Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,681 – Chifonie

Posted by Andrew on July 6th, 2012


This felt a bit harder than a typical Chifonie, as if the clue structures were rather more involved than usual, though looking down the list of explanations there’s actually nothing very complicated. There are a few references that some might find a little obscure, but nothing too abstruse, I think.

6. SHOT H in SOT
8. HERITAGE HERMITAGE (famous museum in St Petersburg) less M
9. SCARCE C (100 = many) in SCARE
10. GENTLE GENTILE less I. Gentile usually means a non-jew, but Chambers says it’s also a “heathen or pagan”. A gentle is a maggot used as fishing bait. It’s perhaps dialectical or archaic – I think I remember seeing it in George Orwell’s Coming Up For Air, when the narrator learns to fish as a boy.
11. ISLANDER I + SLANDER. Nice misleading use ot Dominican to mean someone from the island of Dominica rather than a friar.
15. GRAPHITE PHI (Greek letter) in GRATE
22. CARPET CARP (complain) + ET (French for “and”, so a “joiner” or joining word)
24. SECRET RE (Religious Education, also formerly called Scripture as a school subject) in SECT
25. LACROSSE A CROSS (a pass in football) in LE
26. STAY Double definition
1. PEEVE PE (drill) + EVE
2. STILTON TILT (list) in SON
5. DISPLEASE PL (in Chambers as an abbreviation of Poet Laureate) in DISEASE
7. ORCHESTRA CHEST in O R[olls] R[oyce] + A[mateur]
14. DECORATOR DEC (last month of the year) + ORATOR
18. SINGLET SINGLE (one) + T[ense]
22. COCOA First letters of Compromise Our Command Over Assistants
23. EASED LEASED (let) less L

19 Responses to “Guardian 25,681 – Chifonie”

  1. tupu says:

    THanks Andrew and Chifonie

    An enjoyable solve. As said, seemed a bit harder than some at first. Immaculate cluing and the usual Chifonie light and smooth touch. I likede 11a, 16a, 17d among others.
    13d left me feeling a little uncertain till I checked Collins. A clever clue with an unlikely definition and an unlikely anagram.

  2. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Chifonie and Andrew

    Did this one over lunch today and happy to get a Chifone out within the hour :) – probably helped with no uncommon words in the grid.

    Was very workmanlike without any real standout aha moments, but a good tussle and an enjoyable solve.

  3. harry says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    I thought this was pretty straight forward for a Friday.
    Had never come across PL for Poet Laureate before, so spent longer than was necessary trying to fit “Duffy” in somehow at 5d. Sigh.

  4. aztobesed says:

    I like your mention of Coming Up for Air. Orwell makes the point that Englishmen always inhabit a world that existed some thirty years before they were born. So maybe archaic and possibly dialect too — gentles were still the term for maggots during my one-week fishing career back in 70s Yorkshire though I seem to remember they were the maggots in their pupal stage in their brown casings. (I found it all slightly distasteful myself.) Fishing is also known as ‘the gentle craft’ – I wonder if this is the origin of the phrase?

  5. Andreas61 says:

    I often find that I’m not on this setter’s wavelength, so I felt positively smug after having followed Chifonie through the (for me) more obscure Hermitage, Essenes, RR and PL. Then 10a would have been the last one in, but after staring at it for 15 minutes I decided to come here. Neither would I have come up with the idea that gentile can have a broader sense than “non-jew” nor that a “gentle” could signify a maggot in any sense, however remote. This is what I love about crosswords and about this website in particular: You always learn something. A great big thank you to Chifonie and Phi, not least for the Orwell connection. Keep up the good work!

  6. Andreas61 says:

    Thank you Andrew, of course. How did this happen?

  7. Robi says:

    Pleasant enough puzzle.

    Thanks Andrew; I didn’t know the GENTLE=grub, but found this via Google in response to aztobesed @4.

    I liked the simple riding or/GRIDIRON anagram and CARPET.

  8. Taco_Belly says:

    Thanks Andrew and Chifonie

    After the trials of Arachne and Enigmatist, this was going nicely until I ground to a halt over 10a. The logic was there but I was completely unaware of this meaning of grub. Perfect clue though!

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Rather straightforward until I was held up by the NW corner.
    Then ‘peeve’,’heritage’ and ‘gentle’ (last in) puzzled me for long enough to make it a worthwhile exercise.
    11ac was an old trick which I saw through this time (how many different islands have been used); I liked 15ac.

  10. apiarist says:

    A nice gentle crossword, eased by by some good cluing. But, am I alone in finding clues like 22dn are getting to be used more often. It just seems to be an accepted way of presenting the required word by forming a sentence or phrase which usually does not mean anything. Somehow it both peeves me and causes a modicum of displeasure!

  11. Headteacher says:

    Passed a few idle moments supervising Friday evening detention!

  12. RCWhiting says:

    If you have ever worked under a drunken manager you would think it made perfect sense.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I usually enjoy a Chifonie and I enjoyed this one. The clueing is always concise and precise, and today I didn’t spot any stand-out clues, but it was a well-constructed and pleasing solve.

    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  14. apiarist says:

    RCW,worked under a drunken manager ? I should cocoa !!!!!!!!

  15. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Anyone else not convinced by imbibing = absorbent in 13d? I see the liquid intake connection, but the tenses bother me. To my thinking the definition would lead to “absorbing”

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry apiarist
    Cannot offer further fascinating erudite explanations.
    Try easier alternatives.

  17. nametab says:

    Thanks to setter & blogger.
    Apiarist @10 – uou’re not alone. Even I could create such a clue. They are becoming more common, and need to both make sense and be well-disguised to satisfy.
    Nice to learn another meaning of ‘gentle’.

  18. Paul B says:

    ‘Am I alone in finding clues like 22dn are getting to be used more often.’

    You might be: I don’t know. Sorry to hear about your peeved displeasure, but first- and last-letters clues are only rarely espied in daily puzzles as far as I know, and in any case I don’t necessarily agree that this example is devoid of sense. Here it is in full:

    Drink starts to compromise our command over assistants.

    Nothing wrong with the picture painted there. As pointed out, drunken bosses might be responsible for the disciplinary problems, but then so might drunken assistants: maybe that’s the more likely scenario! You could assume they’re all at it, but I find myself drawn almost inexorably toward the second possibility.

    All of the above comes to you via My Opinion, naturally. Let me now consider whether or not to continue, in some suitably convivial ‘laboratory’, my own research into the effects of alcohol on the liver.

  19. tupu says:

    Hi Monkeypuzzler

    I think ‘absorbent’ is OK. ‘Ing’ adjectival endings can usually refer either to an actual present state/activity or a more general characteristic and this last is also often represented by ‘-ant’ or ‘-ent’ as here.

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