Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,203, Chifonie: Can footballers play rugby?

Posted by michod on October 9th, 2007


Good stuff – one of two 3 downs for me in the other downs, but lots of decent clues too. 


9.  DER RING DO. Very nice – Bayreuth made me think Wagner and the Ring, but a good use of the title in German (without des Nibelungen, of course).

11. LA(SAG)NE. I’ve never quite understood why we use the French spelling of an Italian dish – Chambers lists ‘lasagna’ as well, but it’s less often seen.

12. TEST(IF)Y. ‘If’ being ‘condition’.

14. A(PART MEN)T. Good simple surface and construction.


21. (w)INNER. Another good surface.

22. H O SPICE. I’m not sure about ‘hand’ for H – it’s not in Chambers, but may be supported by other dics. ‘Round’ as in a ring = O.

24. SPRI(n)G. As well as K, knight can give N, as in chess notation, where of course it has to be distinguished from King.

25. CON TENDER. Tory-loving – very nice.


1. A(DOLE)SCENT. More often than not, benefit is dole.

3. NI(GG)LE. As in “Thanks to Kieron, I had a win on the gee-gees” (the lawyer asks me to point out this is a hypothetical example with no bearing on any current court case).

5. POST(MAST)ER. You get so conditioned by misleading surfaces that I was convinced ‘delivery supervisor’ would be a midwife or obstetrician. D’oh!

6. CAS(SET)TE. As in the magazine of a gun, I think.

7. MA(R)INE. Jolly as a nickname for the Royal Marines, which can also give RM.

15. TIGERS HARK. I don’t think this works – the Leicester Tigers play rugby, and while the name of the game may officially be ‘rugby football’, would you really call a rugby player a footballer? I wouldn’t (but I couldn’t make a fish out of ‘Foxes’!)

18. INNU(END)O. Shouldn’t amalgamation involve two separate things being fused, rather than one confused?

20. (c)ENSURE. Protect seems to me to be a better synonym for ‘insure’, but there may be a sense for which this works.

22. marsH ASPhodel.


11 Responses to “Guardian 24,203, Chifonie: Can footballers play rugby?”

  1. Chunter says:

    15D: yes, of course. The club is called Leicester Football Club.

  2. beermagnet says:

    Surely it should be lettercount (7-2) for DERRING-DO, not (9).
    That held me up somewhat for that answer.

  3. Phil says:

    Can anyone get up 24,201 at all?

  4. Testy says:

    That might be a Saturday prize crossword that will perhaps get blogged when the competition closes.

  5. Geoff says:

    “Lasagne” is the genuine Italian term for the dish – it’s a feminine plural word, so the singular would presumably be “lasagna” (as it is erroneously called in the US). But Italians don’t tend to use the singular forms of pasta names. Just one spaghetto, anyone?

  6. muck says:

    11ac: My Collins Italian Dictionary has Lasagne as the correct Italian spelling, but also translates it as Lasagna in English.

  7. Mick says:

    OK OK, I stand corrected… I’ll just go and put some water on for the paste while I mull the England football team’s chances against France.

  8. AlanR says:

    My COD has the first meaning of ‘ensure’ as “make (person, thing) safe against risks etc)”, which seems synonymous with protect. I don’t think I’ve heard it used in that sense though.

  9. muck says:

    Lasagne/Lasagna: Geoff’s post was 5 mins ahead of mine. Lasagna is indeed the fem.sing. word for a flat sheet of pasta, and its plural is lasagne. However, in Italy, the dish is generally referred to on restaurant menus as ‘Lasagna al forno’.

    You may also see ‘maccheroni’ and expect to get the short hollow pieces of pasta that we know as macaroni. Wrong – in Tuscany at least these are strips of flat pasta similar to tagliatelle but much wider.

  10. eimi says:

    Lasagna is a better spelling for crossword setters as it produces anal gas. While on the subject of Italian food, you’d be hard-pressed to find spaghetti bolognese in Bologna or Parma violets in Parma.

  11. Geoff says:

    Muck’s quite right – Italians use both ‘lasagne’ and ‘lasagna’ for the finished dish, though in my experience the former is more common, as in British English but not American English. But the pasta sheets are always referred to in the plural, as with spaghetti, tagliatelle etc. Apparently the word is thought to derive from a Greek word for ‘chamber pot’ (anal gas, see above), which referred to the pot the dish was cooked in, rather than the pasta sheets that are used to make it. So there is an etymological logic to the singular form ‘lasagna’.

    Eimi’s also right about spag bol being absent from Bologna – they call the sauce ‘ragu’ and more often serve it with tagliatelle instead. I’m feeling hungry now…

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