Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,116 – Orlando

Posted by Handel on September 15th, 2010


Good morning. We found this a well-rounded and enjoyable puzzle at the easier end of the scale, with plenty of neat wordings. One of the notable features today was how well the surfaces read, 1 across being a good example.

Favourite clues were 11 down, 1 across and 8 down.

Having started my day on Google, I note that it’s Agatha Christie’s 120th birthday today, and there’s a gentle nod to her in here, with 1 down naming one of her famous characters. 26 across also contains the source of the title of her most enduring play, but I think that may be a bridge too far, unless there are other thematic entries that I’ve missed?


1. M.C.C. AR(e) TH(e)Y enjoyable surface here, conjuring up images of ill-famed right-wing cricketers

5. SPRING dd

9. STA(G N A)TE ‘say’ as ‘state’ threw us for a bit here, as it’s so often used to indicate definition by example or homophone

10. TEN N IS

12. MELAN(ie) C(H)OLIC good surface sense here, although ideally ‘girl that’ would be ‘girl who’, which wouldn’t work cryptically

15. RASTA ‘pasta’ trading ‘p’ for ‘r’

17. CATHERINE dd, ref Catherine the Great

18. LOO P(H)OLES these can be a means of escape, generally for people with far too much money who don’t wish to be taxed

19. TESSA< familiar device here, this time not relying on the out of date Tax Exempt Special Savings Account acronym

20. OUT OF THE ARK (UK father too)*

24. RE  PAIR to repair to the pub is to go to the pub


26. HAMLET dd prince Hamlet and a small settlement



1. MISS MA(R)PLE good surface here too, which brings to mind a lumber theft


3. RU(N)IN

4. HOT CHOCOLATE (to the cool cha)* Neat &lit there

6. PRES(CI)ENT as a note for beginners, ‘tense’ will often refer to the grammatical tenses

7. IN N.S.

8. GO  SH ‘Sh’ is ‘pair of shoes’ as it’s a pair of letters from the word. Well-hidden definition, despite having seen ‘my’ for ‘gosh’ before

11. PLATES OF MEAT (to ample feast)* a tough one to parse, until you read ‘legends’ as ‘leg ends’ As pointed out below, ‘plates of meat’ is cockney rhyming slang for ‘feet’

13. DISSUA  SION ‘Saudis’ anagramised, then ‘Sion’ which is an alternate spelling of ‘Zion’, though not in our dictionary

14. R(ud)E  PACK  AGED

16. APHRODITE (Oprah tide)*

21. eartHY DRAma

22. ARCH dd one’s ‘arch-enemy’ is one’s priniciple enemy principal

23. S  PAM plenty of these turn up on a daily basis, and they are certainly annoying

29 Responses to “Guardian 25,116 – Orlando”

  1. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Handel. I agree with your comments. It did seem relatively straightforward, but I still took over 25 mins – at least five of which were spent on reedling with which I was unfamiliar. Also liked your pick of clues. On 11 down you might make it clear that it is an anagram and spell out the Cockney rhyming slang for feet, as this might puzzle some.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Handel and Dad’sLad

    I didn’t fully understand the clue for 11d but now all is explained.

    I shudder whenever I see ‘Cockney’ in a puzzle.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Handel and Orlando

    A good puzzle with some teasing clues. No special comments except that I had thought St Catherine was spelt St Catharine but I see that both are used and Catherine Wheel seems standard.

    Thanks for the explanation of 11d. I knew it meant feet but missed the leg ends.

    I worked out reedling but had to check the answer with Chambers – ‘bearded titmouse’.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Handel, needed the explanation for 15a. I had PASTA there for a while which didn’t help with solving 1d.

    An enjoyable solve which went quite quickly until my last three or four in topmost right corner.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks both. Pretty straightforward today, just the leg ends bit I needed explaining. But some very neat clues and a pleasant solve.

    I thought I knew my birds, but reedling was a new one on me and I had to deduce it from the (pretty simple) wordplay. Handsome little fellow, he is.

  6. Pierre says:

    In the Quiptic that I did the blog for a couple of Mondays ago, there were a couple of comments about the level of difficulty and some clunky cluing, and a request was made for Quiptics to be ‘easy but good’. This Orlando fits exactly that description and would make a perfect beginners’ crossword for the Quiptic, I think.

  7. Handel says:

    Dave Ellison – the top right hand corner was last to go in for us as well!

    Funnily enough, I (El) am not normally very good at bird names, but ‘Reedling’ was familiar somehow, and having looked the name up this morning I remember it is because they are mentioned in Rory McGrath’s book ‘Bearded Tit’ (which is another name for the bearded reedling, not to mention a reliable source of cheap jokes).

  8. Matt says:

    Enjoyed and finished it at my desk in the office, but not sure in what context “n” can mean “Knight” in 3d. Can anyone help?

  9. Handel says:

    In chess notation, knight = n, as k = king

  10. walruss says:

    Pierre is right, I think. Orlando writes very well at the easier end of the spectrum, and Guardian’s Quiptic writwrs, whom I think tend to ne kind of up-and-coming types, would do well to mimic his style. On the other sode of the coin it would be a shame to waste Orlando’s gifts on such trifles!! Good stuff today, Orlando!

  11. Jezza says:

    I don’t always have the time to look at the Guardian puzzle, but I am glad I did today.

    I thought this was a very well-crafted puzzle; not too difficult, and very enjoyable.
    Favourite clue, 11d. Thanks to Orlando, and to Handel.

  12. PenelopeIII says:

    Small point but in 22d you should be spelling ‘principal’ not ‘principle’.

    I clearly spend too much time doing crosswords.

    I thoroughly enjoyed today’s Orlando.

  13. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well, yes that was fun. Not sure the “split a word” device should make it into a Quiptic (@6) though.

    Or is that “cheep jokes” @7? Sorry, it was too tempting.

    But as for @10? Our most wise people understand that their insights must be passed on or lost for ever. They therefore understand the need for education. Hence the blatant snobbery of the phrase “such trifles” when applied to the Quiptic shows an appalling lack of apprecition of the need for education or it’s place in society. How unpleasant!

  14. Daniel Miller says:

    Some very neat clues today. Particularly liked 18a Loopholes and the 11d Plates of Meat – I missed that Leg End – just saw it as a Cockney Expression.. Quite clever!

  15. Stella Heath says:

    So is this a reedling?:

    Thanks for the blog, Hamlets, though i didn’t really need it today – in fact when I looked for it after finishing the puzzle, it hadn’t yet been published. I don’t usually get there before the blogger, but I assume you had other things to do :)

    Great comments, Derek, @13. May I suggest, Walruss, that even if you dislike trifles, you might put your glasses on while typing so we don’t have to read round your errors?

  16. Davy says:

    Thanks Handel,

    I thought this was a superb puzzle from Orlando with some easy clues to get you going and loads of great surfaces. I’ve ticked nine clues as being worthy of a mention and these are 1a, 9a, 12a, 18a, 27a, 1d, 2d, 4d and 13d. I had a good laugh at LOOPHOLES which was very misleading.

    I think Orlando has set the standard today for a straightforward, very entertaining puzzle.

  17. Frances says:

    Please can someone explain 19a

  18. Stella Heath says:

    Something of value, or an ‘asset’, reversed

  19. tupu says:

    Hi Stella @15
    :) I hope you will forgive me as one more prone than yourself to rapid error. I began to wonder if you’d tried to put Handel in at 26? Then 23 would have to be ‘small god plays bridge’! and 26 itself could be ‘confused deal with composer’ :)

  20. Pierre says:

    walruss is perfectly capable of speaking for himself, of course, but I took his reply to my comment as being what Uncle Yap would call ‘tichy’.

  21. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Stella @ no 15, that is a priceless link … he’s a bird I definitely wouldn’t want to get to know!

  22. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I have read the above comments now twice.
    And … zero criticism on the clueing.
    Does this ever happen?

    As visitors of this site might have noticed on previous occasions, I have a soft spot for the talents of Michael Curl [who, btw, recently put a lot of Orlandos on his reanimated website (see: Announcements) – so take your pick].
    However, though perhaps true, Davy’s final comment “I think Orlando has set the standard today for a straightforward, very entertaining puzzle”, doesn’t do him fully justice.

    Orlando isn’t always as straightforward or at the easier side of the spectrum as today.
    In fact, I found this crossword more like one of his alter ego in the FT (Cincinnus) – indeed, an ideal Quiptic [but please do keep in mind that a lot of these clues are really clever and thoughtful, and the product of real craftsmanship].
    Although, I think, it is not on to dismiss Quiptic setters in general calling them ‘trifles’.

    This puzzle was a good example of how easy crosswords can still be very satisfying to solve, mainly because of the quality of the clueing.

    My Clue of the Day? I think 1ac, because of the very original (and apt) second part of the clue.

  23. brr says:

    I really enjoyed this one, despite not getting 19ac and 25ac. Orlando always seems to set a puzzle that makes me determined to try and finish his next one. No bad thing in my opinion.

  24. MattD says:

    @9 thankyou Handel. Should have guessed that.

  25. muck says:

    I thought ‘leg ends’ was pretty good
    But you can’t do better than HOT CHOCOLATE

  26. frances says:

    Stella @18 – A belated thanks. So clear once it’s explained.

  27. Davy says:


    By straightforward I meant a set of clues not having a theme. The clues were not straightforward in the ordinary sense at all. They were inventive, well-constructed and had a distinctive style.

  28. Val says:

    I know this is a day late but do think it worth sharing for those who didn’t pick up the leg end reference in 11dn.

    Is Michael Foot a legend in his own time? (Graffitti, probably apocryphal, presumably pre-03/03/2010)

    I liked it!

  29. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks Handel and Orlando.

    Very enjoyable, it’s been a while since I completed a puzzle on the G. I don’t mind the hard ones, although I never know when to “give up” and come here (I’m still “working” on Araucaria’s bank holiday prize puzzle, for example…).

    With the exception of double-checking that REEDLING is a bird, I even finished the whole thing “out of my own head” which is even nicer. I’m sure some of you solved this as fast as you could type/write!

    GOSH went in “last” which I got a chuckle from given the “shoes” in the clue.

    I didn’t catch the “leg ends” explanation but I made up my own awful reason why it made sense – “legends” = “feats” = “feets” = “PLATES OF MEAT”!

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