Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,136 / Bonxie

Posted by Eileen on October 8th, 2010


Bonxie has given us a very entertaining and ingeniously constructed puzzle, in which all the across clues pick up the last word[s] in the preceding one. Some clever clues and nice misdirection.


4   MUNICH: I [one] in Munch: Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter best known for ‘The Scream’. [Steve Bell gave Guardian readers this version on Tuesday]:
6   RIGATONI: RIGA [European city] + anagram of NOT I
9   SATRAP: anagram of PASTA + R[ecipe]
10 FORENAME: reversal of NERO [tyrant] in FAME [reputation]
11  RIGHT-MINDED: RIGHT [title] + MINDED [took offence]
15  STINGER: hidden in juST IN GERmany: a stinger is a cocktail containing brandy and white crème de menthe
17 REREDOS: anagram of RED and ROSÉ – the screen behind an altar
18  HOLLY HUNTER: HOLLY [prickly one] + HUNTER [ a type of pocket watch with a hinged case to protect the face]
22  HOROLOGE: anagram of HOLE OR GO
23  ABROAD: A BROAD [I really hate this word!]
24  CHAPERON: CH[ild] + APE [animal] + RON [man]
25  HASSLE: ASS [dipstick] + L[eft] in HE [man]: [I spent a minute or two trying to make BASSET work.]


1   OCTANT: OCT[ober] + ANT [worker]: an instrument for measuring angles
2   DISORDERLY: DIS [underground – I think it’s a while since we saw this: it used to be commonplace] + ORDERLY [hospital worker]
3   LAVENDER: I presume VENDER is the American spelling of vendor but it isn’t specified as such in my dictionaries – simply an alternative, which I can’t say I’ve ever seen. LA [note] is placed in the van [front]
4   MISTRUST: MIST [spray] + RUST [decay]
5   NOT AGAIN: not a gain must be a loss.
7   ORAL: balm [cream] leaving Balmoral, the Queen’s castle in Scotland
8   ITEM: double definition
12 IRRELIGION: I + RR [rights] + ELI [the well-known crossword priest] + G[roans] + ION [one charged]
13 EDITIONS: reversal of TIDE [moving water] + IO [ten] + NS [points]
14  ESTRIDGE: anagram of GRIT and SEED: an obsolete version of ostrich. [I think I must have heard this before, because I managed to guess it from writing down the words of the anagram and only having the S entered.]
16  GO HALVES: anagram of LOGS HAVE
19  UPBEAT:  reversal of BEAT UP [mug]
20  CHIC: CHIC[ken]
21  AREA: hidden in fAR EAst

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,136 / Bonxie”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. On balance I thought the eliding across clues were more clever than laboured (eg 11a – tile = right, bit weak). Overall it was a good test. A tick for 2d (not quite a chuckle). I was baffled by UPBEAT and mug until you explained it. Re 6a I note Paul on May Day for this answer had ‘European capital moving into Italian food.’ I prefer Bonxie’s.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen
    Re 3dn, both COED and Oxford On-line have “(US also vender)” under ‘vendor’.

  3. Eileen says:

    Sorry, the link I gave at 4ac doesn’t seem to work. Try this:

  4. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. This was a fair challenge and neatly constructed, I thought. I slipped up with POTENTATE instead of FORENAME, which was pretty stupid :-(

    18ac reminded me of The Piano, one of my favourite films…

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi liz

    How did you fit POTENTATE in? :-)

  6. Andrew says:

    She wrote in small letters! ( (c) Victoria Wood)

    (Thanks for the blog Eileen – a very nice puzzle i thought.)

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Bonxie

    Excellent blog as one has come to expect. I only vaguely noticed the links – I tend to solve up and down and about rather than in one direction first.

    I was not wholly convinced by ‘satrap’ which I knew more literally from Xenophon as a subordinate regional governor in the Persian empire. But OED notes ‘The sense ‘domineering person’ appears in med.Latin, and in all the Rom. langs’.

    I solved 25a but in parsing got caught up mentally in the anatomical as opposed to metaphorical reference of dip-stick (from which the ‘fool’ idea derives I think) and also ‘ass’ which unsurprisingly left me puzzled about the language used.

    2d should please Duncan!

    Generally an elegant puzzle with several pleasing clues.

  8. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    I was going to comment on SATRAP, as not necessarily a tyrant, but found that Chambers gives, after ‘a viceroy or governor of an ancient Persian province, esp if powerful or ostentatiously rich’, ‘a tyrannical person’.

    [Of course, as you will know, the Greek ‘tyrannos’ originally meant simply ‘absolute ruler’ – there were some good ones, like the Athenian Peisistratus.]

    Yes, I was expecting a comment from Duncan!

  9. liz says:

    Eileen — by spelling it wrong :-)

  10. PeterO says:

    Thanks for the blog. The link in 4A works fine, as long as you leave out the full stop that you dutifully added at the end of the sentence.
    Can we leave the subject of ‘tyrannos’ without mentioning the most famous, Oedipus, to give him his more familiar Latinate rendering? He may be said to have had his faults, but tyranny does not seem to have been one of them.
    Perhaps you are familiar with estridge from Shakespeare. The word pops up a couple of times, apparently referring to some bird, possibly but not necessarily the ostrich.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi PeterO

    Well, now you’ve called to mind one of the greatest plays of all time – but Oedipus wasn’t real!

    Thanks for the Shakespeare link: that may well be why it was lurking in my subconscious.

    I’ve got rid of the superfluous full stop – thanks for that.]

  12. duncandisorderly says:

    tupu- I hadn’t even noticed that until you pointed it out!

    this despite having ground out the solution in the strangely afternoonly rush of completing this grid; this morning I managed two answers (rigatoni & horologe, & this latter only because I have a lot of watches) but the rest had to wait until almost 14.30. put this down to biorhythms. I had “equal-minded” for a while- probably because of all the sports results on the radio at the moment. “equal” is no more a title than “right” is on its own, but there you go.

    I don’t equate “beat up” with “mug” either. favourite clue today was 17ac, though I’m sure I’ve seen it before.


  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen and Bonxie for an entertaining puzzle and blog.

  14. Eileen says:

    Nice to hear from you, Duncan!

    Re 11ac: when you say ‘right on its own’ are you talking about titles like Right Honourable?

    Here, it’s title as ‘a right to possession or ownership’ [Chambers] – as in title deeds.

  15. Otherstuff says:

    Got about halfway before giving up and coming here. Can someone please explain
    how DIS means or signifies underground.

  16. Otherstuff says:

    Mug as an expression for street robbery comes from America, not all that long ago I think but it is commonly used here now.

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi Otherstuff

    Dis is a name of Pluto, God of the Underworld, often found in crosswords.

  18. Otherstuff says:

    Thank you – found him on wikipedia, sometimes as Dis Pater. May I ask about Eli as well – you say he is “well known crossword priest” I take this to mean one will often find Eli to be the part answer as used here?

  19. Andrew says:

    I’ve always assumed that Eli is the priest in the OT who was the teacher of Daniel (of Lions’ Den fame). I remember from primary school days the story of how Daniel heard the voice of God and kept thinking it was Eli calling him. (Some research finds this story in 1 Samuel Chapter 3.)

  20. Eileen says:

    Nearly right, Andrew – but the boy was Samuel! 😉

  21. Andrew says:

    oops, I meant Samuel of course 😉

  22. Abby says:

    I’ve not seen anyone spell it “vender” here in the States either, so that one had me confused for a while. I figured it had to be an alternate spelling, though, so I got there eventually.

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi Abby

    This is a bit of a mystery. As I said, my own dictionaries, Chambers, Collins and SOED give vender simply as an alternative spelling [I have to say I have never seen it] with no reference to the US, so it’s interesting that you have not met it there, either.

    It’s been a rather quiet day here. I reckon we’re due an Araucaria tomorrow. :-)

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thank you, Eileen.
    Not much to add to this – I [but nót we] thought – enjoyable and precise puzzle.

    Still a bit puzzled cq disappointed by LAVENDER (3d).
    Chambers ánd ODE give ‘vender’ as an alternative to ‘vendor’, so that’s all right then.
    But why this complicated ‘places note in van’?
    I am not completely convinced by ‘in van’ = ‘in front’ [even after asking advice from dictionaries], but perhaps it is common English language? [in which case you should ignore my comment].
    For me, the main thing is that Bonxie missed an opportunity.
    LAVENDER could be seen as L.A. VENDER (in more than one respect an American seller) – a real pity.

  25. tupu says:

    Vender seems to be a real puzzle. There is no mention of ‘American’ in OED which gives several examples of its use. I have begun to wonder if the second letter ‘a’ represents American, but then L does not seem to refer to note. There is a character L in Death Note media but he is a detective not a note.
    ???? Perhaps the setter simply thought er endings in such cases are American??

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sil, ‘in van’ is crossword shorthand, in speech we would normally say ‘in the van’. Don’t quote me, ‘cos I haven’t checked, but I believe it is also shorthand, this time for ‘in the vanguard’.

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    tupu, if you are right about the A, then maybe the L would be £=note, as that sign is just a flashy L. But then they have been coins not notes for rather a long time now. Hmmm. Not convinced by that.

  28. Derek Lazenby says:

    After further pondering, maybe that is right. Wiktionary gives “8.A piece of paper money; a banknote”; and I still sometimes hear people refer to, for example, 15 notes for £15. So maybe the equivalence is still valid despite the unit now being a coin.

  29. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Derek, re the ‘in van': I already thought it was like that.
    But I’ve never heard anyone say a thing like that [but then, I’m probably not long enough in this country].

    The Oxford Dictionary of English [the one that Hugh Stephenson mentions in his column at the Guardian site – and not to be confused with the OED] says: vendor (US also: vender).

    I think, combining the two things above, there’s nothing wrong with the clue, but …
    As I said earlier, it’s just a missed opportunity – why not doing something with a flower seller from Los Angeles?

  30. Carrots says:

    ORAL completely wrong-footed me….I was (still am) convinced that BALM is an appropriate answer to 7 dn. There were other, equally obscure clues and solutions which only seemed to serve the setter`s vanity. The next time I see Bonxie writ large, I`ll buy a Times and save myself the pain.

  31. tupu says:

    Hi Derek and Sil

    Thanks for your comments including Sil re ODE.
    I think the quote from there probably settles it as far as a Guardian crossword is concerned. But if that is the case, the dictionary is misleading. OED gives many, albeit older, examples of vender in English English, and vendor in American English seems from a google search to be very common and standard in contexts in American English.

  32. Davy says:


    I know you will read this and I don’t think that “places note in van” has been adequately explained. The note to be placed is ‘la’ as in ‘do re mi fa so la ti do’ and it is to be placed ‘in van’ which is short for ‘in the vanguard’ ie leading or in the forefront. So ‘la’ note is placed at the front. Hope this helps.

    By the way, I got nowhere with this crossword, just couldn’t see it although a lot of answers were obvious.

  33. Eileen says:


    “LA [note] is placed in the van [front]”

    I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear enough. 😉

  34. Davy says:

    Sorry Eileen,

    I obviously didn’t read your explanation properly. Yesterday was a ‘dumb’ day for me and it seems today is a continuance.

  35. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Davy. :-)

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Derek, tupu, Davy and Eileen (wow, that’s a lot), for enlightening me – but I had no problem seeing the note (LA) in front of VENDER, and the blog was clear enough – still I needed a kind of confirmation like Derek’s.
    And, sorry, for the third and last time [ :)]: Bonxie could have used LA for L.A. which would – in my opinion – have led to an even better clue.
    Enough said – let’s leave it here.

  37. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks Eileen and Bonxie.

    Well, didn’t quite finish, failed on FORENAME which I should have got, and probably never would have made it to ORAL, oh well.

    I spent a lot of time trying to make the “American” VENDER be a ….OUR word without the “U”. I see nothing American about the spelling, oh well, one tiny flaw in a very nice puzzle.

    I noticed the chain of ending/beginning words in the acrosses after a bit (saw a few early, realized they *all* did it later).

    Needed the blog to see “beat up” which is fine by me to = mug. ESTRIDGE I have written down but was completely unable to confirm that it was correct (ie, a bird). Thanks for the explanation of DIS = underground, I think I’ve seen it before, but too long ago to remember. REREDOS succumbed to simply remembering seeing at least twice in Guarniad puzzles and simply googling “altar screen” (I didn’t have LAVENDER yet, and didn’t trust ESTRIDGE enough to just fill in the anagram in a pronounceable way).

    Anyway, overall a nice variety of clue styles, and nothing that struck me as unfair (other than the minor American thing). Now on to be frustrated by Araucaria’s Prize offering…

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