Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,455 – Orlando

Posted by Andrew on October 17th, 2011


Who better than Orlando to step in on one of the occasional non-Rufus Mondays? I found this a bit tricky in places, but it all came out nicely in the end thanks to Orlando’s accurate clues and quietly elegant style.

1. MOLESTING MOLE (spy) + STING (smart)
6. FRANC FRANCO less O. Cunningly the definition is just “currency”
9. GOGOL GO GO (two tries) + L
10. CONTINENT IN (at home) in CONTENT
11. CITY CENTRE EFFIE and HE are at the centre of shEFFIEld and mancHEster respectively.
12. IDLE Homophone of IDOL
15. COP SHOP COPS (catches) + HOP (ball, dance). Cop shop and nick are both slang for a police station
17. POTSDAM Reverse of STOP + DAM – both meaning “block”
19. HANGMAN Initial letters of Hockey As Noted, plus G-MAN (slang for an FBI officer)
20. RAJA Reverse of A JAR
26. ROGER Double definition – the actor Roger Moore, and as used in radio conversations.
27. SUZIE UZI (gun) in S[h]E, making three names in a row
28. RARE EARTH (ARE RATHER)*. Read all about the rare earth elements here
2. LIGHTS OUT LIGHTS (lands) + OUT (abroad)
4. INCENSE Combining this with FRANK (homophone of 6ac) gives Frankincense, one the Wise Men’s gifts to the baby Jesus.
5. GENERIC GEN (information, dope) + ERIC (man)
6,24. FAIR GAME Double definition
13. SPENT FORCE SPENT (forked out) + FORCE (police, coppers)
14. ASPARAGUS A SPAR (fight) + GU[ardian] in AS
16. HUMDINGER MDI (alternate letters of MaDrId) in HUNGER. “Lulu” is the definition – “an outstandingly bad or impressive thing or person”, says Chambers, and it defines HUMDINGER as “an exceptionally excellent person or thing”
21. JEREZ R in JEEZ!
23. SYRAH R in reverse of HAYS. Syrah is a grape variety and type of wine, perhaps more familiar if the alternative form Shiraz. (after the three names near the end of the acrosses, here we have two wines coming after a clue based on a hangover…)

25 Responses to “Guardian 25,455 – Orlando”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    This was indeed a little tricky for a Monday, particularly the bottom half, I found, but several satisfying ‘ahas’ as the penny dropped.

    Particular favourites: CITY CENTRE, CRANEFLIES, INCENSE and ASPARAGUS. Superbly smooth surfaces all round, as always with Orlando.

    Many thanks, Orlando, as ever, for a lovely start to the day. Now for second helpings with the Quiptic! :-)

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I did Orlando’s Quiptic as a warm-up to this one, and I’m glad I did, because I found this pretty difficult. Looking at the solutions you think ‘why couldn’t I see that more quickly?’ because it’s all immaculately clued. But a fine puzzle, with CITY CENTRE and COP SHOP my favourites.

    RARE EARTH seems to have cropped up in a number of puzzles recently.

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. (You need a reversal indicator in your explanation of 23dn, btw.)

  3. tupu says:

    Many thanks Andrew and Orlando

    An excellent, very satisfying puzzle with some tricky clues as already noted.
    Andrew’s comment re ‘quietly elegant’ is very apt.

    I made life harder for myself by carelessly writing in ‘adopted’ at 14a. Having eventually realised this was wrong, I got ‘incense’ immediately and moved on forgetting to parse fully and notice the nice extra of ‘frank’.

    I was convinced for a time that 22a was ‘francolins’ (which made little sense) but the penny dropped and revealed an excellent clue.

    Lots of fine clues all round. Ticked 11a, 25a, 2d, 8d (a well hidden anagram), 13d, 14d (toyed with odd spellings of assegais for a time), 19d and 21d.

  4. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks Andrew. I enjoyed this one. I also spent some time juggling assegais. Last in was IDLE. Hard to see why now.

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Since you have made a habit of doing your blogs early in the morning, I’m surprised you made no comment on the fact that this little gem didn’t come out online until the morning shift arrived in the UK to discover the website had crashed (again) over the weekend. Thus my late arrival.

    This was very surprising for a Monday – I found it trickier than Saturday’s prize but far more enjoyable. Not one for L plates!

  6. NeilW says:

    re 9, by the way, Sil must be delighted to see this device propagating, given his recent comments on this blog.

  7. crypticsue says:

    Glad everyone else seemed to find this one slightly tricky too. I also spent an unnecessary amount of time trying to juggle assegais! Thanks to Orlando for a nice test of the cryptic grey matter and to Andrew for the review.

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. And thanks to Orlando for a rather tricky Monday puzzle. COTTER PIN was new to me and CRANEFLIES was my last in. CITY CENTRE was a great clue!

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Yep, I was an ASSEGAIS and ADOPTED man, too, and found the bottom half hard.

    Also had IDOL at 12a for a while

    I liked the original 11a

  10. Andrew says:

    NeilW – fortunately I didn’t stay up to do this one on the midnight shift. The website was still not working when I first looked this morning (about 7.30am) but, to my relief, it came to life shortly afterwards.

    I was also briefly tempted by the possibility of ASSEGAIS, and by the rather improbable SOLICITARY at 3dn.

  11. MikeC says:

    Thanks Andrew and Orlando. Harder than usual for a Monday but lots to enjoy here. Like Dave@9, I was ADOPTED. Unfortunately I never became IDLE, so 8 would not work at all for me. Is there anything in the wording of 12 to indicate which homophone is required (have I missed something?)?

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Glad it wasn’t just me thought it was tricky, makes a change. When I got 1a I went totally brain dead trying to figure what a MOLE-STING was, LOL. Fortunately this phase passed fairly quickly.

  13. NeilW says:

    MikeC, sorry one of those annoying clues where you need the checking letters, I think. :)

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    What a delightful and unusual start to the week.
    A good couple of hours puzzling over that one, thanks largely to seven very allusive definitions.
    And a bonus point for 11ac.
    Well done.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    “I found it trickier than Saturday’s prize but far more enjoyable. ”
    I agree almost entirely, except for your ‘but’.

  16. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Orlando and Andrew. Very tricky for me. Had IDOL at 12ac, SOLICITOUS at 3d and tried to make ASSEGAIS fit in 14d. Enjoyed the puzzle immensely nonetheless.


  17. Martin P says:

    The words “cotter pin” had not passed through my mind, until now, since I was a kid, aged single figures working on a bike with an older lad, when I asked him what it was called. Ahh…

    I found this easier, to get a purchase upon than some Rufus puzzles of late I have to say.

    I enjoyed this satisfying solve very much. Thank you Orlando.

  18. Martin P says:

    PS I too would have wasted time using assegais etc., but couldn’t remember that word, so saving me…I used to grow ornamental asparagus too.

  19. NeilW says:

    RCW – yes, you’re right: wrong conjunction.

  20. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew and Orlando

    I never get to the crossword until afternoon on a Monday and I found this one pretty tricky.

    A lot of excellent clues but never having been a wine drinker, I failed completely on 23d SYRAH.

    Quite difficult for a Monday.

  21. FranTom Menace says:

    This was a lovely puzzle! We’d never herd of a cotter pin, but got all the rest over tea. City centre was one of those I don’t like to stop looking at until I’ve got it, it did take a good couple of minutes but smiles all round when the penny dropped.

  22. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Orlando and Andrew.

    Quite a rude awakening for a Monday, as I was expecting to relax into a Rufus.

    Like the rest of you, assegai sprang readily to mind but 14d was an excellent clue and I think I was being too devious by half. Cotter pin was a breeze for me but I didn’t know the gun and the bottom half slowed me up. When the H was in place on 23d, I half expected to see myrrh to go with the frankincense!


  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    NeilW @6, you know, I did not even make a link myself to my own post (in a recent Saturday Araucaria blog) about the ‘device’ used in 9ac (GO+GO) … :) … But well spotted indeed.
    It’s not something that I find particularly ‘delightful’, but a thing that creeps up more and more (even if this one was, unlike in Araucaria’s puzzles, not part of an anagram).

    Nice puzzle, as others said.
    Personally I am not a big fan of these definitionless clues like 11ac, and I changed ‘idol’ only at the very last moment into ‘idle’ to save the puzzle. But 28ac (RARE EARTH) was a superb (simple, but oh so natural) anagram. And I liked the ‘what’s inside out?’ wording in 10ac. Clue of the Day? I don’t know. Perhaps 22ac? Or my first entry 7d (AHEAD) with another smooth surface? Or 23d?

    And now for something completely similar …. the Quiptic! :)

  24. Huw Powell says:

    Lots of fun, didn’t quite finish… tripped myself up for a while with CITY CENTER (lovely clue, btw). SUZIE I should have tried harder for, but had a lot of fun slowly cracking the codes.

    One minor quibble: in 22 “making mess IN France” seems wrong. I think IN should have been OF.

    Thanks for the blog to clear up a few things, Andrew, and for the lovely brain-tease, Orlando!

  25. Smoz says:

    Came back and finished this one after a couple of days away ( and trying unsuccessfully with Mondays ‘punk’ in the Indy). Only on now to express joy at completing a crossword that others found ‘tricky'; we are progressing……muhahaha!

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