Crossword Blog: Is Chop Suey Chinese? | Crossword


In the sample clues below, the links direct you to explanations from our series for beginners. The name of the smuggler is often linked to an interview with him, in case you want to know these people better.

News in clues

A summary of the year so far at Westminster in two clues: one from Pasquale…

22d Some high life preservatives create a stink (5)
[ wordplay: contained in (“some”) HIGHLIFETORY ]
[ definition: a stink ]

… for the sympathetic FETOR and that of Anto …

25a Tory offer could be a runner (9)
[ wordplay: abbrev meaning “Tory” + synonym for “offer” ]
[ definition: a runner ]

… to CONTENDER. The time had come, we could turn to some clues about the sun to relieve us in July from the gloom. Not this July. Instead, a recommendation of a thematic puzzle. It’s this one, from Brendan, and I’m not announcing the theme.

Confusing elsewhere

You may still have, hidden somewhere in the Saturday July 16 print edition of The Guardian, the Puzzles Summer Special assembled by Alex Bellos. It’s a fine collection, wrapped in an extraordinary maze, and has a “Holiday Jumbo” by Picaroon and a Cryptic for Beginners by Carpathian that only uses four types of clues. I have never seen this before; it works wonderfully well. Hope we see more Puzzle Specials.

One of the puzzles found its way online, so if you missed the extra you can still solve “The Most Guardian Crossword Ever”, fixed by me. It’s not enigmatic, but it’s not quite fast either. If anyone can tell me what type of puzzle this is I would appreciate it.

This latest model

The Pasquale puzzle, above, also includes this recipe…

21a Restriction lifted – i.e. to eat a nice creamy dessert (7.3)
[ wordplay: synonym for “restriction lifted” + abbrev. for “that is” containing (“for eating”) synonym for “good” (as in pious) ]
[ BAN OFF + IE containing PI ]
[ definition: creamy dessert ]

… for BANOFFI PIE, which features in the “culinary mythology” section in the wonderful Oxford Companion to Food, essentially a fact check on what might seem like urban myths. If the past few years have left you, like me, constantly discussing (a) food and (b) truth, this is heaven.

Some parts are sobering: searing meat doesn’t keep the juices inside, and medieval cooks didn’t use spices to distract from the rotting of their meats. Banoffi pie emerges as a rare example of a dish that sparks little or no debate about where it was conceived (the Hungry Monk restaurant in Jevington, East Sussex, in 1972).

Then there is the subject of our next challenge. Food legend has it that a Chinese cook in San Francisco invented a way to use up odds and ends and claimed it was a traditional dish. As anyone who’s had a chicken tikka masala can confirm, there’s nothing wrong with emigrant innovation; in this case, however, the dish is Toisanais, and the name really seems to come from Cantonese for “miscellaneous leftovers”. Reader, how would you say CHOP SUEY?

Index competition

Thank you very much for your hints for CLUE. Of the self-referential cues, my favorite is Montano’s “Capital letters are used excessively at the beginning – LIKE THIS?” and the prize for audacity goes to Sheamlas for the ingenious “What do Hercules and Clouseau both have to find?”

The finalists are the “Grid reference?” by Wellywearer2. and Nestingmachine’s canine “Pointer born by setter”; the winner, to which I imperiously added a question mark, is “The overthrow of the republic strangely lacking in evidence?” by JasCanis. Kludos to Jas.

Please leave entries for the current contest — along with your unprinted finds and picks from large-format cryptics — in the comments below.

Fortnight index

Trelawney is one of the most beginner-friendly smugglers in The Times’ Quick Cryptic series, with clues like this double definition…

10d Awarding two silver medals perhaps for a short time? (5.6)

… of SPLIT SECOND. As we have grown accustomed to saying and say again now, stay safe.

The Crossword Blog Returns August 15

Find a collection of explanations, interviews and other useful material on

Alan Connor’s The Shipping Forecast Puzzle Book, which is partly but not primarily cryptic, can be ordered from the Guardian Bookstore

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