Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,822 – Bonxie

Posted by Uncle Yap on December 18th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Thank you, Phil Ashling for filling in so admirably for me last Tuesday when I was among 1,500 having a celebration lunch in a remote village in Fujian, China. We, all surnamed Yap, had come from many parts of the world for the consecration of a Taoist temple set on top of a hill. The Chinese are very big into ancestor worship and filial piety.

Today’s puzzle by Bonxie is very challenging in places but also very entertaining, creative and enjoyable.

For a change, I am using another of the many formats devised by fellow-blogger and IT wizard, PeeDee. The definition in each clue is highlighted in bold.

Postscript : Thanks to EllisB@15, we now see a cleverly hidden theme as hinted by 16Across, Girls Girls Girls. The answers contained very many names of girls. Thank you, Bonxie, you have made a good puzzle into a brilliantly great puzzle.

9 ARGENTINA Man enters dock, heading off for the country (9)
 Ins of GENT (man) in MARINA (dock)
10 LOUSE Contemptible person steals one from a woman (5)
 LOUISE (name of woman) minus I (one)
11 EXTRUDE Trespass in exchange for mould (7)
 INTRUDE (trespass) with EX substituted for IN, indicated by in exchange, a device that befuddled me for many minutes. My COD for this novel cryptic device
12 AMERICA The place to give us capitalisation? (7)
 A tichy way to say us in upper case, US stands for United States or America
13 EXTOL Praise first wife”, many reflected (5)
 EX (former wife as implied by first wife) TOL (rev of LOT, many)
14 PETULANCE Stroke uncle with a ruptured spleen (9)
 PET (stroke) *(UNCLE + A)
16 GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS The King’s film shows soldiers holding hands, again and again (5,5,5)
 3 x Ins of RL (Right & Left hands) in GI’S (soldiers) for an Elvis Presley (aka The King) film 
19 HARMONICA Music maker is hurt tossing a coin (9)
 HARM (hurt) + *(A COIN)
21 MOSUL Order back ruler ceding half an Arabian city (5)
 MO (rev of OM, Order of Merit) SULTAN (ruler) a city in northern Iraq
22 ROSEHIP Thorny fruit cut nurses tights, top to bottom (7)
 HOSE (tights) with first letter moved to bottom -> OSEH inserted in RIP (cut)
23 DILEMMA Puzzle book — turn cover first (7)
 DIL (rev of LID, cover) EMMA (book by Jane Austen)
24 BLEAR Dim headlights when animal crosses (5)
 Ins of L (first letter of lights, creatively indicated by headlights) in BEAR (animal)
25 CRESCENDO Cut short street party building to a climax (9)
 CRESCENT (a curved street) DO (party)
1 WAVELENGTH On mine, you’ll get this: “A bore has a big one” (10)
 If you are on my wavelength, you will understand me or get this. A bore is also a tidal flood that rushes with great violence up the estuaries of certain rivers; so you can say the wave is long or has a big length
2 AGITATOR Georgia flicked it at soldiers, being a troublemaker (8)
 AG (rev of GA, Georgia) + IT + AT + OR (Other Ranks, soldiers)
3 ANNUAL Obsessive about Homeric character in book (6)
 Ins of NU (Greek character indicated by Homeric) in ANAL (slang word for being obsessive)
4 NIKE Looking up a little, seeking victory (4)
 rha for the Greek god of victory
5 TARANTELLA Dance on pitch before animal drops off parent (10)
 TAR (pitch) + ANTE (before) LLAMA (animal) minus MA (parent) Thank you Dr G @1 
6 BLUE FLAG Iris pursues a butterfly seen flying on some beaches (4,4)
 BLUE (a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae) FLAG (iris, see Chambers 4) for the Blue Flag, awarded to beaches meeting European Union standards of cleanness.
7 JULIAN Calendar guy? (6)
8 MEGA Great match — second half on top (4)
 GAME (match) with second half ME moved to the front
14 PHILIPPICS Tirades delivered after man snaps (10)
 PHILIP (name of man) PICS (pictures, snaps) for discourses full of invective after anti-Philip of Macedon speeches by Demosthenes
15 EL SALVADOR American state where dollars ’ave circulated since 2001 (2,8)
 *(DOLLARS ‘AVE) Brilliant &lit annie as the country adopted the US$ as its currency, replacing the colon in 2001.
17 SMOTHERS Wraps up old woman in smalls (8)
 Ins of MOTHER (old woman) in SS (smalls)
18 ROSAMUND Groundsman extremely relieved, falling for a woman (8)
20 ROSIER Tree south of Reading, for example, is looking more healthy (6)
 R (Reading, one of the 3 R’s, reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic) OSIER (tree, position indicated by south in this down clue)
21 MALICE Rising before noon, 10s reveal hostility (6)
 MA (rev of AM, before noon) LICE (plural of LOUSE, answer to 10Across)
22 RUBY Stone put in ground, the odd bits moving (4)
 BURY (ground) with the odd letters R & B changing places
23 DEEP Learned judge gave millions to gain power, ultimately (4)
 DEEM (judge) minus M + P (power)

Key to abbreviations

dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(FODDER) = anagram

33 Responses to “Guardian 25,822 – Bonxie”

  1. Dr. G says:

    Down4: TAR + ANTE(before)+ LLA(ma)animal

  2. Dr. G says:

    oops! It is Down5

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and welcome back. I quite like this one of Bonxie’s, despite giving up on 4d and nearly on 23d: little brutes. 11a, I agree, was excellent. “Old” in 17d seemed gratuitous.

  4. Uncle Yap says:

    We are familiar with Father, Pa, Pop, Old Man, etc but Mother, Ma, Mum work as well for the counterpart; whereas to call any female person “old” will invite trouble. Nope, “old” in the context of the clue is not gratuitous although I challenge Bonxie to address his mother as “Old Woman”

  5. PaulW says:

    Related information Crosswords

    Cryptic crossword No 25,816 11 Dec 2012 …etc

    On further investigation, problem is browser dependent. It does not occur with Internet Explorer, but does occur when printing from Firefox which suggests it is some kind of software error.

    When printing from Firefox, I now have to select the crossword and exclude the “related information” bit, or print the pdf file.

    Hope this is useful, Paul

  6. Sylvia says:

    PaulW: Thanks for the information. I (Chrome browser) had the same problem but now print only Page 1 to solve it.

    One or two lovely clues today – 16a, 22a (CoD, made me laugh out loud), 18d and 22d. Thank you, Bonxie and Uncle Yap. Wondered about ‘maxi-length’ for 1d as I had ‘intrude’ for 11a.

  7. jim says:

    I thought this quite tough, but generally fair and entertaining.
    I too had ‘intrude’ for 11a – it’s another of those ambiguous clues which can be read either way.
    I often seem to get stuck on four letter words – very frustrating, because I know they must be simple – and couldn’t solve 23d at all, because I was distracted by the ‘ultimately’, which I thought meant the letter R from ‘power’. What purpose does it serve, apart from distraction?

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Bonxie

    Quite challenging and enjoyable.

    I was puzzled at first re 23d, since I took the ‘ultimately’ to relate to the P in power (which seemed odd) but I then saw it related to P’s being the ultimate letter of ‘deep’.

    I toyed with ‘rock’ and ‘cork’ for 22d before seeing the answer.

    Many clever clues with quite a lot of letter substitution and movement. I particularly liked 11a, 22a, 3d, 14d, 18d, and 22d.

    Thanks UY for the total parsing of 1d. I got most of it but did not get the ‘get’ bit!

  9. Stella says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, hope you enjoyed your family get-together.

    I certainly wasn’t on Bonxie 1d – it was my last in, and only because it fit and the check button didn’t eliminate anything :-)

    I didn’t see 23d either, but had forgotten about it till I came here, so it doesn’t count as the last in.

    There were some good devices here, and all in all an entertaining near-solve

  10. ChrisS says:

    A really hard grind.

    I spent some time with 7d as August before the cross clues convinced me I could be right!

    Only solved by cheating…

  11. ChrisS says:

    meant ‘couldn’t’ of course!

  12. Mitz says:

    Thanks Bonxie and Uncle Yap.

    Ouch. Really struggled with this, even though I had a good start, with plenty of the longer answers including 16 (which I loved) going in early. Like so often it was the little ones that held me up longest – NIKE was last in. I failed to parse a few properly: 11, thinking it was TR (short for trespass) inside EXUDE, meaning exchange in some obscure definition I wasn’t aware of; 22a – I thought HIP = “top to bottom”; 5 – I had in mind that ANTELOPE was the animal in question and gave up trying to understand the rest; 23d – I thought maybe there was a set of letters that judges have after their names that I didn’t know – the reality was much more straightforward!

    Looking on the bright side, WAVELENGTH, EL SALVADOR and the link between 21d and 10 were all excellent, PHILIPPICS was new for me but nicely gettable, and while the whole was certainly a sticky old challenge it was satisfying to finish.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I enjoyed this although it was only moderately challenging.
    For example I thought 12ac was a nicely constructed clue but I wrote in the solution immediately.
    Others I liked were 22ac, 8d and 18d and best of all was ‘extrude’. I do not think 11ac is ambiguous; The first word is ‘tresspass’ = intrude, then instruction to do a ‘in’/’ex’ change to give ‘extrude’ = mould.
    I did hesitate over ‘ultimately’ being ‘r’ but as tupu says it is valid and more than distraction.
    My last in was ‘Nike’ in the trickiest corner (NW).

  14. RCWhiting says:

    There are a lot of pedants around who frequently complain about the misuse of ‘crescendo’ so they will no doubt be very pleased that Bonxie used it correctly.
    Like Mitz I enjoyed 16ac, rather more than I enjoyed the film. I gave up very disappointed after King Creole.

  15. EllisB says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap & thanks Bonxie for an ingenious crossword – hard, I found, but great fun.

    Unless I’ve missed it, nobody has yet mentioned the very clever/well-hidden theme based on 16ac.

    I’ve counted 18 ‘themed’ words – any advance?

  16. EllisB says:

    @15 – Make that 19!

  17. EllisB says:


    This is getting silly – I think a case could be made for 23 or 24 – maybe more.

  18. Mitz says:

    Woah, EllisB is right, and it is indeed very strange that no-one else has mentioned it!

    TINA, LOU[i]SE, TRUDE, ERICA, PETULA, MONICA, ROSE, EMMA, RUBY, ROSIE, ANN, ELLA, DEE, ALICE, JULIA, ROSA, ROSAMUND, SAL, not to mention references in the clues: wife, Georgia, Iris and three x “woman” (10, 17 and 18). Have I missed any?

    Belated hats off, Bonxie – very good indeed.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I remembered Nike as the goddess of victory but quite failed to see it in the clue :(

  20. EllisB says:

    @18 Mitz
    How about – Mo (as in Little Mo Connolly), Lea, Elen, Gita, Nike and Meg?

  21. Robi says:

    Very enjoyable; more than moderately challenging for me.

    Thanks UY; I like your revised format. You could even follow Eileen’s lead and underline the definitions. Well done EllisB @15; I got 3 GIRLS early on, but failed to see the significance. I, too, tried August for 7d, before changing to Julius and then JULIAN. Nicely hidden NIKE, which I failed to spot. Excellent clues, I thought, for PHILIPPICS [I smiled and groaned at the same time for snaps=pics,] SMOTHERS, ROSEHIP and RUBY……… and WAVELENGTH.

  22. EllisB says:

    I’ll add ‘Di’ to the list. 25 and counting.

  23. AndyK says:

    Tara, Elsa.

  24. Rowland says:

    Gah 11 = no no no! I hate that sort of thing. Some good ones, like ROSIER, but a few old chestnuts like the US one, and lots of overblown ones for me.


  25. muffin says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Bonxie
    Enjoyable but frustrating – I didn’t get DEEP, and had to use the “check” (rather than “cheat”) function on several.
    I may be missing something, but wouldn’t the “top to bottom” in 22ac work better in a Down clue?

  26. phitonelly says:

    @ Mitz and EllisB

    There’s Ita and Alva too. As for abbreviated names, there’s also Ali, Sam and Phil.

    Oh, and the lass from the East End, Efl.

  27. PeterM says:

    … and Dee !

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    One can argue about ‘headlights’ for L, also about ‘old woman’ for ‘mother’ and about Bonxie using ‘ultimately’ in 23d. Not even sure whether ‘ex’ is (always) one’s ‘first wife’. One can also be annoyed by that linkword ‘on’ in 5d. And perhaps some would agree with me that, however clever, the definition in 15d was spread out a bit in an impure way.

    But, yes but.
    This was all in all a Great Crossword.
    For us, Bonxie normally produces puzzles that are a bit of a slog.
    However, this one was transparent as can be and provided a Brendan-like aha-moment when we discovered all those girls!
    I am sure that it is quite a tour de force to fill a grid with words that suit the theme. It is also a tour de force to write clues in such a nifty way (as my PinC put it).

    I am not a real Bonxie fan, but for me this was a contender for the Guardian Crossword of the Year. Beware, Picaroon! :)

    Thanks UY.
    Let’s put some music on now – what about “Girls Girls Girls” by Sailor?

  29. Morpheus says:

    When we got the marvellously clued Girls Girls Girls I was rather hoping for an Elvis themed crossword. Despite the disappointment it was a fine workout, though a bit too tough for the 45 minutes we had available tonight.

  30. Brendan (not that one) says:

    A really great crossword. Didn’t start off promisingly but there was enough steady progress to keep plodding on.

    Last in was NIKE. Why do some hidden words hide so well?

    Thanks to BONXIE for another great crossword and to UY for the blog.

  31. xjp says:

    Wow what a crossword. On and off took me all day, but worth it. All fair, and I didn’t have to google anything. Not that I object to googling, just enjoyed a crossword that relies on pure thought.

  32. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Bonxie and UY

    This setter usually gives me a lot of trouble and although there were some challenges with the parsing – particularly with 22a, 22d, and 5d, it wasn’t quite as bad as the normal Bonxie. Many clever clue devices such as 1d, 8d, 11a, 20d and 23d and the brilliant surfaces such as 15d.

    All in all a pleasure to do.

    PS I’m having the occasional print problem with IE8 :(

  33. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Well!!! Two cracking crosswords, one even nominated for crossword of the year followed by this.

    Must be the easiest crossword of the year. Not expected on a Thursday.

    Thanks to Manehi.

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