Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,303 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on April 22nd, 2011


I didn’t know quite what to expect today, after a roller-coaster of a week. An Orlando puzzle is always welcome and this was no disappointment – nothing too taxing but a good variety of clue types and some very smooth and amusing surfaces, which is always a bonus for me. Many thanks, Orlando, for an entertaining and enjoyable puzzle.


1   FIRE ALARM: FIRM [set] round [enclosing] REAL [concrete] + A[rea]
6   USED: hidden in RousseaUS EDucation
10  NIGER: reversal of REGIN[a]  [queen almost]
11  TAKE LEAVE: homophone of ‘Tay cleave': Radian in the Indy included this ‘Scottish runner’ on Tuesday and I can’t resist directing Guardian solvers, too, to William McGonagall’s egregious poem
12  ARTICLE: double definition: ‘an’ is the indefinite article – a really neat clue, I thought.
13  SAY WHEN: anagram [being windy as] of HE YAWNS – a lovely surface, which raised a smile
14  LARYNGOLOGIST: anagram [fancy] of GOT SILLY ORGAN – another nice surface
17 DOING THE TRICK: double definition, referring to the magician rather than the Dickens hero
21  RINGLET: LET [allowed] after RING [band]: it’s this butterfly:
22  AT FIRST: FIRS in [se]ATT[le]
24 DRIFTWOOD: DR [doctor] + IF [provided] + TWO [couple] + OD [overdose – ‘excess of drugs’] : a beautifully constructed clue
25  REACH: REA [ERA {time} with first two letters reversed] + CH[urch]
26  TUNA: TUN [reversal of NUT] + A: ‘loaf’ and ‘nut’ both slang words for ‘head’
27  TORMENTOR: MEN [people] in TOR TOR [twin peaks]


1 FANTAILS: FAILS [doesn’t come up to scratch] round ANT [insect] – another nice construction and surface
2   ROGET: reversal of E.G. [say] in ROT, for which Peter Mark Roget’s book would provide the given synonyms! My favourite clue, with its lovely surface and misleading definition
4   ART DECO: anagram of REDCOAT
5   MAKES DO: MAKE [forge] + S [small] + DO [note]
7   SPAGHETTI: double definition, referring to the Gravelly Hill Interchange – nice play on ‘fare’
DUENNA: DUE [fitting] + NNA [reversal of ANN]
9   PLAY MISTY FOR ME: fine anagram [criminal] of FROM A TIMELY SPY: 1971 Clint Eastwood film
15  RED ENSIGN: N [new] in REDESIGN: a seemingly simple but, I thought, clever clue
16  SKETCHER: SK [’empty S[ac]K’] + ETCHER [engraver]
18  GET LOST! : double / cryptic definition, which made me laugh.
19 HOARDER: O [nothing] in HARDER [more distressing]
20  CREDIT: double / cryptic definition
23  ROAST: double definition: I spent several stupid moments trying to make something of R + OAST [oven]!

40 Responses to “Guardian 25,303 / Orlando”

  1. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen, I couldn’t see the “homophone” in 11a, despite living less than a mile from the Tay. The quotes indicate I think it was a bit shaky. Otherwise an enjoyable crossword, that took 50′ to complete

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    As you say, nothing too taxing or contentious but just pleasant. I agree with you that 2 was very nice.

  3. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen for explaining 11ac., and the link to the poem – I couldn’t quite make it scan, but it was an enjoyable read, and that must have been some accident! Unfortunately, one of the theme lines is not too prophetic, as these tragedies tend to be forgotten as soon as a more recent one occurs. I liked the moral at the end – is it figurative?

    This was a relaxed solve, with no quibbles. Last in ‘duenna’, despite its being the original form of Spanish ‘dueña’ :)

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen this made for another very quick solve and, as a result, I’ve had to buy a Times.

    This Crossword business is very addictive and, when the puzzles are too easy, very expensive.

    My guess is that we’ll be given an Araubetical tomorrow.

    Here’s hoping!

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    If you had, in fact, made the poem scan, you’d have done something no one else has managed to do!

    McGonagall is known as the worst poet in the English language, and, unfortunately, his poem is probably more famous than the disaster itself. [I have a soft spot for him, as my husband came from Dundee.]

    You can see more gems here:

    ‘An Address to Shakespeare’ is quite amusing!

    Hi Bryan

    I hope you’re right – or it might be one of A’s monster double puzzles.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for that, Eileen. I’m afraid the novelty was beginning to pall by the time I was half-way through the ‘Address to Shakespeare’ 😀

  7. MatthewD says:

    Thanks Eileen / Orlando

    Couldn’t see why it was Niger. Got confused by “ER” for queen. Assumed “NIG” was most of a word meaning “backing” I couldn’t think of. Your explanation is much better as it has the advantage of making sense.

    I assume 26a is a nod towards it being Good Friday.

    Enjoyed this a lot. Around my level of competence and not a Shakespearean character in sight. Marvellous.

    Fingers crossed for an Araubetical tomorrow (is it too much to wish for a scientific theme too?).

  8. otter says:

    Morning, everyone, and thanks, Eileen, for the blog. I concur with the general feeling: a relaxing, not too taxing, but pleasant solve.

    I got DUENNA from the wordplay, in spite of its being a word I don’t know. Will look it up in a mo. Last in, ROGET; a good clue. Failed to see the homophone in TAKE LEAVE, but got it from the crossing letters. ‘Twin Peaks’ was lovely.

    A few seemingly superfluous words in clues today; something which I’m never keen on, as it seems a misdirection too far. Examples: ‘as’ in 13a, and the opening ‘For’ in 19d. Does anyone else find this unsatisfactory, or can you vindicate it? (‘Vindicate’ is too strong a term here, but would be interested to read people’s views on this.)

  9. MatthewD says:

    p.s. also meant to say that I really don’t get the controversy around homophones. I just try saying them in lots of different accents until it sounds right. But then, I am fortunate I guess in that my accent is a generic South-of-England one so generally I get them quickly enough.

  10. otter says:

    ps: always a pleasure to read the word ‘egregious’ – one of my favourites.

  11. Ian says:

    Thanks Eileen. Superlatively blogged, if I may say so.

    Thanks too to Orlando for an entertaining Easter holiday offering.

    I must admit not to spotting the McGonagagall connexion to arrive at the right answer. As for 1 ac I though the extra ‘a’ was superfluous till I saw from your explanation that I’d completely omitted ‘area’!

    I, too, liked 14ac as well as the splendid 1dn. Very well put together. I also welcome the breakdown of 24ac from the blog.

    Finally, have we seen the REDCOAT/ART DECO * elsewhere quite recently?

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi otter @8

    Re ‘superfluous’ words: I had the same thoughts initially about 13ac but thought that it did work if taken as I indicated in the blog. {Incidentally, did others take ‘windy’ as I did, i.e. ‘twisty’ like a windy road, or, just as viable, ‘changeable’ [Chambers] like windy weather?]

    In 19dn, I think you might not have noticed the ‘for’ if the first three words had been at the end of the clue: ‘for’ is a common enough linking word, I think.

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi Ian

    The ART DECO clue was bugging me, too. I’ve just found it:

    [There wasn’t really a McGonagall connection – it was just an excuse to quote the poem again! :-) There was in Radian’s clue, though: ‘Guy at mouth of “silvery” river [4]’ – lovely!]

  14. NeilW says:

    Hi Eileen, again.

    I’m afraid you won’t approve but, at the time, I had an image of the letters of “he yawns” being belched up!

  15. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Neil – I didn’t think of that one! :-)

    What a wonderful, triple-definition anagram indicator – take your pick!

  16. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Eileen. Beautifully blogged as always. Also a special thank you to Orlando who managed to include (22ac) my birth city, Seattle, on the day of my 70th birthday. What a nice touch. Have a pub crawl scheduled for today so if any of you are in the Seattle area, please join me.


  17. Wolfie says:

    A very enjoyable and untaxing puzzle for a lazy bank holiday. Thank you Eileen for the blog, which explained 11ac for me. The reference to Rousseau in 6ac was neat. Jean-Jaques Rousseau was of course the author of ‘Emile’, an early and very influential text in the theory of education.

  18. Eileen says:

    Happy Birthday, grandpuzzler – what a lovely coincidence!

    [It’s a bit too far to come and join you but enjoy your pub crawl!]

  19. bamberger says:

    Finally done it -a Guardian solved without aids. Got stuck in the NW but finally they leapt out. All I need now is to solve an Indie unaided…

  20. Eileen says:

    Congratulations, bamberger! Only one day after mentioning it. Tomorrow the Indy! 😉

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Congratulations Grandpuzzler and Bamberger.

    I was one who didn’t read ‘windy’ as referring to a road, and so found the ‘as’ slightly superfluous – though I don’t usually object if it helps the surface reading. Your clue makes the clue so much better though, Eileen.

  22. caretman says:

    @16 grandpuzzler, I’m in Seattle as well (city of my father’s birth) and would love to join, but have commitments this evening. Hoist one for me. I too thought this was an easy but elegant puzzle with many outstanding clues. I’ll through in my compliments for 16d, with the switch in pronunciation of “drawer” between surface and definition.

  23. Stella Heath says:

    Congratulations Grandpuzzler and Bamberger.

    I was one who didn’t read ‘windy’ as referring to a road, and so found the ‘as’ slightly superfluous – though I don’t usually object if it helps the surface reading. Your reading makes the clue so much better though, Eileen.

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    As Wolfie says, a lazy bank holiday solve, in my case over a couple of excellent pints in an old-fashioned Derbyshire alehouse with another Fifteensquared regular. Can’t say who because people will start to talk.

    TAKE LEAVE was my favourite today – solved by my drinking and puzzling companion and parsed by me. Cheers! (And many happy returns to grandpuzzler.)

  25. liz says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Eileen. Nothing much to add to the previous comments — a relatively quick solve and a very enjoyable one. My favourites were 2dn and 12ac, but other good surfaces and neat wordplay as others have noted.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s offering very much, whatever it will be!

  26. Daniel Miller says:

    Roget – splendid clue!!

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi Kathryn’s Dad and An.N.Other

    “Can’t say who because people will start to talk.”

    They’re already doing so: you two can’t keep meeting like this! :-)

  28. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando

    Typical thoughtful and elegant fare from both of you. I’ve been out all day and only got it finished just now.

    Especially liked 12a, 14a, 2d, 4d, 8d, 15d.

  29. Carrots says:

    ….and a jolly Good Friday it was! An enjoyable and entertaining puzzle from Orlando, washed down with a couple of pintas of Kimberly Bitter, in the company of a fellow fifteen-squareder who proved decisive in trouncing the local Grauniad addicts.(For me, this doesn`t happen very often: they are very, very good…and fast with it).

    I can only think this must be the halcyon day before the storm…when the setter of the Easter Prize puzzle will, undoubtedly, be one of the Grauniad heavyweights.

    So…I have my Panama Hat, my garden swing, a clement weather forecast and a jug-full of Pimms with which to do battle. I just wish I had retired at 35 and not 55.

    Bon Chance one and all!

  30. ernie says:

    Thank you for the blog. An enjoyable puzzle. Last in was TARGETTER (wrong for TORMENTOR) – could not explain my answer. Good fun.

  31. Eileen says:

    Hi Carrots

    Thanks for coming clean and thereby ending this silly tabloid-style speculation. 😉

    Thanks to everyone, as always, for the comments.

    I may well be offering one or two hostages to fortune but I really can’t see, at the moment, any adverse comments, which, as far as my blogs are concerned, at least, must be a first! A real tribute, I think, to Orlando – and thanks, again, to him!

  32. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Carrots,

    I’m coming back late just to say I’m glad some of us, if few, can get together, and bonne chance et joyeux pasques to all.

    ( Sorry for being pedantic – that’s the way I am, as my sister tells me :))

  33. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I always enjoy Orlando’s puzzles and this was no exception. I particularly liked TORMENTOR, RED ENSIGN and GET LOST. Yes it was on the easy side but still very entertaining. Now back to Paul and Boatman which remain unfinished.

  34. Roger says:

    Thanks for the offer, grandpuzzler, but I seem at 2d to have finally gone west to take “tea” rather than the more interesting stuff.
    Have a good crawl, though. (A choice month for birthdays, btw … mine was last week !)

  35. Roger says:

    … and today traditionally that of Shakespeare !

  36. Carrots says:

    Thanks for the greeting Auntie E: much appreciated. I`ll not spoil your exemplary day by winging off a Super-Injunction!!

    Stella: Ditto! Its not the first time my Franglais has got me into trouble. Usually its for ordering a piece of string in a Michelin 3-Star!!

    Now I`m off to fuel up for the Easter Jumbo. Thanks Orlando for a cracking puzzle….and Eileen for a masterly (or should that be “mistressly”?)blog.


  37. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    A bit late as I’m having a binge on solving all the crosswords that I didn’t finish during the week. I usually don’t get round to puzzles until last thing at night these days, an then fall asleep 10 minutes into the solve.

    I got off to a bad start by writing in gynaecologist rather than laryngologist without reading the letters in anagram properly.

    Stella @3, were you being serious or ironic about MgGonnagal? The the understatement me laugh out loud.

  38. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to all who offered birthday wishes yesterday. Pub crawl successfully completed: one pub, one hour, minimum crawling. Caretman @22 – my contact information is at item @68 in General Discussion. We could have a Bloggers & Setters (Northwest Editon) gathering. Possibly Brendan could drive up from Portland and maybe fly in Kathryn’s Dad to do the organizing. Just a thought.


  39. Huw Powell says:

    A very nice little puzzle indeed. I was getting nervous near the end, worrying that it might be one of those that is fairly easy all the way to the end but leaves me with 2 to 4 words I simply can’t crack. But then TANG changed to TUNA (being too smart for my own good there), DUENNA popped into my head, and ROGET and NIGER dropped. Yay!

    I often don’t pay much attention to surfaces (partly because my entry to this game was Frank Lewis’ Nation puzzles, where the clues often had none to speak of), but with this little gem I was quite impressed, with marvellously answer-related surfaces all over the place – heck, I just noticed the loveliness of the clue for ROGET while writing this!

    A bit of a relief after the last couple…

    Thanks for the fun, Orlando, and for the blog, Eileen!

  40. Orlando says:

    Belated thanks to Eileen for an excellent blog, and to all who have commented. Your kind remarks are really appreciated. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.

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