Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,313 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on May 4th, 2011


There’s lots of fun in this characteristically witty, elegant and  well-clued puzzle from Orlando – nothing too complicated but highly entertaining and enjoyable. Many thanks, Orlando.


1   MAGIC LANTERN: anagram [dicky] of CALMING A + TERN [bird]
8 IWO JIMA: I [island] + WO[n] + JIM [lucky man] + A:  references to ‘Lucky Jim’, satirical novel by Kingsley Amis and Iwo Jima,  1945 major WW2 battle
9   UMBRIAN: UM [hesitation] + BRIAN [the ‘very naughty boy’ crucified in Monty Python’s 1979 film ‘Life of Brian’] – a real laugh-out-loud clue!
11  LEAN-TOS:  LEANT [listed] + OS [ORDNANCE SURVEY – cartographers]
13 IRENE: hidden in hampshIRE NEeded: Irene is the wife of Soames Forsyte in ‘The Forsyte Saga’.
Will anyone else admit to having fallen into the trap of initially entering  SUSAN [Hampshire] who played the part of Soames’ daughter, Fleur [which would also have fitted!] in the 1967 BBC TV adaptation, which so riveted the nation that churches changed the times of their evening services? A very clever clue!
14  PLUTOCRAT: PLUTO [animated dog] + C[aught] + RAT [stool pigeon]
16  GOOSE-STEP: anagram of STOKE POGES minus K [king]
19  TRAIN: double definition – as in ‘train of events’ and school as a verb
21  OBSCENE: OB [Old Boy] + SCENE [place]
23  RICH TEA: anagram [‘cooked’] of A THRICE: I thought this was a very neat clue, since ‘biscuit’ literally means ‘twice-cooked’.
24  EARLIER: joky double definition: ‘more like an earl’
26 RELENTLESSLY: LENT LESS [reduced funds for borrowers] in RELY [bank]: a nice surface


1   MOORAGE: reversal of EG [say] + A ROOM [a space]
2   GRISTLE: GRIST [miller’s material – corn for grinding] + LE [first and last letters of ‘low-grade’ – a welcome change from ‘the French’
CHASSEPOT: CHAS [‘Dave’s mate’ – Cockney rock duo Chas & Dave] + O [old] in SEPT [30 days] : I didn’t know this rifle but the wordplay is impeccable.
4   ACUTE: A + CUT [clipped] + E[nglish]
5   TOBACCO: TOBAC [reversal {standing} of CABOT, John, or his brother, Sebastian, explorers] + CO [firm] : definition ‘leaves for a smoke': I thought this was a really wonderful surface.
6   RAINIER: double / cryptic definition, referring to Prince Rainier of Monaco, and the expression [again!] ‘raining cats and dogs’.
7   DIALLING TONE: anagram [working] of I GOT LANDLINE – another great surface
10  NIGHTINGALES: NIGH [approaching] + TIN [can] + GALE [air force] + S[quadron] – and another!
15  UPPER CASE: Upper [high] CASE [court trial]:  like buses, often, they come three in a row!
17  OBSERVE: triple definition
18  EREMITE: anagram of LIME TREE minus L[eft]
19  TOCSINS: homophone of ‘toxins’
20  ATTABOY: reversal of BAT [cricketer] in A TOY [play]; I don’t think I’ve ever heard this posh “interjection expressing  encouragement or approval, poss. corruption of ‘That’s the boy!'”[Chambers] actually said!

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,313 / Orlando”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen and Orlando.

    This was very enjoyable and I was able to nail CHASSEPOT – the only new word for me – from the clue. Which is how it should be.

    I didn’t understand the ‘crucified’ bit of 9a but figured out the answer anyway. It was nice to see Brian in the answer even though it is decidedly inferior to our preferred spelling.

    Maybe one of these days we’ll get an I LEAN?

    Incidentally, there’s a Cinephile (aka Araucaria) in today’s FT.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen for an excellent blog and thanks Orlando for an impeccable puzzle.

    I agree totally with your sentiments about this Eileen – elegant was a word that came to mind at once.

    I got chassepot from the wordplay but needed to check it. I did not know Chas and Dave and thought (wrongly) that they might be mates in an alphabet (C for Charlie etc).

    I had the same sort re ‘rich tea’ and thrice cooked.

    Lots of lovely clues. Tick after tick for me.
    Plutocrat probably my favourite.

    I’m not at all posh but I have heard ‘attaboy’.

    Most enjoyable.

  3. tupu says:

    ps I had the same thought (not sort) re rich tea!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    You’re right, Eileen, a fun puzzle with many smiley moments and some clever, clever clueing.

    It all fell pretty steadily, except for the SE corner, where I couldn’t see ATTABOY even though I knew it was BAT reversed. I think this is more of an American expression, no?

    I liked the wit in RAINIER and EARLIER, and was pleased to get CHASSEPOT and TOCSINS – neither of which I’d heard of – from the faultless wordplay.

    But my fish today was UMBRIAN – brilliant! And my first thought was the same as yours, Eileen: ‘He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!’

    Top puzzle. Thanks for blogging, Eileen.

  5. Conrad Cork says:

    Nicely judged and appropriately appreciative blog, Eileen. Thanks.

    I’ll add my voice to the plaudits. Clues like 10 down are examples of why I like Orlando so much. A little drama neatly suggested, and yet wholly misleading. Bravo.

  6. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    :) Just to add – I had vaguely thought chassepot must somehow relate to ‘hunting (for the pot?)’ but it is apparently the name of the gun’s inventor.

    As far as I can tell from a quick dip in Wikipedia, Sebastian Cabot was John’s son rather than his brother. I had forgotten there were two of them.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Re Sebastian – you’re right, of course: lapsus digiti!

    I should know this: I did much of the revision for my finals under the shadow of the Cabot Tower!

  8. Ian says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando.

    Easy for me to agree with all the acclaim handed out for this effort. Great surfaces aplenty.

    The western side was completed in quick time but some on the leeward side took a little longer. not least the 22dn where I was nutmegged by the winger.

    Hard to select a favourite clue. A toss up between 5dn, 14ac and 9ac.

    Bravo Orlando!

  9. Stella says:

    Smile growing wider all the way, particularly from 9ac onwards. Others were 23ac and 10d, to mention but a few.

    My first thought at 13ac was Sarah, too, but I didn’t put it in, as my memory of the series is limited to the fact of its existence. Irene fell into place once I had the crossing letters.

    At 20d, I was trying to do something with ‘sos’ or ‘help’ until the penny dropped: its a call for (in the sense of ‘intention’, rather than petition) support, eg. after a good stroke at cricket.

    I was glad to see it was your turn to blog, Eileen, as I was sure you would have enjoyed this.

    Well done, Orlando!

  10. Will Mc says:

    Usual great stuff from Orlando, one of my favourite setters.
    I think attaboy’s most famous use is in It’s a Wonderful Life:
    “Zuzu: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.
    George: That’s right, that’s right. Attaboy, Clarence”

  11. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen, and thanks to Orlando for a great puzzle. For me, this proves that a quick solve can be every bit as enjoyable as one you spend ages over. Lots of smiles and great surfaces.

    3dn was the only one that really held me up, but it was very fairly clued.

    My favourites, for their story-telling surfaces, were 16ac and 10dn. But there were so many others that I liked too.

    Kathryn’s Dad@4 — I’ve always thought of ‘attaboy’ as an American expression. My (American) father (who was also at 8ac during the war) was known to use it!

  12. Conrad Cork says:

    Attaboy for me will always be the make of the trilby owned by my primary school teacher more than 60 years ago.

  13. Roger says:

    Agreed, Eileen, a most enjoyable stroll … all eminently workoutable (including the unknown chassepot and Iwo Jima).
    Rainier and earlier were good fun and yes, I fell into the Susan/Fleur trap at 13a before Irene was spotted a-lurking.

    … and by a happy coincidence, I heard and (briefly) saw my first ever 10d at the weekend !

  14. Martin H says:

    Almost enough references to bygone eras to constitute a theme: Magic Lantern, Lucky Jim, Forsyte Saga, Chas and Dave, Dialling Tone, together with old weapons, princes and exclamations.

    Not too keen on the repeated -IER trick, but a small gripe at an excellent puzzle, TOBACCO standing out among many fine clues.

    Thanks Eileen for the commentary, and Orlando for a beautifully crafted crossword.

  15. Roger says:

    Quite a few birds flying about also, Martin H, but again perhaps not quite enough to qualify as a theme:
    Tern, nightingale, goose, egret … and pigeon, swallow (not to mention dicky bird, fliers, winger) in the clues.

    I really must go and do something useful.

  16. Robi says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle and good blog, from both of which I learnt something (hadn’t realised that biscuit meant twice-cooked!)

    CHASSEPOT and TOCSINS new to me, but both fairly clued, although I didn’t think of Chas & Dave – I thought it must be one of Cameron’s mates. The CHASSEPOT was apparently the first of the French breech-loading rifles, for which the inventor received 30,000 francs.

    Some great clues as others have mentioned; I particularly liked UMBRIAN, TOBACCO and PLUTOCRAT. The picture of people GOOSE-STEPping in Stoke Poges was very amusing.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all.
    A very pleasant solve.
    Chambers has no US suggestion for ATTABOY and it is an encouragement I have used many times to my grandson.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen and Orlando. Also enjoyed this.

    I pencilled SUSAN in at 13a, but was sceptical, as proved correct. I also pencilled in LESS at the end of 26a which delayed me for a time, until I dredged TOCSIN from the back of my brian somewhere. I tried RICE HAT at 23a, thinking it might be an obscure oriental biscuit (able to be eaten!)

  19. Joshua's mum says:

    A really enjoyable puzzle in that it was easier than most, even than Rufus. Yet it is logical and clear. Thank you, Eileen. My favourites were Iwo Jima, dialling tone and Umbrian, but I do carp at the phrasing of 22 down, because it should surely be remorse when gaining header?

  20. Eileen says:

    I’ve been wondering ever since your comments began appearing where I got the idea that ATTABOY was ‘posh’.

    As I said, I don’t think I’ve actually heard it said and I think I’ve always thought of it as a public school kind of expression. I don’t know why.

    Hi Joshua’s mum

    I don’t have a problem with 22dn: EGRET = REGRET missing its first letter – but I can see how your reading makes sense, too!

  21. Scarpia says:

    Thanks, Eileen and Orlando.
    Not a difficult puzzle,but as good a one as you’re likely to find anywhere!
    Plenty of witty clues and well known(to me anyway) references in wordplay.
    CHASSEPOT was new to me ,but as others have already said easily gettable from the wordplay.
    For anyone who doesn’t know the Brian/Messiah connection see

    Dave Ellison @18 – I like the idea of your rice hat!

  22. Robi says:

    Joshua’s mum @19; if you read the clue as ‘remorse when missing header [is] showing winger,’ I think it makes sense.

  23. caretman says:

    Agree with everyone’s comments about this puzzle. Thanks, Orlando, for a wonderful stroll. Eileen, you lucked into a good one to blog!

    Like others, my last was 3 dn, unknown to me but all of the elements were there. Since The Forsyte Saga had only a limited appearance in the States, I knew little of the series. So I expected that I was missing some allusion in 13 ac (and Eileen has confirmed it); and now after reading her comment I do recall that Susan Hampshire acted in it. But my lack of exposure did mean that I didn’t fall into the SUSAN trap.

    This puzzle was an excellent example that well-chosen definitions and lateral thinking cryptic elements surprise and please us. For the former, 5 dn was the top example for me, not only a misleading definition but the way ‘leaves’ is a verb in the surface but noun in the cryptic readings. And for the latter, 9 ac stood out for me when ‘Brian’ suddenly showed up. It got me humming ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ the rest of the afternoon!

  24. walruss says:

    A very good puzzle, with UM BRIAN a classic I would say! I think Orlando is a bit of an unsung hero at the Guardian, with his stylish presentations. Excellent.

    Wot no blog for The Indy again??

  25. tupu says:

    Re Irene, I’d better not start another stroll down memory lane to Daisy Nook, but I remember watching episode after episode in the original series as the country came to a halt on showing nights. She was played by the beautiful Nyree Dawn Porter whose face stays with me even though I have had to hunt out her name after all these years! Only ‘The Killing’ has managed to glue me so religiously to the box.

  26. chas says:

    Thanks to Orlando and Eileen.

    I can claim ignorance for failing to put Susan in 13a as I did not follow Forsyte when it was broadcast!

    I will join in the general praise of Orlando – I found nothing to complain about.

    I enjoyed 9a and 19d.

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi walruss @24

    I don’t think it’s at all true that Orlando is an unsung hero here.

    With Caretman @23 and Stella @9, I think I was very lucky to draw an Orlando puzzle today [and almost said so, this morning], especially as I blogged his last one, where I commented, fairly late on in the evening:

    “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.”

    Again, it’s fairly early days [but I’m going out soon] to be tempting fate but, apart from a slight demur @19, I can’t see any criticisms – too easy / too hard / too obscure / too many anagrams / cryptic definitions / overbearing theme, etc. etc. – just, as Chas says, ‘general praise’. Something of a ‘Goldilocks’, rather than a ‘Marmite’ puzzle, in fact, and you’ve been around long enough to know we don’t get many of those!

    [Perhaps I’d now better retreat below the parapet – or, better still, go out for a lovely evening ramble round Rutland Water.]

  28. Geoff says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando

    I’ve been out all day and only just got round to today’s puzzle.

    Not much to add – like most others I found this one easy but hugely enjoyable. UMBRIAN, RAINIER, EARLIER (this trick always makes me smile, so I don’t mind it appearing twice) and NIGHTINGALE were my favourites.

    CHASSEPOT was completely new to me, but the clue led me straight there.

    TOCSIN is a word that seems to live in a crossword ghetto – on the (fairly rare) occasions it crops up it is invariably given a homophone clue – but it does appear in one of the numbers in G&S’s ‘Mikado’.

  29. Jim morton says:

    A wonderful sic-fi story over seventy years ago in the American Boy magazine was titled “Doom Tocsin” -the first I had ever encountered the word.

  30. Jim morton says:

    I meant sci-fi, of course.

  31. MattD says:

    Wonderful puzzle with cultural references I understand and not a Shakespeare link in sight. Happiness.

    Thanks eileen for great blog. Fave clue? 24a earl-ier

  32. slipstream says:

    I am an American. ATTABOY was easy. CHASSEPOT was not.

  33. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    A superb puzzle from Orlando with lots of fun, amusement and impeccable clueing. I failed on IWO JIMA and TOCSINS but it was all there in the wordplay for someone with half a brain. So many good clues today but UMBRIAN was marvellous, closely followed by TOBACCO and PLUTOCRAT. EARLIER also raised a laugh.
    Many thanks Orlando.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Even though I have nothing substantial to add, I feel the urge to express my admiration for this crossword.
    Oúr admiration (my PinC and I).

    Since I started doing crosswords three years ago, Mr C’s puzzles have always been of great influence on my way of thinking in Crosswordland.
    He combines splendid surfaces with nice misdirections, lightness, wit (9ac!!!) and unsloppiness ( :) ) – I really don’t know how he does it all the time [maybe I will ask him in the next S&B meeting].
    And although 15^2 posters are normally very positive about Orlando, I can see where walruss comes from when he talks about an “unsung hero”.

    This crossword was surely a highlight in Orlando’s recent ‘career’ [hate the word].
    The trilogy 7,10,15d is a real treat – agree with you, Eileen.

    But our (I have to say my PinC’s [by far]) Clue of the Day is 4d (ACUTE).
    I will leave it up to you to figure out why.

    Fantastic puzzle.
    One that made clear (once more?) that writing skills are far more important than the level of difficulty of a crossword.

  35. norm says:

    Lovely stuff.

    Among so many nice surfaces I also really liked ACUTE. It’s just a perfect clue – the smoothest of surfaces to distract from a very simple word play and definition. I shared it with colleagues who are, I hope, starting to understand the appeal…

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