Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25865 Orlando

Posted by scchua on February 7th, 2013


An enjoyable offering from Orlando.  Not difficult, with 25across my last one in.  Thanks to Orlando.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.  Please enclose any comments about them in double brackets.]]

1 Writer from United Nations penning Spanish article (6)

BELLOC : BLOC(a group of united nations, without the capital letters, sharing the same interest and acting in concert in international affairs) containing(penning) EL(the article “the” in Spanish).

Answer: Hilaire, Anglo-French writer and historian.

5 Appear stern in retrospect (4,4)

LOOK BACK : LOOK(appear, as in “they look/appear tired”) + BACK(the stern;the rear part of an object).

9 Measure introduced in Burma somehow gives protection (8)

UMBRELLA : ELL(an obsolete unit of length in various countries, about 37 inches in Scotland as in the Scottish proverb, “Gie ‘im an inch, an he’ll take an ell”) contained in(introduced in) anagram of(somehow) BURMA.

Answer: That which gives protection against the elements.

10 Dope needs time for classes (6)

GENERA : GEN(dope;information) plus(needs) ERA(a long period of time).

Answer: Plural for the biological class, genus, usually consisting of more than one species.

11 Critical business discussion in house of ill repute (8,4)

KNOCKING SHOP : KNOCKING(inclined to find fault/knock) + SHOP(business discussion, as in “to talk shop”).

Answer: A brothel.  Amusing image of tycoons cutting a business deal in a whorehouse.

13 Poet wanting old penny for stake (4)

ANTE : “Dante”(Alighieri, Italian poet) minus(wanting, as in “missing”) “d”(symbol for the old penny, in £ s d).

Answer: The amount of money put at stake by one in a joint business venture or a gamble.

14 Funny bones with bit of bridle (8)

NOSEBAND : Anagram of(Funny) BONES + AND(with;in addition).

17 Smack dog that’s left a bit of hair (4-4)

KISS-CURL : KISS(to smack;to kiss with or as if with a loud sound) + CUR(a mongrel dog, especially a worthless or unfriendly one) + L(abbrev. for “left”).

18 My groundhogs! (4)

GOSH : Anagram of(ground) HOGS.

Answer: An exclamation of surprise or wonder, as is “My!”. Derived from a euphemistic alteration of “God!”, so OMG could be either.

20 Fussy car rental (4,2,6)

HARD TO PLEASE : HARD TOP(a car design, the term most often applied to one with a fixed rigid roof without a central pillar) + LEASE(subject of a rental agreement).

23 Woman going to Indian city for potent drug (6)

VIAGRA : VI(a shortened feminine name, from “Violet”, say) plus(going to) AGRA(Indian city, site of the Taj Mahal, man’s greatest erection for a woman).

Answer: The drug to give (masculine) sexual potency.  Another amusing image.

24 Heartless jade, say, longing for wine (8)

GRENACHE : “green”(jade, the colour derived from the semi-precious stone) minus its central letter(Heartless) + ACHE(a longing;a yearning).

Answer: A wine named after the red wine grape variety, dominant in the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

25 Foot rot for a peasant? (8)

ANAPAEST : Anagram of(rot for) A PEASANT.  Nicely misdirected to some disease or other of the foot!

Answer: Also spelt “anapest”, a metrical foot used in formal poetry – two short syllables followed by one long one, or two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one.

26 Chicken  or … ? (6)

YELLOW : Double defn: 1st: Cowardly; and 2nd: In heraldry, the colour of, or the metal, gold.

2 Patron saint of squirrel monkeys (4)

ELMO : Hidden in(of) “squirrel monkeys “.

Answer: The patron saint of sailors.

3 Birds, we hear, transport poet (9)

LORIKEETS : Homophone of(we hear) [“lorry”(a form of transport) + “Keats”(John, English poet)].

4 Small room, very large instruments (6)

CELLOS : CELL(a very small room) + OS{abbrev. for “outsize”(very large)}.

5 Heavy metal, please, not heavy hymn (4,6,5)

LEAD KINDLY LIGHT : LEAD(a heavy metal element in chemistry) + KINDLY(please, as in “Kindly/please remove your feet from the seat”) + LIGHT(antonym of heavy).

6 Musician having time off with head of enclosed order (8)

ORGANISE : “organist”(a musician) minus(having … off) “t”(abbrev. for “time”) plus(with) “e”{first letter of(head of) “enclosed”}.

Answer: To order;to sort, eg. your computer files.

7 In church they are pronounced as outlaws (5)

BANNS : Homophone of(pronounced) “bans”(“outlaws” as a verb).

Answer: A public announcement in church of a proposed marriage; verbal in this case as I think “pronounced” is intended to do double duty.

8 Producer of pictures getting actors into cast (10)

CARTOONIST : Anagram of(cast) ACTORS INTO.

12 In a manner of speaking, carrying a sign (10)

INDICATION : IN + DICTION(a manner of speaking;a mode of uttering or enunciating words and sounds) containing(carrying) A.

15 Legal club turning lights out, say (5,4)

BUGLE CALL : Anagram of(turning) LEGAL CLUB.

Answer: An example of which (say) is the British military “Lights Out”.

16 Car and truck manufacturer with end of candle burning (4-2-2)

AUTO-DA-FE : AUTO(short for an automobile;a car) plus(and) DAF(a Dutch truck manufacturing company which gave its name to its trucks) + plus(with) the last letter of(end of) “candle”.

Answer: The execution by burning of condemned heretics and apostates during the Spanish Inquisition.

19 Just how streaker runs (6)

BARELY : Cryptic defn: How a (naked) streaker runs.

Answer: As in “It barely/just meets the requirements.”

21 Find Guardian leaders in sink (3,2)

DIG UP : First two letter of(leaders) “Guardian” contained in(in) DIP(to sink;to go downwards).

22 Drive off in second and use horn unceasingly (4)

SHOO : S(abbrev. for “second” when denoting time) + “hoot”(to use the horn) minus
its last letter(unceasingly).



34 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25865 Orlando”

  1. Chris says:

    [[For the first time, I can get one of your links! Picture 2 is Bill Murray in Groundhog Day]]

  2. John Appleton says:

    Fared better with than than I usually do with an Orlando. It didn’t help that I had parakeets for 3d (which explains why I couldn’t figure out the wordplay). Auto-da-fe and the hymn were new to me. Was pleased with 20a.

  3. Ian SW3 says:

    [[And obviously in No. 1, a rebel without a cause is HARD TO PLEASE. Number 4 was drawn by a CARTOONIST, and there was a Muppet named ELMO. No idea who the blonde is.]]

  4. Miche says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I think the definition in 5a is just “retrospect” (it’s a verb, too).

    [[The third picture is from Les [9a]s de Cherbourg.]]

  5. John Appleton says:

    [[I considered the Elmo link but he’s more Sesame Street, albeit part of the Jim Henson universe. Blonde is Yellow, I suppose. I have an idea who she is but can’t find a link I’m happy with.]]

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Orlando

    A typically enjoyable Orlando offering with some entertainingly clever cluing.

    I particularly liked 19a, 26a, 26a, and 8d.

  7. Miche says:

    [[And the fourth picture presumably illustrates Belloc’s Jim, Who Ran away from His Nurse and Was Eaten by a Lion: ]]

  8. michelle says:

    This was an enjoyable puzzle, neither too difficult nor too easy.

    First in was 5a, and I was only able to solve 5d with some help from google once I had decided that the first word was LEAD and that the definition was ‘hymn’.

    New words for me were KNOCKING SHOP & ANAPAEST

    I liked 16d, 24a, 20a, 17a.

    Thanks for the blog, scchua as I could not parse 15d and 21d

  9. Eileen says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I really enjoyed this – too many favourite clues to list.

    BELLs, ORGANIST [almost], BANNS, KISS and HYMN [though this one is more appropriate for a funeral] made me wonder if there might be a wedding in the offing in the CURL family? If so, there’s probably another name or two somewhere.

    Anyway, I for one could 17ac for a lovely puzzle – many thanks, as ever, Orlando!

  10. scchua says:

    Thanks Miche. Corrected the blog.
    [[Chris, IanSW3, Miche, and John Appleton, you’re right so far:
    Bill Murray in Groundhog Day;
    Elmo was a Muppet, even though he was mainly in Sesame Street;
    Catherine Deneuve from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – you can see part of a few of them reflected in the mirror; incidentally with music by Michel Legrand – namesake of yours Miche?;
    Jim who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion was one of Belloc’s Cautionary Tales.
    Well done!
    The one pending is indeed James Dean from “Rebel Without A Cause”. It’s not to do with hardtop autos, but something related.]]

  11. Apple Granny says:

    Like you Eileen, we really enjoyed this – easier than some from earlier in the week, and much more satisfying, because every answer was certain, and often earned a chuckle. We didn’t do so well with the photos though…

  12. Gervase says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    I enjoyed this a lot, as I always do Orlando’s puzzles, though it was all over rather quickly. Last in was VIAGRA, as I was convinced that the Indian city was GOA (which. of course is a state, not a city, despite its small size). Great clue, though – the def raised (!) a smile. Other favourites were 16d, 20a and the deceptive 26a.

    It’s usually almost impossible to find anything to quibble about in an Orlando crossword. The only thing here that I winced at very slightly was 10a: ‘class’ has the specialised meaning of a taxon less than a phylum and greater than an order, so GENERA ( which come between families and species) are strictly not ‘classes’. But who cares?

    Nice one, Mr Curl.

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase

    There speaks the scientist!

    Both Chambers and Collins list genus first as a biological term and subsequently ‘a class of objects comprehending several subordinate species [logic] [Chambers] and ‘2. logic – a class of objects or individuals that can be divided into two or more groups or species; 3. a class, group etc, with common characteristics’ [Collins].

    No problem for me, as a classicist: genus = class. ;-)

  14. newmarketsausage says:

    Lovely stuff from Orlando and witty as always. Very nice indeed.

    Eileen @9

    If there are impending nuptials, let’s hope that 11as are off the agenda and there’s no need for 23a.

    A bit of 24a probably wouldn’t go amiss, however.

    Apologies for lowering the tone :-)

  15. Gervase says:

    Eileen @13

    As I scientist, I would not have written this clue myself, for the reason I stated – but it’s no big deal and I can live with it.

    And for you, as a classicist, genus = ‘of the knee’, surely? :)

  16. duncandisorderly says:

    [jd was about to play chicken, no? :-) ]

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I always enjoy Orlando’s Guardian cryptics. I think he’s an understated (and mebbes underrated?) setter. It’s all gently and cleverly laid out for you; you just have to go seek.

    I particularly liked HARD TO PLEASE today, and I too took KISS-CURL to be a slight come-on from the setter to his legion of female fans …

    Thanks to S&B.

  18. Robi says:

    Very entertaining puzzle; the top went in smoothly although the bottom half took longer.

    Thanks scchua for your usual top-class blog. When I saw the ‘k’s’ in several clues, I thought we were in for a k-theme, strengthened by the kiss-curl. Although your picture is more photogenic than mine, in my day the kiss-curl was only associated with the rocking Bill Haley.

    I didn’t know the hymn, although from what Eileen @7 said, that is no bad thing.

    Anap(a)est was lodged vaguely in my brain. Perhaps from a previous Brendan: ‘Piece of verse a peasant composed.’ Clues I particularly liked were for HARD TO PLEASE, AUTO-DA-FE and GOSH!

    [[I think the James Dean reference may be to a “Chickie [chicken] Run” in the film]]

  19. Robi says:

    duncandisorderly @16; great minds……. we crossed.

  20. newmarketsausage says:

    duncandisorderly @16

    Not the duncandisorderly who used occasionally to get embroiled with bacchanal and minnow?

  21. Rowland says:

    Another good lesson, frpom Orlando, for the prolix Guardian writers. I felt this one had its fair share of anagrams however, but enjouyed it nonetheless.


  22. Trailman says:

    A very smart little crossword, if over too quickly. AUTO, LORI, HARDTOP; almost a mini-theme. Most problems came from 3d, liked the hardtop-lease the most.

  23. Jezza says:

    Thanks to Orlando for a most enjoyable puzzle, and to scchua for the notes.

    No real problems to complete; the only one that took me a while to solve was 1a.

  24. scchua says:

    [[duncandisorderly and Robi, great minds indeed! Yes, that was James Dean just before playing chicken (a chickie run) over a cliff.]]

  25. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog. On 26 I had YELLOW fitting chicken but had totally forgotten the heraldry use of or=yellow (should that be gold?).

    [[For picture 2 I half remember at the 2010 election some people dressed up in top hats etc trying to embarass an old Etonian candidate.
    For picture 5 I recognised the Muppets but forgot that one was named Elmo :( ]]

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not too bad although over rather too quickly.
    This was illustrated by 18ac, I had –S- and so it was a write-in but that did not stop me admiring a wicked bit of lateral thinking.
    Last in was 12d.
    It is always intriguing and satisfying to write in, with conviction (and no attempt to verify), a previously unknown word.
    If the cryptic is good then words like ‘grenache’ are such solutions.

  27. RCWhiting says:

    I forgot to mention the micro-theme: noseband and kiss-curl are both nouns.

  28. MisterSawyer says:

    John Appletong @2, you’re not alone! I confidently entered PARAKEETS for 3d then and missed out on BELLOC as a result. . .

  29. george says:

    On my own today and I surprised myself by filling in quite a few answers on the first read through, kept going pretty well to complete over half and then started to struggle.

    As a biologist I like Gervase@12 would not have clued 10a genera as classes, but I also can see why they are classed as such.

    I sat there for ages staring at 18a which was my last one in, thinking about the film, marmots etc and when the penny finally dropped I felt so stupid and had to laugh!

    Did enjoy the puzzle and love some of the illustrations you’ve chosen sschua.

  30. Anne says:

    This is the first time I’ve left a comment but really appreciate the help with parsing on this site. I thought 26a was a parallel with the ‘duck or grouse’ favoured by pub landlords as a warning on low beams- hence chicken or yell ‘ow’!

  31. MDatta says:

    ‘ parakeets’ too. Grrr. Fools rush in………

  32. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Really nice crossword as ever from Orlando.

    I personally don’t see the quibble about 10a. No need to confuse a specialised meaning of class with it’s general meaning. The clue is flawless!

    Chambers agrees:


    2 a class divided into several subordinate classes.

    Thanks to Scchua and Orlando

  33. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Orlando and scchua

    Haha Anne@30 … I tried to justify YELL OW! as well and couldn’t … came here to find out why. Also was fixated on parsing ORGANIST and groaned to see my error!

    Actually made the SW corner much harder for myself by writing in BARD at 13 and RAT’S TAIL at 17 and then had to repair that damage. Didn’t have the problem with LORIKEETS though thankfully.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Delightful crossword.
    Precise and fair.
    Not hard, but full of clues that raised a smile.

    Orlando’s clueing seems to be so effortless, so natural.
    “Finesse” is the key word my PinC used today.

    Very satisfying solve.

    Thanks, scchua, and Orlando!!! (yes, three exclamation marks)

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