Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,585 – Chifonie

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on January 1st, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

Thankfully not that complicated today after a late night, but a reasonable challenge.  There are lots of straightforward formulations, but with nice surfaces and some tricky meanings.

Either that or my brain’s still not up to speed!

* = anagram 
< = reversed 


1. FLOURISH. F(LOUR)ISH.  Lour is a new word on me, it’s a variant of ‘lower’ and can mean a dark look.
5. STUPID. STU(PI)D.  Pi is the relationship of a circle’s circumference to its radius.
12. ANGEL. strANGELy
23. OCHRE. O(CH)RE.  Ore is the equivalent of a penny in Norway, Denmark, Sweden.


2. ORANGE. O + RANG + E(mporium)
3. RECOLLECT. RE + COLLECT.  I’m not sure how ‘Re’ means touching.  The collect is a christian prayer is a ‘prayer for the day’ just before the sermon.
7. PLANTAIN. PL(ANT)AIN. Is plantain a weed?  It’s quite delicious anyway.
15. REED ORGAN. DEER< + ORGAN. I like the use of ‘does’ = DEER.
20. REVERE. R. (EVER) E.
22. ERODE. E.R. + ODE 

21 Responses to “Guardian 24,585 – Chifonie”

  1. Kevin Morris says:

    “Touching”, short for “touching on”, meaning “regarding”, or “commenting”. Yes?

  2. Peter Owen says:

    I agree with Kevin. Chambers gives the meaning “concerning (preposition)” to both re and touching.

  3. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Ah, very good Kevin

  4. Eileen says:

    7dn: in this country, plantain is a particularly tenacious weed, a different thing altogether from the tropical banana-like fruit.

    4dn: I was initially puzzled by ‘met’ = SAT but I assume it’s as in Parliament meeting or sitting.

  5. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Ciaran. I wish I’d recorded my time for this, because it was unusually fast for me. “does” for DEER was very nice indeed :)

    Thanks for explaining the “met” = SAT bit, Eileen.

  6. Eileen says:

    I’ve just noticed that Chifonie is classified as ‘hard’. I completed this more quickly than most recent puzzles but it’s a good example of an ‘easy’ puzzle which is nonetheless very satisfying. I thought the anagrams in 18 and 21ac were very clever, with excellent surfaces, and I thought the ‘changed email address’ in 11dn was very elegant. The only weak clue, I thought, was 17dn: ‘electronic network’ for E NET.

    ‘School member’ fooled me [though I did know ‘lour’ and 1ac was the last one to go in.

  7. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Eileen – I clearly need to get into the garden more! I probably could have explained SAT=MET more, but it’s used in the sense you mention, as well as inquiries, panels, councils etc.

    I too was surprised how easy this was for a Chifonie, especially on a Thursday. I certainly agree that it’s an excellent example of a puzzle that’s ‘easy’ but still well constricted (compare to ‘easy’ cryptics in tabloids, for instance).

  8. Eileen says:

    Ciaran: sorry to make fun of your typo but I can’t resist this. Have you seen Uncle Yap’s story attached to the first answer in his blog today of the Cinephile FT Christmas quiz [12,956]? :-)

  9. Ian says:

    Particularly suitable for New Years Day. A not too taxing puzzle with some clever anagrams, esp. 11d.

    Lour was also a new word on me.

    Ling, I note, is getting increasingly popular in crosswords, if not on the plate.

  10. Roger Murray says:

    25a appeared as a clue many years ago when I was an art student ,in Hull, in the mid eighties. I only dabbled with the Guardian cryptic at the time but even this level of involvement mystified my housemates. I used this clue to try and show them the potential for humour in crosswords. A few weeks later the clue had found its way into a song that my housemates band played and even recorded, for the curious and brave the song was called Fishlake performed by Death by Milkfloat. What fond memories to start this year with

  11. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Well I struggled with this. Thank goodness for wordfinder, I got there eventually, but….

    1ac) not only is lour a new one on me too, I have never heard fish used in this way. Anybody tell me where this usage derives from?

    12ac) what on earth has backer got to do with angel? Is it merely a ridiculously sentimental way of refering to a backer? If so we live on different planets.

    5ac) PI is NOT a relationship it is a number. Would anyone call 2 a relationship? No, 2 is a number. Claiming otherwise is mathematically incompetent. The quoted example, a circle’s circumference is 2 times pi times r. 2 is a number, pi is a number, r is a variable. Equals is the RELATIONSHIP between the circumference and the formula for calculating it.

  12. Eileen says:

    Derek: the collective noun for fish is ‘school’, so a fish is a school member.

    An angel can be a financial backer, especially of theatrical productions.

    As I said yesterday, I’m no mathehematician, so will go no further.

  13. Eileen says:

    I’m no mathematician, either!

  14. Geoff Moss says:

    1a School – a shoal of fish, whales or other swimming animals

    12a Angel – a financial backer or advisor esp one who finances theatrical ventures

    5a Pi – a symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter

    Ratio – the relation of one thing to another

    All Chambers definitions

  15. Geoff Moss says:

    Sorry Eileen, I didn’t mean to duplicate your comments. I must learn to type faster (or write less).

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry, forgot about fish, I tend to think of fish in a newspaper with chips, ho ho.

    Hmm, in the industry I worked in backers were those so and so’s who wanted their pound of flesh, and definitely not angels.

    Well in that case either Chambers is wrong or is being read wrongly.

    Do you want to call 1.8 a relationship? Of course not, it’s just a number. But it converts quantities of degrees F to quantities of degrees C by being used as a ratio.

    The confusion comes from the use of numbers in specific contexts. A number can only represent a ratio in a specific context. In general they are simply numbers. For example, a circle is not the only way of defining pi, it is merely one context in which pi happens to equate to a ratio. It does not make pi a ratio, it is a context in which a ratio is RERESENTED BY the number pi. But pi is still just a number no different from any other.

    Try another angle, circumference divided by diameter is a ratio. PI just happens to be the number that represesnts the VALUE of the ratio, the ratio is c/d, not what it evaluates to, that is a number.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Oh dear, I just realised what Chambers says. It is wrong. A ratio is NOT a relationship. Relationships are :-

    Equal to
    Not equal to
    Less than
    Less than or equal to
    Greater than
    Greater than or equal to

    So a ratio, when evaluated, will have a value which and this is expressed by the relationship of being of equal VALUE. I put the capitals in to emphasise that we are not talking about structural identity.

    so semantically c/d = pi


    a ratio which relates to a value using the equality relationship.

    So the values are being equated, but the natures of the left and right hand sides are not. The left is a ratio, the right is a number, thay have the same value. But a ratio is not a number, neither is a number a ratio.

  18. mhl says:

    Derek Lazenby: being a lapsed mathematician I slightly raised an eyebrow at “relationship” for PI, but I think it’s probably fair enough, given that colloquially people certainly do think of ? as being the relationship between a circle’s circumference and its diameter.

    To perhaps put this in perspective, it pales in comparison to a pub quiz I once went to in London where the following question was asked:

    What is the value of ? as a vulgar fraction?

    Our eyebrows were naturally raised by this, but we carefully wrote out the answer, “As an irrational number, ? cannot be expressed exactly as a vulgar fraction. However, 22 / 7 is a commonly used approximation.”

    To our outrage the quiz master marked this wrong, saying “? is exactly 22 over 7″. Needless to say, we didn’t go back to that quiz, although in a strange coincidence the following week the Guardian sent a “best pub quiz team ever” to the same place, apparently without incident.

  19. mhl says:

    Oops, apparently this version of WordPress doesn’t like my Unicode PIs. Read “Pi” for “?” in that comment.

    Incidentally, “angel investors” are very commonly talked of as one of the options for funding start-up companies.

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    Arg!!! Pub quizzes!!!! Don’t get me started on that one. I have a whole cupboard full of stories such as yours.

    Hmm. Common mistakes…. the world is flat (500 years ago), the moon is star, well it’s up there ain’t it guv? Doesn’t make them right.

    How about if I clue “…too…” as “including a relationship so it sounds?” Meaning sounds like two. I’d get crucified. What’s sauce for the goose…..

  21. Rich says:

    Very nice crossword today, I think this is what crosswords should be on weekdays, not fiendishly difficult just taxing and with some wit. Leave the tough ones for the prize crosswords.

    As a working mathematician I have to stand up for Pi, it isnt just another number like 2,3 or even 4! It is an irrational number and a transcendental number.

    Also I think people are reading too much into the relationship clue for Pi, we can say that Pi has a relationship to the nature of the circle, and dont need to concern ourselves with ratios.

    I do think that relationship is too vague a clue for Pi though.

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