Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,617 – Orlando

Posted by manehi on April 23rd, 2012

manehi.

Excellent, challenging puzzle from Orlando today. Favourites were 13ac, 24ac and 20dn.

Across
1 VANDAL =”Old German” tribe VANDA=”V and A”=Victoria and Albert museum, + L=”fifty” in roman numerals
4 LILY PAD =”FLOATER” LAD=”STRIPLING”, around all of IL=”article in TRENTO” + Y[oung] P[erson]
9 STRIPLING =youngster Youngster becomes “Youngssster” due to S TRIPLING
10 REBEC =”medieval instrument” BE inside REC=”play area”
11 USHER =”Old teaching assistant” US + HER are pronouns
12 SO THEY SAY =”apparently” SO[u]THEY’S=”Non-U poet’s” + A[ngr]Y
13 APPOINT =”Pick” A + P[iano]=quiet + POINT=moment
15 REFLEX =”turned back on itself” REF=Arbiter + LEX=”Roman law”
17 TRENTO =”Italian city” almost Trenton, state capital of New Jersey
19 FLOATER double def =”SPECK in the view” (visible deposits in the eye’s vitreous humour), and =”one without party allegiance”
22 ARRESTING =”Striking” REST=others inside A RING=”a fight venue”
24 PRIAM King of Troy, father of Paris, hence “old man of Paris” A[rea] inside PRIM=”strait-laced”
26 HEDGE double def Box is a type of hedge, and hedging bets/investments reduces the risk of loss
27 TURNING ON =”Exciting” ON turned, or reversed, gives “No”
28 SHEIKHS =”Rulers” SIKHS=”religious people” around H[omicid]E
29 ATHENA =”Goddess” A[nswer] THEN A[nswer] = “one answer after another”
Down
1 VISTULA Polish river, or “flower” (Luv it’s a)*
2 NORTH =”chart topper?” Norah=”Woman” with T[ime] for A
3 ASPERSION &lit (praises no)*
4 LIGHTER =”boat” (The girl)*
5 LARGE =”Comprehensive” hidden in schoLAR GEtting
6 PUBESCENT =”getting down?” PUB=Local + [d]ESCENT=”down, not the first”
7 DACTYL =”foot” DAY=”Time” around C[our]T + L[ondon]
8 TISSOT =”Painter” IS SO=”is very”, inside TT=teetotal=”very dry”
14 PARTRIDGE “Game” PART RIDGE=”not entirely on high ground”
16 FOOTPRINT =”area taken up” by e.g. a construction project (profit not)*
18 OPIATES =”drugs” O[ld] + PI[r]ATES=”robbers ignoring opening for R[ecreational]”
19 FIGURE =”Represent” FIG=”fruit” + river URE=”flower”
20 ROMANIA =”Country” “Central [Ame]R[ica]”=> R, + OMAN=country in Asia, + I=one + A=[w]A[y]=”midway”
21 LASHES =”whips” L[abour] + ASHES=cricket trophy
23 SPECK =”Spot” sounds like “Spec”=specification=detailed description
25 INGLE =”Hot spot” (a fireplace) [s]INGLE=”not initially available”

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,617 – Orlando”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, manehi. 18’s misdirection had me fooled the longest, looking for headless criminals!

    I’d never heard of that use of the word USHER. I remain to be convinced that “comprehensive” = LARGE.

    Quite a different level for a Monday, excellent.

  2. Mark says:

    Thanks for the explanation of 2 Down. I got the word but just couldn’t see it why and now of course it is so obvious as always. Apart from that a gentle start to the week.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks manehi. A treat to start the week, tougher than last Saturday ‘s. Aha moments for 2d and 24a (first choices were Norah and prism). After the reversed ON in 27a it should have been easier to spot the HE in 28a, very neat. Last in was 6d, very Pauline. Paul actually had it on 17.7.2010 but his clue was the blander ‘Local inheritance initially dismissed as a teenager.’ Thanks Orlando.

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Orlando

    A good blog of a mixed bag of a puzzle for me. The easier clues which one gets early on were not particularly exciting though well formed as one has come to expect from Orlando. There was then a flurry of, for me, harder ones which I liked including 15a, 19a which led me to (not from) 23, 22a (nice misleading surface), 24a (my COD), 27a, 28a, 6d, 16d and 23d. Yet at the end I was left with a feeling of a little too much of what I have come to think of as ‘letter-play’ based on abbreviations and instructions to ignore this or that letter. This is clearly a matter of taste of course but it can make for the odd slightly clunky clue e.g. 20d.

    As an illustration of the effect of getting used to relying on letter play, I wrongly put in Norah for 2 down constructing it as NOR (abbreviation for North) = chart topper + a H(our) though I should have seen the right parsing for North which struck me as a possible answer.

    I wondered, in the same vein, if ‘spec’ was to be seen as ‘de-tailed’ speck.

  5. Eileen says:

    Lovely puzzle, with lots of ingenious cluing [I think I have to – for once – mildly disagree with tupu re ‘letter-play’ :-)], smiles and ‘aha’ moments. Favourite clue: 24ac.

    Hi NeilW

    I thought comprehensive = large was OK but checked to make sure.
    Collins: comprehensive; of broad scope or content;
    large: of wide or broad scope

    Many thanks, Orlando, for the enjoyment and Manehi for the blog. [I don’t think you meant ‘very’ dry in 8dn.]

  6. Valentine says:

    North as chart topper is at the top of nautical charts (or any other maps, of course).

  7. Miche says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    “Old man of Paris” tickled. TRENTO took me a while, as I hadn’t heard of the Italian city.

    Nicholas Nickelby was an USHER at Dotheboys Hall.

    Only quibble: “flower” for river occuring twice.

  8. William says:

    Thanks manehi. Struggled this morning – I think my brain can only deploy the Rufus disc on a Monday morning.

    Failed on TISSOT because I had AS THEY SAY at 12a. Didn’t manage the SOUTHEY connection which you did.

    Is ‘floater’ enough of a def for LILY PAD? Suppose so, but it’s a bit thin.

    Never really understood REFLEX – does anyone know how the word works in Single Lens Reflex Camera?

    All toned up for the rest of the week, now. Many thanks Orlando.

  9. William says:

    Eileen @5 I think you’re right. ‘Very’ belongs to IS SO. Just a typo, I expect.

  10. Eileen says:

    William / Manehi

    As I meant to imply, I’m sure it was just a typo – I know only too well how easily it can happen. ;-)

  11. apple granny says:

    We enjoyed this but failed, because we had “athene” for 28a, wondering where the final “e” came from. This meant we failed on Romania, finding “romance” as the only possibility. Otherwise there were some fun clues, and good to suddenly see the light on ones like “southey” in 12a. Wish we had tried harder with 29a.

  12. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, manehi, for the blog, particularly the explanations of 12a and 19a which I got but couldn’t parse.

    William @8. In a single lens reflex camera the light takes quite a convoluted path, turning back on itself in order to give an upright image that is not reversed, so ‘reflex’ is correctly used there – although the same cannot be said of the twin lens reflex.

    Favourites: PRIAM and VISTULA

  13. Gervase says:

    Thanks, manehi.

    Enjoyable puzzle from Orlando, with a lot of clever wordplay. I’m with Eileen on this: I found nothing clunky about the clues, but plenty to mislead. Is it just me, or have this setter’s crosswords got much trickier recently? I used to consider him one of the easier Guardian compilers, but this one, and his previous outing, took me quite a while to complete.

    I liked the ingenuity of 9a, 12a and 28a (‘case of homicide’ had me scratching my head for a long time), and the reverse clue at 27a. Other favourites (for their sneaky defs) were 24a and 6d.

  14. William says:

    Allan_C @12. Thank you, that makes sense.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Well this ends the frequent theories on here that setter and editor conspire to give us all an easy start to the week and a gentle introduction for tyros.
    I found this a real challenge full of beautiful misdirections.
    I failed on 2d, putting in Norah (Jones) as Nora (woman) +h(our).
    I thought 9ac was fiendish; 28ac 4d, 18d and 20d all admirable.
    This crossword was in a different league to all recent prize puzzles and took me longer to complete than yesterday’s Azed!

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, manehi. Definitely a toughie, but lots to admire, including FLOATER, HEDGE and STRIPLING.

  17. Robi says:

    Difficult puzzle, although satisfying when solved (with appropriate aids)

    Thanks manehi for a good blog. I got LILY PAD from the crossing letters long before it made any sense.

    I did particularly like STRIPLING, TURNING ON, ASPERSION and NORTH. I guess the clue for REBEC was made relatively easy because of the slight obscurity of the instrument, but it was somewhat unsatisfactory with ‘BE’ in both clue and answer.

    I always assumed STRAIT-LACED was spelt using straight [I see Collins has the latter as a variant…..]

  18. Matt says:

    Tough puzzle.
    Good puzzle.
    (Not necessarily synonymous, for me.)

    To be honest, I would have preferred this on another day. My head is unsuited to this kind of fare on a Monday morning.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Matt, try Monday evening (?).

  20. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks manehi. I thought this was quite a testing puzzle from Orlando for a Monday.

    The one I didn’t get was USHER although it looked obvious. Perhaps I should have looked it up in Chambers as I never knew it referred to a teaching assistant.

  21. Headteacher says:

    Happiness is opening the paper on Monday and finding it’s not Rufus.

  22. Colin says:

    I found it mostly impossible, and struggled to parse solutions even when I was sure about the answer. I got a few easy ones this morning, then spent a good deal of time with Chambers and Roget’s on my lap this evening, and ended up with Word Wizard. Thanks for the blog, I come a little closer now to solving the next horror from Orlando. Of course, I enjoyed it with this help.

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    The first time I met Orlando was at the (great) Derby do in January 2011. I behaved a bit clumsily, but I made clear that I like(d) his puzzles but also that his (then) recent Monday crossword was a really tough one. Orlando replied that this was just a coincidence. Sometimes his crosswords are hard, sometimes they’re not – but he’s always Orlando [therefore himself]. Fair enough.

    Today, I had to think about this.
    Yep, it was really a challenging Monday puzzle.
    The editor must have seen/known that this wasn’t the usual Monday fare. What is happening in clues like 18d and 20d is not really stuff for beginners.
    A deliberate action? Who knows.

    Full marks to Orlando!

    BTW, headteacher, I do not like your comment @21.
    But then we are all different.

    Some final remarks to the puzzle:
    – I am pretty sure I have seen the s-tripling trick before. Was it Cincinnus in the FT?
    – I/we liked the repetition of things in this puzzle: some clues with “Old’, some with ‘area’, some with ‘spot’, others ending in ‘No!’.
    We thought, 3d (ASPERSION) was a gem.

    What’s next?
    Rufus on a Tuesday ….. :)

  24. muck says:

    There are 5 Mondays this month, so 2 of them can’t be Rufus’s. Orlando is certainly different!!!

  25. Mr Beaver says:

    Having started late, we gave up with some undone (including 20d and 24a, which I would have been a LONG time getting). It was certainly tough, but good fun – more so than Rufus, pace Sil

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Sil @23
    Surely you can appreciate the difference between a really top class cryptic and a run of the mill we usually get on Mondays.

  27. Tokyocolin says:

    This was a delight to solve. I only finished it, unaided, on my commute this morning. Many great clues and no quibbles from me. Themes are OK for a change but we see too many of them and the challenge to adhere to the theme inevitably drags down the quality of the clues. This was masterfully done. Bravo Orlando and thanks Manehi for the blog.

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    RCW @26, don’t worry, I can! [it was probably a rhetorical question :)]

    Calling the usual Monday fare ‘a run of the mill’ is one way to look at it, but one should realise that there are a lot of (inexperienced, but also experienced) solvers who really look forward to Rufus et al.

    Indeed, this Orlando puzzle was of a different level compared to what we normally get on a Monday, but for me not a valid reason to take the opportunity to express any discontentment with or even dismiss (between the lines) other setters and Rufus in particular.

    Different setters, different styles, different merits.
    Which is good.
    As was this crossword!

  29. PeeDee says:

    Only just managed to finished this! Quite a different league (on every level) to the normal Guardian weekday puzzle. Great stuff.

  30. Uncle Yap says:

    For some strange reasons, I overlooked this and only got to solve it this afternoon while waiting for the ISP to install my 5M high speed connection. Took me over the hour (meaning very challenging) and what a lovely and enjoyable hour it was.
    Thank you Orlando and manehi (I had to check a couple of your excellent parsing) Thank goodness this did not come during my watch (phew!)

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