Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24408 / Chifonie New solvers start here…..

Posted by tilsit on June 6th, 2008


I suppose the kindest thing I could say about this puzzle is that it probably provides a gentle introduction to daily cryptic crosswords for the novice.  As a hard-bitten and long-in-the-tooth solver, I am afraid there was little in this to provide me with any enjoyment.  Perhaps we have been spoilt by a particularly outstanding week, but solving this seemed a chore and reminded me of the Lavengro days in the Guardian.

Solving time: 10 mins (3 of those while I thought about 1 across)


1   ESTANCIA   INCAS ATE*      A word from my O-Level Geography days.

5   GAMBIT   G + AMBIT   

9   SCORSESE    S inside SCORES + E  

10  SIENNA   INSANE*    Sienna is a shade of brown.

12  GRACE     GR + ACE 


14  CHITTERLINGS   HITTER inside CLINGS  Made me smile.

18  COUNTERPOINT   COUNT + (H)ER + POINT   I abhor clues that appear to have strayed either into a Cockney boozer or back to a Tommy Trinder film.  See 4 down as well.

21  ICE SKATES  SKATE inside ICES    A skate is a member of the RAY family of fish.

23  ATOLL  A + TOLL   Can “in the form of” be used as part of this clue?  Yes, as it makes the clue an “&lit”.  Atolls are defined as being built on rings of coral. 

24  ENAMEL   NAME inside EL    Castile is a province of Spain.


26  TUMULT   TUM + ULT     Ult. is an abbreviation for Ultimo which means “in the last month”.

27  DEAD HEAT    DEAD + H + EAT 


1  ENSIGN     E + N + SIGN    E(ast) and N(orth) are opponents in Bridge.

2  TOO BAD   OB inside TOAD

3  NISSEN HUT   SUNSHINE* + T  Nissen huts were extensively used in WW2.

4  INSPECTORATE  (H)ECTOR inside IN SPATE   In Chambers “spate” is defined as “flow”

6  AMIGO      Hidden answer

7  BANDANNA   BAND + ANNA  An Anna was an old indian coin.


11  MADEMOISELLE  I’M A MODEL ELSE*   Chambers defines Mademoiselle as “a French governess or teacher”  whether that means a teacher of F  or from F is open to suggestion.

15  LEND A HAND   END A H  inside LAND

16  ACCIDENT    ID inside ACCENT 

17  LUKEWARM  LUKE + W + ARM    Detachment is used in the military sense as in “a detachment of troops” as in “an arm of a main body”.

19  LOATHE   O inside LATHE


22  KNELL   Homophone of NELL.



11 Responses to “Guardian 24408 / Chifonie New solvers start here…..”

  1. Testy says:

    18A I get more annoyed that crosswords always seem to assume that cockney’s have the monopoly on dropping aitches. I grew up in the north of England and I didn’t even know that aitches existed until I went to ‘ull University!

  2. Eileen says:

    To be fair, it wasn’t the crossword today that made that assumption.

    And I still think LEWIS HAMILTON yesterday was brilliant!

  3. Andrew says:

    To be fair, neither of the H-dropping clues in this puzzle actually mentions cockneys.

    I thought 23ac was fun.

    11dn: In former times MADEMOISELLE was often used in girls’ schools to refer to a French teacher, if she was actually French; or what in my day we used to call an assistant(e) – typically an unqualified person (maybe a student) who would take the occasional lesson to help with pronunciation etc. (Do they still exist in these Health&Safety-, Child-protection-conscious days?)

  4. Pasquale says:

    A bit of a downer from today’s reviewer whose kindness to those who aim at average or new solvers sounds a bit reluctant. We do need some simpler puzzles sometimes! My obit for Quantum appears in The Guardian today, by the way

  5. AlanR says:

    There are still French language assistants – typically people studying English in French universities on their year abroad. Generally they don’t actually take lessons though – just work with two or three pupils at a time.

    Personally I found this one of the harder crosswords this week; oleaster and estancia were guesses, and if I’ve ever heard of chitterlings, it was as “chitlins”.

    I read the obit for Quantum without realising it was written by another setter (perhaps the first time I’ve read an obituary!) but it was very interesting; so thank you, Pasquale.

  6. Amnesiac says:

    Just thought I’d mention this blog has been filed under Independent not Guardian. Can this be fixed?

  7. C G Rishikesh says:

    Usually the administrator fixes such problems. I think he is away now.

    As Tilsit is bound to know, posters can also fix this by pressing the Edit button after logging in, making the necessary change and then saving it.

    And I might also add that as the box to check the relevant category is way below the ‘Write a post’ screen, posters may miss it unless they remember to scroll down. I forget it often but make amends afterwards by editing.

  8. Paul B says:

    Re 4, was this puzzle as easy as Pasquale and Tilsit make out? Anagramming the relatively obscure ESTANCIA did not bode well at 1ac!

    For me this was ‘a chore’ however: I’ve not managed to attune myself to the Chifonian wit, despite years of trying.

  9. smutchin says:

    I’m a relatively inexperienced solver and I found this puzzle hard going, though that’s possibly because it was the end of a tiring week at work.

    I got BANDANNA despite my knowledge of old Indian coins not being what it might, and I deduced OLEASTER despite having no interest in gardening, but however hard I stared at the letters of INCAS ATE, I was never going to make them into a word to fit 1ac.

    14ac is delightful.

  10. NealH says:

    It might be a good idea to change the category for this, since it’s not an Independent puzzle.

  11. tilsit says:

    I have altered it.

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