Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,460 by Bonxie

Posted by PeeDee on October 29th, 2011


I don’t think I have blogged Bonxie before, I found this one enjoyable and a nice level of difficulty, not too hard or too easy.  Lots of colours in the answers, but not enough to count as a theme.

Hold the mouse pointer over clue number to read the clue.

9 BULGE BLUE* (anagram=spray) containing (going over) Green (abbreviation) – definition is ‘swelling’
10 MOUSETRAP Definition and cryptic definition – the Agatha Christie play and spring-loaded trap for Jerry (the mouse from Tom & Jerry cartoons)
11 SOMBREROS SOMBRE (black) with ROSe (cut flower) attached at the back
12 BEVEL BEE (something that flies) going round Violet (first letter of) and Left – definition is ‘slope’
13 SCALLOP Double definition – shellfish and ‘to cut with a wavy edge’
15 SATANIC TAN (belt, hit someone) and I inside SAC (bag) – definition is ‘black’
17 BLOOM Large inside BOOM (mushroom, explosion) – a pink is an example of a flower (one with a wavy edge, leading the definition of pink in the sense of 13 across)
18 RAW Double definition – bleeding and inexperienced
20 AMBER MBE (gong, medal) inside A R (rex, monarch=king)
22 ENHANCE EN (small sapce, printing) and (HE CAN)* – definition is ‘lift’
25 NATURAL TAN (brown) reversed URAL (the river, something that flows)
26 MIMER dIMMER* (with top missing, switch=anagram)
27 CHOCOLATE COLA (drink) inside (THE CO)* – definition is ‘brown’
30 PUERPERAL (ARE PURPLE)* letters moved=anagram – puerperal is ‘relating to childbirth’
31 SPOOR OOPS (apologetic outburst) reversed and Right – the track left by a (wounded) hunted animal
1 IBIS Black inside I (1 Roman numeral) IS
2 PLUMBAGO PLUM (purple) BAG (shoot a game bird) Orange (the tip of) – definition is ‘plant’
3 REAR dREAR (grey, without leading letter) – definition is ‘behind’
4 IMPROPER I’M (Bonxie is) PROPER (true) – definition is ‘blue’
5 CURSES Double definition – ‘express dismay at’ and ‘obscenities’. These two definitions seem a bit too close for comfort to me.
6 MELBA TOAST O (nothing, zero) on TABLE (board) reversed inside MAST (pole) – food’s thin = ‘a food that is thin’
7 CRAVEN RAVEN following Caught
8 OPAL On PeArLs – ‘seen regularly’ is ‘looking at every other letter’, regular intervals
13 SABLE StABLE (removing T=head of Trainers) – definition is ‘black’
14 LEMON DROPS DROPS (tears) following LEMON (yellow colour)
16 CORAL COAL (rock) with R (registered trademark) in the centre
19 WANTONLY WAN (white TONY (a man) containing Lover (first letter of)
21 BERGAMOT TO MAGhREB (region of Africa, heartless) reversed – a type of orange
23 HUMBER Hydrogen (the first element) UMBER (brown earth)
24 ESCORT CORSET* – a squire is someone who escorts a knight
26 MOPY MOP (sponge) with Y (a catapult shape) – definition is ‘blue’, sad
28 OAST tOAST (to brown) with top removed
29 ECRU battlECRUiser


29 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,460 by Bonxie”

  1. John Dean says:

    Am I picky to object to 5 down? To “express dismay” is to curse. ‘curses’ would be defined by ‘expresses dismay’.
    And in 17 across, ‘mushroom’ isn’t an explosion – it’s the cloud of smoke and fire that follows an explosion.
    But I did enjoy 10 across.

  2. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Peedee.

    I think you’ll find the colours are peppered through the clues, more than in the answers – a clever device, I found, which led me to puzzle over the various secondary acceptions of many colour names. Brown, black, blue and pink seem to be the most prolific.

    I don’t quite get 5d. It seems to me the first definition should be in the 3rd person, as the second is a plural noun.

    At 19d, I think it’s “white” = WAN + L in TONY.

  3. Biggles A says:

    I thought this was one of the most enjoyable and best constructed Prize puzzles we have had for some time. The theme was relevant but not dominant and contained a number of beguiling twists. I liked 10; the explanation needed some lateral thinking. 30 was a new word for me but quite readily derivable.13a was my last and called for some research into the world of dressmaking.

    5 is just an expression surely, often voiced by foiled villains.

    I shared John Dean’s concern about 17 but figured that a business could mushroom and boom.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeeDee. For 5 and those of the right age bracket, think “Wacky Races.”

  5. bridgesong says:

    Thanks, Peedee. I found this hard and was glad I didn’t have to blog it. I didn’t help myself by confidently entering MYOSOTIS (MY O SO ‘TIS) at 4 down.

  6. stumped says:

    Thanks Bonxie for a very enjoyable puzzle and PeeDee for your blog.

    Favourite clue 10a.

    Failed to finish

    2d – never heard of that plant
    13a – Amazing mental block. Considered octopus yet forgot scallops. Also sort of half remembered what pinking shears do.
    13d. Decided solution was “Roses”. ‘trainers’ = climbing roses. Black (anagram indicator) ‘(h)orses’ unseating head. Then I got 22a which scotched that idea.
    17d Even now I remain unconvinced by Mushroom = Boom. Wrong, sorry.

  7. tupu says:

    Tahanks Peedee and Bonxie

    I felt rather slowwitted on this one but completed it with some collaboration from my son e.g with bergamot. A good puzzle.

    Re 6a Melba Toast – surely the answer is mast (pole) round reverse of 0 Table?

    Re 5d Curses I agree it is an expletive (the s is a plural one) here.

    re pink (v) I mainly remember this from ‘pinking scissors’.

    Re 17a Mushroom is here a verb as in ‘the population boomed (or mushroomed)’.

    I agree with Stella re the abundance of colours

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks even!

  9. PeeDee says:

    Stella and tupu, thanks for the corrections. I parsed the clues as you but then produced nonsense when writing up the blog.

    The colours I saw in the solutions were amber, narural, chocolate, opal, sable, lemon, coral and bergamot. I’ve seen all these words on paint tins in B&Q.

    I thought of “Curses!” the same way as Biggles A though had doubts about boom=mushroom, but tupu’s example of a boom town mushrooming fits the bill perfectly.

    I did post some more comments last night but then the server then crashed and now they have since disappeared. I can’t remeber what I said now.

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog.

    I had the correct answers for 27a and 2d but had been unable to parse the clues. :(

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks peedee

    Commiserations! I know how frustrating it is to lose stuff in midstream!

    Tan, sombre (?), ecru, ros(e) and umber (?) are ‘colours’ to add to the list in the answers, and black, white, blue, pink, green, purple, orange and yellow are there in the clues (all relatively common ones compared with some of those in the answers).

  12. Davy says:


    My interpretation of 19d is :

    W(white) + ANTONY(man) (embracing L)

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Peedee.

    I posted my comment at about 1am. after a tough day. I’d had a peek at the puzzle to jog my memory, then looked in here before going to sleep. I remembered the colourful clues, but at that time couldn’t be bothered to search for those in the answers.

    That’s the trouble with checking puzzles a week on – memory of the enjoyment you had solving them has irretrievably faded.

  14. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Davy, you may well be right – in fact, now you suggest that, I think it’s how I parsed it at the time. Still, I’m unhappy with the spelling on Ant(h)ony without the “h”.

  15. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog. After criticising obvious themes recently I must admit that I really enjoyed this one.

    Never heard of 30, quite an achievement squeezing a colour into that tight spot! Well done Bonxie.

  16. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeeDee. As others have said, there are loads of colours in this very enjoyable puzzle! And I had no problem with mushroom being used as a verb.

    Great puzzle, Bonxie. Thanks!

  17. Thomas99 says:

    By my count there are just 5 clues without a colour. Is that right? (Mushroom is one of course, as well as being a perfectly normal word for “boom” as several have already pointed out.)

  18. Robi says:

    Nice puzzle; one of the most enjoyable prize ones. I thought the clue for MOUSETRAP was exceptional.

    Thanks PeeDee; I parsed 19 as Davy @12 – ANTONY without an ‘h’ is used e.g. Antony Gormley (or Mark Antony.) Like Thomas99 @17, I only counted 5 clues or answers without a colour.

  19. Coffee says:

    Agree with WAN TONY as a white man. MOUSETRAP was a LOL moment, lovely. Am with tupu on the pinking “shears” as we call them round our way- they produce a nice scalloped edge. Not usually a Bonxie fan, but enjoyed this. And thanks for CHOCOLATE – got it as a brown drink (hot variety) and never really parsed it properly.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Robi, I know it exists, it just feels wrong somehow. You wouldn’t spell Thomas without its “h”.

    In fact, my husband, when he was learning English, was taught that there are three English ‘words’ where “th” is pronounced “t”: the aforementioned, and Thames. (There may be others, though – he was also taught that English has no subjunctive)

  21. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeeDee.

    Hi Stella, if you’re still there.

    I’m with you on the interpretation of WANTONLY.

    I’ve always wondered where we got the H in Anthony, since the name comes from the Latin Antonius. Similarly, ‘Thames’, from the Latin ‘Tamesis’. Thomas is, I find, from the Aramaic, so rather different.

    I can’t think, offhand, of any other English examples, so, thus far, can’t fault your husband’s teacher.

    BUT: “he was also taught that English has no subjunctive)” ???

    As a linguist, you had your tongue in your cheek when you posted that, didn’t you? If I were [but I’m not] willing to pursue this, I could go on all night! ;-)

  22. stumped says:

    Ant(h)ony didn’t occur to me. I had White Man as WAN TONY.

    Has anyone already pointed out that curses and obscenities are examples of Blue Language?

    I retract my original opposition to Mushroom = Boom. The Atom Bomb, of course.

  23. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Eileen,

    Rather than still there, I’m back, and glad you came back to me on this one. I actually thought the “h” had the same origin in all three, and HE with his classical knowledge has never enlightened me.

    As for the subjunctive, I’m sure you realise it’s a mode, not a form. There are no subjunctie verb forms in English, true, but how else would you qualify a phrase like “Would I hadn’t said that!” ?

  24. Davy says:

    Re 19d, I have to admit to being wrong as the annotated solution gives :

    19 wantonly WAN/TONY

  25. Davy says:

    Oops, part of the solution has been interpreted as HTML. I’ll try again.

    “19 wantonly WAN/TONY”

  26. Davy says:

    Still not working, see

  27. Biggles A says:

    The example in your last sentence in 21 is noted Eileen.

  28. PeeDee says:


    Not “wrong” but just an alternative and equally good interpretation IMHO.

  29. JM says:

    A bit late, I know, but it appears that no-one has yet suggested that 1d is really
    Black + I (1 Roman numeral) inside IS.
    “Black” comes before “one” in the clue (the blog suggest the opposite order of these), then the comma (I realise that punctuation sometimes gets added to “confuse” but not so here apparently), and lastly “is” as the “carrier”.

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