Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,381 / Bonxie

Posted by mhl on July 22nd, 2011


A nice puzzle from Bonxie. I found the top half of this puzzle remarkably hard, although on writing the post I can’t quite see why.

1. HERITAGE IT in HER AGE = “Don’t ask a lady this”; Definition: “Tradition”
5. BEACON BACON = “meat” around E = “energy”; Definition: “Light”
9. LIVER ROT LIVE = “potentially shocking” + RR (Right Reverend) = “man of God” + TO reversed; Definition: “Livestock disease”
10. ONE TWO Double definition: “Slick passing move” (passing the ball to another player who passes it right back) and “testing Mike” (people often say “one two” into a microphone to test it)
12. USAGE SAUSAGE = “banger” without SA (Sex Appeal) = “it”; Definition: “Custom” – surely it’s about time “it” for SA was retired?
13. KNOTTIEST KNOT = “bird” + TIE = “to draw” + ST = “street”; Definition: “Most difficult”
14. ROUND THE BEND THE END = “Death” around B = “bishop” after ROUND = “drinks”; Definition: “crackers”
18. RECORD PLAYER P[rize] = “first prize” in RECORD LAYER = “most productive hen”; Definition: “Spinner of 78[‘]s”
21. TEDDY BEAR T = “Time” + (BED READY)*; Definition: “him” in the context of the whole clue
23. NOOSE SOON = “shortly” reversed + [pictur]E = “ultimate picture”; Definition: “hanger”
24. APERCU Hidden in “newspAPER CUtting”; Definition: “Insight”
26. ESTATE Tripple definition: “What’s left”, “houses” and “car”
27. VERY WELL VERY = “light which signals” (a Very pistol) + WELL = “spring”; Definition: “Fine”
1,25. HELIUM BALLOONS HELIUM = “He” (its chemical symbol) + BALLOONS = “gets much bigger”; Definition: “party decorations”
2. REVEAL LEVER = “switch” reversed with A = “one” inserted; Definition: “show”
3. THREE FOUR TOUR = “Travel” around H = “hot” + REEF = “rocks”; Definition: “signature” – a time signature in music
4. GLOCKENSPIEL LOCK = “Forward” (a position in rugby) in GEN = “information” + SPIEL = “pitch”; Definition: “instrument”
6. ERNST He painted TERNS = “birds” with the T moved “from head to toe”; Definition: “He painted”
7. CATHETER CATER = “Provide entertainment” around THE; Definition: “tube”
8. NOONTIDE ON = “Switch” + TIDE = “current” after NO = “number”; Definition: “12”
11. POET LAUREATE (EPAULETTE OR A)*; Definition: “Wordsmith thus honoured”
15. ETERNALLY EXTERNALLY = “outside” without X = “kiss”; Definition: “Always”
16. FROTTAGE (TARGET OF)*; Definition: “rubbing”
17. ACID TEST (DICTATES)*; Definition: “It determines the value”
19. MOROSE MOOSE = “animal” around [maste]R = “master’s foot”; Definition: “Bad tempered”
20. TEASEL [ha]T = “base of hat” + EASEL = “stand”
22. YACHT TAY = “river” reversed (“upriver”) around CH = “children”; Definition: “It floats”

33 Responses to “Guardian 25,381 / Bonxie”

  1. Frank says:

    Thanks, mhl (and to Bonxie for a fairly knotty puzzle).
    You’ve omitted mention of 1,25 (Helium Balloons?) above.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl, and Bonxie. Last in was 19d, but it took another ten minutes to fathom 12a’s IT=SA and 1d’s HE=HELIUM. A little harder than yesterday’s with some testing clues. I liked 2d a lot, and the anagram/anagrind for POET LAUREATE. No aids until checking time later, for 9 a and 20d.

  3. Median says:

    The dearth of comments by this time suggests I wasn’t alone in finding this tough. Heavy use of TEA was required. Coffee now needed.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl – a nice puzzle, as you say.

    I had a blind spot with 9ac [VER = ‘man of god to return’!] so thanks particularly for the explanation there.

    Bonxie quite often has a theme and when I saw ONE TWO and THREE FOUR I thought there might be more going on but, if there is, I can’t see it.

  5. Geoff says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    I found this very muc easier than yesterday’s Araucaria and easily finished it at a sitting over a cup of coffee. No two solvers are alike, of course!

    Like Eileen I was expecting more of a hidden theme than the one-two-three-four from a Bonxie puzzle, but the lack of any such is its own surprise, I suppose. Anyway, the experience was enjoyable.

    14a was amusing, but it is difficult to beat Rufus’s clue for ROUND THE BEND: ‘Out of sight, out of mind’.

    Favourite clue is 27a: simple, concise, good surface, yet cleverly misdirecting (‘light which signals’!).

  6. MikeC says:

    Thanks mhl and Bonxie. I found this challenging: got there with 12a and 15d but could not work out why. Thanks again to 225!

  7. mike04 says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl.

    This was tricky, but really good. My favourite was 8dn, as I love a simple penny-dropping definition like ’12’.
    When I checked up on Max Ernst, I discovered that he made collages and the frottages in 16dn.

  8. mike04 says:

    Sorry, I didn’t notice your link to Ernst – which also mentions Frottages! Mike @7

  9. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl. A remarkable puzzle – so much misdirection.

    For instance: (you are entirely right in your parsing) I had 8 as NOONTIDE (switch from morning to afternoon as the definition) being current, TIDE, after NOON (12) and spent ages looking for a shortened word for return to come before E in NOOSE, before writing in the obvious answer, when the penny clanged down! Lots more of same today but I won’t bore you, although I wonder who else spent time trying to get LIUM to make sense in 1 dn? :)

  10. Martin H says:

    Toughest – like mhl I’m not sure why in retrospect – and overall I think the best, of the week.

    One or two – GLOCKENSPIEL, NOONTIDE, for example, only parsed after entering, but, if it’s not too many, I have no problem with that.

    Special mention for: ‘Flick’ as reversal indicator (2); the surface reading of 14 (I much prefer this to the, admittedly smooth, Rufus, Geoff, but, as you say, no two solvers are alike); the frustrating 1d when ‘balloons’ was already obvious, and the final realisation that it was obvious too (only a few seconds, NeilW); ‘hatstand’ (20) – a small pinch of those adds flavour to a puzzle.

    Gripes? I share yours about ‘IT’ mhl – a bit of a let-down in a puzzle of this quality; ‘it floats’ for ‘yacht’ – hmm, like clueing say ‘gnu’ with ‘it breathes’ – well, not quite, but certainly too loose.

    Thanks to Bonxie, and to mhl for a thorough, and nicely concise, commentary.

  11. Robi says:

    Very enjoyable challenge, which I found easier than yesterday’s. Thanks mhl for the blog. I still don’t really understand the ON=switch in 8. I thought switch was ‘put on’ or ‘turn on.’ Indeed, I thought ‘turn on’ must be part of the parsing, but then ‘number’ is redundant. Can switch=on or off in crosswords, or am I missing something again?

    I didn’t realise SA=it; for many alternatives for the setters, see here, although I doubt that ‘Scrambled Americans’ would curry much favour with the solvers.

    HELIUM BALLOONS was the first in, no doubt due to my grandson’s forthcoming party. I thought the clue for ETERNALLY was excellent. No doubt your parsing of LIVER ROT is correct; I parsed ‘potentially shocking’ as ‘evil’ or it could (potentially) be ‘vile’ as well.

    I liked most of the clues; at least when you got the answer, it looked correct (unlike yesterday, IMHO)

  12. Uncle Yap says:

    Did anybody notice that the grid today is identical to the grid used in the Times? Freakish ya?

  13. Jennie says:

    Grid apart, am I the only person to find the flashing advertisement telling me I’m the 9999999 visitor REALLY annoying? Very hard on runny eyes.

  14. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog. I really needed you for several explanations of why I had the correct answers.

    I liked the misleading surface of 1a: it appeared that we were being asked to provide something you don’t ask a lady!

    Similarly 14 looked as if we were being asked to find something meaning Death – but I got there in the end.

  15. caretman says:

    Thanks, mhl. Like you, I found the upper half much more difficult than the lower half. This was one of those puzzles where I started and was over halfway through the across clues on first reading before I could solve one. Fortunately, I found many of the down clues easier and I could get a critical mass to get started. The northwest corner was the last major holdout until I got 3d and 4d. LIVER ROT was my last in; I tried to make the second word POX (aren’t all livestock diseases poxes?) before finally parsing it right.

    Favorite clues were 1d/25a, 1a, and 3d. Outstanding stuff from Bonxie.

  16. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks mhl and Bonxie

    I never seem to get on the same wavelength as Bonxie. In the top left corner I failed to get 9a, 2d & 3d.
    Answers are obvious when you see the answers but to me quite difficult.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Hardwork. And noone has mentioned APERCU as being a bit on the obscure side. Does that mean you are all the sort of effete nancies that use such words day in day out? (What do you mean I must have just got back from a bad day at the bookies?)

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Jennie, try buying the paper, it never flashes.
    Although a dozen or so clues were write-ins it eventually provided a bit of meat to chew on. Strangely it was the long ones, 4 and 11d, which gave me food for thought.
    Overall a decent puzzle.

  19. Robi says:

    Derek @17; especially for you:

    The TJ Smith recent winners & placegetters

    Year Winner 2nd 3rd Time
    2011 Benfica Hot Snitzel Playtime 1:36.0
    2010 Pressday Ringa Ringa Rosie American Crew 1:35.0
    2009 Linky Dink Spot On Target Southport 1:39.9
    2008 Rockdale Baci Amore Fravashi 1:40.3
    2007 Apercu Tripitz Masked Assassin 1:37.9

  20. Robi says:

    ………. or a bit more here. :)

  21. Geoff says:

    Derek @ 17

    Perhaps nobody has commented on APERCU because, although it is very much a ‘Sunday best’ sort of word, it is not as obscure as some of the curiosities we are occasionally presented with. And it was given a relatively easy clue.

    Further to Robi’s useful input, might I humbly submit that APERCUS (‘immediate intuitive insights’) are something you often make yourself, although you might not name them as such! (Apologies for omitting the cedilla, but I couldn’t be bothered…)

  22. Trebor says:

    @ Eileen in 4
    Like you I went looking for a theme. 78 is of course present in a clue so I’d be surprised if there was no allusion to 5 and 6 or 56…

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi Trebor

    Yes, it’s been bugging me all day – and I’d spotted the 78 but not come back to mention it because I couldn’t add anything else.

    I’ve said several times here how frustrating it must be for setters when solvers don’t latch on but, unfortunately, Bonxie is not one of those setters who drop in – up to now, at least!

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    I dunno. Robi, didn’t I just say you’d have to go a bit to wrest the class dummy title? And then you blow it by clearly demonstrating a seriously rare knowledge!

  25. Trebor says:

    @ 23

    I’ll be returning later to see if anyone’s dropped in with an answer

  26. Martin H says:

    Trebor and Eileen – not being a theme-searcher, I wondered at first what you were looking for. 7 8’s are 56 – is that any good?

  27. stiofain says:

    Great puzzle Im another sent round the bend looking for the (non-existant?) theme

  28. Carrots says:

    Bonxie usually involves brain damage…this and LIVER ROT should (and probably will) see me off.

    I bought an i-phone today and complete bewilderment followed plugging it in to i-tunes. Unlike the first `78 I ever bought (Diana by Paul Anker (?)) my new RECORD PLAYER can record eighty-seven years of continuous music…but cannot seduce Maureen Lord into my parent`s front parlour to play it ad nausiem on my “Dansette”.

  29. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Bonxie and mhl. This took a bit of getting in to but then all fell in to place. Setters seem to expect a decent knowledge of French so I always look out for it.

    Jennie@13, try folding a thick old envelope over that part of the screen. It works wonders!


  30. Eileen says:

    Good thinking, Martin H!

    Failing to spot themes is a blogger’s nightmare [for this blogger, at least!] and it’s just that I’ve blogged enough of Bonxie’s puzzles to know that there usually is one! ONE TWO, THREE FOUR, 7 8 must mean something – surely??

    Oh, Carrots @ 28 – what memories!

    As a student, I spent my first Summer vac earnings as a waitress on a Dansette and heard, every night, on Great Yarmouth seafront, juke boxes spewing out ‘Diana’ et al.

    My grandchildren [!] this afternoon installed my new television, offering untold new channels [I don’t have time to watch the five I already had] and introduced me to Skype, so that I can see their cousin, my 10-day old new grandson in Copenhagen.

    [‘And a little child shall lead them…’]

  31. stiofain says:

    oh ive spotted the theme it is not Duke Ellington

    [‘And a little child shall lead them…’]

  32. Daniel Miller says:

    Some extremely well conceived clues in this lot – a couple short which are kind of obvious now – to be very fair to Bonxie I really liked a lot of the clues which were a little bit different from the usual fare and managed to combine a theme with some quite original wordplay.

  33. Jennie says:

    Thanks RCWhiting for suggestion to buy paper – unfortunately not an option as we live in Cape Town!

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