Never knowingly undersolved.

The Guardian No 25,391by Orlando

Posted by Stella on August 3rd, 2011


I was pleased to see Orlando as my first cryptic blog, as I usually tune in quite well to his style.

Nevertheless, there are a number of unfamiliar words here, either in the answers or parts of them, and a couple which I can’t quite explain. Now clarified by the first few bloggers, thanks very much.

10 GENDARMES GEN + DAMES around R, the lead letter of ‘ring’
12 TALLY (to)TALLY, without (‘wanting’) ‘to’. Neat
13 FAIENCE FACE around 1 + EN =’short measure’
17 NEGUS EG in N + US – a new word for me, but it sounds deliciously comforting for a cold winter evening.
18 SKA ha, for a music genre I’ve only met in crosswords.
20 EASEL AS in EEL, so the opposite of ‘while catching fish’
22 RECITED Could be a homophone of “re sited”, but the question mark is justified IMO
26 DOUBT *BUT DO. People who are certain don’t doubt
27 FRITZ LANG RITZ, the well-known chain of hotels,inside FLANGe, another new word for me.
30 UNBRIDLED *DUBLINER + D, the first letter of Dedalus – the Irishman must have been a long way from home :) Apparently not – see posts 3 and 5
31 LIKED LIED around the end of ‘weeK’
4 UGLINESS *SINGLE US. A good surface, with its unusual acceptance of ‘unfair’ signified by the ?
5 ENGRAM *GERMAN. Another new word, apparently from the realm of neuropsychology or scientology.
6 CANTONMENT Charade of CANTON + MEN + the last letter of ‘booT’. This time, the word is vaguely familiar, though it must be decades since I’ve heard it.
7 SMILEY Sorry, but I have no explanation for this one. Any suggestions welcome.
8 ESPY Extra-Sensory Perception, + lorrY. The definition is the answer to 1d.
13 FINER North East, ‘where Geordies are’, in (‘entering’) FIR
14 NOSE TO TAIL cd., although actually Rover would be sniffing what’s just under the tail :)
16 DELVE The “DELete” key on your keyboard, plus the centre letters of SloVEnia
23 CRUMBS CBS around RUM
24 DEFILE Double definition, ‘dirty’ is used as a verb here, and the second def. refers to a narrow mountain pass
26 DOUR oDOUR, ie. the ‘bouquet’ of a good wine
28 ZOLA <A + L + OZ, for the author of “J’accuse”
29 GODS <DOG + S. The wordplay is clear, but I don’t quite understand the definition


Hold mouse over clue number to see clue, click a solution to see its definition.

53 Responses to “The Guardian No 25,391by Orlando”

  1. Ringo says:

    Thanks Stella and Orlando. The ‘Gods’ is the highest (and usually cheapest) ‘gallery’ of seating in a theatre. Can’t help with ‘Smiley’ though… :-(

  2. Hazzylad says:

    From George Smiley in Le Carre’s spy novels; Circus being London HQ of British Intelligence

  3. Eileen says:

    Congratulations on your first cryptic, Stella! [Too late for the Smiley explanation but here’s another for you! :-)] I was pleased to get an Orlando for my first, too, and he hasn’t disappointed since, so thanks once again to him for a great puzzle.

    I thought SRI LANKA was very elegant but my COD by miles is UNBRIDLED. My first thought was that there was a typo but then I realised that Dedalus is, of course, Stephen and not Icarus’s dad – excellent clue and a superb surface!

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Stella. I like a challenge, like this, that can be done over lunch without recourse to aids – with the odd novelty that it pays to research afterwards, eg. ENGRAM and Fritz Lang. I guessed 9a at once, it being my home town and few places in Oz being of 5 letters, but the surface was neat, and gave pause. Many other equally neat surfaces, eg 25a, 13d and 16d. Good on you, Orlando.

  5. Brian with an eye says:

    The reference to Dedalus in 30a is not as arbitrary as it may seem. Stephen Dedalus, a Dubliner, is the hero of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses by James Joyce, a Dubliner, who also wrote Dubliners.

    To use a 7D: 14D made me 😀

  6. Martin says:

    8D: :-) is an emoticon and a smiley!

  7. Martin says:

    The computer automatically turned the emoticon punctuation into a visual smiley; in words then: colon, hyphen, right paren is an emoticon equal to ‘smiley’

  8. Martin Stanley says:

    The computer automatically turned the emoticon punctuation into a visual smiley; in words then: colon, hyphen, right paren is an emoticon equal to ‘smiley’

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Brian with an eye @5

    Re 30ac: that’s what I was trying to imply @3! :-)

  10. Mystogre says:

    Nice one Stella. I did not get through this as ENGRAM and FAIENCE were beyond me tonight. Finally sorted out the German film worker though. A NEGUS is a spiced wine and delicious on a cold night and FLANGE is the edge on a wheel, like a railway carriage wheel. SKA was dredged from somewhere back there but I was unsure of that one, even though it fitted.

    God clues? An awful lot of them, including the Irishman and how a dog approaches you. That was a real chortle when I worked it out. George Smiley brought a smile too as I have just finished a Le Carre novel, but not a Smiley one. But the whole thing was taxing in a nice way. I can think of far worse ways to relax after work.

  11. Brian with an eye says:

    @Eileen @9. Yes, you made the point much more succinctly! Unfortunately due to my flaky internet connection I hadn’t seen your post before I posted.

  12. Stella says:

    Thanks all for amending my shortcomings. It’s ages since I’ve read a leCarré novel, and even longer since “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, so ‘circus’ didn’t register. And the only Joyce book I’ve read is, precisely, Dubliners, so I didn’t get that reference, either. Cleverer than I thought.

    As for the gallery, I had a feeling I’d read that explanation somewhere before – on this site, I think -, but wasn’t sure and didn’t want to put my foot in it.

    Thumbs up to Orlando, who I failed actually to thank in my preamble.

  13. tupu says:

    Many congrats Stella and thanks Orlando

    Another elegant offering from Orlando with some fun touches and smooth surfaces. I missed the Dedalus reference but saw the * and all quite clear otherwise. Lots of good clues as others have noted. Ticked 9a, 13a, 26a, 30a, 8d, 14d, 23d, 29d as I went along.

  14. Stella says:

    I’ve just updated the blog in recognition of your contributions.

    Just in case someone hasn’t noticed, some of the answers have links to Wiki. If you hold the mouse over the word, the linked ones are underlined.

  15. Roger says:

    Thanks Stella … and good luck in crypticland.

    Fun clues (Smiley, nose to tail, doubt) and new words (engram, cantonment, faience), that’s what we like to see.

    22a could have gone several ways {re(c/s)ite(r/d)} so needed tupu’s First Rule to decide which.

  16. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Stella & Orlando

    When I started this one I thought that it was going to be a breeze but when I had finished I had to confirm ENGRAM and FAIENCE in Chambers.

    Liked SMILEY, FRITZ LANG and EASEL. When we were kids we could only afford to sit in the “GODS” at the local Tivoli variety theatre.

  17. gm4hqf says:

    Forgot to add, what is tupu’s First Rule

  18. don says:

    I know it’s a day late, but Stelle wrote: “I’ve always understood ‘s’ and ‘z’ are interchangeable in this particular suffix. Now I learn there are national preferences.”

    I don’t think it’s a matter of national preferences in Britain. The use of -ize or -ise, I believe, depends on whether the word is derived from Greek or Latin, respectively. Many British publishing houses take, as house style, the first alternative of the Oxford Dictionary, which for many spellings is -ize.

  19. Roger says:

    Hi gm4hqf … as tupu so often correctly comments, crosswords are where words cross, meaning it can help to have the crossing letters before deciding on a particular answer.

  20. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Stella and Welcome to your first Cryptic. As expected, you have performed admirably on one of the more challenging puzzles.

    This was too tough for me as I had never heard of FAIENCE or ENGRAM but I did enjoy NOSE TO TAIL.

    I didn’t understand the Circus reference to SMILEY until now but John Bingham (later Lord Clanmorris) who had worked in MI5 was reportedly the source of inspiration for David Cornwell aka John Le Carre.

    Later, he became a novelist:,_7th_Baron_Clanmorris

  21. Magpie says:

    Thanks Stella, congratulations on your first blog. Hard but rewarding I thought. 2d made me smile – ‘drawling’ being what Bristolian children do when they put pencil to paper.

  22. liz says:

    Thanks Stella and congratulations on your first cryptic blog! And thanks to Orlando for a very enjoyable puzzle. ENGRAM was a new word for me, but guessable once I had the checking letters. NOSE TO TAIL made me laugh and I really liked DOUBT and UNBRIDLED too. Wish we could have more from this setter.

    I was helped at 7dn by the recent news that they are remaking Tinker, Tailor as a film starring Gary Oldman. Can’t believe it has been 30 years since the TV series!

  23. chas says:

    Thanks for the blog Stella – and welcome.
    I needed your blog to explain why I had the right answer in several places.

    Thanks also to several people who explained 7d: I knew that colon,hyphen,closepar was known as a smiley but did not know the le Carré reference.

    My favourite was 30a

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Stella. I found this pretty tough, with Orlando throwing in some less common words to muddy the waters. Couldn’t get FAIENCE even with all the crossing letters, but having seen it now I do remember coming across it before (in crosswords). Always enjoy a puzzle by this setter, and this was no exception, so thank you.

    FLANGE is also the collective noun for a group of baboons. Allegedly, anyway, according to this …

  25. walruss says:

    About half way through I was expecting a pangram! But not to be, in this very nice puzzle. Good, competent compiling from Orlando as ever, someone from whom certain other setters could lean a great deal!!

  26. Stella says:

    Hi Roger@19, I’m a great fan of tupu’s rationale, but for me there were two clear indicators of the correct answer: the past tense (‘was’), and ‘a speaker heard’, which would have excessive if we were looking for something relocated.

    To Magpie@21, I love that idea, as my elder brother’s kids are Bristolian born and bred. Unfortunately, I wasn’t around to confirm it, as I married and moved to Spain some ten years before.

    And now a confession: I also did a lot of guessing and checking, as I wanted to get the blog out in reasonable time :)

  27. Stella says:

    We crossed, Walruss, but I like your idea of other setters leaning on Orlando 😆

  28. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    There were some pleasant clues but it was definitely a one coffee and one cigarette puzzle, not value for money.
    It would have been even shorter but for ENGRAM which was new to me and only solved after I cottoned on to the rather neat ‘German’ anagram.

  29. Stella says:

    Where’s Uncle Yap? I ask because of the answer to his challenge yesterday, which he gave via Wiki. I find a notably English language bias, and have found this site – which is by no means conclusive, but at least goes outside the Anglosaxon market:

  30. Bryan says:

    Stella @ 29

    What fabulous lists.

    A great find!

  31. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog, Stella. I found half if this quite a bit tougher than usual for Orlando. FAIENCE and FINER defeated me.

    Can’t believe you’ve never heard ska, a forerunner of reggae – you’ve been deprived, it’s wonderful. I hope no one will mind if I post a link to a ska track by the Ethiopians, Hong Kong Flu.

  32. scchua says:

    Congrats Stella on your first Guardian cryptic, and Orlando for an enyoable puzzle.

    My last one in was 5D ENGRAM…kicked myself when I realised what “comic” was about.

    Re 10A GENDARMES, I’m assuming Orlando’s referring to those women who have been given the honorific with a capital D. In any case no protest from where I am. :-)

  33. Robi says:

    Congratulations Stella, nice one!

    Somehow I missed (to)TALLY and my DEL key, which I use quite frequently with my e-mail.

    I’ve just bought the DVD’s for ‘Tinker, Tailor….’ and ‘Smiley’s People'(very reasonable from in case anyone is interested.) Thanks Kathryn’s Dad for your hilarious flange of baboons.

  34. Robi says:

    Congratulations Stella, nice one!

    I somehow missed (to)TALLY and the DEL key on my computer that I use with monotonous regularity.

    I’ve just bought the DVD’s for ‘Tinker, Tailor’ and ‘Smiley’s People’ (from in case anyone is interested.) Thanks also to Kathryn’s Dad for the hilarious link to the flange of baboons.

  35. Robi says:

    ………drat, the first post was delayed on my screen. Apologies for double monotony.

  36. gm4hqf says:


    Thanks Roger

    I will remember the rule


  37. Dayvdee says:

    Like many others I enjoyed this puzzle – especially 7 down. Don’t think anyone else has mentioned it, but, besides being funny, 14 Down was subtle. The use of Rover implied dog – hence the laugh, but could also be taken as a Rover car in a traffic jam. Sweet.

  38. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Robi @35
    No need for an apology, the fault wasn’t of your making. Your original comment was intercepted by the spam filter (I know not why) and I retrieved it from the spam folder just before your repeat comment appeared.

  39. Median says:

    Hmm. Orlando and I weren’t on the same wavelength today. I found this tough, in part because of words that were unknown to me: FAIENCE, NEGUS, FRITZ LANG and ENGRAM. Years ago I regarded Orlando as being probably the easiest Guardian setter. He’s upped his game!

  40. Median says:

    Gaufrid @38, Robi’s comment @33 was probably caught by the spam filter because it contains a link to a commercial site.

  41. Robi says:

    Yes, I wondered whether that was allowable, but as there were some comments about Smiley(s) I thought I might add that for info.

  42. Derek Lazenby says:

    Beat me, dang!

    Surprised that SKA was a mystery to some. Ska lead to reggae so no Ska no Bob Marely, surely not an unknown?

    Umm 22, shouldn’t SPEAKER lead to RECITER? It doesn’t match the second half of the clue.

  43. Eileen says:

    Hi Derek

    In 22ac, the definition is not ‘speaker’ but ‘was a speaker’ [RECITED] – the clue is a statement rather than a question; the second part of the clue is ‘heard’ [homophone] ‘in another place’ -‘resited’ [ so there’s no ambiguity as to which is the correct answer.]

  44. Derek Lazenby says:



  45. Eileen says:

    Hi Derek

    I love this kind of clue – but I’m still often nearly caught out by them! :-) – we seem to have had several of them lately.

  46. Dav e Ellison says:

    Got into a temporary pickle in rhs by putting MANAGES for 15a, SPLIT for 16d. SKA I have never heard of previously.

    Thought this was harder than the usual Orlando.

  47. Stella says:

    Great link otter@31. It definitely illustrates the origins of reggae, which I’m fairly sure have come up on this site before – otherwise, I’d have been hard put to it to find the answer other than by guesswork.

    For the record, one of my great friends at university, with whom I used to do the DT crossword, was from Bermuda. Without him I’d have no inkling of what reggae is, being a heavy rocker at heart – and a G&S enthusiast!

  48. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you Stella for your nice debut of a puzzle in which DOUBT (26ac) was by far the best for me. So neat, so elegant.

    And ska?
    Remember the late Desmond Dekker? “Israelites””, big hit in 1968.
    Or: “Desmond has a barrow in the market place”? Yes, Paul McCartney’s “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”, influenced by ska.
    Jimmy Cliff? “You can get it if you really want”.
    The genre was revived in the late seventies/early eighties by The Specials (“Too Young Too Much”) and, of course, in their early stages, Madness – One Step Beyond and “Buster, get up the heat to the rock steady beat”, yep, .

  49. Carrots says:

    Congratulations Orlando…a perfect two-pinta puzzle with some serious mines in the field.

    And welcome and thanks to you too, Stella….without you, NEGUS, ENGRAM & CANTONMENT would not have gone in.

  50. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Furthermore re SKA,
    I don’t think anyone could do something my link in #48.
    This though explains it all:
    (‘Madness, I call it Madness’)

  51. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Stella and congratulations on your first blog.

    SMILEY and DOUBT were my clear favourites.

  52. Gerry says:

    I really liked this…especially Smiley, Fritz Lang and cantonment.

  53. Louise says:

    Thanks Stella.
    If you’ve time, watch the film Les Enfants du Paradis (“Children of the Gods”) – one of the best films ever.

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