNEYS: anagram of RUSTY ONE
21  PORRIDGE: double definition; [‘jug’ is a slang term for prison]
23  NAIADS: reversal of IAN [the perennial crossword Scotsman] + ADS [notices]
24  CRAVAT: [pape]R +A[uthorised] V[ersion] [King James Bible] in [Persian] CAT
26  EMMA: A M[ale] + ME [Orlando] all reversed
28  ALGA: hidden in botanicAL GArden
29  GALE: G[ood] + ALE [booze]

33 Responses to “Guardian 24,771 / Orlando”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Eileen,
    6d. I think it’s that Jack is a form of John, at 1(down).

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Eileen

    I’m an early riser and so I used the PDF version which contained the ‘special instruction’ (omitted from the later online versions):

    ‘Outsiders dispensed nerve gas’

    This only served to confuse and I wasn’t sure which was the authentic version until I eventually realised that three characters from The Avengers were featured around the outside.

    A good one and very enjoyable all the same.

  3. Bryan says:

    Re 6d

    I suggest that:

    JACK is conveyed by ‘Running Up’

  4. Eileen says:

    Bryan, the preamble was in the paper version, which I used.

    To my shame, I’ve only just realised that NERVE GAS is an anagram of AVENGERS – an &lit, in fact. :-(

  5. Shirley says:

    Eileen – thanks for the blog.
    14D Can someone please explain why peremptory is the same as dogmatic?
    In my view one means brusque and the other means pedantic.

  6. Eileen says:

    Shirley. I thought exactly the same, and almost commented, then found that ‘dogmatic’ is the first definition in Chambers: it’s also in Collins, though not first.

  7. Mitch says:

    Re 6 down

    Only makes sense to me if you take ‘running’ to mean the joining of the next 3 parts
    (up mark)+ 1 + French Connection. 1 must refer to 1 down

  8. The trafites says:

    9dn should be 13dn.


  9. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Nick. Corrected now.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I enjoyed this, tho didn’t see the wordplay for CRAVAT or the JACK part of 6dn.

    The one I didn’t get was 13ac. To my shame, I misread the word break as 4,3 rather than 3,4, so was trying to make some kind of PIN out of it!

  11. sidey says:

    Small point, OR is other ranks, a phrase that has always struck me as casually insulting.

  12. Eileen says:

    Sidey – yes, of course it is: that was a slip, which I will correct now – and I agree with you!

  13. Jake says:

    ‘Orlop’ also 9ac and same clueing in the FT weekend by Cincinnus aka Orlando. A quick starting point then for me.

    Nice puzzle today.

  14. Peter says:

    In Cribbage, you score 1 for the Jack. Could that be used in 6dn?

  15. mhl says:

    I think 6 down has been convincingly resolved, hasn’t it? As IanN14 said in the first comment, 1d is JOHN, which gives you JACK, while “Running up” just indicates the reversal of NOTE.

    Thanks for the post, Eileen.

  16. Brian Harris says:

    Never heard the word ‘novitiate’ before, not knowing that many monks… Otherwise, not a bad crossword.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    The special instruction was there in the later version of the on-line puzzle. But it was wasted on me, I never looked at that line on the screen!

    Nope. It is not HAPPEN in the north. It is ‘APPEN. Yes I know that’s the same thing to a southener, but HAPPEN would raise eyebrows if said like that. You’d get accused of putting on airs and graces. Well something rather more vernacular than that actually.

  18. Eileen says:


    Thanks for that. It was ‘running’ which was bothering me [sorry, Mitch, I wasn’t entirely convinced!] Taken with ‘up’, as a reversal indicator, it makes perfect sense and suits the surface, as in running up a garment. In fact, I now think this is a rather nice clue!

    Brian, although NOVITIATE means simply the state of being a novice I must admit that I’ve only come across it in its religious sense, which is why I thought ‘in order’ was clever.

  19. Eileen says:


    I’ve been waiting all day for that – thank you!

  20. stiofain says:

    Why is cravat stock?

  21. C & J says:

    In bridge too, when counting the points in a hand, a Jack is one

  22. Gaufrid says:

    Chambers – stock: a stiff band worn as a cravat, often fastened with a buckle at the back.

  23. John says:

    A stock is an old term for a kind of necktie, as is a cravat.

  24. Eileen says:

    Peter and C & J

    I knew about the score for a Jack in cribbage; I have never played bridge but suspected that might be so, hence my tentative suggestion in the original blog, but I’m now completely won over by the reference to 1dn.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Just like to add that stock is still in use, in the hunting scene where you will find it is still a standard item of uniform. Can’t remember off hand quite where I picked up that bit of trivia, so no point in asking.

  26. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen, and for explaining the rubric. I wasted some time looking for answers where CS or CN could be removed from the ends: then solved the puzzle normally before noticing the Avengers characters. Very clever, Orlando.

  27. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Muck.

    I know – I’m still kicking myself for initially missing the anagram but was at first so fazed by the idea of having to look for a theme – but, as it turned out, such a familiar one!

    Yes, thanks, Orlando!

  28. muck says:

    6dn: I couldn’t work out how ‘1’ could be JACK.
    So, good to have three explanations at ##1, 14 & 21.
    15sqd at its best!

  29. muck says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Our comments crossed while I was typing.

  30. john goldthorpe says:

    The orlop deck is quite often referred to in naval history: e.g. after being shot at Trafalgar, Nelson was, I believe, carried to the orlop deck of Victory where he died.

  31. Mike Laws says:

    Should ninas be flagged?

    Seems to me that they shouldn’t, unless it assists the non-fanatic solver on his or her lunch-break. I can’t imagine anyone could have been helped by spotting the theme in the course of solving the set of standard clues.

    It would have been a true nina – something to notice after finishing the puzzle – if it hadn’t.

  32. Rob Roberts says:

    When I took metallurgy in school, we were taught that annealing was a process which reduces metals to just about the softest state they can get to. It reduce toughness as a material property. The opposite process is tempering, which is used to increase hardness, toughness & brittleness in metals. I got it from the crossing letters etc but was always under the impression that to anneal a material couldn’t possibly make it tougher. Anyone agree?

  33. beermagnet says:

    I understood the whole point of annealing metal or glass is to make it tougher. That is, more homogeneous and thus less brittle, less likely to break because it reduces the number of tiny cracks in the material. Yes, when the material is heated to near melting point it becomes soft and pliable – undoubtedly less hard or tough – but the main technique is to let it cool very gradually so that no temperature differences arise and cause discontinuities leading to hairline cracks.
    I thought tempering was much the same thing, except performed repeatedly without worrying too much about slow cooling as in the case of wrought iron.
    Maybe annealing is more usually applied to a surface rather than the whole object.

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