Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23959/Gordius – drunk and disorderly?

Posted by linxit on December 28th, 2006


Solving time – about 30 mins

Very apposite theme with New Year’s Eve fast approaching…I was held up for a long time because I foolishly put in EPSILON for 4dn, without reading the wordplay properly. This prevented me from getting 11 and 13ac for a long time, until I finally got the anagram in 7dn and everything fell into place. Quite a few unusual words today too, but only 5dn and 17dn were unknown to me.

8 SHAKES UP – HAKE inside PUSS rev.
11 SHITTAHS (that’s his)* – easy with the right checking letters, as I’d come across this before, but for a long time I had I_I at the start and was trying to figure out why the answer should be “IRISHMAN”.
12 FIEF, i.e. “thief” in a London accent.
13 BILL, BRYSON (Byron’s)* – another one that I got quickly once I had the right checking letters, but at first I had B_O_ for the first word so it looked like BOOK something.
15 POLYGAM – hidden in MonoPOLY GAMe.
16 R.E.,QUITE – meaning “pay back”, the reverse of “back pay”
18 ATT(MEN,U rev)ENT(ion) – took a bit of figuring out.
22 TW(1L)IT – a smacker=a pound=IL

2 SKIN OFF YOUR NOSE – I’ve heard of the phrase “It’s no skin off my nose” meaning “I don’t care about it”, but I don’t get this at all. Anybody care to explain?
4 E(PIST(o)L)E – caused me a lot of trouble (see above) because I had _P, saw “letter” and “in quarters” and thought EPSILON, without reading the clue properly.
5 KAKI (“khaki”) – a.k.a. the Chinese date plum – I checked in the dictionary just to make sure it wasn’t CAKI. A couple of the less well-known words had some very unfriendly unches.
7 NIGHT ON THE TILES (Not the hit single)* – took longer than it should have to get this. I think my first attempt gave something like “stone in the light”. I only cracked it when I got 2dn from the checking letters.
17 T(ED)ESCO – straightforward wordplay when you see it, but with _E_E_C_ it could be anything. It’s the Italian word for “German”. Last one I got, being very tempted to guess TERENCE as it was the only word I could think of that fit at first.

5 Responses to “Guardian 23959/Gordius – drunk and disorderly?”

  1. says:

    I don’t understand your explanation of 17 dn. The clue being: “Tossing caber around the city is novel” Answer: REBECCA(novel) – anagram of ‘caber’ around ‘ec'(City)

    I don’t get 2 dn either!

  2. says:

    17dn – The clue in the online version is “German boy in store”. Maybe the editor deemed it too difficult and changed it, but forgot to edit the clue online. I’ve just enabled “cheat” mode in the interactive puzzle, and the correct answer given is indeed REBECCA, which you can’t possibly get from that clue.

  3. says:

    It is interesting how often the experience of paper and online solvers seem to be diverging at the moment. As one of the former, I had no idea there was something called ‘cheat mode’… I’d feel a bit cheated myself if I were paying 60p a minute for the answers by phone. Alternatively, it could be that all those involved had one too many skins off their noses – which would also explain 2dn!

  4. says:

    Why anyone would pay 60p a minute for answers that are in the next day’s paper or on-line service is one of life’s mysteries that I’ve never solved. I guess usage rates are a commercial secret, but some people must be phoning and at those costs even small usage would pay off for the paper.

  5. says:

    “Here’s skin off your nose” is a toast, in the same vein as “Here’s mud in your eye”, which I’m old enough to remember but not old enough to know the origin of.

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nine + = 17