Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,537 – Bonxie

Posted by Andrew on January 20th, 2012


I had confidently predicted an Orlando for today, as we haven’t seen him since just before Christmas, so was slightly worried to see Bonxie’s name, as I’ve sometimes found his puzzles quite hard, but either he’s getting easier or I’m getting better at it, as this one presented no major problems – there were quite a few easy clues to get me started, and then the rest fell into place with just the right amount of work. I’m not sure about the parsing of 1ac – suggestions are invited. Sorted – thanks to Sidey

1. LUGGAGE Not sure about this: LUG (heave) + GAGE : a type of sledge? Gage can mean a pledge – could this be a typo (though the surface reading wouldn’t make sense in that case) or a misreading? Thanks to sidey for the explanation: GAG (heave) in LUGE.
5. RUBBISH RUB + BISHOP less OP (work)
10. JOLT L in JOT (tiny bit). This is one of several clues in the puzzle where the insertion seems to be the wrong way round: you expect L in a word for jar, but it’s actually “a tiny bit” with “left in”.
11. TARDIGRADE “Tardy” + GRADE ([put in] order).
16. COMMA C[harlie] + reverse of AMMO. The Comma is a type of butterfly (named after comma-shaped markings on its wings), which could be said to “emerge” from its chrysalis.
17. SPILL Double definition
19. PIROUETTE PI (Private Investigator) + ROU[L]ETTE, definition “turn”
24. WEASEL W[ith] EASEL (a “propper”), and a reference to the nursery rhyme “pop goes the weasel”
26. COTTON WOOL Billy COTTON, bandleader + WOO (court) + L (trainee, as in L-plate)
27. PRIG Hidden in uPRIGht
28. SMIDGEN MIDGE in SN (the chemical symbol for tin)
29. PSALTER SALT (season) in PER (each). Another misleading insertion indicator.
3. GET UP Double definition – “get up ” is an order to stand
4. GET DOWN Another double definition – I only noticed the juxtaposition of this and the previous answer when writing up the blog
6. UNISON S in UNION, and another misleading one – “outside society, [put] wedding”
7. BARCAROLE CAROL in BARE. I don’t think the cryptic sense quite works here – it would have to be “woman in in the altogether”
8. SIDEARM DEAR (opening of a letter) in SIM (the “identity card” found in mobile phones)
18. PERFORM Reverse of REP (salesman) + FORM (document)
21,20. THE SIZE OF WALES Homophone of “the sighs of whales” (a groaner to rival yesterday’s Farmer Sue); land areas are sometimes compared to “the size of Wales” in news broadcasts etc, in the same way that lengths are measured in football pitches or London buses.
22. SARNIE S + ARNIE . Arnold Schwarzenegger, former film star and now Governor of California, began his career as a bodybuilder, becoming Mr Universe at the age of 20.

29 Responses to “Guardian 25,537 – Bonxie”

  1. sidey says:

    1a GAG in LUGE

  2. Andrew says:

    Ah, thanks Sidey – so it’s another of those misleading insertion clues.

  3. andy smith says:

    I didn’t mind the ‘in’ doing double duty in 7d – nice surface (but I guessed an insert into nude or bare from the off) but the answer was a new word for me.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    8dn was the one that took me the longest to parse – it was the useful (to Bonxie) insertion of ID in SIDEARM that led me of down the wrong track for a while and that was after getting enough crossing letters to see that letter opener was probably not L! It was a real doh! moment when I saw DEAR emerge out of the fog!

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew, and Bonxie for a nice puzzle.

    Hi NeilW – I could have written your comment myself! 😉


  6. Eileen says:

    Oops! – THE SIZE OF WALES!

  7. Mitz says:

    Thanks Andrew and Bonxie,

    Found most of this pretty straightforward, with the occasional nice “a-ha!” moment (sidearm, smidgen, comma) but was foxed for ages by 20,21 in the SE and so that corner was a blank. Not being able to get The Archers out of my head didn’t help with 27 either, as Clarrie Grundy is certainly no prig…

    Finally twigged today’s groan-inducing homophone – have to admit, it’s another really good one – and then my COD, weasel, went in last of all. Good stuff.

    And I have already expressed my thanks via email to the Grauniad for listening to our cries of anguish regarding the fold. Why the layout editor didn’t think to put the weather and the crossword the other way round in the first place I can’t explain, but hey – Power to the People!

  8. NeilW says:

    Hi Eileen – the difference is, you would have spelled “off” correctly! :)

  9. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew and Bonxie. I had WEAVER for 24 a on the basis of getting an R into ‘popper’ did the trick – and it seems an option. Lots of good clues here, including for SARNIE and the sighs of whales. Good stuff.

  10. Miche says:

    Thanks, Andrew. And thanks , Bonxie: some lovely clues today. BISHOP, SIDEARM and WEASEL (when I finally twigged it) my favourites. I don’t think I’ve seen SMIDGEN spelt that way, but it was clear enough.

    If anyone’s wondering how big Wales is, apparently it’s the size of New Jersey. :)

  11. NeilW says:

    Confession time: I completely missed the ha in 27 and thought it was a not very good clue, parsed as Upright = piano = P + RIG = appearance, in the way of GET UP in 2dn, with the def being Mrs Grundy? No wonder I didn’t think it was very good. :(

  12. MikeC says:

    Thanks Andrew and Bonxie. Agree with all the above comments – terrific variety of clueing. I think 26 may be my COD: a very accurate definition, and word play involving a bit of knowledge, a synonym (entirely fair but slightly misleading, as it looks as though “court” is a noun or an adjective) and an abbreviation. Neat!

  13. Paul B says:

    Well, some of this is good: 28A, 3D, 4D, 8D for example, but there’s a lot that could have been better (which is my general moan about Grauniad puzzles written outside the glorious group of 5 or 6). Quite a lot of what GUists used to call ‘arfacese’ container clues as well (and the hidden one), leading to unnecessary extra difficulty for solvers. Fave probably SMIDGEN.

  14. Derek Lazenby says:

    Andrew, you must be getting used to them! Some of us still prefer Mondays.

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I thought most of this was good, although I agree that some of the insertions could be taken the wrong way round. Took me a while to finish it off, though, but I do remember struggling a bit with Bonxie in the past. Perhaps we’re both getting a bit better, Andrew!

    I thought THE SIZE OF WALES was brilliant and RUBBISH was also very clever.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    So in return for a wandering grid we are bribed with four consecutive excellent puzzles – great.
    It was a tester (for me) especially the SE corner.
    My last in was weasel (a lovely original clue).
    I am surprised that none of you definitionistas have remarked on 16ac.
    I,too, was held up by upright = piano.
    I enjoyed ‘the size of Wales’,it featured heavily in the letters page quite recently.

  17. NeilW says:

    But, RCW, I thought precise definitions were anathema to you? (16ac)

  18. chas says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew.

    In my hair-splitting way I will say that you have omitted N[ew] from the anagram fodder in 14a.

    I also was pleased to see that the printed puzzle no longer has the crease in the grid.
    I hope that my action in asking other people to email to newspaper.changes helped in persuading the Graun team that this problem had to be fixed.

  19. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Bonxie for the puzzle and Andrew for the explanations. Didn’t know the secondary definition of SPILL. TARDIGRADE was new to me also. Took a long time to see PRIG – beautifully hidden. Remembered SARNIE from a previous Guardian puzzle some time ago. By the way, Arnie didn’t run for reelection as governor. He wanted to spend more quality time with his love child. Current governor is Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown and don’t get me started on him!


  20. Mitz says:

    Good work chas!

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Neil W
    They are. You do have to be so careful on this MB to spell out every thought in precise detail.
    I was quite happy with 16ac but judged by the nit-picking which usually follows any but the most extensive and precise definition I did expect some comments on ‘it emerges’= butterfly.

  22. Paul B says:

    Re 16A the definition is somewhat reliant on the idea that we solvers are all really savvy, in that we know that answers ’emerge’ ‘after’ we have engaged in a bit of unravelling. Butterflies emerge too, don’t they. So we’re all happy.

    And what the hell is a tardigrade? I found out today of course, but well, really.

  23. Trebor says:

    Is it just me or are there quite a few references to birth / pregnancy?

  24. Eileen says:

    I’ve been out for most of the day, so I’ve a bit of catching up to do.

    Re 27ac: I didn’t know Mrs Grundy meaning prig and, like Mitz, I was temporarily beguiled by the Archers’ Clarrie [and the new Mrs Grundy, Nic] and then wondered about the wife of Solomon, who was married on Wednesday [with no further information about his wife] – before [ping!] seeing that PRIG was hidden in uPRIGht and then a bit of googling led me to Wikipedia’s, “There is an 18th century English play by Thomas Morton called Speed-the-Plough, which gave the world the character of that arch-prude Mrs.Grundy.”

    Paul B “And what the hell is a tardigrade?” Yes, that’s what I thought but ‘water bear’ was so obviously the definition that, of course, it only needed googlimg to find out abourt this amazing creature: which I’m now ashamed never to have heard of.

    Hi Trebor @23

    I only spotted NEONATAL and PREGNANT – and I don’t think they really constitute a theme. COTTON WOOL might be involved, I suppose. [I’ll just add that I was fairly 25dnd that my fourth-born weighed 9lbs 13 in old money. What more can I say than that I’m glad he was not 21,20. 😉

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Chambers gives Grundy and origin.

  26. mrs t says:

    Three taxing, rewarding puzzles on the run. Thanks to setters and bloggers.

    Thank heavenly Hugh now the `fold` issue`s sorted.

  27. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Bonxie

    Late back after day out at Hockney exhibition (quite amazing) so late blog.

    I found this clever puzzle entertaining but hard and was held up for quite a time with the SE corner. I only saw prig as HA after deciding it was the right answer.

    :) I was (mi)sled by 1 a. and thought it was a Grauniad typo for heave pledge.

  28. Trebor says:

    Eileen @24
    On reflection there is indeed very few references!
    Perhaps I solved those consecutively and imagined a theme.

  29. tupu says:

    re 24a
    I did not notice the w+ idea but simply saw that easel (propper) and weasel (popper) rhymed as per instructions.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

7 + two =