Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,639 / Chifonie

Posted by Eileen on May 18th, 2012


A typically straightforward puzzle from Chifonie, with a preponderance of charade-type clues and insertions and a wide use of single-letter abbreviations. Chifonie is known for his smooth surfaces and there are some good examples here.

Some of the definitions  didn’t quite hit the mark for me initially but Messrs Collins and Chambers between them managed to convince me.


  DISPIRIT: charade of DI [Detective Inspector] + SPIRIT [booze]
9   LEECH: LEE [Robert E, the crossword general] + CH [Chinese]; I can’t really call this a charade, I think, since the word is not split up into syllables but the principle’s the same and there are several more examples, as in the next clue
10  TIED:TIE [draw] + D [Dutch]
11  ENTERPRISE: charade of ENTER [go in] + PRISE [force]
12  CARESS: CARES [worries] around [about] S [second]
14  TWITCHES: insertion of WITCH [occultist] in reversal [back] of SET
15  REGATTA: anagram of A TARGET
17  IMPASSE: charade of I’M [setter’s] + PASSÉ [old-fashioned]
20  KNICKERS: KICKER’S [footballer’s] around [hanging onto] N [new]
22  ICEMAN: anagram [liquidated] of [characters / letters in] CINEMA
23  UNSPORTING: UN [one Parisian] + SING [chorus] round [drinks] PORT [wine]
24  SATE: S [{old} shilling, nicknamed a ‘bob’] + ATE [had a meal] – gorge as a verb
25  GATES: anagram [effects] of STAGE: the tycoon is, of course,  Bill Gates
26  EVENTING: E [first letter – leader – of Ethiopian] + VENTING [giving voice]


1   LITIGATE: charade of LIT [set fire to] + I [Institute] + GATE [entrance]
2   SPUD: hidden in christmaS PUDding – common term for a potato
  BRIEFS: double / cryptic? definition
4   STATUTE: STATE [government] around [adopts] TU [Trade Union]
  ALTRUISM: A + L [Liberal] + TRUISM [axiom]
6   DEPRECIATE: I [one]  in DEPRECATE [censure]
7   CHASTE: C [Charlie – NATO phonetic alphabet] + HASTE [speed]
13  EMANCIPATE: CI [the Channel Islands] + P [pressure] in EMANATE [spring]
16  THEORIST: THE [article] + anagram [erupted] of RIOTS
18  SMARTING: anagram [badly treated] of MIGRANTS
19  ASSIZES: ASS around [occupied by] SIZE [immensity]
21  NONAGE: NO [a number] + NAG [pester] + E [East, West’s partner in bridge]
22  INGRES: INGRES[s] [admission] minus its final letter [cut]: this painter crops up a lot in crosswords!
24  SETH: SET [arranged] + H [Hotel – NATO alphabet again]: a wry smile at the end – Seth was the thitd son of Adam, given by God in place of the murdered Abel [Genesis 4, 25]

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,639 / Chifonie”

  1. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    This was extremely straightforward for me; transparent clues and no mystifying Rufusian cryptic definitions. Well constructed, though.

    For some reason it took me several attempts to see SPUD in 2d, even though it was clearly a hidden clue! I don’t think I’ve come across the word NONAGE before, which was my last entry, though the wordplay was clear.

  2. PeterJohnN says:

    Thanks Chifonie and Eileen. First in was 8a LEECH. I was then able to complete the puzzle quarter by quarter in a clockwise diection without reading ahead or making a fresh start. Does anyone else try to do this? Guessed at 22a ICEMAN, 24d SETH,21d NONAGE (which I didn’t parse, thanks Eileen) and 8a DISPIRIT. Was just about to cheat for 3d BRIEFS (last in) when the penny dropped!
    I would have mentioned that ICEMAN was the nickname of Richard Kuklinski, a hitman for the mafia. There is also an author named Seth Adamson.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Chifonie

    A straightforward puzzle which suited me well between bouts of freezer defrosting. The vocabulary of the answers was noticeably plain English (e.g. occultist = witch, footballer = kicker)), but as others have said it was well constructed.

    I had to check the mafia hitman.

    I missed the neat parsing of 24 and assumed Seth Adamson was someone whom I did not know. Like ‘testate’ yesterday, the answer was too clear to tempt me to burrow further and discover its witty structure.

  4. aztobesed says:

    Seth was also the brother and killer of Osiris, usurping his kingdom in the Neteru (‘Time of the Neters’ or ‘Gods’) – the first era of Egyptian kingship.

    And wasn’t the puzzle one from Emmerdale?

  5. aztobesed says:

    Sorry – misremembered! That was Seth Armstrong, wasn’t it?

  6. Robi says:

    Very straightforward of the Monday or Quiptic variety.

    Thanks Eileen; KNICKERS seem to occur frequently in these crosswords – Orlando last month ‘Any number taken in by footballer’s contemptuous expression.’

    ICEMAN reminds me of the character in Top Gun; I didn’t realise it was used for a hitman.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Pretty straightforward stuff, though I went off on one or two false trails. For example “Starts to find occultist. . .” in 14a had me looking for a word including FO or even FI and OC before I twigged it.
    Slightly surprised that 20a didn’t refer to 3d or vice-versa. Actually 3d put me in mind of a saucy postcard from those non-PC days of long ago about the lady barrister always losing her briefs!

  8. crypticsue says:

    Straightforward for me too. I particularly liked SETH. Solve my crosswords in the office so was glad I didn’t shout 20a out loud when I got it. Thanks to Chifonie and Eileen too.

  9. William says:

    Thank you, Eileen, typically accurate and concise blog.

    Gentle end to the week, really, and no bad thing. I’m rather fond of anchovies but wouldn’t want them everyday – this was more of a satisfying marmite sandwich.

    Didn’t know NONAGE but nicely clued nonetheless.

    Thanks, Chiffers.

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.
    I needed you for the answer to 24d which beat me entirely :(

    I guessed that ICEMAN is a name for killer – after I found that assassin wa stoo big to go in the answer.

  11. Wolfie says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    I enjoyed this crossword despite finding it quite straightforward. My only quibble is that in biological terms a leech is not a parasite. It does not live on, or inside, another organism. Instead it attaches itself, feeds, then drops off its victim. In its way of life it is more akin to a mosquito than a louse – which is a true parasite since it lives out its life-cycle on its host. But I don’t want to be accused of nit-picking.

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thaks all
    I really like Marmite, very strong flavoursome taste unlike ……..
    I was held up for at least a couple of overs (TMS R4) by ‘altruist’ and ‘twitches’ after the rest had collapsed like the WI tail.
    Part of the problem in the NE was that I couldn’t accept CHAS(te) since te is not ‘speed’! Stupidly I had forgotten Charlie = cocaine= C or Eileen’s more circumspect version.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Of course it was ‘altruism’, or I would have been held up for three overs.

  14. Meic says:

    KNICKERS across, but BRIEFS down!

  15. Derek Lazenby says:

    Gosh, it’s Friday, but it felt like Monday, which was a welcome surprise for those of us in the less talented end of solving. Thanks all.

  16. postrophe says:

    “don’t do no cheatin’ wid de iceman. . . .“ Eugene O’Neill 1939

  17. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Chifonie and Eileen

    Surprised to get a gentle one like this on a Friday, but it had been a heavy week at work so it came in handy to wind down with.

    First in was 24A but last in was 24D … and generated the ‘aha’ moment when it dawned.

  18. PeterJohnN says:

    Wolfie @ 11. No pun intended?!

  19. PeterJohnN says:

    RCW @12. I forgot to mention @2 that I had the same problem with 7d CHASTE as you did!

  20. Wolfie says:

    Peter John @18 – I’m ashamed to say the pun was intentional. Sorry.

  21. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Just right for me too after a long day at the coalface. Gentle, but some good surfaces, with BRIEFS my last one in despite having seen it about a squillion times before.

    Thanks to Eileen and to Chifonie.

  22. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    On a par with Everyman and it’s nice to get an easy puzzle now and again. Sometimes I don’t have the time to stare endlessly at the more difficult offerings.
    I particularly dread seeing the name Enigmatist who seems to be the new Bunthorne. Thanks Chifonie for letting me off the hook.

  23. Huw Powell says:

    This was a nice little treat to end what for me was a messy week. Ran through every clue but one in a nice mellow morning half hour or so, only checking NONAGE and blindly accepting SETH (more impressive now I see the “definition”!).

    Just came back after a long day of doing whatever and got BRIEFS in a couple more minutes to finish.

    Had “woollens” pencilled in for about 3 minutes before KNICKERS were required.

    Seems to me that there are many interlocked or intertwined themey clues – enterprise/altruism/gates(/iceman)/depreciate; the obvious knickers/briefs; briefs/litigate/assizes/statute(/emancipate); unsporting/regatta/eventing; tied/caress/twitches/chaste/smarting; theorist/Engels that was from another puzzle, oops.

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen & friends, and the lovely little wind up to the week, Chifonie (and Hugh?).

  24. Rolf says:

    In respect of 24 d. I just googled “Seth Adamson” and found that the
    Executive Director of the Worldwide Coalition for Peace is of that
    name. Assumed this was the reference and completely missed the
    (obscure?) Biblical one.

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