Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,300 – Enigmatist : Xenon the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Posted by neildubya on February 1st, 2008


I always find Enigmatist crosswords difficult, and I’m prepared to accept that may be because of a shortage of horsepower between my ears. But this time I did get there.

Lots of great clues – and I’m struggling to see which of the answers I should leave out – there are no “gimmes” in  this puzzle. 1 down in particular deserves a prize


9 ROC-K-NROL-L : “cor” in reverse with “k” for king, “lorn” (abandoned) in reverse and “l” for left

10 PLATO(on)

11 DUNG-EON : truly awful pun. Encore !

12 CLUE-DON : “Fellow” as in University “don” .

13 CA(PU)T : A “caput” is “any head or headlike expansion on a structure, as on a bone.” – reference to a CAT scan, with UP reversed



19 EC(CENT)RIC – CIRCE was the sourceress

21 SQUAW – either SQUAW(l) or SQUAW(k)

22 TRAMMEL – appears backwards in “probLEM MARTin” – it means “to restrain”

23 MERRIER – thanks for the correction linxit – in the saying “merrier”accompanies “more” and we have Perrier swapping the P for an M. If you got MORTIER give yourself half a mark – it’s what I thought it was (i.e sounds like “more tear”. It’s the French word for a mortar board.)

24 X-ENON : i.e NONE in reverse with “X” (ten). “Elementary” in the sense of “being a chemical element” 



1 PREDICTIVE TEXT – the word “made” can become the word “naff” if your mobile phone’s predictive text facility is switched on. Awesome clue.


3 IN JEST – ho ho. Sounds like “ingest”

4 DOWN MEMORY LANE – (MODERN WOMEN LAY)* – a totally faultless clue – not a word wasted. “Jog” points you towards memory, with “out” being the anagram indicator.  


6 SP(RUCE)UP – (CURE)* inside PUPS reversed

7 firin(G AND HI)ring

8 JOHN GALS-WORTHY – Cheeky : “John” is a toilet word as is “Throne”. “Gals” are chicks and “worthy” is deserving. He wrote “The Forsythe Saga”

17 RENAMING (?) – It’s certainly to do with assigning a new title … didn’t get the “polls” references – something to do with changing your name by “deed poll” maybe ?

18 N(AU)TILUS – (INSULT)* with AU = French for “to the”. It’s the submarine for Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”

19 C-RAN-NY – “C” for Clubs is promoted to the top of the word. Big Apple is NY – “managed” is traditionally “ran” in crosswords.

20 S-T(R)OBE – Designate is “to be” e.g the “bride-to-be”   


13 Responses to “Guardian 24,300 – Enigmatist : Xenon the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

  1. Indo says:

    Is “clued on” an expression? I’ve only heard or seen “clued in”, which is in fact the answer given by the Grauniad online crossword — which is particularly riddled with errors today. The solution still isn’t very clear. Is it meant to be that a “Clwyd don” could be a fellow compliing Joneses? Seems pretty feeble to me.

  2. linxit says:

    12ac – I had CLUED-IN too, and I think it’s a cryptic definition. It means “keeping up with” and refers to other crossword setters.

    3dn – surely this is INGEST (sounds like “in jest”).

    23ac – I had MERRIER for this (in saying, it accompanies more), with Perrier swapping the P for an M.

  3. beermagnet says:

    3D The paper has letter count (2,4) for this so I suggest IN JEST is intended.

    12A I too believe CLUED-IN is a known phrase whereas clued-on isn’t.

    23A More the MERRIER for me, I say too.

    1D PREDICTIVE TEXT I still don’t understand this really. I thought it was some kind of CD based on the way messages can become nonsense (naff) if you’re not careful. I never use it so I’m astonished that it could turn MADE to become NAFF – surely the first letter you select is retained.

    13A CAPUT – New word for me.
    Favourite Clue: 4D Memory Lane – excellent.

  4. stan says:

    Was just about to make the same point as Beer Magnet re “in Jest”

    If you are “clued on” something aren’t you up-to-date with it ? e.g he is clued on Rap. I’m going to stick with this until many more people weigh in (or weigh on!)

    23a is looking like MERRIER I do admit

    In predictive text the first letter is not retained. Gr8t innit m8?

  5. linxit says:

    The online version has (6) for the letter count, hence my suggestion for 3dn. I thought at the time that the clue led more towards IN JEST, but discounted it because of the letter count.

    I would say you could be “clued-up on” something, or “clued-in on”, but never just “clued on”.

  6. diagacht says:

    I also think this must be ‘clued in’. Surely this is just a play on the phrase keeping up with the Joneses. In this instance like all other compilers he wants to have his have his clues in while at the same time keeping up (clued in).

    As for RENAMING I think Stan is right. You can have a new name assigned through deed poll.

    Tough puzzle.

  7. Judy Bentley says:

    Too tough for me, it ‘did me ‘ed in. I had C.A.N. for 20D and still needed Grandma Alice to get it. What would I do without her? Roll on Monday and Rufus.

  8. Ygor says:

    “Predictive text”?!? I’m holding out for “Productive Taxi”.

  9. rightback says:

    Pretty tough. I don’t think I’d have got MERRIER if I’d stared all night.

    Love the blog title, by the way.

  10. Wil Ransome says:

    Forsyte Saga

  11. radchenko says:

    If you type m-a-d-e into a phone with predictive text it’ll come up with made. It’s not like if you try to say cool and you get book instead, hence the new argot amongst da yoof, they even say “that’s book”. You could make naff out of the keys. Just a mild pedantry for what really is a very clever puzzle, but fiendishly difficult. Took me about 2 hours, over four sittings, and even then had to resort to the friend in front of me to unblock the last few.

  12. Will says:

    One of the most fun puzzles I’ve done in ages. Stared at it for ages before getting any, worked through slowly on a train, but in the end only one word i didn’t know (caput) and only one answer I couldn’t explain (merrier). Great moment of realisation when I finally got 1dn.

  13. Adam says:

    Couldn’t get “merrier” I have a smart phone with QWERTY keys so my predictive text will never yield “naff” nor do the keys share letters.

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