Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25728/Orlando

Posted by Pierre on August 30th, 2012


The blogger for today seems not to have been able to post, so here’s a quick review of what I thought was an excellent puzzle from Orlando.  There are a few I can’t explain,  so if you like you can play Parse along with Pierre …





cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed


1 Post letters for Switzerland in different nations
An insertion of CH for the abbreviation for Switzerland (Confédération Helvétique) in (NATIONS)*

6 Run male and female quarters
Lovely clue.  A charade of HARE for ‘run’ and M for ‘male’

9 Not the last reversal for queen and country
Not sure about this one.

10 Notice perch in extremely hard times
A charade of AD for ‘notice’ and SIT for ‘perch’ in VERY for ‘extremely’.

11 Fawns walk in confined area
A charade of CRAWLS and PACE to give a phrase meaning ‘confined area’.

12 Shoulder or stomach
A dd.

14 Mouth of smiley supporter
Another chance to ask the audience …

15 Unhappy Social Democrat finally resigned
Lovely surface.  (SOCIAL)* plus T for the last letter of ‘Democrat’.

17 Bone from tail of flightless bird? I’m not sure
A charade of S for the last letter of flightlesS, TERN and UM for a hesitation.

19 Simple soldiers at ease outside
An insertion of RE for Royal Engineers or ‘soldiers’ in COMFY for ‘at ease’.

20 A lot of porridge or just a bowl of cherries?
A dd, with ‘porridge’ referring to a prison term.  I don’t know where the phrase comes from, but someone can no doubt tell us.

22 After quiet period artist produces exciting work
Another fine surface: it’s a charade of P, AGE and TURNER for the artist.

25 Feeling sorry for Estonians

26 Lancashire town providing support when king abdicates

27 Role for Patrick Macnee’s horse
A dd.  Those old enough to remember will know that Patrick Macnee played STEED in The Avengers.  And will also remember Emma Peel’s tight leather trousers.

28 Fashion parades in which male’s taken lead
(PARADES)* with an insertion of HE for a synonym of ‘lead’.


1 Issue one cent coins for circulation? Carrying on thus — within reason — I create a sort of boom
Well, it’s an anagram of (COINS)*, but there’s other stuff going on which I will leave to someone else to explain.

2 Garage repaired tank entering compound
An insertion of VAT for ‘tank’ in (GARAGE)*

3 Singer-songwriter in Wenceslas Square, finally?
She’s a favourite of mine, but apart from the fact that it’s got something to do with Good King Wenceslas, I can’t really parse it.

4 Current not carrying snake up the creek
A charade of I for ‘current’ plus an insertion of ASP in NOT.

5 Potential nuns may be turned on by bad habits
Another really clever surface reading: it’s a reversal of NO followed by VICES.

6 Divine consort from another age
Hidden in anotHER Age.

7 Rubbish ends in English river
The first and last letters of RubbisH, IN and E gives you the European river.

8 Office in springtime said to have emptied tea trolley
I think this is a charade of MAY, ORAL and TY for the first and last letters of Tea trolleY.

13 What’s yielding for bare bum?
(FOR BARE BUM)* with ‘yielding’ as the anagrind and an &lit.

14 Hotel owner is seen with a thousand small lizards
Fawlty Towers fans will have sussed this quickly: it’s BASIL (Fawlty), IS, K, and S.

16 Liberace is disheartened after very bad record
More first and last letters: LE (‘Liberace disheartened’) after CHRONIC.

18 Wealth that is retained for those lacking generosity
An insertion of IE for id est in MEANS.

19 Slim Pickens finally entering church free from sin
An insertion of LEAN for ‘slim’ and S for the last letter of PickenS in CE.

21 Criminal found with ring?
A dd.

23 Lightning strike brings in first of pickets
An insertion of P for the first letter of ‘pickets’ in RAID.

24 Fish on film dropping a stick
John Cleese making his second appearance: he starred in A FISH CALLED WANDA; remove the A and you’ve got your answer.

Thanks to Orlando for a delightful puzzle and apologies for having to blog in a hurry and not do it more justice.

42 Responses to “Guardian 25728/Orlando”

  1. Pete Duffin says:

    9 regin[a] reversed
    14 In Smileys or emoticon the mouth is happy ) and sad (

  2. ClaireS says:

    Thanks for the blog and to Orlando for yet another very enjoyable puzzle.

    9a is REGINA (queen) without the last A, all reversed.

    I couldn’t parse STERNUM myself so thanks for that.

  3. muffin says:

    I think SONIC is a triple – it is also clued as ON in SIC (thus).

    Is evryone happy about “very bad” giving “chronic”? It is the salng form, but I can think of better ways of clueing it.

  4. Barry McNorton says:

    Think I can help with 14ac. My clue of the day :-)

  5. muffin says:

    No; quadruple? SON is “issue” + 1 Cent!

  6. ClaireS says:

    Re 3d – is something like INS of E (squarE finally) in CAROL KING (Wenceslas, ie the king in the carol).

  7. muffin says:

    COMFREY is a medicinal herb or “simple”

  8. tupu says:

    Many Thanks Pierre and Orlando

    I found this very hard in places. In two cases (2d and 14d) I hit on the right word while checking other others in Chambers.

    I was puzzled by parsing of Niger (9a) and took it to be reverse of ‘gin’ = begin + er.

    I guessed 3d – she was unknown to me and I only saw the parsing afterwards (Wenceslas was a carol king + e (last of share).

    I was also uncertain about parsing of ‘bracket’ but I vaguely remembered ‘bracket’ as a slang word for ‘mouth’ (this may be wrong) and smileys are made with bracket signs.

    I liked 6a, 17a, 25a, and 19d.

    Sonic is ‘son (issue) plus 1 c(ent) and sic thus holdinjg ‘on’.

  9. muffin says:

    No, quintuple!!! within reSON I Create! Never seen one of those before!

  10. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Pierrre.

    1dn is a quadruple construction:

    Issue one cent (SON IC) coins (COINS)* for circulation? Carrying on thus (ON inside SIC) — within rea(SON — I C)reate (Hidden!) a sort of boom (the def.) Quite brilliant.

  11. Aoxomoxoa says:

    1D – SONIC is actually 5 clues in one

    14A – BRACKET is also slang for mouth (“punch in the bracket” etc) – so a triple clue.

  12. PeterO says:

    Thanks for standing in, Pierre.

    9A id REGIN[a] ‘not the last’ and ‘reversal’.

    14A is a reference to the mouth of a smiley face being made of a closing bracket.
    1D has four (count ‘em) wordplays: SON (‘issue’) + I C (‘one cent’); an anagram (‘for circulation’) of ‘coins’); an envelope (‘carrying’) of ‘on’ in SIC (‘thus’); and a hidden answer (‘within’) in ‘reaSON I Create’.

  13. ClaireS says:

    1d: SON (issue) + IC (one cent); (COINS)* (anag ind = circulation); ins (carrying) of ON in SIC (thus); within reaSON — I Create; defn = sort of boom.

    Four bits of wordplay and a definition. Is this a quintuple? I liked it anyway.

  14. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Pierre.

    I agree with all of the parsings suggested above. In 3dn, ‘Wenceslas’ is CAROL KING (the king in the carol), which with the insertion of E (‘SquarE, finally’) gives the singer songwriter. This was one of my favourite clues, together with 15ac, 28ac, 13dn and 23dn.

    Marvellous crossword from the elegant Orlando, with lots of clever wordplay and great surface readings. I got a bit stuck on 4dn for a while, as I was fixated on ‘snake’ = BOA, but couldn’t quite make IN A BOAT fit the clue!

  15. NeilW says:

    Crossed with lots of others I see for 1dn!

    re 3dn, I have to confess that having got the starting C, I actually Googled for a singer/songwriter “CRISPIN EVEN” (the snow lay round about “crisp and even.”) Soon saw the error of my ways though…

    I thought this was a super crossword and whoever missed out blogging this was very unfortunate.

  16. Pete Duffin says:

    1d Son (issue) 1 c for cent, (Coins)* as you said and HA reaSON I Create

  17. NeilW says:

    Sorry, should be “deep and crisp and even,” if memory serves!

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks to all above re 9a. My own desperate reading is quite unlikely even though Chambers gives ‘gin’ = ‘begin’.

  19. John Appleton says:

    Very enjoyable crossword. Liked BRACKET the best.

  20. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for standing in, Pierre. If this had been my blog and I’d missed it, I’d be spitting – wonderful stuff! 1dn is amazing [such an intricate surface and it still makes sense!] – but I’ve many more ticks, too many to mention.

    I’ve only just come in, so it’s all been said – several times. Everyone was obviously waiting eagerly to comment – and no wonder!

    Huge thanks, Orlando, as ever, for a superb puzzle.

  21. John says:

    26a. BAC(K)UP. Or perhaps B(R)A CUP?

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was a big improvement on yesterday’s ‘challenge’.
    There was good stuff throughout ( loved 1d) and enough to delay me in the NW corner. The phrase ‘crawl space’ was unknown to me but more of an hindrance was my obsession (like Gervase) with ‘in a (boa)t’ even though I had considered ‘asp’ early on but stupidly ignored it.
    As someone who never uses emoticons (I hate them) it took me a while to get ‘bracket’ which did not help the NW corner.

  23. Pierre says:

    Thanks all for filling in the blanks. One of those where the cluing was perfectly clear, but in the rush to blog I didn’t get a chance to fully appreciate the elegance of how it was all put together. SONIC is indeed exceptional – not sure I’ve seen that before. And as I’ve subsequently discovered, Slim Pickens was a real person (or it was his stage name, anyway).

    And I like John’s version of BACUP better than mine!

  24. Sylvia says:

    Many thanks Orlando and Pierre. This was a very satisfying solve. I particularly liked getting foam rubber from a bare bum and finding basil faulty!

  25. Robi says:

    Overall good crozzie but I can’t enthuse about the clue for 1d as others have done. 17 words for a 5-letter answer! Looks like there were two different attempts at the clue, stitched together. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the surface result was not very attractive and the clue unnecessarily long.

    Thanks Pierre; I pondered and wondered about ‘simple’ in the clue for COMFREY – presumably Muffin @7 has solved the riddle, although I have never heard the expression for medicinal herbs.

    There were some other very good clues, and I did particularly like STERNUM, BRACKET, MEANIES, WAND & CAROLE KING.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    There is an heavily advertised cosmetics range branded ‘simple’.
    According to the heavenly Ms Lumley it seems to be based on ‘natural’ ingredients.

  27. Miche says:

    Thanks, Pierre.

    Not much to add, but I wanted to join in the applause for 1d.

    Took me ages to see <REGIN(a). I had jumped to the conclusion that queen = ER, and kept wondering where <GIN came into it.

    20a: Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries was a popular song of the 1930s.

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Pierre and Orlando. It took a while but yielded steadily, and very enjoyable.

    I was pleased to have Carole King first time through, then later began to have doubts, as I thought 11a was CREEP SPACE. Turned out 2d was not AGGREGATE!

    Robi@25 Simple = Herb was one of the first devices I learned when first doing Xwords in the 60s. It comes up now and then, like Tort = Wrong the other day. I also learned Genipap then, but having remembered it, I have not seen it since, anywhere!

  29. Robi says:

    RCWhiting @26; maybe they should put some ‘natural’ belladonna in it or what about some natural anthrax toxin.

  30. Robi says:

    Thanks Dave Ellison @28; whatever I was doing in the 60’s, it was not crosswords!

  31. Martin P says:

    RCW: Don’t you find emoticons handy to put at the end of replies to curt solicitors’ letters? :)

    Perhaps you don’t get them. I do.

  32. rrc says:

    Not a puzzle I enjoyed, it was a hard slog with few smiles although I did like 5d
    sorry to spoil to the acclaim

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A real gem.
    A clue like 25ac (SENSATION) is, although a familiar anagram, really brilliant because of the ‘Feeling (def) sorry for (anagrind)’ combination – and this is just one of many great clues.
    Well done Pierre!

  34. William says:

    Thanks, Pierre, nice save.

    Perfect puzzle from Orlando, if one turns a blind eye to the reversed NIGER in a derived word.

    Much more, please.

  35. RCWhiting says:

    Robi @29
    Precisely.It is like the ‘contains no chemicals’ claims.

  36. SusyT says:

    I understand the 9ac how but not the why? What is connection between ‘comfrey’ plant and ‘simple’?

  37. SusyT says:

    PS apologies – have now read earlier comments which answer my question

  38. Pierre says:

    Hi Susy

    I didn’t explain COMFREY very well: it’s a medicinal herb, and one of the definitions of ‘simple’ is ‘a medicine made from only one constituent, esp from one plant; a plant used for medicinal purposes’. My SOED marks it as ‘archaic’. I think this is what muffin was getting at in comment no 7.

    Is this your first comment? If so, welcome; if not, welcome back!

  39. Pierre says:

    You beat me to it, Susy …

  40. Norah says:

    probably no one will now be reading this, but I’m in Australia so only saw the puzzle when Guardian Weekly arrived-can anyone explain why 26 across has king abdicating-shouldn’t it be when king returns?

  41. Pierre says:

    Hello Norah. One of us is still listening (we get an update if someone comments on our blog).

    Having reread the clue, I can see what you mean; I guess it can work both ways. I read it as BACUP is a town in Lancashire, coming from BACKUP when the king is removed. ‘Providing’ is, I agree, a bit ambiguous.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting! (And I still like John’s suggestion of BRA CUP for ‘support’. I wonder which one Orlando intended? Perhaps we shall never know.)

  42. Huw Powell says:

    Pierre, re the two possibilities for BACUP, and the general nature of this puzzle, I’m willing to bet he meant both.

    SONIC was, of course, amazing. Remove any part of the clue, and the surface doesn’t work. Put it all together, and it’s a bit odd but certainly does make sense.

    After getting the second Cleese reference I was surprised not to see more.

    Thanks for the blog Pierre et alia, and to Orlando for what turned out to be a nicely unique and striking puzzle!

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