Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,036/ Gordius: A puzzle of two halves

Posted by michod on March 28th, 2007


Can’t really give a time for this – I breezed through the top half in my head between two tube stops, and thought it’d be a breeze, but got bogged down at the bottom, where three (to me) unfamiliar words intersect, and cryptic definitions proliferate. Had to finish and blog at my desk – but enough of that: the FT reports today that prospective employers are checking applicants blog-sites before hiring them. You have been warned!



11. MAN OR (mouse). Didn’t get this one at first, even after I’d got it.

13. ADLESTROP. ref. poem of that name by Edward Thomas, about which I am ignorant – the name came into my head from somewhere, but was sadly misspelt ADEL- till I checked.

18. MINI CAB. Nice clue referring to Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

20. ONESELF. Cryptic def – but is oneself a feature?

21. MAC ROB IAN. A new one on me, though I remember macrobiotic diets (a food fad long before organic came on the scene). Interesting that Ian is so accepted in xwords as shorthand for a Scotsman, whereas Rob’s less obvious – both names are pretty common UK-wide.

24. EDIT H. I’m not sure about the wordplay, but think it must be ‘edit h’ meaning ‘get     h(ard) into shape. Not great, if so.

 26. CLAP HAM COMMON. Known outside London as former Welsh secretary Ron Davies’s cruising spot.


5. OVER LAP. Semi +lit, semi-reverse clue – friend=PAL=LAP over. A little awkward as the definition requires the whole clue, but only the last word is wordplay.

8. PRIVATE MEMBER. Talking of risque Private Eye-type clues (as we were recently), this pushes the brown envelope yet further – ‘private member’ being what Ron Davies’s failure to keep concealed in his trousers led to his fall from the front bench, to resume private member status – how’s that for a thematic link!

9. GRAPES OF WRATH. THROW SPARE FAG*. ‘Trampling underfoot’ is a dual reference to a) John Steinbeck’s novel on downtrodden farmworkers in California during the depression, and b) trampling grapes. It could be incorporated into a very nice cryptic definition, but as a definition on its own just doesn’t work.


19. BRITS KA. A kind of 19th century carriage (similar to the Ford Ka?) which I had to guess from the wordplay.

20. OMNIFIC. IF INCOM(e)*. Didn’t know this word either, not being omniscient, but it seems logical enough.

23. DA TUM. District attorney for the lawyer, and corporation is a facetious word for the bit that gets progressively more difficult to hide in your trousers.

5 Responses to “Guardian 24,036/ Gordius: A puzzle of two halves”

  1. says:

    9D makes more sense if you consider the original hymn the book took its title from.

  2. says:

    I haven’t solved today’s Guardian puzzle. Time had been limited, probably because I have been on a 5-mile hike from … ADLESTROP! I recited Edward Thomas’s poem (I once set a Thomas poetry crossword!) at the start of the walk. Lovely place – recommended for walking.

  3. says:

    I fear I wouldn’t have got far with your themed puzzle – I thought Adlestrop was a teenage tantrum till I discovered Edward Thomas!
    For the record, the clue was ‘Where Thomas stopped to change for Portslade’.

  4. says:

    Will there be a chain of repeated answers this week, with “compact” featuring in Monday’s and Tuesday’s, and “unconcern” today and yesterday? Not that fascinating unless they end up meaning something, or unless someoe runs a book each day?

  5. says:

    Perhaps some suble variation of ‘Cheddar Gorge’ is going on!

    (Fans of “I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clue” will know what I mean).

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

5 + seven =