Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,491 by Orlando

Posted by PeeDee on November 28th, 2011


A lovely crossword to start the week, with some very elegant clues.  Trickier than the usual monday Rufus, but still with enough easy starters to get a beginner going, so just right methinks.  Unfortunately I’m going out early today so I had to rush this one and could not give it the time it deserved.  I like to sip my crosswords like fine wine, rather than trying to ‘down them in one’ for a fast time

Hold mouse over clue number to see clue.

1 ESCAPE tESt (centre of) with C (carbon) APE (copy)
4 ICE CREAM sounds like “I scream”
9 HUSSAR US (American) inside RASH (without care) reversed – definition is soldier
10 SPEAKING P (quietly, musical) inside SEA KING (a helicopter made by Westland)
11 PARTICK THISTLE Cryptic definition Anagram (ground) of PRICKLIEST with THAT – definition is ‘side’ (football club) – Partick Thistle is a Scottish football club.  There is a sort of cryptic &lit going on in the background here too.  Thanks to greyfox for this.
13 OBEDIENTLY (TOED LINE BY)* – definition is ‘thus’
14 DEAR Double definition
16 FAGS Double definition
18 TRYING IT ON Definition and cryptic definition
21 SODIUM CHLORIDE chiNaClay – NaCl is the chemical formula for Sodium Chloride, common salt
23 AVE MARIA A V (very) English M (mass) with ARIA – definition is ‘prayer’
25 ENDURING Eurasian Nuthatch (first letters of) DURING (in) – definition is ‘evergreen’
26 ARGENT papeR inside AGENT (spy) – definition is ‘silver’
1 ECHT LiECHTenstein (quartet from=four letters chosen from) – definition is ‘authentic’
2 CASCADE Servilius CASCA (conspiritor to murder of Julius Caesar) and ED (editor, newspaper boss) reversed – definition is ‘falls’
3 PLANTAIN ANT (insect) inside PLAIN (straight) – a sort of banana
5 CAPITOL HILL PIsTOL (gun missing first letter of senator) inside CHILL (cool)
6 COATIS COAT (fur) IS – a type of racoon, according to Wikipedia also known as the Brazilian aardvark, Mexican tejón, hog-nosed coon, pizotes, crackoons and snookum bears. ‘Snookum bears’ is my favourite.
7 EPISTLE Left in European PISTE (skiing area) – definition is ‘letter’
8 MAGNETRON G (grand) NEw (new shortened) in MATRON (married woman) – definition is ‘wave generator’, microwaves in this case
12 CONTRACTION CON (Conservative, Tory) TRACT (pamphlet) I (1 Roman numeral) ON (about) – definition is ‘labour movement’, during a pregnancy
15 AGAR-AGAR A GAR (fish) doubled (cloned) – definition is ‘gelatinous substance’
17 GODSEND Definition and cryptic definition – ‘welcome evenet not expected’ and ‘in Götterdämmerung’.   Götterdämmerung or ‘Twilight of the Gods’ is the title of the final part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, in which all the gods are finally destroyed
19 TADPOLE TAD (little) POLE (support)
20 AU PAIR A U (posh) PAIR (couple)
22 MEAT first letters of Major Essayists: Addison Thoreau – definition is ‘bacon and lamb’


&lit = and literally (the whole clue is the definition)

70 Responses to “Guardian 25,491 by Orlando”

  1. greyfox says:

    An enjoyable change from Rufus (no disrespect) on a Monday.

    11 ac. is an anagram of ‘Prickliest’ and that’.

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Peedee and Orlando for an enjoyable Monday workout, very accessible because of the clear cluing, and with plenty of devices to keep me on my toes.

    Just as well the Scots football team sprang to mind after all this time, or I might have been a bit lost :)

  3. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Peedee. I found this easier than the usual Rufus.

    I also missed the anagram in 11a (thanks, greyfox), rendering this a rather good clue. I also missed the NaCl in 21a.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, Orlando bought me a pint at the Derby bash on Saturday, so I’ve got to say this was a top puzzle, haven’t I? In fact it was an excellent example of an ‘easyish but good’ crossword: accessible clues, good range of devices, but with some lovely surfaces. Favourites today were the &litish OBEDIENTLY, TRYING IT ON, and SPEAKING.

    Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum … took me back four decades to my indoctrination – sorry, education – in an RC school. For those that don’t know, it’s the ‘Hail Mary’ in Latin.

    Thanks for blogging, PeeDee, needed you today to explain CASCADE, which I couldn’t see.

  5. Allan_C says:

    A nice gentle start to Monday – thanks Orlando, and PeeDee.

    10a had me puzzled for a bit trying to make something based on ‘chopper’ (slang for a helicopter) until crossing letters brought ‘Sea King’ to mind.

    Favourite clue? 22d for its clever misdirection.

  6. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the blog. Re 17d, not a Wagner fan, but Gotterdammerung translates as ‘twilight of the gods’ so I would have thought that the ‘gods end’ would have been expected from the title – so what role does the ‘not’ have in the clue?

  7. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Orlando. Andy @6: I read it as a double definition, so the whole of ‘welcome event not expected’ = godsend.

    Some nice old chestnuts here: 7, 14, 26 … thereby providing some neat intros. I lost time through trying to make ‘flimsy’ fit 1 ac.(shows my age) and I also flirted with ‘chopper’. Enjoyable Monday fare.

  8. andy smith says:

    dunscotus – thanks, yes you are right of course.

  9. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeeDee.

    My ticks were for 11ac [the bells ring as soon as I see ‘ground’, these days] 12dn, which made me smile – wryly – [not sure what ‘pregnancy’ is doing in your comment, PeeDee], 21ac, which took a minute or two for the penny to drop and 22dn – also very clever!

    Many thanks, Orlando, for another enjoyable puzzle – and it was lovely to see you again on Saturday. 😉

  10. PeeDee says:

    Hi Eileen, ‘pregnancy’ is there just to point out that the meaning of ‘labour’ is in the sense of giving birth rather than ’employment’ or ‘a political party’ etc.

  11. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeeDee.

    Lovely crossword from Orlando; not difficult, but with a great variety of good clues with convincing surfaces. (In fact I found this easier than the average Rufus, whose proliferation of cd clues, brilliant though they are, tend to fox me).

    Favourites are 11a, 13a (both nice &lits), 12d (good misdirection in surface), and of course 21a – we need more chemistry in Guardian crosswords!

    Good to see Orlando on Saturday – let’s hope there are many more like this one still to come.

  12. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 4a, for those who might have missed it, eaten in an ICE CREAM parlour. Does anyone remember the old trad jazz song, “I scream, you scream, everybody loves ice cream!”?
    Re 13a, could “yielding” have a double purpose here, being both part of the definition, and the anagram indicator? Is this permissible?
    Re 14a, honey being an American expression for dear in the sense of darling of course.
    Re 15a, a fag being a junior boy who has to serve a senior boy in the English public school system. Does this still happen? In America, of course fag does not mean cigarette, but is a derogatory term for a male gay (or faggot).
    Re 12d, I would have said “in giving birth” rather than “pregnancy”.

    The last solution I got was SPEAKING, despite working for Westland Helicopters in Yeovil in the early 70s, when they were building Sea Kings! Incidentally they were used for seeking (geddit!) submarines.
    Saw the anagram at 11a and suspected a football side, but did not think of a Scottish side at first. Love the relevance of “prickliest” to “thistle”!
    Liked the “surface” (if I understand the term correctly), at 15d where fish appears to be part of the definition, but of course isn’t.

    Not too difficult, but an entertaining puzzle. Thanks to PD and Orlando.

  13. Eileen says:

    Thanks PeeDee – it’s just that I see pregnancy and labour as separate from each other!

    I was reminded of the great clue we had fairly recently [I can’t remember whose it was]: ‘end of term party’ for LABOUR. 😉

  14. PeeDee says:

    Hi PeterJohnN, words doing “double duty” are generally considered bad form by Ximeneans (traditionalists) and by many libertarians too. The exception of this rule is &lits, where the entire clue is doing double duty, in which case it is considered very good.

    There is of course no reason why a word cannot appear to be doing double duty in the surface reading of the clue, so long as it is has an unambiguous place in the parsing of the wordplay and definition.

  15. Richard Strasbourg says:

    Just to go along with everyone else. Very enjoyable, though I failed on COATI, to my subsequent annoyance. And thanks for the China clay explanation – I can now remove the question mark. Nor did I notice the prickliest/thistle connection, though as a Dundee supporter more years ago than I care to mention, Scottish sides do come to my mind fairly readily. Does anyone know that there is one letter of the alphabet that only occurs once in any English, Welsh or Scottish team names, assuming that hasn’t been upstaged by new entrants to the English leagues?

  16. PeeDee says:

    Hi Eileen, I did write ‘giving birth’ initially, but then changed it to ‘pregnancy’ as I remebered Braxton-Hicks contractions which can appear throughout the pregnancy. Just shows that whatever one writes in a blog there is always someone who will disagree with it! (I’m sure you are very familiar with this feeling yourself!).

  17. apple granny says:

    We both agree with others – very satisfying and enjoyable, but fairly straightforward. We loved 12d, 11a and 21 ac. Saw the 11ac anagram very early on, which helped, and “apple grandad” saw “nacl” quickly. We chuckled over agar agar too. A good start to the week. Most days we are too busy to tackle the crossword until later in the day, if we can’t do it over a rapid breakfast. (We are not into getting it online in the early hours!)

  18. PeterJohnN says:

    Re PD @ 16, but contractions during prgnancy do not coincde with “labour”.

  19. PeeDee says:

    PeterJohnN – its just a passing remark in the blog, I really don’t care.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Well I have not met Orlando recently so I do not know whether that should affect my opinion here.
    Cynically I could say bring back Rufus for a decent work-out on a Monday morning (?).
    Sad for those of you who aren’t chemistry graduates, how could you be expected to know that ‘salt (7,7)’ was ‘sodium chloride’?
    Re: misdirection at 22d.More over direction. ‘Introductions’ reads immediately as initial letters, followed by m-e-a-t, that’s it.
    If these comments upset anyone and are considered too brusque I am sorry but I thought this was a very poor effort.

    Richard: St (J)ohnstone

  21. PeeDee says:

    Hi RCWhiting – I sympathise with your feeling that the Guardian dumbs-down on a Monday, and provides crosswords that are really not much of a challenge. (Personally, I’m happy with the editorial policy and enjoy them anyway, but that is irrelvant to you of course).

    My only quibble is with the language chosen – ‘this was a poor effort’ rather than, say, ‘I didn’t enjoy this at all’. The first denies that it could be a good crossword full stop, whereas the latter gives room for varied subjective judgements. It isn’t actually that bad a crossword, just too easy and obvious for you personally?

    PS On the subject of chemistry, are you by any chance ‘Ross Whiting’ that I used to do chemistry with at Sale Grammar School?

  22. crypticsue says:

    I enjoyed the Orlando – I am with Eileen on pregnancy and labour but then my views usually coincide with hers.

    Perhaps the Guardian gave Rufus a rest because it is his 25 years since his first crossword appeared in the DT so they are celebrating over there.

  23. Robi says:

    Enjoyable puzzle – I got SODIUM CHLORIDE of course, but failed to spot NaCl! I thought this was about the right level for a Monday crossword.

    Thanks PeeDee for a good blog. Pregnancy to me continues until you give birth.

    Although I have used AGAR a lot, I’ve never seen it referred to as AGAR-AGAR; maybe it’s a cooking term or something. I gather it is derived from the Malay word, AGAR-AGAR. Maybe scientists are too busy to repeat themselves.

    I particularly liked MEAT as well as NaCl.

  24. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Orlando

    A helpful blog and the usual neat and pleasing stuff from Orlando.

    :) I realised that 21a somehow related to the chemical formula but on trying to hunt this out I misread it as NaCI! So I wondered vaguely (very) if there might be a ref. to added iodine and missed the elegant encapsulation!

    I liked 9a, 11a (liked the prickliest/thistle link plus the anagram), 2d, 5d, 12d among others.

  25. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 22d, the clue to MEAT was quite clever with Bacon and Lamb masquerading as essayists, but the problem is, if you try to make something of all their initial letters, A T B L you’ve nothing left as a definition, so you immediately work backwards and realise that M and E have to be included.

  26. Richard Strasbourg says:

    Indeed St Johnstone – at one time Saint Johnstoun was the name of the (Scottish) city of Perth. Well done RCWhiting. Like many others I enjoy Rufus but also like to see the occasional variety on Monday. Please let’s stop carping. It was a good, if not too demanding, puzzle.

  27. Kathryn's Dad says:

    RCWhiting at no 20.

    I have in two years of contributing here deliberately avoided spats on the blog, because that’s not what it’s here for. However, just in case your remark was directed at me, of course the fact that I met Orlando on Saturday doesn’t affect my opinion of his puzzle. Have you had a sense of humour by-pass?

    Actually I am a Chemistry graduate, but I suppose that most crossword solvers would know that NaCl is salt. And the blogger is entirely correct: ‘this is a poor effort’ is a completely inappropriate comment. Solvers who are less gifted than you clearly are will have enjoyed this.

    And if you need a decent Monday work-out that is not satisfied by the Guardian Cryptic, then why not search online for your nearest gym and spend the morning there?

    I am out of here for today.

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi @23

    “Pregnancy to me continues until you give birth.”

    This comment made me laugh out loud. I immediately thought of Hamlet’s, ‘What’s Hecuba to him …?’

    [I’m really sorry, PeeDee, for starting this: as you say, I do know how irritating it can be. That’s my very last word 😉 ]

  29. PeeDee says:

    Hi Eileen,

    I googled Hecuba and came up with this…

    “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
    Is it not monstrous that this player here,
    But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
    Could force his soul so to his own conceit
    That from her working all his visage wan’d;
    Tears in his eyes, distraction in’s aspect,
    A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
    With forms to his conceit?
    And all for nothing!
    For Hecuba?
    What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
    That he should weep for her?”

    Reads beautifully, but I’m afraid it hasn’t made me laugh yet. Can you help me out a little here…?

  30. Paul B says:

    PeeDee @ #21: I couldn’t agree more. Pejorative remarks are really so unhelpful in the subjective world of crossword appreciation.

    In fact this puzzle – as ever with Orlando (I haven’t met him either, but what difference that could make seems unclear) – is meticulously set, has no grammar problems at all that I can spot, and contains some very good clues. 21A and 17D are very hard in my opinion, but this shouldn’t detract from the fact that both are actually excellent.

    So under these circumstances, if I don’t like it, it’s kinda my fault! Point?

  31. PeeDee says:

    Hi Paul B and others,

    Just to make it clear, I am not disagreeing with RCWhiting, I think he makes some good points which are frquently misunderstood. My comment only suggests he uses a different form of wording when expressing these points.

  32. Robi says:

    Eileen @23; glad I can make you laugh. :) I suppose you mean I should have said: ‘To me, pregnancy lasts until birth.’…….. or am I missing the point. Perhaps this is even funnier??

  33. PeeDee says:

    Eileen @23

    Ah, I get it now! (I think, er…) You have brought a smile has come to my face too.

    Thanks Robi for giving me a clue.

    Hamlet is watching an actor on stage torture his soul about a character who in real life he has absolutely no connection with. Hamlet wonders how he does it, feeling so disconnected from the situation.

    Eileen imagines Robi watching his wife(?) give birth, thinking “pregnancy for me lasts until you give birth…” Phew! Got there in the end! Didn’t I? Please say yes, it would hurt my brain to have to go though that again.

  34. Stella Heath says:

    I’ve just read the “Hecuba” comments 😆

    Dear RCW, I appreciate you are a very intelligent person, but I feel you should give the rest of us some credit. Many of us are graduates in our particular field, and I don’t think any of us needs a Chemistry degree to know the formula for salt.

    BTW, in answer to your query the other day, Romance Philology is the study of the development of the Latin-based tongues from the late Roman Empire to the present day – in my case, I specialised in French, (Spanish seemed moot as I was doing my degree here).

  35. Eileen says:

    Hi PeeDee and Robi

    I haven’t been ignoring you but I did say that was my last word! – and I had to go out immediately after I posted that comment, so I’m sorry for keeping you in suspense.

    Yes, you’ve got it, between you – in fact, you’ve taken it a bit further! Being a blogger, I’ve seen Robi’s email address and therefore knew that he was undoubtedly a man and I was just tickled by his expression, ‘pregnancy, *to me* …’ 😉

  36. PeterJohnN says:

    Just popped by to see what’s going on after a long break. It’s a bit late in the day (in both senses), but it occurs to me that one man’s MEAT is another man’s poison, to coin a phrase.

  37. Paul B says:

    PeeDee @ #31: that’s what I got from your previous.

    Perhaps we differ slightly in that @ #30 ‘this was a poor effort’ I saw as pejorative, rather than simply a remark that might be ‘misunderstood’ – I rather think he states what he means unequivocally!

    Hopefully I managed in the same post to voice the opinion that the puzzle is anything but a poor effort, being sound throughout, inventive and entertaining, at least according to the criteria I myself would hope to apply when setting a puzzle.

  38. RCWhiting says:

    Oh dear. I have posted many times on other boards without encountering such a high degree of misunderstanding or disapproval.
    Stella,you seem such a rational and moderate person, could you really think I was suggesting that you need a chemistry degree to know that sodium chloride = salt!
    PeeDee,is that your real name? No I am not Ross Whiting from Sale.
    Paul B
    All my pejorative comments refer to the ‘product’, never to the providers. If you can say this was a delightful crossword (I do quite often) then I can say this was a poor effort.
    Folks keep saying that such comments are just my opinion; of course,how can I express other people’s opinions.
    When I said last week that Arachne’s effort was excellent nobody complained.
    That is why I am coming to the conclusion that the objections are not to my style (brusque?) but an outright opposition to any critical comments.
    This MB is getting more and more like a fansite for a boy band.

  39. PeterJohnN says:

    Could “RCWhiting” be a “Nom de blog” for David Starkey? I think we should be told!

  40. RCWhiting says:

    “Just to make it clear, I am not disagreeing with RCWhiting, I think he makes some good points which are frquently misunderstood. My comment only suggests he uses a different form of wording when expressing these points.”

    That’s very reasonable and moderate so thanks for that.
    But seriously, do you consider “a poor effort” to be in any way an extreme statement. Just how convoluted should I be in order to avoid all this sniping every time I fail to eulogise the setter.

  41. apiarist says:

    A nice start to the week. I got 21ac although I thought the china clay was referring to what the salt cellar “may” have be made of. Doh !

  42. Martin P says:

    Having a scientific background I’m sorry to say I didn’t consciously spot the concealed NaCl, though guessed the answer. I did have an odd feeling of something being in front of me though.

    There’s one class of solution that irritates me, and it’s the names of mammals, especially large rodents, from the New World. They (the forgettable animals) bore me, and I find myself looking them up repeatedly. I don’t know if coatis answer to that description for sure, though.

    Still, all in all a reasonable standard for the start of the week, I thought.

  43. tupu says:

    Hi RCW

    I don’t think you can get away with the claim that you are only criticising the puzzle when you use the word effort. As an ex-teacher you must be aware that such a comment is a criticism of the person whose effort it was. Your main criticism of this puzzle seems to be that it is relatively easy to solve. This, again as you well know, is in line with what appears to be Monbday policy. As PaulB brings out, Orlando’s clues are generally extremely well crafted, with smooth surfaces and impeccable grammar and a nice touch of wit. I am sure that plenty of effort and skill goes into his puzzles and that there is quite an art involved in consciously setting one, as he and Rufus both do, at a particular level of difficulty.

  44. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog. I quite failed to see the concealed NaCl so was left thinking it has to be sodium chloride but why?

    I also failed to spot the anagram in Partick Thistle :(

  45. Gaufrid says:

    You have confused me. In comment 38 you say “Stella,you seem such a rational and moderate person, could you really think I was suggesting that you need a chemistry degree to know that sodium chloride = salt!” yet in comment 20 you stated “Sad for those of you who aren’t chemistry graduates, how could you be expected to know that ‘salt (7,7)’ was ‘sodium chloride’?”

    How else could Stella, or any other reader, interpret your comment, particularly as it was one of the two preludes to your overall opinion of the puzzle?

    In comment 38 you stated “This MB is getting more and more like a fansite for a boy band.”. This is not the first time that you have expressed this sentiment, or otherwise criticised the attitude of participants towards setters (ie one of respect). You have also indicated your dislike of other aspects of this site, for example the use of emoticons. If you are not happy with the environment at 15² there is one simple solution, don’t visit.

    As for your continued assertion that criticism of a puzzle, or clue, is directed towards an inanimate object, not the setter who wrote it, and so cannot cause offence, I simply cannot agree. If I said one of your comments was a load of tripe it would surely be a reflection on you, the writer, because an inanimate object is not capable of creating itself. This is why, when I wrote the Site Policy, I included “Any criticism of a puzzle or clue must be valid, constructive and presented in a polite manner. The reason for any dissatisfaction should be clearly indicated.”.

  46. Alan Moore says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle as I was able to finish it; though I did need PeeDee’s blog to understand the proper derivations of ‘Sodium chloride’ and ‘Enduring’. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy most of them but it is pleasing to solve one now and again.

  47. Robi says:

    Gaufrid @45; I’m not going to come to the support of RCW because I think he has an unfortunate manner and/or phrasing. However, I assumed the comment: ‘Sad for those of you who aren’t chemistry graduates, how could you be expected to know that ‘salt (7,7)’ was ‘sodium chloride’?’ was said tongue-in-cheek. I would have thought that virtually everbody would know that salt=sodium chloride, although they wouldn’t necessarily know the NaCl formula (which I did, but failed to spot in the clue!)

  48. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks,Robi.Oh, irony, irony wherefore art thou.
    “If I said one of your comments was a load of tripe it would surely be a reflection on you, the writer”
    Certainly not, nor would I take it that way. This is getting silly. If I criticise one of Aldous Huxley’s (say) novels and praise another………?
    As to giving reasons for a negative comment, in today’s I agree with all (well most)of the glowing descriptions of smoothness, surfaces etc but they were all wasted on me because I had solved the clues before having time to stand back and admire. My complaint is simple, not enough of a challenge (and I am not alone in that view).

  49. PeterJohnN says:

    In support of Gaufrid @ 45. I only discovered this blog a couple of weeks ago, and as I have always got to it by googling “Guardian nnnnn blog”, have never seen any other pages on the site, including the Site Policy.

    I had assumed the purpose of the site was to give the solutions and “parse” them (another term new to me until I found this blog), in the original blogger’s opinion, for the benefit of solvers who couldn’t arrive at one or more solutions, and/or couldn’t understand how they were arrived at, and to invite comments on the said interpretations.

    I didn’t think that the purpose was to criticise the “quality” or “difficulty” of the crossword (in the personal opinion of any particular blogger), or to aim jibes at fellow bloggers. I agree with Gaufrid that you cannot criticise the crossword without implicitly criticising the setter.

    At the end of the day, it’s only a game (to coin two more phrases). In the words of Rabbi Blue, “Dont take it so heavy!”.

  50. PeeDee says:

    Hi RCW, thanks for your kind words at 40.

    To me there is clearly some double standard regarding comments being subjective and impersonal.

    It is socially acceptable to be unconditioanlly positive (e.g. I state as fact that this crossword ‘is lovely’ in the intro to this blog myself), but it is not OK to be unconditionally negative (stating the crossword is a ‘poor effort’ causes some big offence). Those criticising you for stating your negative opinions as facts are frequently themselves stating their posititive opinions as facts. Why are they not being equally unreasonable?

    My take is that if one just accepts that in our societey negative opinions need to be much more carefully and sensitively expressed than positive ones then it avoids arguments, everyone is happier and everyone gets more out of the site. You don’t get misundersood, other people don’t get upset, your ideas get listened to.

    Its a win-win situation (apologies for the cliche). Doggedly holding out for some logical notion of fairness doesn’t actually get anyone anywhere, it just hardens everyone’s prejudices all round.

  51. Gaufrid says:

    “My complaint is simple, not enough of a challenge (and I am not alone in that view).”

    What support do you have that you are “not alone”. The concensus of comments in this post is that the puzzle was enjoyable, but perhaps a little on the easy side.

    The fact that you found this puzzle “not enough of a challenge” does not mean that it is, quote, “a very poor effort”.

  52. PeterJohnN says:

    ……here, here!

  53. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Orlando for an entertaining puzzle and PeeDee for the parsing.

    It made a change from dear Rufus and was just right for a Monday. I loved Partick Thistle and got Sodium Chloride with very little knowledge of chemical formulae but was glad to learn something new.

    One of the interesting things about this site is the range of opinions expressed and insights encountered here, with Gaufrid to keep us all in order.

    Giovanna x

  54. PeterJohnN says:

    ……whoops! hear, hear!

  55. PeeDee says:

    PeterJohnN @52/54 One of the best things about being the blogger for the day is that one can go back and sneakily edit one’s comments to remove the typos!

  56. PeterJohnN says:

    PD @ 55. Better go back to 50 2nd sentence then. “there is some double standards” !! xx

  57. PeeDee says:

    PeterJohnN, but the post says ‘standard’, not ‘standards’! See what I mean!

  58. PeterJohnN says:


  59. PeterJohnN says:

    …. I would have changed to “are some double standards”. xx

  60. PeterJohnN says:

    PD, what about “unconditioanlly” in the next line down?! Don’t bother, we all know what you meant! x

  61. Stella Heath says:

    To RCW, back to basics, I did read your comment about Chemistry degrees as ironic, as Robi and I’m sure many others did; but you have an unfortunate way of expressing your opinions which could easily be mitigated, as you obviously have a very good command of the English language.

    I thank you for the compliment above. I try to maintain a composure in my comments, so as to avoid any possible offence, though this sometimes leads to a lot of re-typing before I decide to submit.

    To tell the truth, I’ve learned a lot about tolerance since contracting ME/fibromyalgia, and watching César Millán, the Dog Whisperer, with his “calm assertive” attitude.

  62. Stella Heath says:

    A word to PeterJohnJ, as a blogger: every time you post a comment, the author of the blog gets an e-mail to the effect, which in this case, up to now, means 61 entries in Peedee’s inbox, with this the 62nd.

    Obviously, there’s no reason why you should have known this; even still, please edit your posts before you submit them, not after :)

  63. PeterJohnN says:

    Hi Stella,

    As you say, there is no reason why I should have known this. I tried to include all my initial comments in one posting @ 12, but when you do this, you risk crossing a number of other messages “in the post” so to speak, which happened on that occasion.

    As far as I can see, I only made one retrospective change, that @ 54. Not wishing to be rude, but just curious, why are you complaining on PD’s behalf? I don’t know your relationship to her.

    Are you saying we (the bloggers in general) should not engage in friendly “banter”? If so, why am I being singled out?!

  64. stumped says:

    One of the few I’ve completed. Very satisfying. Thanks to both setter and blogger.

    Last in 11ac, not a fan of the winter game.

    Favourite clue 10ac. Got this because I remembered the Westland Affair & Heseltine’s break with Our Lady of the Iron Handbag.

  65. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Stella.

  66. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    I’ve slept on this one because I didn’t want to get embroiled in the RCWhining debate and possibly say something rude.

    I thought this was a good puzzle from Orlando and up to his usual high standard. Yes it was on the easier side but there were many great clues of which HUSSAR (quite a tricky little clue), PARTICK THISTLE (I did see the anagram) and CONTRACTION, were particular favourites. I didn’t see the nacl in 21a but there again, I didn’t know the chemical formula although the answer could only be one thing.

    Thanks Orlando and I do appreciate the efforts you make to create a crossword for our entertainment – unlike he/she who shall be nameless.

  67. Matt says:

    For what it’s worth (I’m reiterating myself, and I’m late to the party):

    I often (usually) disagree with RCW, but I’m very glad that he comes here. This site would be a less interesting place without his comments and the debate they provoke. I think that people get too wound up about his contributions. We need not be too precious about the sensibilities of professional setters, and we need not be offended by somebody who prefers harder crosswords expressing those views robustly. RCW does not claim any monopoly on the truth, and anybody who thinks that he oversteps the mark of cyber-civility must surely be aghast at some of the comments to be found on such outposts of barbarity as and the Guardian website.

    He should, however, get around to eating some Pizza.

  68. Davy says:

    Yes Matt, you are absolutely right. Very well put too !.

    The thing about RCW is not what he says but the annoying way that he says it. All he considers is his own enjoyment and he doesn’t care a jot for anyone else.

  69. PeeDee says:

    Davy@68 and Matt@69.

    I agree with you both.

    The thing about comparing 15squared to the etc is that the others are commercial websites, with paid advertising or other sponsorship, with people paid to put up with whatever gets thrown at them.

    15 squared depends entirely on the goodwill of volunteers to keep the site going. If everyone took the ‘I don’t give a jot what anyone else thinks’ attitude of RCW then the site would collapse in no time.

    If I had to give an example of a good outspoken contributor it would be Uncle Yap, who also causes controversy through “inappropriately stated opinions”, but he pulls his finger out and puts in a great deal of hard work as a blogger. From what I can see RCW is just a bit of a selfish person who likes to complain a lot and feel hard done by but doesn’t give much back in return.

  70. ram says:

    Agreed ^

    In my opinion, there were some nice and inspired clues here but Orlando’s crosswords normally leave me with a smile on my face. I found this one kinda dull.

    And in response to Eileen #13, I think the stroke of genius “end-of-term party” was courtesy of Philistine a few months back.

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