Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,237 / Orlando

Posted by mhl on February 4th, 2011

mhl.

Strangely, this is my second Orlando puzzle to blog in two weeks, having met the setter himself in Derby on the weekend in between :) As usual, this was a very good puzzle – my favourite clue was probably the &lit in 13d.

Across
1. PYGMALION PYGMY LION = “little cat” with a “change of heart”; Definition: “Play”
6. BALSA BALSA[m] = “ointment endlessly”; Definition: “Modellers may use this”
9. CHIMP CH = “church” + IMP = “young offender”; Definition: “Primate”
10. SUGAR SOAP SUGAR = 12 = “[DEAR]” + SOAP = “Coronation Street”; Definition: “Stripper”
11. RIVERMOUTH RI = “Rhode Island” + VERMOUTH = “it” (as in “Gin and It”); Definition: “coastal feature”
12. DEAR [island]D = “Island — finally” + EAR = “shell-like” (?) Thanks to Roger for pointing out the expression “a word in your shell-like”; Definition: “Treasure”
14. FINESSE ESSEN = “German city” + IF = “provided” all reversed; Definition: “subtle skill”
15. ELEGIST (IT’S GLEE)*; Definition: “a writer of sad stuff”
17. INEXACT I = “one” + NEXT = “succeeding” around [s]AC[k] = “contents of sack”; Definition: “Rough”
19. CHASSIS CHAS = “Charles” + S[tuart] = “Stuart’s head” + IS; Definition: “the frame”
20. HALO Hidden in “sucH A LOt”; Definition: “an indication of holiness”
22. FIGUREHEAD FIGURE = “judge” + HEA[r]D = “listened to right away”; Definition: “Front man”
25. FORESIGHT Soames Forsyte is the main character of “The Forsyte Saga”, thus “may be a relative of Soames, as reported” => sounds like “Forsyte”; Definition: “Prudence”
26. GET IT EG = “for example” reversed + TIT = “bird”; Definition: “Twig”
27. LIEGE Double definition: “Old [word for] master” and Belgian city
28. RARE EARTH Yttrium is rare earth metal and a “rare earth” might be a “wonderful world”
Down
1. PACER PACE = “With due deference to” + R = “right”; Definition: “horse”
2. GRIEVANCE (EVEN CRAIG)*; Definition: “score”
3. AS PER USUAL PERUSAL = “Reading” around U = “University” with AS (A grades) = “good grades” beforehand; Definition: “not unexpectedly”
4. INSHORE (HERON IS)*; Definition: “not far from the coast”
5. NIGHTIE NIGH = “Almost” + TIE = “secure”; Definition: “cover for one who’s retired?” (“retired” as in “gone to bed”)
6. BARB BARBIE = “doll” with IE = “that is” removed; Definition: “Spike”
7. LOOSE Double definition: “Unattached” and “promiscuous”
8. APPARATUS PA = “Pennsylvania” + RA = “gunmen” in APT = “suitable” + US = “American”; Definition: “gear”
13. LEGAL EAGLE LEGAL = “allowed” + [b]EAGLE = “dog to have lead removed”; Definition: “Smart lawyer”
14. FRIGHTFUL F = “female?” + RIGHTFUL = “True!”; Definition: “Ghastly”
16. INSPECTOR A lovely &lit: (INSERT COP)*
18. TRIGGER TRIER = “one making an effort” aroung GG = “goods”; Definition: “Provoke”
19. CLUTTER L = “left” in CUTTER = “vessel”; Definition: “Untidy accumulation”
21. LARGE Cryptic definition: you’re “at LARGE” if you’re “on the [LOOSE]“
23. DITCH Double definition: “End one’s relationship with” and “dyke”
24. ISLE (LIES)*; Definition: “Man is one”, as in “the Isle of Man”

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,237 / Orlando”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl but the NW corner proved too tough for me so I surrendered with 6 undone.

    Having been to Rhode Island on several occasions didn’t help because I tried to recall some local relevance without success.

    Oh Woe is Me!

  2. Swukker says:

    Some nice clues – I thought 11A nice – but not much else to recommend a dreary puzzle, not at all as entertainign as yesterday’s. 2D struck me as nmot making much sense – where’s the definition?

  3. JS says:

    Thanks a lot mhl and Orlando

    “What a difference a day makes” as the old song goes. Two of my favourite setters in a row both with excellent, enjoyable (IMO) puzzles but so different I felt. I thought every clue here was well crafted – 1ac, 28ac & 13d perhaps my favourites but too many good ones to really pick others out.
    Noticed that’s gone missing again!

  4. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, mhl – and Orlando, as ever. It was really great to meet you both last Saturday!

    Dreary puzzle, Swukker? Can it be the same one as I did? I’m with JS!

    My own favourites: CHASSIS, PYGMALION, RIVER MOUTH, FORESIGHT, GET IT, AS PER USUAL.

    The definition in 2dn, as mhl said, is ‘score’, as in ‘settle the score’. [It's in Chambers.]

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks mhl. Perhaps just me, but I felt as though Orlando had farmed out writing the right side of the grid’s clues to some vastly inferior setter. I solved those clues almost immediately then pencil-chewed my way through the left side.

    I had “pantomime” at first for 1ac thinking of Dick Whittington etc…

  6. Jim says:

    Straightforward crossword puzzle, after yesterday’s literary quiz which I failed to complete, stumbling on Telemachus who I had never come across before.

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl for a perfect blog (I think) and Orlando for a very well crafted puzzle – as mhl implies (but not infers), meeting the setter added further pleasure to the solving.

    I see Neil W’s point but felt differently. Several clues came easily, but I did not mind this (they were pleasant enough). Then one was left with the harder ones which were all rather nicely constructed and good to get.

    Particularly pleasing were 11, 17, 2 (I kept looking for ‘venge-type’ words), 3, and 5 – but 26 and 18 also amused. My favourite was 11 – I got the answer (after toying uselessly with light house) and then wondered if it might simply and quite unsatisfactorily be that ‘r’ at the beginning of Rhode Island is the mouth of ‘river’. Then the true answer came to me! Very nice.

  8. Geoff says:

    Not a difficult puzzle, but some lovely clues: the surface of 3dn is excellent and ‘it’ = VERMOUTH was very ingenious.

    One little quibble (from a chemist): I generally take ‘rare earth elements’ to mean the fifteen members of the lanthanide series. Yttrium and scandium are chemically similar and are found in the same minerals, so, in the words of Chambers ‘[yttrium is] usually classed with the rare earths’. Hence Orlando is not flatly wrong, but there are so many other fun elements he could have plumped for without this dubiety. How about dysprosium or praseodymium?

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Nothing dreary about this imho, and I’m not saying that just because I had the pleasure of meeting Orlando too. I thought there were some cracking clues: RIVER MOUTH, DITCH, RARE EARTH and LEGAL EAGLE. I don’t understand how the 12 in SUGAR SOAP works, if someone could oblige.

    It’s a long time since I studied Chemistry, but Yttrium will do for me as the science-based clue today. Anything that’s not flipping EMMA.

    Thanks for a full blog, mhl. I think you mean 16dn and not 13dn as your favourite?

  10. jim says:

    Very enjoyable, but it took me ages to get vermouth = it.
    Not too happy with the rare earth clue, but enjoyed pygmalion.
    P.S. I’m jim, not Jim – perhaps I should change my name.

  11. tupu says:

    Hi Kathryn’s Dad
    I think it is that sugar, like treasure and dear (12a), is a term of endearment.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. I enjoyed this very much, particularly for the neatness of the clueing. My favourites were 11ac and 16dn for that reason, but there were many others to enjoy.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Of course, tupu. Thank you.

  14. Martin H says:

    Very well crafted puzzle, as expected from Orlando; but ‘shell-like’ – yuk.

    Lots of good clues; I particularly liked INEXACT and NIGHTIE.

  15. Stella Heath says:

    An excellent puzzle and blog, but the wording of 15ac. seems somewhat strained IMO.

    I’d never heard of ‘sugar soap’, so thanks for the link, mhl.

    I particularly liked 1 and 14ac and 13d. 12ac. is an elaborate way round to a simple word. Very elegant.

  16. Roger says:

    Thanks mhl. Shell-like would not I think be unfamiliar to the likes of Gene Hunt when they wanted a little chat …. “A word in your shell-like …”. Had to smile at the (possibly unintentional) proximity of loose Barbie almost in a nightie and 11a when I finally got it !

  17. tupu says:

    Hi Martin H

    See http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/414550.html re shell-like ears. Its ‘yuckyness’ is quite old. Thomas Hood seems to have been the first to put the simile into a ‘poem’, and from what little else I remember of his verse he probably thought it more funny than romantic.

    I’m reminded of the old list – teeth like stars (come out at night), and lips like petals (bicycle pedals) etc. I can’t remember the one for ears like shells – was it 14-inch?

  18. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    I think it was ears like [cauli] flowers!

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I have a book by Nigel Rees lurking on my shelf somewhere which explains the origins of various phrases in English, and that’s where I first came across ‘a word in your shell-like’. It’s here:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/images/0007220871/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=266239&s=books

    Why would it be considered yucky?

  20. tupu says:

    Hi again K’s D
    A good question. OED gives Nasty, unpleasant; sickly sentimental

    I would agree that the first two do not apply at all, but it was with the last idea that I went along at least some of the way with Martin H. Even then it may be a bit harsh, and I suspect I would not have chosen the word here myself, for what that’s worth.

    I suppose it is the clichéed quality of the simile, and the sort of send-ups it and comparable (chat-up) lines have been subjected to (cf 17, 18) that I had in mind.

    Martin H may have a different view, of course.

  21. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks mhl & Orlando

    Finished this one in short order compared with yesterday but I think that the clues to 2d & 18d could have been better. Perhaps I’m hard to please.

  22. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for explaining “shell-like” – I am familiar with the expression “a word in your shell-like”, but it didn’t come to mind… I’d always assumed it was “a word in your shell, like.” :) I’ve updated the post.

    Kathryn’s Dad: yes, 16d was what I meant – thanks for pointing that out.

  23. yogdaws says:

    Like them tougher but…

    1a and 5d were fun and 11a was crafty.

    Here’s looking forward to something really taxing (but not too obscure) at the wknd.

  24. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle Orlando and a good blog, mhl.

    I’m glad you explained 1a, which I failed to parse.

    Last in was 12; very misleading but good clue – I thought it must involve the shell of like i.e. ‘l’ and ‘e.’ Hadn’t heard of (geddit) ‘a word in your shell-like.’

    I gather that yttrium is usually classified as a rare-earth element and, according to Wikipaedia, the etymology is thus: ‘for the village of Ytterby, Sweden, where the first rare earth ore was discovered.’

    I did like 11. :D

  25. Geoff says:

    Re Robi @24: Ytterby, a village in the Stockholm archipelago, has the unique distinction of giving its name to four elements: yttrium, ytterbium, terbium and erbium. The ‘rare earths’ are not particularly rare, but they are not found in many concentrated deposits. As they are chemically very similar it was some time before scientists managed to separate and identify them individually.

  26. Roger says:

    Tupu @ 17

    Your eyes are like pools. Limpid pools ? No, cesspools.
    Your skin is like peaches. Peaches and cream ? No, all pink and fury.

    .. not personally, you understand :)

  27. Mr Beaver says:

    I haven’t particularly been one of Orlando’s fans until now, but I did think a lot of these clues were very clever indeed. For me, just the right level of challenge – manged to finish but not without a struggle!

    I associate ‘a word in your shell-like’ being used with heavy irony in cop dramas where the ears of the recipient of the advice were anything but shell-like…

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Why is it that it’s always the NW that causes us (ánd some others) problems?
    RIVERMOUTH (11ac) being part of it. Extremely well clued, but I am not sure whether ‘Vermouth’ for ‘it’ is really fair or not.
    Ah well, it’s Crosswordland after all.

    We didn’t like DEAR (12ac), but apart from that it was Pure Joy.
    Capital P.
    Capital J.

  29. PeeDee says:

    Got all the answers but failed to understand ‘shell like’ and it=vermouth. Thanks mhl for the explaination.

    A bit of a mixed bag I thought, some very good clues but some old and tired cliches in there too.

  30. ernie says:

    Thank you, mhl and Orlando.

    As a chemist, I don’t object too much to yttrium being described as a rare earth.

    Lots of good clues. INSPECTOR was very good.

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