Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25075 / Orlando

Posted by mhl on July 29th, 2010


I’ve mentioned a couple of grumbles below, but overall I thought this was an enjoyable (and mostly quite easy) solve

9. IMPEL I = “one” + M = “mile” + PEL[t] = “move rapidly, being short of time”
10. DRAG RACES DR = “Doctor” + A = “Arnold first” + GRACES = “Thalia and her sisters”
11. SUNDOWNER S = “Pole” + UND = “and German” + OWNER = “proprietor”
12. DORIS Two definitions (“Girl” and “area of Greece”) + hidden “mainlanD OR ISland”
13. LORELEI LORE = “learning” + LEI = “flower arrangement in Hawaii” – a nice clue. (LORELEI is often defined as “rock singer” as well :))
15. WILHELM WILL = “is going to” + M = “mass” around HE (“- he’s impressed”)
17. BASIS B = “front of building” + AS IS = “unchanged”
18. SIM Double definition: “Smart card” as in the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card in a phone, and Alistair SIM – I don’t like “first name indicates surname” much…
20. ORDER [f]OR = “(not loud) for” + RED reversed = “socialist revolution”, referring to the Speaker of the House of Commons calling for order
22. ADDISON IS in ADD-ON = “accessory”
25. GENERAL Double definition; I assumed the surface referred to the 1992 film, but it turns out there are other possibilities
26. RECAP REDCAP = “MP” (Military Policeman) without D = “Democrat”
27. BYZANTINE N = “Carmen’s last” in (ANY BIZET)*
31. AUGER A [h]UGER = “A much bigger”. Even with the question-mark, I don’t like that the apostrophe (indicating the dropping of the H) is in the definition – it should be in the corresponding word in the subsidiary, surely – this certainly made the clue much more difficult to solve for me. I’ve edited that comment to make it more clear.
1. BIAS First letters of “being intransigent and shaking”
2. UP IN ARMS U = “half of us” + PIN ARMS = “apply bear hug”
3. ALSO Hidden in “meALS-On-wheels”
5. BARROW Double definition or cryptic definition, depending on how you look at it, referring to Barrow-in-Furness and a burial ground
7. SCARCE SCAR[fa]CE = “Gangster” without FA = “Fanny Adams”
8. ASPS AS = “Like” + P[oisonou]S = “extremely poisonous”
13. LIBRA LIBRA[ries]
14. LAST SUPPER LASTS = “What cobblers need” + UPPER = “part of shoe”; the pedant in me is always happy to see “Leonardo” instead of “da Vinci” :)
16. MOREL MORE = “Extra” + L = “large”
19. MAGAZINE GAZ[e] = “Unfinished look” in MAINE = “state”
21. DARLINGS Double definition: the first referring to the Darling family in Peter Pan
23. DACTYL ACT = “Work” in YD = “yard” reversed + L = “left”; the definition is “foot”, referring to the metrical foot in prosody
24. NABLUS NAB = “Arrest” + L = “Latin” + US = “American”
26. RIDE RID = “Free” + E = “easy start”
28. NEAT N + “man’s last” + EAT = “to scoff”
29. EARN Sounds like “urn” (“vessel”)

32 Responses to “Guardian 25075 / Orlando”

  1. Twiddlepin says:

    The answer to 26a should be RECAP (not REDCAP)

  2. Myrvin says:

    Thank you mhl
    Not too tough. Last one in was the 4 letter word (as so often) in 29d. Should be an uncontroversial pun??
    23 24 26 & 30 proved tricky too. Pity Orlando missed the Beatles connection between two of those. We could have had some more elipses!
    25a: Never thought of films. There was a much older one in 1927.
    31a: The only indication was ‘and.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl for an excellent blog

    As noted, a relatively easy but enjoyable puzzle.

    I simply took ‘universal general’ as a dd so well spotted (or at least well sought) if you are right about a source.

    I solved 26 too quickly and moved on, lazily assuming Redcap must be the surname of a Parliamentarian I couldn’t for the moment remember (to my surprise a quick check on BT directories suggests it may not be anybody’s surname!).

    Many clues pleased inc. 10, 30, 31, 6 and 29.

  4. Conrad Cork says:

    Not a mind-bender, but as always with Orlando a feast of elegant surfaces and plenty of quiet smiles as the answers went in. Just what I needed today.

  5. mhl says:

    Twiddlepin: thanks, I’ve corrected that

    Myrvin: with regard to 31a: I know what the indication was – my problem is that it’s in the definition rather than the subsidiary and normally you’d expect the H to be dropped in the corresponding indicator in the clue.

  6. tupu says:

    Hi mhl
    You are right about 31. I only got it once Darlings had gone in. Before that I assumed briefly that much bigger was the definition and tried very briefly to think if ‘ammer or ‘acker could make any sense. Once the ‘g’ was there, it became clear quickly that auger must be the answer. As I mentioned yesterday, the crossing of words seems ex def. a legitimate aid to solving and the mental leap required is not great here. So I am left wondering whether this is acceptably and amusingly innovative or the thin edge of a potentially awkward wedge.
    ‘Poetic licence in the English crossword genre?’ Discuss.

  7. Myrvin says:

    mhl: I agree.

  8. Myrvin says:

    Come to think of it, 8d could be attached using an ‘and tool. It is worrying,

  9. otter says:

    Morning, all. Thanks for the blog, mhl. No problems here for me this morning; the two which caused me the most bother were DACTYL and NABLUS. I entered the latter on a whim, as a Palestinian city I could think of, and which contained NAB for ‘arrest’, but the surface reading was smooth enough that I couldn’t think why ‘Latin American’ would be LUS; I was fixated on someone from or somewhere in Latin America. Also couldn’t think why OR appeared in ORDER. Thanks for the explanations of those two. Most other clues were entered straight away, or once I’d jumbled the anagram letters and pondered them for a while.

    I think my favourite clue was 5d, partly because it was nicely constructed (and the definition was fairly cryptic, as well), and also because of the amusingly snooty reference to Rowling.

    I agree about the looseness of the clue for 31a, with the apostrophe in the definition, although the construction was otherwise obvious enough that I got the answer quickly.

    Just one question: who was Addison? Famous enough that we’re expected to know the name? I’m eager to learn.

  10. Martin H says:

    A good puzzle, though not quite as entertaining as I’ve come to expect from Orlando recently, and certainly let down by three poor dd’s at 5, 18 and 21. ‘…depicted by Leonardo’ was a bit of a give-away, and I’m sure I’ve seen ‘universal soldier’ for ‘general’ before. And these asps, they get everywhere don’t they! That said, there were some very pleasing clues: RECAP, ALSO, MOREL, DACTYL, among many others.

  11. Myrvin says:

    I note that mhl has helpful links to Wikipedia etc. in his blog. Addison is there,

  12. Moosebranley says:

    I don’t know if anyone else spotted this but 13d could also be solved as librARIES. Maybe because the first sign that came into my head before I had finished reading the clue was Aries, this is what I entered and it caused me no end of problems later as I was convinced it was correct.

  13. otter says:

    Ah, thanks; I hadn’t noticed the link for Addison.

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi Moosebranley #12

    That’s interesting. Had it been an across clue, I suppose more of us would have spotted it but, with the crossword favourite LORELEI already in place, along with ADDISON, it never occurred to me. [ADDISON went in straightaway because I remembered him from the Coverley Papers from the Spectator we had to read [why?] in the third year of secondary school. Addison and Steele are as firmly yoked in my mind as Laurel and Hardy or Marks and Spencer.]

    [Thanks for the great blog, mhl. I share your pedantic happiness re Leonardo!]

  15. Tokyo Colin says:

    I am glad that I hit refresh first because Eileen has already replied to Moosebranley as I would have done. But it makes me wonder, how many solvers attempt all the across clues before beginning the downs. That has always been my method but if solving time was the priority I would approach it very differently. This is probably a question for a different forum.

  16. George Foot says:

    I was glad to see someone else had put in Aries for 13d. I feared I was the only one. I wonder if Orlando spotted it? I suspect not or he would probably have indicated it was the first half in some way.

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi Tokyo Colin

    Yes, I was rather making assumptions, wasn’t I? I’m afraid I do, boringly, make myself attempt the clues in order, thereby annoying [and being annoyed by] those who would help me by jumping the gun.

    [As you suggest, it may be that you have instigated a rather sad discssion! :-) ]

  18. Myrvin says:

    LIBRARIES is a great word. It has BRA – compilers love BRA. ALso LIES – they like that too. IBERIA of recent memory. And it’s an anagram of SERIAL RIB.

  19. Aloysius Donald says:

    As I’ve said before, I really appreciate this site and the gentle and even playful tone of most of the the posts. One tiny, tiny quibble though. I’ve been doing these G crosswords for 20 years and usually finish them but others might be just starting out. A boss who constantly told an apprentice how “easy” things are would be a bit of an ogre, don’t you think?

  20. Scarpia says:

    Thanks mhl.
    I thought this was a good puzzle from Orlando – not too difficult but with a good array of amusing clues.
    Not too controversial either,judging by the posts here – only 19 in about 12 hours!
    A couple of uncommon words and a little general knowledge needed to complete,but all fairly clued.
    Favourites for me 10 and 27 across.

    Aloysius Donald @19. I see your point,but I think most people posting a comment here try to give an honest, personal assessment of the puzzle and I hope newcomers would appreciate that.

    I have only recently started attempting the Inquisitor puzzle and often spend a good part of my Saturday night trying to complete it only to find the regular solvers on the blog declaring it to be one of the easier puzzles.
    I’m not discouraged by that and will keep plugging away and ,who knows,I may be able to emulate them one day.Reading the blog and the “experts” comments have certainly helped me.
    I would be interested to know others opinion on this as I,for one ,would not like to discourage anyone from this rewarding passtime(obsession).

  21. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    A very entertaining puzzle from Orlando which I enjoyed immensely and also the first one I’ve completed this week. The clues were mainly well-structured and I particularly liked SUNDOWNER, LORELEI and SCARCE. The worst clue was definitely 31a (answer AUGER) which was also the only clue that I got wrong. Without checking, I put in [L]ARGER thinking that the apostrophe indicated a missing letter. Unfortunately there is no such word as ARGER.

    On the subject of easiness, I do find it extremely annoying when someone describes a crossword that I have struggled with, as easy. I can finish most crosswords but I do them slowly. I finished last Saturday’s jigsaw over two days and it was satisfying to finish. I leave the puzzle by the computer and have another look at the uncompleted clues, every time I need to use the computer. I wonder how long it took rightback to complete the jigsaw ?.

  22. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Recently, I have noticed that in many blogs Scarpia’s always one of the last [substantial] posts – as a kind of doorkeeper after a good show, leaving late visitors grumbling & tumbling on the street [having fun as well!] :)

    Well, it wás a good show tonight – though I’ve seen the band in better form. The concert was rather short, too. But I like the band, I have most of their albums.

    13d is indeed very bizarre (LIBRA/ARIES).
    It would have been fun if Orlando had put ARIES in the crossword as well, clued in an identical way. A novelty, that would have been!

    Yesterday some people said that Schubert wasn’t needed for the ‘piece of eight’, today – we thought – Greece wasn’t essential in 12ac (DORIS), even if it refers to Doric people.
    Unlike you, mhl, I don’t have problems with first names indicating a surname [as long as these are not too obscure or on the other hand too common], and therefore I’m a bit surprised that you’re so happy with Leonardo.
    Talking about names, not sure whether I liked FA for Fanny Adams [without indicator] or not (or Is there something I should know? [thx to Duran Duran]).

    We liked the ‘Extra-large’ definition for MOREL, and the Rowling anagram.
    On the other side of the spectrum the band played some very dull songs (the dd’s that Martin H mentioned in #10) and at one point they were completely out of tune (31ac was, we thought, just plain wrong). Ah well.

    The band played two songs that they also performed in their last concert [you can still download those – FT 13,440 Cincinnus, so nicely blogged by Pete MacLean yesterday].
    First there was ADDISON, similarly played (‘Essayist is working with a theologican’). And secondly SUNDOWNER, this time in a complete new arrangement (at the FT concert it sounded like: ‘Star has depressing experience with drink’ – not bad either).

    I am sure I will visit the next concert as well.
    Everything looks so nice on stage.
    The members of the band play so well together.
    And they sound nice.
    Well-crafted music by some natural talents.

    Myrvin (#2) wanted them to play some Beatles songs (‘Day Tripper’ and ‘Ticket to Ride’ – instead of RIDE and DAY RETURN), but I think the songs the band chose worked extremely well.

    Next concert: this Saturday – Venue: the FT.

  23. tupu says:

    Hi Sil
    I’m not sure if I read you properly re Fanny Adams, but it often has the adjective ‘sweet’ and is a euphemism for ‘f… all’. In that context at least people often say ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ or simply ‘Sweet F A’ e.g. in a disgruntled answer to a question like ‘What did you get out of it?’. Sorry if you know all this and I am missing your point.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi tupu,
    My PinC said something about it this afternoon, but not in your ‘euphemistic’ way.
    I haven’t been long enough in the UK to know it all.
    So, thanks for enlightening me.
    When I said “Is there something I should know?”, I meant that literally.
    And now I know! :)

  25. tupu says:

    Hi Sil
    :) I’ve been here all my life and still have to keep learning e.g. re Betty Ditto yesterday!

  26. tupu says:

    ps Beth Ditto!! QED!

  27. Scarpia says:

    Hi Sil and tupu.
    You might be interested,if you don’t already know,how the phrase originated.

  28. stiofainx says:

    scarpia that is horrble and spurious
    it means sweeet f%%k all thats all

  29. Paul (not Paul) says:


    Thanks for the links to the (for me) more obscure definitions.

    And I liked the the scarface / scarce clue…my favourite of the day.

  30. mhl says:

    I do hope that people aren’t put off by comments about the difficult of particular puzzles. Personally, I only started trying to do the crossword regularly about 7 years ago, and don’t remember finding that irritating. Despite writing blog posts here, I’m still a very slow solver, so when I refer to something as “easy” that’s really in the context of “typical” Guardian crosswords!

    Sil: Leonardo isn’t indicating a surname in that clue – my remark was alluding to the illiterate practice of referring to him as “da Vinci”.

  31. tupu says:

    Hi mhl

    Sorry this is a bit late! I think illiterate is a bit strong. Many surnames are place based (eg the various ‘Van’ (Sil’s?)and ‘Von’ names and lots of English ones, and it is simply the fact that there do not seem to have been many if any Italian surnames at that time as far as I can gather. But such place designations commonly ‘hardened’ into surnames passed on down the generations, and da Vinci could easily have done so (cf. DiCaprio).

  32. Scarpia says:

    Hi stiofainx,
    I didn’t imply a diffrent meaning and the history of the derivation is in Brewer’s,which is usually regarded as the authority on these things.I don’t dispute that it’s horrible!

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