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Guardian 23936/Gordius – Whose teeth are gnashing?

Posted by ilancaron on November 29th, 2006


[This is actually courtesy of loonapick who due to technical difficulties asked me to post… so please direct all compliments to him and complaints to me about the formatting]

Gordius is a regular Guardian compiler who tends to throw up the occasional unusual word or obscure reference.  Today’s puzzle was no exception.  I started slowly and then struggled to complete the SW corner of the puzzle.  Two of the four long down lights were easy enough.  Of the other two, I can’t work out the wordplay in one, and I’m not sure that the other is a valid phrase. 


1.  OVERCAST SKY – Took a while to get this, but eventually had to look up Minack.  It is an open-air theatre on the Cornish coast.

12.   PRESS – “reported lack of ease” leads to removing the consecutive Es in peeress i.e. P(ee)RESS

16.   SCHERZANDO – anagram of DOZEN CHARS (I = one removed)

19.   ACRE – easy but don’t think the surface reads well.

20.   GATES – as in Bill Gates

23.   ABADDON – poetic name for Hell, as in “In all her gates, Abaddon rules Thy bold attempt”, a quote from Milton.

24.   TRIDENT – some publishers would frown on “intent” being used to indicate that a word or letters have to be placed in “tent” to get the answer.

25.   EARL MARSHAL – hereditary court officer, the post is normally held by the Duke of Norfolk since 1672.


2.  ECLAT = electroconvulsive therapy = “shock treatment”

3.  CASH BOX = C (“bit of cash”)+ASHBOX (“under the boiler?).  Never heard of an ash box, but then I’m too young to remember boilers that produced ashes.

4.  SUPREME – REME stands for Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, a corps of the British Army

7.  ENGAGED SIGNAL – surface and crosschecks lead to answer, but not sure of the wordplay involved.  Anyone else have any idea?

8.   GNASH THE TEETH – GNAS (“sang up first)+HTHETEETH (anagram of “the” three times).  Is that a valid phrase?  ‘Gnash ones teeth’ or ‘gnasj your teeth’ are fine, but ‘the teeth’?

15.  CRUSADER – RU (“game”) invested in anagram of “sacred” with operation as the anagrind.  Don’t remember coming across that indicator before. 

17.   ACRONYM – CRONY in AM, but not sure how the wordplay fits. 22.  REITH – Lord Reith, BBC pioneer, sounds like wreath (“floral tribute”)

9 Responses to “Guardian 23936/Gordius – Whose teeth are gnashing?”

  1. says:

    I thought the reference was to making a telephone call. If instead of getting the ring tone you get the engaged signal then you have to try again.

  2. says:

    My comment above refers to 7 down. My apologies for leaving this out.

  3. says:

    Peter – yes I got that, but it’n not cryptic as far as I can see.

  4. says:

    Re 17, the only Tessa I could think of was Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary – a long time thinking led to the connection as her being one of Blair’s ‘cronies’. ACRONYM then came easily enough but then I got the real connection – TESSA is an acronym for Tax Exempt Special Saving Account (a savings scheme) and an example of an acronym!

    Re 1ac, first put in ‘Overcast day’ (after looking up Minack) and when 6 dn fitted, thought it must be right – took me ages to work out that it was ‘sky’ and not ‘day’!

  5. says:

    8D: Googling for “Gnash the teeth” suggests that this version does have at least some life. “They hiss and gnash the teeth” is in the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the King James version of the Bible. A similar search found some support for “Bite the tongue”. So maybe we should just watch out for THE as another option with ONE’S and YOUR.

  6. says:

    I put OVERCAST DAY in too. Then realised that SYNOPSIS wouldn’t work. I thought 7D seemed a bit lame and I got 3D without really knowing why.

  7. says:

    I don’t have the clue to hand, but I read ENGAGED SIGNAL as a cryptic double meaning, one sense referring to the telephone tone, the other to the ring on one’s finger as a signal that one is engaged.

  8. says:

    The ACRONYM clue seems wrong – the indication would have to be ‘in in the morning’ to work correctly, I fear.

  9. says:

    Before lunch, i.e. in the morning, crony inside am. Seems perfectly straightforward to me.

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