Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,345 – Chifonie

Posted by Andrew on June 10th, 2011


I’ve been a bit harsh on Chifonie in the past because of his very straightforward and sometimes unchallenging style, usually involving lots of simple charades, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have easier puzzles once in a while, and I think he’d be a good setter for 21downs to cut their teeth on (more so than Rufus, perhaps). I actually found this slightly harder than usual to get started on, but once I had a few answers in it all came out nicely.

8. SPINSTER SPIN (drive, as in “going for a spin”) + REST*
9. REIKI Hidden in affaiRE I KIndled. Reiki is a so-called “energy therapy” that probably makes some people feel better as their wallets are lightened by its practitioners.
10. AGED CAGED less C (100)
14. LEASABLE LE (French “the”) + A SABLE (fur)
17. VERGLAS GRAVELS*. Verglas is a term used by climbers to describe a thin layer of ice on rock.
20. ON THE AIR ANTIHERO* – a easy clue, but a nice anagram that I don’t remember seeing before
22. POTASH TA (thanks) in POSH
23. OVERSTRAIN OVERS (deliveries, as in cricket) + TRAIN (attendants)
24. TIME M (money) in TIE (restrict, hamper)
25. CANON C (“see”) + ANON
26. GUERILLA ILL in ARGUE*. I’m not sure “terrorist” is a very accurate definition.
2. ENID DINE reversed
3. STOCKY STOCK (keep, as a shopkeeper might) + Y[oung].
4. FRANKLY RANK in FLY (=pilot, as a verb)
5. DRAINAGE D + RAIN (showers) + AGE
16. EXACTING EX (former, late) + ACTING (performance)
18. ASSEMBLY Reverse of MESS in ABLY
19. ARRANGE R in A RANGE – “score” as in music.
21. NOVICE O V[olume] in NICE
22. PUNTER Double definition – a gambler, and one who propels a punt
24. TRIP T + RIP

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,345 – Chifonie”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew. This was a breeze except for VERGLAS alas.

    Surely, he could have found a more interesting word and a better clue than just a boring anagram?

    I expect that Chifonie will now be haunted by this for evermore and I suggest that his gravestone should read:

    Chifonie – the Hurdy Gurdy Man (1946-2146)
    He used to like walking in the Lake District where he often tripped up on the Verglas.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Andrew. I agree with you: a generally sound puzzle that would encourage newer solvers. I liked VERGLAS and got it because it’s French for ‘black ice’ on the roads, and you see signs for it if you’re driving over there. I didn’t realise it had a mountaineering meaning.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    PS I think you’ve forgotten to add the setter’s name to the title.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks K’s D – title corrected.

    Now you mention it, I remember seeing “verglas” on French road signs – as here for example.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for the blog – and the lovely Cambridge picture!

    I’m with you re 26ac – and, given its derivation, I always thought it had two Rs but I see Chambers and Collins give this alternative. [I can never think of the word at all without immediately thinking of Angela Rippon!]

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Chifonie

    Very much agree with your comments. Nice surfaces.
    I had to guess ‘reiki’ (easily enough)and the puzzle itself was a gentle massage.
    I did not remember ‘verglas’ but once I guessed it the verre + glas (glass ice) derivation sprang to mind.
    Liked 4d, 18d, and 22d. Had a lovely family punting trip here the other day. The spooneristic possibilities of punting on the local river were reputedly once accidentally realised by a Physics lecturer here talking about wave motion in water.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Tupu, the lecturer wasn’t related to James Naughtie or Jeremy Hunt by any chance? If so, I think we should move on …

  8. Mystogre says:

    Thank you Andrew. Has been a long day here so this is later than usual.

    I enjoyed the whole thing although I got stuck for a while in the SE corner and the spelling of 26 ac was part of that. All worked eventually though, so thanks to Chifonie as well.

    I liked 22d and 25ac, but was disappointed by 20ac. It seemed to offer nothing. Still, a good quiet workout at the end of a busy Friday.

  9. tupu says:

    Hi K’s D

    I think the story is true. But I am sure you are right about moving on.

  10. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew, and Chifonie for a gentle stroll. I’m beginning to think I’m getting better at this crossword lark, only to come here to find everyone else is too 😉

    I’m not familiar with VERGLAS, but the clue was easy enough and the French connexion (;)) obvious.

    I was naturally less happy with the spelling of 26ac, even though Chambers confirms it. It’s nonsense in Spanish, which has only two double letters, with distinct pronunciations to their single form, both of which appear in this word.

  11. Bamberger says:

    This was generally dismissed on the Guardian website as being far too easy and despite the comment that it would be good for a 21d, I only solved 9a,20a,25a,26a ,5d,21d & 24d before staring blankly for a further 30 minutes and giving up.
    Why the problems-well of course some would have dropped with crossing letters that I didn’t have.
    8a Drive =spin just didn’t come to mind and I got hung up on a missed drive being a shank or a slice.
    10a I know c=100 but why is 100=many?
    14a Fur=sable I simply didn’t know.
    17a I knew this was an anagram but despite spending much time in the mountains as a skier, I have never come across this term.
    23a I had attendants =pages or waiters but hadn’t come across train.
    2d I must have gone through every four letter girl’s name apart from this one!
    3d Stock =keep didn’t occur to me
    6d Haven’t seen this trick of first =ist before
    19d Simply didn’t know score =arrange
    Some I might have got on another day. I can see that there were a lot of standard devices for the old hands but if you don’t know them you are totally stuck.

  12. Richard says:

    A good start to the day. I enjoyed this one.

  13. Robi says:

    An enjoyable solve that was akin to a Monday slot.

    Thanks Andrew; I don’t think I’ve come across v=volume=book before, although it seems obvious. I liked PUNTER and your Cam picture; looks like Mum, Dad and SIS in the boat – maybe there is a Nobel Prize winner sitting there…….. or maybe not.

    If anyone wants to continue the bipolar disorder discussion, I’ve posted a late comment on yesterday’s blog.

  14. chas says:

    Thanks Andrew for the blog.

    I have never heard of REIKI. I could see it there as a hidden item but it seemed so unreal that I did not bother to investigate!

    On 15a I was held up for quite a while trying to make an anagram of cinders: I found discern and rescind – neither of which fitted. Once I had some crossing letters I then saw the right way to handle it.

    I liked 22a.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Robi the young lady in the boat was called Pam.

    This puzzle was too easy. I expect a challenge.

  16. walruss says:

    I agree with you there, RCW! A very poor effort I thought. And ‘freedom fighter’ would have been a MUCH better definition for ‘guerilla’. One thing, where is this ‘Guardian website’ with all its crossword comments? I had understood theat GU is dead. Is this a pay-site or something? Many thanks if u can help.

  17. Pelham Barton says:

    walruss @16:

  18. Andrew says:

    …or more specifically

  19. Ian says:

    Thanks Andrew and Chifonie.

    Quite enjoyable.

    I too had to guess Reiki. As for Verglas, I have learned something new.

    Both 22ac and 23ac are decent clues.

  20. Mike says:

    This was OK, but I didn’t like 19d. There’s only one extra R needed, so why didn’t it say “Score run in a series”?

  21. Pelham Barton says:

    Mike @20 re 19dn: For me anyway R is more naturally an abbreviation for the plural “runs” than the singular “run”. Chambers allows either.

  22. michael says:

    Eileen @5
    Surely it was Moira Stewart, but maybe I’ve confused the satirists with the real thing!

  23. michael says:

    Oops, Angela it was. Sorry Eileen (and Moira).

  24. sidey says:

    walruss GU may be no more, try

  25. walruss says:

    Thanks to PB and Sidey `¬{]

  26. walruss says:

    Not the Talk = GU Talk, then!!

  27. Carrots says:

    If Grauniad puzzles continue to be as easy as this, my beer consumption will reach levels I associate with drought.

    It`s been much more fun reading the foregoing comments….and I still have to figure out why Auntie E. associates GUERILLA with Angel Rippon. All I can remember about her is her legs on the Morecambe & Wise Show.

  28. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen’s referring to the following:,3604,353899,00.html

    I’ve tried to find a clip of Not the Nine O’Clock News with Pamela Stephenson taking the mick out of it, but have failed. It’ll be out there in cyberspace somewhere.

    Good weekend to all.

  29. Eileen says:

    Thanks Kathryn’s Dad -I’ve been on exactly the same mission!

    Carrots, you must remember! :-)

  30. BrigC says:

    1) Angela Rippon had a distinctive way of pronouncing guer(r)illa. I think I read somewhere that the BBC was leading a crusade for the correct pronunciation of foreign words at the time. A.R did the same thing, a sort of nano-second pause and a concerted run-up to the names of several African leaders, Ndabaningi Sithole amongst them.
    2) The Guardian crossword site was taken out from behind a pay-wall some time ago. All the Guardian/Observer crosswords are available on publication day (archived too). Most can be completed on-line as well as printed out. Once a month the “Genius” crossword is an on-line only competition crossword. This month’s was/is beyond my patience level.

  31. Sil van den Hoek says:

    One may find this crossword too easy (for a Friday, that is) or not challenging enough (to use RCWhiting’s words) which I do understand.
    But walruss #16, why do you think this crossword was “a very poor effort”?
    We all know that Chifonie’s style is one with a limited number of devices and he’s not really hard, but the vast majority of the clues is well-written (wasn’t keen on GUERILLA though for reasons mentioned by others including you yourself).
    The surfaces are generally smooth and sound.
    Technically speaking there is not much wrong with this puzzle (only the level, perhaps), so how can you say “a very poor effort” then?
    Easy isn’t the same as poor, is it?

  32. RCWhiting says:

    However, ‘poor’ is a fair comment on The Guardian presenting us with a crossword which is disappointing to many of its regular readers. If Polly Toynbee produced a grammatically correct and correctly spelled column which I could skip through, find no interesting thoughts or ideas I would blame the editor for falling down on the job. Why shouldn’t the same apply to a crossword?

  33. Steve says:

    Found this pretty plain sailing, and had it finished by 7pm (I tend to start doing the odd clue when I start work at 7am, and then ponder and steal glances through the day before trying to finish once I get home and the kids are in bed!). Found this week’s puzzles to be entertaining, with Rufus and Araucaria both completed. 3/4 of Gordius and not one of Brummie!

  34. RCWhiting says:

    If Polly Toynbee wrote a grammatically perfect and correctly spelled column which I could skip through because it contained no interesting facts, no stimulating thoughts or insightul ideas, I would feel justified in saying that the editor had done a ‘poor’job.
    So, crossword editor……………

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I would say: just let the next Chifonie pass you by.
    Better for you.
    Better for us too.

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