Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25602 Chifonie

Posted by scchua on April 5th, 2012


Today continues the lull, more or less, we’ve had so far this week – perhaps leading to a perfect storm tomorrow?  Thanks to Chifonie for an enjoyable puzzle with trim and compact cluing.  (By coincidence, I blogged an Armonie – a Chifonie alter ego – 2 days ago in the FT, which was similarly enjoyable.)  Though I daresay there’ll be some who might feel more or less short-changed.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  Each picture at the bottom has a link to the crossword/blog, though the links may be shared. 


1 Bob has no trousers (6)

SLACKS :  S(abbrev. for the currency unit, shilling, which in turn was called “bob” in English slang) + LACKS(has no,none)

4 This will help prisoner grapple with gradient (7)

CRAMPON :  CON(short form for convict,prisoner) containing(grapple with) RAMP(a slope,gradient). 

Answer: Spiked iron plate worn with shoes to help,grapple with climbing slopes,gradients.  A WIWD(wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.  Nice surface – but crampons or no, that will be one hard gradient for any prisoner to climb if he/she wants out.

9 Shed light on raid, bungled in mad circumstances (9)

IRRADIATEAnagram of(bungled) RAID contained in(in…circumstances) IRATE(mad,angered)

10 Embryos right to be included in valuable items (5)

GERMS :  R(right) contained in(to be included in) GEMS(valuable items). 

Answer: The seeds,beginnings,embryos literal or figurative from which things grow, eg. the germ of an idea.

11 Criticise Russian approval for great beast (5)

PANDA :  PAN(criticise, as an antonym of praise) DA(Russian for yes,OK,approval). 

Answer: Found in China, and also called the giant panda, hence great beast.  The lesser panda is now considered to be unrelated to the giant one.

12 Allowance includes deliveries of fish (5,4)

DOVER SOLE :  DOLE(allowance under social welfare programmes) containing(includes) OVERS(in cricket, sets of deliveries from bowler to batsman)

13 Unexpected deterioration makes Romeo slip away (7)

RELAPSE :  R(represented by Romeo in the phonetic alphabet) + ELAPSE(to pass by,slip away, as in “how time slips away”)

15 Soldiers imprisoned feel remorse (6)

REPENT :  RE(abbrev. for Royal Engineers,soldiers responsible for engineering support) + PENT(enclosed,imprisoned).

17 Complacent about a bit of dirt, earl makes a grubby mark (6)

SMUDGE :  {SMUG(complacent) containing(about) D(initial letter,a bit ofdirt”)} + E(abbrev. for earl).

19 Sign of rank wrongly shown on her CV (7)

CHEVRONAnagram of(wrongly shown) ON HER CV

Answer: Stripes worn to indicate rank, eg. 3 of them for a sergeant.

22 Ascetic is away collecting money (9)

ABSTINENT :  ABSENT(is away) containing(collecting) TIN(slang for money). 

Defn. and Answer: As an adjective.

24 Mourn decapitated bird (5)

EGRET :  “regret”(mourn) minus its initial letter(decapitated)

26 German girl’s telescope (5)

GLASS :  G(abbrev. for German) + LASS(girl). 

Answer: Shortened from “spyglass”, a handy telescope formerly (and still?) used by mariners, surveyors, military personnel, astronomers and the like.

27 Naughty Cora happy having religious books (9)

APOCRYPHAAnagram of(naughty) CORA HAPPY

Answer: With an initial capital letter, a specific set of religious books.  In lower case letters, various religious books of uncertain or doubtful origin and authenticity.

28 Stop advertising sporting occasion (7)

PREVENT :  PR(abbrev. for public relations, a significant part of which is advertising) + EVENT(a sporting occasion)

29 Dare he produce stick? (6)

ADHEREAnagram of(produce) DARE HE


1 Leader bearing cure (7)

SKIPPER :  S(abbrev. for south, the compass bearing) + KIPPER(to cure various fish by splitting, salting, drying, and smoking).

2 A couple working in protective clothing (5)

APRONA + PR{this time, abbrev. for “pair”(couple)} + ON(working, as in switched on for an appliance).

3 Youngster drifted off! That’s novel! (9)

KIDNAPPED :  KID(youngster, especially a young goat) + NAPPED(drifted off into some shuteye). 

Answer: A Robert Louis Stevenson novel described as a historical fiction adventure.

4 One breaking sharp knife (7)

CLEAVER :  A(one) contained in(breaking) CLEVER(sharp,smart).

5 Some strangers give offence (5)

ANGERHidden in(some) strANGERs.

6 Colleague stifles cry of shareholder (4-5)

PART-OWNER :  PARTNER(colleague or perhaps more) containing(stifles) OW(cry of pain, perhaps).

7 A number reached Slough and ate (6)

NOSHED :  NO(abbrev. for number) plus(reached) SHED(slough off, eg. dead skin). 

Answer: Snacked between meals, derived from the Yiddish for “nibble”.

8 Charge theologian during auction (6)

SADDLE :  DD(what a theologian might add to his/her name, abbrev. for Doctor of Divinity, the degree awarded to a theology graduate) contained in(during) SALE(an example of which is an auction). 

Defn. and Answer: To impose as a burden or responsibility.

14 Household object Adam helps redesign (9)

LAMPSHADEAnagram of(redesign) ADAM HELPS.

16 Penny made mention of choice (9)

PREFERRED :  P(abbrev. for the unit of currency, penny) + REFERRED(mentioned). 

Answer: Adjective describing something that one prefers, eg. “setter of choice”.

18 Echo support six-footer cultivated (7)

ELEGANT :  E(represented by “echo” in the phonetic alphabet) + LEG(a support) + ANT(an insect with six legs and feet). 

Defn: As an adjective.

19 Caught German with new material (6)

COTTON :  C(abbrev. for caught in cricket notation) + OTTO(favourite German name with crossword setters) plus(with) N(new)

20 Rise in metal cost is radical (7)

NITRATEReversal of(rise, in a down clue) TIN(a metal) + RATE(a cost). 

Defn. and Answer: In chemistry, 2 or more atoms specifically arranged and behaving, as a group.  An example is the nitrate radical consisting of a nitrogen atom and 3 oxygen atoms. 

21 Report finished into jail (4,2)

BANG UP :  BANG(a report,loud noise) + UP(finished,over, as in “time’s up”). 

Answer: In prison slang, to lock up a prisoner into his/her cell, especially for the night.  New to me.

23 Outlet for children (5)

ISSUE :  Double defn.

25 Lament taking gym for money (5)

RUPEE :  RUE(to lament,regret) containing(taking) PE(gym,period in school spent in the gym doing physical exercise). 

Answer: Current and former currency unit of various countries including India and Pakistan.




23 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25602 Chifonie”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks scchua. Very standard Chifonie.

    I’m not sure that the def. in 21dn really works – there’s a verb missing and I don’t see why since the surface as is doesn’t make much sense. It just seems sloppy to me but perhaps I’m missing something…

  2. William says:

    Thanks scchua.

    I agree with NeilW above – I don’t think BANG UP works properly. Sorry to gripe, but I’m not frightfully keen on CRAMPON either. I suppose it’s a bit &lit-ish but there seems to be a bit of a jumble of the def and the parts.

    D = bit of dirt in SMUDGE is a bit feeble too, I thought.

    Other than that, rather bland fare this morning.

  3. NeilW says:

    Hi William. I agree that CRAMPON would be a great &lit if prisoners literally climbed mountains. Unfortunately, they don’t so it’s not .

  4. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not very challenging but rather better than some recent ones.
    I ‘solved’ crampon early but could write it in only at the end when I finally parsed it – I then decided it was COD.
    Although @1/2 are correct about ‘bang up’ those sort of fiddle-faddles are of much less concern to me.

  5. Querulous says:

    In 21d, isn’t “jail” being used as a verb and the “into” is simply a link between the definition and wordplay?

  6. William says:

    Querulous @6 I’m sure you’re right – I didn’t spot the verbal sense.

  7. NeilW says:

    Querulous, you’re right. Another sloppy clue which should have read “in” instead of “into.”

  8. Mitch says:

    Bit stuck on the piccies. Seems to refer to “The Billy Cotton Bandshow” – 19d for the surname; A yell of “Wakey, wakey” always started the show; Russ Conway was the resident pianist .. but the rest?

    Buffalo – Buffalo Bill – Billy ?

  9. Ian Payn says:

    I agree, this week has been fairly light-weight. Enjoyable, for all that, though (except Monday, which was as dull as ever).

    Was the mini-theme of regret/repent/rueful much of an event? Not really, but it showed that the puzzle wasn’t just thrown together.

    Picture 3 links to 19d, picture 6 to 8d, I assume? Don’t know about the others.

  10. scchua says:

    Hi Ian Payn, you’re right about the links for the 2 pics. Hi Mich, you’re one and a half right. Btw, there’s only one shared link, the other pics have their individual links to the blog/crossword.

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    On 3d I had –D—— and saw youngster in the clue so assumed it must start with LAD. That held me up for a while.

    The pictures leave me cold – I cannot identify any of the people shown :(

  12. NeilW says:

    It’s all gone quiet around here, so I will digress, slightly. Solving this crossword, I was struck by the number of times I thought, “Yup, seen that before.” Interested (slightly) and in bank holiday mode, I used this site’s wonderful search engine to see how KIDNAPPED had been clued in the past. Second hit, after a different Paul construction of a dd of “book” and “taken”: Chifonie’s alter ego Armonie: FT 13/01/09: “cha. of kid, napped”. (I’ve no idea if the clue, itself, was identical.)

    My poimt is just that I think what we all crave in a Guardian crossword is wit, style or originality (or, best, all three) and these I consistently fail to find in Chifonie’s puzzles.

  13. Paul B says:

    It’s the dread database, I’m sure of it! So tempting just to re-use a clue from, well, maybe not so long ago, when you haven’t much time and you’d really rather be watching the telly. Or not: simple duplication, self-plagiarism or whatever you’d call it.

    But there’s a queue to get in at The Anagruid, unless I’m very much mishtaken, containing wood beez who I suspect would not forego the opportunity for a bit of wit, invention and originality, were it ever to be offered. Hugh?

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Neil @12
    Do you actually solve them by remembering previous uses or do you just recognise the clue after solving it?

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Chifonie

    I only got to this this afternoon. A pleasant enough stroll on the whole. I found the top right corner the most difficult and the most enjoyable to crack. I agree with Querulous@5 re ‘jail’ (verb).

  16. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Chifonie and scchua. The first picture is Pat Nixon but I can’t relate it to the puzzle unless it is the PANDA which they brought back from a China visit. The second picture is Willie Nelson before he fired his barber. Relation to the puzzle? He had a 1975 album called Red Headed Stranger. Stranger is in the 5d clue. Probably not what you had in mind.


  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Got a bit of a cold so not thinking straight, hence what should have been simple required more than the usual gadgetry. Oh well.

    Not convinced by saddle = charge. To charge somebody with doing something doesn’t necessarily mean you are saddling them with it, they may want to do it. I guess it sometimes works, but not always.

    Unexpected is a spurious word in 13. Anyone with something incurable, like me, will tell you that relapses are totally expected. Deterioration defines relapse (sort of), whether it is expected or not.

  18. Robi says:

    Had to do this without the trusty old computer.

    Thanks scchua; I thought a cleaver was, well, a ‘cleaver,’ not a knife, but I see Wiki says it is a knife, so my objection stops here. NeilW @7; I can’t see the objection to ‘into;’ if someone is put into jail they are banged up.

    Picture 1 is Pat Nixon – When a news photographer wanted her to strike yet another pose while wearing an APRON, she firmly responded, “I think we’ve had enough of this kitchen thing, don’t you?” Pic 2 is WILLIE NELSON; not sure of the link, but he did have a song called PARTNERs After All. Pic 3’s link has already been established to Bill COTTON. Pic 4 is a Musk Ox (?) [It’s not a PANDA, and doesn’t need CRAMPONS, but is a GREAT BEAST!] Pic 5 relates to the CHEVRON oil spill. Pic 6 as before is Russ Conway, who played Side SADDLE.

  19. Robi says:

    grandpuzzler @16; we crossed……. :)

  20. Robi says:

    ……. and ‘Willie Nelson Dodges JAIL in Texas’………..

  21. scchua says:

    The answers to the quiz before I retire for the night; most already got by yourselves.

    Pat Nixon, then First Lady of the USA, donated two PANDAs to the Washington Zoo (otherwise she would have kept them on the White House lawn?).  They were part of China’s panda diplomacy (following ping-pong diplomacy), having been given to the Nixons during their China trip.  (Apparently Edward Heath, then British PM, didn’t want to be left out, and asked for 2 pandas which duly arrived at London Zoo.)  

    That’s an unrecognisably young Willie Nelson.  I did say that the links were to “blog/crossword”.  After I had typed “how time slips away” cf. 13across, the song, co-written and performed by Willie, “Funny How Time Slips Away” started playing in my head.

    Wakey Wakey was Billy Cotton’s signature call.

    The US reciprocated panda diplomacy by sending a pair of musk oxen to China.

    After 2 oil spills off Brazil, the oil company, Chevron Corporation, is deep in it.

    Russ Conway had a hit with Side Saddle.

    And thank you all for your comments.

  22. Davy says:

    Thanks scchua,

    Yes, this was mainly quite easy but there were some very good surfaces. “Bob has no trousers” made me laugh. “Poor Bob”, I thought. I also liked DOVER SOLE, ABSTINENT, PREVENT and LAMPSHADE.
    I found the puzzle reasonably entertaining but like others, I thought CRAMPON was a bit of a muddle. Anyway, thanks Chiffers.

  23. stiofain says:

    davy@22 When I seen bob has no trousers I suspected another spongebob squarepants theme was it Paul did that one?
    A pleasant easy solve.

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