Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,278 – Chifonie

Posted by Andrew on March 24th, 2011


I seem to get be getting all the Chifonies lately, and this is another fairly typical specimen, with a large proportion of charade clues, though I found it if anything slightly harder than the last couple. Apart from that, nothing really to add to my previous comments on this setter.

1. TOASTER O (duck) in TASTER. A toaster is “found in the kitchen”.
5. IMPUTED I’M (setter’s) + PUT (established) + ED (editor = proofreader)
10. PARAPET APE in reverse of TRAP
11. MARE’S TAIL REST in MAIL. Mare’s tail is a common name for cirrus clouds.
12. MOIRE MO (short time) + IRE. Moire is a fabric, usually of silk, and gives its name to Moiré patterns.
13. CANAL CAN (=prison = stir) + A + L
15. PROCURESS PRO (favouring) CURES (kippers, as a verb) + S
19. TAPAS A in TAPS (bugs, and in bugging or tapping a phone)
25. IMPLORE IMP (rascal) + LORE (learning)
26. INSPECT P (quite) in INSECT (six-footer – a familiar trick)
3. TASKS T[eam] + ASKS
4. RED CARPET RED (revolutionary) + CAR (vehicle) + PET (cherished)
6. PARAMOUNT AMOUNT (=cardinal [number]) with PAR (mean, average) “on”
7. TOPSIDE TOPS (kills) + IDE (familiar crossword fish)
14. LITHESOME THE (article) + SO (like this) in LIME
16. OPERATING ERA (age) in OPTING, with “On” as the well-concealed definition.
17. AUCTION U (acceptable, as in U and non-U) in ACTION
18. IRRUPTS STIRRUP* and to irrupt is to break in.
20. PENDENT PEN (writer) + DENT (depression). Chambers gives “pendent” as a variant of “pendant”
21. SEDATED S + E (bridge players are labelled by the points of the compass) + DATED.
24. TOSCA TO SCA[LE]. The opera is by PUccini.

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,278 – Chifonie”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew

    This was as easy as they come!

  2. JohnR says:

    Thanks, Andrew – looks as if the editor anticipated yesterday’s complaints!

    Small point on 6d – surely “Cardinal” is the definition, with, as you say, PAR = mean “on” AMOUNT = the whole. If so, I’m not happy with this use of AMOUNT.

    Well – I suppose an amount could be a sum, which is a whole of some sort…

  3. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew. What I most enjoyed about this was the great surface written into every clue and many of them telling intriguing little stories … 1a, 10a, 15a, 17a and 21d in particular. Thanks for the smiles, Chifonie.

    Only knew mare’s tail as a weed but at least Wiki qualifies ‘common’ as ‘non-standard’. So that’s ok then !
    Read 6d as did JohnR @2, loved aspirin and the clever anagram for Aristotle … I wonder if that’s been used before ?

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Chifonie

    Overall the easiest this week. Some good surfaces.

    I read 6d as JohnR @2.

    Started easily but got a bit sticky in places.

    I noted two ‘break’ = ‘rest’ clues (11a and 23d).

    Also a large number of words with P. (7 across and 8 down answers).

    I had to work out Moire from the wordplay and needed to check ‘mares tail’ though clear enough.

    Liked 15a (!), 19a, 26, 27a, 7d (kept looking for ‘lop’ words), 14d and 16d. Tosca also quite nice.

  5. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I raced through this at first, then slowed down slightly until I had a few key solutions on the RHS. I put NORMA(L) in for 24d at first, which didn’t help!

    I agree with JohnR’s parsing of 6d, and with his quibble about AMOUNT.

    We haven’t had an IDE for some time, in the Guardian, at least.

    My favourite clues: 16d for its well concealed def, and 15a, which raised a smile.

  6. tupu says:

    Hi Roger

    We crossed. :)Perhaps we can ‘workshare’?.

  7. tupu says:

    Hi Geoff
    :) Same (@6) goes for you too!

  8. Martin H says:

    Well, back to basics today. Straightforward is fine, but lets do without U and non-U – please – how often has that been said here! I know setters aren’t obliged to listen, but I would have thought a site like this would give them an idea of how solvers feel; and lets hope an eight-footer gets the six-footer before too long. A skilled setter should be able to come up with something better.

    I agree with JohnR about ‘amount’. One or two more weak clues (eg 2 and 23) but on the whole it was enjoyable.

    OPERATING was very good.

  9. Rufus says:

    Aristotle makes good anagram material. Over my 48 years setting I have used: “tries a lot” in various ways, and also “totaliser”, “realist to”, “is alert to”, “A triolet’s” and, my favourite, “is to alter”.

  10. Rufus says:

    Oops! Somehow these last two comments have appeared on the wrong blog – they should be under the FT puzzle by Crux. Sorry!

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Rufus
    :) It must get harder and harder to be surprised! But you still seem to keep yourself and us pretty cheerful.

  12. tupu says:

    ps I wondered about ‘paté’ but found it on google. Aristotle is of course right here.

  13. Gaufrid says:

    Rufus @9
    I have moved your two comments into the correct post (FT/Crux).

    Edit: I have now brought one of them back as it has been pointed out to me that it is relevent to comment #3 in this post rather than Crux.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. As others have said, this was 27ac.

    I enjoyed the surfaces very much but found the large number of charades gave the puzzle a bit of a repetitive quality. 16dn was good.

  15. Robi says:

    Thanks Chifonie for an entertaining solve and to Andrew for his good blog – hadn’t realised Moiré patterns were named after (or for, as the Americans say) a fabric; I thought it must be some person’s name.

    Although I had seen it before, I forgot stir=prison (=CAN). Not sure I have seen the IDE crossword fish, and the six-footer misled me for a while. Didn’t know MARES TAIL as a cloud, although Google provided the necessary. I can’t agree with Roger @3 that 10 was a good surface; I thought it rather nonsensical unless I am missing something (quite likely!) I particularly liked the surface of 15, though. I would never spell PENDaNT with an ‘e,’ but Mrs Chambers seems to think it is OK.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Robi, do you ever wonder how dictionaries decide these things?
    Chambers has noun: pendant (sometimes pendent); adjective: pendent (sometimes pendant). In other words, either in any situation.

  17. Chas says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew – I needed it for some cases where I was sure I had the right answer but could not see why.

    I was happy with 10a though some people disliked it.

    I did not like 23a: why should Charlie indicate the letter C?

  18. tupu says:

    It is Nato and, apparently Police, phonetic alphabet – Alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc.

    :) You might prefer the fun one which has ‘C for yourself’!

  19. Geoff says:

    Hi Chas

    Charlie at 23a is the letter C in the NATO phonetic alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc.

  20. Geoff says:

    Hi tupu

    We’ve crossed again! You seem to be a tad quicker on the draw…

  21. Chas says:

    Thanks to tupu and Geoff.

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. It’s true this was more gettable than others this week, perhaps because of the use of familiar devices, but I for one have no objection to that. If everything a setter used was new, how would we ever solve a puzzle?

    Thanks to this site, I’ve become familiar with many obscure words and unobvious definitions, which is the purpose of cryptics, isn’t it? Apart from providing a little entertainment.

    I enjoyed solving this, and found the surfaces entertaining and the devices well employed to lead, and sometimes mislead.

    My only objection is, as tupu pointed out, the repeated use of ‘break’=’rest’.

    I hadn’t heard of the fish, though the photo in Wiki looks familiar. Does it have a more common name?

  23. John says:

    C may well be ok for “Charlie” but I object to A for “American” and G for “girl”.

  24. Robi says:

    John @23; don’t start me off about abbreviations again…….. A=America is in Chambers. I can’t find g=girl in Chambers, Collins or ODE. I suppose GG=girl guides. However, although RBC is known to many people as Red Blood Cell (or corpuscle) or RBG (red, blue, green) r=red is apparently not allowed in crosswordland. There doesn’t seem to be any logic here, unless one of the experts can explain it.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Being the class dummy, I didn’t find this as trivial as some, but I got there in the end. Needed the blog to understand a couple properly (ta). 15 was my smile moment.

  26. walruss says:

    Dull puzzle. I’m not an expert but I think an abbrev is oaky if it appears as a letter on its own. For instance they all object to G for George because it’s a part of Georgius Rex really. Ety cetera.

  27. Roger says:

    Thanks for the offer, tupu @6 … we often seem on the same wavelength but I’m afraid you would end up with the bulk of the Classics and the finer points of English grammar ! … nice thought, though.

    Hi Rufus @9 … must admit my question @3 was slightly rhetorical but I didn’t realise Aristotle was such good value. Thanks for the feedback.

    Robi @15 … imagine say an Archbishop on trial for some deviousness and being caught in flagrante delicto … that would certainly set back his defence ! It’s just the way I read ‘em.

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    I am with you, Derek@25. I found this, after an initial flurry, much tougher than the usual Chifonie. I had to puzzle hard about almost every clue, but I think this was in part due to Chifonie employing distracting subterfuge (eg 13a Stir = can, the context fooling me for a good while), and unusual use of words that I don’t remember seeing before. I mean, for example, “proofreader” turned out to be “ed”; “bugs” = “taps”. All for the good!

  29. Robi says:

    Roger @27; nice one, you are obviously more imaginative than me – I just got stuck on thinking of primate=ape, but now I see it!

  30. Pete says:

    Stella @ 22
    Ide is an alternative name for orfe, best known as the Golden Orfe common in garden ponds.

  31. tupu says:


    As in ‘beware the ideas of March’. When Julius Caesar invaded Britain, the Cambridgeshire ‘ville’ of March was already well known for the icy winds which blow across from the Ural mountains and for its market (hence its name) with its local speciality of frozen orfes or ides. He was warned to make sure these were thoroughly defrosted before consuming them and to use them by the 15th of the month which coincidentally happened to be March as well. The dire results of failing to do so (orfella as opposed to salmonella poisoning which finally attacked his cloaca maxima with sharp stabbing pains in Rome) were misinterpreted by Shakespeare who unfortunately failed to make the proper distinction between the month and the town.

    I hope this is a help.

  32. caretman says:

    Re: RCWhiting @16

    Since if I recall the definition in the clue was an adjective (wasn’t it “hanging”?), then pendEnt would be the preferred spelling, with pendant the variant.

  33. Carrots says:

    Stella: tupu (who is wise and knows of all things) can plait treacle when it comes to words and enjoys nothing more than re-writing history from a purely etymological standpoint. The amazing thing is that his version of events is so much more entertaining than historical fact that several authorities have started to weave his wisdom into records of actual events. So much so, for example, that when Caesar cried “Et tu, Brute” several witness claim what he actually said was “Infamy! Imfamy! You`ve all got it In Fer Me”.

    I can`t help thinking of Chifonie as our very own Grayson Perry, so I`m inclined to be tolerence exemplified because (s)he doesn`t wear a suit. One or two laboured clues, devices and definitions didn`t spoil the puzzle, but PENDENT did: it just doesn`t look right!

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As Liz said: 27ac.
    As Dave Ellison said: much tougher than the usual Chifonie.
    As walruss said: Dull puzzle? [the ? is mine]
    As Stella said: My only objection is the repeated use of ‘break’=’rest’ [and, for me, that of ‘cure’ as well]
    As Andrew said: this is another fairly typical specimen, with a large proportion of charade clues.

    I agree with you all.

    But, although the puzzle as such wasn’t too demanding (no fiendish devices), the surfaces were very good – craftsmanship!

    Roger loved ASPIRIN, Martin H found it a weak clue.
    We are all different, aren’t we?

    Just like Geoff, I was convinced that 24d should be NORMA, until, well, until 26ac made it an impossible option.
    I agree with everyone who disliked the definition of ‘amount’ in 6d.
    And, Andrew, after you’ve amended the parsing of this clue, please add another A to your explanation of 11ac (A REST in MAIL).

    Friendly puzzle.

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not happy with PENDENT, Carrots?

    What about the word ‘relevent’ in post #13 …. ?

    [Sorry Gaufrid, but I’m sure you see the fun of it]

  36. Martin H says:

    Hi Sil – we are all different as you say, but it was 3 (TASKS) and not 2 (ASPIRIN) I thought was weak. I should proof-read my posting more carefully.

  37. Huw Powell says:

    This is a classic follow up to the couple previous, hard from the get-go, puzzles.

    It almost seemed too easy for a bit – MOIRE jumped out of the clues at me, then I steadily filled in the NW, SW, SE quads… while getting nervous. For even an “easy” puzzle can leave one struggling with parts of it.

    Never managed to parse 23A, but I should have – I kept trying to figure out how (after Charlie = CHAS) TENED could mean “urged on”!

    Finally cracked most of the NE, IMPUTED came late, and TOPSIDE was past my burnout level to research.

    Further evidence that “easy” and “hard” are so relative, and can confound each other in the same puzzle.

    I liked the CD at 2D, loved “six-footer” = insect, and I do think I enjoyed the effort put into the surfaces.

    So thanks for the blog, Andrew, and the wonderfully light-hearted puzzle, Chifonie!

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