Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,570/Chifonie

Posted by Andrew on December 12th, 2008


After Araucaria’s Miltonic epic and Paul’s Queen/Chess combo this week it was almost a relief to return to milder waters today with Chifonie. I found this mostly very easy, with just a couple of places (TONDO and ACTAEON) where my trivia store failed and I had to do some googling. There was what seemed to be a mini-theme around art, with 10, 11 and 26 ac, but I think that was just coincidence. (Apologies that unexpected work crises have made this blog both terser and later than I usually aim for.)

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

4. ATHEIST AT HEIST – a simple charade, but somehow the change in pronunciation makes it harder than it should be.
10. PIETA E in PITA. A piece of art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus after the crucifixion.A sculpture by Michelangelo
11. TONDO N in TO-DO. A circular painting or sculpture.
17. STRESS S(mash) + TRESS
24. AMBIT AM(erican) BIT. I’m not sure a horse’s bit is exactly a “restraint”.
26. PRADO PR ADO. The major Art Gallery in Madrid
28. PINK GIN KINGPIN* – does anyone still drink pink gins?
4. ACTAEON ACT A EON. The definition is “the hunter hunted” – Actaeon was a hunter who was turned into a stag and killed by hi own hounds.
16. VANDALISE N DA in VALISE – The lawyer here is DA = District Attorney
18. SWINDON WIND in SON. I don’t much like plain “here” as a definition of a town, especially as there’s no &littery going on.
19. WINTRY WIN TRY – to “try” is to “plague” as in trying someone’s patience.

35 Responses to “Guardian 24,570/Chifonie”

  1. Ralph G says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. We needed some ‘good ordinary claret’ after the excitement of the last week.
    Minor point on 18d ‘descendent’ as a noun. Chambers has maintained a clear distintion between ‘descendant’ as a noun and ‘descendent’ as the adjective from 1951 at least. However, to my chagrin, the OED (back on line this morning) gives -ant and -ent simply as variant spellings. Collapse of stout party. On the other hand, if you look at the citations from 1800 onwards, they support the distinction in Chambers.

  2. Geoff says:

    Bravo, Andrew – good post.

    I found this one mostly straightforward, but hampered myself by putting in BE AGAINST (GAIN in BEAST!) for 9ac, and NARRATIVE (with NATIVE rather than NATION) for 22ac.

    Some good clues here – I particularly liked 1dn. 1ac and 18dn both use the trick of “in …” or “here” as the definition of a town. Many purists turn their noses up at this, but it is used so frequently that it has become one of the standard conventions of cryptic clues.

    Titian’s painting “Diana and ACTAEON” is up for sale by the Duke of Sutherland, having been on long term loan to the National Gallery of Scotland. I think it is currently on display in London while attempts are being made to raise the funds to purchase it for the nation.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I wouldn’t call it terse: there wasn’t a lot to say, was there? Unusually easy for a Friday but, as you say, I think we’ve worked hard this week! I agree with you entirely about 18dn: there’s scope for a more inventive clue there.

    Re 24ac: Collins has ‘bit: 1.a metal mouthpiece on a bridle for controlling a horse 2. anything that restrains or curbs.’

    I don’t know whether you omitted 19ac deliberately. I presume it’s W + ANGLER – but I’m not very happy with ANGLER = ‘rod’. All my dictionaries [including Chambers] have ‘angler’ as ‘a person who fishes with rod and line’.

  4. Testy says:

    I agree with Andrew entirely on 18D. Where it’s an &lit, so that the rest of the clue gives more of an indication of what sort of “here” we are talking about, then I think it’s fine. Otherwise “here” is too vague and could mean anything between the kitchen sink and the entire universe (buildings, streets, villages, towns, cities, counties, countries, continents, planets etc. not to mention mountains, ranges, seas, deserts, forests, etc., etc….. you get the point!)

    In the Independent Dac I think gave us an almost identical clue for EYEWASH less than a month ago.

  5. Eileen says:

    Andrew: PS I agree with you about the changed pronunciation in 4ac. I had a similar hiccup with 13ac: I kept playing with oak, fir, elm, ash… ‘yew’ came a few minutes later!

  6. Geoff Moss says:

    Rod – a slender pole or structure carrying a fishing-line; an angler using this (Chambers).

  7. Eileen says:

    Geoff Moss: right, I’ve found it – but I don’t have to like it! A rod is a person?? The only ones I know are capitalised!

  8. Shirley says:

    4Ac – Is a sceptic really an atheist? Chambers says he is someone who “tends to disbelieve” rather than categorically denies the existence of God.
    I’m probably being too picky here – we enjoyed today as a bit of light relief after Tuesday & yesterday. Especially 13A & 16D.

  9. Andrew says:

    Eileen, thanks for pointing out my (accidental) omission of 19ac. I agree with your interpretation of the clue, and Geoff’s addition. I’m sure there’s a technical term for the “rod”=”angler” figure of speech, where “the part stands for the whole”, but I can’t remember the name. It’s the same principle as in “head of cattle”, or “oar”=”rower”.

  10. John says:

    What’s the discussion on “descendent/descendant” about? My paper has “descendant” which is fine for son. And “here” is used so often for a place that I found myself instincively looking for one.
    I thought both 19s were weak, and don’t like “retirement is almost” for “nigh(t)” in 1 dn.

  11. Andrew says:

    I’ve just noticed that this puzzle contains no hidden answers, double definitions or reversals, thus making my “key” somewhat redundant. Is this a record?

  12. John says:

    Just had another look and realised I had the 1dn wordplay wrong. Ignore.

  13. Andrew says:

    John, I parsed 1dn as: Shift of retirement (NIGHTIE) is (link word) almost (NIGH) secure (TIE).

  14. John says:

    Thanks Andrew. There must have been some electronic telepathy at work there!

  15. Berny says:

    I drink pink gins but it is hard to find a bartender who knows how to make one – gin first or last, ice in or out, bitters in or out? My preference – ice in then out, bitters in then out, then single measure of gin! Got this one straight away.

  16. Geoff Moss says:

    “What’s the discussion on “descendent/descendant” about?”

    The on-line interactive version has ‘descendant’ but the printable pdf file has ‘descendent’.

  17. Testy says:

    Andrew, I think the term you were looking for is synecdoche (I only know that cos it was my word for the day from a couple of months ago). Nice word.

  18. conradcork says:

    Re post 9. Andrew, the word you want is synecdoche.

  19. conradcork says:

    Pipped by Testy. Must work faster. :-)

  20. Andrew says:

    Thanks, Testy and Conrad, that’s the one.

  21. Eileen says:

    Andrew: in case you ever need it again [;-)]: the term is synecdoche [Greek syn [together] dechesthai, [to accept]. This is the ‘useless’ kind of stuff I tend to know: I may not know Rod but I’m familiar with Actaeon!

    [I see I’ve been beaten to it again!]

  22. Andrew says:

    I did know “synedoche”, but it had slipped down the back of the back of the sofa of my memory. Also tucked down there are the wonderful double-act of Syllepsis and Zeugma.

  23. Andrew says:

    Oops, and I do know it’s spelt “syneCdoche”.

  24. Eileen says:

    Andrew: we’re back to Milton!: I was introduced to Zeugma when studying ‘Comus’ for A Level English and have always remembered

    … as when the wrath of Zeus
    Spoke thunder and the chains of Erebus
    To some of Saturn’s crew’

    and have hardly seen the word, or its use, since. [I see Collins gives: Mr Pickwick took his hat and his leave.’ as an example.]

  25. Eileen says:

    Whoops: didn’t remember as well as I should – getting my Greek and Latin mixed up! Of course, its ‘the wrath of *Jove*’!

  26. Ralph G says:

    19a ‘rod’. Not my field either, Eileen, but the OED has “5b transf. An angler” with several supporting citations inc. an advert. from the Oxford Gazette 16 Jan 1975 “Prospective rods may apply for descriptive booklet”. Not quite Milton, but I like “prospective rods”.
    Geoff: thanks for pointing out where ‘descendent’ came from; should have suspected the pdf print version. Apologies all round.

  27. Eileen says:

    And also, of course, it’s ‘it’s’. [Who was it who wished we could have a ‘edit’ button?]

  28. Eileen says:

    ‘aN edit button!!’

  29. smutchin says:

    Since I’ve been beaten by everyone to posting the answer to Andrew’s rhetorical question, I shall instead post this link to one of my all-time favourite websites:
    (Good material for a themed crossword there, perhaps?)

    Today’s puzzle has got me craving a pink gin. It must be a few years since I’ve had one. Mmmm.

  30. DavidMed says:

    Hello All – this nothing to do with today’s puzzle, I’m afraid, but Eileen suggested that I post the following here, as the original blog is fading into history.
    A few days ago Mhl said:
    >> I haven’t seen anyone remark on being mentioned by Professor Stephenson in his newsletter this month, recommending this site as a way to find out how clues work.<<

    And I replied……..
    OK..I will! I only discovered Hugh Stephenson’s column a few weeks ago – the archive of his columns is really useful to a new solver. I emailed him asking about sources to unravel answers – he didn’t reply directly, but maybe it was my email that prompted him to mention ‘fifteensquared’ in his next column. Whatever, I’m very grateful to him for that, and to all the contributors here for the interest and the help that you all give. Thanks to you all, I’m getting better at solving – sometimes!
    Cheers, DM

  31. Tom Hutton says:

    ‘He left the room in a flood of tears and a bath chair’ was the zeugma we were taught.

    Is the rod an example of metonomy rather than synecdoche as in ‘he was addicted to the bottle’, synecdoche being the part for the whole which a rod is not of an angler.

    Personally I found this crossword harder than yesterdays.

  32. Brian Harris says:

    Not hugely impressed by today’s puzzle.

    Geoff – I made those exact same two mistakes, BE AGAINST and NARRATIVE at first, until realising my error.

    I didn’t really like the clues for WANGLER or SWINDON. Or WINTRY come to that. Maybe it’s personal taste, but in places some of the synonyms seemed just a bit too loose.

  33. ray says:

    In the plural, ‘rods=anglers’ would seem akin to using ‘guns’ to mean ‘members of a shooting party’ – but both grate rather in the singular.

  34. Dave Ellison says:

    It was I who wanted an edit button.

    I got 13 ac, but didn’t realise I had. I hadn’t written it in and was reading it as E_U_ASH, and the penny didn’t drop. Doh!

  35. C & J says:

    We agree with Shirley about “atheist”. This setter seems to be rather weak on the precise meaning of words, eg “vandalise” does not really mean “destroy” but “damage”.

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