Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23,972, Gordius. + KNOT LIT.

Posted by michod on January 12th, 2007


An appropriately knotty puzzle that left me defeated by two clues, offers welcome. A good range of treatments, with several homophonic puns, a nice spoonerism and a punctutation mark as well as the normal anagrams, container and contents etc.Two clues, 8 down and 23 across, both confront subsidiary indications that contradict ther definition.


9. ARTEMISIA. TIMES* in ARIA. Doubly misleading. At first I assumed it’d be a production (film?) by 14, then when that turned out to be ABSINTH, I looked for a nounally-indicated anagram of it. In fact, the structure is simple, it’s the answer that’s obscure – artimisia, aka wormwood, is an ingredient in absinth.

10. TOXIN. OX in TIN = canned beef. Nice clue, even nicer with a ? I think.


13. MICROBE. ROB in MICE. Def, I think, works as = “being (that is) too small to notice”.


17. COMMA(nd). Refers to the punctuation mark ‘seen in this clue’ – look just after ‘order’!

20. LEEKS, sounds like ‘leaks’. But ‘called for’ seems to be doing double duty here, as homophone indicator and part of definition.

21. ALGIERS. LAGER IS*. There may be some small underground micro-brewery in Algiers, but I suspect this is a ‘+not lit’, and ‘where’ is the sole definition. Shame ‘lager is’ isn’t an anagram of ‘pilsen’.

22. CARRION sounds like CARRYON. A bit. If you stress the wrong syllable.

24. ABOUT TIME. C. Age. Here the question mark does suggest you look for monkey business in the clue.

26. DOG MA. Boom boom. My karma ran over my dogma, as they used to say in the 60s.

28. IXION. I + O in NIX<. I guessed ILION first, but IXION was a king of Thessaly who was punished for parricide and trying to rape Hera by being bound to a perpetually revolving wheel in Hades. More wheeled than wheeler, arguably.

29. ESTHETICS. This is only cryptic in as far as we expect it not to read as a straightforward definition – but it does.


1. BARB(ie).



4. PSYCHE. SPY* + CHE. Makes a change from ‘revolutionary’.

5. HATE MAIL. Mate, hail! Spoonerised.

6. ThE TUItion. A needlework case more used by setters than sewers, I suspect. But fees is redundant, and the hidden indicator’s a little awkward.

8. A N ON. + not lit, and indicated as such this time.

15. SEL FRIDGES. The old ones are the best.

16. Hmm… H_S_N, must be SON for heir, so H_SON, H_ is a heartless old king, but H(a)L would give HLSON. Any offers?


23. IN GRID. I’ve seen a very similar clue recently, but I still like it.

24. (d)AVID.

25. TUNA? A can be ahead, though it’s an obscure abbreviation for a daily. But why is TUN bounce?

27. No idea. APSE? ALSO? ARSE? ASSE is apparently a small foxlike animal, which might run, although ‘ran’ suggests it should be extinct, and ‘no great advantage’ doesn’t say to me ‘advantage without its last letter.

4 Responses to “Guardian 23,972, Gordius. + KNOT LIT.”

  1. says:

    I think 16 down is HYSON a type of chinese tea. The heartless king must br Harry.

    I think 27 down is ALSO as you suggest, as in ALSO RAN which ties in with to no great advantage.

  2. says:

    25D – bounce is a strange way of saying it, but it’s just A NUT (= ahead) backwards.

  3. says:

    Thanks to both for those three, I’m sure you’re right. Tuna’s fair enough, but I don’t think 27 down defines ‘also’ or ‘also-ran’, and ARR is not just Harry’s heart, it’s pretty much his entire torso!

  4. says:

    I suspect the king is Henry.

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