Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,754 – Bonxie

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on July 17th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

An unusual grid and an unusual theme, today.  I don’t think the answers ere particularly linked to the theme, mind you.


9. REND. (cove)R + END.
12. AORTA. (f)A(v)O(u)R(i)T(e).
13. CHAMPION. double definition.
15. CITY. C + 1 + T(r)Y.
16. MONEY. M + ONE + Y.
17. SLAY. S + LAY.
18. PARTICLE. P(lace) + ARTICLE.
20. TRIER. Is this just a double definition or is there some wordplay I’ve missed?
21. STROLLERS. RESTROLLS*. I think the apostrophe in the clue may be misplaced.
24. SPLODGE. S.P. + LODGE. S.P. is ‘starting price’, LODGE is used here as a verb.
. FLAT + TEN. Different sense of ‘fell’ to 22ac.


1. FETE. “Fate”.
4. TOP HEAVY. double def.
5. SHRIMP. SCRIMP with C swapped for H (cold and hot taps)
6. DRAG. GA(u)RD<<
12. ANITA. (hum)ANITA(rian).
14. ON AIR. (deb)ONAIR.  Deb is short for Debutante.
16. MUCILAGE. M(U + C(hewing))ILAGE.
21. SUPS. S(UP)S.
23. OVER. possibly (c)OVER but I’m not too confident

34 Responses to “Guardian 24,754 – Bonxie”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks Claran.

    Trier is tier “rank” outside the letter “r” “ousider”, I think.

  2. Ciaran McNulty says:

    NeilW – can you expand on why R is outsider? TIER certainly seems convincing.

  3. NeilW says:

    “Outsider” = “OUTSIDE R” , so the clue is a concealed word play – “tier” outside the letter “r”. Well, that’s my reading of it.

  4. NeilW says:

    Sorry if my explanation is a little fuzzy – it’s been a “trying” day here in Jakarta.

  5. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks Ciaran.
    I can’t remember encountering Bonxie before – but I could be wrong.
    This was an intriguing puzzle, because of the stated theme that wasn’t and I found it quite easy, except for a couple which I got, but can’t quite reconcile.
    One is 23d. I got OVER from the definition but, like you, can’t work out what “topping from cake” has to do with it.
    The other was 24a – I’d never heard of SPLODGE but worked it out from the word-play and crossing letters.
    20a also caused me much thought until the penny dropped – TIER outside R giving TRIER – someone trying or undertaking.
    Very enjoyable.

  6. The trafites says:

    23ac I guessed this could be (turn)OVER… but it’s still unclear what type of cake.


  7. NeilW says:

    Hi Crypticnut. Great minds thinking alike again!

    To cake something is to cover it. Topping cake is chopping the head off it. A decapitated cover is over.

  8. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ciaran. I thought there might be some special racing event today to make the theme topical, but I can’t find anything.

    in 20ac, “Outsider” = “outside R” is a particularly outrageous variant of the “indeed” = “in deed” trick..

    I’m not sure about 23dn either – you can be “caked” in dirt etc, which is sort of being covered by it.

  9. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks NeilW.
    Once again an expression I’ve not come across before.
    Now that it’s been explained I have to acknowledge it as a clever clue.

    Have just seen the coverage of the situation in Jakarta on ABC news. Sad!

  10. Andrew says:

    I think Bonxie has set the Quiptic (and/or possibly the Genius puzzle) but never the daily. “Bonxie” is apparently another name for the Great Skua.

  11. don says:

    Thanks for the explanations, Ciaran. I didn’t understand ‘shrimps’ – clever clue. Since a palace, a church , a temple can be a ‘place’ and ‘wat’ = a Buddhist temple, I had ‘swat’ for 17 across. Liked 18 across and thought 19 down had the elegance of Rufus.

  12. Bryan says:

    Bonxie, I enjoyed it: please keep up the good work.

    I was confused by ‘A Day at the Races’, as I was continually looking for something to do with horse racing, about which I know next to nothing and this turned out to be unimportant.

    I was stumped for a time by 12a which I felt sure had something to do with racetrack parlance, although I did get it eventually: a great clue!

    Andrew, Bonxie set Cryptic #24688 on 1 May 2009.

  13. Paul B says:

    Well, at least the compiler managed to get the part of speech right for some of the (seven full and two partial) anagram clue indicators.

    Seriously though, an appalling puzzle in my opinion. One of the worst I’ve ever seen in a daily, replete with repeated, indirect and unfair indication. And Bonxie purports to educate new solvers via the Quiptic?

  14. John Dean says:

    My favourite kind of turnover is the apple turnover:

    I take the 23d clue to be cake = turnover, turn = topping ie beginning of word removed to leave ‘over’.

  15. NeilW says:

    Sorry, John, can’t agree – the clue doesn”t imply cutting half the word off. “Pick the topping off” is much closer to “take off one letter” and what’s wrong with cake meaning cover? It’s a lot closer than cake being a generic definition, surely.

  16. enitharmon says:

    I like to follow jumps racing so maybe that’s why I disagree with Paul B and enjoyed unravelling the racing terminology in the across clues. Perhaps it was a good idea that got a tad strained over a whole set but never mind.

    Some nice clues there – I liked 12ac especially.

  17. Andrew says:

    Bryan, thanks for the reference – I see we had similar discussions about Great Skuas and Bonxie’s identity then. Memory? Who needs it..?

  18. Ciaran McNulty says:

    I thought Bonxie’s name rang a bell – looks like I blogged their first puzzle too!

    I did consider ‘turnover’ but wasn’t really convinced it was a cake rather than a pastry – a bit of googling also suggested there’s a ‘Dover cake’ but it seemed quite obscure. It may be in Chambers but I don’t have it to check.

  19. liz says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. For what it’s worth, my reading of 23ac was also (C)OVER. An easy end to the week.

  20. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks to Bryan I have found that I did do the previous Bonxie puzzle – it appeared in our local paper on or about June 5; my short term memory ain’t what it used to be.

    That one, I realise, was also very enjoyable (after reviewing the blog) and I look forward to his/her next offering!

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Struggled with this one because of post 13 para 2.

    Once again we surprise each other with which words we think of as common or not, splodge in this case. Maybe its regional and I hadn’t noticed others not knowing it.

    I rememember coming back in from play with dried mud on limbs and clothes (as little boys do) and Mum saying words the effect that I was “caked over with mud”.

  22. Berny says:

    Really enjoyed this one – some clever terse wordplay – well done Bonxie

  23. petero says:

    I found this by and large an enjoyable puzzle. I did leave 23d. to the end in case I could think of something more satisfactory than ‘over’. I eventually justified it as referencing ‘turnover’. After all, I have seen cakes with as much topping as crumb, and the use of ‘cake’ for a pastry is acceptable – think of the famous Eccles cakes. On reflection I feel that ‘cover’ is at least as justifiable, even though Chambers does not spell out that use of the word; the usage is covered by the sense of a dried mass of stuff.
    I also noted the errant apostrophe in 21a. I do not think that it would be any improvement for the clue to read Walkers’ rest: that would get the number correct, but still there is no justification for the apostrophe in the cryptic reinterpretation of the clue. Walkers rest (no apostrophe, rest, verb) seems OK to me. Alternatively, there is some justification for leaving the clue as it is, and taking the answer as the possessive stroller’s, the apostrophe being dropped along with such punctuation as spaces hyphens and diacriticals, except for Dac on Wednesday.

  24. stiofain says:

    I thought this was rubbish can anyone explain the use of brackets and upper and lower case letters?

  25. Dagnabit says:

    Stiofain, if you mean in the across clues, I think the words beginning with upper-case letters are the names of contestants (e.g., horses) in the race, while the lower-cased words in brackets are references to aspects or events of the race. So, for example, in 10ac, the surface reading of the clue is that a contestant named Large Thin Human collapsed during the race.

  26. liz says:

    I have to say I wasn’t too impressed with this one. Nil on the aha-o-meter!

  27. stiofain says:

    Thanks Dagnabit makes sense but doesnt make the xword any better

  28. Fletch says:

    Re. 13, I haven’t seen this puzzle so no idea if it’s as awful as you say but I tried a Bonxie Quiptic years ago and it reinforced my view that the best way in for a new solver is a fair puzzle like The Times.

  29. Mike Laws says:

    Like some of the above, I was seriously underwhelmed. Since the theme was restricted to clues, rather than answers, why use such a lousy grid?

    And “Heartless Metropolis” couldn’t be the name of a racehorse – the maximum length is 18 characters and spaces.

  30. Mr Beaver says:

    For what it’s worth, I was quite happy with this outing from Bonxie. The racing report device for the Acrosses was quite clever, and a reasonable mix of easyish and tortuous clues. IMO, no more ‘unfair’ clues than some of the more revered setters.
    Mrs Beaver and I actually managed to finish it on the same day which, given our solving ability, means it can’t have been too bad!

  31. Brendan says:

    I thought ’I know nothing about the marx brothers film, so will not get very far with this‘. However, Mrs B and I finished it over our lunch break without any necessity to refer to the film. We made a stab at the final answer, 17ac, so did not put slay!

  32. Sylvia says:

    Re 24754:

    16d: Milage not mileage?

  33. Richarg says:

    As a crossword dummy, and only just dicovering this site, I think the vast majority of you are very brainy/weird. At last I can now work out the answers.

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