Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25506 Tramp

Posted by scchua on December 15th, 2011


Back to the blogging schedule, and thank you to PeeDee for standing in in my Guardian slots.  I have come back to an immensely enjoyable puzzle today, with lots of pop culture (nothing wrong with that!), and having met with Tramp in Derby, can understand why the 80s.  Lots of pleasurable surfaces and some racy definitions and wordplays.  Thanks Tramp, and it was nice chatting with you.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  The picture set at the bottom has an unidentified link to the crossword.


1,14 Business management course (6,8)

TOILET TRAINING :  Cryptic defn:  “To do one’s business” means, to a child, going to the toilet.

5 Even Ali tying involves an act of bribery (8)

VENALITYHidden in(involves) eVEN ALI TYing

9 In most need of support – the rest of Spain docked, holding a big cup? (8)

SAGGIEST :  {SIEST(“siesta”,the midday rest that everyone in Spain has daily minus “a”,the last letter(docked)} containing(holding) [A + GG(double G,size of a big brassiere cup, though not the biggest, which apparently is L(single only, no double L)].  Took me a long time to figure out what the cup was – went down the FA, League, Champions Cup path – a reflection of where my priorities are, rightly or wrongly? :-)  

Defn:  Bit of an &lit – the saggiest might very well need a big cup

10 Where bloomers are made like the fourth and sixth incarnations of Dr Who? (6)

BAKERY :  Whimsical adjective describing(like), formed by suffix -Y, placed after BAKER(Tom and Colin, the fourth and sixth actors playing the role,incarnations of television’s Dr Who)

Defn:  Where bloomers,medium-sized loaves of bread, glazed and notched at the top, are baked


11 Run with last bit of email, cc from Vince Cable – redraft can’t be damaged (12)

INVULNERABLEAnagram of(redraft) [RUN + L(last letter,bit ofemail”) + VIN ABLE{“Vince Cableminus(from) “cc”}]

13 A cracking Scottish party game (4)

SNAPA contained in(cracking) SNP(abbrev. for the Scottish National Party)

Defn:  Children’s card game involving calling the word “snap”

17 Diplomatic approval of a fellow covering rock band (8)

AGREMENT :  A GENT(a fellow) containing(covering) REM(alternative rock band that started in 1980)

Defn:  Approval by a government of a proposed envoy from a foreign government

18 Daring Charles, say, to take cocaine (4)

RACY :  RAY(someone,say with the name Charles Edit.note: Per comments #3&10: Charles,the late R&B performer, someone,say with that name ) containing(to take) C(abbrev. for cocaine)

20 West covering protest — island to flog French girl (12)

MADEMOISELLE :  MAE(West, buxom actress after whom airmen’s life preservers were appropriately nicknamed) containing(covering) [DEMO(short for a demonstration of protest) + I(abbrev. for island) + SELL(to flog, not to be confused with the act of beating)]

24 Spoiled Tramp’s quiet broadcast (8)

IMPAIRED :  I’M(I am,setter is,Tramp is,Tramp’s) P(piano,to be played in a quiet manner) AIRED(broadcast over the air)

25 Naked king and queen surrounded by celebrities (8)

STARKERS :  [K(kingplus(and) ER(Elizabeth Regina,the queen) contained in(surrounded by)] STARS(celebrities)

Defn:  Derived from and as a short form for “stark naked

26 Harry Potter (6)

NIGGLE :  Double defn:  1st: To find fault with continually Edit.note: Per comments#5&10: To irritate and worry; and 2nd: To fuss about with details and achieve little or nothing,to potter around


2 US TV celebrity losing heart for fish (4)

OPAH :  “Oprah” Winfrey,US TV talk show host,celebrity minus “r”,its central letter(losing heart)

Defn:  Aka moonfish or kingfish, a large and colourful deep-sea food fish.  The name is of West African origin. 

3 Small gift strangely appealing (9)

LAGNIAPPEAnagram of(strangely) APPEALING

Defn:  A small freebie,gift given by shopkeepers to their customers, but is also an unusual way to call a gratuity or tip.  Interesting etymology – by way of French South Louisiana via Spanish and Quechua (Incan).

4 The Guardian joining line in the box with electronic figure (6)

TWELVE :  [WE(the Guardian,the paper that’s publishing this crossword) plus(joining) L(line)] contained in(in) TV(television set,the box,boob tube) plus(with) E(abbrev. used in things electronic, such as e-mail, e-book,e-commerce)

5 At St Paul’s ultimate activist is unravelling government figures (5,10)

VITAL STATISTICSAnagram of(unravelling) [AT ST + L(the last letter,ultimate of “Paul”) + ACTIVIST IS]

Defn:  Figures relating to the human population and its condition and maintenance, eg. births, deaths, marriages, unemployment, age distribution, etc. tallied by the governmentNot exactly what springs to mind when one hears the phrase in common usage.

6 Turning up piece from Madonna, Mel B only gets Prince? (8)

NOBLEMANReversal of(turning up) and hidden in(piece from) madonNA MEL B ONly

7,23 Large furniture store rebranded by Branson hit during the ’80s? (4,1,6)

LIKE A VIRGIN :  L(large) IKEA(international chain of stores specialising in knocked-down furniture, originating in Sweden) VIRGIN(Sir Richard Branson’s flagship brand as in Virgin Atlantic Airways, Records, Mobile, Money, etc.)

Defn:  Madonna hit song in the 80s

8 Style of top kiss in supporting role to Leonardo? (10)

TURTLENECK :  NECK(kiss,pet) placed after(in supporing role to, in a down clue) TURTLE(an example,? of a Leonardo – the leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a band of comic book and television characters, devised in the 80s whose 4 members were named after Italian painters)

Defn:  A style of pullover, jumper or sweater with a high collar, often rolled or turned down, making the wearer’s head appear to stick out like, well, a turtle’s

12 Cryptic giant having joined Times – has he? (10)

ENIGMATISTAnagram of(cryptic) [GIANT plus(having joined) TIMES]

Defn:  An &lit, referencing Enigmatist, regular,giant Guardian Cryptic crossword setter, who hasn’t joined the panel of Times crossword setters – or has he?

15 Fostered one put stone finally in giant-killing weapon after run up? (9)

NURSELING :  [E(last letter,finally of “stone”) contained in(put…in) SLING(giant-killing weapon used in the biblical contestn of David vs. Goliath)] placed after(after) reversal of(up, in a down clue) RUN

16 Stigmatise thick person consuming food additive? (8)

DENOUNCE :  DUNCE(stupid,thick person) containing(consuming) ENO(the branded salts, essentially sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate that you take after,additive to, having too much food, to relieve that ill-feeling.  Named after its inventor James Crossley Eno. Edit.note:  Per comment #5:  OR as the setter intended E NO, part of food additive numbering system.

19 Tie short procedure covered by plastic surgeon, ultimately? (4-2)

CLIP-ON :  LIPO(short for liposuction,procedure for sucking excess fat out of your body, and since fat builds up again, your money is also being sucked out of your wallet) contained in(covered by) CN(the last letters,ultimately of “plastic” and “surgeon” respectively)

Defn:  Kind of tie that doesn’t require tying a knot, but just putting the clip on, knot and all

21 English one who noted stirring Earl Grey at the top (5)

ELGARAnagram of(stirring) [EARL + G(first letter,at the top of “grey”)]

Defn:  English composer,one who put notes together,noted – easier said than done

22 Rat on Archer (4)

TELL :  Double defn:  1st: To tell tales on someone; and 2nd:  The patriotic Swiss bowman William.  For a couple of moments, I was associating “rat” with “Jeff”. :-)





43 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25506 Tramp”

  1. Rick says:

    Great blog scchua – thanks! I agree that it was a very enjoyable crossword. I had “bakers” rather than “bakery” for 10 across but, on reflection, I see that yours is the correct answer.

  2. jkb_ing says:

    many thanks. in 16 could ENO also refer to a more general food additive – an “E Number” (E No.)?

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog scchua – and it was nice to meet you, too, in Derby, during your travels.

    Another very enjoyable puzzle from Tramp: I especially liked TOILET TRAINING, BAKERY, SNAP, NOBLEMAN and, my clue of the day, ENIGMATIST – brilliant! I also liked the topical reference to the St Paul’s demonstration in 5dn.

    scchua – there is an A missing in the parsing of 9ac.

    I think 18ac refers to the singer, Ray Charles.

    I was intrigued by your ‘boob tube’ re 4dn, then discovered from Chambers that it’s US slang for television. It means something different here!

    I read ENO as ‘E number’, too.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog (nice and full) and puzzle.

    Yes, definitely! E numbers are very familiar indeed and eno salts very unfamiliar.

    By the way, isn’t Enigmatist also called Elgar in the Telegraph?

  5. Tramp says:

    Thanks for the very comprehensive blog.

    It was great to meet you in Derby and in fact all the other lovely people I got the chance to meet. It’s a shame I only met about a third of the people there but I’m not the best mingler.

    E-NO is correct not the ENO salts (I’d never heard of those).

    Enigmatist did join the Times quite recently. He now sets for all the broadsheets and edits the Inquisitor in the Indy. He is, as is noted above, Elgar in the Torygraph.

    I’m not sure the explanation of Harry is correct. I was using Harry to mean:

    Harry = harass = to beset or trouble constantly; to annoy, pester

    which I believe is synonymous with ‘to niggle’. I spent two hours in Barrow library two years ago to try to convince myself that this worked.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Tramp and scchua. Great blog, though as usual I can’t see the link to the pics. :)

    I think the etymology you describe in 3d is slightly misleading: it’s ultimately from Quechua, passing through S. American Spanish, then Louisianna French into (mainly) American English. Not that I’d ever come across the word before, but it was a common practice here in Spain, too, when I first came here, though now it’s rare and reserved for habitual customers.

  7. John Appleton says:

    This reminded me a lot of a Paul puzzle. Excellent.

  8. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks scchua and Tramp

    I got stuck for a while with the top left corner. Once I figured out what type of TRAINING it was 2d and 3d fell into place.

    I have a feeling that I have come across LAGNIAPPE in a puzzle before. Not a word I use daily!

  9. artiefufkin says:

    A fantastic and entertaining offering again from Tramp.

    Must admit to not getting Lagniappe. Good clue though and couldn’t help but kick myself having seen the answer.

    Vital Statistics, Toilet Training and Enigmatist were personal favourites.

    Thank you Tramp for a fun start to the day. Now it’s Christmas shopping time which will no doubt be far less enjoybable.

    Thanks again!

  10. scchua says:

    Thanks to all, especially Tramp – the setter is always more than welcome to drop in and clarify what was originally intended.

    This is the second time I’ve been blind-sided by E(European) No. The first time Eileen corrected me, and my excuse was that it was too Eurocentric for me to be expected to know, but I can’t use the same excuse twice. :-) . …which led me to ENO, and in addition to relieving indigestion, it is often used as baking powder – a food additive!

    A bit academic but you can find out more about ENO here:
    and a Spanish advert here:
    It’s strange that a product invented by a man from Newcastle, now manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, a London-headquartered company is more wellknown abroad. I recall in my childhood days, my grandfather, father and uncles taking ENO. It appears that its major markets are Spain (hence the advert above), India, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia and Thailand.

    Eileen, it was great meeting you too, and now you can have a mental picture of me when I ask you for a favour (by email). Yes, I meant Ray Charles in 18A, but it got lost as I was trying to convey that it was an example,say, of a Charles. I’ve added the missing A in 9A, thanks.

    Tramp, looking up the meanings for “niggle”, I missed the 3rd one of “to irritate”, which is synonymous with “harry”.

  11. Gervase says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    Another good one from Tramp (whom it was a priviledge and pleasure to meet in Derby – thanks for dropping in today).

    I also had BAKERS for 10a – which works, though not as neatly as BAKERY. LAGNIAPPE I remembered from time spent in the Big Easy. Lovely word and fantastic clue – small and perfectly formed.

    1,14 had me thinking along the lines of ‘working lunch’, until the penny dropped (accompanied by snigger). Other favourites were 5a (well hidden – ‘tying’ suggested an anagram, which was nicely misleading), 12d (liked the &littishness), 15d and 16d (nice surfaces).

    Great 18a entertainment from the Barrow boy.

  12. Allan_C says:

    Thanks to Tramp for a pleasant workout for the brain this morning, and to scchua for a super blog. Lagniappe was new to me and took some working out. Incidentally Wikipedia describes a lagniappe as “a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen)….”. Something you might get in a 10a, then.

  13. Gervase says:

    PS 26a is another great clue. It’s unusual to have a two word double def with such a good surface. It was almost my last entry – I knew NIGGLE = ‘Harry’ but I had to check with Chambers for the ‘Potter’ meaning.

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you scchua, for another fine blog, and Tramp for the puzzle.

    Well, just in case this place gets a reputation for being too fulsome, I’m going to demur slightly by saying that I didn’t enjoy this Tramp as much as his previous offerings. It wasn’t a bad puzzle by any means, but I found myself this morning putting in the answers from the sometimes overly clear definitions and then working out the wordplay. And ENIGMATIST? We’ve had this discussion about in-jokes before – everyone commenting here will get it, but the other folk who don’t?

    However, TOILET TRAINING was funny, and LIKE A VIRGIN reminded me of a favourite clue from a Madonna-themed crossword a year or so ago where the definition was something along the lines of ‘flat-pack novice’. Can’t for the life of me remember who set it or what the full clue was.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Tramp

    Not easy but genereally pretty enjoyable. Turtleneck and racy were my last in. I guessed and checked ‘racy’ and ‘lagniappe’. My knowledge of Quechua and Louisian French is rather limited.

    We have had ‘bloomers’ as bread very recently I think and I managed to dredge up the ninja reference from last year.

    Some very good clues inc. 1a, 7d, 8d and 21d (also vaguely familiar).

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog scchua and thanks to Tramp for a puzzle that made me smile all the way through! (It was v good to meet both of you at Derby!)


    I’m fairly sure I’ve come across LAGNIAPPE in a crossword before, but it didn’t stick and I needed the check button for this one. Last one in was TURTLENECK.

    Thanks also to Tramp for dropping by and adding your comments.

  17. Uncle Yap says:

    Wow ! Mr Chua, what a fantastic blog for an equally fantastic puzzle. You have everything except singing birds and ringing bells and a partridge in a pear tree.

    My COD was that superb cd at 1,14.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I suppose I should (partly) withdraw my criticism of male setters yesterday because this was another good one from Tramp (whom,incidently, I have never met, so do not tell me she is female!).
    I noticed the use of ‘bakery’ after Arachne’s brilliant use of ‘forty’ yesterday, although it required the re-use of ‘bloomers’.
    ‘Lagniappe’ was entirely new to me and provided some tussle in the NW corner.
    I thought 19d was very clever and, to those of you who rate these things, the surface was smooth (there are words I never thought I would use).

  19. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks scchua for a very comprehensive blog. Good meeting you in Derby as well. No-one seems to have found the link to the photos at the end yet! We’re stumped so can we have a clue please or is it just connected to 18a?!!
    Enjoyed the puzzle Tramp, so thanks to you especially for COD 1a/14a. Never heard of potter = niggle but no doubt it’ll turn up in another crossword one day.

  20. Tramp says:

    Thanks all for the comments. I too can’t get the picture link although the photos certainly brightened up my day; especially the bottom one.

    Kathryn’s Dad: I know what you mean. I wrote this puzzle in April. Since then I’ve written another fifteen or so puzzles which I think, on the whole, are better than this. Incidentally, the Queen one last time was puzzle no 12. As is customary now, I print the puzzle out prior to it going live and then gasp at how bad some of the clues are and prepare myself for a mauling: somehow I’ve never had one. With this one, I was convinced I was going to get slated for it being too easy. There are a handful of weak clues here in my view (IMPAIRED, STARKERS, OPAH …). I agree that the ENIGMATIST clue is a tad esoteric but he has been around the crossword world for a while and I think, with enough checking letters, the answer is gettable (if there’s such a word) even if you’ve never heard of him.

    Thanks again

    5d originally was a little saucy featuring an anagram of a pair of tits and a definition that related to page three. It was deemed a bit too saucy (and a rubbish clue, on reflection) so I pulled it in favour of something more topical.

  21. Dave Ellison says:

    I don’t think STARKERS and OPAH were weak clues: they held me up, so were from that point of view useful. Had they been easier, the solving would have been over much more quickly. OPAH was nigh impossible to get without some checking letters (so many celebrities and fish), and my TOILET came late in the day. I had the final S only of STARKERS for a long time, and was convinced it therefore ended in LESS.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  22. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    I was please with myself for remembering, fairly quickly, that WEST in a crossword is not only a point of the compass but also a lady. Once I had that then the rest fell out pretty quickly.

    A little while ago the Graun had a crossword with a theme of potters of which some were Harry Potter and others were people who made pots. I feel sure that one of the latter was a chap whose first name was Harry but I have been unable to find him. Does anybody remember that one?

  23. Tramp says:


    I seem to remember a double Bank Holiday offering from Araucaria (some time during this last year I think) being centred around POTTER but I can’t remember much beyond that.

  24. Median says:

    I agree this was an enjoyable puzzle with definite shades of Paul. Thanks, Tramp. Good to meet you in Derby.

    Bertandjoyce @19, it was good to meet you, too! As for the link to the photos at the bottom of the blog, might some folks – not me – think they are RACY?

  25. scchua says:

    Hi again bertandjoyce, nice to hear from you. Regarding the pictures, think (female) flight attendants, and racing teams and about end of 2010.

  26. tupu says:

    HI Median

    This crossed my minds and I was just about to write in saying so when I saw your posting.

  27. EB says:

    @chas #22

    Yes the double grid “Potter” puzzle by Araucaria was superb I thought (nothing unusual there!) – if you want to revisit it, it’s No. 25,412.

  28. Mitz says:

    Thanks very much to scchua, and to Tramp for both setting a highly entertaining puzzle and for hanging around here for a while! Lots of fun, plenty of smiles, a few new words for me (‘opah’ only came when I had the ‘O’ from 1,14, ‘lagniappe’ and ‘agrement’ – neither of which my silly spell check likes). ‘Saggiest’ was last in for me – didn’t spot the ‘siesta’ part and so couldn’t decide between the correct answer and ‘baggiest’ – glad I guessed right. ‘Turtleneck’ was my COD.

    Incidentally, the Bank Holiday double from Araucaria on Potter came at the end of August and was an absolute stinker – for a while I thought Tramp might have filled in a gap in that puzzle by including a snooker player (Steve Davis’ nick-name is ‘The Nugget’…) but it didn’t fit Harry so I gave up on that line of thought. The only reference I found to ‘niggle’ meaning ‘potter’ was in Websters international Thesaurus, under Manx – I suppose one reference is enough!

  29. tupu says:

    niggle = potter was in my Chambers

  30. Tramp says:

    NIGGLE = to trifle; potter

    The reason I spent two hours in the library was justifying if NIGGLE = Harry; I think it does as I described above.

  31. MikeC says:

    Thanks scchua and Tramp. I enjoyed the puzzle, and meeting you both in Derby. I had bakers for 10a, like some others – but also HEEL instead of TELL (a heel is a rat, and is also on a foot – “archer”). Too clever by half (= too stupid!!). Those 4-letter “last-ins” can be a real pain!

  32. scchua says:

    Hi all: the answer to the picture quiz:

    The linkage is to 7D 23A LIKE A VIRGIN. The middle pic is of the Formula 1 Virgin Racing team, part of Branson’s stable of companies. The first pic is of Tony Fernandes (+2), principal of the F1 Lotus team, and founder/CEO of AirAsia, a startup/upstart airline. The third pic is of AirAsia flight attendants in their uniforms. The connection between the pics is in the link I’ve given at the bottom of the pictures.

  33. scchua says:

    PS: Hi Stella re LAGNIAPPE, I have the same understanding as you about the etymology, but when expressing it, in my (perverse? :-) ) way, I started with the end and traced it backwards.

  34. NeilW says:

    Thanks, all.

    Commenting very late for me as I’ve just got in, very late, courtesy of Mr Fernandes so I found the grinning picture particularly “amusing”. (Singapore – Jakarta, Mr F) The only thing to add would be to ask Tramp, given the timeline you describe above and if you’re still around, how come the clues are suddenly so short and “untramplike”? I rather liked your previous style. :)

  35. chas says:

    Thanks to EB and Mitz.

    You have shown that my memory may be a bit spotty nowadays but I do still remember things.
    Now I can look back and check up on the potter I am half remembering.

  36. Tramp says:


    It wasn’t a conscious effort to write shorter clues, it’s just the way they turned out. There’s plenty more of long ones (and short ones) to come.

  37. Derek Lazenby says:

    I was intending to ask who but a demented gibbon on acid would have ever heard of opah or lagniappe, but it seems the clever so and so’s here have. Oh well, scrap that idea.

    At my level of solving this would have been utterly impossibe without gadgetry so I don’t think Tramp should worry unduly about it being too easy.

    For all that it was still fun.

  38. RCWhiting says:

    Re: opah
    This was one of the first I solved, not because I am an expert on US TV stars but precisely because I am not.
    Consequently Oprah was the only one I knew,it had 5 letters and it was with little confidence that I checked opah in Chambers. It produced that wonderful sense of amazement that one gets regularly from Azed: wow,such an unlikely word actually exists and furthermore means exactly what I had hoped.

  39. jim T says:

    Enjoyed this very much. TOILET TRAINING (my last answer) was superb.

  40. chainsawpete says:

    Well, as long as Tramp is listening…I’m American and many of the solvers are spread around the world. It’s always pleasant to see a puzzle like this one that avoids football players and cricket terms. LAGNIAPPE was no problem, though SNAP was a guess. Enjoyable. Not too easy, not too hard.

  41. sidey says:

    Having the wrong mental image of Seinfeld I confidently enter SILD, didn’t help. A puzzle, in my limited time, I would have much preferred as a replacement for some of the recent prize puzzles.

    And I think that Tramp is well beyond the “reminds me of…” stage. He has his own style which should be more worthy of comment.

  42. Roger @ gsk says:

    I’m intrigued to see to comments about ENO. Although this is one of the many brands we have at GSK, I also assumed the ref was to an e number. If you can forgive the plug, ENO is available in pharmacies and many supermarkets in UK. It is brilliant to get you through the party season. Great puzzle by the way. Loved saggiest and snap, not keen on niggle.

  43. Tramp says:


    Not sure if you’re still watching but I actually work for GSK too — the ENO was a reference to E Number.

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