Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,393 – Tramp

Posted by Andrew on August 5th, 2011


Having struggled somewhat with Tramp’s Genius puzzle last month, I was a bit apprehensive to see his name again here, but this turned out to be quite plain sailing. Of the linked answers, I got 10,1 first (without the help of 5ac), and the long 26,16,24,12,10 quickly followed. Although these filled up a good proportion of the grid, there was still enjoyment to be had in working out the rest, with lots of examples of Tramp’s characteristically verbose style of clueing.

5. BLESSED Booming-voiced actor Brian Blessed, and divine = blessèd
10,1. LIFE OF BRIAN A possible title for Brian Blessed’s memoirs, or the classic Monty Python film. LIFE at 10ac is also part of the related answer to 26,16,24,12,10, which is why this puzzle doesn’t appear in the usual interactive format.
11. RIBOFLAVIN (B VI IN FLORA)*. Devious including B6 in the wordplay – Riboflavin (a word many of us probably learned from cereal packets) is actually Vitamin B2 (Vitamin B6 doesn’t seem to have a special name)
13. AMERICAN ERIC [Morecambe] in A MAN (a castle is a chessman)
14. ESTATE CAR E[astern] STATE (description of New York) + CA[lifornia] + R, and station wagon is an American name for what we (“over here”) call an estate car.
17. USAGE S[econd] in U (posh) AGE (grow old), with the surface referring to Posh Spice, aka Victoria Beckham.
19. ASTRADDLE AS (when) + reverse of [h]ELD DARTThanks to sidey and others for a simpler explanation – it’s reverse-hidden in hELD DARTS As.
23. JALAPENO “A LA PEN” (in style of writer) wrapped in J[amie] O[liver]
26,16,24,12,10. ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE (FEELING FAIRLY BAD TOO WHISTLES HOOK)* – I don’t usually care much for long anagrams like this, but this one is cleverly apt for the hilariously inappropriate song at the end of “Life Of Brian”, and just about an &lit, especially remembering the lines “Some things in life are bad/They can really make you mad/Other things just make you swear and curse/When you’re chewing on life’s gristle/Don’t grumble, give a whistle/And this’ll help things turn out for the best”
27. LAVA LAV (one that’s flushed) + A[dult]
28. ARSENAL (SALE RAN)*, and Arsenal is a football club
29. TROTTER T (model) + ROTTER, and Trotter is Del Boy’s surname in “Only Fools and Horses” (a popular televisual entertainment, m’lud).
3. REEVE RE (about, around) + EVE (the usual crossword “first lady”). Christopher Reeve played Superman in the series of films, and was later paralysed after a fall from a horse. He died in 2005 at the age of 52.
4. A TRIFLE A[n]T + RIFLE, and the definition is “slightly”
6. LIFTER FT (newspaper) in LIER (something lying down may be stretched out)
8. EPITAPH EP (record) + [sp]I[ke] + TAP (beat) + H. The quotation is Spike Milligan’s epitaph, though it actually appears on his gravestone in Irish: “”Duirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite”
9. ABRAHAM’S BOSOM A BRA + M in HAS BOSOM. Name for a pre-judgement waiting place in Judaism.
15. AGGRAVATE A[ndy] G[ray] + AT in GRAVE (serious), with a misleading dash.
18. STAPLER STAPLE (key, as an adjective) + R (Recipe – take)
20. REBUKER RE BU[s]KER. S isn’t exactly the “heart” of BUSKER..
22. GEISHA E in (S GHIA)*. Definition:In Japan, Escort (with a misleading capital)
25. ISLET IS L[iberal] + ET (alien). Alcatraz Island, home of the notorious prison, has an area of 22 acres, so it’s perhaps a bit of a a stretch (ho ho) to call it an “islet”.

45 Responses to “Guardian 25,393 – Tramp”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Tramp and Andrew. I wondered about the “heart” of BUSKER also. Close enough for cryptics? Thanks for the TROTTER explanation. I incorrectly assumed Del Boy was a famous trotting horse and didn’t verify.


  2. sidey says:

    Nicely blogged Andrew. Took me longer to draw a grid than to solve. Nice puzzle though.

    I think 19 is simply a hidden reversal in hELD DARTS As.

  3. caretman says:

    Thanks, Andrew, and to Tramp as well of course. This looked daunting at first with the interconnected clues and the long anagram, but after getting BLESSED the linked lights came in quickly and it was plain sailing to the conclusion. I agree with sidey that 19 was a hidden reversal; I initially was parsing it AS = ‘when’ but felt that left an extra ‘s’ in the final solution.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I do like Tramps fresh approach to cryptics, even if he still is a bit too easy.

    One other link in the crossword which I’m sure was intentional – If you look up ABRAHAM’S BOSOM in Chambers, it is defined as “the abode of the BLESSED dead.”

    Agree with the other comments above.

  5. NeilW says:

    Tramp’s even..

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew & Tramp: this was certainly easy and, after getting the intersecting letters in 9d, ABRAHAM’S BOSOM – which I’d never heard of – was guessable.

    I’ve never seen LIFE OF BRIAN and I don’t intend to.

  7. Tramp says:

    Thanks Andrew

    BU(S)KER is a mistake on my part. So sorry – I can’t count.

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. This was a bit lumpy. Splendid long clue, with the surface (especially the ‘whistle’) as you say very apt. But niggles with 19a (‘not all’?); 20d (S not the heart of ‘busker’); 22d (s=sierra) and 18d, easy but with the wretched r=recipe/take.

  9. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    It’s like buses: after a [for me, anyway] too-long wait, we get Arachne, Orlando and Tramp all in one week – great!

    As you say, Andrew, getting the long answer early on didn’t mean there was nothing left to enjoy. [I always remember the crowd in Manchester spontaneously singing that at the announcement of their failed Olympic bid.]

    Even though it’s the wrong vitamin to make an &lit, I thought 11ac was excellent [‘Flora spread’!] as was ‘poison antidotes’ in 7dn and I’m sure Paul would be proud of 9dn – a real laugh out loud moment! I really liked EPITAPH, too. As I’ve said before, I’ve absolutely no objection to longer clues when they tell such a [true] story. [And 5ac brings the average word-count down!]

    Hi molonglo

    What’s wrong with ‘not all’? – it’s a containment indicator. And Sierra =S in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

    Many thanks, Tramp, for a fun start to the day!

  10. Artie Fufkin says:

    Another fun puzzle by Tramp. It references my second favourite comedy film of all time. Nice one! Think the long anagram is very clever. Thanks again.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Blessed are the cheesemakers …

    This was a fun puzzle, I thought – after being slightly daunted by the long anagram, it fell into place pretty quickly. Like Andrew, I’m not a big fan of 31-letter answers, but this one worked for me. And while reminding me of the funniest film ever produced (lighten up, Bryan, you might like it) there were some other funny clues as well – LAVA and TROTTER being the best among them.

    Easy, but fun. That’ll do me for a Friday morning. Thanks to Tramp and Andrew.

  12. Bogeyman says:

    Great fun. Laugh out loud moment for me was 8 down: “I told you I was ill” was Spike Milligan’s intended epitaph, so it was clever to work Spike into the wordplay for the clue. Interesting article here about how the epitaph was eventually inscribed on his gravestone:

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew and Tramp.

    I did this the other way round from most people, never having heard of Mr Blessed – though his photo in Wiki was vaguely familiar, once I lookied him up.

    I was thus denied for a long time the key to 10/1, and by the time I got there, my brain was somewhat addled after going down a few wrong roads – I thought the actor might be Olivier – so I looked the film up in Wiki rather than trying to work out the anagram – ho, hum :)

    Up till then, I was actually doing pretty well, and hoping I might finish without recourse to electronic aids. I was even able to spell JALAPEÑO correctly, as the ñ was uncrossed.

    Some great clues here – I think my favourite is probably RIBOFLAVIN

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Tramp

    A good puzzle with many enjoyable clues. I particularly liked 27a and 8d.

    I had some difficulty parsing 3d. as ‘re’ does not readily equate with ‘around’ (as opposed to ‘about’) for me at least. I was also misled briefly by the idea of ‘er’ reversed and thought that ‘Actor around first ladies’ might have done nicely. In the end I plumped with some hesitation for Andrew’s version.

  15. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    I’m sorry, I can’t resist this: I know it was just a jittery finger [it happens to me all the time] but I love the idea of ‘lookiing’ things up in Wiki! :-)

    I was amazed to see, when I looked him up, that BB was in ‘Z Cars’ for only three years, which is still the first thing that comes to mind when I hear / see him mentioned. The other thing I particularly remember him for is his Augustus in the TV ‘I, Claudius’ – and I saw him as Sophocles’ Oedipus in Leicester in the ’70s.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew and thanks to Tramp for a puzzle that gave me a lot of fun this morning. I got 10, 1 fairly early on from the checking letters and then the long one was obvious, but BLESSED was the last to go in.

    Lots to enjoy, I thought. Like others, I liked the neatness of 11ac but there’s something quite appealing about the longer, chattier clues, especially when they tell little stories — 21dn for example!

    Kathryn’s Dad @11 ‘He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!’

  17. liz says:

    re Spike Milligan’s epitaph.

    The joke goes back a long way. In 1925 W. C. Fields proposed this for his gravestone: ‘Here lies W. C. Fields, I told you I was sick!’

    In the end, his epitaph was ‘Better here than in Philadelphia’ :-)

  18. walruss says:

    They seem very wordy to me though, and anyone can tell a story given enough words! Obviously I’m not used to this writer’s style yet, but some nice clues thrown in to help me out.

  19. Geoff says:

    Thanks Andrew

    Pleasant puzzle from Tramp.

    I didn’t get the Monty Python clues immediately, but there were plenty of easy ones round about and it didn’t take too long to crack.

    ‘Divine’ = BLESSED seemed a bit tangential to me – at least that’s my excuse for not spotting it until I had LIFE OF BRIAN.

    Last in for me was ABRAHAM’S BOSOM, even though I had noticed the possibility of (yet another) ‘bra’ very early on. My first entry was RIBOFLAVIN – great clue. Vitamin B6 does have a name. There are three closely related compounds, all interconvertible in the body, which go under this appellation: pyridoxine, pyridoxamine and (especially, as it is the active form) pyridoxal.

  20. Wolfie says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew, and thanks also to Tramp for an entertaining puzzle – keep ’em coming!

    My lasting memory of Brian Blessed was his appearance as Banquo in Peter O’Toole’s 1980 production of Macbeth. In the banquet scene Banquo’s ghost, larger than life, rampaged across the stage dripping blood and groaning loudly, while the dinner guests (to whom the ghost was supposedly invisible) tried their best to ignore him. This caused great hilarity in the audience – probably not the effect that Shakespeare intended, though Blessed appeared to be enjoying himself hugely.

  21. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew and Tramp

    Would you believe I couldn’t get 27a LAVA.

  22. gm4hqf says:

    Forgot to add

    liz@17 I always thought that W C Fields was quoted as saying “I’d rather be in Philadelphia”

  23. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    I liked ASTRADDLE and RIBOFLAVIN once I had spotted that B6 = B VI.

    Somehow ‘Spike essentially’ gives ‘I’. How does that work?

    In 20d ‘take’ gives ‘R’. What is going on here?

  24. Artie Fufkin says:

    Spike essentially is ‘i’. “Essentially” means to take the middle letter of the word.

    This is pretty common in Indy and Times crosswords. I’ve seen this a fair few times.

  25. Eileen says:

    Hi chas

    R = take is also common in Crosswordland: it’s an abbreviation for the Latin ‘Recipe’ – take, and used to appear at the beginning of prescriptions.

  26. Stella Heath says:

    Hi chas; the essence of something is central to it, as I is to SPIKE.

    As for your other query, it was mentioned above, but for clarity, “recipe” in Latin means “receive”, or ‘take’, and is often abbreviated as “r” in doctors’ prescriptions.

    Eileen@15, I think that would be ‘lookying’ 😀

    Regarding Z-Cars, my Mum explained to me the other day how the family had got into the habit of visiting her parents every Tuesday – it was because they had a colour TV to watch the series :) My sister has kept up the tradition with her family visiting my mother.

  27. Eileen says:

    Sorry Andrew – I see you said R = Recipe in the blog.

  28. Stella Heath says:

    We crossed, Eileen :)

  29. Stella Heath says:

    And again, ha ha!

  30. beermagnet says:

    There’s also a Spine Millington cameo in LofB.

    B-Blessed memory: Panto c.89 Brian as Capt Hook chasing Peter Pan off the stage, down the aisle, and then down our row. Number 1 son (then aged about 6) fully charged up with the action, grabbed Capt Hook to stop him slicing up Peter, and wouldn’t let him go! I had to “un-Hook” him in the end. The Blessed hollering didn’t stop during all this time (I blame that on my current poor hearing).

    Great puzzle. Fav clue RIBOFLAVIN

  31. Conrad Cork says:

    Stella @26. I thought Z Cars predated colour, which came in in 1967.

    Mind you I think a lot of stuff that turns out to be wrong these days. Ho hum.

  32. Andrew says:

    Conrad – I had the same thought as you about Z-Cars and colour TV, but to my surprise it ran until 1978

  33. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Conrad and Andrew, hence my childhood memories, “coloured” by the fact that my Granddad was colour-blind – I vividly recall women with green hair 😆

  34. walruss says:

    Re 22, that’s precisely why his gravestone reads as it does – nod to a ‘better place’, ie heaven, or some such religious nonsense.

  35. Geoff says:

    Re refs to WC Fields (passim), I’ve always thought that his quip ‘I’d rather be in Philadelphia’ suggested that he thought even being in Philly was preferable to not being. Certainly he was no fan of that city: ‘I went to Philadelphia once, but it was closed’.

  36. otter says:

    Thanks Andrew, and thanks Tramp. I too found this surprisingly easy, given the several long clues and linked clues.

    Some lovely surfaces – those in RIBOFLAVIN and EPITAPH stand out, even though they were easy to get.

    22 would have been a lot better, in my view, without ‘In Japan’, which was unnecessary for the definition and made the clue too easy – I wrote it straight in after reading the first three words of the clue.

    Anyway, that is a minor quibble in a very enjoyable puzzle. I have really enjoyed Tramp’s first few Guardian puzzles, and look forward to more.

    I see a few quibbles above in the construction of ASTRADDLE, given the hidden answer parsing. While this is neater than mine, the way I parsed it does get around the ‘not all of’ quibble someone raised above. I saw it as ELD (‘not all held’) + DARTS + A, all reversed.

    All in all, a lovely end to the week, which has quite cheered me up after a somewhat difficult week. Thanks again, Tramp.

  37. scchua says:

    Thanks Andrew and Tramp.

    This was quite manageable after getting LIFE OF BRIAN which then led to the long anagram, though I didn’t try, as with most long anagrams, to deconstruct the answer to get the fodder. Favourites were 14A ESTATE CAR, 11A RIBOFLAVIN and 9D ABRAHAM’S BOSOM.

    No-one’s mentioned it, but I recall Brian Blessed hollering as Blackadder’s father.

  38. Speckled Jim says:

    Really enjoyed this one. My heart sank when I saw the massive phrase beginning 26a with a reference to another clue, itself containing a reference, but for once I could actually get the film being referenced! I was sure that the ‘divine’ in 5a was going to be the verb rather than the adjective though – surfaces are usually more misleading than this.

    I only know Brian Blessed from the sub-standard first series of Blackadder.

    3, 8 and 18 I got without understanding why, so thanks for the explanations. Think it possibly a little harsh to use an example of an epitaph – let alone one that doesn’t actually exist in that form!

  39. Tom willis says:

    A special day for me: this is the first cryptic outside of everyman that i’ve managed to complete 100% on my own. Kept me entertained on way to/from work, and was delighted when i cracked ‘abraham’s bosom’ as the last clue in. Thanks Tramp!

  40. Sylvia says:

    My first in was the long anagram, purely from the letter count:-) and the last was Blessed.

  41. Tramp says:

    Thanks everyone.

    I suspect not many folk are still checking this but it’s an amazing coincidence that my puzzle yestrerday contained a mistake at 20d and the Paul puzzle the day afer seems to contain a mistake too (also at 20d)

  42. Phil Rose says:

    Thanks Tramp

    It’s good to get confirmation on today’s 20d. I have been bashing my head against a brick wall.

  43. Euan says:

    After years of dabbling with cryptics I have been making a diligent effort over the past few months to do the Times most days and check the various blogs to really try to learn each day.

    I decided today it was time to branch out and this was my first Guardian Cryptic. It’s been a pleasure – a lively and enjoyable puzzle. I just managed to finish and I particularly liked RIBOFLAVIN, EPITAPH and ESTATE CAR.

    This was an excellent blogpost – thanks Andrew. And it was particularly welcome to see the contribution from the setter – thanks for the puzzle. I thought maybe 20d was an idiosyncrasy of the Guardian and so your admission is very helpful!

  44. ernie says:

    As Kathryn’s Dad says (# 11): Easy, but fun. That’ll do me for a Friday morning (and the rest, and Saturday). Thanks to Tramp and Andrew.

    RIBOFLAVIN (Vitamin B2) was particularly good, and there IS some Vitamin B6 in Flora.

  45. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I don’t know who Tramp is but bring him/her back soon.
    This was a great challenge. I started it on the beach, continued in the beer garden and was still being entertained back in the caravan – excellent value.

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