Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,712 / Bonxie

Posted by mhl on August 18th, 2012


We found this a difficult prize puzzle – it’s themed around the words “course” and “set”, both of which have many synonyms. (I seem to remember reading once that “set” is the word in the OED with the largest number of different definitions.)

9. CHANTILLY CHILLY = “Raw” around ANT = “soldier”; Definition: “French course” – I’d have guessed this was a reference to Chantilly cream (which would be a dish rather than a course), but it turns out that there’s racecourse of that name (see the link from the answer)
10. LIANA ANAL = “may be obsessive” reversed around I = “one”; Definition: “Climber”
11. TOILE ELIOT = “Poet” reversed; Definition: “material”
12. GELIGNITE GEL = “Set” + IGNITE = “fire”; Definition: “big banger”
13. REGIMEN REGIMEN[t] = “Army unit fails to complete”; Definition: “course”
14. BARRAGE RA = “soldiers” in BARGE = “boat”; Definition: “Sustained fire”
17. TARSI TAR = “pitch” + S[o]I[l] = “odd soil”; Definition: “They may be broken”
19. PUS PS = “rider” around U = “certificate” (as in film certificates); Definition: “Discharge”
20. DREAD A compound anagram of sorts: (REMANDED)* without (MEN)*; Definition: “Terror”
21. SCENERY ENE = “course, perhaps” in SCRY = “divine”; Definition: “Set” (as in a stage set)
22. SCOURER (COURSE)* + R = “river”; Definition: “cathartic” – a cathartic is a laxative, apparently
24. CAST ASIDE CAST and SIDE = “Two sets of players” around A; Definition: “discard”
26. RHUMB RHUMBA = “dance” without A = “Adult”; Definition: “course”
29. UNPOPULAR UN = “a foreign” + POPLAR = “tree” around U = “uniform”; Definition: “Disliked”
1. SCOT [a]SCOT = “course? Not at first”; Definition: “National”
2. WAXING WAX[w]ING = “Bird drops core”; Definition: “on the rise”
3. STREAMLINE STREAM and LINE are “two courses”; Definition: “Provide efficiencies”
4. SLOGAN SLOG = “a big hit” + [b]AN[k] = “Central Bank”; Definition: “Catchphrase”
5. SYLLABUS SYLLABUB = “Dish” with the last letter (“base”) exchanged for S = “second”; Definition: “course”
6,28. FLAGSTONE FLAG = “Jack” + STONE = “Ruby, say”; Definition: “slab”
7. NAVIGATE (A VINTAGE)*; Definition: “Set course”
8. GAME “Set and course constituent?” – a game is part of a set in tennis, and game (food) might be part of a course in a meal
13. RATES RA = “Artist” + SET reversed; Definition: “judges”
15. RADIOGRAPH RADIO = “set” + GRAPH = “diagram”; Definition: “View inside”
16. EIDER RE = “about” + DIE = “pass” all reversed; Definition: “Bird”
18. REED STOP REEDS = “Material for Thatcher” (or REED’S = “Material for Thatcher’s” – both work, I think) + TOP = “first”; Definition: “organ piece” – a reed stop is part of an organ
19. PHYSIQUE (SHY)* in PIQUE = “resentment”; Definition: “Frame”
22. STEPPE (SET)* + PPE = “course” (Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford); Definition: “wide open space”
23. ROUBLE ROUÉ = “Rake” around B[eds] L[ooking]; Definition: “money”
24. CASE CHASE = “course” without H = “horse”; Definition: “Patient”
25. AXES A follwed by “union” = SEX reversed; Definition: “cuts”
27. BERM Hidden in “climBER Manages”; Definition: “narrow path”

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,712 / Bonxie”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. I agree, this was quite a challenge. Of course it was clear that SET and COURSE were key words and I did look for a theme but it was soon apparent that those clues had little or nothing in common other than the clever use of these two words. 21 was my last and I learned a new word in the process.

    I enjoyed it.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl. This was a really good prize puzzle.

    I spent nearly as long on 8 as the rest of the puzzle all together. I was trying to make sense of “sate”, since both set and course have the letter S followed by E as common constituents. It was this line of thinking that made me see, finally, that I should be reading the word “constituent” in the plural in the clue… then GAME was obvious. Doh!

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Bonxie

    Generally taxing at the time but more straightforward in retrospect. Berm and Rhumb had to be checked in Chambers.

    Like NeilW I found 8d hard to fathom for some reason – indeed I left it till later and forgot to go back to it during the week. Only noticed this today!

    I liked 20a, 2d and 19d particularly.

  4. sppaul says:

    Many thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this puzzle but, like others, I was stuck on 8d. So many possible words. Did anyone think of DANE? And* + E (course). Spent a lot of time trying to explain constituent and gave up!

  5. Mr Beaver says:

    Found this tough going. The clues were all fair in retrospect, but I didn’t find much fun in it – just personal taste, I suppose.

  6. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    I didn’t do very well on this one and looking at the answers, I really don’t know why. The answers all seem fairly obvious
    but I just didn’t see most of them. I had convinced myself that the puzzle was difficult as Bonxie often can be and just
    didn’t try very hard. I’ll try harder next time. Thanks Bonxie.

  7. PeeDee says:

    Thanks mhl, definitely a difficult one.

  8. bridgesong says:

    I agree that this was a tough one, and I was grateful that it wasn’t my turn to blog it! For a long time I was looking for racecourses, but apart from Ascot and Chantilly, there were none. GAME and WAXWING both eluded me. SCENERY was very subtle, I thought, using the double meaning of divine to mislead us.

  9. sidey says:

    A proper weekend puzzle for a change. I suspect 8d would have been blindingly obvious if the consonants had been checked.

  10. aztobesed says:

    Thanks mhl.

    It’s a small point but I took the course reference at 8 to refer to course in its hunting sense where game is the quarry, rather than course as a meal, where game would seem more arbitrary.

  11. NeilW says:

    aztobesed @10, see what you mean but can a quarry be a “constituent” of a hunt? Meat as a constituent of a meal seems more likely, I would have thought.

  12. aztobesed says:

    NeilW -

    Lol – I would have thought the quarry is not only a constituent of a hunt but an essential. Otherwise the hunt would be pretty pointless, wouldn’t it? The whole nebulousness of the key-word was something that lessened the pleasure of this puzzle for me. Admittedly, the game will eventually reach the table after the course, when, of course, it will become another course, in the course of time.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Enjoyably tough.
    I particularly liked 12ac and 19d (for jockey as the anagram indicator).
    Much discussion of ‘game’, my last in. Like Neil ‘game’ as a constituent of a meal seems fine. However, I was reluctant (and still am)to accept ‘set’ as a definition for ‘game’. The blog makes it clear that they are not even vaguely synonyms. It would be like using ‘inch’ as a definition for ‘mile’.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Ignore that, I have just seen ‘constituent’ as doing double duty.
    How slow can I be?

  15. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Bonxie and mhl.

    This was hard work and took ages to get into. Like Biggles A @1, I looked for a theme but no such luck!

    Favourite was Waxwing, which was a super clue.

    Scry doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue. My ancient Chambers’s (sic) gives it as the Spenserian descry or Scot. to proclaim – a cry: a flock of wild-fowl.

    Giovanna x

  16. aztobesed says:

    Game and ‘constituent’… ‘constituent’ can also mean ‘essential’ and that was the sense I was taking it. Game as a constituent of a meal is fine (but there are other options). Game as course constituent (no article = essential) is a nice point but it does make a tighter clue.

  17. rhotician says:

    re 29ac: How does U = “uniform”?

  18. RCWhiting says:

    I think URL uses it.

  19. ToniL says:

    rhotician@17 Phonetic alphabet

  20. rhotician says:

    Thanks ToniL. Funny thing is when I solved the clue myself I didn’t think twice about it. When I read the excellent detailed blog I thought – how did I know that? So I looked up U in Chambers but failed to look up Uniform. You have restored two of my marbles.

  21. Audrey says:

    We parsed 1d as ‘not’ at first and got Ain’t from Aintree a national course.

  22. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks mhl. We didn’t finish this one which is quite unusual for us! Kept on thinking of Radioscope for 15d for some reason and didn’t look any further. Missed BERM completely – a new word for us! Had also never seen RUMBA spelt with an ‘H”.

    Thanks Bonxie for the puzzle though – it kept us guessing!

  23. glm says:

    Did anyone else have “cake” as the answer to 8 down? One definition of “to set” is “to cause to become fixed or hard” while a definition of “to cake” is “to form into a crust or compact mass”. And cake can be a constituent of dessert.

  24. g larsen says:

    Yes, glm (@23) I went for cake, having painstakingly gone through every possible alternative. Still seems a reasonable answer, though I now see that game is better.

    Last in in one of the hardest prize crosswords for a long time.

  25. r_c_a_d says:

    I went for cake too.

  26. Huw Powell says:

    Got about half of this a while back, returned today and almost finished it, with some aids. I didn’t get GAME, but I like it and prefer the definition of course as a hunt, since that’s one more usage. I didn’t bother to check is every usage of “set” and “course” were different definitions, but I suspect they are.

    Stumped at RHUMB and BERM. I was working too hard to figure out a dance I could remove some form of “adult” from to get “route” to even think of looking for the HA, and didn’t know RHUMB at all, or this definition of BERM.

    As pointed out, the puzzle wasn’t as difficult as it seems in many places, once one finally found the answer. I kind of like that.

    Thanks for the great weekend puzzle, Bonxie, and the blog, mhl!

  27. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Bonxie and mhl

    This one had been in the ‘too hard pile’ for a long time now … with 27D not finished. Finally realised that the 26 was RHUMB and not ROUND and it still took an overnight pondering to see the hidden BERM which was a new word to me.

    I consistently find Bonxie quite a difficult setter and this was no different who easily draws errors which cause a lot of re-work to get back on track.

    Still a very good challenge !

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