Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,745 / Orlando

Posted by Eileen on September 19th, 2012


Another wonderfully witty and elegant puzzle from Orlando, with some very ingenious wordplay and several laugh-out-loud moments. I enjoyed every minute of it – many thanks for the fun, Orlando.

[Definitions are underlined]

1 Fish caught by hillbilly — one at home in the water (8)
DAB [fish] + C [caught] + HICK [hillbilly]

5 Outspoken spoken passage (6)
Sounds like [spoken] straight [outspoken]

9 Names forgotten by stonemason working majestically (8)
anagram [working] of STO[n]EMASO[n] minus [forgotten] NN [names]

10 Dystopian author gets nothing right, fortunately (6)
O R [nothing right] + WELL [fortunately] to give author George

12 Down drink? Whose ale for 21? (6,5)
‘[County] Down drink?’ is a whimsical clue for N[orthern] I[rish] COLA and ADAMS is the answer to ‘Whose ale?’ [reference to ‘Adam’s ale’ = water] to give the 2012 Gold Medal BOXER  – one of my favourite clues

15 Singer’s knockouts? (5)
double definition

17 Bird in pool dropping back — one having wash (9)
KITT[y] [pool, minus last letter – dropping back] + I [one] + WAKE [wash]

18 Lofty‘s organised chaos (9)
anagram [chaos] of ORGANISED

19 Going west, drag empty coach in ravine (5)
reversal [going west] of LUG [drag] + C[oac]H

20 Spotted animal trapped? Get latest info here (11)
NOTICED [spotted] round [trapped] BOAR [animal]

24 Pipe for pirate with a head for heights (6)
HOOK [Captain, pirate in ‘Peter Pan’] + A + H[eights]

25 Spot marker — it’s outside leisure centre after Olympian lord avoids conflict (8)
X [spot marker] + ITS round [lei]S[ure] after [Sebastian] COE [Olympian lord]

26 Poet with the ancient mariner? (6)
POPE [Alexander, poet] + YE [the ancient] to give the cartoon mariner

27 Reactionary Russians — dire 5 with SS? (8)
anagram [dire] of STRAIT [answer to 5ac] + SS


1 “Go on with melody”, nuts implore? (10)
anagram [nuts] of GO ON MELODY: the definition has to be separated into ‘imp lore’ – another favourite

2 There’s always room in one part of pub or another (4,6)
E’ER [poetic always] + CELL [room] in BAR [one part of pub]

3 Husband and mother of Artemis put up here? (5)
H [husband] + reversal [put up] of LETO [mother of Artemis] – nice play on ‘put up’

4 Officers plunder store for something to wear (7,5)
COS [officers] SACK [plunder] BOOTS [store] – a lovely picture!

6 Credulous — but inwardly hard and assertive (9)
H [hard] in TRUSTING [credulous]

7 Lincoln with his first or second son (4)
ABE [Abraham] + L[incoln] for the second son of Adam and Eve

8,22 Masefield’s crafty request, Spooner’s cover point (4,4)
John Masefield’s request for a craft, in the opening lines of ‘Sea Fever':
‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…’
which Spooner might render as ‘shawl’ [cover] ‘tip’ [point]

11 Carrot cooked with safest sources of energy? (4,8)
anagram [cooked] of CARROT and SAFEST

13 Kippers on these? Mostly wan plonkers (10)
PALLI[d] [mostly wan] + ASSES [plonkers] – another candidate for favourite clue

14 Chapelgoers force detective to probe consecrated bread (10)
MET [Metropolitan Police Force] + DI [Detective Inspector] in [to probe] HOSTS [consecrated bread] – though I’m uneasy about this being pluralised

16 New Year tends to make us inactive (9)
anagram [new] of YEAR TENDS

21 Packer‘s best friend? (5)
double / cryptic definition, referring to a dog [boxer] being man’s best friend

23 I say, parking place for poultry (4]
COO [I say] + P [parking]
This made me laugh, not least because it inevitably reminded me of this Two Ronnies sketch which has been aired here more than once but it’s worth watching again!

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,745 / Orlando”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Last in was the female boxer whose fame didn’t reach us here. Unlike her cue, Packer, in 21d who proved a distraction. ‘Coo’ in the final clue is also not in our idiom. But there was as you say so much to like, from imp-lore in 1d to the wan plonkers, and a lot else. Bravo Orlando.

  2. yvains says:

    Thanks for this, Eileen, especially the explanation of 1D – I stared at ‘implore’ for ages, trying to reconcile it with ‘demonology’ :)

    As you say, a wonderfully witty crossword – my personal favourites were 25 and 26.

  3. Eileen says:

    Yes, I did mean to add POPEYE to my list, too – it really did make me laugh out loud!

  4. yvains says:

    Hadn’t seen that 2 Rs sketch before – thanks, Eileen – loved the nose and the nun :)

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I agree that this was a superbly crafted puzzle.

    I spent a long time at the end trying to get to the bottom of ADAM’S ale and I’m still not sure… The derivation was clear but where’s the allusion to water? Is that what they call their coke in County Down?!

  6. yvains says:

    @Neil – Chambers will help again :)

  7. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Orlando for the fun and Eileen for the very clear blog and wonderful link to The Two Ronnies!

    8d Tall Ship took me back to an early favourite poem and 26a Popeye, which made me laugh, the first long series of verses that we had to learn from Ye Ancient Mariner and still remembered, of course.

    More of the same please, Orlando!

    Giovanna x

  8. NeilW says:

    OK. Got it now. Not thanks to Chambers but because I see that “for 21?” is doing double duty.

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Wonderful. Each clue had to be read very closely to detect the well hidden allusions.
    This was approaching Azed level for difficulty.
    I did not get the imp-lore.
    Even the boxer reference was genderised misdirection! Although she has been all over our TVs recently.
    There were so many lulus among the clues that it would be redundant to list any.
    Thanks for Two Ronnies, that was new to me.
    Why, oh why, can we not have fare like this much more often (every day?).

  10. David W says:

    I’m not a fan of the imp-lore device, although it might be interesting to try a reductio ad absurdum puzzle, in which every opportunity is taken to separate and to run words together.

  11. NeilW says:

    Eileen, by the way, am I correct in understanding that ADAM’S is actually the answer to “Whose ale for a BOXER (dog)?” [Paranoid, after yesterday, that I am missing some hidden reference in Chambers… :)]

  12. rowland says:

    Yes, imp-lore was a problem, but I am surprised that RC Whiting, who has championed this sort of device in his recent posts, did not ‘get’ it, or sing its praises! I suspect he likes it really?

    Sorry for bothering everyone woth my remarks yesterday, maybe Orlando makes my point better than I could with his smooth clues.

    Thanks indeed,

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi NeilW

    I see what you mean but I’m afraid I hadn’t gone as far as you in seeing a double duty for ‘for 21′. I took it as simply an allusion to the saying. [Don’t be too paranoid: I think parts of yesterday’s blog are best forgotten. 😉 ]

  14. yvains says:

    @NeilW – My apologies: I see now that I had misunderstood your difficulty with 12 – but I’m sure Eileen (13) has got it right.

  15. John Appleton says:

    Mostly drew a blank on this one. Not Orlando’s fault by any stretch, just a lot of new words to me. POPEYE I did get, and thought that a very good clue.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    rowland @12
    “Yes, imp-lore was a problem, but I am surprised that RC Whiting, who has championed this sort of device in his recent posts, did not ‘get’ it, or sing its praises! I suspect he likes it really?”
    I am afraid you have misunderstood me. Just because I fail to parse a clue does not mean that I disapprove of it. In fact,just the opposite, I delight in being beaten by something, it makes the exercise worthwhile.
    You were probably misled by my being “too brusque” as someone recently commented here.

  17. Robi says:

    I struggled a bit with this one, but was comforted that RCW @9 also found it difficult.

    Thanks Eileen; firstly for putting in the clues [well done! :) ]. Secondly for explaining imp lore and Down drink, both of which were past my pay grade. I resorted to two anagram solvers for the nameless stonemason, but neither found the answer [thank goodness for the OneLook word search!] I liked the kippers on the PALLIASSES; another new word for me. My bread is not normally consecrated so Google had to help with HOST(S)………. I won’t bore everyone with all the other things I had to look up. Orlando has used Lulu before in a clue (25455), but of course I forgot that it could be anything else but the Scottish singer.

  18. rowland says:

    Hi RCW, no, not at all, I really thought you would ‘dig’ it, as many do with that kind of thing. I don’t mind it so much myself really, though being used to ‘another way’ rings larm bells on ‘laxity’.


  19. grumpo says:

    A most entertaining and quite tricky puzzle – well done Orlando. I got the ‘ADAMS’ part of 12 and guessed at NICOLE or NICOLA. Unfortunately, all kinds of sport leave me cold and I was beaten by this one clue.

    Favourite: DEMONOLOGY – I really laughed out loud at IMP+LORE.

    All in all, a fine puzzle.

  20. MikeC says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando. I thought this was pretty tough, and certainly needed help with parsing some of the answers. Some clues were concise to the point of gnomic (5a, 21d). Good stuff! I agree with others that IMP+LORE was very neat.

  21. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Eileen for the blog. Bert was amused by the last one in – tall ship. We had to check the link to Masefield but he then remembered the Spike Milligan ‘poem’ –
    I must go down to the sea again
    to the lonely sea and sky
    I left my shoes and socks there
    I wonder if they’re dry!

    Thanks Orlando for a good work out.

  22. Martin P says:

    I found this quite a workout after a hard day sripping a stone fireplace with a power chisel, breaking two bits. Far from a two-bit puzzle though, and a long two pint solve which I greatly enjoyed.

  23. Median says:

    A fine puzzle. Satisfying to finish without help or spending half the day on it. The only clue I couldn’t parse was DEMONOLOGY. Thanks, Orlando and Eileen.

  24. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen and many thanks Orlando for a brilliant puzzle which was certainly not easy. It was tricky but very entertaining
    which is always my yardstick. I failed to spot imp-lore and also failed to parse Popeye correctly. I did however know the word
    palliasse as I slept on one at school camp back in the dark ages. Before retiring we used to get an enamel mug of cocoa which
    was made just with hot water and no milk. Ah, the goood old days.

    I thought there would have been more comments today as the puzzle was so good but there seems to be little debate and the commenters
    seem to be of a single mind. Maybe that’s the reason.

  25. Paul B says:

    Well, Median old bean, I’m not surprised, though I was slightly shocked to see that definition in an Orlando puzzle. Yes, I know it has become a ‘Guardian thing’ to have in-deeds and in-forms in the SI, but to be thus slippery in a definition? I’m shure it musht be a vest in tray. Perhaps he’s had his elegant arm twisted by some Svengali or other – was the QM his bargaining point?

    A brilliant puzzle nonetheless, which I found full of excellent device, and some really great surfaces. Keep ’em comin’, MC, you’re one of the best IMO.

  26. Mitz says:

    Thanks Orlando and Eileen.

    I knew I was going to struggle with this one right from the outset: could make neither head nor tail of 1a (although I suspected that a ‘hick’ might be involved), and then with 5 wrestled uncovincedly with ‘course’ and ‘coarse’, unable to decide which was the answer and which the homophone, only to find (eventually) that neither was either. Got there in the end, liking some very much (I’m an imp-lore fan) and scratching my head at most. 20 was my particular favourite – had the unusual ‘c’ and ‘b’ crossing letters, but it still took me far too long to twig. Bravo.

  27. rhotician says:

    NeilW @11 and Eileen @13 – Sorry to bang on about yesterday’s “amuse oneself amorously” but Neil cannot be blamed for missing the reference nor even Tramp for using it. Chambers should never have published it.

    As a “quirky definition” for ‘toy’ its innocent meaning is superfluous to ‘flirt’ and its “more or less indecent” meaning is erroneous.

    Excellent puzzle today and a blog worthy of it. Thanks Orlando and Eileen.

  28. muck says:

    Thanks Eileen and Orlando

    Quite challenging.
    No problem with imp-lore.
    I did need the explanation for NI in NICOLA ADAMS

  29. yvains says:

    @27 – “She’s only toying with him” “He was toying with her affections” – nothing indecent or erroneous about the definition, that I can see.

  30. Paul says:

    Brilliant Orlando – more Orlando please!

  31. rhotician says:

    @29 – The definition is a double entendre. Several posters read it as meaning ‘masturbate’. Tramp intended this, as a misdirection which, it has to be said, works very well with “blue movie”. Someone at Chambers clearly had the same intention because the entry for ‘flirt’ has no such ambiguity. In the entry for ‘toy’ “to flirt (with)” is enough. “amuse oneself amorously” is ambiguous, superfluous and erroneous. “toy with” can mean “flirt with”, it cannot mean “masturbate with”.

  32. rhotician says:

    See also ‘play with’ in the entry for ‘play’ where the definition is unambigous and accurate.

  33. Eileen says:

    I don’t know why this topic is still being pursued – particularly on this blog: it was done to death on Tuesday. [And that’s not all I was referring to in my comment 13.]

    If Gaufrid, our moderator, were not in hospital, he would have ended it before now – as he would have deleted the first spoiler comment on scchua’s Placeholder post for today’s puzzle.

  34. rhotician says:

    I have pursued the topic because I think errors in Chambers are an important matter, more so than our taste for Tramp’s clueing style. However I have said all I want to now.

  35. rowland says:

    Good! I think you have really worn this one out, done it to death &c, and I agree totally with Eileen.

  36. yvains says:

    @Eileen: It looks as if you must be singling out my (the first) comment on the first edition of scchua’s blog this morning. I must have inadvertently broken a rule, and if so, I am genuinely sorry (and will also apologise to scchua).

    That said, I honestly don’t understand what the rule is, or why my posting on scchua’s blog was wrong, while subsequent comments apparently weren’t. Please believe me when I say that I’m not being sarcastic, but genuinely mystified (as by “And that’s not all I was referring to in my comment 13.”) The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, and offending someone accidentally is almost worse than doing it on purpose.

  37. Eileen says:

    Hi yvains

    Apologies for the delay – I’ve been out since lunchtime. I’ve replied on the Crucible blog. 😉

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