Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,105 / Chifonie

Posted by Handel on September 2nd, 2010


An enjoyable and relatively quick solve for us this morning, with only the southwest corner troubling us.


1. O(P.E.)RATE

5. ASK AN C.E.

10. FE(R)N apparently a slough is a fen


12. REVE(A)L

13. NOTARIES (senorita)*

14. SEAWORTHY (weary host)*

16. CA CA O

17. S  PINE



24. STREAM (master)*


27. PUT T


29. FEELING (fine leg)*


2. PRE  CEDE as pointed out below, it’s P RECEDE

3. beeR IN SErbia




8. C  HOLE  R.A.

9. DOWN THE MIDDLE neat visual clue there



20. RUSHDIE (his rude)*


22. R(EC)IPE

25. REPEL<

28 Responses to “Guardian 25,105 / Chifonie”

  1. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Handel. A good deal more straightforward than yesterday’s puzzle. Like you I found it plain sailing until the SW. Rushdie was cute and Britten raised a smile.

  2. Dad'sLad says:

    Sorry, should also have said re 18, one in pier.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Handel

    Like you, I was troubled by the SW corner which now seems easy enough with the benefit of your explanations.

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Handel. Me too, SW corner.

    17a S = SONS? Otherwise I had no other quibbles.

  5. Handel says:

    Apologies to Dad’s Lad – we posted this without having parsed 18, but then got it as soon as we’d press ‘publish’ and updated it accordingly. Agree that the clue for Rushdie is a nice one.

  6. Stella says:

    Not much to add. The SW corner was the toughest for me, too, and I also had difficulty parsing ‘pioneer’ – though it’s quite obvious once you see it :)

    A quick aside – I’ve posted a possible beginning to Rufus’s challenge (see Mpnday’s blog) in the general chat, if anyone wants to have a go.

  7. Rishi says:

    #4 Dave

    I suppose that in biographical notes, s.4 will be read as sons four.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks Handel and Chifonie

    One or two sticking points at first – Britten, fern, hogshead, pioneer among last to go in. All nice clues. Pioneer was good because one wanted to begin the word with ‘pro’ and at the same time disliked the idea because of protractor. Windswept (15d) was very neat.
    Fern also pleased (back to Bunyan!) – especially when we have recently had a couple of slough = shed clues.

    This puzzle grew on me in retrospect.

  9. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Handel. I enjoyed this one – typical Chifonie with simple clues for words one knows, but that are nonetheless hard to solve (for me anyway)…

    I was surprised by R = “rabbi” – I don’t remember have seen that before. As well as Rishi’s suggestion, I think that S = “sons” also might be used in company names, e.g. “Whatever and Sons” might be abbreviated as Whatever & S.

    I think there’s an error in your explanation of 2 down: it should be P followed by RECEDE.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, Handel. My favourites were WINDSWEPT, DOWN THE MIDDLE and RUSHDIE. 22dn was my last and it also took me ages to see 21dn. I wondered at the ‘r’ for rabbi and ‘s’ for sons, too. Quite a few abbreviations in this one, which I didn’t mind, but which some might object to!

  11. tupu says:

    re abbreviations

    I cannot find r = rabbi, s = sons, or p or pre = president in Chambers or OED. The answers were pretty clear however.

    I had mentally glossed 2d as pre + cede (as Handel) but mhl is likely to be right, I think, since ‘recede’ is closer to ‘withdraw’ than ‘cede’ though this is a related idea.

  12. Gaufrid says:

    R = rabbi is in Collins.
    For S, COED gives “(in genealogies) son(s)”.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks eveyone for the SONS clarification; like tupu, then, a nice solve in retrospect.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Thanks re Collins.

  15. Martin H says:

    Some nice clues here, if the solving tended to be a bit mechanical. I liked the way the initial H of ‘hole’ in 8d is silent in the solution; visually it is quite clear of course, but when searching, for instance, for the ‘depression’ to go into CRA, I mentally say possible words, and ‘hole’ didn’t immediately suggest itself.

    HOGSHEAD and SEAWORTHY worked well, but was anybody unhappy with ‘supervised’ = ‘led’ in 26; or ‘snapped’ = ‘bitten’ in 28? I can see ‘he’s bitten my head off’ as ‘he’s snapped at me’, but that doesn’t seem adequate. Also, while ‘spineless’ means lacking in courage, for ‘courage’ I’ve never seen ‘spine’, only ‘backbone’.

  16. tupu says:

    Hi Martin H
    I wondered enough about ‘snapped’ and ‘bitten’ to check ‘snap’ in Chambers. The first meaning it gives under vi. is ‘make a bite'(often with at), and under vt. ‘bite suddenly’. I take it the verb part in both cases (snapped and bitten) is past participle active as in ‘he has ….’.

  17. Maure says:

    Martin H
    I checked that Backbone is one synonym of Spine, indirectly links to Courage, I suppose.

  18. Martin H says:

    hi tupu – yes, it’s there – If you say, ‘the dog snapped at him’, it means it didn’t bite him but the air, so I suppose the air gets bitten – but then Chifonie didn’t put ‘snapped at’. Fair enough then.

    hi Maure – that was my problem, the link is not direct. For this sort of clue I’d say you need an accepted synonym.

  19. Maure says:

    Hi Martin H
    I get your point, it can be confusing when the link is too loose.

  20. tupu says:

    Hi again Martin H

    I have jsut checked OED under ‘spine’.

    It gives only one quotation with this sense as follows:- ‘1979 Tucson Mag. Mar. 8/2 No one cares or has the spine to sound off’. It’s Arizona English, I suppose, but it doesn’t sound too bad to my ear long exposed to so many different forms of the language. Exam question:- ‘To what extent is English enriched or impoverished by interaction between it’s many variant forms? Discuss using examples known to you (and to me)!’

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Just to be different, as ever, it was the NW corner that was last in for me, except fern which I didn’t get. Guess I should have tried a synonyms list first.

  22. walruss says:

    SPINE is a direct synonym for COURAGE as far as I know, Tupu. I have heard it used in that way many times.

  23. Gaufrid says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t see what the problem is with ‘spine’ in 17ac. For ‘spine’ Collins gives “strength of will” and for ‘courage’ it has “the confidence to act in accordance with one’s beliefs”. Surely these are synonymous without the need to go indirectly through a third word? They could certainly be interchanged in the same sentence without any change of meaning, for example ‘He had the spine/courage to speak his own mind’.

    Then of course, as has been mentioned by Martin H @15, if spineless is ‘lacking courage’ then ‘spine’ must mean ‘courage’.

  24. tupu says:

    Hi Walruss

    Thanks for that. As I say, the Tucson example does not sound bad to me and Gaufrid’s suggested example fits it very well. I’m sorry if my checking, after Martin H’s and Maure’s doubts, started an unnecessary hare.

  25. Jim says:

    In USA backbone is commonly used for courage.

  26. Martin H says:

    Hi Gaufrid – “if spineless is ‘lacking courage’ then ‘spine’ must mean ‘courage’” – you seem to have great faith in the English language’s obedience to what would seem to be its own logic. My point was that, yes, you’d think that should be the case; it’s just that I’ve never seen or heard it before – unlike walruss; and perhaps yourself, although it’s not clear if you were just speaking theoretically. tupu’s Arizona example makes a convincing sentence, some snap to it – always a better guideline than the dictionary.

  27. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Martin H
    No, I was not speaking theoretically. I have heard both ‘spine’ and ‘courage’ used in the example I gave.

  28. Paddywack says:

    Struggled with 17,18 and 22. Loved 9. Very funny! Strange that Brendan is classed as “easy” and Chifonie as “hard”.

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