Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,896 – Tramp

Posted by Andrew on March 15th, 2013


Tramp has been turning up about once a month in the Guardian recently, and I think thoroughly deserves this regular exposure. This is another high-quality puzzle, with some clever, and sometimes quite tricky, clues. There are numerous references in the clues to George Orwell’s Animal Farm (and also to farming generally), though as far as I can see there’s no further use of this theme in the answers. Thanks Tramp – nice one (again)!

10. ALAMO A LA (like) + MO (a second)
11. INFLATE IN (home) + F[arm] + LATE (dead, departed)
12. RECLAIM REC (recreation ground, “public land for play”) + L + AI[d] + [far]M
13. NOAH NO “AH!”
14. BOSWELLIAN (I.E. SNOWBALL)* – Snowball is one of the pigs in Animal Farm, roughly corresponding in the allegory of the Russian Revolution to Trotsky; James Boswell was Dr Johnson’s biographer, considered by some to have written about him “like a fanatical admirer”
16. LIKE MAD Double definition – BSE is “mad cow disease”
17. CONTACT CON (against) + TACT
22. CROC C + ROC
24. HOLDING [anima]L DIN in HOG, definition “Farm”
26. MOORS [boxe]R in MOOS. Boxer is another Animal Farm character – the horse that nobly works himself almost to death and is then sent to the knacker’s yard instead of his promised retirement. I initially had D(R)IPS here, which sort of works, until 1d proved me wrong.
27. SQUARE LEG SQUEALER* + G; Square Leg being a fielding position in cricket from which you might make a catch to get the batsman out. Squealer is another Animal Farm character – a pig who acts as Napoleon’s spokesman and propagandist
1. NATIONAL ANTHEMS (ANIMAL THEN NOT AS)*, definition “land strains”
2. HOOFMARK FARM* in HOOK (fix), definition “mark of animal”
3. GROAN [labellin]G + ROAN, with a reference in the surface to the recent UK horsemeat scandal
4. SPHEROID HERO in reverse of DIPS
5. BARROW BAR (pub = watering hole) + ROW. A barrow is (I learn) a castrated boar
6. HATCHLING A T[emperature] + C+H + L IN in HG (chemical symbol for mercury, as in the only chemical-literary joke I know: “Where do you get mercury from?” “H G Wells!”)
7. SAFARI Anagram of the odd letters of AnImAl FaRm So
8. COMMUNITY CHARGE COMMUNI[st] (Marx, say, losing way) + T[rotsk]Y + CHARGE (attack). The Community Charge was the official name of what everyone called the “Poll Tax”, the disastrous successor to domestic rates introduced in 1989/1990 as a way of paying for local government services, and abolished not long after.
15. SMUTTIEST S&M (kinky sex) + [b]UTTIES + T (model)
17. CHESTNUT CHEST (box) + NUT (admirer)
18. AIRFIELD AIR (song) + FIELD (competitors in a race etc are “the field”). “Land to land [on]” is the definition
20. NELSON Double definition – wrestling hold and admiral who fought against by Napoleon, which is also the name of the Stalin-like pig in Animal Farm
21. RUGOSE G[eorge] O[rwell] S[tory] in RUE. Rugose means “wrinkled”, or “covered with sunken lines”
23. BAIRN [p]I[nkeye] in BARN

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,896 – Tramp”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Another thoroughly entertaining puzzle from Tramp, although it seemed on the easy side for him.

    You have a typo in NELSON – I don’t think you really meant to say he was a French emperor! 😉

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew, including for the Animal Farm characters I didn’t know or overlooked. It didn’t matter as the good clueiing made it all fall in place, pleasurably. I also missed the buttties subtlety in 15d, and the HATCHLING ref to 22. Must try harder

  3. muffin says:

    Thanks Tramp and Andrew
    I took ages to see the right anagram in 1dn (I thought “strains” might be the anagram indicator), so although I had guessed NATIONAL from the crossers, ANTHEM took ages to arrive.
    I missed the parsing of SMUTTIEST as well.
    Though very simple (and my first in), NOAH raised a smile.

  4. rhotician says:

    Pinkeye plays a very small part in the novel. As he does in 23dn.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for the blog.

    I agree with NeilW that this was not Tramp at his most difficult but, even by his high standards, the cluing was superb.

    Even those who don’t like themes can’t complain at this one, as the theme is all in the clues, rather than the answers [as so often with Tramp puzzles] and so no knowledge of it is required. But I’m filled with admiration by the seemingly effortless way in which he manages to incorporate it in so many guises. I thought 7ac was particularly clever.

    And just when I’d got complacent about not being fooled by setters’ use of ‘sandwiches’, he goes and uses it literally!

    Lots of wit, including NOAH [not true!] and two references to the horsemeat scandal [19ac as well as 3dn] [plus a personal smile for me in CROC, as tonight sees the opening performance of our version of the Peter Pan story – and we have two amazing crocodiles].

    Many thanks, Tramp, as ever, for a most entertaining puzzle. Once a month is not often enough!

  6. William says:

    Thank you Andrew & Tramp.

    Lovely puzzle with much to admire. Loved the horse meat fun! GROAN was the best for me.

    So clever to apparently present a theme (which I was dreading having forgotten all about this book) and then just nod at it from time to time instead of labouring it.

    Eileen above – break a leg tonight with Peter Pan!

    More of Tramp, please.

  7. Eileen says:

    [Thanks, William – I’m a geriatric mermaid!]

  8. Chris says:

    Excellent puzzle, and thanks Andrew for clearing up the ones I didn’t get.

    I thought some of the definitions were marvellously misleading. 19, 26, 1, 2 but especially 18 were all real “Aha!”s when I sussed what Tramp was doing.

  9. John Appleton says:

    Tramp continues to impress; I’d agree we should see his puzzles more regularly. As has been said, knowledge of the theme isn’t a necessity, though puzzles like will will often please those who are familiar with it (as I am).

    I very much liked SAFARI, and I did notice that, had 14a not had the beginning letter, ORWELLIAN would have fit in…and I do wonder if Tramp had toyed with that idea in some way.

  10. Andrew says:

    Thanks NeilW – garbled history corrected!

    I agree with Eileen (break a leg… or a fin?) that 7d (as I think you mean) is particularly clever. I’ve also just noticed that 24a has a good surface reference to the ending of Animal Farm, where a card game between pigs and men ends in uproar.

    Also I wonder whether Tramp could somehow have squeezed in a reference to two Majors in 8d: John Major, whose government abolished the CC; and Old Major, the inspirer of the revolution in the novel; though with Marx and Trotsky in the clue already it would have been a bit of a squeeze..

  11. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Tramp and Andrew

    Thoroughly enjoyed this – with plenty going on around Animal Farm.

    I’d originally tried to parse 5d as B(O)AR (a pig with no balls) ROW and went looking for BARROW meaning an argument when I found the castrated male pig – meant I didn’t then have to find a ROW as a watering hole!!

    Then had SMUT as kinky sex around (TI)TTIES as topless model – to get most dirty – but think Andrew’s might be better.

    Many really nice clues with 7d’s originality making it best for mine.

    … and have fun young mermaid …

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Tramp

    Once again an enjoyable puzzle though a slightly hurried solve.

    I had to look up the ‘sign’ for mercury in 6d. I had thought at first the answer might end in ‘line’ (crocodile).

    I ticked 10a, 11a, 13a, 2d, 18d but lots of other good clues. I did not get all the AF references, but they don’t interfere with the solving.

    (B)utties and Rec(reation ground) brought back memories of a NW childhood though I imagine they are more widespread than that.

  13. Andrew says:

    Fun fact: Hg for mercury comes from the old name “hydrargyrum”, from the Greek words for water & silver.

  14. Aztobesed says:

    Fun facts part Two –

    HG Wells was Herbert George. Orson Welles was George Orson. In 1938 the Martians were hovering over in the Mercury production.

  15. William says:

    Wonderful, Andrew – thanks for that.

  16. Tramp says:

    Many thanks to Andrew for the very comprehensive blog and for your kind comments.

    Also, many thanks to all for your comments – it really does make my day and I can’t thank you enough. I would love to set more puzzles but I’m not sure I’d get the time; a wife, two daughters and a full-time job only allow me to set for an hour a night. If ever I win the lottery then things might change. I wrote this puzzle within the last six weeks or so and asked for it to be used early due to two of the clues referencing the horsemeat scandal. The clue for GROAN was quite serendipitous – my initial effort contained ‘Squealer’ in the clue but the brilliant Tyrus, after test-solving the puzzle, suggested that a “squeal” is not really a “moan” and so I went back to the metaphorical drawing board. When I realised ‘groan’ is synonymous with ‘beef’ I saw potential for another horsemeat-scandal clue. My initial clue for MOORS was “Clover here? Close to Boxer during lows” which contained another AF character (Clover), but, Hugh thought it too weak a definition: on reflection, I agreed, hence the rewrite.

    Thanks again folks


  17. sidey says:

    I do like a Tramp. Nicely concealed definitions so not a matter of writing the answer and then trying to work out the rest.

  18. William says:

    Smashing to hear from you, Tramp…win the lottery, then, and set more.

    Andrew @13, why do you think, then, silver is Ag and not, say, Gy? I presume Ag relates to Argentum or some such.

  19. Rowland says:

    While some clues are quite sharp. again I found this setter’s style a bit laboured, somethimes quite a bit of the verbiage, and was tired, by the end, of the often strained references to the theme — plus the TWO horsemenat gags! Chestnut with NOAH also, made me 3 down!! It all semes so complicated to squeeze meaning into the surfaces, but many other G compilers are as bad, for me anyway,


  20. Andrew says:

    Ag for Silver is from Greek árguros and/or Latin argentum, so “hydrargyrum” is really hydr(o)-argyrum. I don’t know why whoever-it-was (Mendeleev?) chose Hg instead of Ha from that – perhaps it just looks snappier..

    Apparently Ha = Hahnium was used (later) for the trans-uranic element 105 (as was Ns = nielsbohrium), but the preferred name for that is now Dubnium (after Dubna, the site of the institute where it was discovered). See .

  21. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew

    Came to this late today, so there is not much more to be said. It yielded rather quickly, although I failed on 5d, putting the unparseable FARROW instead; ‘farrow’ certainly has porcine connotations, and this meaning of BARROW was unknown to me.

    Excellent puzzle from Tramp, with clever use of the theme. Many splendid clues, with well disguised definitions.

    William @18: ‘hydrargyrum’ is from ‘hydro-‘ (water) and ‘argyrum’ (silver) with elision of the extra vowel. Although of Greek origin, the word was adopted into Latin, which is the source of many of the element symbols which are not related to their English names (Fe, Cu, Au etc). Ag for silver is from the Latin ‘argentum’.

  22. Gervase says:

    Sorry, Andrew – we crossed here!

  23. Gervase says:

    And the modern convention of using one or two letters as a symbols for chemical elements was invented by the Swedish chemist Berzelius

  24. crypticsue says:

    Lovely entertaining puzzle, but I must confess to being even more delighted at the thought of Eileen as a geriatric (you aren’t geriatric at all) mermaid.

    Thanks to Tramp for a great crossword and to Andrew for the blog.

  25. Trailman says:

    Another day of settling down after lunch. The SE corner was my way in today, everything spreading from there. Unlike Rowland @19, the only clue that felt weak to me was 16a; and Tramp’s rethink re 26a was undoubtedly stronger than his first bash (heather, not clover, comes more quickly to mind for moorland flora).

    SMUTTIEST tops for me. GROAN apposite for 3d, my last in.

  26. yogdaws says:

    Another Tramp-fan to add to the list.

    Great crossword.

    Totally missed the topless sarnies. Inspired!

  27. Robi says:

    Super crossword; thanks Tramp.

    Thanks Andrew, I got caught by the sandwiches. I was not familiar with BARROW for pigs but the cluing was precise.

    Very many good clues; I especially liked HOOFMARK and HATCHLING.

  28. Jim T says:

    Excellent puzzle from a top setter. Quite a feat getting so many thematic references into the clues.

    Thanks, Tramp.

  29. Martin P says:

    Excellent puzzle from Tramp again.

    I played with “farrow”, (as in “to pig”) having never heard of “barrow”, for some time.

    Thanks all posters.

  30. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Thanks to Tramp for both the challenge and visiting (@16), and to Andrew for the blog.

    21d is why I love cruciverbalism: clear cluing leading to a word I did not know, but do now.

    [[ Still no postings from RCW?]]

  31. Drofle says:

    Very enjoyable and nicely challenging. I couldn’t get ‘Airfield’ for some reason. Thought ‘Moors’ and ‘Smuttiest’ clues were particularly good.

  32. Paul B says:

    And by 30’s token, where is Michelle? Shurely shome new wordsh here were not to be mished.

    Thanks Tramp – nice work.

  33. rhotician says:

    I have to agree with Rowland about this. The Animal Farm clues are laboured and the descent into animal/farm
    references tedious. (A bit like Rowland’s “Guardian bad, for me anyway” mantra.) To be fair, working Snowball etc into the clues is an improvement on Pink Floyd tracks. Sometimes the hard work works well. ‘Oddly moving’ in 7dn is very good. The wordplay in 6dn, breaking down a 9 letter word into 7 elements and clueing most of them thermometrically, is excellent. But ‘Early croc?’?

    It’s a while since we’ve heard from Sil. I like his positive attitude.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Rhotician, I am still alive.
    Indeed, I am not that much around here these days, but it has all to do with my level of energy after a working day (since I got a new job).

    Perhaps because my PinC and I were both rather tired, we looked at the grid for about 20 minutes without entering any solution. But from TSARINA and BAIRN onwards it was (as NeilW made clear) a rather easy Tramp. Another half an hour to finish it.

    Everything’s very fair, not much to complain about.
    Good crossword and as Andrew said, in the end rather ‘straightforward’.
    That said, I got quite a few words from a possible definition and/or crossing letters (like eg NATIONAL ANTHEMS, NELSON, INFLATE, ALAMO, SMUTTIEST, SAFARI, RECLAIM) before parsing them.
    Not sure whether that is a good thing.
    On the other hand, I do understand that a setter cannot always predict these things.

    Many thanks to Tramp and Andrew.

  35. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Only managed to get round to this this morning, but just wanted to echo others’ comments about the quality of the puzzle. Perhaps one or two surfaces were a bit strained, but I’m not going to quibble about that when there was so much else to enjoy. HOOFMARK, HOLDING, SQUARE LEG, GROAN and MOORS were my favourites in this one.

    Bravo Tramp and thanks to Andrew for the blog.

  36. Samui Pete says:

    Terrific Tramp and thanks Andrew.

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