Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,160 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on November 5th, 2010


I’ve had a soft spot for Orlando since my first blog, which was a very enjoyable crossword of his, and I always enjoy his more frequent Cincinnus puzzles in the FT. Today he has endeared himself further to me! 😉 A fun puzzle with some excellent surfaces and wordplay.


1 SKOPJE: S[arkozy] + KOP [stand] + JE [first person in French] – a lovely smooth surface to start with. Skopje is the capital of Macedonia.
2   CHANCER: CHANCER[y] [court docked]
9   GASOMETER: I was hoping this would come to me while typing and, fortunately, it just has: ‘buggy’ is an anagram indicator, so it’s an anagram of GREAT around SOME [unspecified amount]
10 CHURL: C [about] + HURL [cast]
12  ARISTOTLE: ARISE [spring] around TOT [child] + L[ine] – my favourite clue, I think.
13  THERESA: reference to the lovely song from ‘West Side Story’, ‘THERE’S A place for us’ and also to the ‘silly book titles’ which were doing the rounds when I was a child – and probably even long before that – and may not be familiar to younger readers. The best-known one perhaps was “‘The broken window’, by Eva Brick” and there were also “‘Forestry’ by Theresa Green” and [next clue] “‘A Cliff Tragedy’ by Eileen Dover” – which was something of a bugbear for me, at school.
14  EILEEN: homophone of I LEAN [tend]
17  CORNET: double definition
15  DYNASTY: D[irt]Y + NASTY [unpleasant]: reference to the 1980s American TV soap
22 REFUSENIK: another example of Mr Curl’s trademark misleading linking of words [‘trash can’] [cf Childline’ in 12ac] which we need to separate: REFUSE [trash] + NI[c]K, nick and can both being slang for prison. Super.
24  SATIN: hidden in coronerS AT IN quest
26  HOVEL: HOVE [resort on South coast] + L[eft]
27  GO IT ALONE: anagram of ANGEL I TOO
28  SUSS OUT: S[outh]  US [American] S[outh – bridge player] + OUT [abroad]


1   SEGMENT: G MEN [American agents] in SET [ready]
3   JAMES DEAN: JAM [fix] + anagram of NEEDS A
4   CARMINE: anagram of CREAM IN, with another unusual indicator
5   ASCOT: SCOT [payment] with A first
7   ROLLER: double definition. I hadn’t heard of the bird but it’s a pretty little thing, as you can see here: It apparently gets its name because it does somersaults in flight.
8   OTTAWA: OTT [too much] + AWA[y]
14  ETON FIVES: ETON [reversal of NOTE – reminder] + FIVES [numbers] – a hand-ball game similar to Rugby Fives
16  LANDSCAPE: LAND [get] + S[etter] + CAPE [head]
18  TONIGHT: ON in TIGHT [mean] – another song from the same show but I don’t think we could call it a theme.
19  DIK-DIK: reversal of KID KID [fool repeatedly]
20  YONKERS: Y[ear] in place of B[ritish] in BONKERS [mad]
21 BRAHMS: BRAHMINS [some Hindus] dropping ‘in’
23  SALVO: V[ietnamese] in anagram of LAOS
23  TROLL: TOLL [charge] about R[ight]

41 Responses to “Guardian 25,160 / Orlando”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen – 15ac gave me a big smile, especially as I knew you were blogging today.

    My only problem with this was putting TROUT for 25dn – not sure why I thought charge=TOUT, but there you go.

    We had SKOPJE less than a month ago in a Crucible puzzle, so 1ac was easy from the JE part.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen. Most enjoyable puzzle from Orlando, and a name check for you too – spooky!

    There were some clever misdirections here, particularly REFUSENIK, where I spent far too long trying to find the anagram fodder for ANARCHIST. I also carelessly put in TROUT at first for 25dn, which held me up with the ORSON WELLES anagram. I liked ARISTOTLE too.

    The middle across clues were clever, but you’re right, Eileen, the puns are/were spectacularly bad. They also spawned the ‘what do you call’ jokes. What do you call a man with guano all over his head? Cliff. What do you call a man with no arms and legs in a swimming pool? Bob. And a number of ruder ones which I won’t repeat here (but you can imagine where Warren is coming from …)

    I also remember that Eileen has a brother, called Ben. Sorry.

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi Andrew and Kathryn’s Dad

    I put TROUT first, too!

    I always remember Skopje from the huge earthquake there in 1963.

    [I’m just doing the Radian [Crucible] puzzle in the Indy today – another treat!]

    And, Kathryn’s Dad, I think you should stop right there!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    There’s another spooky coincidence, Eileen, which you’ll discover when you’ve finished both the puzzles. Won’t say what it is now so as not to spoil anyone’s enjoyment.

  5. Jim says:

    Fell into TROUT trap as well!

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen, especially for explaining the centre row 😆

    It seems we’ve all been fishing for trout!

    I found this a struggle to get into, as I’m not so familiar with Orlando as others appear to be, but I hope to repeat the experience soon.

  7. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. My version of falling into the TROUT trap was BRILL, which held me up in that corner for a while. Lovely puzzle from Orlando, with a lot of variety and good surfaces. Even the old favourite ASCOT was neatly clued — so neatly it was the last one I got.

    With J, K, V and Y cropping up, I was convinced for a while that this was going to be a pangram.

    I smiled when I saw your name-check!

  8. Geoff says:

    Thanks, 15ac!

    A pretty straightforward but fun puzzle, with some clever anagrinds and charade wording.

    We all seem to have been discombombulated by 25dn. Like Liz, I plumped for BRILL at first, because I already had the L from WELLES. This clue is at least triply ambiguous. Any more possibilities?

    ROLLERs are members of the genus Coracias, related (probably) to the kingfishers. They are all brightly coloured; the European roller is distinctive enough, but the prize goes to the African lilac-breasted roller, which looks like a child’s painting of an imaginary bird:

  9. Eileen says:

    I think BRILL is a great answer – but I’d already got the T from 24ac.

    TROLL = fish has turned up several times lately, the most recent being only last Friday, in the Loroso [Anax] puzzle in the FT, where the clue was ‘fee for catching river fish’.

  10. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Is there any such thing as coincidence?

    I quite agree BRILL would have been brilliant, had it but fitted! Like almost everyone here so far, I’d entered TROUT with some misgivings before eventually being forced to abandon it.

    I was defeated by CORNET in the end, but an enjoyable engagement nonetheless.

  11. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Eileen. An excellent blog for a very enjoyable puzzle. I had to guess at HOVE and ETON but was pleasantly surprised by 13 and 14ac which were part of my childhood as well. I recall different titles by the same amusing “authors” so perhaps juvenile minds created similar witticisms independently.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando

    Most enjoyable puzzle and the usual excellent blog from Eileen.

    Lots of very nice clues inc. 12a, 22a, 28a, 2 29, and 3d, 5d, and lots of the remaining downs.

    I think 3d’s ‘crashing’ evokes memories of the car crash that killed him as well as providing the anagrind.

    RE 14d: I got the answer but wondered about reminder. Of course note< is right. I (mis)parsed it as ET (a reminder system on windows apparently) + on + fives but was not wholly convinced.

    Like one or two others, I first plumped for brill which would have been 'brill' as Eileen says.

    re 1a I knew the Anfield stand but did not realise the SA reference was also applied to other stadia.

    Re books/authors, there was also 'In the Tunnel' by General Smuts and 'The Nail on the Bannister' ( :) author's initial and surname by request with stamped addressed envelope).

  13. Orange says:

    I had BREAM for 25d, till I got satin. Was thinking on the lines of electricity/light.
    As I too am an Eileen, had no trouble with Eileen Dover, and makes this my favourite puzzle of the week!

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Thanks for the reminder about James Dean. I commented on the unusual anagram indicators and didn’t spot the aptness of that one.

  15. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Orlando and Eileen. I had TROUT also until the Orson Welles anagram was solved. Was defeated by ETON FIVES which I hadn’t heard of. This is ironic because I played American Handball for 35 years until the knees said, NO MAS!


  16. Kate says:

    I fell into the trout trap, and had never heard of Cornet, so for once failed to complete the puzzle today! :(

  17. muck says:

    Thanks Orlando for the puzzle, which I enjoyed.
    Thanks Eileen for the blog, excellent as usual.
    When I saw 14ac, I hoped it would be your blog and it is!

  18. tupu says:

    I’d meant to add something re Yonkers. I have never visited the city but I got the answer easily because it has memories for me from a classic song of the Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor era (1925-6 and well before my own time) – ‘If you knew Susie’. (Oh! Oh! what a girl!).

    We went riding
    She didn’t balk
    Back from Yonkers
    T’was I that had to walk!

  19. otter says:

    Another TROUTer here.

    I found this tough going – haven’t really got the hang of Orlando’s thinking yet, and as Eileen says he does focus on misleading and uses eg unusual anagram indicators – but enjoyed it none the less for that. Just finished it this evening, after coming back to it several times, and did have to do a bit of (educated) guessing and using the ‘Check’ button….

    Will try to remember what Orlando is like for next time, so I can ‘think myself into it’ better. I think it’s going to take me quite a bit of practice, though, because these are (for me) tough clues.

    I don’t think there were any smile moments for me, although it’s a perfectly good puzzle. I did think the reference to James Dean crashing particularly deft.

    What was the book by Dru Peacock? Or am I thinking of a different joke?

  20. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    On the subject of implausible sounding names, you and others might find this list a bit of fun ~ plenty of scope here for future puzzles, no doubt. I think I could fall for Constance Noring if she would only keep quiet !.

  21. Dave Ellison says:

    I struggled with this, had to resort to cheat books and still didn’t finish it quite (missed 8d OTTAWA, despite once having lived there).

    I finished the bottom half quite quickly, though TROUT prevented an early entry of ORSON WELLES.

  22. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you 15 for all the work you put in reviewing this 25 puzzle!
    [oh, sorry, 25 wasn’t BRILL ….. :)]

    Surely a Friday-Orlando as opposed to a Tuesday-Orlando.
    Good quality stuff as ever, but we thought this crossword had slightly more depth and/or trickier devices [like the ‘buggy’ in the splendid ARISTOTLE] than usual.
    However, there were no Lift & Separate clues today [even though we suspected ‘New York city’ might be one].

    Two fine quasi-ellipses [13,15 and 2&29,3] with indeed a very apt anagrind in the latter.
    That said, we didn’t understand the first with its ‘amusing’ references. And I’m not sure whether 13ac is a completely clean clue or not, mainly because of the ‘a’ that’s already there in the clue – somehow it doesn’t feel right [maybe it’s just me (again)].

    Some clues were easy, like SKOPJE [thanks to S and JE – as Andrew pointed out -, and even I knew the ‘kop’ at Anfield] and SALVO, but the NE in particular took somewhat longer to unravel due to the CHURL/ASCOT combination.

    REFUSENIK (22ac) was one of the highlights today, but as a clue 26ac was also clever as it isn’t quite clear what to do: “Resort has left behind” & def: “bad housing”, or perhaps “left behind bad housing” & def: “Resort”.

    The very last one to go in was YONKERS (20d), but we weren’t sure.
    The blog reads “Y[ear] in place of B[ritish] in BONKERS”, but is it like that? And if so, how/why?
    We considered the B[ritish to be going from BONKERS (leaving us with ONKERS) after Y[ear].
    But just like in 13ac, it doesn’t feel completely right: “British going crazy” meaning “British leaving (or going from) crazy”.

    But it did not spoil the party whatsoever.
    Fine crossword.

  23. otter says:

    Oops, sorry, meant to say: thanks, Eileen.

  24. otter says:

    Sil, I took 20d to be as you suggest: B[ritish] going [from, ie leaving] ‘crazy’, with Y[ear] in front.

  25. Eileen says:

    Sil and otter

    I read 20dn as the equivalent of a Latin Ablative Absolute, “a phrase used when a thought, condition or action is grammatically separate but modifies the meaning of the rest of the sentence”, thus “British going, crazy” [the comma being crucial, but – as we know – punctuation is ignored in Crypticland!] cf “weather permitting, we’ll have a barbecue tomorrow”.

  26. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I truly believe that there is nowhere else in cyberspace other than 225 where you will find a blog which mentions Ben and Eileen Dover and the Ablative Absolute in the same thread.

    A good weekend to all.

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi Kathryn’s Dad

    Thanks for that – yes, one of the joys of this site! :-) I really hesitated before adding such a magisterial-sounding comment but I still, after all these years, often find it easier to explain [at least to myself] English constructions via Latin.

    I think I’ve related here before how horrified the Head of English at the [state] school where I taught Latin many years ago was when Latin was dropped from the curriculum: ‘We relied on you to teach English grammar!’! and why I was accepted into the English department rather than being made redundant!

    Happy weekend to you, too!

  28. Carrots says:

    Lovely puzzle. Maybe I didn`t quite understand the parsing of CORNET or YONKERS, but who cares? (Methinks Auntie Eileen has an admirer……..)

  29. Carrots says:

    Forgot to mention the tumbler pigeon which enabled me to get 7Dn. Chris Packham on Autumn Watch last evening saw a Sea Eagle roll onto its back and pluck a harrasing crow from the sky, dumping it (dead presumably) on the beach below. Moral? “Don`t mess with the rolling trollers”.

  30. Eileen says:

    Thanks for all the comments – this was quite a nice day for me!

    I just wanted to say to those who are less familiar with Orlando – I think we don’t see enough of him here [about once a month] – his Cincinnus puzzles appear much more regularly in the FT:

    He is also responsible for the excellent site which has been cited here several times lately:

    Hi Carrots

    I remember being amused at school when I encountered Cornet Flitzenhart in Hardy’s ‘The Trumpet Major’ [the only place I’ve ever seen it] – but I was thinking of ice creams rather than musical instruments!

  31. otter says:

    I have very fond memories of watching Lilac-Breasted Rollers in Africa when I was a child. Beautiful birds. May you all have an (ablative) absolutely happy weekend.

  32. Eileen says:

    Thanks, otter! 😀

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dear 15 [which is 14 in the blog], very nice of you to put Mr Michael Curl in the spotlight @ #30.
    I share the “soft spot” with you.

    As to YONKERS, I’m glad we all agree on the parsing.
    Yet, the blog doesn’t reflect that (which was my point).
    The fact that punctuation does not play a major role in Crypticland is, of course, clear to me (and I have no problems with that at all) – but, even knowing that, “British going crazy” does not feel entirely comfortable to me as part of the clue as a whole [I know the combination going+crazy is good, probably even the reason Orlando formulated the clue like this]. It’s not really important, but it just feels like <100% to me.

  34. scarpia says:

    Thanks Eileen.
    Nice puzzle from Orlando.I liked the authoresses(or should that be authors,as this is a Guardian puzzle) of the “batty books” across the middle of the grid.Disappointed not to see my favourite – Lucy Lastic!

  35. Eileen says:

    Thanks, scarpia – I’d forgotten that one! [How could I?}

  36. Roger says:

    So, no takers for the link @20 then. Don’t know why I bother :(

  37. Hertsgnome says:

    Cheer up Roger! (20 & 36)

    Many thanks for the names link. Most entertaining!

  38. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Roger, I was out yesterday evening when your comment 20 was posted and it was overlooked. I have been out all day today so have only just seen your further comment.

    Thanks for the link.

  39. ernie says:

    Get Rich Quick by Robin Banks

  40. ernie says:

    liz #7 – BRILL is brill : I was another TROUT.

    I think YONKERS crops up in Hello Dolly.

  41. tupu says:

    HI Ernie

    For Brill = brill see 12.

    You are right about Yonkers and Hello Dolly. I didn’t know it was a city in its own right. Wikipedia has a good article. Residents are apparently known as Yonkersonians or Yonkersites! The song I quote at 18 only involves a mention. It was in the musical ‘Big |Boy’ (1925).

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