Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,638 / Chifonie

Posted by Eileen on March 4th, 2009


A very straightforward puzzle today, with very little to comment on. 14dn raised a wry smile but, for me, it doesn’t match Paul’s classic ‘Man United playing away from home.’

[ ] *  anagram
dd    double definition


1   PASS BY: SS [saints] B[orn] in PAY
4   WORSTED: dd. Worsted is a fine woollen fabric, named after Worstead, a village in Norfolk.
10  GRASP: G[eorgius] R[ex] + ASP
11  LENTO: LENT + O[rchestra]
12  MEDALLIST: Chambers gives Me as an abbreviation for ‘maître’, so I presume it’s ME + DAL + LIST
13  DEAD SET: dd
15  ENTAIL: ENT [hospital dept] + AIL [‘occasion’ as a verb here]
19  PIMENTO: PI + MEN + [uproo]T + O
24  TEPID: PI [relationship] in TED
26  LORIS: hidden in saiLOR ISn’t; my new word for the day: it’s a small primate of S. Asia
28  HERETIC: HERE + TIC[k] I don’t really equate ‘here’ with ‘now’ but Chambers gives ‘at this point or time’
29  SEND UP: S[ociety] + END UP


1   PICKLED: L[itres] in PICKED
2   SATAN: SAT + A + N[orth – bridge partner]
3   BOTTOMS UP: BOTTOM [the weaver in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream] + SUP
5   REGAL: G[rand] in REAL
8   KISMET: K[ing] + IS + MET
19  PAELLA: PATELLA minus T[roy weight]
21  HEALTH: L[eft] in HEATH
25  PROUD: U in PROD

55 Responses to “Guardian 24,638 / Chifonie”

  1. Mike says:

    I interpreted 12 as MEAL + LIST with D(irector) inserted.

  2. Eileen says:

    Mike; thanks for that. I’m sure you’re right.

    And 6dn should, of course, be [IDIOT RANT]*

  3. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    I completed this crossword quite comfortably in less than 30 minutes. The top half fell first. The last to go in were 1d [not helped by my putting in LET IT …. (from allowed) at 9ac and also my considering LL for litres] and 21dn. Faves were 4dn and 26ac (a good hidden clue), among others. Many clues have good surface reading . The &Lit at 14dn is easily solved but an adulterer is someone who does more than just rue arrangement; he must act (invariably in what they call quickies).

    Eileen: In 1dn it should be L[itres] in PICKED.

  4. Monica M says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I agree with Mike … well at least that’s how I read it.

    Also … can you please explain the PI part of 14 across … I’m baffled as to how it equates with self-righteous.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Rishi: corrected now. I’m not doing very well today!

    Hi Monica. We had PI again the other day, I think. It’s short for ‘pious’ – in fact, Chambers gives it its own entry:’obtrusively religious, sanctimonious’

  6. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    self-righteous – pious – PI

    Sometimes the word is sanctimonious.

  7. Colin H says:

    I remember PI cropping up quite a lot in the Telegraph, back in the day when I was doing that one regularly.

    Didn’t have too much trouble with it today – took about 20 minutes. Started off in the top right with WORSTED, and pretty much followed a clockwise course round the grid. I rather liked TOLLBOOTH.

  8. Monica M says:

    Aha … I don’t remember the discussion from the other day, so thanks for the explanation.

    I’d also never seen the abbreviation GR, however, I worked it out and then checked the derivation.

    Kismet made me smile too.

    Also … in the online version, the solution for 2dn is given as SATIN … however I disregarded it… as it couldn’t possibly be … that’s confidence for you!!!

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well I’m glad you all enjoyed it, I struggled rather.

    I’m not the sort of man who is into fabrics, I may have heard the names but I use the words rarely. I just go into a shop and buy something without paying any attention to what its made of. If I like the look and feel I really don’t care about anything else.

    I also came to the conclusion the online version was wrong. SATIN makes absolutely no sense what so ever.

    I didn’t get 5d either. Is there some realtionship between sterling and real?

    And I was never going to get KISMET, never knew what it meant, and never watched or listened to any of the myriad items listed by Wikipedia under entertainment.

    Nor, I’m afraid am I any good on bones and flowers.

    Still, having been in the rare position yesterday of knowing all the words that several others didn’t, I guess I was due for a good kicking.

    Shouldn’t 6d have been singular Custom?

    I don’t want to go back to previous discussions, but in 24a, PI as a relationship is wrong, it is a number. And what Chambers has to say on the subject is crass mathematical incompetence. Sometime I might get around to putting how these various concepts of number, term, expression, relationship etc inter-relate onto Chat2. But that will be when apathy stops ruling.

  10. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Monica, I must have been dreaming: I really thought I’d seen a recent explanation of PI used as above. We’ve had it as Private Investigator a couple of times lately – and it’s interesting that it’s also in today’s puzzle as ‘relationship’.

    [If you had been a little girl at the same time as me, in England, you’d have seen GR on pillar boxes!]

  11. C.G. Rishikesh says:


    Re 6d. I too wondered why Customs was in plural when the answer is TRADITION.

  12. Monica M says:

    No worries Eileen … I don’t expect photographic memory.

    Derek: My take on real … a silver coin … but I could be wrong and will happily bow to any better explanation.

  13. C.G. Rishikesh says:


    Re 5 dn. Sterling = genuine, authentic = real.

  14. Eileen says:

    Derek: sorry to rub in the ‘relationship’ thing – I’d written my comment before yours appeared1

    I know you don’t like Chambers but Collins gives ‘sterling: genuine and reliable; first class’. [It goes back to when our money was worth something.]

    I think tradition can be thought of a collection of customs.

  15. C.G. Rishikesh says:


    Re PI

    Maybe you were thinking of Gaufrid’s blog on FT crossword of Feb. 4 which has: 20 PIGOUT PI (sanctimonious) GOUT (taste, in French)…

  16. Ian Payn says:

    Another fine commentary – I do enjoy looking at these. Despite my (self-)vaunted prowess I occasionally can’t get a clue, and never look at the following day’s responses (laziness) so this site is invaluable, and my thanks go to those who take the timee to solve the crossword and then to record it, not only hard work, but also hardly risk-free! Kudos all round.

    Also it’s good to see that the site isn’t the province of experts only. That no-one seems afraid to admit blind spots or mistakes, or ask questions, is very encouraging.

  17. Eileen says:

    Thanks for that, Rishi, but I was thinking of a case where it had actually been queried – but I can’t find it! Never mind, it’s explained now.

    And thanks, Ian, for the encouraging comment – especially on a day when I’d found so little to comment on!

  18. Chunter says:

    24a: PI can be defined as circumference/diameter (of a circle), and a ratio is a kind of relationship.

    Eileen: there are plenty of GR (and even VR) postboxes still in existence.

  19. Tom Hutton says:

    I enjoyed this crossword a lot except for another arbitrary abbreviation in 19dn. I thought 22ac read particularly smoothly.

  20. Eileen says:

    Chunter: yes, to my unmathematical mind, ratio = relationship but I know it always causes controversy.

    I don’t know about ‘plenty’ but I do know of a couple of VR boxes. I was just trying to explain to [Brisbane girl] Monica in what context you might see that abbreviation.

    Tom: I’d never seen T for Troy before but – it’s in the big red book…

  21. Monica M says:


    I appreciated the explanation of GR … however when I was a girl (I lived in a bush town, pop 100) we went to the post office to collect and send our mail.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    chunter, it would be a digression here, but my apathy didn’t last. I just posted a detailed explanation in Chat 2. You will find that a ratio is NOT a relationship. That is very loose and incorrect speaking. Discuss further in Chat 2 if you like.

  23. Geoff says:

    Well posted, Eileen.

    I was late picking up the crossword today, so there isn’t much left to say. Interesting to see two different indicators for PI in the one puzzle (I agree with Derek that a ‘relationship’ is not the same as a ‘ratio’, but this is used rather often and is therefore fairly easy to spot).

    Not a bad puzzle at all, but without the buzz that yesterday’s generated.

    I particularly liked 14dn (perhaps even more than Paul’s clue, which Eileen quoted at the top – clever though it is, it is a single cd, which counts against it in my book). And I hadn’t come across (CUT IT FINE)* = FETTUCINI, an equivalence that could be used either way round for clueing.

    Last in was PAELLA: nothing wrong with the clue, but ‘food’ and ‘bone’ are pretty vague, and T for Troy is not an everyday abbreviation (unless you are a goldsmith, perhaps). And the solution itself is an unusually structured word – I discounted a word beginning PAE.. on first run through options.

  24. Monica M says:

    FYI – All

    Orlando popped into yesterday’s blog quite recently. I wonder if he’s perusing our comments with interest ;-)

  25. John says:

    Along with T for Troy, I cite W for women, D for director, S for saint (in English we use St), and, marginally, B for born as other examples of arbitrary abbreviations. It’s a bugbear of mine, so maybe I’m in a minority.

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    I’m not sure I agree with every single one of those John, but in general principal, may one join your minority?

  27. Geoff says:

    John: St is the usual abbreviation for Saint in English, but SS is a standard abbreviation for the plural Saints – particularly in double acts like SS Simon & Jude – just as ‘pp’ stands for ‘pages’ and ‘spp’ for ‘species (pl)’. It isn’t a doubling of the single S – which would be a bit off.

  28. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    I don’t find any objection to b. for born (so often seen in obit ads)or D for director (in India it is very common as part of many acronyms such as DGP for Director General of Police).

  29. steven says:

    Eileen;loved the Paul quote!

    Another poor day for me I got over half the answers and on seeing the solutions had to kick meself a couple of times.22 I understand journey=tour and Time=age, but can’t see where the En comes from.Could someone explain?I particularly liked 27.

  30. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    En is a printing measure. So also Em.

  31. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    em, the unit of measurement (12-point lower-case m) used in spacing material.

    en, half of an em.

    Definitions from the Chambers dict.

  32. agentzero says:

    Eileen, thanks. This was fairly straightforward for me except that I never did get PAELLA. I decided that “Troy cut back” was ILI(um), and was hoping there was a bone called something like PIEILI…

  33. steven says:

    Thanks Rishi,another tool in the solving bag!

  34. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Just a question:

    When we tell someone “Do it here and now!” do we ask that person to perform it at this place and at this present moment? Does not ‘here’ in that phrase also mean ‘now’?

  35. smutchin says:

    Re 19d – Orlando gets points from me for avoiding all the more common indicators for the letter T, most of which are thoroughly worn out from overuse. Don’t care what anyone else says, I liked that clue a lot – very neat and pithy. Agree that “bone” and “food” are a bit vague but with a couple of checking letters, it’s eminently gettable.

    No one has mentioned 11a yet, which was my personal favourite today – simple but with a lovely elegant surface.

    Also really enjoyed 27a, despite finding it rather infuriating – I spent ages trying to fit in the letters “QC” (“Mrs Blair professionally”).

  36. smutchin says:


  37. Garry says:

    Re Pi – there was a short exchange here involving me and Rishi.

  38. Garry says:

    Oh yes and 27ac was my favourite.

  39. stiofain_x says:

    Id say PI as relationship is in such common usage in cryptics that it is now acceptable even though it is not strictly mathematically accurate. Interesting that both instances of PI in todays puzzle should raise queries.
    A pretty straight forward puzzle today some nice surfaces and nothing too controversial i believe this is a LORIS

  40. Geoff says:

    Agree with Smutchin about 19dn, in fact. I have no complaints about the clue or the solution – they just gave less of a leg-up than the rest of the puzzle, which is why this was my last entry.

  41. Eileen says:

    Thanks for that, Garry – it was driving me mad when I couldn’t find it!

    Agentzero: on the first run-through, without looking at the checking letters, I, too, immediately thought of Ilium when I saw ‘bone’ and ‘Troy’ together! I wonder if it was deliberate [slight] misdirection?

  42. ray says:

    Can someone please explain how mount=set in 23d ? I presume it must be a verb equivalence somehow as I can’t think of any noun synonym (though mount=setting seems possible in jewellery)

  43. Eileen says:

    Ray: I didn’t look this up earlier, thinking of mounting stamps and photographs meaning to set them in place. The nearest I can find in Chambers is ‘mounted = set up, set’. Since the present tense of ‘set’ is ‘set’, this seems to justify it.

  44. ray says:

    Thanks Eileen – I guess it’s no worse a stretch than many others. I’d tried mounting steps, podium, stage etc but set didn’t seem to substitute for them and hadn’t thought of the photo/stamp context.

  45. dagnabit says:

    Hello from a longtime US solver of Guardian crosswords. I am happy to have found you because despite my frequent use of inference and the Internet there are still quite a few Britishisms that escape me, such that there are times when I know the answer but not how it was derived. Case in point: today’s “HERETIC.” Can someone explain how “credit” yields “tick”? Many thanks in advance.

  46. stiofain_x says:

    it is simply a colloquialism for credit probably from the debt collecter ticking each weekly payment off in his little black book.

  47. dagnabit says:

    Thank you!

  48. Eileen says:

    Welcome, Dagnabit – hope to hear from you again!

    Stiofain: if pushed, I’d probably have guessed at your suggestion [I’ve never really thought about it before] but thought I’d better look it up! All three of my dictionaries [SOED, Collins and Chambers] give ‘tick = credit’ as an abbreviation of ‘ticket’. [It goes back to the 17th century.]

  49. dagnabit says:

    Thank you so much for the warm welcome, Eileen! I’m curious now about the relationship between credit and tickets–would the ticket be something like an IOU?

    Sorry to be so dense–but if you ever have any questions about American colloquialisms, I’d be happy to oblige. :)

  50. stiofain_x says:

    hmmm Eileen more 4 letter word controversy.
    I bow to your superior reference sources and I cant find anything to support my rash definition, it was something I was brought up with, the Tickman being a regular fixture in Ireland, and always presumed that was the origin of it. There is a nice quote from Stevenson confirming your provenance in OED “This villainous habit of living upon ticket” (18 century credit crunch perhaps!!)
    Dagnabit I remember a mention by Damon Runyon, in one of his excellent short stories based on New York street life, referring to free theatre tickets as Ducats (perhaps just some sort of rhyme or bastardisation of tickets) but also remember he referred to them as “chinamen” a word that has caused controversy in the past here but one which I can work out no reason why that would mean free theatre tickets, can you explain that colloquialism?.

  51. Paul B says:

    ‘Shall I write it down, Mr. Westerby?’ says the barmaid to the Honourable Schoolboy on the occasion of George Smiley’s not entirely chance visit to a certain subterranean dining club. And on what should she write, one wonders.

    Ah, the games of international subterfuge.

  52. ilan says:

    Goodness you turn your back for a minute and this site becomes a veritable hotbed of cryptic chat.

    Anyway, I loved 14D — but I wonder — is an &lit or semi-&lit? — I rather think the latter. Which is too bad.

  53. Paul B says:

    Hi Ilan – nice to see you back.

    ‘Married man who later rued arrangement’

    is just not that great. Even &lits or semi-&lits conform to some kind of feasible structure, and this one may fall short. What is the ‘who’ doing, apart from aiding the surface? Obviously its effect on the cryptic grammar is far from helpful! Consider instead

    ‘The jungly mass one cleaves’

    for example, where M+ACE goes around the anagrammed HET. Now that would be an &lit I wouldn’t have minded authoring.

  54. dagnabit says:

    Hello, Stiofain,

    I’m afraid you have me stumped over the Runyon reference. The only even remotely relevant explanation I could find was that in the second half of the 19th century, Chinese emigration to the United States was aided by something called the “credit-ticket system,” whereby Chinese merchants advanced money to emigrants to pay the cost of their passage. The emigrants would then have to pay the merchants back with money they earned from their labor in the US. But this is quite a far cry from free admission to the theater!

  55. ilan says:

    Paul, you make (as per usual) a good point — seems like: “married man later rued arrangement” would have sufficed, no?

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

nine − 3 =