Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24241: Chifonie — Know your abbreviations

Posted by jetdoc on November 22nd, 2007


A pretty straightforward daily cryptic, though you did need to know a few single-letter and two-letter abbreviations (like three ‘meanings’ of D). There were several obvious, as it seemed to me, anagrams; if anyone found them less obvious, I’ll gladly explain.

1 BRANDY — B = bachelor; randy = amorous
4 WELLES — ‘we’ = Guardian staff; ‘sell’ reversed. Orson Welles
9 DRAG — D = democratic; rag is a common term for a newspaper.
10 ENRAPTURED — *(Rupert Dean)
11 MISSAL — ‘miss’ with A L[atin]
13 CHAPERONE — The guardian of a young lady’s honour. ’Cha’ = tea; ‘per one’
17 DEPRESSED — ‘press’ in ‘deed’. ‘Poverty-stricken’ is a slightly unusual definition.
21 DOWNBEAT — D = 500 (many); ‘own’; ‘beat’
22 LABOUR — AB = sailor, in ‘lour’
24 MAISONETTE — *(item on seat)
25 IRAN — 1 ran
27 MEAGRE — The last one I got, because I was not entirely happy with the wordplay. M[onsieur] Eagre is, I suppose, a bore as well as inadequate; but the ‘is’ doesn’t sit very comfortably.
1 BURNISH — ‘Burn is h[ot]’
2 ARGUSArgus Panoptes, guardian of the heifer-nymph Io. First letters of ‘assess Roman government under Severus’
3 DWELLER — D = deceased; [Sam] Weller, a fictional character in The Pickwick Papers, the first novel by Charles Dickens, and allegedly the character that made Dickens famous. Weller first appeared at the White Hart in the third serialised episode. Previously, the monthly parts of the book had been doing badly, but the humour of the character transformed the book into a publishing phenomenon.
5 EXPECT — ‘ex’ = former, old; ‘pet’ = paddy (a fit of rage); C = cold
6 LAUNDRESS — ‘la undress’
7 STERNUM — The breastbone. ‘Tern’ = foul; in ‘sum’ = reckoning
16 PROFANE — FA = footballers; in ‘prone’ = subject (presumably, ‘prone to’ = ‘subject to’, but it’s a bit iffy). ‘Foul’ is the definition, as in ‘foul language’.
18 RELIEVE — ‘Li’ = lithium; in ‘reeve’, a bailiff or steward
19 EMULATE — Definition as in: ‘(of a computer or program) to reproduce the action or function (of another computer or program)’.
20 SEANCE — CE = Church of England; supporting Sean
23 BRING — N can be used for the knight in chess; in the US Navy, a brig is a place of detention on board ship.

14 Responses to “Guardian 24241: Chifonie — Know your abbreviations”

  1. Testy says:

    Can you explain ‘Tern’=foul?

  2. Geoff says:

    16D: PROFANE – I agree with the ‘subject (to)’ = PRONE (to) explanation, but I don’t consider this in the least iffy – it’s an unusual use of synonymy, certainly, but the words are quite interchangeable in the right context without any grammatical forcing.

    27A: MEAGRE – an ‘eagre’ is a sudden tidal rise in a river, a bore (as in the Severn Bore). Hence the clue ‘Frenchman’s a bore’ = M(onsieur) Eagre seems perfectly fine to me.

  3. Geoff says:

    7D: In the newspaper the word in the clue is ‘fowl’, not ‘foul’, so ‘fowl’ (bird) = TERN seems straightforward. Was there an online misprint?

  4. jetdoc says:

    Can you explain ‘Tern’=foul?

    My inept way of typing ‘fowl’ — that’s all.

  5. Testy says:

    I wouldn’t class a tern as fowl either. Surely fowl doesn’t mean any old bird!

    I’m presuming Jetdoc’s issue with 27A was with the “‘s” at the end of “Frenchman’s”. If read as “Frenchman is” then I agree it doesn’t really work, but if read as “Frenchman has” then it works fine.

  6. Geoff says:

    Chamber’s first definition of ‘fowl’ is – a bird! (Second def is ‘a bird of the poultry kind’)

    “Frenchman’s a bore': Surely it’s a cryptic definition rather than an indication for the piecing together of word fragments? Read that way is does make sense – at least to me!

  7. Geoff says:

    Further to my last comment, I think ‘Frenchman’s a bore’ (27A) HAS to be read as a cryptic definition. ‘M’ can’t logically be the equivalent of ‘Frenchman’ – it has to be ‘M(onsieur) [surname]’, because M is only used as a title preceding a surname and doesn’t mean ‘French man’. Nobody would get away with clueing MR as ‘Englishman’ – would they?

  8. Paul B says:

    Weellll … the apostrophe can indicate IS (obviously incorrect for the cryptic reading here), HAS (which is okay, so long as you don’t mind that kind of thing – in what sense does the M ‘have’ the EAGRE? – and if you’re happy about the way this functions in the cryptic grammar), or the possessive (which would probably require a simple ‘bore’ as opposed to an ‘a bore’). I’d prefer to see the apostrophe – and so the grammatical pitfalls – avoided altogether! Or maybe some other construction that can save daily solvers from the obscurity of that word.

    Generally speaking – and in no small way due to the pristine clarity of jetdoc’s blogging – I note how well Chifonie chops the words up in this offering.

  9. Testy says:

    Geoff, on the countless occasions I have encountered Frenchmen in crosswords they have almost invariably indicated M. Personally I feel that it would be perfectly acceptable for MR to be clued as “man” (the fact that they are English being implicit) just as “girl” can give MISS etc.

    Paul B, are you saying that you don’t think “has” is acceptable as joining word in a charade clue? I thought that “has”, “gets”, “receives”, “acquires”, “is at” etc. would all be OK as charade indicators (i.e. filler words that also act as cement to hold the parts of the charade together and improve surface reading). I think that “has” is fine and by extension (or maybe that should be contraction) “‘s” should be too.

  10. Geoff says:

    Although I’m desperately trying to defend Chifonie, I must admit a question mark would have helped here. ‘Frenchman is a bore?’ would be a reasonable cryptic def for M EAGRE (and surely the apostrophe s does stand for IS here) but far too obscure to be solvable without some additional clue.

    At least the word EAGRE, which I had to check in the dictionary, is now firmly lodged in my vocabulary.

    Good crossword, with plenty of variety (and precision!) in the assemblage of clues.

  11. ilancaron says:

    DRAG — interestingly I read “commonly” as qualifying the definition — since DRAG is a rather slangy annoyance — but I see now that it can equally well apply to “newspaper”. So not exactly doing double-duty but kinda sorta.

  12. Paul B says:

    Hello Testy.

    I am saying I prefer linkless charades, I think – find synonymical elements that sit well together, eschewing extraneity wherever possible.

    Some papers are more stringent, but the Grauniad loves its hases – indeed, my fave G compiler Paul is a serial abuser of link. Although I trained by swotting and badgering mostly Graun compilers, I’ve stopped doing a lot of the things I used not to do, based on my continually changing (though not necessarily improving) ideas re cryptic grammar.

  13. Fletch says:

    “I’ve stopped doing a lot of the things I used not to do ….”


  14. Paul B says:

    Er … yes. I see your point.

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