Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25169 Orlando – As Merry As A Grig

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 16th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

Last Monday, the FT changed the usual setter and gave me Cincinnus to blog. Today, I got a double with his Guardian alter ego, Orlando. Double helping of steak and kidney pie! And of course, Orlando is a very entertaining compiler, using a potpourri of devices …..

1,22  ROBERTA FLACK R (right) + *(cabaret folk) American singer, songwriter, and musician best known for her hits The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face & Killing Me Softly with His Song. I was fortunate to have attended her concert in Newcastle Town Hall in the early 70’s when I only had to pay five pound. Wonder how much a pop concert ticket costs nowadays?
5 RHENIUM Ins of NI (nickel) in RHEUM (watery fluid)
9 CADGE Ins of D (note) in CAGE (prison)
10 CLAY CROSS CLAY (bodybuilder; Chambers supports clay as body, following the Genesis account of the Creation when Adam was made in the image of God out of clay) CROSS (annoyed)
11 RAINSTORM (B)rainstorm
12 ARSON (P)arson
13 OPTIC OPT (choose) I (one) C (first letter of Can) Optic is the trade name of a device attached to an inverted bottle for measuring alcoholic liquid dispensed.
15 IN A BIG WAY Quite self-explanatory, don’t you think?
18 CONDENSER CON (trick) DENSER (thicker)
19 TITUS Ins of T (time) in TIUS (rev of SUIT, clothes)
21 MUFTI dd
23 ORGANISER ORGANIST (player) minus T + ER (expression of hesitation like let me see) This clue made me laugh, my COD
25 ANATOLIAN ANATOLE (Anatole France, poet, novelist, Nobel laureate thanks, nusquam) minus E + *(IN A)
26 CLARA Acrostic for Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck; 1819–1896) a German musician and composer
27 TAKESON Ins of SO (like this) in TAKEN (caught)
28 OVERDUE O (old) VERDUN (famous WWI battle) substituting East for North (change of direction)

1 RICARDO Ins of CARD (programme) in RIO (Rio de Janeiro, South American city)
2 BADMINTON BAD (offensive) MINTON (China from Mintons Ltd – an English pottery manufacturing company, formerly trading as Thomas Minton & Sons. Now part of the Royal Doulton group)
3 REEDS dd
4 ANCHOVIES *(Novice has)
5 REALM REAL (not fancied) M (maid)
6 EUCHARIST *(his curate) the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; the elements of the sacrament, bread and wine.
7 IRONS dd
8 MASONRY Ins of SON (child) in MARY (Madonna) What a lovely surface
14 CRETINOUS *(countries)
16 AGRIGENTO A GRIG (from the simile, as merry as a grig) + *(note)  Agrigento is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento
17 WITHSTAND WITH (using) ins of TAN (brown) in SD (empty SheD)
20 SURFACE SURF (make use of Internet) ACE (expert)
23 ORION Ins of I (symbol for current in physics) in OR (other ranks, men) & ON (aboard)
24 NICHE Ins of H (hydrant) in NICE (resort in south of France)

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

29 Responses to “Guardian 25169 Orlando – As Merry As A Grig”

  1. nusquam says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. I didn’t know about the grig, and could not work out 23dn.

    Anatole France poet, novelist, Nobel laureate.

  2. Dr.G says:

    Thanks Yap for a great blog.

  3. nusquam says:

    I wonder if anyone agrees that Orlando is confusing ‘brainwave’ and ‘brainstorm’ in 11ac. Brainstorming is a positive activity but a brainstorm is a negative event. Or is there a use of it which has passed me by?

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    An excellent pie it was, Uncle Yap, but there were certainly some tough pieces that needed considerable chewing before being ready for digestion. I just managed to finish, finding the SE corner the hardest.

    There were some admirable clues: I liked MASONRY and EUCHARIST for their clever surfaces. Unlike you, I wasn’t so keen on ORGANISER, finding the clue a little bit too contrived.

    I agree with nusquam that ‘brainstorm’ is not really a definition of ‘sudden inspiration’. For me, brainstorm is a verb and a bit of business jargon: it means lots of people coming together and throwing ideas around in order to arrive at some kind of creative solution. However, the SOED does say it’s equivalent to ‘brainwave’.

    On which note, I’ve always wondered what you’d call them if you had more than one brainchild.

    Excellent blog, thank you.

  5. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. The answer to your question is £34.50 . See

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, UY, for the explanations to 25a and 16d, which eluded me.

    I agree with the comments about BRAINSTORM, and I also wasn’t too keen on 23a.

    I found this tough, only achieving one letter (the S of 7d) on the first run through! Luckily 12a followed and then the rest, but very, very slowly. I had to confirm 1d RICARDO and 16d AGRIGENTO (oh, ok, by resorting to cheat book and atlas).

  7. scarpia says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap.
    Nice puzzle from Orlando with some unfamiliar words.
    Had to look up Agrigento in a gazetteer and wasn’t familiar with “merry as a grig”. For{possible) etymology

    Didn’t know Ricardo either,I guess we mean this guy

  8. Jim says:

    Ditto – had to look up Agrigento in a gazetteer and wasn’t familiar with “merry as a grig”.

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap I thoroughly enjoyed this although I failed to get AGRIGENTO – knowing nowt about Sicily and I could only think of ‘the more the merrier’.

    Now all is explained!

  10. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I enjoyed this, but found it much tougher than the last Orlando. It took me ages to get going, with CLARA my first answer. 17dn made me smile.

    Lots of nice surfaces, as usual, and a good variety of devices. I knew Ricardo, fortunately, but he is not the most familiar of English economists. Failed on 16dn — ‘merry as a grig’ is new to me!

  11. Robi says:

    Solved this eventually with a lot of help from my computer. I guess ‘as merry as a grig’ is in the meaning of ‘as merry as a cricket,’ as I gather grig can mean cricket.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and orlando.

    Quite hard in places. I was sorry to see your hint since I first went into the site to check any further comments from yesterday and to see who the setter was today. I did not know the expression, but I did know Agrigento and would have got it without the hint (after looking up grig in Chambers).

    Merry as a grig reminds me of something a friend once said. ‘If anyone tells you that a saying is typically English, they mean that it’s tucked away in a linguistic front room china cabinet and never used’!

    I got stuck on Clay Cross and had to hunt for it on Google. There is apparently a Dr Clay’s ‘Book of Bodybuilding…’ that may be being referred to rather than Genesis.

    For some reason I only saw ‘realm’ after sorting 10a.

    several enjoyable clues:- 11a,23a, 25a, 28a, 17d.

    I got Orion but failed to parse it properly – thanks.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi tupu.

    You might have got stuck on Clay Cross but you certainly wouldn’t want to get stuck in Clay Cross.

  14. Robi says:

    P.S. Thanks Uncle Yap. Apparently, the American use of brainstorm can mean a sudden inspiration; see

  15. Rishi says:

    For ‘brainstorm’ Chambers has the meaning ‘a sudden inspiration’. It doesn’t signal the sense as U.S.

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    And apparently the civil service is no longer able to use the expression ‘brainstorm’ because it’s offensive and unPC. The preferred term now is ‘thought showers’.

    See here:

  17. Val says:

    My first in was GREENHORN for 4dn, thus scuppering much chance of getting anything else in that corner. Of course it’s wrong but without any crossing letters I still think it’s perfectly valid (if you accept the horn shark as a fish, which I do) and am very disappointed to see it go after having stuck to it with such blind confidence.

  18. Mr. Jim says:

    Thanks UY for explaining all this to me, and to Orlando for a fine crossword.

    IN A BIG WAY is more than just a CD — it’s an ins of BIG = “pregnant” in IN A WAY.

  19. Mr. Jim says:

    Also, was I the only one to put NEUROTICS for 14d?

  20. Stella says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I found this tough going, not being a scientist, and never having heard of a grig, in any expression.

    I resorted to Wiki, looking for a map of Sicily, but this wasn’t straightforward, either. I eventually found a link to a railway map, and there it was, staring at me :)

    There were some good clues, though. I liked 19ac, with its reference to the fairy tale.

  21. Median says:

    Got there in the end, but needed to use the gadgetry far too much for it to be satisfying.

  22. rrc says:

    far too much of a slog with few smiles

  23. John says:

    An impractical person may lack common sense, but if I were to call him “cretinous” I would deserve the punch in the mouth I would undoubtedly get. I’m surprised everyone seems to accept these loose synonyms without comment.

  24. Carrots says:

    A welcome lunchtime diversion. It`s a bit unnerving trying to enjoy an al fresco lunch when the Dubrovnik harbour wall behind one is sprayed with bullet holes (from only 15 to 18 years ago!)
    Orlando provided some clever clues and surfaces, but I think TAKES ON should really be TAKES IN.
    ORION I guessed, but still don`t understand. Ditto WITHSTAND and CLAY CROSS. I don`t get the “WITH” part, or the “CLAY” part. I accept Tupu`s explanation, but it`s below the belt. We sailed past AGRIGENTO a couple of days ago, but I still had to look it up in the library.

    I miss my lunchtime “Spit & Sawdust”.

  25. FumbleFingers says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    Me & my fellow-solver today both agree with John @23. We think cretin is as much a medical term as spastic. Both words may be loosely used in private conversation as insults – but they are potentially offensive well beyond that context, and probably shouldn’t be used with the derogatory sense in something like the Guardian crossword.

    Other than that, I liked this puzzle – even though general ignorance prevented me seeing 25a & 16d.

  26. Gerry says:

    I had to check for a couple, like ‘agrigento’ and ‘ricardo’, but having read the above realise that I got 27Ac wrong…I had ‘Takes In’, rather than ‘on’. How very annoying.

  27. Daniel Miller says:

    One or two tough ones I thought, thanks for the blog.

    I liked Withstand and Surface – but I now appreciate the wit in Organiser – yes it was a good clue.

  28. crosser says:

    Thanks, UY
    @ Carrots
    27a is TAKES ON = recruits, and TAKEN (caught out) round SO (like this)

  29. maarvarq says:

    OK, it’s not just me, Orlando’s puzzles have become harder.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

2 + four =