Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,082 – Chifonie

Posted by Andrew on August 6th, 2010


Pretty easy-going stuff from Chifonie here, with several rather obvious anagrams to get started with. It was enjoyable enough, though with nothing much to grab the attention, except I thought the surface reading of 9d was amusing. A couple of bugbears of mine have raised their heads in 19ac and 28ac.

1. CLEANSE LEAN S (saint – a less common abbreviation than ST) in CE
10. EMMA Hidden in “requiEM MAss”
11. OBLITERATE OB (=old boy = alumnus) + LITERATE
12. MANTRA R (reading, as in the “three Rs”, I suppose) in MANTA (type of ray – the fish)
13. PANTHEON PAN (criticise) + THE (article) + ON (about)
16. ANDES AND (with) + E S (compass points)
17. LHASA L HAS A. Capital of Tibet
19. STAVANGER VAN in STAGER. As usual I don’t like “in Norway” as the definition of a place in Norway
24. ORDEAL OR (gold) + DEAL (market)
26. VAUDEVILLE (VALUED LIVE)*, with “Doctor” as the anagram indicator.
27. VIAL VITAL less its “heart”
28. ADDRESS AD (Bill) + DRESS (Don), though as I’ve said before, “don” in this sense means “put on”, so isn’t the same as “dress”
6. ACTING AC (bill) + TIN (can) + G (girl)
7. PARTHENON HEN in PARTON. The second “ancient temple” in the puzzle.
8. OUTCOME OUT (not allowed) + COME (reach). I don’t much like come=reach (“come to” would be more like it), and in any case the “come” part of “outcome” has pretty much the same sense
9. SLAP AND TICKLE (INEPT LADS LACK)* – and a very nice surface reading.
15. RESPONDER RES[olution] + PONDER (study)
18. HAGGARD Double definition (H Rider Haggard is the author)
20. VIOLENT N (abbreviation for Knight in chess notation) in VIOLET
22. STAVES T[enor] in SAVES.
25. DEVIL Reverse of LIVED, “Dickens” is slang for the devil, as in “what the Dickens”

62 Responses to “Guardian 25,082 – Chifonie”

  1. mike says:

    Many thanks, Andrew. It was quite a breeze but, I thought, a pleasant one. I’m not too unhappy about 19ac; my gripe would have been 16ac.

  2. Koran says:

    I don’t like this tendency to use the first letter of a word as an accepted abbreviation. ‘S’ is not an abbreviation of ‘Saint’ (nor is it acceptable for ‘Is’ in my view!); Is ‘T’ really an abbreviation of ‘Tenor’?; if ‘R’ is an abbreviation of ‘Reading’ then it must also be an abbreviation of ‘Arithmetic’???; and LU is the abbreviation for Luxembourg, not ‘L’ (even though, apparently it used to be).

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    Pretty standard Chifonie. A couple of nice surfaces though.

    4dn – a typo – should be (HAM CAST)*

  4. NeilW says:

    Oops.. (HAM COST)* !

  5. MikeS says:

    I agree with everything Koran said – S for ‘saint’ is bad enough but using it as an abbreviation for ‘is’ is unacceptable IMHO. Ditto for all the other abbreviations that Koran listed plus I also dislike G for ‘girl’, although that is more justifiable.

  6. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Andrew for your excellent blog. I also don’t like some of the abbreviations used by setters in Guardian puzzles. However, s for saint, t for tenor and L for Luxembourg (IVR) are all in Chambers so they will probably continue to be used.


  7. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew

    I enjoyed this and I cannot sympathise with any of the grumbling.

    After all, it is a Cryptic!

    More, please, Chiffy.

  8. Andrew says:

    NeilW, thanks for pointing out the typo – now corrected.

  9. Geoff Chapman says:

    How does ‘S’ = is?

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Geoff C.
    From Chambers – “a shortened form of has and is (eg she’s taken it, he’s not here)”.

  11. MikeS says:

    Yes abbreviations are common in cryptic puzzles but some of us see an over-reliance on abbreviations as a weakness. I normally enjoy Chifonie, and perhaps I found this one disappointing because I did it after doing Phi’s offering in the Indy. To be honest I found Phi’s puzzle to be far more challenging and enjoyable, with much less reliance on abbreviations.

    But I feel justified in having a gripe at the use of a contraction in the manner used here where ‘is’ gives us an S because it is part of the contraction [it’s = it is]. After all, if ‘is’ is acceptable for S here, then ‘has’ [it’s = it has] or ‘us'[let’s = let us] could equally be used for S, either ‘will’ or ‘shall’ could be used to denote LL [we’ll etc], and ‘not’ could denote a T [can’t = cannot]. These are all wrong IMHO because they are all parts of contractions not abbreviations. In contrast I do not object at all to abbrevations such as gov’t for government or even ‘and’ denoting N (as in his ‘n’ hers).

  12. Richard says:

    Many thanks for the early blog, Andrew.

    I enjoyed this. I’m not unhappy with 19 and 28 as the things you criticise do not really act to obscure the solution from the solver.
    My gripe, as yesterday, is the single letter abbreviations. I’m pleased to see that Koran dislikes them too.

  13. Myrvin says:

    MikeS & Bryan.
    And VE from I’ve, D from I’d. M from I’m and RE from we’re.
    Look forward to the completely abbreviated clue.

  14. Eileen says:

    Comments 11 and 13 say it all. 20ac is just dreadful – the thin end of a very large wedge!

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. I do agree, as usual, with your gripes about don and come.

  15. Eileen says:

    Oh dear, I must get new glasses – 29ac, of course!

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew

    Pretty straightforward. several enjoyable anagrams inc. 26 and 4.

    2 also pleased.

    re 28. OED gives ‘transf. To dress (a person) in a garment; refl. to dress oneself. Chiefly north. dial.’ and adds a quote from Wuthering Heights ‘Joseph was donned in his Sunday garments’.

    Thanks for the parsing of 12. It was of course clear what the answer was, but I got fixed on the idea of Man (Ray), and was left with ‘art’ in reverse. I then came to the conclusion that reading is an art, which it is but….?

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I share one or two of the niggles, but I still enjoyed it. I know some of the abbreviations are ones that you’d never really see in the real world, but they’re here to stay in CrypticLand, I think.

  18. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Re 12ac: Snap!

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Morning tupu at 16. Your Bronte quote is interesting and shows that ‘don’ for ‘dress’ does have some justification. I’d never seen it used this way before, but it made me smile, because here in Derbyshire to ‘don’ someone means to ‘get the better’ of them, or to ‘get one over’ on them. My kids will come home from school and say ‘I donned Mr Smith in history today!’ So the image of poor Joseph putting on his Sunday best just to suffer a slight humiliation was amusing to me, at least.

  20. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Heartening news! :) As the man said ‘very clever, but is it art?’

    ps I left a late note re apostrophes on Monday. I dare say you’ve had enough of them!

  21. Martin says:

    Many thanks Andrew!

    I was convinced the answer to 29a was “tweeter”! So had problems completing the SE corner.

  22. tupu says:

    Hi Kathryn’s dad

    I don’t remember having heard that one – I grew up in Manchester. I wonder what its etymology is? Do you thing it might be something like ‘do one on’ which isn’t far off ‘do on’ for puttting clothes on?

  23. Martin H says:

    Mike S’s point about ‘s makes good sense, but I wonder if IS=S might have been more acceptable used at the end of a word – similarly with LL – because that’s where we expect them. In that context I would find HAS acceptable, but not US, nor NOT for T.

    ‘In Norway’ is OK I think. Do you really need ‘port’ or ‘town’ in Norway to make it really clear? The one I don’t like is first names for second: ‘Dolly’ today. Why? Odd, but I think it sounds too personal; perhaps it’s an aspect of my general distaste for celebrity culture – I don’t think of Dolly Parton as Dolly, Tom Cruise as Tom, etc. Best steer clear of them altogether I say.

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    tupu, its etymology is a mystery to me – and I’ve never heard it outside Derbyshire. In the ‘dress’ sense, ‘don’ is indeed derived from ‘do on’ with ‘do’ having an old meaning of ‘put’ or ‘place'; and hence ‘doff’ as in doffing your cap is ‘do off’.

  25. pat says:

    S is a perfectly reasonable and long-standing abbreviation for Saint, as SS is a perfectly reasonable and long-standing abbreviation for SAINTS….

  26. Ian W. says:

    One sees “S.” used for saint in church names, for example, fairly often, though admittedly nowhere near as often as “St.”

    I was convinced 12a was MAN [as in Man Ray] + ART reversed from (for reasons I could not discern) “set about reading”. I suppose the undoubtedly correct reading given is better, though I share the reservations about “R” for “reading” — at least without something more. (I think something like “an R” could legitimately be used to clue “reading” — or “writing” or “arithmetic” — and perhaps “reading, for example” could be used to clue “R”.)

  27. MikeS says:

    Myrvin a couple of nautical terms fo’c’s’le and bo’s’n should help with the holy grail of the completely abbreviated clue :-D

  28. MikeS says:

    Martin H – I agree, it all depends on context. Best.

  29. Richard says:

    Whilst a fully abbreviated clue is not my Holy Grail, I can’t help suggesting:-

    USA&E (1,1)

  30. John says:

    Koran @ 2. Couldn’t agree more. As for “g” for girl? Also for Grrrrr!

  31. cyniccure says:

    Richard – ER?

  32. otter says:

    Thanks, Andrew and others. I found this pretty straightforward, with a few that had me scratching my head for a while – mostly because of what I consider not great clueing.

    I agree that using initial letters for words is irritating and, I think, a bit sloppy. However, S. is pretty well established for Saint (although it tripped me up for a while here as it’s uncommon in crosswords); L for Luxembourg (ditto); and T for tenor. Four-part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) musical notation uses the standard abbreviation SATB, so this didn’t cause me any trouble at all. It was N for knight which caused me more of a problem, as I don’t play chess.

    G for girl is noisome, though.

    The one I simply couldn’t parse, even when I had seen what the answer must be, is 28a, so thanks for the explanation. I slapped my forehead when I realised what it was.

    All in all, pretty straightforward, and nothing to make me go ‘aha!’ when I solved it.

  33. dvla says:

    ‘L’ is the international vehicle abbreviation for Luxembourg, seems perfectly fine to me to use it.

  34. Little Dutch Girl says:

    To change the subject! There are some things to like in this rather easy puzzle.

    I liked 14a and 18d.
    It made a change not to have “Tree” as “old actor” in 19a.

    Ian @ 26 you are not alone – House elf also got fixated on Man Ray for 12a

    I didn’t like “violent” for “intense” but I see that Collins has one of its definitions of violent as: marked by intensity of any kind. So Chifonie is forgiven.

    Got fooled by 16a initially – putting “peaks”.

    Although to return to the issue that has exercised many people posting today – we got foxed by the single S for saint in 1a.

    Let’s hope for more of a challenge tomorrow.

  35. Molenaar says:

    Bit slow off the mark today but enjoyed the puzzle nonetheless. If anyone is still looking, what is meant by “surface reading”, please? Is it the way a clue reads as a whole before we start tearing it to bits? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard “surface” used in this way but we’re always learning in this game!

  36. Maureenis60 says:

    I have not left a comment before though I enjoy reading the blogs every day. Quite enjoyed today’s offering, as long as it leads to the answer a clue is OK in my book. Tupu’s comment @20 reminded me of an occasion many years ago when I played Tubular Bells to a friend of mine, the poet Henry GRaham. He sniffed and said it was like “farting Annie Laurie through a keyhole, very clever but is it art?”Still a saying in my family!

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Maureenis60 @36
    :)nothing personal I trust

    I think it is a pretty old saying.

    I see Kipling makes use of it (see Oxford Dictionary of Quotations p.295) in verse 6 of his poem The Conundrum of the Workshops (1899)
    ‘We know that the tail must wag the dog, for the horse is drawn by the cart;
    But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: “It’s clever, but is it Art ?”

    Most of the verses end with a comparable question e.g. ‘It’s pretty but is it art?’

    It is a complex piece and I am not sure after a quick read what exactly lies behind it. Unlike the quote at 36 and others I have come across, he seems at least in part to query the value of the question and the time humans have spent on it.

  38. tupu says:

    Hi IanW

    Your not alone re Man Ray – cf. 16 and 18 above which sparked off 36 and 37.

    I think you are right that Andrew’s simpler reading is the ‘right one’, but ours also works in a fashion.

  39. tupu says:

    ps Sorry. Should read 20, 36 and 37.

  40. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    What a lot of comments on a fairly straightforward puzzle.
    I guess we all have our own hobby horses but I think Kathryn’s Dad @17 and,especially,Maureenis60 @36 have said all that needs to be said on the subject of single letter abbreviations.Love ‘em or loathe ‘em they’re here to stay!
    Not a bad puzzle from Chifonie,but not enough variation of clue types to be great.
    Stand outs for me were the anagrams at 26 across and 9 down and,although I am sometimes a bit sniffy about pop culture,7 down.(Made me laugh anyhow).

  41. Carrots says:

    I`ll cast another vote against single-letter abbreviations. Hopefully, repeated instances might be referred to as sloppy clue-ing….and deter setters from relying on them. This was a “Ho Hum” puzzle and it needn`t have been: wordplay between PARTHENON and PANTHEON alone could have had us going round in circles!

  42. Myrvin says:

    I tried PEAKS as well. ANDES was one of the last I got.
    I’ve only seens S = saint in crosswords.
    I was happy with VIOLENT.

  43. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am not sure if I have something substantial to add, but.
    We thought this crossword wasn’t that bad as some people wanted it to be.
    Most ‘complaints’ are about a minority of clues.
    [we can even add some: record-breaker = champion? sceptic = agnostic?]

    A lot of attention was given to MANTRA [we were on the Man Ray – art side, yep] and probably rightly so, because Chifonie should have said what Ian W.(#26) suggested: ‘reading, perhaps’ or something similar – although ‘reading’ and ‘words’ would have been separated then, which the setter surely didn’t want to happen. Yes, surface and construction are sometimes in each other’s way.

    The only Big Miss, we thought, was 29ac.
    Accidentally, in the FT today there is a similar thing.
    Styx wanted us to put ‘one is’ inside ‘Indian’ to get ‘Indonesian’.
    And although I didn’t like that either, there is a difference.
    Gaufrid (#10) may say that ‘S is in the dictionary, but ‘S is never used at the start of a sentence.
    ‘One is’ can be seen as ‘One’s’ – as in today’s Styx [but I don’t like it], but ‘Is’ at the start of the clue cannot be ‘S.
    So far, only Martin H (#23) said something similar.
    And we should also be aware of this:
    When we see ‘Chifonie’s’ in a clue, that could mean ‘Chifonie has’ or ‘Chifonie is’ for the surface, true.
    But then it’s about the ‘S in the clue and not in the solution, which makes a huge difference.

    29ac was – as Eileen said – dreadful.

    Still, all in all, there was not much wrong otherwise.
    One may dislike one letter abbreviations or not [we had this discussion earlier e.g. in two Crucible puzzles], but there is as such nothing wrong with it.

    Oh, and Scarpia: Dolly Parton = pop culture?
    Not for me, but if so, anything wrong with that?

  44. Cliff says:

    Re ‘S’ at the beginning of a word. Struth!

  45. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Everyone seems to think this was very easy but ‘stager’ = old actor, is this obvious ?. Well, not to me and maybe I should have travelled more but I’ve never heard of STAVANGER. I was trying to fit ACOLYTE into 29a but it didn’t work and the answer wasn’t very good either. Similarly, 20d was not a good clue. VIOLENT = intense, I don’t think so. Overall, a reasonable puzzle and I usually enjoy Chiffy.

  46. tupu says:

    Sil et al
    re 29. There is some confusion here.
    The answer to the clue is ‘stalker’ which consists of two unrelated parts. These are ‘s which in some contexts means ‘is’ and ‘talker’ which means a speaker. The question of whether ‘s can fit at the front of a word or a sentence is irrelevant if it does not mean ‘is’ in that context (as is the case here). The answer is not ‘stalker but stalker and the rules about where ‘s meaning ‘is’ can go don’t matter here.

  47. Gerry says:

    I think ‘violent’ for ‘intense’ is fine, but I don’t much care for ‘deal’ for ‘market’ in 24ac. Got a bit held up by the stager in Stavanger as I was trying to think of an actual old actor who’d fit.

    ‘S’ for saint is also in my old Blackie’s concise dictionary.

  48. tupu says:

    Hi Sil

    Perhaps I can make the point more clearly than I did above. Imagine the clue is parsed not as a simple question ‘Is talker a follower’ but as follows ‘Is + Talker = follower?’.

  49. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am not sure whether we agree or disagree, tupu (#46).

    What do you make of today’s Styx then?
    Clue: Asian one is adopted by another? Answer: Indonesian
    I think this is acceptable (and we see this regularly, even though I don’t like it), but in your way of reasoning this should lead to “INDONE’SIAN which is nót INDONESIAN” – and therefore wrong.
    Or do you say in thát context ‘S dóes mean ‘is’? Unlike in Chifonie’s crossword, where there is nothing that’s in front of ‘Is’ [in which context you cannot abbreviate it as ‘S].
    If so, then we fully agree.

    Or don’t I get you point?

  50. Martin H says:

    tupu – hi – I think, like Sil, that perhaps I too don’t get your point. However you parse the clue (29), Chifonie wants IS to give us S, and it has to be by way of ‘S; the apostrophe is unavoidable, isn’t it? And so the surface appearance of the clue (whether is it a question or not), which you seem to be presenting as the issue, is not pertinent. We simply have: ‘S + Talker….and we are back to whether the apostrophe works at the beginning of the word. I think it doesn’t, but that’s another matter….isn’t it?

  51. tupu says:

    Hi Sil and Martin

    Very many thanks for your patience.

    A part of my point is that, wherever it goes, the apostrophe is not part of the answer because it is dropped. So Indonesian is exactly that and in no sense Indone’sian. This we all seem to agree (see below also re pronunciation).

    The surface of the 29 clue looks like a straight question but for the cryptic answer’s purposes it is, of course, not. This becomes clearer for me with the parsing I proposed.

    My parsing is (1) that the clue becomes
    “Is” + “speaker” = “follower”?. As a constituent unit in this question “is” is no longer the verb but the subject (with speaker).
    The “is” is then translated into “‘s” (if this is acceptable at all it is I think OK here). I don’t see why “one is” = “one’s” = “ones” is more legitimate than “is” = “‘s” = “s”. Writing “one’s” as one word is a mere convention – structurally it is two separate elements, and it is possible to treat them as separate non-syntactic elements for these purposes. Moreover the use of ‘one’s’ = ‘ones’ in ‘Indonesian’ does not make the word into ‘Indwon-sian’ which it would be if we paid any serious attention to its being part of natural (spoken) language. So it has really ceased altogether to be the word ‘one’s’ by this time.

    These clues and answers, as we all know, play games with transformations of sound and writing and with different syntactic readings of word strings.

    In the end I think the attempt to argue that it is illegitimate to use a modified “‘s” = “s” at the beginning of the answer because it could not go at the beginning of a word in the surface is a rule too far.

    Finding the answer presented no difficulty and that is a further consideration.

    As I say, many thanks for your patience. Perhaps we just have to agree to differ at this point.

  52. tupu says:

    Martin, Sil ps.
    I commented further about apostrophes re Rufus’s last @26. The apostrohe’s history is quite messy (as is its current usage). The victorians typically tried somewhat vainly to give it some order. I seem to remember that it’s (for it is) used not to have an apostrohe.

  53. Posterntoo says:

    c.f. Gershwin title:
    ‘s Wonderful

  54. Martin H says:

    Well, that does put a new complexion on things, Posterntoo. I agree the Gershwin works, but still think (feel?) the Chifonie doesn’t. Hoping the ice doesn’t break, here’s why: the apostrophe serves to indicate a missing letter (or letters), but it also anchors the remaining letter(s) to the preceding word. If there is no preceding word implied the structure evaporates. We know that Gershwin means ‘It’s wonderful’, and couldn’t mean ‘Is wonderful’.

  55. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Posterntoo, for making things even more complicated! :)
    I fear (?) I have to fully agree with Martin’s reply.

    Coming back to tupu’s post (# 51), I read three things from it which I try to summarise [tell me if I’m wrong]:

    When a part of a clue must be ‘shortened’ using an apostrophe, one shouldn’t use the letter(s) attached to the apostrophe in an answer, because the apostrophe is in fact part of the clue as well [but cannot be written in the answer]
    It is not relevant whether the apostrophe comes at the start of the clue or not – it’s just about what it means in the context of the clue
    When we use word A as a part of / in combination with word B, the A part of the answer A/B should [preferably?] have the same pronunciation as the original word A

    My view:

    re (1):
    I can see where you coming from, but that leaves me with things like:
    – LL for “will shortly”, is that acceptable?
    – IM for “setter’s” or a similar thing, acceptable?
    – “Asian one’s adopted by another”, alright or not?
    All three, things that we see quite often in Crosswordland.

    re (2):
    From your point of view, that is reasonable.
    But as no-one ever says “‘s speaker” mmeaning “is stalker” [when there’s nothing in front of “is”], it is at least very ugly here.
    And when Chambers tells us “a shortened form of has and is (eg she’s taken it, he’s not here)”, it surely means that it is not a ‘S on its own.

    re (3):
    Well, I do in a way agree about this, but it’s apparently not how it works in Crosswordland.
    When I came to this site two years ago as a novice, I questioned a situation in which a homophone of A was used together with B in A/B, while the A part of the properly pronounced whole A/B sounded different from A’s homophone.
    This was immediately dismissed as a kind of nonsense.
    Solving last week’s Pasquale I had to think of that again, when the CONNE[d] part of CLOISONNÉ (with accent aigu) didn’t sound like that in the final answer. But as I know better (?) nowadays, I went on and forgot about it [until today :) ].

    I appreciate the deepness of our current discussion, but playing with punctuation marks, apostrophes etc is part of Crosswordland and because they will never be visible in an answer, I do not always care about these deeper thoughts, I’m afraid.
    “Gents”, “Gent’s” or “Gents’ ” – in the end they all lead to GENTS in the grid.
    That is, if you don’t object because of the ‘value’ of the apostrophe.
    And you do at times, I guess.

    Never read a book about The Rules, but there must be rules or at least conventions for these situations.
    I’m becoming curious now.
    Or maybe a ‘professional’ could help out?

    [The Rules? Have to learn those of cricket, rugby and golf too, then – very useful for solving a (broadsheet) crossword :) ]

  56. tupu says:

    Hi Sil and Martin

    Many thanks again for your patience.
    I suspect we are going to go round in ever-decreasing circles till we disappear …. :) I’m not sure where we are at this point!

    1. Sil Your 3 re pronunciation. I am not worried about this in the example. I am simply pointing out that ‘ones’ in Indonesian not only ignores the apostrophe but also utterly transforms the pronunciation. In the context of the answer, the four letters o+n+e+s simply become a meaningless part of the word Indonesian, and we find this omission plus pronunciation change quite acceptable.

    Re your 2. ‘It is not relevant whether the apostrophe comes at the start of the clue or not – it’s just about what it means in the context of the clue’
    I think I am rather saying that it may legitimately mean nothing in the answer since it is transformed from being a semantic and syntactic element in the context of the clue to being a non semantic or syntactic letter or set of letters in the answer. In the course of this transformation, its syntactic/semantic attachment to the word(s) in the clue is lost. So if ‘is’ is represented by “‘s” in Chifonie’s it seems acceptable to lift it out of there and put it anywhere more or less in the answer with the unprintable ‘ removed.

    re your (1) I am not sure what you mean here. I am merely suggesting that the grammatical rules attaching to apostrophised letters in a clue do not necessarily matter for the answer – so long as this does not badly obscure the answer. In this case it is pretty obvious that stalker is the answer – I believe you must have seen it quickly and found you did not like it. I myself am more neutral than hostile towards it.

    2. As I pointed out the apostrophe is a mess now and pretty well always has been. Clear though not wholly consistent rules were invented by printers in the early C19 and became dominant for a time esp. C19 and C20 but are quickly going (no doubt regrettably for many including me) by the board. For this reason I am perhaps less worried about ignoring the small print of these rules in the answer to a clue.

    Many thanks once again for taking so much trouble.

  57. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, tupu, let’s leave it here.

    And sorry for all this, Chifonie – however, why did you do it this way?
    [a rhetorical question, please no answer]

  58. tupu says:

    Hi Sil

    That’s fine. Re your Q to setter, it might have been easier to have a clue something roughly like ‘Is last speaker a follower?’ Certainly a different clue would have saved us all a lot of bother!

  59. tupu says:

    Thanks for your last comment next door. Such nitpicking can sometimes clarify the mind, but in the end a crossword is only a crossword thank goodness. Also one has to get long winded, I suspect, in trying to describe the transformations from surface to cryptic element to answer without too much ambiguity.

  60. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Because I had a feeling that I completely misinterpreted you, I showed my PinC our discussion and … yes, indeed.
    We talked about it a while and do see your point now [even though we still don’t fully agree, I fear].

    If it is acceptable to contract “IS” [becoming ‘S, and therefore S for the grid], it is from that moment on a stand-alone thing which can be used whereever it is appropriate.
    If you think it is reasonable to write “ONE IS” as “ONE’S”, you can use it from moment on as the 4-letter ONES without any restrictions.
    [the apostrophe isn’t an issue anymore nor is the pronunciation]

    We thought thát was basically what you said, which is very different from what I thought before. And I/we agree with that.

    Therefore the main issue [ :) ] here is: Is it acceptable to change “IS” into “S” ?
    And “ONE IS” into “ONE S”?
    And, moreover, is there a difference between the two, or not?

    And there we come to a point that we say NO where you say YES, and vice versa.

    Even though Chambers gives us “a shortened form of has and is (eg she’s taken it, he’s not here)”, we still think that “IS”=”’S” as a stand-alone cryptic device doesn’t make sense [because we are convinced there should be something anchored to it to justify it – so therefore converting “ONE IS” into “ONE S” is acceptable, though I didn’t like it at all, because the clue could/should have been “Asian one’s adopted by another?” instead of “Asian one is adopted by another?”].
    And secondly, there is no indication in the clue that we should make a contraction.
    Although, I admit, that is not always necessary, certainly here it is, because this is a rather special situation – it is reasonable to ask for that.

    Chifonie must have known what he was doing.
    And I do wonder whether he did this deliberately (to provoke?), because there are alternatives, aren’t there?

  61. tupu says:

    Hi Sil
    Thanks. Yes, I think you have now accurately and helpfully stated the difference between us, so that we now know what we are agreeing to differ about. As you say (see my simplistic offering in 58) alternatives are available.

  62. tupu says:

    ps I don’t know if you have seen that there is an interesting discussion at the tail-end of General Crossword Chat (which I chipped into eventually) between Derek Lazenby and mhl about another issue of permissibility (indirect definitions).

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