Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,032 / Orlando

Posted by mhl on June 9th, 2010


A very enjoyable puzzle – mostly not too hard, and there are a few brilliant clues, I think – 28a and 20d in particular for me

1. KIPPER Cryptic definition: “out” as in “asleep”
4. SUSPEND US = “American” + PEN = “jail” in SD (South Dakota) = “Midwestern state”
10. BREAM BRAM = “Stoker” + [coars]E
11. OUSEL A tricky clue: [car]OUSEL = “musical with car not starting”
12. ON THE SPOT Double definition; presumably “there” as in “he’s there/on the spot”
15. HIRING H = “husband” + I = “one” + RING = “token of commitment, perhaps”
17. PATENT PATE = “Head” + N[o]T
19. DECORUM DRUM = “instrument” around ECO = “Italian novelist”; I’m not sure why the question mark is needed here – perhaps because of the defintion (“What’s proper”)?
22. RELATIONS Double definiton
24. ELLEN Hidden answer
26. GUYED Sounds like “guide” = “Conductor”
27. IDENTICAL (IN DIALECT)*; I like the definition: “With entire correspondence”
28. ENDURES END = “stop” + URE = “river” + S[almon]
29. FRIEND Double definition: Quakers are members of the Society of Friends, and “China” is Cockney rhyming slang for “mate” (“china plate”)
1. KICK-OFF KICK = “to give up” + OFF = “feeling unwell”
2. PANTS Double definition: the latter as in “that’s pants/garbage”
3. EPAULETTE E = “European” + PAULETTE = “woman”
4. SCRATCH Double definition: Google tells me that Old SCRATCH is slang for “The devil”, and “improvised” as in “a scratch/improvised orchestra”
5. SABLE S = “Small” + ELBA reversed
6. EYE-OPENER EYE = “Regard” + OPENER = “leading batsman”
7. DIMITY TIMID = “apt to shrink” reversed + [lorr]Y
8. ON-TOUR Nice: [c]ONTOUR[s] = “Lines”
14. UNALLOYED UNA = “girl” + [sw]E[et] in LLOYD = “boy”
16. ROCHESTER Double definition; referring to Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre
18. TWO BITS T[o] + W = “with” + OBITS = “passing references”; the definition is “American ready” – “ready” as in “money”
20. MINGLED Brilliant: before Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems were MING [Campbell] LED
21. PRAGUE AGUE = “spring fever” after P[olitical] R[eforms]. Update: thanks to Gaufrid and Eileen for pointing out that this is a reference to the Prague Spring, so the definition is “Capital that had spring”
23. TUDOR ROD = “Staff” + U[pse]T reversed
25. LOCKE LOCK = “from Yale, perhaps” + E[mpiricism]

33 Responses to “Guardian 25,032 / Orlando”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, I shared your enjoyment.

    Funnily enough, I couldn’t recall Nick Clegg’s predecessor until after I had solved the clue. (He was very forgetable, was he not?)

    Also, many thanks Orlando.

  2. Coffee says:

    Thanks for the blog- finished the puzzle in an hour or so but had no idea why some of them fit. 2D is horrible and I got 11A but then had to google OUSEL. I did like 6D and 16D though. As for 20, means nothing to me- been overseas too long perhaps… really, not much joy once I’d done with Mr Rochester!

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for a great blog, mhl.

    I always enjoy Orlando’s puzzles and i don’t think we get enough of them, compared with the frequency of his appearances as Cincinnus in the FT.

    Some lovely cluing; ‘apt to shrink’, ‘Ming-led’, ‘passing references’, the reference to the Prague Spring [&lit?] and another, if only Locke had gone to Yale!

    Thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you, Orlando.

  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    In 21dn I think the definition is ‘Capital that had spring’ with AGUE being clued by simply ‘fever’. See:

  5. mhl says:

    Eileen, Gaufrid: thanks for pointing out the Prague Spring reference – I’ve updated the post.

  6. TokyoColin says:

    Thank you for the blog, mhl. I enjoyed this one too. Not difficult but enough misleading surfaces and unfamiliar clue forms to stretch through much of my lunch hour. I particularly liked ‘Two bits’, ‘Prague’ and ‘Mingled’. For that last I was grateful that an early Australian prime minister with the same surname was (somewhat facetiously) known as ‘Ming’.

    And I don’t remember who it was who explained the term ‘pants’ that was used in a comment to the blog for me, but thank you because it was very useful today.

  7. Martin H says:

    Excellent. The best of the week so far by a long way.

    mhl, I read 1ac as a double rather than a cryptic definition. One who is asleep + the end result of a smoking process. Some of Orlando’s definitions here are first rate. You’ve noted 27, and ‘American ready’ in 18 is equally good; that combined with ‘passing references’ makes it a superb clue.

    The only thing I didn’t like was the Rochester reference, but it works, so just a matter of taste rather than a gripe.

    Thanks Orlando.

  8. Rob Lewis says:

    I did think 22ac for a while was ‘relayings’ which held me up for a while :-)

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl (+ Gaufrid and Eileen). Much more of a teaser than yesterday. Dimity had me stumped – I had to hunt it out and then it took time to see why. Many excellent clues with some nicely less obvious parts and references e.g. 11,19a, 14 (good to get someone other than Ron and Ted etc. as a boy) and especially good ‘Aha’ moment with 18d.

    I (mis?)read 1d differently, ignoring the comma and assuming kick was ‘up feeling’.

    Many thanks Orlando for a very enjoyable puzzle.

  10. tupu says:

    The more I think of it, your own reading of 1d seems simpler and better.

  11. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. I enjoyed this too, especially 21dn, 25dn and 20dn. For a while I had the homophone the wrong way round at 26ac, until I checked GUIDE and realised my mistake.

  12. Bill Taylor says:

    18d was the best clue for my money. Otherwise, I thought this was quite ordinary. EPAULETTE featured in a Guardian cryptic fairly recently, I seem to recall, with a very similar clue. In “A Christmas Carol,” one of the minor characters refers to Scrooge’s death (as revealed by the third ghost) with, “I see old Scratch has got his own at last.”

  13. rrc says:

    Sorry, I found this rather tedious without many smiles or aha moments. I ended up consciously saying lets clear the top right, bottom right etc and that indicates a crossword that is struggling to excite.

  14. medici says:

    I had PUNKS for 2d. Their garb is garbage. But PANTS is fitter.

  15. FumbleFingers says:

    Unlike most here, I found this one pretty tough. I had to leave it alone twice and come back when the brain cells had resettled into a fresh configuration.

    But a very satisfying challenge successfully overcome in the end. If Eileen wants to start a petition for more from Orlando I have my pencil sharpened and ready to sign it!

    Plenty of really good clues here. I thought TWO BITS and MINGLED were oustanding.

  16. don says:

    While agreeing with the majority’s praise for Orlando, I also agree with FumbleFinger that it wasn’t as easy as some make out, but still enjoyable.

    However, I wonder if ‘ready’ = ‘money’ is really acceptable [and it’s not only Orlando, others have used it recently].

    While ‘ready cash’ = ‘money’ is OK, I’d have thought that in common parlance people talk about ‘readies’ = ‘money’, rather than ‘ready’.

  17. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Don
    Under ‘ready’ Chambers has “ready money (slang; also in pl)”, Collins gives “the ready (informal) (=ready money)” and COED has something similar to Collins.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    A 50′ one, so I class it as reasonably difficult.

    I thought 22a was GRUNTINGS for a while! What a pity it wasn’t Paul today.

  19. FumbleFingers says:

    don/Gaufrid @16/17
    Doubtless we all agree that “ready” for cash is far more common when pluralised. But from the compiler’s point of view the singular form is so handy for misdirection in surface readings. I won’t object unless it gets so overused it becomes a cliche.

    Which, sadly, I suspect may well happen.

  20. Richard says:

    Thanks, mhl. Many well-crafted clues here, as others have already mentioned. My pleasure was unfortunately dimmed by GUYED, DIMITY,and SCRATCH=devil which I have never heard of, and by the awful 18d. I’m also not sure that the ‘in’ in 29ac is a fair misdirection.

  21. Bill Taylor says:

    Re 29a, I didn’t read “in” as a misdirection at all; rather as an indicator that “Quaker” and “China” shared a common definition.

    I’d heard the word DIMITY before but didn’t know what it meant. It was quite neatly clued, though, and easy to figure out.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Just by way of being different (oh what a surprise!) my biggest smile was 10! Just thought I’d put in a vote for that one as the poor thing seems neglected.

  23. tupu says:

    Re 18d ‘Bit'(from bite) was it seems a slang word for money in Shakespeare’s day, and it was of course current in UK more recently in particular coins esp. threepenny bit. In America it has long equalled one eighth of a dollar (Spanish and then US)and is predictably used usually with ‘two’, ‘four’ and ‘six’. ‘Two bits’ or ‘two-bit’ adj. turned up often, if I remember rightly, in a derogatory sense in U.S. gangster films and westerns.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I don’t want to spoil the party, but although (a) this was indeed a good puzzle, and (b) I am a huge fan of Mr C in both his aliases [Orlando, Cincinnus], I was a bit disappointed by the crossword-as-a-whole.
    Orlando is very good at surfaces, anagrams and misdirections, but this crossword also contained an overdose of Double Definitions: 1ac, 12ac, 22ac, 29ac, 2d, 4d and 16d.
    And I have to say: they’re technically OK, but not very good.
    My PinC [more experienced in Crosswordland than I am] was for the second day in a row annoyed by the use of a – in her opinion – unfair capital. “China with a capital is only a country and not a friend”. Yesterday she complained about Gordius’ capitalisation of Flood (for: inundate). Although the only rule, I think is: ‘don’t lower case a capital’ (am I right?), I agree she has a point.

    A lot to compensate these weaker clues, though: MINGLED, OUSEL, CONTAINER, HIRING, ON-TOUR, UNALLOYED.

    And three real gems, we thought:
    ENDURES (28ac) [agree, mhl, & thx!], PRAGUE (the surface couldn’t be better – and including one of Orlando’s trademarks: linking two words [spring fever] that should be seen separated for each other) and the almost-&lit LOCKE [as Eileen said, if only he would have attended Yale].

    Some people want more of this setter.
    Please visit:
    Plenty to enjoy!

  25. FumbleFingers says:

    Hi Sil

    I think several of your criticisms are unreasonable – but particularly when it comes to capitalising “China”. Misleading punctuation, case, use of digits, etc., are all part of the compiler’s legitimate weaponary. And he must defend his solutions from being uncovered too easily.

  26. Daniel Miller says:

    Excellent, enjoyable fare.

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    FumbleFingers, personally, I have no problem with ‘China’ being capitalised [it was my PinC – though I saw her point], and – as I said – I think there is a ‘rule’ for capital/lower case that setters stick to. Part of it is, I’ve understood, that a word that should be capitalised may nót be written in lower case.
    [of which, indeed, 29ac is nót an example – it’s the other way around]
    By mentioning it, I was just hoping someone would give some inside information.

    ‘SEVERAL of my criticisms’?
    I ONLY said that I disliked the many dd’s [very unusual for Orlando].
    How can that be unreasonable? OK, you may disagree, but unreasonable?

  28. Carrots says:

    SCRATCH, PANTS & DIMITY I`d never heard of (at least in terms of their usage in today`s puzzle). Sorry, but I`m not an Orlando fan. True, his clues are as fair and as convoluted as one might expect, but somehow they leave one feeling a bit like Jeremy Clarkson after testing a car with no vices: unthrilled. A little more of the “whackyness” glimpsed in 18dn or 26ac would go a long way to changing my view. Dare I say it, but today`s TIMES was much more fun.

  29. Gerry says:

    I put ‘two bits’ for 18d for American ‘ready’ while not seeing the ‘obits’ until pointed out here. Liked 20d and 11ac most.

  30. Colin Greenland says:

    I’m amazed anyone could get 18d.

  31. gp says:

    Just found this diverting blog. You are a formidable and exacting lot. Maybe ‘dimity’ would be more familiar to readers of Jane Austen… There’s also sarsenet, and sprigged muslin should the lovely Araucaria ever pursue a Regency theme – as opposed to old golf clubs. I’m indebted to the young for ‘pants’ – tho I’m told it’s now a tad outmoded.

  32. mhl says:

    gp: There’s a pleasant amount of variability in both formidability and exactitude, though :) “material” does rather make me sigh when I see it in crosswords, along with “plant”, “fish” and other large categories that I know next to nothing about.

  33. kb says:

    2D After a bit of searching I was pleased to find SLOPS – which made the rest of that corner rather tricky!

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