Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24947 – Orlando

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 2nd, 2010

Uncle Yap.

A delightful potpourri of various cryptic devices to brighten up a Tuesday morning. Not too difficult and quite entertaining, too.

1 RUSSIA LEATHER RUSSIA (country) LEA (meadow) THERE minus E ; a fine brownish-red leather impregnated with birch tar oil, used esp in bookbinding.
10 TODDLER Cha of TODD (Michael, Elizabeth Taylor’s third husband) L (left) ER (Elizabeth Regina) Very clever use of Elizabeth (and no double duty as well)
11 CRYSTAL Cha of CRY (shed tears) STALL (stop) minus L
12 HARRY dd The victor at the Battle of Agincourt was, of course, King Henry V and the nickname for Henry is Harry which also means to plunder
13 STENOTYPE *(notes) + TYPE (class) A brand name for a typewriter used for recording speech in phonetic shorthand.
14 SNAFU Reversal of U (united) + FANS (supporters) for the famous acronym – Situation normal, all f***ed up
16 COUP D’ETAT Ins of P (power) in *(act due to) What a beautiful &lit                                                  18 MIDSUMMER Ins of I DS (one with empty dreams) in MUMMER (actor) with June as the def. Thank you molonglo for the correct parsing.
19 ELITE ha
20 TORTUROUS Ins of R (last letter of driver) in TORTUOUS (roundabout, full of twistings and windings; devious; far from straightforward, circuitous)
23 BLEAR Cha of B (British) LEAR (from Shakespeare’s King Lear, a stage play)
24 MEG RYAN *(Germany)
25 SALADIN Cha of SALAD (healthy food) IN (at home)
26 TENNIS PLAYERS *(painless entry) with a nicely disguised def


2 UNDERPAID Cha of UNDER (removing top from SUNDER, part) P (first letter of providing) + AID (help) Thank you, Monica M for correcting my initial error and jvh for additional input)

3 SALLY Cha of S (south) ALLY (confederate)
4 ARRAS ARRAN (Scottish island) substituting S (south) for N (north) indicated by changing course; rich tapestry (as formerly made at Arras in France); a hanging screen of tapestry for a wall.
5 EXCHEQUER EX (old) CHEQUER (sounds like checker of financial statements, aka auditor like Uncle Yap was for many years with Coopers and PW years ago)
6 TOY POODLE TOY (play) Ins of D (first letter of Dalmatian) in POOL (game) + E energy) Toy Poodles are bred for their miniature size
7 ENTRY GENTRY (well-bred people) minus first letter
8 AT THE SAME TIME An excellent dd
9 ALBERT HERRING Cha of ALBERT (Queen Victoria’s husband) HER RING (band) a comic chamber opera in three acts by Benjamin Britten
15 URUGUAYAN Reversal of NAY (No) A U (university) GURU (teacher) I like the surface; very creative charade
16 COMPOUNDS COM ( rev of MOCK, false minus K) POUNDS (money)
17 TAIL-ENDER Ins of AIL (trouble) in TENDER (sore) In cricket, the last batsman to get on after the loss of nine wickets
21 ROGUE Allusion to rogue elephant ( a term for a lone, violently aggressive wild elephant) and rogues’ gallery (police collection of photographs of criminals, convicts and the usual suspects)
22 SISAL ha
23 BILLY dd a cylindrical container with a wire handle and lid for boiling water. Also billy goat to denote a male goat

Key to abbreviations

dd = double definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

33 Responses to “Guardian 24947 – Orlando”

  1. mike says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. A very pleasant and gentle xword. Liked MEG RYAN (24a) but not keen on solutions such as COUP D’ETAT (16a) which essentially is three words not two.

  2. Monica M says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I had UNDERPAID for 2dn.

    Under + P (first letter of Provide) + aid = help.

    Same reservations as mike re: COUP D’ETAT. But otherwise rather enjoyable

  3. Bill Taylor says:

    Quick but enjoyable. No problem with COUP D’ETAT — technically three words, perhaps, but that didn’t give me pause. RUSSIA LEATHER gave me great pause. It was the last one I got. I’d never heard the term and it didn’t sound right. But you live and learn. I’d never heard of ALBERT HERRING, either, but it was rather easier, once I’d stopped trying to combine “Beckham” and “Spice Girls!”

  4. stiofain says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for the early blog.
    I didnt like this much.
    I also went down the Beckham route for 9 down then googled Prince Albert ring and got an education.

  5. C G Rishikesh says:

    Uncle Yap

    In the expansion for SNAFU, I wonder why you have used asterisks while rendering the fourth word.

    I thought F stood for ‘fouled’.

    If you had some other word instead of this, it is in your mind.


  6. Uncle Yap says:

    This is from Chambers
    snafu (, orig )
    n chaos.
    adj chaotic.
    vt to throw into chaos.
    [situation normal all fouled (or fucked) up]

  7. molonglo says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. Easy to finish, less so to work out why. 18a with its ds=empty dreams and 15d and 16d with their clever reversals provoked some afterthought, and deserve praise. 17d is not perfect since it covers the penultimate man and the antepenult, at least.

  8. K says:

    As molonglo notes, 18a is M(IDS)UMMER.

    A gentle beginning to this week (I usually skip Rufus), very fairly clued, compared to the Paul-Bonxie double whammy that ended the last.

  9. Eileen says:

    The full wordplay of 18ac [apologies, K, if this is what you meant]is: IDS ‘entertained by actor': a mummer is ‘one of a group of masked performers in a folk play or mime’ [Collins].

  10. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap

    I enjoyed this enormously although I struggled with the SW corner from SNAFU through to MEG RYAN.

    I’d never heard of RUSSIA LEATHER or STENOTYPE but I got them nevertheless.

    Full marks to Orlando.

  11. Maskelyne says:

    Regarding Meg Ryan, the north-west corner is where Harry met Sally.

  12. IanN14 says:

    …and Billy Crystal’s in there too.

  13. Andrew says:

    I enjoyed this, and as usual with Orlando there was nothing too difficult, but I thought clueing the RUSSIA part of 1ac as “country” was weak and a bit unfair.

  14. Will Mc says:

    Pretty good stuff. I liked the Meg Ryan/Germany anagram. Then again, I liked it when Paul used it last year.

  15. cholecyst says:

    Thought 1ac was quite clever. I immediately thought of Morocco leather, realised it didn’t fit and then cursed the grauniad for letting in another typo.

  16. Ian says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. The last in for me was Russia Leather for me too Bill.

    Afraid I missed the ‘Harry met Sally’ theme. Doh!

    The highspot was Uruguyan. A great clue.

  17. liz says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. The SW corner gave me the most trouble in this one.

    I did wonder briefly whether IDS was a reference to Ian Duncan Smith as ‘one with empty dreams’!

    Didn’t see the ‘Harry met Sally’ theme either.

  18. jvh says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. In 2d, I took part to be “sunder”, so removing the top of part gives “under”.

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Top puzzle, I thought, with too many elegant and cleverly constructed clues to choose a favourite.

  20. liz says:

    Jvh — that’s how I saw 2dn as well. (s)under

  21. Martin H says:

    I got Russia last too, despite googling bookbinding materials, so thanks for that UY, and for the thorough blog. Some excellent clues; if I had to pick one, I think URUGUAYAN – beautifully misleading.
    I’m with liz qnd jvh on sUNDER.
    Quibble 1: ‘Lionheart’s foe’ can only lead to one answer, and the chain was too obvious anyhow. 2: ‘people attending court’, I thought a poor definition for the fine anagram – the crowd, yes, but not the players.
    Nice one, Orlando.

  22. Pete D says:

    18a One I with “empty dreams”
    D(ream)S in “mummer” an actor and June is midsummer

  23. Ron says:

    Sorry to be pedantic but compounds are not the same as mixtures as any 1st form chemistry pupil will tell you

  24. Bill Taylor says:

    In chemistry, perhaps not, Ron. But in crosswords, absolutely!

  25. norm says:

    Did this in the doctor’s waiting room and was the only person there with a smile on their face.

    I ‘penciled in’ URUGUAYAN straight away, but even when it couldn’t be anything else I couldn’t see why. Now I see it I love it. Thanks Uncle Y.

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Too late to join in the fun, it was my day out at the hospice, so most of what I might have said is already there. But I’m relieved to learn, after all these years, that there is a clean version of 14! It would be a pity to have the xword and the blog restricted to publication “after the watershed” as done on UK TV, to avoid having to give a vulgar explanation to younger more innocent solvers asking awkward questions.

  27. Davy says:

    Mixed views here but I thought this was a very entertaining puzzle with an abundance of good clues. MEG RYAN especially made me laugh (I wonder if she realises that her name is an anagram of Germany) and Uruguayan was superb.

    People say strange things on this blog :-

    #13 So it was unfair to describe Russia as a country. It may surprise you to know that it is the largest country on earth !.

    #24 If the tennis players do not attend court then where do they play?. In the car park maybe?. Is it my imagination or is the Wimbledon final played on centre court ?.

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    15d was toying with iguanadon for 15d for a while (a university teacher giving the adon, and I was thinking of an iguana).

    1a I guessed might be Russian Leather but googling did not seem to confirm this, so I abandoned that for a while. My last one, too.

    Again finished 3/4 of it in shortish time, but the last few took as long again.

    Enjoyable though.

  29. Martin H says:

    Davy, Attend suggests ‘be present at’, rather than ‘take part in’.

  30. norm says:

    You can’t take part in a game unless you’re also present. The best thing about this game is that the rules are bendy.

  31. Carolyn says:

    I’m still confused by 16 down. I get the mainly false, raised money bit but am stumped as to where the mixtures bit comes from. I spend a lot of time drilling into my Key Stage 3 pupils the fact that compounds and mixtures are not the same thing. Am I missing something?

  32. norm says:


    No – you’re not missing anything. Orlando probably didn’t have the benefit of your teaching! Neither, for that matter, did I – I had quite forgotten the distinction till someone else raised it earlier. I try to allow the setters a lot of license to mangle words and meanings, but especially when it comes to maths and science, in which, I like to assume, they are probably not experts.

  33. Carolyn says:

    Thanks Norm. I very much doubt that any of my year 7s in Barnsley are going to get confused by attempting the crossword, so I can rest easy on that score. I do find it frustrating when I come across clues that set my science brain going in the wrong direction (anything with energy or work makes me think watt or SI derivatives rather than the ‘classical’ descriptors – hence my learner status). It’s now doubly frustrating when I discover that sciencey descriptions can’t be trusted to be accurate! Grrrrr!

    Carolyn – a Science supply teacher – available for hire…. Will teach anyone for money…

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