Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,470 / Orlando

Posted by Gaufrid on November 3rd, 2011


A very quick but pleasant solve for me today even though there were a couple of previously unfamiliar answers (18ac & 13dn). Not being a fan of historical fiction, I had also not heard of part of the wordplay in 22ac but this did not slow progress as the answer was obvious once I had the checked letters. A subsequent visit to Wikipedia confirmed the author.

4 CABLED CAB (vehicle) LED (light)
6 CLEAR-CUT LEAR (king) CU (copper) in CT (court)
10 SCOT-FREE SCOT (Britain) FREE (released)
17 DISPUTE D IS PUT (situated) E
22 ELLIPSIS PSI (letter from Greece) in ELLIS (Peters)
24 MONARCHY ON ARCH (playfully teasing) in MY (Orlando’s)
25 ALWAYS L (half-century) in AWAYS (some matches)
1 METEOR *(T[i]RE[s]OME)
2 CLOCK RADIO CLOCK (see) AD (notice) in RIO (port)
3 PANTHERS PANTS (rubbish) around HER (female)
4 CHARCOAL double def.
5 BECOMING B[oulogn]E COMING (en route)
7 CORE OR (gold) in CE (church)
8 TEES homophone of ‘tease’ (kid)
13 GUERNICA *(GRECIAN U[rn]) – this bombed town
14 NEEDLESS NEEDLES (numbers of patients) S[een]
16 SET APART A[ctor’s) in SET (TV) PART (role)
19 OVERLY V[i]E (life in Paris one rejected) in ORLY (airport)
20 TERM hidden in ‘cosTERMonger’
21 GLEN GEN (information) around L[akeland]


40 Responses to “Guardian 25,470 / Orlando”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. As you say, quite a quick solve but elegant as always.

    To make the anagram work you have to spell 11 as CAMARADERIE.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks NeilW, typo corrected.

  3. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    I didn’t find this one very quick (yesterday’s Paul fell out much more easily for me), but it was certainly pleasant.

    As usual with Orlando, there is a good variety of excellent clues. 6a held me up for a while – although CLEAR CUT seemed likely, I originally interpreted ‘king’ as R and couldn’t work out why CLEAT (a perfectly respectable word) = ‘court’. Eventually I spotted LEAR and was able to insert the answer.

    Some favourites were 17a and 18a for their neat construction and surface, and, of course, 22a – the irrelevant ELLIPSIS being an occasional feature of these puzzles which annoys some of our fraternity.

    Thanks a lot, Orlando – hope to meet you in Derby.

  4. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, Orlando for a pleasant few minutes – nothing too difficult but a little thought required nevertheless. And thanks, Gaufrid for the blog.

    As NeilW says, 13a is CAMARADERIE – Chambers gives only the one spelling.

  5. Allan_C says:

    Sorry, Gaufrid – we crossed

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    Not much to add. I had the same favourites as Gervase, for the same reasons, plus 13dn and 19dn.

    Many thanks, Orlando, for the usual enjoyment.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    Quick start, slow finish for me today. TOW-COLOURED completely unknown to me, but couldn’t be anything else; favourites this morning were CLOCK RADIO, CAMARADERIE, BECOMING and PANTHERS.

    Orlando has indicated he’ll be joining us in Derby on the 26th, so look forward to seeing him there.

  8. tupu says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid and Orlando

    I found this rather hard and at first thought I could not complete it. I stand in some awe of Gaufrid, NeilW and Allan_C. It all looks so much simpler with Gaufrid’s concise blog.

    I had to check that ‘ellipsis’ meant the actual dots, and it took me time to parse ‘panthers’ (I first read ‘rubbish’ as a verb = ‘pan’). I also checked to see that ‘tow-coloured’ was correct. I only saw the meaning of 4d after a dictionary check of ‘barbie’ that should not have been needed.

    Nonetheless typically enjoyable fare from this precise setter. I particularly liked 9,23 (as an unlikely anagram), 15a (for the surface), 22a, 25a (very neat), 4d, 14d, and 19d.

  9. anio says:

    The last time I can remember coming across tow-coloured was when reading Tom Sawyer over fifty years ago.Shame about my short term memory..

  10. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Orlando. Not to difficult to complete although I can’t remember hearing TOW COLOURED before.

    My problem is 14d. NEEDLESS. How is the answer arrived at? I don’t even get it from the blog. How does needles equate to number of patients?

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Hi gm4hqf
    When you are given a local anaesthetic at a hospital or dentist’s surgery it is usually injected via a needle, hence the needle is a ‘number’ (though strictly speaking it is the liquid that flows through it).

    However, in acupuncture a needle on its own could be used to numb pain.

  12. northernred says:

    Re: Needles – they are numbers of patients – the things that make patients numb.
    I liked this a lot – many head-slaps, especially 4d.

  13. northernred says:

    oops, sorry gaufrid – too slow typing.

  14. Puskás says:


    Needles make patients numb, as bankers flow.

    Thanks Gaufrid, and Orlando

  15. Robi says:

    Thanks Orlando; his puzzles always seem easy at first, but then I get stuck.

    Thanks Gaufrid; I can’t believe that I’ve fallen again for the ‘number’ trick; must be about the third time! Didn’t see the ViE, either. I particularly liked the clue for DISPUTE. TOW-COLOURED was new to me; thought it must be two-COLOURED at first.

    The bombing raid on GUERNICA was, of course, immortalised in the frightening picture by Picasso.

  16. stumped says:

    Half of it fell out very quickly but then a bit of a slog. Gave up on 3 clues.

    5d Never was much good at French, but helped to have been through Orly for 19d and 9,23 & 11a are common usage.

    14d Can someone please explain how numbers of patients = needles? Even after seeing solution kept trying to construe ‘seld’ (nonsense letters that fit) into ‘seen’ reversed (not that clue indicated reversal but was at wits end).

    22a Despite being a fan of detective stories not read her. Might have seen Brother Cadfael on TV. Totally missed the 3 little dots at end of clue!

    Concur with Gervase @3 about 6a, a real smack hand on forehead moment when penny dropped.

    ‘Tow’ in 18a crops up fairly often in USA as “tow-headed” to describe a young boy (never girl) with blondish hair.

    Favourite clue 3d.

    Thanks as always to setter and blogger.

  17. stumped says:

    Thanks gaufrid @11 and northernred @12. Crossed posts.

  18. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks everyone. My brain must have gone numb!

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for the blog.

    I have seen ‘number’ as something that makes you numb – but I was caught out again :(

  20. apple granny says:

    This is the first time we have added to the blog, which we regularly look at to enjoy other people’s comments, and the occasional explanation for something which defeats us. We completed this one quite quickly, but failed to understand (along with others, which is reassuring) why it was “needless” for 14d and “clear cut” for 6ac. We loved 15ac and 17ac.

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Orlando.

    This fell out fairly quickly this morning, but I had to go out before the blog was published, so was left with a few doubts, some of which persist:

    – By what stretch of the imagination does “rubbish” = PANTS?

    – Not being bothered to do tupu’s research, can anyone explain “barbie” = CHARCOAL?

    – Never heard of TOW-COLOURED – is it pronounced like “toe” or “how”?

    I also failed to parse 14d, though it’s obvious now :)

  22. stumped says:

    Stella @21

    ‘Pants’ is/was a neo-logism. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a short shelf-life.

    ‘Barbie’ – BBQ in the Strine dialect :)

    ‘tow’ – think it is pronounced “toe”, only seen it print.

  23. Miche Doherty says:

    Stella at 21: PANTS (singular) is slang for nonsense, rubbish, anything considered worthless. [Chambers]

    Very enjoyable puzzle.

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Miche, I’ve never heard such an expression – is it recent?

  25. stumped says:

    Miche @23 Does Chambers give a date?

    Note to self, time to buy a dictionary.

  26. Gervase says:

    Stella: ‘Pants’ for ‘rubbish’ is certainly recent – 1980s or 90s probably. See this.

  27. Miche says:

    Stella: the oldest dictionary I have to hand is Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd ed (2003), which has it. I think I first heard it in the 90s.

  28. gm4hqf says:

    PANTS, in my opinion, more slang in puzzles. If we are lucky, as stumped says, it will have a short shelf life.

    In my opinion TOW COLOURED is being the light colour of coarse string. As we might pronounce it in Aberdeenshire, TAU.

    In the Doric Dictionary it is defined as strong twine, eg CLAES TOW, a washing line.

  29. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks all, especially Gervase for the curious link. I hope the expression is short-lived – on the other hand, I’ve no doubt some of those we find in Shakespeare would have been frowned upon by the more sensitive of his contemporaries :)

  30. Allan_C says:

    A local bus company in this neck of the woods even has (or had, I’ve not seen it lately) “Parking is Pants” as a slogan extolling the advantages of the bus over driving into town!

  31. Andrew says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for standing in for me at short notice on a day when I had to get a train at stupid o’clock in the morning. Good quality fun from Orlandao as always: TOW-COLOURED was new to me, but plausible and gettable once a few crossing letters were in.

  32. stumped says:

    I think this link explains why I’ve only come across the expression “tow-headed” in the New England.

    In particular it hints why, in my experience, the term usually carries the additional implication that the hair (if not the child in general) is somewhat unruly. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it seems to be used only of boys. We all know little girls can never be unruly.

  33. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, stumped, that’s an interesting link. Girls aren’t unruly? Kathryn might argue otherwise … (she’s lovely really).

  34. Davy says:

    A good puzzle as ever from Orlando with faultless clueing. I didn’t find it a quick solve though but there again I’m not an expert like you Gaufrid. Also I didn’t help myself by writing ANCIEN in the wrong place even though I’d written 9,23 in the margin next to 9.

    As with others, I was caught out yet again by the numb trick in 14d although as the song goes Won’t Get Fooled Again but I probably will.

    On a different topic, does anyone know what has happened to Carrots as I was always amused by his comments ?. He hasn’t commented for quite a while now.

  35. Dave Ellison says:

    Certainly not easy for me – just finished it after starting at 9am! The first half was quickish, and so I agree with Robi’s and stumped’s experiences.

    22 a Nice to see the ellipsis have a definite, clear usage for once!

    I still don’t understand how BECOMING is “comme il faut”

  36. Derek Lazenby says:

    Too tough for me, which was a bit of a bummer as I’ve managed quite well on recent Orlandos. Still at least everyone refrained from asking for the ancient explanation as to what the pottery is!

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Dave Ellison

    becoming can mean fitting, suitable etc. Cf its opposite ‘unbecoming’.

    Re ‘pants’ = ‘rubbish’ the Oed gives examples from 1994-2000.

  38. Stella Heath says:

    Hi stumped@32, and thanks for the link, which gives me a pretty good idea of what the image actually is. I think it’s used more for boys than for girls because the former are more likely to have their hair cut short.

    It certainly would never have applied to me, as my hair was so fine as to be practically invisible as a child, and there’s no way it would ever look like straw. I mention this only to point out that there’s a difference between fair and blond(e).

  39. mhl says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid, and to Orlando for a very enjoyable puzzle. My one quibble here was HER for “female” in 3 down…

  40. Sylvia says:

    Davy, I miss Carrots too! Hope he surfaces soon.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

+ two = 4