Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,489 – Bonxie

Posted by Andrew on November 25th, 2011


I’ve sometimes found Bonxie’s puzzles quite hard, but this one wasn’t too bad, despite a few rather obscure words.

A nice theme involving the two “parts” of ROCK and ROLL, using at least two senses of each. I’d heard of GNEISS and GABBRO, particularly the former, of which there’s a lot in Scotland; I don’t remember coming across BUNT before, but the wordplay was obvious and it looked plausible as a baseball term.

1. GIGOLOS Reverse of SOLO GIG
10. LOOK SMART LOOK (peer) + SMART (elegant), with “shake a leg”as definition
12. STUN “Overheads” has to be split into “over heads”, so the reverse of NUTS
14. ROCK AND ROLL ROCK (sticky sweet) + A N[ew] DROLL
18. TOASTMASTER OAST (oven) + M[itt] in TASTER (guinea pig)
21. COAL CORAL less its “heart”, and coal is extracted from rock
22. FACSIMILES FA (footballers) + C (100, many) + SIMILES (expressions – well, sort of)
25. CROQUETTE R (recipe) in COQUETTE
26. NOISE I in NOSE, “hooter” being rather dated slang for the nose.
27. ROTATOR ROTA (roll) + T[endon] + OR. There are rotator muscles in the shoulder, for example.
28. ROSE HIP ROSÉ (wine) + HIP (with it)
1. GNEISS Homophone of “nice”
2. GABBRO Reverse of ORB BAG
5. CROISSANT (I ACROSS)* + NT (New testament = books)
6. LIST L + 1ST. List as in lean over, which I suppose could be the same as rolling
7. INACTION IN (trendy) + ACTION ([law] suit)
8. ENTANGLE ENT (ear, nose and throat, all involving “tubes” in an anatomical sense) + ANGLE (fish)
15. CHARACTER Double definition
16. STOCKCAR Reverse of RACK COTS. “Stock car” is two words according to Chambers, so the enumeration should probabky be (5,3)
17. MARABOUT (A TAMBOUR)*. Chambers gives “a Muslim shrine” as one definition of the word
19. ELVISH Drunken pronunciation of ELVIS, known as the King of Rock and Roll. Elvish is a language invented by J R R Tolkein in The Lord of the Rings
20. ASLEEP LEE (shelter) in ASP (snake)
23. STEER Double definition
24. BUNT BUN (roll) + T. Bunt is a type of hit in Baseball

41 Responses to “Guardian 25,489 – Bonxie”

  1. Alex in Oz says:

    Hi Andrew,

    A pleasant enough solve for a Friday, made easier once 14a was solved. Fortunately, this wasn’t too tough a clue so the grid was unlocked quite soon. My favourite clue was 5d for its misleading surface.

    I’d also never thought of bowel being an anagram of elbow, although it’s obvious enough. I wonder whether this has anything to do with the phrase “not knowing one’s arse from one’s elbow”?

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. I thought this was very gneiss. The only clue to force me to the dictionary was GABBRO. I loved the drunken Elvis, and the misleading 5d. Learned a valuable new word: BUNT.

  3. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the blog, very helpful. One question/comment – in 2d ‘orb’ for ‘ring’ ? I thought that an ‘orb’ was three-dimensional?

  4. andy smith says:

    Re 6d – FWIW one can describe e.g. a ship as having either a list or a roll – it will list by a ‘roll angle’.

  5. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew and Bonxie.

    Quite atraightforward one the theme was cracked (through ELVISH, in my case).

    A few unfamiliar words, although the only one I’d never heard was 24d, which as you say was guessable.

    I agree with Andy Smith@3, a “ring” is a circle, while an ORB is a sphere, which delayed my putting it in 2d.

    “List” and “roll” are synonyms not only in shipping terms: a roll call involves reading out a list of names, for example.

  6. Robi says:

    Good crossword, although once ROCK AND ROLL was cracked, I thought there would be lots of bands or singers.

    Thanks, Andrew; I agree that STOCK CAR should be two words. New to me were GNEISS, GABBRO, MARABOUT and BUNT; all reasonable from the clues, though. I think ‘shake a leg’ is more usually ‘look sharp,’ rather than LOOK SMART. In fact, I’m not sure how often the latter is used. Perhaps someone can give me the context.

    I did enjoy in a masochistic way the misdirection for CROISSANT.

  7. Mitz says:

    ‘Croissant’ the clear contender for COD. Like the others I wasn’t particularly happy with ‘orb’ for ‘ring’, although some dictionaries seem to give it as a verb synonymous with ‘orbit’ which is better. With ‘Elvish’ at 19, for a while I tried to justify putting in ‘Hobbit’ at 2. Gigolos was gneiss as well. Good fun – thanks Bonxie and Andrew.

  8. Mistley says:

    Re: Orb=Ring

    From the online OED if you scroll down you (eventually!) get:-

    “A circle, or anything of circular form, as a circular disc or wheel, or (less usually) a ring. Obs.”

    So, obscure but OK imho

  9. PeterJohnN says:

    At first I had LOOK SHARP at 10a, which made 8d difficult! I also had PUCE at 21a (PUMICE without its heart!), which mucked up 16 & 17 down.
    Re 18a, Andrew doesn’t point out that a TOASTMASTER raises “Cheers!”. At 6d, I also took LIST to be a noun as in payroll, roll call, etc.
    Finished the puzzle but didn’t know GABBRO, MARABOUT or BUNT (which is a soft drop shot) before today. Didn’t parse FACSIMILES, as I thought the expressions were SMILES!

  10. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I found this one quite tough, despite getting 14a quickly. But enjoyable, nevertheless. Failed to get 8d, however, because I had entered LOOK SHARP at 10a (see Robi @6).

    17d was the only new word for me, but with the crossing letters it had to be either MARABOUT or ‘ramabout’!

    Some great clues: 1a, 22a, 28a, 5d, 19d. I liked the anagrams, too. I thought ‘fried roll’ = CROQUETTE was a bit off piste, but the clue is a good one.

  11. PeterJohnN says:

    Going back to 21a, I think “extracted” refers to “heart”, and COAL is a rock. i.e no double usage of extracted.

  12. Paul B says:

    Grammar goof at 4, ‘Only 5 enter answer’, for SOL(V)E: symbol V=5 is but a single element in the cryptic reading, which puts ‘enter’ into the wrong part of speech. Didn’t much like the tense for the anagind at 17, nor ‘takes’ at 20 which doesn’t suggest inclusion to me.

    But! I enjoyed it, and there were (as with yesterday’s fine offering) some really nice clues. I tend to like the really deceptive ones, so 5 gets my vote for COD.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A very enjoyable and testing puzzle.
    I thought the use of 14 as a theme was clever, lots of varied examples; no googling for solutions here.
    Some nicely deceptive clues; I liked 1, 5 abd 6 down and 12 and 21 across.
    As I wrote in ‘gabbro’ (2d) I could picture all the postings that an orb is not a ring. “Sphere carrier up for 14 (part 1)” would obviously have made a vastly superior clue; wouldn’t it?

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Your comment about post-posting interested me.
    I certainly had no idea that it was diapproved of and often do it.
    It does discriminate against those of us who have a different daily timetable to the ‘norm’. My ‘day’is usually around 1030 to 0230 (UK times).
    I notice that this week (Monday to Thursday) there have been over 4 per day on average.

  15. BrigC says:

    I took list and roll to be synonyms as in electoral roll.

  16. Stella Heath says:

    HI RCWhiting, I’m aware of varying time zones, which is why I keep track of interesting blogs until the morning of the following day. What I do try to avoid – though don’t always succeed – is referring to previous blogs in the present one. Perhaps this kind of discussion would be more adequate in the General Discussion page. In fact, I’m surprised Gaufrid hasn’t already intervened.

    To PaulB@12, IMO you would do well to separate surface readings from cluing instructions – viz.: RCWhiting@13 on “orb”

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Bonxie

    I found this hard in parts but generally entertaining. Started it this a.m. and came back after a late lunch to get ‘stun’ and ‘entangle’.

    LIke others I first had ‘look sharp’ but was able to rethink it once I saw ‘entangle’. :) It always pleases me as I get older to find I can rethink something!

    I oddly missed the obvious (now) parsing of elvish. I though of it as Elvis+h (high) which seemed (no wonder) a bit unsatisfactory!

    I needed to look up ‘gabbro’ and ‘bunt’. Like others I thought of ‘orb’ as a sphere but it clearly (acc. to dictionaries) also means ‘circle’.

    I ticked 5a (for the surface), 14a, 28a,1d, and 5d.

  18. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to Andrew and Bonxie. I’m another who wrote down ‘sharp’ and got held up a bit. Googling ‘stock car’ (or, I suppose, ‘stockcar’) gives lots of instances of making it one word; I too wondered for a moment if the letter count was an oversight but now I think not.

    Nice puzzle: thanks for Gabbro, bunt and marabout. (Interesting that the last of these can be either the holy person or his tomb/shrine; a nice economy.)

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I had totally failed on 6d – I was looking for a 4-letter word meaning Winner :(

    In my case it took a long time to solve 14a hence all those other clues that depended on it. This shows the disadvantage of having a theme like this: if you are slow in finding it then the whole thing is slowed down tremendously. On the other hand if you solve the theme quickly then lots of others fall into place quickly and you are left with the feeling (correct or not) that this was an easy puzzle.

    Funnily enough I find that when Araucaria has a theme like this it is my experience that I can usually solve one of the clues that depend on the theme and hence solve the theme!

  20. Paul B says:

    Stella @ 16, your tone seems unnecessarily aggressive: could you please tone it down a little? I wouldn’t want you also to risk inviting down the wrath, from on high, to which your friend RC Whiting managed to subject himself by reason of his own apparent brusqueness.

    If you have an opinion at variance with my own re clue 4 (which is, despite your apparent misapprehension, very much reliant upon a clear division between cryptic grammar and surface reading), then spell it out!

  21. RCWhiting says:

    I agree with you about themes in general (viz my google comment) but I felt this was a far superior example. First 14 had two parts, secondly each part had a variety of meanings which led to a diversity of uses in the linked clues.
    I thought this ‘theme’ was the main reason I found this such a satisfying puzzle.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    “I wouldn’t want you also to risk inviting down the wrath, from on high, to which your friend RC Whiting managed to subject himself by reason of his own apparent brusqueness.”

    Please do explain yourself,I have no knowledge of any such thing.
    And do try to be a little more courteous to my “friend” Stella.

  23. Paul B says:

    Are you willing to come off-blog with this RCW? I’m more than happy to respond, but not here: surfcake-at-tiscali-dot-co-dot-uk.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    Certainly not. That strikes me as a juvenile suggestion.

  25. Paul B says:

    A disappointing response, and nonetheless so for being utterly expected.

  26. Admin says:

    May I please remind you that the purpose of this post is for discussion related to Bonxie’s puzzle, not off-topic asides or comments regarding perceived personalities (as happened earlier in the week).

    I do not wish to have to spend time editing, moving or deleting comments but there have been several occasions during recent weeks when I have come close to doing so.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Dunscotus

    Re marabout, my recollection, confirmed by ,
    is that the shrines are typically graves of former marabout saints.
    The word (also marabou) is also used for certain large storks. I had thought the name derived from their resemblance to pious clerics as they strode about, but dictionaries seem to say that they are simply considered holy in Islamic belief.

  28. Paul B says:

    … although, re 26 and after consultation just to make sure, I should like to add that he’s not suggesting that yours truly has been making either this week, or in recent times, any comments that were close to being moderated. I was guilty of going somewhat off-topic in wrangling with RCW this afternoon (at comments 23 & 25), but that’s as far as my particular share in this b*ll*cking goes.

  29. dkham says:

    Failed on 6dn, 8dn and 12ac. All good clues, like ENT especially.

  30. Martin P says:

    I was pleased to discover that “bunt” is actually a word, apart from the Germanic “coloured”.

    It stuck in my mind (for some unknown reason) from a “Monty Python” way, way back, in a sketch centred on someone who habitually replaced the letter “c” with “b”, and referred to another as this. Seemed almost funny at the time.

  31. Stella Heath says:

    To PaulB@20, I did actually tone it down, but I don’t understand why you find it aggressive; I was only trying to point out that the surface reading is important when creating a clue, and it may not necessarily agree with the wordplay – I’ve read here before that punctuation is often irrelevant.

    I certainly had no intention of sparking off a duel between you and Mr. Whiting, totally out of key with this site.

    My heartfelt apologies to the Admin. and anyone else if this was my fault.

  32. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I have to confess that Bonxie is not really my favourite setter. His cleverness normally goes over my head, meaning: I usually need more than one session to complete the job. So, while I find his puzzles sometimes a bit of a slog, I really liked this one (my PinC agreed :)) – there was just a somewhat lighter touch than in his recent (mainly Saturday) offerings.

    So, nice puzzle.
    But I fully agree with Paul B (@12) on the use of “enter” in 4d. It is wrong. [“entered” or “entering” could have done the trick]
    Moreover, I have similar feelings (as PB) about the use of “takes” in 20d, although we enter ( :)) a slightly greyer area here.

    Clue of the Day? Well, that’s clear enough. But I (we) also liked the silliness of the surface in 18ac (TOASTMASTER).

  33. RCWhiting says:

    Not to worry, Stella.I am an old man who is not easily disturbed – especially by a MB full of mythical people.

  34. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for solving the problem at 4d, Sil.

    I’m pleased about that RCW, but what’s a(n) MB in this context?

  35. dunsscotus says:

    Hi tupu @ 27. Thanks for info, and I just love the resemblance theory.

    With regard to the rumbling debate abour 4 down: Stella is surely right to point to the surface reading, when ‘5’ is easily construed as a ‘they’, if I may so put it. Only at the point of entering the solution does ‘5’ become ‘V’ and grammatical points are not really germane.

    It also occurs to me that one problem with being pedantic about parts of speech (and grammar generally) is that there are just too many options. If one accpets, as I think we must, that punctuation is ‘transparent’, I could rewrite the clue as

    Only. 5, enter! Answer.

    The verb, being in the imperative mood, is now OK, and I hope to have caused some amusement. Are we really going to get all het up about a single ‘s’?

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    dunsscotus, why should you make 4d so complicated:
    “Only. 5, enter! Answer.”? [amusing it is, though :)]
    Why not “Only 5 entered answer”? That would have been perfectly all right.
    So, I would say, if I were a setter and had the choice ….
    In the discussion on “5” being a plural, I still share Paul B’s point of view – the crux of this is similar to the recent “I follow” discussion, which is also not cryptogrammatically correct (even though fine within a surface).
    Confusing isn’t it?

  37. RCWhiting says:

    MB = message board

  38. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks RC. Over and out

  39. Paul B says:

    Slight miscalculation in your conjugation there duns, but nice try.

  40. dunsscotus says:

    Hi Sil. So ‘Five go to Billycock Hill’ should have been ‘Five goes …’? (Apologies to Enid Blyton.)

  41. Sil van den Hoek says:

    In correct cryptic grammar: yes, I fear.
    The problem is that within a cryptic construction “five” should be seen as a (one) word/object that – in your example – goes to whatever.
    Of course, it’s different within the surface.
    Like it or not, for (precise) setters the cryptic grammar comes first.
    And that is what Paul B was trying to say.

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