Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24925 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on February 4th, 2010


A delightful puzzle from Orlando, which shouldn’t have caused too many problems on the bus or train and may have elicited curious looks from fellow-passengers at the smiles and ‘ahas’ along the way. Faultless cluing and some great surfaces – I thoroughly enjoyed it.


1   LET IT BE: anagram of TITLE + B[eatles] E[nthusiasts]: title of 1970 Beatles album. ‘Recollected’ might initially suggest a reversal rather than an anagram – but think of it as ‘re-collected’. Nice.
5   STRETCH: amusing double definition: ‘porridge’ as in a prison sentence.
10  STUD: and another!
11 CORONATION CHICKEN: excellent anagram of INNOCENT COOK A RICH: we’re more used to seeing ‘cook’ as the anagram indicator: a cold, curry-flavoured chicken dish, originally ‘invented’ to be served at the reception after the Coronation  of Queen Elizabeth II
12  CALASH: CLASH around A: a new word for me – a horse-drawn carriage with low wheels and a folding top – but the cluing was absolutely straightforward.
13  NEAR MISS: double definition
16  GROSS: double definition
17  TENOR: hidden in forgoTEN ORatorio
19  SCOTCH EGG: SCOTCH [whisky – something to drink] + EG [extremes of everything] + G[ood]
23  LEWISHAM: [Det. Sgt.]LEWIS [Inspector Morse’s sidekick] + HAM [radio operator]: nice surface – and a reminder of Paul’s brilliant ‘F1 driver’s ‘otel in southeast London [5,8]’
24  UNCLOG: reversal of GO [turn] after UNCL[e]
26 CASHPOINTS: C[Roman number] + ASH [refuse] + POINTS [tips]: brilliantly misleading surface and a real ‘aha’ moment for me.
26  ALMS: A + LMS [London, Midland and Scottish Railway]
29  ADVERTS: anagram of STARVED


1 ESTUARY: EST [French ‘is’] + [jan]UARY: a form of English spoken around the Thames estuary
3   INDIA: I + [londo]N + reversal of AID [support]
BACCHUS: hurrah – an unarguable homophone! – and a lovely surface: Bacchus the Roman god of wine
6   TONGAN: TON [great weight] + reversal of NAG: having been reminded of the coronation in 11ac, I was reminded, too, of having been charmed, as a child, along with millions of others, by the image of the beaming Queen Salote of Tonga, who insisted, despite the pouring rain, on driving in an open carriage on that occasion.
7 ECTOMORPH: anagram of CHROME [22dn] + TOP
8   CROESUS: reversal of USE [employment] in CROS[s] [endlessly annoyed]: Croesus, whose wealth was proverbial, was the last king of Lydia. He was told by the ever-ambiguous Delphic oracle that, if he attacked the Persians, he would destroy an empire, so he did – and destroyed his own.
9   PRONOUNCEMENT: PRONOUN[ ‘they’, say] + CEMENT [binder]: I’m not usually keen on straight charades but this was a great one: ‘they say’ usually points to a homophone.
15  NEOLITHIC: anagram of HOTEL IN CI: again, think ‘re-sort’. I liked ‘flipping’ as the anagram indicator. [Edit: what nonsense! Thanks, Gaufrid, comment 1]
18 EYEWASH: E + YEW + ASH: I’ve seen this before but it’s still good.
20  TRUSSED: trust [believe] ‘in pronouncement': of course, it should be ‘in pronunciation’, hence the question mark. My favourite clue – it made me laugh out loud.
21  GROMMET: MME [Madame] in GROT [rubbish]
22 CHROME: ROME [the Catholic church] after CH[urch]
25  CEASE: C[old] + EASE [comfort

33 Responses to “Guardian 24925 / Orlando”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    As you say, a most enjoyable puzzle. Just one minor correction to your excellent blog. In 15dn ‘resort’ indicates an anagram of HOTEL IN and ‘flipping’ indicates the reversal of CI.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks Gaufrid – I don’t know what I was thinking of, having already indicated that ‘resort’ was the indicator!

  3. mike says:

    Many thanks, Eileen. Indeed, a delightful xword, one of my favourites being 18d.

  4. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Queen Salote would have arrived dry had she been in a 17ac with the hood up.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Cholecyst

    Thanks for that – that thought occurred to me, too, but I thought I’d digressed enough! :-)

  6. liz says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Eileen. I also enjoyed this a lot. Fair clues and great surfaces, really good fun.

    I thought I was going to sail through it, but struggled for a while with 12ac and 26ac and didn’t see the wordplay for 7dn until I read your blog.

  7. John Appleton says:

    Thanks Eileen. 1a and 18d most impressive to me today.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen, and as you say most enjoyable.

    I didn’t quite finish it on the bus. I rushed through nine in 5 minutes, then another 17 mins on a further 13 clues. The last three took me some 15 minutes! These were 12a, 26a and 7d, all with A_H, or R_H in them, and I had to resort to writing down all possibilites using C, P, S and T, until pennies dropped.

    I agree with you about 26a and aha. Also 2d – I was treating English as E for ages.

    (Your first 17a should be 12a, by the way :) )

  9. Ian says:

    Thanks for the entertaining blog Eileen.

    I agree that this was a very entertaining and witty puzzle.

    16ac quite superb as a dd.

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Dave. Corrected now.

  11. AlyD says:

    Enjoyable crossword and taught me a new word – have to confess I’d never heard of ectomorph. Should have been able to get it from the anagram but there you go.

  12. Tom_I says:

    No complaints from me today. An absolute pleasure from start to finish.

  13. jmac says:

    Thank you very much Eileen for your blog which elucidated several points for me. As you say, a very train-friendly puzzle, in fact it was more than that, it was a fine puzzle full stop. I agree with you that Cashpoints and Pronouncement were really clever clues, and the mixture of pretty easy ones to get one started, alongside more testing ones to gnaw away at, suited me fine. In my opinion we don’t get nearly enough Orlando (or Pasquale, Brendan, and Shed), although we do seem to have been spoilt just recently. Long may it continue.

  14. Neil says:

    I seem to recall ectomorphs, endomorphs and mesomorphs as different human body types, but I haven’t checked which is which; though the clue gives us one of them! Agree with everyone about the quality of this puzzle but ashamed that I failed on 25, ‘cashpoints’, especially as I’d been thinking whilst solving “must remember to go to the till today.” Still haven’t been.

  15. Brian Harris says:

    Yes, agree with everyone here. A very fine, enjoyable puzzle today from Orlando.

  16. walruss says:

    I liked the anagram indicator ‘recollected’, among many other things in this good puzzle. A lunchtime breeze, and good for the appetite.

  17. TC says:

    Although I didn’t finish – Calash and Cashpoints got me – this was a treat to attempt. For a tyro like me, the difference between today and yesterday’s nightmare – where so much depended on solving just one clue – well, was just pleasure. Not just at the solving, but at the clueing.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Nothing to add today: indeed magnifico.

    Saw 1ac rightaway, and after a few give-aways (23ac, 17ac, 2d (because of the Jan)) we thought: this is going to be too easy.
    Well, eventually it wasn’t.

    Just one little thing, in addition to a discussion started in the recent Shed blog (24,915).
    Orlando is clearly nót one of those setters who think about where to put the break in a hidden answer.
    In the pdf-version (equal to the newspaper version, I guess)) the second line of 17ac reads “ten oratorio (5)”. Thus giving away the answer too easily.

  19. Eileen says:


    Re the ‘hidden’ tenor: yes, the newspaper version was the same. I’m really wishing I hadn’t said anything on Saturday in the Shed blog. I was only repeating something I’d read here a long time ago. It’s amazing how often it happens that you only have to remark on something to have it proved wrong immediately!

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Eileen,
    [thanks for the animated blog of a cheerful crossword]

    I am not sure if you should regret it.
    Even if setters (like PaulB, Shed and Orlando) don’t look at where the break comes, it is/was still something worth thinking of (because it has an influence on the difficulty of that type of clue).

    BTW, apart from splendid surfaces and usually clever anagrams, another feature of Orlando is (as my PinC and I concluded today) the fact that he knows how the solver’s brain works.
    You mentioned already “cook” as part of the anagram rather than being the anagrind.
    Just as you mentioned “They say” in 9d.
    Or in 3d: “close to London” is N, of course, but the combination with “one”, so “One close to London” takes you away from that.
    In 14ac “Tossing my amusing” I first saw as “Tossing my”+”amusing as the anagrind” – it was just the other way around.

    We liked all that very much.

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    It has nothing to do with the setters where the breaks come, it is simply the restrictions of the font size and the line length which is under control of the paper and could change without reference to the setter.

  22. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    And also there’s ‘recollect’ as an anagram, rather than reversal indicator, as I mentioned above.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments. Orlando is one of my favourite setters, not least because it was one of his puzzles that gave me my introduction to blogging, so it has been a good day for me.

    In view of the last sentence in my comment 19, I don’t want to give any hostages to fortune but – and I’ve been resisting saying this for a while now – I don’t remember before blogging a puzzle which received no adverse comments [I’ll play safe by saying ‘by this time of day’!] and I think it’s been proved that even Guardian solvers can still have interesting discussion without becoming contentious! :-)

    Now, is it a case of ‘light the blue touch-paper and retire’…?

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #21:
    Derek, you make a very ‘strong’ statement.
    Probably you are right about setters not thinking of this.
    But … one who sets, for example for the Guardian, does know the font and the line length, so could – I say: could – take this into consideration.
    It was just a thought.
    Nothing more, nothing less.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes but it is probably not easy for them. They will be working with some format which is not that which ends up in the paper (see differences between the versions) so they would have to manually calculate the width of each individual character and space width for a variable width font. Nobody is going to do that, it would take ages.

    It would help if we knew the required submission format, for example, many crossword compilation programs work to their own layouts then produce an encrypted binary file for publication, can’t see our setters prodding around in that mess.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    It would help if the paper turned off word splitting in their layout software, or did some intelligent proof reading leading to manual overrides of unfortunately placed automatic line breaks.

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #24:
    Derek, it was just a thought.
    Nothing more, nothing less.
    I completely understand the points you make (no doubt about that), but I still think this was an interesting question because it DOES make some hidden answers harder to spot (like “Alicant” in last week’s Brendan).
    [and there is still something in the back of my mind that says setters could do something with it, even though recently Shed and PaulB were very clear about this:
    no we can’t/don’t]
    Anyway, let’s end the discussion here, OK?

  27. IanN14 says:

    Hello Eileen (@22)
    I agree totally.
    This was a good, well-clued puzzle with no obvious errors.
    If they were all like this there’d be no (…well, fewer) arguments.
    That’s why the Independent part of this site has fewer comments.
    Those setters wouldn’t be able to get away with a lot of the stuff on here, but the puzzles are at least as good (if not often better).

  28. Mr Beaver says:

    Eileen – I won’t spoil the run by complaining! We didn’t get CALASH not having heard the word, but the clue was fair enough.
    But I think describing SCOTCH EGG (even by implication) as ‘extremely good’ is quite unreasonable ! :)
    On the plus side, would 1a count as a proper &lit ?

  29. stiofain says:

    Nice one Orlando more please and great blog from Eileen.
    IanN14 congrats on getting in first over your Antipodean rivals in last months genius
    00.55 amazing took me 3 wks and I still got one wrong

  30. Paul (not Paul) says:

    So, only me that found this really tough then. Calash and Ectomorph were ungettable to me. Calash might work but then so would Carash, samash, etc…
    Cashpoint works as wordplay (allowing the horrid C – Roman number) but it gives readies. It does not and cannot give ready in the singular never mind “get you ready” – Yuk.
    No homophone indicator in 20d
    Never heard Eyewash as poppycock and the woods clueing was very hard (if you haven’t seen it before Eileen).

  31. Richard says:


    You are not alone – I agree entirely with your first paragraph as I experienced the same difficulties. ‘Ready’ is not a synonym of ‘Cash’ but ‘readies’ is.

    The homophone indicator in 20d is ‘as a pronouncement?’.

    Thanks for another excellent blog.

  32. Eileen says:

    Hi Paul [not Paul] and Richard

    I don’t think you were necessarily the only ones who found it tough. People here tend not to like their puzzles too easy. What most of us were commenting on was the fact that the clues were fair and, in many cases, clever and amusing. Occasionally, there are alternative solutions and, just sometimes, one could make out a case for them being better than the ‘correct’ one. However, neither ‘crash’ nor ‘smash’ is a better word for ‘conflict’ than ‘clash’ – and I can’t find either ‘carash’ or ‘samash’ in any of my dictionaries, whereas I did find CALASH and thus learned a new word, which is all part of the fun. Similarly, with ECTOMORPH [which I did know!]: there was a strong indication of an anagram of CHROME and TOP and, once you have the crossing letters, there are only so many possibilities, which can soon be resolved with the aid of a dictionary.

    Re ‘ready': both Collins and Chambers give ‘ready’ [as well as ‘readies’] as an alternative for ‘ready money’.

    I thought I’d indicated the indicator, ‘in pronouncement’, in 20dn. As I said, I thought that was the best clue of all.

    [What’s ‘horrid’ about C as a Roman number?]

    I hope you enjoy today’s Rover! :-)

  33. Richard says:

    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply, Eileen.

    I did enjoy this crossword, I just found it difficult! I can only spare 40mins or so to look at crosswords on weekdays, which can sometimes be very frustrating…..

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