Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24974 / Chifonie

Posted by mhl on April 2nd, 2010


An enjoyable puzzle, with an easy ways in through some obvious anagrams. I have a few quibbles or questions, mentioned below, however. (Apologies for the late post – I’d forgotten I was meant to be doing today, so this is quite a hasty write-up!)

1. ELAND ELAN = “dash” + [roa]D
4. BOAT RACE BOA = “Snake” + TRACE = “detect”
8. CIVIL LIBERTIES CIVIL = “Polite” + LIBERTIES = “disrespect”
10. APRES-SKI PRESS = “Squeeze” + K in A1 = “superb”
11. LANDAU L = “Learner” + AND = “with” + AU = “gold”
12. GRASSLAND ASS = “Beast” + L = “left” in GRAND = “splendid”
15. TEASE TEASE = “drinks” + E = “earl”; the expression “to guy [someone]” is rare now, I think
17. RIYAL LAIR = “refuge” reversed around Y = “yen”
18. DIVERSION DI[ana] = “Little girl” + VERSION = “type”
19. TRENDY TRY = “Attempt” around END = “close”; a nicely deceptive definition (“in”)
24. BREAD-AND-BUTTER READ = “Study” in B AND B = “lodgings” + UTTER = “say”
25. GLOSSARY GARY = “Player” (referring to the golfer) around LOSS = “cost”; I think this ought to be “Player, perhaps” or “Player, say”
26. PEDAL Sounds like PEDDLE = “push”
1. EXCHANGE RATE EX = “Former” + CHANGE = “coppers” + RATE = “judge”
3. DELOS D = “duke” + SOLE reversed
4. BRICKYARD RICKY = “Richard” in BARD = “poet”
5. AVER [w]AVER = “’esitate”; personally, I think the apostrophe should only indicate the removal of the same letter… [h]AVER = “’esitate”; I didn’t know this, but “haver” is synonymous with waver / hesitate (Thanks, Gaufrid.)
6. RETRACTOR CARTER = “Egyptologist” reversed + TOR = “mount”
7. CREED C = “chapter” + REED = “instrument”; although you can have reed instruments, is there a sense in which a “reed” is an intrument? Update: Gaufrid points out that Chambers gives “a reed instrument” as one of the definitions of “reed”
13. SALAD DAYS SAYS = “Speaks” around A LADD = “a Hollywood star” (Alan Ladd?)
20. ENROL R[ebel] in LONE reversed
22. PLUMP L[abour] in PUMP = “grill”, as in to pump / grill someone for information
23. DADA Double definition

20 Responses to “Guardian 24974 / Chifonie”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    5dn is [h]AVER so, sorry, your quibble isn’t justified.
    7dn one of the definitions for ‘reed’ in Chambers is “a reed instrument”.

  2. Judy says:

    I think 5 down is [h] aver : the same letter. I enjoyed this puzzle, but I don’t like cryptic definitions, so it suited me. Some unusual wordplay – I liked B and B in 24 dn. I hope there isn’t a hidden theme that I haven’t noticed!

  3. mhl says:

    Gaufrid: sorry, I didn’t know about that meaning of “haver”… (We’re in the middle of the protracted process of moving to Switzerland, and Chambers has been packed away…) I’ll correct those.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    Still, at least you did remember eventually. Ta for that.

    For us non-experts this was in-between, perfectly do-able, but not quickly. Maybe other people down at this level have my recall problem. I’ve mentioned it before, but I think it is best expressed as having an internal MRU list. So whilst all today’s synonyms were known, they weren’t all on the MRU list so were not immediately apparent. Most popped out with crossing letters, but some still needed gadgets for a memory jog. Sigh, it must be nice to have unfettered recall, you experts don’t know how lucky you are.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. Hope the move goes smoothly!

    I thought it was (w)aver too, but I have heard of haver and can see this must be the explanation.

    Nothing contentious here or too tortuous I thought, but still enjoyable with some nice surfaces.

  6. Daniel Miller says:

    This was not particularly challenging at all. I normally take around 40-60 minutes to do the Guardian (and sometimes more when it’s a real challenge, have been known to give up on some) and there’s usually 2-3 answers that are pretty hard to get or stump me completely but once in a while a 10-20 minute one comes along.. a nice jaunt on a holiday nevertheless. As the solution indicates most of it was there to be worked out or even realised from the recognition of the missing letters.

    I suspect most people want to be challenged and although completing a puzzle can be satisfying it’s more satisfying when you’re left questioning your knowledge and understanding of the answer and, additionally, when you commend the setter for the inventive nature of the clues.

  7. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Just to be pedantic, I thought the apostrophe-s was redundant in the clue for 18.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, mhl – and all the best with the move!

    I promised a couple of weeks ago [and confirmed it more recently] not to comment on ‘dodgy’ homophones again. In any case, I only ever referred to those which my Scottish husband pretended to be offended at [eg fort / fought and wear / where]. I am now smiling, imagining his reaction – HAVERS!! [nonsense] – to “‘aver”, another of his pet aversions [sorry – unintentional!].

    I know it’s in Chambers [secondarily] as ‘to waver, to be slow or hesitant in making a decision’ and in Collins [again second] as ‘to dither’ but the first meaning, in both, is ‘to talk nonsense’, and this is the only meaning given in my [rather older] SOED. I reckon it acquired this second meaning from its similarity with ‘waver’ – I know I hear it widely used and I’ve even [inadvertently] used it myself – and that these modern dictionaries are, again, reflecting usage.

    Please be assured that this is merely an observation, not an argument – simply because I find it interesting and have no other comment to make on this puzzle [except that I liked the surface of 14dn] – and that this is another thing I will not mention again. :-)

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    I had Allan Ladd as the “answer” to 13d for a while, but it (clearly now) just didn’t work. Otherwise straightforward after a slowish start.

  10. Mr Beaver says:

    Thanks for the explanation of 1d. I’d thought C = coppers (unsatisfactory, but possible) and HANGER = judge ! ..which left ATE unexplained. Mhl’s version is a touch saner.

    Daniel (@6) – we may all like to be challenged, but one solver’s challenge is another’s parkland stroll… This was about an hour’s worth (on and off) for us.

  11. Richard says:

    Thanks, mhl.
    My logic was the same as yours on ‘AVER’.
    I’ve never thought of the phrase ‘BREAD AND BUTTER’ as meaning practical before.
    I wonder whether in 13 Chifonie was thinking of Cheryl LADD, thought admittedly she is considered more of a TV star?

  12. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, this was an easy stroll but, inevitably, some will complain that it was too easy.

    We are never satisfied, are we?

    I do hope that you enjoy life in your chateau overlooking Lake Geneva.

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    It doesn’t happen very often but – as Eileen said [well, something like that] – there is no reason whatsoever to give any negative comment on this crossword.

    However, there was one thing that struck me, after we’d finished it.
    It’s about the limited number of devices used by Chifonie.
    As Judy (#2) already mentioned: no cryptic definitions [and no hidden answers either].
    About 90% of the clues were either ‘anagram’ or ‘charade’ or ‘A inside/out B’ (sometimes reversed).
    Maybe this was one of the reasons Daniel Miller (#6) and some others didn’t find it challenging enough.

    Once again, many thanks for the blog, mhl!
    And enjoy your new country (and its mountains).

  14. Ralph G says:

    5d (H)AVER. Eileen, #8, thanks for the No.1 meaning of HAVER(S) which I should have known
    perhaps from Burns: “Wi claivers and haivers, wearing the day awa”.
    OED on line confirms the primary meaning of ‘nonsense’ and continues:

    ” 2. Orig. Sc. dial. but now in general English use: to hesitate, to be slow in deciding” with a 19c Scottish quote, followed by J Bayley 1955 and The Times 14 Nov. 1957 “No doubt the Government, in deciding to institute an inquiry.., might appear at first sight to have been havering and shifting their ground.”

    The Concise (pp815) Scots Dictionary gives the secondary meaning of ‘dawdle, potter about’ for the verb and ‘a state of fussy indecision” for the noun, both recorded as late 19c and now restricted to Ayrshire, which tends to confirm the OED.

    Origin, by the way, “unknown”.

  15. Eileen says:

    Thanks for that, Ralph G.

    I never think to consult the on-line OED – but I keep realising how out-of-date my SOED is.

    I was interested in the Scots dictionary entry – my husband was from the East coast, not Ayrshire, so, I’m sure, would have none of that!

  16. Ian says:

    Thanks for today’s blog mhl*

    A good Friday as far as solving this was concerned. Chifonie on form as usual with a not too taxing puzzle doubtless designed to be solved in quick time on a Bank Holiday.

    10ac, 12ac and 19ac are very smooth indeed and epitomizes the Chifonie style.

  17. rrc says:

    This was more straight forward than many Monday crosswords

    Ideal for a busy bank holiday

  18. Daniel Miller says:

    I agree Mr. B.

    I wasn’t trying to be blasé – we all like to be challenged and, in my case, most days challenge me too. There are some (very competent / competitive) who can complete the Guardian in 10-20 minutes on a regular basis. I suspect many of them don’t come on here to show their prowess as they perhaps feel they know more you and I..

    Anyway back on topic. I think I was making the point, well illustrated by Sil, that the answers more or less popped up from the proliferation of charade and anagram clues. This is fine, insofar as it goes, but a little more challenging (at our own level) is what we seek. If it becomes readily solvable we’ll all move on to the next level.

    I recall one a few months back (possibly a Rufus) that I knocked out in barely 10 minutes – maybe less. No challenge at all, simple, short (charade/anagram) clues. A rare thing indeed and I was most disappointed with it as opposed to pleased with myself. Some other days I might study it for up to 60-90 minutes before most of it starts to make any sense.. (and occasionally (Arucaria: Are you listening?) I give in. I suspect some of the guidance we are all receiving here is reducing that time as (in my case) I failed to fully appreciate the thematic nature of almost all the daily Guardian crosswords..

    Anyway I blather too much. Just felt today’s was less challenging than usual..

    One day I’ll move on to the Saturday ones. I hardly bother as these seem to require more thought and time – I think I’ve only completed a handful of them.

  19. Tokyo Colin says:

    This is too late I know, but the blog wasn’t up before my bedtime (Tokyo time). I am certainly not one of Daniel’s competent/competitive solvers, but this was over too soon with no real effort and no recourse to solving aids. (Perhaps because of my profession I use Google more than a dictionary.)

    Anagrams usually come easily without the aha moment that comes from a cryptic definition. I solve many of the Saturday puzzles but have also been left with a blank grid (yes, Araucaria.) Just waiting for the solution to last week’s by Pasquale to come in and put me out of my misery.

  20. ernie says:

    Finished this relatively quickly (for me). Enjoyed it. Perhaps too many anagrams but why not?

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