Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,968 / Bonxie

Posted by Eileen on March 26th, 2010


A reasonably straightforward puzzle from Bonxie, with some nice touches. I have some quibbles with two or three definitions.

1   SCARECROW: anagram of CAW SCORER: this surface made me smile.
BOOM: BOO [‘said to surprise’] + M
8   BROACHES: homophone of brooches
9   RELATE: [p]RELATE: shades of yesterday’s Orlando!
10 TERROR: T[he] + ERROR [slip-up]
11  ADHERENT: anagram of HEAD + RENT [split]
12,5  DONMAR WAREHOUSE: anagram of ONE WHO RUES DRAMA – nice surface. Donmar Warehouse is a 250-seat not-for-profit theatre in London’s Covent Garden.
15 EMULSION: EMU + anagram of LIONS
16  PHOTOFIT: cryptic definition – but I’m not absolutely sure how it works: it’s a ‘wanted’ picture – but …
19  EXCITE: EX [old] + CITE [name]
22  SCRIMP: S[mall] + CRIMP [‘to press into folds, flutes or edges': Chambers]
24  FINISH: homophone of Finnish
25  ADEQUATE: AD [bill] + EQUATE [agree] : one of the dodgy definitions:  ‘equate’ really means ‘to make equal’, though Collins does have ‘to be equal’, a more modern usage, but it still does not really equate to ‘agree’!
26  NEWS: NEW [revolutionary] + S[ociety]
27  TWENTY-TWO: this is one where you have to look at the number of the clue!

1   SERVE: anagram of VERSE: I’m not very happy with ‘perform = serve':  ‘perform’ = ‘do’ and ‘do’ = ‘serve’, as in ‘That will do’, but that’s a step too far for me. Perhaps there’s a more obvious connection? [Serve = ‘perform service for / perform the duties connected with’ [Chambers] but that’s not the same thing.]
ANAGRAM: STEALTH is an anagram of THE LAST: I thought this was an excellent surface and cleverly linked to the next clue. It’s a pity 1dn couldn’t have been somehow incorporated, too.
ETHER: anagram of THREE [and ether makes one numb! – by no means the first crossword outing for this device but this was a nice working of it.]
4   ROSEATE:  SEAT [chair] in ROE [eggs]
6   BELARUS: anagram of REAL in BUS
7   OUT AND OUT: OUT [antiquated + AND [joiner] + OUT [known] – again, rather a big leap: as in ‘The secret is out’?
13  OTHERWISE: OTHER WISE: [more = other?]
14 RIFLE SHOT: ‘report on range': FLESH [meat] in RIOT [rebel]
17 TOADIES: [m]I[c]E in TOADS: I wasn’t very impressed with this at first, as I thought that a toady was simply a toad-like person, but Collins tells me it’s short for ‘toadeater’, ‘originally a quack’s assistant, who pretended to eat toads’ which were [SOED] ‘held to be poisonous, to enable his master to exhibit his skill in expelling poison’, hence a flatterer. My new word – or, at least, definition – of the day.
18  TESTATE: TEST [try] + anagram of TEA
22  SMELT: double definition
23 MOTTO: reversal of OTTOM[an] [Edit: this is rubbish: see JohnR’s comment 1]:  I think I’ve become just about as used to seeing ‘saw’ in this sense as ‘see’ = ‘ely’!

42 Responses to “Guardian 24,968 / Bonxie”

  1. JohnR says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I wondered if 23d was actually [b]OTTOM reversed. Or would that be a Paulism?

  2. Eileen says:


    Yes, of course you’re right – I like that much better!

  3. Mick Hodgkin says:

    One correction to blog – 1ac the anagram is, of course, of – ‘caw scorer’, not scarer. Sightly strained anagram fodder, but a good surface, as you say, and a nice definition. For the same reason, I liked 14dn’s ‘report on range’ for RIFLE SHOT and 18dn’s ‘willing’ for TESTATE.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Mick – corrected now.

    I agree with you about 14dn but I’ve seen willing =TESTATE rather often! :-)

  5. Martin H says:

    Quite hard work, this one; partly because of the rather strained definitions you’ve noted, eileen (new = revolutionary is another), but also because of some beautifully deceptive surfaces. I should like to see an explanation of PHOTOFIT – I can’t see that one at all, but CIRCUIT BREAKERS is my clue of the month so far.

  6. IanN14 says:

    Hello Eileen,
    I, too, didn’t like Serve or Toadies very much, and agree about Photofit. (It’s nearly there, but…)
    I also agree with Martin; I thought Circuit Breakers was terrific.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Eileen. Yes, one or two niggles, but I thought a good one today with some clever surfaces, especially 12/5 and 24ac. And ROSEATE reminded me of the bird-themed puzzle we had somewhere recently, because you mainly see it as part of Roseate Tern, a shore bird that gets its name from a pinkish flash on its breast.

  8. sidey says:

    I think the ‘developed this way’ is a cryptic reference to the way photofits were assembled (?developed) by fitting the facial features from a kit of parts. There’s not much reference to the system on the web, I don’t think it was much cop. [oh my aching sides]

  9. Bryan says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    My take on 17d was that ‘those havong brown noses’ was an allusion to ‘Arse Lickers’.


  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks, sidey: I think that’s as far as I got, too – as you say, not much cop, if that’s all there is.

    We’ve said ‘mixed bag’ about Bonxie before and I think this is another one.

    Thanks for the info, about the bird, Kathryn’s Dad: I’d only come across ‘roseate’ applied to the dawn.

    Re CIRCUIT BREAKER: I’m not usually keen on charade-type clues, particularly this kind, made up of whole words, so I hadn’t really noticed how good the surface was here.

  11. Eileen says:

    Yes, Bryan, that’s exactly what I thought – there isn’t a definition, otherwise! :-)

  12. Matt says:

    Morning. Haven’t posted here before – there’s usually nothing left to say by the time I’ve finished the crossword, but today …

    Chambers has: brown-nose (coarse slang, especially US) to act obsequiously (towards).

  13. rrc says:

    I smiled at 1c, with 125 decided the compiler must be based in SE, smiled again at 15, was surprised at 26 ie revolutionary = new or dope = info, spotted 1d anagram and wondered whether perform and serve equate – some very nice clues but must admit it failed to maintain my interest.

  14. Eileen says:

    Welcome, Matt! [Oops, sorry, that wasn’t intentional. :-) ]

    Hope to hear more from you.

    rrc [and Martin H]

    I’m surprised at your surprise at revolutionary = new: I didn’t think twice about it: Collins has ‘radically new or different’. I’m quite happy with dope = news, too – and Collins has ‘news or facts, especially confidential information’.

  15. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I liked 1ac and 20,21 very much. Also 2dn and 3dn. But I agree with what’s been said about ‘new’ for ‘revolutionary’ and the wordplay for 16ac.

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen at no 14.

    That is pantomime fodder (it’s so good it’s going in ours next year).

    But Matt, welcome – and yes, hope to hear more from you.

  17. sidey says:

    There’s this rather more roseate chap than the tern Both rather lovely.

  18. finbar says:

    A photofit is developed by the police for a wanted person.

  19. sidey says:

    They are not really developed finbar, more assembled jigsaw-wise. You can play here

  20. Martin H says:

    eileen re #14: ‘radically new’ yes, maybe even just ‘radical’ at a push, but ‘revolutionary’ is so much stronger than ‘new’ that it doesn’t work for me. No problem at all with ‘dope'; good clueing.

  21. Ian says:

    V. Good blog as ever Eileen.

    All covered by you and everyone else.

    Several really excellent clues, esp DONMAR WAREHOUSE, ANAGRAM & ETHER.

  22. Tom Hutton says:

    Nice to have a crossword without a theme.

  23. Mr. Jim says:

    DONMAR WAREHOUSE was a comedy of errors for us – we realised the anagram quickly, and I facetiously pointed out WEREHOUSE (not a typo) (as is to a house whatever a werewolf is to a wolf). My solving partner said “Warehouse. Good shout”, and we quickly solved the other 6 letters…and put in RANDOM WAREHOUSE. Eventually we realised, and got DONMAR from the checking letters.

    Thanks to Eileen and to Bonxie.

  24. finbar says:

    Sidey, I meant develop as in to build up or to take form rather than the photographic sense.

  25. stiofain says:

    I loved this it was full of great surfaces I thought PHOTOFIT didnt quite make it either, I think Bonxie was trying to link fit=healthy or muscled=developed maybe.

  26. Mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    For 26ac, I wonder if the solution might be REDS. I think they are addictive barbiturates.

  27. Daniel Miller says:

    I agree Mike04: 26 looks like “Reds” to me.

    Some nice touches here, some obscure references. Finish was a nice answer for 24 while I was thinking French (Polish).

  28. Eileen says:

    Mike and Daniel

    Sorry, both – I’ve just used the cheat button and it’s NEWS, [I do take your point about revolutionary, Martin # 20.]

  29. Gaufrid says:

    Unlike others, I have no problem with revolutionary=new. The synonyms given for ‘revolutionary’ in Collins Thesaurus are: “avant-garde, different, drastic, experimental, fundamental, ground-breaking, innovative, new, novel, progressive, radical, thoroughgoing”.

    Chambers Thesaurus has “new, innovative, progressive, experimental, avant-garde, different, drastic, radical, thoroughgoing, complete” albeit after ‘revolutionary ideas’.

    Another (less reliable) source defines ‘revolutionary’ as “Markedly new”.

  30. Martin H says:

    So it’s fine Gaufrid to use ‘new’ if you’re clueing ‘revolutionary’. Here the clue is for ‘new’, and ‘revolutionary’ is not given, quite rightly I think, as a synonym in Collins on line.

  31. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Martin H
    Collins gives ‘novel’ as a synonym for both ‘revolutionary’ and ‘new’ so I think either can be used as a definition for the other.

    In Chambers Thesaurus ‘revolutionary’ is given as one of the synonyms for ‘new’.

    Not that this matters because the definition was ‘revolutionary’ so ‘new’ only needed to appear in the list of words having the same meaning as ‘revolutionary’.

  32. Mick Hodgkin says:

    I guessed REDS, but having read all that, I’ll take a bow for the new revolution – just hope I don’t get fooled again!

  33. sidey says:

    finbar #24, I see what you mean.

  34. Martin H says:

    Shouldn’t ‘revolutionary’ have to appear in……

    Well, we seem to be going round in circles.

    I’m off down to the Revolutionary Inn. Have a good evening everyone.

  35. Daniel Miller says:

    NEWS – Point taken

    (so that’ll be “New” then!) :) :)

  36. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sidey at no 17, for the second time today, thanks for that: good links and both attractive birds as you say, although yours (which I’d never heard of) is clearly superior in terms of roseateness (?) to mine.

    A good weekend to one and all.

  37. sandra says:

    thanks for the roseates sidey. like the spoonbill but terns are very elegant birds. enjoyed the diversion.

    not much to say about the crossword. some good clues, some not so. thought reds was a better fit than news although news was what i put in.

  38. Sil van den Hoek says:

    The top half went in rather quickly, although the first part of the ‘theatre’ was a bit of a guess. Did the same thing as Mr.Jim (#23).
    But then the problems started in the ‘bottom half’.
    [nice word to clue for Paul someday :)]
    We missed out on NEWS eventually, and MOTTO (quite a clever clue).
    Although there were, as Eileen pointed out, some dd’s ( = (this time) dubious definitions) – in SERVE, ADEQUATE, OTHERWISE -, I must say that for us this was fully compensated by a host of very good clues, of which 2+3d, the football related 1ac and 6d, 11ac, 14d and (after reading this blog) 23d were highlights.

    We found 27ac (TWENTY TWO) extremely poor, though.
    It was like the setter couldn’t find a proper clue for the word.
    And then that ‘question mark’, I would say ‘exclamation mark’ !

    Finally, I think that Bonxie just added something to “Wanted picture” (being the PHOTOFIT) to unlink the two words. In the surface as it is, it reads as “I wanted a picture that …”, which is different from the meaning of the solution.

    As Eileen said, a mixed bag, perhaps.
    But pro saldo, very enjoyable and a nice conclusion of another cryptic week.

  39. Bullfrog says:

    Given the complaints around here about esoteric language, it’s interesting how many of us thought ‘reds’.

  40. Bullfrog says:

    I saw a totally different explanation for 27ac — I immediately assumed that 22 was the Fahrenheit equivalent of -5 Celsius. Then I saw Eileen’s explanation and thought about it and decided to check, only to find that it’s actually 22.5555. Which, technically, is 23.


  41. William says:

    Hello Bullfrog #40.

    I’m intrigued how you get to 22.5555. You must know some other formula. I thought (°C x 1.8) + 32 = °F no? In which case -5°C = simply 23°F.


  42. Bullfrog says:

    Hi William,

    That’s odd — I went the lazy route yesterday and found an online converter which gave 22.5555. As you say, the old fashioned method (x 9/5 + 32 in my case) gives 23.

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