Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,188 – Orlando

Posted by Andrew on December 8th, 2010


I generally find Orlando’s puzzles quite easy going, but I struggled more than usual with this one. I finished the bottom half quite quickly, then the NE corner rather less so, with the NW corner taking as much time as the rest put together. As often happens, when writing up the blog I couldn’t see why I made such heavy weather of it, as most of the clueing is quite straightforward. Some may object to the perhaps rather London-centric 18ac, and there are quite a lot of proper nouns in both answers and wordplay, though nothing too obscure, I think.

5. LEVERET Cryptic definition – hares live in forms
9. ON END ONE (individual) + ND (North Dakota)
10. CUBA LIBRE [P]UB in CALIBRE. Cuba Libre is a rum-based drink
11. HILARY TERM [Sir Edmund] HIL[L]ARY + TERM (call). Hilary is the spring (January-March) term at Oxford Univeristy, so it’s “time up”
12. CLAM L in CAM. I worked my way through a long list of three-letter rivers before hitting on the one I see almost every day…
18. BROAD STREET Broad Street Station, now demolished and replaced by offices and shops, was close to Liverpool Street station. It also gave its name to Give My Regards to Broad Street, a film (and album) by Paul McCartney.
21. NOTE Double definition – a bill is a note (e.g. Dollar bill), and to mark is to note
22. CRIME SQUAD C[ar] + RIME + S[uspects] + QUAD (court)
27. NO SWEAT Anaram of WAS + NOTE (21ac)
28. LOITERS L + TORIES* – with a bit of topical commentary?
1. CLOTHE CLOT (Dumbo) + HE
2. OPENLY PEN, not R, in ORLY
3. UNDERSTUDY If you under-study for a course you might risk failure in the exam
6. VILE VI + L[oathsom]E. This needs VI to mean a state (linking from the previous clue) but the closest I can get is the American or British Virgin Islands, both of which are only “territories”. (The abbreviation for the state of Virginia is VA.) Thanks to Dave Ellison for the suggestion that VI is actually the 6 of the clue-number
8. THERMALS R[osencrantz] in HAMLETS*. A rather appropriate word, given the current weather conditions (in the UK).
13. MONTESSORI (ROME ISN’T SO)*, and reference to the Montessori method
16. ABINGDON N (any number) in A BIG DON.
17. PONTIFFS P[reach] ON (about) TIFFS
19. CURATE [yo]U[th] in CRATE
20. ADAGES ADA + GES (GOES with O “out”)
23. METAL M (James Bond’s boss) ET AL (and others)
24. ELBE Hidden in spiELBErg. “Runner” makes a change from “flower” as a word for a river.

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,188 – Orlando”

  1. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Andrew. I found this tougher too, with the NW being a struggle.

    In 6d, I took the … to indicate the 6 (VI) of the clue.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Dave, VI=6 works much better than my idea.

  3. Dave Ellison says:

    I really enjoyed this, 5a and 3d being my favourites. There seem to be quite a few connected with Oxford: 11a, 16d, 18a.

  4. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    My experience of the puzzle was exactly as you describe. I am also struggling to see the logic behind ‘vile’. Online version does not have dots at the end of 5d – not sure if that is significant.

    Re ‘Broad Street’ I think it is fair precisely because of the wider exposure from the McCartney pieces. The sadly ubiquitious – in crossword land – ‘Hilary term’ is however another matter…..

  5. Dad'sLad says:

    Sorry Dave, we crossed. I agree about ‘vile’. No dots at the end of 5d was significant after all.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Same experience as you and Dad’sLad in the NW: as you say, nothing outrageous, I just couldn’t get enough of a foothold to start with. I couldn’t see CROQUET for ages, being more used to COQUETTE as a flirt (that’s not to say that men don’t flirt as well, of course). Also reminded me of the beautiful River Coquet in Northumberland.

    I thought it was a fine puzzle with a good variety of clues and just the right level of challenge. Never heard of BROAD STREET, but LEVERET and PONTIFFS were very elegant. I wasn’t mad keen on ORANG as a shortened version of ORANG-UTAN, but I see dictionaries give it.

    [If I may digress slightly, Orlando is one of the setters who’s confirmed attendance at the Derby bash on 29th January (he’ll be bringing Cincinnus too, so it’ll be twice the fun). Currently nine setters and about 25 hangers-on (including today’s esteemed blogger!) will be coming. Let me know via the blog about the event on the main page if you’re interested.]

  7. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Andrew.

    Yes, rather tougher than usual from Orlando, but enjoyable all the same.

    I hadn’t come across ‘coquet’ before and never heard of CUBA LIVRE. I couldn’t explain 20dn, thinking I must be needing to take F and O from something, so thanks for that.

    But the one I made the biggest mess of explaining was BROAD STREET: I got the answer from the definitions but the last three words of the clue meant nothing, as I didn’t know the film / book.
    I was playing around with STREET being an anagram of ‘setter’, i.e. Paul!

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry, further to my comment at 6, you’ll find details of the Derby meeting under Announcements.

  9. rrc says:

    few smiles or ah ah moments today 14 15 16 went straight in , maybe Im not on the right wavelength

  10. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew, good blog. I quite liked this, and learned a few things, like COQUET (when verifying) and from you the link between leverets and form. I got 6d last, having worked out the link between the dots and VI. On 16d, the parsing may be BIN = any number: Websters o/l give this word as a banking identifying term. We had RABELAIS twice last year, both anagrams of raisable: Orlando’s clue is neater.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew for a very good blog and also Orlando.

    RE Iac Coquet is also a verb – to flirt.

    I oddly missed the parsing of 9 and 11 though the answers were clear. Being more used to the ‘other place’, I mistakenly thought the Hilary Term must be over rather than coming! But ‘clam’ came straight away.
    I did not know the McCartney connection to Broad Street and thought there must be a reference to St Paul(‘s)
    6. I read ‘vile’ as Dave Ellison did.

    The surface of 2d seemed strained.

    Some pleasing clues esp.10, 25, 3, and 7.

  12. Stella says:

    Thanks Andrew, particularly for the explanation of 5ac, and 18ac, where, like Eileen and tupu, I didn’t see the Paul connection. Perhaps it would have been fairer to use his surname?

  13. NeilW says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    2dn was fairly obvious but am I the only one to think the word order of the clue is wrong? Surely not as nice a surface but “Enclosure not right in airport for all to see” should be “Enclosure in airport not right for all to see” or am I missing something?

  14. tupu says:

    Hi NeilW
    No. See my own comment which probably got lost with other stuff.

  15. NeilW says:

    Hi tupu – I did read your comment but my point is that I think that the whole structure is wrong. Perhaps it was an effort to improve the surface, which you felt to be “strained”.

  16. Andrew says:

    Neil (and tupu): I read 2dn as “Enclosure, not right, in airport” – i.e. PEN replaces the R in ORLY, which is fine by me.

    Stella: I think the use of “Paul” in 18ac is fair misdirection, even though I’d never heard of the film and wouldn’t have understood the clue without outside help.

  17. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew – I see it now.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew. Me too.

  19. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Andrew. I completed this without any trouble but needed help to understand 6dn and your blog provided that, if somewhat indirectly.

    However I have a couple of grumbles. I think it is sad that I solved 11ac on sight without ever having coming across the term outside crosswordland. Why are Oxford terms so popular in crosswords, are setters waving their old school ties?

    More importantly I want to expand on K’sD@6’s doubts about ORANG. I am disappointed that dictionaries include it with the meaning of Ape. It is the Malay word for people/man. The orangutan is the “man of the forest”, but the Malaysian aboriginals are orang asli and when in Malaysia I am an orang putih. A white man, not a white ape.

  20. tupu says:

    re 5a
    A small point. I did not know the hare/form link. As far as I can understand the references, each hare has a ‘form’, initially scaped out and moulded by the shape of its body, in which it rests and sleeps. Unlike rabbits, hares are, it seems, solitary creatures living alone or in pairs.

  21. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Colin at 19. That’s why I was a bit uncomfortable with it too, because I knew it was something like ‘man of the forest’ in direct translation. Dictionaries (or mine at least) don’t give it as ‘ape’, but simply as an alternative to the full word. A case of dictionaries being wrong, maybe. Are men apes? Discuss.

  22. Stella says:

    Hi Colin and K´s D,

    I think our species is closer to the Malaysian meaning – are we not known as ‘the naked ape’? I even remember a theory expounded by one Elaine Morgan (Wiki tells me), whereby we would originally have been an aquatic species: – so whereas the orangutan is the man (or ape) of the woods, we would be the ape (or man) of the waters/river.

    Andrew: that’s precisely my point – I may be wrong, but I don’t think it’s one of the best known of his prolific musical offerings

  23. Exscouse says:

    In 18,STREET is an agram of setter and Paul is a crossword setter. Is this the significance of Paul in the clue does anyone think?

  24. Eileen says:


    See my comment 7 – and no, I don’t!

  25. tupu says:

    Hi K’sD and Colin

    Re orang. Apart Stella’s point and K’sD’s question in the Darwinian anniversary spirit, I’m not sure we need be so worried when this is not a Malaysian crossword. It is normal for words to shift their meanings after borrowing or language division.

  26. paul8hours says:

    I thought 13d was a great clue for an anagram-lover with recent experience of Rome’s mayhem.
    This puzzle didn’t score so well on ‘kid-friendliness’. Tokyo Colin is quite right about 11 ac, Broad St was closed before my kids were born and Rabelais is loved by setters but who else ? I fear for the medium term future of crosswords.

  27. Robi says:

    Thanks Orlando and Andrew for an informative blog (didn’t know the leveret/form connection). Struggled with the NW corner. No doubt your 16d explanation is correct, but I took ‘entertaining’ as a reference to BING (Crosby), although I guess that doesn’t then cover the number part of the clue. I’m learning!

  28. William says:

    Thank you Andrew. Got it all but failed on some of the explanations until your fine blog.

    Just one small thing…what is the apostrophe s doing in 9ac? Surely “Upright individual state” is better?

  29. Allan_C says:

    William @ 28

    I think the apostrophe + s makes 9ac a sort of double definition, the second one being cryptic. The state an upright individual is in can be said to be “on end”

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Andrew, and isn’t it funny that we found this Orlando, um, easier than usual?
    It’s perhaps because in most of the clues it was clear (to us) what to look at.
    Everything fell in place quite quickly, even though we couldn’t fully parse 14ac (TERRITORIAL) and the next one BROAD STREET (18ac). We entered ‘Broad Street’ because I knew this name (only) from that Paul McCartney album, but I didn’t make the actual connection with that record. Silly me.
    [Haven’t played that album for a very very long time]

    As always with Michael Curl’s puzzles, this one was immaculately clued.
    What a difference compared to the (occasional) sloppiness of yesterday’s Gordius [which we certainly didn’t find one of his better crosswords].

    Very evenly clued, therefore no Clue of the Day.

  31. William says:

    Thanks, Allan_C #29, hadn’t looked at it that way.

  32. Sylvia says:

    Came to this late, failing only on ‘cuba libre’. In 24d I had ‘floe’, thinking the spiel was talking about a berg! Funny how you sometimes fail to see a hidden answer!

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