Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,662 – Chifonie

Posted by Andrew on June 14th, 2012


Typically straightforward clueing from Chifonie, with lots of charades and anagrams. The last couple in the bottom right corner held me up at the end because of unhelpful crossing letters, but otherwise it was a quick, though enjoyable, solve.

5. LOITER O (nothing) in LITER (US spelling of Litre)
11. DENIM Reverse of MINED
12. SWEET WILLIAM SWEET (dear) WILLIAM (chap). Sweet William and Pink are both members of the genus Dianthus; I don’t think they’re the same thing, but I’m not enough of a gardener to say for sure.
15. TYRO TYRO[l]
19. FLOE L ([pound = sovereign) in FOE
21. CONCUPISCENT CON + CUP (part of a bra) + I SCENT
24. ARETE Alternate letters in fAiR wEaThEr. Mountaineering word for a ridge.
1. HACK Double definition
2. MOPS M (Mike in the NATO phonetic alphabet) + OPS
6. OLD GLORY OLD + GLORY – nickname fo the American flag
7. TENNIS BALL LABS in LINNET (bird or “winger”), reversed
10. ROWING MACHINE ROWING (having an argument) + CHIN in MAE [West]
13. STAGECOACH A drama teacher could be a STAGE COACH
22. FETE T[ory] in FEE
23. EYOT E + reverse of TOY. An eyot (or ait) is a small island, usually in a river.

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,662 – Chifonie”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Andrew, for the blog.

    As you say, nothing too difficult: TROUVERE was a new word for me, but easily deducible from ‘troubadour’.

    Two echoes from yesterday’s puzzle:

    We [I] only usually come across EYOT in crosswords: Arachne gave us the alternatve AIT in 21ac STRAITEN;

    And those who found it impossible to get their heads round the idea that females can be canonised will be relieved to find order restored to their world at 26ac today.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrer and Chifonie

    Very much agree with Andrew. An enjoyable and relatively quick solve with nothing too devious, though I had to check arete. Some nice anagrams and surfaces.
    I was held up briefly in the South West.

  3. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew

    No a lot to say about this one, which I felt was more of a Quiptic. Like you, I finished in the SE corner, with EYOT and lastly FETE.

    I liked ‘West about feature’ for MACHINE in 10d. This clue can be interpreted in two ways: ‘feature’ can be doing double duty (so that the definition is ‘feature in the gym’), or the definition is simply ‘in the gym’, which makes it analogous to those ‘in Yorkshire’ clues which tend to raise the temperature here.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I was glad to find a straightforward but well-clued puzzle today since I’ve got plenty going on. It was very much a Quiptic level, apart from CONCUPISCENT – must try to drop that into conversation down the Dog & Duck tonight. Last in was FETE, which luckily was clearly clued, since a four-letter solution with what I think Gervase described once as ‘low-scoring Scrabble tiles’ as the two crossers is not ideal for a lot of solvers.

  5. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen @1

    I too noted 26a (I agreed with PeterO’s parsing yesterday). I must confess I naively assumed the setter was a woman till corrected several years ago.

    I should say that I forgot to mention that I also checked ‘trouvere’ – :) I am assured that doesn’t breach the rules of ‘bloggerial standards’ as I have corrected the omission at the first available opportunity.

  6. William says:

    Thank you, Andrew, nice concise blog.

    As I am clearly featured at 12a today I felt obliged to blog.

    CONCUPISCENT is one of those words which I would not normally find a use for in general conversation and for which I have an irrational desire to spell wrongly, preferring to say CONCUPISCIENT. I hope I have now corrected that part of the brain’s hard drive.

    I too had to look up TROUVERE and was interested to learn that these chaps and chapesses,(a respectful nod to Eileen here) wrote in langue d’oïl. This (apparently) was similar to langue d’oc and both were named for the word meaning ‘yes’ in their respective languages.

    How curious – anyone know anything about this?

  7. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    I liked 5a: Chifonie clearly stated that an American spelling was required. I have complained here in the past when such an indicator was omitted.

    I was totally beaten by 22d: I had the right sort of function in mind but -E-E is not much help! I got as far as GALA then stuck there :(

  8. John Appleton says:

    I had “TIRO” for 15, having only been familiar with Tyrol via its German spelling, thanks to the football club Swarovski Tirol. A check of Chambers after finishing the crossword told me that TIRO (alternatively, TYRO) was a learner or novice, so it works either way. I assume Chifonie meant the solution to be TYRO, but I’m going to consider my crossword finished nonetheless!

  9. rhotician says:

    Eileen @1: Talking of echoes- Arachne’s 21 reminded me of something. Straiten,narrow. Strait’n’narrow?

  10. Andrew says:

    John – it seems that “Tirol” is a valid alternative spelling of “Tyrol”, as is TIRO of TYRO, so 15ac is genuinely ambiguous, though I agree that TYRO is more likely (and confirmed by the online solution).

  11. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew

    Nothing too difficult from Chifonie although CONCUPISCENT was a new word for me.

    After yesterday, a cross between Chifonie and Arachne would be a happy medium for me!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi William at 12ac and no 6. There was a brief discussion about these two languages, and a link, in a blog of a Quixote puzzle in the Indy a while back. 15dn is the clue in question.

    It’s here:

  13. Gervase says:

    Hi William @6: Further to K’s D’s note at 12, the TROUVERE was the northern equivalent of the ‘troubadour’ (the words are related) – the latter composed in ‘langue d’oc’, more specifically Provençal. ‘Langue d’oc’ and ‘langue d’oïl’ were not languages in the modern sense of a single standardised form, but were groups of related Romance dialects (i.e. both sets were descended from colloquial Latin). ‘Langue d’oïl’ is the parent of modern French; ‘langue d’oc’ dialects, or Occitan as they are usually called these days, (Provençal, Auvergnat, Limousin, Gascon etc) are still spoken in the southern part of France, but rapidly dying out as living speech. They are closer to Catalan, and indeed to the dialect of Piedmont in NW Italy, than they are to standard French.

  14. PeterJohnN says:

    Got HOMESICK and HACK straight off, and completed to top and RH side quite quickly. However, despite having GASTRONOMY and ARETE, got stuck in the bottom LH corner. Had to use a crossword aid to get CONCUPISCENT, and an anagram solver to get TROUVERE, which I had expected to end in -EUR. Kicked myself when I got STAGECOACH!

    Liked the crossword, not so keen on the blog. Too concise, not enough explanation. For example, in 26a why does Scot’s lassie = hen? In 3d SHREWD, where scold appears in the clue as a verb, it appears as a noun in the solution SCOLD = SHREW = nagging woman.

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Just to go off-topic a bit, the TROUVERE and TROUBADOUR connection is interesting for those who like languages, since B and V are very close in sound and often illustrate links between English and the Romance languages. For example, bears hiBernate in the winter, and winter in French is hiVer.

  16. Gervase says:

    K’s D: ‘Hibernate’ is from the Latin ‘hibernum’ (winter), which has mutated to ‘hiver’ in French. TROUVERE and ‘troubadour’ are from the colloquial Latin verb ‘tropare’, to find, via a word like *tropatore-, ‘finder’. This consonantal shift is known as lenition: a progressive softening of consonants between vowels. Unvoiced consonants drift through voiced consonants to fricatives and can disappear altogether. Standard French generally takes this process furthest. Thus Italian ‘fata’ (‘fairy’ – related to the English word ‘fate’) corresponds to Spanish ‘fada’ and French ‘fée’.

  17. Andrew says:

    …and SeBastopol/SeVastopol in last week’s Araucaria.

    TROUVERE is also basically the same word as TROVATORE, as in the Verdi opera.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Easier than some from this setter me thought. Gadgets used for the ones you’d expect.

    Just as a matter of curiosity, but is there any genuine need for co-partner? What does it give us that partner doesn’t?

  19. PeterJohnN says:

    DerekL @18. CO-PARTNER struck me as tautologous too. Incidentally it appears in Chambers unhyphenated.

  20. Andrew says:

    I agree that COPARTNER seems tautologous, and that the spelling without a hyphen is odd (and liable to lead to mispronunciation). However the OED gives citations going back to the 16th century, and there’s also one from Paradise Lost (1667): “Th’ associates and copartners of our loss.”

    I wondered if plain PARTNER might be a backformation, but it seems to be even older (earliest OED citation is 1300).

  21. Gervase says:

    Re COPARTNER, the dictionaries don’t help much do they? My suggestion is that ‘partner’ literally means ‘someone who takes a part’, which might just be a small part of something, the majority of which is held by someone else. COPARTNER implies somewhat more equitable sharing and seems to be a word used in the context of enterprises or legacies. The use of ‘partner’ to mean one’s other half is, I think, more recent, and perhaps has clouded the distinction.

  22. Gervase says:

    And thinking back to Westerns, the ‘partner’ was usually a sidekick – an assistant to the head honcho – rather than a true COPARTNER in their activities, nefarious or otherwise.

  23. NeilW says:

    PeterJohnN @ 14, I wasn’t going to bother commenting today as I don’t think Chifonie’s quiptics really merit much, as we see from the comments above, with everyone trying to extract something to talk about and maybe Andrew felt much the same. :)

    To answer your specific questions, “hen” is only defined as a woman or something female, as in “hen party” in Chambers but, hunting around on the Interweb, I find that it’s a more affectionate term in Scotland, as is “lassie.” No doubt a Scot would have more to say on the subject.

    The misleading device of using a verb/noun/adjective etc. in the clue when another part of speech is actually being used in the solution is pretty standard, at least in the Guardian.

  24. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. This fell out quite quickly, with only 22dn and 23dn causing any head-scratching. I guessed TROUVERE and checked it, as others seem to have done.

  25. William says:

    K’s Dad and Gervase @12, 13, 15, 16.

    Thank you both very much. Fascinating. I hope I’ll remember ‘lenition’ – it happens in lots of languages. I wonder if the circumflex in French to indicate the missing ‘s’ (château, fête etc) is an example of lenition?

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    NeilW para 1 @23

  27. harhop says:

    eileen@1 – I respond to you with trepidation, but the A-Z confirms my memory that an island in the Thames is usually referred to as Chiswick Eyot. It was where the swimmer interrupted the Boat Race this year

  28. mike04 says:

    PeterJohnN @14 and NeilW @23

    “hen” is a very common term of endearment in Scotland, similar to “pet” in Geordie.
    However, I have only ever heard it used by a man, when addressing a woman.
    Am I correct in saying that “pet” can be used m-w and w-m?

  29. mike04 says:

    I should’ve checked. “hen” can be used m-w and w-w!

  30. Kathryn's Dad says:

    We’re entertaining ourselves a bit today, but yes, Mike04, ‘pet’ is used either way between the sexes in Geordie (and f-f, but not m-m). ‘Pet lamb’ is the version if you really want to show affection.

  31. PeterJohnN says:

    Just got back from watching Croatia draw with Italy at the pub!

    NeilW @23. I had read the definition of “hen” in Chambers (incidentally, I should have said “Scots” rather than “Scot’s”). That is why I thought Andrew (Scottish?) should have explained it more.

    Re para 3, I know that such devices are common, but inexperienced solvers might not know that “scold” can be used as a noun as well as a verb, or that it is synonymous with “shrew” in the sense of a nagging woman.

    My argument is that if someone accesses the blog to parse a solution, but then still does not understand how it’s arrived at, the blogger has failed in his task! What’s obvious to us experienced, i.e. old, solvers is not necessarily so to less experienced ones!

  32. Trailman says:

    On the sleeper train from Inverness, and my first paper for a week. Much enjoyed 24a, perhaps because I climbed one on Saturday.

  33. Paul B says:

    I thought the blog perfectly adequate, at least for solvers who have progressed beyond their Quiptic Merit Badge. That is to say, persons who are aware of the difference between a surface and a cryptic reading.

  34. Lloyde says:

    As a relative newcomer to the blog and a far from competent solver, I’ve been pleasantly surprised about the lack of exclusivity demonstrated by the contributors; today’s contributions left a bad taste, particularly Paul B’s snide remark about merit badges. I thought today’s blog could have been more helpful to beginners like me; we all have to start somewhere.

    I’ve always assumed that the Scot’s use of “hen” was a vulgarisation of “honey” as a term of affection.

  35. Andrew says:

    Apologies to those who found this blog excessively terse. This was partly because I thought a lot of the clues were so simple that they didn’t need much explanation, but also because I was a bit pushed for time. There’s always a balance to be struck between clarity and verbosity, but I appreciate that things that are obvious to seasoned solvers may seem less so to novices, many of whom come here looking for explanations of why an answer is what it is.

  36. rompad says:

    More extraneous words:

    12 – “in”
    15 – “in”
    27 – “for”
    1D = “gets”
    14 – “of”
    22 – “of”

    None of these words is used in the analysis.

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