Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,014, Chifonie: Chiming a chord

Posted by michod on March 2nd, 2007


A pretty straightforward puzzle, with no obscure German towns or archaic words and only one two fairly minor quibbles for me. A couple of the anagrams give themselves away rather too cheaply, but Chifonie makes good use of unexpected phrasal definitions like ‘threaten to go out’ in 1 Across, making some of the clues less obvious to dissect. 


1. GUTTER. Nice double def, as remarked above.

4. CHIME RA. Another clue with a subtle structure, though artist is going to give RA 90 per cent of the time.

10. C LIVE. As in General Clive of India.

11. LEA(S)T. A leat is a mill-race, more familiar in advanced cryptics.

12. NE(VER MIN)D.  Pretty obvious from the definition and word lengths.

17. REPE(A)L. Reversal? Anagram? No, just container and contents.

22. HER(M)ITAGE. And again. Reference to St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, I guess.

24. E(XC)EL. Quibble one: my understanding is that ‘excel’ = do best at (intransitive), whereas ‘top’ =  do better than x (transitive). But I haven’t checked in the dictionary, so am willing to be corrected.

27. SP(I TIT)OUT. Quibble two: Where does the first I come from? ‘One bird’ might give A TIT or I TIT,but I don’t think ‘a bird’ can give I TIT. This might sound illogical, but surely A = one = I does not necessarily imply A = I.


1. GAMBLER. Nice misleading definition – but maybe by now I should expect better to mean this.

2. TOSCA. ACT SO*. Fitting, but blindingly obvious.

4. C(A RAVE)L. The IVR abbreviation for Sri Lanka still refers to Ceylon.

6. ELI(MINA)TE. The mynah bird, with its distinctive crossword spelling.

7. AG(END)A. I believe there are a few words for Turkish commanders, but this is the first  that springs to mind.


16. GA THE RING. Thering, what is thering? Was Mike Tyson a famous therer? Ah, I see – the ring. Nice.

20. BOLSTER. LOBSTER*. Woefully inadequate anagram. Can we establish a convention that more than 2/7ths of the letters in a word should change position? Better surely to clue ‘lobster’ indirectly, then indicate reversal of ‘lob’ or switch of B and L.

21. CHAFE R. I’m not sure that ‘wear’ and ‘chafe’ are quite the same.

23. INDIA. AID IN*. Anagram of ‘aid in’… it’s a country, you say? Hmm, let me see…

25. C(H)ORD. I like ‘emotional response’ for ‘chord’, though.

2 Responses to “Guardian 24,014, Chifonie: Chiming a chord”

  1. says:

    I haven’t got Chambers to hand, but shows ‘excel’ to be transitive as well as intransitive, so top = excel seems OK. With you all the way on SPIT IT OUT though.

  2. says:

    I can’t think of a transitive use that doesn’t use ‘at’ – perhaps you excel me at grammar!

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