Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,697 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on July 25th, 2012


On a bright sunny morning, we have a lovely puzzle from Orlando, with a number of ingenious and witty clues and some fine surfaces, together with, for me, anyway, a satisfying penny-dropping moment or two. Many thanks, Orlando – I really enjoyed it.

[I shall be going out on a walk quite soon, so any typos or other errors may have to wait until this afternoon.]


9   CHAIR: double definition: meeting conductor = conductor of a meeting – doh!
10  ENDEAVOUR: double definition, referring to the space shuttle
11  MAGISTRAL: A G [a good] in [breaking] MISTRAL [the cold French wind] which, I’ve just discovered, comes from the same root and means masterful / masterly – great surface!
12  IN TOW: anagram [suspect] of I [one] WON’T
13  TURN-OFF: TURN [performance] OFF [cricket side]
15  DOYENNE: DONNE [John, metaphysical poet] round [entertaining] YE [you]: crafty omission of a second comma after ‘female’!
17  BANFF: BAN [outlaw] + FF [following pages]
18  CUT: double definition
20  EXAMS: reversal [given spin] of MAX [Clifford, publicist]  in ES [middle letters of wESt] – another amusing surface
22  REVERED: REVERE [Paul, American rider]  + first  letter of Dodge
25  ASTOUND: AS TO [regarding] UND [German ‘and’ – joiner]
26  AD LIB: reversal [returning] of hILDA[ woman] with B [book] for H [husband]
27  LACERATES: I’ve seen this word clued several times as a simple charade – LACE RATES – but Orlando takes it a bit further: its ‘tears’ [definition] then LACE [material] + anagram [material] of TEARS – very clever
30 INTEGRATE: anagram [disorder] of TREATING + E [drug]
31  ANNAL: L [left] after [by] ANNA [teacher in Siam] – reference to ‘Anna and the King of Siam’, on which the musical ‘The King and I’ is based


1   SCUM: CU [copper] in [stops] SM [sadomasochism] – another great surface
2   HANGER-ON: HON [short for honey – sweetie] round [admitting] ANGER [passion]
3   ARES: A RES[t]
4   TERRIFIC: anagram [novel] of [w]RITER [not beginning] + first letters [starts] of Fill In Coupons – I really liked this one, too
5   ADDLED: ADD [tot] + LED [was first]: I think the only instance of this word that I’ve met is in James I’s Addled Parliament
6   FAMILY SEAT: at first, I entered FAMILY HOME, thinking it was a cryptic definition [family being a unit of the Mafia] but it’s a cleverly-hidden anagram of MAFIA-STYLE, with ‘style’ doing double duty – &lit? I solved this in the early hours: my third thought, this morning, was that ‘base’ [‘inferior, counterfeit’ Collins / Chambers] could be the anagram indicator, making it definitely & lit but I’ve just failed to find it in Orlando’s own list of anagram indicators, so forget that one!
  WONTON: reversal [served up] of NOT NOW [later]: aha, here’s one the editor missed [see discussion on Qaos’ and Tramp’s banned words last week]: Paul served up WONTON SOUP in last week’s Prize puzzle – and with a very similar clue!
  DREW : double definition: our favourite alien’s friend puts in an appearance – with a nice link between the two definitions
13  TUBER: TUBE [underground] + R [bit of rhizome]
14  OXFORD BAGS: BAG [get] in OXFORDS [shoes]
16  EASED: AS [while] in reversal [heading north in a down clue] of DEE [river]
19  THATCHER: double / cryptic definition
24  AQUATINT: T [first letter – leader – of Tory] in A QUAINT [a charmingly old-fashioned]
23  VALETA: VALET [Jeeves] + A : it’s a long time since I did this dance!
24  DELIAN: reversal [up] of NAILED [caught]
25  AMIS: French for friends [from Nancy] and either Kingsley or son Martin for the novelist
28  REAL: hidden in aREA Luckily
29  SOLE: sounds like soul [popular music]

38 Responses to “Guardian 25,697 / Orlando”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. It’s a cold winter night here, but otherwise I agree with all your observations. So much to like here, including the neat 9a and naughty 11a. I, too, liked the tripwire comma in 15a – one comma not none or two, and the clever anagram of Mafia-style. Thanks Orlando..

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    My thoughts on pretty much every clue mirrored your own, especially concerning WONTON, which leapt out at me, given the similar cluing. One rule for the juniors…? :) I suppose the only possible justification would be that Paul’s clue was for WONTON soup but this was an occasion when it really was to the detriment (slightly) of the puzzle.

  3. EB says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando.

    As you say another lovely puzzle from Orlando – no surprise there!

    RE 25d
    I’m wondering if there’s a bit more to this; using Nancy as a clue for the French for friends is a “Nice” variation on the use of ‘in Paris’ etc. But the novelist referred to could just be Nancy Amis (no relation to the more famous ones you mention – as far as I know.)

  4. William says:

    Thank you Eileen, what a delight this morning.

    You may have a minor numero in your blog…I think 25d is 26d.

    Missed the anagram of MAFIA-STYLE – how neat.

    To my shame, I also failed to spot the French indicator of NANCY that EB mentions @3 above and went straight for Nancy Amis.

    So much to enjoy hear but I ticked TERRIFIC and also the smooth surface in ASTOUND.

    Many thanks, Orlando.

  5. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Excellent puzzle from Orlando, as usual.

    Lots of clever wording in the clues – I liked ‘Friends of Nancy’, ‘German joiner’, ‘one won’t suspect’ – and splendid surfaces: 11ac, 1dn, 14dn were particularly good in this respect. However, there were far too many good clues to pick favourites.

    Nobody could accuse a master like Orlando of wanton plagiarism…..

  6. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen – I agree with all the plaudits so far, especially since you explained FAMILY SEAT, where I totally missed the anagram (I tried FAMILY PLOT as well as HOME).

    It struck me that there were a lot of proper nouns in the answers and wordplay – Endeavour (but no Morse this time!), Donne, Banff, Max Clifford, Revere, Anna, Ares, Drew Barrymore, Thatcher, Jeeves and Amis at least.

  7. aztobesed says:

    Not forgetting that Hilda. Surely paired with Thatcher?

  8. rowland says:

    Good puzzle, in which I wasn’t distracted by Paul’s soup repeating on me! Don’t see how either setter could have known anyway, as these puzzles were probably submitted months ago.

    Thanks all, especially the comma fetishists.

  9. NeilW says:

    Hi, rowland. Last week both Tramp and Qaos told us that they were required to change their puzzles at the last minute because the editor does not allow the same word, even if very common and clued completely differently, to appear in puzzles appearing close together in the calendar. Nobody’s accusing anyone of plagiarism, just a curious difference in application of the rules… (or the editor simply missed the appearance of WONTON twice!)

  10. rowland says:

    Ah, ta Neil. Maybe the added SOUP aspect was deemed different enough? But still, I see your point.


  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    A lovely puzzle from Orlando, which I enjoyed a lot. I like Orlando’s inventive clueing: lots of clever, but never obscure, wordplay. There were three words today which I didn’t know and got from the cryptic definition: DELIAN, AQUATINT and VALETA. But there were lots of other fine clues; I particularly liked FAMILY SEAT when I finally got it.

    Many thanks to the setter.

    PS: Gervase, you should get a job writing pantomimes with jokes like that …

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A great puzzle,kept me musing for a long while.
    ‘Clifford’ who?? No who ‘Clifford’. Had me fooled for some time and made ‘aquatint’ last in.
    Delighted with 26ac,27ac, 14d,19d,21d and 26d.
    This was a real pleasure to solve.

  13. Robi says:

    Difficult to get on his wavelength, but satisfying to solve at last.

    Thanks Eileen; I was going to complain about FAMILY ???? as I went through all the possibilities that ‘base’ could encompass – then I saw your blog and the anagram. :)

    Like RCW, I was trying many MAXes before the penny eventually dropped. I thought ‘material’ was a bit strange as an anagrind, but eventually found it here.

  14. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree with Robi – a fairly tough one for me, but satisfying. I don’t understand why I was so slow on THATCHER and BANFF, and several others; I suppose I had an outlaw following the impossible pp stuck in my mind.

    Thanks, Eileen. 6d FAMILY SEAT; I took BASE = SEAT (= BOTTOM), also, so how would one then classify this clue!

  15. NeilW says:

    Dave @14, I think that Eileen’s right, even though she discounted it. “Base” is the anagrind and it’s an &lit. As Robi @13 pointed out, “material” isn’t in Orlando’s list either! I’m comfortable with either – surely crosswordland is constantly evolving? :)

  16. Eileen says:

    Thanks for all the comments – lovely walk but rather hot!

    Thank you, Neil @15 for the endorsement – unlooked-for as it was. Interesting about ‘material’ – perhaps Orlando should update his list to accommodate his own innovations! Interesting, too, that others missed the Mafia-style anagram – I think it’s one of the best disguised I’ve seen.

    Thanks also, Neil, for explaining my remark about repeated clues. I shouldn’t make throwaway remarks like that which can confuse newcomers [Welcome and apologies, rowland, if you are one]. [The more I think about that ‘rule’, the more ridiculous I think it is!]

    Many thanks to Gervase @5 for the smile – too good for a pantomime, though, K’s D – or yours are more sophisticated than ours. Try a valeta in your next one: I tried to give this link this morning but it somehow got corrupted:

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando

    A fine puzzle. I started well but faded for a time in the SE quarter. Then came back to it and all fell into place.

    I also thought of family home and then saw it must be family seat. I simply thought seat = base and sadly missed the anagram.

    I ticked 13a, 15a, 17a, 18a, 20a, 26a but that was fairly arbitrary from an excellent set.

  18. rowland says:

    Thanks Eileen, and thanks for your blog. Not new to crossword-solving by any means, but this blog is a new experience for me.

    I’d just like to add that I AM persuaded that a ‘Mafia-style base’ is a family seat!

  19. Trailman says:

    Hello Eileen. Hope you enjoyed your walk, I’m just back from mine and did this on the train there and back. Well nearly: I had MARS for 3d thinking this was a bit of product placement (via the old ‘work rest and play’ ad; but of course the ‘have a break’ treat was Kit-Kat). Hence 9a didn’t work. Penny dropped on my return.

    Fully agree with the praise for 6d and 15a, though I got them fairly early. I was however totally misled by the ‘tears’ at 27a: arriving at L*C*R**** I was trying LACHRY*** compounds (and making up a few) until SOLE made me see the error of my ways.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    I mentioned recently the value of partial solutions.
    There was a good example today where I made a rapid entry via ‘cut’ (18ac) because I was certain that 4d ended ‘fic’.

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi Trailman

    Well, the answer to 3dn is indeed Mars – to a Roman. 😉

  22. Trailman says:

    So I was right, sort of!

  23. rhotician says:

    RCW @20: Me too. Not that it made ‘cut’ a write-in. I needed one pause for thought and took another to admire the clue.

  24. rhotician says:

    Thanks Eileen for the blog. Your summary has been amply endorsed already.

    Thanks Orlando for a most enjoyable puzzle, and an exemplary absence of self-indulgence.

  25. Paul B says:

    FAMILY SEAT = good clue in another good puzzle by the underrated Orlando. Also interesting is the fact that there is no etymological link between the words MAFIA and FAMILY: try artichokes and see how you go.

    As ever I doff to the incredible Eileen, and to Mister MC.

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    Neil and Eileen @ 15, 16. I was agreeing with Eileen’s analysis; I saw the “style” as anagram indicator. But by “also” I meant “in addition” to her explanation; I don’t see Eileen equated SEAT and BASE. I had no more than a fleeting thought that BASE was an anagram indicator before dismissing it.

    In summary, then, my reading of it was (and Eileen and others have indicated this in part):

    FAMILY = MAFIA, BASE = SEAT; in addition, MAFIASTYLE anagram as indicated by STYLE; Definition BASE. A kind of &lit (as indicated by Eileen’s ?)

    So lots of double duties. Hence my comment about how would one classify this excellent clue.

  27. Paul B says:

    No, just a straight anagram, mafiastyle*, indicator ‘base’.

    As with all &lits there’s no separate definition part, and the whole clue (regardless of cryptic indication) must function as a definition. This one, as others observe, functions as a CD.

  28. Bob says:

    I have frequently encountered addled (answer to 5d) in the usage “addled brain”, of which mine is certainly one after working through this crossword.

  29. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    On 18a: I had C-T and eventually thought of ‘saw’ as a verb meaning CUT. What part does ‘pretend’ play here?

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi chas

    CUT = ‘pretend not to see’, as in ‘s/he cut me dead’, or, in Chambers’ rather po-faced definition: ‘to pass intentionally without greeting’.

  31. Brendan (not that one) says:

    chas @19

    It’s a Double Definition of cut.

    “saw” is fairly obvious

    and “pretend not to see” as in to cut someone dead i.e. not recognise on purpose!

  32. RCWhiting says:

    Back in the 1930s it was a common expression in certain middle-class circles. If you considered someone had offended you and you considered yourself socially superior you would ‘cut’ them by failing to recognise their presence or pretend they are not there.
    It was a serious matter amongst such people.

  33. Orlando says:

    Thank you to Eileen for an excellent blog (as always) and to all who have commented.

    Re 6 down – Family-style base?
    I’m glad that many solvers seem to have liked this clue. I thought of it as an anagram & lit, with ‘base’ as the anagrind, and the whole clue being a whimsical definition punning on ‘mafia-style’ = ‘family’ and ‘base’ = ‘seat’. What pleased me most about it is that there is so much going on in so few words. Multum in parvo, as Eileen would say.

    Re 26 down ‘Friends of Nancy the novelist’
    I must confess that I wasn’t thinking of the novelist Nancy Amis, but I’m glad that some solvers have found in the clue more than I consciously intended! What I did have in mind – as “added value” for the clue – was Nancy Mitford who lived in France and would have had many French friends. As well as being the author of “Love in a Cold Climate” and other novels, she popularised the terms U and non-U, which have since proved so useful for crossword setters.

  34. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Orlando and Eileen,

    This took some getting in to as I spent the afternoon enjoying a thought-provoking version of Richard III at The Globe – so many layers of meaning were crashing round in my head.

    My first thought on 6d was mobile home! Spotting anagrams is not my forte but once solved, it made perfect sense!

    Giovanna x

  35. chas says:

    Thanks to all those who explained ‘pretend’.
    The thing that gets right up my nose is that I am familiar with that meaning of CUT (through my reading of Georgette Heyer) but, silly me, I failed to remember it just when I needed it :(

  36. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Orlando, for dropping in @33: we keep saying how good it is when setters do that – but this time it was particularly valuable. “…there is so much going on in so few words.” You can say that again! And I’m glad that, between us, we managed to get most of it. Base = seat just hadn’t occurred to me – and neither had the reference to the novelist Nancy that I *had* heard of! I think it’s true to say that there’s always some ‘added value’ in an Orlando puzzle!

  37. RCWhiting says:

    …….and people were often ‘cut’ for non-U behaviour…..

  38. Huw Powell says:

    I enjoyed this a lot. A nice change from whining which I think I did a lot of over last week’s offerings? Hope I didn’t offend.

    For me this was a classic “mostly gettable if you work at it” puzzle. Got a couple-three short words last night, then sat down and got serious this morning. One of the pleasures was in the general area of being half-done, and each new answer helping me finally solve what was a stumper to me. Many of those stumpers were also “ahas” since once solved they were “obvious”!

    That kind of thing is fun.

    Never would have got OXFORD BAGS in a million years, even after typing “BANF” into wikipedia and getting the checked F. But that’s not a fault at all with the puzzle, simply a cultural thing.

    I expected TURN-OFF to be more complex, like a play a cricket side performs. Should have opened my Chambers to ink in CUT, I bought that lovely book for a reason.

    Totally missed EXAMS, was half-happy with a penciled in “Evans”, which of course doesn’t work anyway.

    Thought it was odd for a US Spaceship to use British spelling.

    1D was first in and gave great pleasure.

    Thanks for the wonderful series of mind-twisting pleasures – and for dropping by, it is so nice for the setters to do so, Orlando, and for the excellent as ever blog Eileen. And everyone else.

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