Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24885 / Chifonie

Posted by mhl on December 17th, 2009


Quite a tough puzzle today, I thought, with a few words I wasn’t familiar with – these were all quite guessable from the clues though.

1. PESTERED P = “Penny” + (STEERED)*
5. DURESS DRESS = “Don” around U = “bend”; nicely paired with the previous clue
9. WHINCHAT INCH = “move slowly” in WHAT
12. EAGLE Double definition; two under par in golf and the comic famous for Dan Dare (and excellent cutaway diagrams, from the few issues I’ve seen…)
13. OVERREACT RE (Royal Engineers) = “soldiers” in OVERACT = “ham”
14. BUTTERSCOTCH A nice charade: B = “Bachelor” + UTTERS = “says” + COT = “bed” + CH = “companion” (as in Companion of Honour)
18. DISORIENTATE IS + ORIENT = “East” in DATE = “time”
21. MARRAKESH RAKE = “search” in MARSH = “swamp”
23. MOUSE MO = “Dcotor” + USE = “practice”
24. ENSURE [c]ENSURE = “rebuke”
25. BARRACKS BAR = “pub” + RACKS = “fittings”
26. ERODED ED = “journalist” around RODE = “travelled”
27. STAND OUT STOUT = “porter” around AND = “joiner”
1. PAWNEE Double definition: “uncle” is slang for a pawnbroker and the other is a reference to the Pawnee, a Native American tribe. (Personally, I think this use of “brave” is a very dated association that we could do without in crosswords.)
2. STINGY STING = “irritate” + Y[outh]
3. EXCHEQUER EX = “former” + CHEQUER = “draughtsman”; this took me a while to get – a “draughts man” might be a piece in the game of chequers…
4. ERATOSTHENES ERATO’S = “Muse’s” + THEN = “former” + E S = “quarters” (of a compass)
8. STRETCHY RETCH = “Throw up” in STY = “pigpen”
15. CATAMARAN A TAMAR = “a river” in CAN = “Canada”
16. ADAM BEDE DAM = “confine” + BED in A&E
17. ESPRESSO ES = “Bridge opponents” (East and South) + PRESS = “demand” + O = “round”
19. NUNCIO NUN = “sister” + C = “caught” + I = “one” + O = “old”
20. TEA SET TEASE = “Ridicule” + T’ + “the regional”
22. AGREE Hidden answer

26 Responses to “Guardian 24885 / Chifonie”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, I thoroughly enjoyed this.

    All the clues worked for me but, in some cases, only after some pondering.

    I hereby declare Chifonie ‘The Best Setter Ever’.

    I was going to announce a Peerage but I don’t know whether the Setter is a Man or a Woman.

    From the quality of the puzzle, I would assume a Man but from the ending of the Setter’s Pseudonym maybe a Woman.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks, mmhl.

    I enjoyed this much more than Chifonie’s last puzzle. [It’s a man, Bryan: like you, I thought for ages that the name sounded feminine = he’s Armonie in the FT! Then I got Jonathan Crowther’s ‘A-Z of Crosswords’, which tells me they’re mediaeval names for the hurdy-gurdy.]

    I thought 22dn was particularly neat. The only one I wasn’t happy with was 5ac: ‘don = dress’ – and I know Andrew won’t be, either!

    [It really is odd how quite unusual words crop up in puzzles at [almost] the same time. BUTTERSCOTCH appeared in yesterday’s FT [Satori’s [Taupi’s] final puzzle.]

  3. Eileen says:

    Sorry mhl!

    Bryan, I hope you’re noticing I’ve ignored your final remark! :-)

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks mhl – unlike you I actually found this pretty easy (though not in a bad way), with, as you say, the obscure words being clearly clued. As an ex-mathematician I easily got ERATOSTHENES, famous for his sieve of prime numbers (among other achievements). 14ac was very nice with its clever charade and cheeky surface reading.

    My only quibble is (again) with “dress” = “don” in 5ac.

  5. Andrew says:

    You read my mind, Eileen!

  6. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. I enjoyed this too and didn’t find it too difficult, although I couldn’t get the end of 4dn. I had ERATOST and the other checking letters, but drew a blank on the rest. Some very neat clueing.

  7. Orange says:

    Found this really straightforward – must think on the same lines as the setter!

    How is T “the regional” in 20d though?

  8. Chunter says:

    4dn: in March a book entitled ‘The Large Sieve And Its Applications’ by Emmanuel Kowalski was placed 5th in the annual competition for the oddest book title of the year.

  9. Eileen says:


    As in ‘trouble at t’ mill': “Northern dialect form of ‘the'” [Chambers].

  10. Chunter says:

    The net is sometimes referred to as t’interweb ('interweb).

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Found this not too difficult today – most of the clues just seemed to click for me. It won’t last …

    It’s been an avuncular week – we had uncle=pawnbroker over at the Indy on Tuesday.

    14ac was very clever.

  12. Chunter says:

    19dn: In the print version the enumeration is wrongly given as (3,3).

  13. Shirley says:

    16D enjoyed this but why is “bed” in both the clue and the answer?

  14. Tom_I says:

    I enjoyed this one.

    Chunter @12, it is indeed, and that threw me until the end.

    I’m not sure how I (vaguely) knew the name ERATOSTHENES (probably from a crossword!) – I had to look it up to make sure I was right.

  15. JimboNWUK says:

    Easy-peasy provided you have access to some puter-related way of finding the word from the unches from 4D — even the blimmin clue needed Greco-classical knowledge… POOH! And before all you “don’t do crozzys if you’re thick” brigade pipe up, how many of you would get a clue related to Superman’s foe “Mr Mxyzptlk”??? OK probably naff-all of you but this is CONTEMPORARY culture as against ye olde ancient Greek cobblers that most of us oiks that did not attend one of the blues knows (nor cares) anything about. Pah!

  16. robc says:

    Eratosthenes sieve is a useful starting point to get to grips with prime numbers – critical for use in world wide web cryptography.

  17. Websterbooth says:

    Jimbo, do get a grip, there’s a good chap

  18. Phil says:

    I’m feeling smug today so can I have an indulgent swank and say I got 4 down without knowing about Mr Eratosthenes or his sieve. There is a Greek muse in the clue but few weeks go by withour Erato’s appearance. However if I’m being honest I neither knew nor got entracte until I went to Mr Chambers Word Wizard! Still haven’t checked what it means other than it looks like some French corruption of between the acts?

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi Phil

    Yes, ENTRACTE does literally mean ‘between acts’ and, therefore, ‘interval’ but I’m more familiar wih it as being a piece of music played at such a time, and, in particular, the one from Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde’. I’m [in]famously – still, I’m afraid, in spite of best efforts of colleagues here – unable to do links [perhaps my grandson will have time to explain during the Christmas holidays!] but you can find it on YouTube – and I think you may find you know it.

  20. Bryan says:

    Here you go, Eileen

  21. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Bryan! [I’d already listened to it – lovely!] :-)

  22. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl. I started out thinking that this puzzle was very easy and then got stuck about halfway through.
    I did finish it eventually and the last one I got was 4d. I could not understand in 5a why ‘Don’ had a capital ‘D’ as don only referred to dress and not to a specific person called Don. Am I being too picky here ?.

    All in all, an enjoyable puzzle so thanks Chifonie

  23. Trench Adviser says:

    I thought that 1d had something to do with ‘pawnbroker’ but I can’t find any references online to PAWNEE meaning PAWNBROKER. I failed on WHINCHAT and NUNCIO but was happy to get ERATOSTHENES without knowing about him or his sieve.

    Puck, Paul and Chifonie have all been great this week.

  24. Phil says:

    Eileen and Bryan – belated thanks for the Schubert but I’ve only just got back from the pub watching the trigg Morris Men. Very low on mathematical and musical erudition today – liteary rather better with Any Bede. Complete rubbish yesterday with the cartoons – I only knew Fantasia which just shows I’m older than Paul.

  25. mhl says:

    Trench Adviser: my copy of Chambers (11th edition) defines “pawnee” as “a person who takes anything in pawn”.

  26. stiofain says:

    i got pawnee via the native american hint
    when i see this mentioned it always brings up in memory an adam and the ants song
    the human beings
    kings of the wild frontier
    the chant in chorus goes
    blackfoot pawnee
    cheyenne crow
    i reckon they all have shown up in guardian xwords at some point
    hows that for musical erudition phil?

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