Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24847 – Bonxie

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 3rd, 2009

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

After Enigmatist’s tough puzzle last week, this one was a stroll.  Not many hard-boiled eggs (see * below) and the four biggies (two easy annies and two cd’s) gave away most of the connecting letters.

9 GENEVA *(avenge)
10 REACT *(trace)
11 MASSACRE Ins of S (small) + SAC (bag) in MARE (horse)
12 SPAT Rev of TAPS (hits)
13 CHEW THE FAT to talk at length and in a rambling fashion (from rhyming slang rabbit and pork, talk).
Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean;
And so betwixt them both,
They lick’d the platter clean.

15 MIRACLE Ins of RAC (rev car, vehicle) in MILE (distance)
16 FRIENDS Cha of FRI (Friday) ENDS (goals)
18 MISFORTUNE *(form is) TUNE (air)
20 HUGUENOT Hague with a (one) replaced by U (university) plus NOT for a French Protestant. I never quite like this kind of parochial clues where an international audience (from Kuala Lumpur, Ottawa, Brisbane, Cape Town,  Tallahassee and Port Moresby and wherever this puzzle is syndicated to) is supposed to know a former PM-wannabe aka William Hague (a not-so-famous Tory leader some years ago) or some obscure British TV show.
22,19 CHINSTRAP Cha of CHINS (hits) TRAP (mouth as in shut your trap)
23 FLUKES dd “tails” is defined in Chambers .. see fluke3 … part of whale’s tail
24 MORTGAGE Beautifully misleading cd

1 SURREPTITIOUSLY *(tourist pleurisy)
SEBASTIAN FAULKS *(suitable asks fan)
VERMEER VER (extremely or very minus y) MEER (counter or meter minus t)
6 ENGAGEMENT RINGS Nice cf and intended means people who have promised to marry each other
7 OVERLAND PASSAGE cd main = ocean
14 THREESCORE *(secret hero)
21 NEST ha

*p/s When I was training to be a Chartered Accountant, we had a lecturer, Jeremy Handley (I heard he became a Tory MP) who was as irreverent about CA’s as John Cleese. He told us this story of a CA who led such an excruciatingly dull life and was an examiner for the Professional II accounting paper. One morning, he boasted to his wife “Darling,  last night I crafted a consolidation question about a British company acquiring a company in Hong Kong during a time of wildly fluctuaing exchange rates and to cap it, they have non-co-terminus financial year-end dates”

“Capital, darling, for that you deserve a hard-boiled egg”

From that day on, a hard-boiled egg came to denote something extremely convoluted or difficult.

18 Responses to “Guardian 24847 – Bonxie”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, I gave up with 4 unfinished: 20a, 23a, 2d and 21d.

    But what a small world!

    I knew Jerry Hanley (now Sir Jeremy) way back when he was an Audit Clerk. We used to go bowling. His mum is Dinah Sheridan, the actress, and his dad was Jimmy Hanley, the actor.

  2. Ian says:

    Thank you Uncle Yap!

    I understand your point about the ‘parochiality’ of some clueing which would prove difficult for overseas puzzlers. Notwithstanding, I thought it was a decent puzzle and found much to admire in what Bonxie presented today, esp. the humour in 23/19ac.

  3. liz says:

    Thanks for a wonderful blog, Uncle Yap! I got three of the long ones quickly and filled in the righthand side, but took a lot more time to get the lefthand side out, and eventually used the check button a few times. MISFORTUNE and HUGUENOT gave me the most trouble.

    I thought 24ac was a good cd.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks also, good blog. Got there in the end with a bit of a struggle, but some enjoyable and smile-inducing clues, especially 6d.

    I’m comparatively new to cryptics (this site is a big help, btw) and was surprised to see 22/19 ac. Is it usual to have one (entire) word spread across two spaces like this?

  5. Phil says:

    Whilst confessing to be almost entirely ignorant of details of Guardian crossword syndication I am less concerned about William Hague here (much more concerned about the company he chooses to keep!). I feel that reference to a relatively recent party leader and probably the next Foreign Secretary (ugh!) is fair in a newspaper whatever the syndication.

    He is probably less well known than Vermeer. But possibly more obscure than a parochial British novelist or a parochial British nursery rhyme or even more parochial Cockney rhyming slang which we also needed to know. Our perspectives are likely to be different because it depends what you know.

    So on this I side with Bronxie and other compilers who will inevitably use bits of knowledge beyond our collective ken?

    I am significantly more irritated with myself for recognising the anagram, recognising the fodder but missing the Sebastian Faulks answer when I am reading his latest book.

  6. mhl says:

    Thanks for the entertaining blog, Uncle Yap. I thought FUSELAGE was worthy of note as a particularly good hidden answer.

    Kathryn’s Dad: It’s good to hear that you find the posts here helpful. You do fairly often get a single word split across two spaces – I think the rule (in the Guardian anyway) is that each part has to be a word in its own right, so the complete grid has only real words in it.

  7. Uncle Yap says:

    I have just come back from my Tuesday Hash Run and was so happy not to read something like “We are British .. like us, like our dog”

    I spent most of my working life in sales, marketing and management and when I hear Britons saying “This is a British paper so, like it or lump it” I get a tad disappointed and really understand why in Kuala Lumpur today, we do not see any Mini Cooper, any Morris, any Vauxhall, maybe a single Jaguar at my club and when the King is out and about, a Rolls Royce. BUT the bread and butter of the motor industry is filled with Toyota’s, Honda’s, Kia’s. Mazda’s, Datsun’s, Ford’s etc

    Now these car people did not tell, for example, the Americans “We only produce right hand drive cars … like it or lump it” They produce cars that can drive on both the left or right side” and they prosper

    Crossword editors in the UK should bear in mind that your puzzles (still the best in the world) are sold all over the English-speaking world and it will be to your long-term financial interest not to be too parochial

  8. andi says:

    I apologize in advance if I come across in a hostile manner. I very much enjoy your contributions to this website, but I have to disagree.

    The car situation in Malaysia reflects that in many other countries – where the superior product of the Japanese and the low-cost offerings of the Koreans have resulting in superior sales – and is not comparable to the crossword industry! The lack of British cars does not reflect a “like it or lump it” attitude, but rather the poor economic returns of production in the UK. Of the cars you mentioned, the Mini is German, the Morris ceased production in 1984, Vauxhall is American (via GM), Jaguar is Indian and Rolls Royce is German. Even in the UK, you be hard pressed to find a British made car by a British owned company!

    Whilst it is true that these puzzles are sold all over the world, I presume it is generally as part of the British newspaper parent. Would you also ask that the Newspaper exclude news items deemed to parochial for your tastes?

    Furthermore, I would guess that the non-UK sales account for such a small proportion of overall revenue, that the long-term financial interest point becomes moot. In any event, newspapers generate more income from advertising sales than circulation.

    I would find a more comparable argument would be asking your local mamak stall to offer fish and chips / Sunday roast in addition to their local offerings so as not to deter trade from passing tourists.

  9. Orange says:

    Anyone else put off by having “passage” in a clue as well as an answer? I spent some time looking for an alternative, as bottom right was a problem for me. Overall, I quite liked this crossword, a smile when you finally get it makes the day brighter!

  10. Cathy says:

    I wonder if the internet doesn’t negate the problems of parochiality nowadays…I admit I couldn’t think of any names of recent Tory party leaders other than Major and Thatcher (perhaps extended absence from the UK makes one worry about these things less!) and so I took the cheats way out – looked up conservative party UK on Wikipedia and found William Hague (I remember him now…and perhaps why my brain chose to forget him!) and got to Huguenot from there… I’m still not sure if using Wikipedia is truly cheating…I prefer to think of it as a learning experience :) All good fun anyway…

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    This started out easy (6 answers in 5 mins first time through; then another 5 in 14 mins second time through), but then ground to a crawl. Spent 54 mins in all, but failed to get 8a (how slow of me, now I see the explanation) and 4d.

    I was held up by 2d, since I had put SPAR for 12a, which fits the clue, mor or less.

  12. Jim says:

    As an American, I am grateful for the British leaning in the puzzles. It has given me a great opportunity to pick up on British spelling, idioms, sports, geography and pop culture.
    Sorry for the late time – it’s only 4:20 PM in Washington DC.

  13. liz says:

    Cathy — I think the impact of the availability of information on the internet on crosswords is interesting, as is the question of what constitutes ‘cheating’.

    I personally don’t consider it cheating to consult reference material, whether that’s a dictionary (Chambers for me), Wikipedia or a dictionary of quotations. It all seems part of the search and the learning curve. If I’m certain of the wordplay, looking an unknown word up is simply confirmation. Wiki is also useful for themes, especially in areas beyond one’s own general knowledge.

    Cheating, for me, is hitting the Guardian ‘cheat’ button, using an online anagram solver (not quite so bad, as at least you’ve identified the fodder) or using a crossword site that allows you to enter checking letters and comes up with suggestions.

    Somewhere in between is the Guardian ‘check’ button, to which I will resort if I know I’m on the right lines. Increasingly this has become the most tempting option for me. I am most pleased if I can solve crosswords without any aid, or with only a dictionary, but I like to finish, so I will use ‘check’ if I can’t.

    I wonder if setters are taking into account all these additional aids and devising ever more devious clues and finding ever more obscure words to clue as a result? That said, like a lot of people on this site, what I really value is wit, a good surface and fair and elegant clueing.

    Sorry Gaufrid, you may wish to move this post!

  14. Gaufrid says:

    No need for any apology, it is a perfectly valid comment, albeit not totally relevant to the puzzle under discussion.

    I agree that setters appear to be taking into account various solving aids, and why not, after all a lot of them use computerised aids to generate and fill the grid, even if they subsequently have to write the clues.

  15. tim the newbie says:

    Thanks for the solutions. Got about 60 percent of this one so syeadily improving. Could someone explain 21 down pls? I get the clutch (of eggs) ref but not the stick. I’d say what I think of as ‘brute force’ methods are fair game for beginners particularly when setters resort to obscure shrubs/animals/mineral compunds as answers. Cheers.

  16. Bryan says:


    NEST (which = CLUTCH) is also hidden within all-in-oNE STick.

    I didn’t get that one either.

  17. Paul B says:

    Perhaps compilers ought to be thinking of those solvers, few though they may be in 2009, who don’t have any solving aids at all. Or who left theirs at home by mistake. But I fail to see why a British crossword should accommodate those for whom English is a second language or not a language at all, except where its compilers are asked to by an editor. The internationally-read FT is the only Brit one I can think of that does this.

  18. Bryan says:

    Paul B

    All users of this site could have access to solving aids should they wish.

    Personally, I prefer to attempt the cryptics off-line but, in desperation, I then either cheat or read the blog.

    Exceptionally, with Prize Puzzles, I resort to Googling when I come across something like HUIS CLOS.

    I find this site particularly satisfying because it explains how a clue works.

    Keep up the good work!

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