Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,591 / Tramp

Posted by Eileen on March 23rd, 2012


After my comments on themed crosswords on Wednesday, the gods continue to smile on me and I get to blog another of Tramp’s puzzles and, once again, it’s one right up my street.

I practically guessed 7dn,1ac from the enumeration, before working out the clever anagram and, having blogged Tramp’s début ‘Fawlty Towers’ puzzle, where, amazingly, he managed to include the titles of all twelve episodes in either the clues or the solutions, I thought I might be looking for anything from lupins to lumberjacks and from silly walks via defunct parrots to the Spanish Inquisition.  It turned out to be not quite so intricate as that, but, again, this is one of those themed puzzles which are perfectly straightforward for solvers with no knowledge of or interest in the theme but put some icing on the cake for those who have. Enough said for the moment, I think. 😉

Some of the clues are perhaps easier than usual for Tramp [eg 9, 13, 24 ac and 17 and 22dn] but they’re combined with the more intricate constructions, clever wordplay and witty surfaces that we’ve come to expect from him. There’s lots to enjoy, admire and smile at – and a wordsearch thrown in. Many thanks, Tramp!


  OINKING: [d]ON KING [boxing promoter without his initial letter {who doesn’t open}] round [boxing] I [institute]: Don King promoted the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ – great play on ‘boxing’
9   CHAPMAN:  CHAP MAN [couple of blokes and an archaic name for a pedlar]
11  TOOL KIT: anagram [loose] of [m]ILK TOOT[h] – great surface and clever use of ‘filling’
12  EPIGONI: EP [record] I [one] G [German] ON [working] I [current]: I played around with ‘ein’ [one German] for a while before seeing the very straightforward charade for this rather less familiar tragedy
13  POSED: double definition
14  ANEURISMS: anagram [disturbing] of MEANS round [taking in] URI’S [spoon-bender Uri Geller]
16  TESSELLAE: hidden reversal in idEAL LESS EThical
19  HAJJI: I [second letter of bingo] after first letters [leaders] of House Announced Joint Jackpot – a superb surface, with the misleading Mecca Bingo
21  ON A ROLL: double / cryptic definition
23  PALINGS: LING [heather] in [cutting] PA’S [father’s]
24  SENDING: S [second] ENDING [resolution]
25  AROUSER: A USER [a drug taker] round [to swallow] RO [run out, in cricket]: well, Tramp does say he is a great admirer of Paul’s puzzles!
26  MCCARTHYITES: anagram of MY ARCHITECT’S    [In view of Robi’s comment 9,  I should add that the highlighting was not intended to indicate that this is thematic ]


1   FANDOMS: F AND O [letters for Foreign Office] + MS [manuscript]
  YOICKED: D [daughter] following YO [you almost] + ICKE [‘son of God’ David Icke – and a nod to 7dn’s ‘Life of Brian’]: Uri Geller and David Icke in one puzzle – spooky! [Fortunately, I’d met YOICKS as a hunting call in crosswords before.]
3   NIGHT MAIL: [k]NIGHT [searcher for Holy Grail, minus first letter – ‘decapitated’] + MAIL [his armour] and a reference to this: I knew of the documentary only through the Auden poem, which was written for it: worth listening to – shame about the LNER locomotives!
4   CYCLE: double definition: works on theme, eg Wagner’s Ring Cycle and setting on a washing machine, eg rinsing / spinning cycle
  READIER: kat[E] ADIE in RR [Rolls Royce, posh car]
6   UNMOORS: anagram [reform] of ONUS and ORM [initially On Roxy Music]: definition: ‘removes ties for ferry, perhaps’, with nice misleading reference to Bryan and his band
7,12 MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS: anagram [rewriting] of SHORTLY COMICS TYPING FUNNY to give us our theme
10  NAIL SCISSORS: anagram [cross] of I CRISS and SALON’S
15  EXEMPLARY: EE [middle letters {‘essentially’} of Cleese  round [taking] X [ten] + PLAY [act] round R [Q’s successor]: this time the theme word is in the clue, rather than the solution, which is rather neat
17  STANNIC: anagram [recycled – nice indicator] of TIN CANS
18  EROTICA: anagram [damaged] of EAR round [outside] OTIC [of the ear’]: I thought initially that this was where Eric Idle was lying [very!] low but then realised I had to think more laterally [or in another direction!]: I’ll leave you to find him – and the fifth member  – for yourself 😉
19  HOLE OUT: HOT [piping] round [seen outside] O [Cluedo’s final letter] U [turn] after LE [half of LEad]: great construction and surface and a nice reminder of Tramp’s Cluedo-themed Genius puzzle: the cryptic definition is ‘finish green’, in golf
20  JONESES: [not ever so] cryptic definition, for obvious reasons
22  LIGHT: double definition

44 Responses to “Guardian 25,591 / Tramp”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    This was fun. Perhaps the only downside was that a few of the clues were a little straightforward.

    I spent nearly as long afterwards finding Mr Idle and then looking for Mr Cleese before realising that Tramp had had to give up and just include him in the clue – although he nearly got there with 4 and 15 down – just let down by the X!

  2. NeilW says:

    By the way, 14ac is MEANS* around URIS.

  3. NeilW says:

    Strike that – sorry. The highlighted S put me off!

  4. Eileen says:

    It’s OK, Neil – Gaufrid told me just before you did! 😉

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen – I thought perhaps I was going cross-eyed from too much word searching! :)

  6. Eileen says:

    It’s very quiet!

    I’m going out for an hour or so now, so any more corrections will have to wait for a while.

  7. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Another fun puzzle from Tramp. I found this much easier than his other Guardian puzzles – 7,1a was a write-in and gave 12 initial letters – but full of cleverly constructed clues. I particularly like the ones where Tramp builds a surface incorporating several references to the same thing, often something misleading: 19a (bingo), 6d (Roxy Music), 15d (Bond films), 18d (ears), 19d (Cluedo), but sometimes pertinent: 17d (Sn). Otherwise, my favourite was 11a – great construction and surface.

    Some pleasingly unusual words in this crossword: YOICKED, TESSELLAE, HAJJI. All given straightforward definitions to assist in solving the clues.

  8. nusquam says:

    Fun crossword and exe(m)plary blog.

  9. Robi says:

    Fun eventually when I realised what was going on, although I pity the man on the London Omnibus with TESSELLAE and EPIGONI. I didn’t know FANDOMS either. Clever to have worked in all the names, though.

    Thanks, Eileen; I wouldn’t have found GILLIAM and IDLE without your help. I thought MCCARTHY must have something to do with MP, but this is the nearest I could get.

  10. Robi says:

    ….forgot to say that I spent some time with 26 looking for an anagram of aRchitEcts DeSign without reds……

  11. John H says:

    ESEMPLASY rather than EXEMPLARY would have yielded CLEESE.

    What a shame!

    Esemplasy puzzle.

  12. ArtieFufkin says:

    I was up at 5.30am this morning after our little lad was sick during the night. Got about 2 hours of sleep. Set about doing this with some strong coffee and a will to try and finish it. I very rarely have the time to finish puzzles these days but I usually make an effort for ones set by Tramp. This latest offering was thoroughly enjoyable and more than made up for an awful night. The fact that it features my comedy heroes and they’re all in the puzzle (either as an answer, in the clue or a cleverly disguised Nina) is just sublime. I was finishing it at my desk at work which could have got me in trouble because I should have been in a meeting. Oops. Tramp: he’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!

    Great blog Eileen and another wonderfully enjoyable Tramp puzzle.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog. I needed you to show me why I had the correct answer for TESSELAE.

    On 12a I also tried to make EIN go in but failed. Eventually I spotted ‘one’ = I then the whole thing fell into place.

  14. John Appleton says:

    Thanks Eileen and Tramp – EPIGONI elduded me, but otherwise a good way to end the week.

  15. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen, and Tramp. I can’t believe that after travelling well till the end, sans aids, I failed on 26a, assuming it was some science thing about the colourful red. Never ever heard of Icke, but YOICKED it had to be. Just loved the Cluedo clue.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Totally bemused by all above comments.
    I solved this quite easily (although F and O once again held me up when parsing 1d).I am quite familiar with MPFC but apart from sticking it in early on I saw, nor looked for, any other connections. I did momentarily think that ‘palings’ was a failed attempt at a link.
    Obviously I missed out on a second wonderful puzzle, ah well.

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Tramp

    I solved this in a hurry and like RCW missed the theme (apart from noticing Palin) and a lot of the fun, and I only found ‘idle’ with help, I’m afraid. I did not know it was DON King till I hunted him but the answer was clear and the parsing very neat once I got the first name.

    I particularly enjoyed 2d, 4d, 19d

  18. Eileen says:

    Hi Robi @9

    Apologies for misleading you [and causing you extra work] with the highlighting at 26ac – but thanks for the link!

  19. crypticsue says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog and to Tramp for the super crossword. Although I do all the puzzles, there are certain setters that, when you see the ‘set by’ at the top of the puzzle, you know you are in for a good time, and Tramp is one of them.

  20. Robi says:

    Never mind, just a schematic try………

  21. Robi says:

    John H@11; very clever, ESEMPLASY is even in Chambers!

  22. Bertandjoyce says:

    Enjoyed the puzzle! Only found Gilliam at the last moment.

    It took us a little while to get started when we realised what 7d 1a was, like Eileen from the enumeration. Would have helped if we had the correct ending for 26a as we didn’t check the anagram and wrote in Mccarthyists!

    Thanks Tramp for the puzzle and Eileen for the blog!

  23. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Tramp, for a fun crossword and Eileen for a super blog.

    Monty Python leapt out at me before I saw it as an anagram and it was fun thereafter.

    Night Mail is a great poem and film – despite the LNER locomotives!! ( My favourites and still going strong on the main line.)

    Giovanna x

  24. Marian H says:

    Hallo all. This is my first entry on this, or any, message board, but I have been following it regularly since a visit to my sister, Stella Heath, in December, when she introduced me to it, and I even got a mention in her blog when I helped her parse one of the clues. I enjoy reading the comments and discussions raised on this site, and often find it very helpful in the final analysis of the daily crosswords, so thanks to all setters and bloggers!

    I felt compelled to comment today as I am surprised that none of you regulars have noticed the reference, in 15d, to another role currently undertaken by John Cleese in the James Bond movies, replacing the late Desmond Llewellyn as Q to Dame Judi Dench’s M.

  25. Eileen says:

    Bravissima, Marian, and welcome to our site – what a good job you dropped in!

    I knew I would have missed something! I thought there might be something more to Q and then forgot to investigate. My defence is that I don’t think I have ever seen a James Bond film [so I hope I don’t get that themed puzzle to blog!] Sorry, Tramp!

  26. Gervase says:

    Marian H: I did make a reference to Q at comment 7, but I failed to spell it out!

  27. Eileen says:

    And apologies, Gervase – I missed your reference when I read the comments too hastily after being out.

  28. Tramp says:

    Many thanks Eileen for the exemplary blog (as always). Also, many thanks to all posters for the comments.

    This puzzle has quite a complicated background. Having written Fawlty Towers and Life of Brian puzzles, around May last year, I decided to write a Python puzzle. I wanted to hide all the members in the grid. Flling the grid was a little bit beyond me and the best that I could do involved some arcane entries (YOICKED, NIGHT MAIL, EPIGONI and ESEMPLASY). To compensate for these unusual entries I decided to write some relatively easy clues. To cut a very long story short(ish), Hugh didn’t like ESEMPLASY. After some reflection, I agreed that it is too esoteric given some of the other entries. Anyway, I was about to scrap the whole idea; the whole reason for the unusual words was to shoehorn the Python members into the grid and without CLEESE it would make the whole idea (and puzzle) a bit pointless. Just as I was about to tell Hugh to scrap the puzzle and the idea I decided to put CLEESE in the clue for EXEMPLARY — I didn’t want to waste eight hours’ work. I had to create a surface that didn’t allude to Python so I tried to write a surface that conjured up images of Cleese appearing in Bond films as Q’s successor.

    In the end, I think it didn’t turn out too badly.



  29. Eileen says:

    Welcome, Tramp, on your timely arrival!

    Many thanks for the explanation. I thought your clues for YOICKED, NIGHT MAIL and EPIGONI fulfilled their purpose in straightforwardly cluing rather obscure words. Although they were familiar to me, I must admit ESEMPLASY was totally new, until John H @11 alerted us to it. [It did seem strange that you would have missed such an opportunity to include CLEESE in all his glory, so it’s good to know that that was your intention! 😉 ]

    Are you able to tell us how you would have clued that, so that we can judge its ‘gettability’ for ourselves?

  30. Gervase says:

    Tramp: A great puzzle, despite Prof Stephenson’s attempted emasculation of it. We humble posters often muse about the editing and proofing of Guardian crosswords, with spectacularly duff clues being let through and errors appearing in the printed versions – as in Araucaria’s recent alphabetical jigsaw, where the definition had been dropped from one of his clues.

    There are quite a few unusual words in this puzzle, all of which are given complementarily straightforward clues. I’m sure you would have done the same with ESEMPLASY.


  31. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    I was thinking when I got MPFC straightaway that we’d had a Life of Brian and Fawlty Towers puzzle reasonably recently, but I forgot that those were also by Tramp! The boy is a fan, obviously (and so am I).

    I enjoyed it, but after filling half the grid I thought that compared with previous crosswords from this setter, it was a bit flat, but then the second half yielded the smiley bits, with EROTICA, OINKING and NIGHT MAIL all hitting the spot.

    A few clunky surfaces, but hey, that’s being picky – it was a fine puzzle, and a good achievement to get in all six protagonists without a large number of obscurities.

  32. Robi says:

    Thanks Tramp for dropping by. Shame about ESEMPLASY; there could have been some good anagrams to make a (relatively) easy clue.

  33. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks, Tramp,for being so honest.
    It was a bit of a muddle, wasn’t it?

  34. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. And thanks to Tramp for a great puzzle and for dropping by. I spotted the flying circus early on, as most of us seem to have done, but totally missed the hidden names until I read the blog — and even then it took me quite a bit of word-searching to find IDLE.

    Night Mail is a wonderful film and I was happy to be reminded of it. EPIGONI was new to me…

    I think it’s fascinating when setters drop by and explain the background to their puzzles. Glad you didn’t scrap the eight hours’ work, Tramp!

  35. Tramp says:

    Hi again

    I can’t remember the clue but it was broken down as EASY around (SE+MP+L). It wasn’t a great clue.

    In the end I think Hugh was right. It’s true that a lot of solvers posting here would tolerate ESEMPLASY and a lot of those solvers would spot the theme. However, that subset of solvers is a biased sample from the solving population. There are many people who struggle with daily cryptics and you can’t alienate those completely. Who am I to judge what the Guardian-solving public as a whole
    would tolerate? My only slight gripe is that it could have been used for a Prize puzzle or I could have put a little preamble saying “change an unknown letter and the group is complete” or something.

    I remember looking at this puzzle at Christmas time and thinking there were too many difficult words and too many easy clues. I’m glad it seems, on the whole, to have gone down well. I do have a some better ones to come.


  36. Marian H says:

    Apologies to Gervase @ 26; I too overlooked your reference. I don’t want to cause offence with my first posting – I’ll wait until you know me better 😉

  37. Gervase says:

    Marian H: No offence taken! Welcome to fifteensquared.

  38. Dave Ellison says:

    Am I the only one for whom 7d 1a did not leap out, given the enumeration or not? I had done all but these and some of the top left, when I decided to pack in. On opening Eileen’s blog the first thing I saw was CHAPMAN highlighted, and the answer to 7d 1a came immediately then – doh!

    Thanks Eileen and Tramp; I must remember next time you have partially occluded themes.

    For what it is worth, first in was ANEURISMS.

  39. nic@60 says:

    Re 9ac, a John Chapman was the Pedlar of Swaffham, a legend in which he walks to London to find his fortune and in the end discovers it in his own back garden.

  40. nametab says:

    I started this late, and it’s even later now. Where are Idle and Gilliam please?

  41. NeilW says:

    nametab, IDLE: start with the first I in 10ac and then travel South East; GILLIAM: start with the G in 22dn and go North.

  42. nametab says:

    NeilW @41: Woke up this morning and found IDLE, but GILLIAM still eluded. Many thanks

  43. Huw Powell says:

    …continued from 25,589 and 25,590…

    “An interesting week… the Everyman was just what I needed after a hard day’s wall building, and Rufus was just right on Monday. Tuesday came in nicely for my mood and worn intellectual abilities, too. Wednesday was a themed puzzled of the sort I dislike, but that’s just my opinion and taste”; and Thursday was a theme-type that I really enjoyed.

    Now for today’s Tramp (Thank you, Tramp! Thank you, Eileen!).

    Slow going for me, in spite of many answers seeming a lot easier than I found them once solved. Probably a “wavelength” thing.

    I didn’t even notice the theme, despite having JONESes, CHAPMAN, and seeing “Cleese” in a clue – even after I settled down to chasing the anagram for 7/1! Even after deciding it probably ended with CIRCUS! Then I think “FLYING” dropped and I felt silly, betting that some buzzed through this puzzle in minutes rather than hours. That set me up to force in PALINgs (I keep forgetting that “ling” means heather), and for some mild disappointment that the “other Terry”, Mr. Gilliam, was not represented (as far as I could tell). And I completely forgot about poor Eric. Reading the blog (and thanks for the lack of spoilers early on, forcing me to keep hunting!) made me sit here for another 20 minutes until I found both of them.

    I was much embarrassed to have to resort to ?c?a?t?y?t?s at OneLook for 26a – despite “McCarthy” being one of the first words in my head after deciding “they wanted reds out” was the definition early on. I think by the time I was trying to solve the anagram I had forgotten that, and the odd letter juxtapositions it creates.

    What a week indeed. I completely forgive my “distaste” for Wednesday’s theme given the perfect jewels surrounding it; after all, I am sure it gave some solvers just as great a pleasure as these others did for me.

    Sometimes I think we should also thank Hugh Stephenson for his behind-the-scenes efforts in bringing us such a well-assembled series of puzzles.

  44. Embolus says:

    Sweet puzzle, but slightly spoiled by mis-spelling of aneurysm which usually has a y not an i, unless we are talking of the Life of Bryan?

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