Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,059, Gordius: All bar two

Posted by michod on April 24th, 2007


Took me about 20 minutes, except for the last two clues, which I feel could take another week. Offers welcomed for 13 across and 22 down. What with these, and several dictionary words I guessed, I’d call it medium hard in the new classification system. And Ximenean in parts – but then, I didn’t know I was a Ximenean until I read my profile! Maybe we need some new terms to describe our attitude to ideological conflicts such as whether different wordplay functions can be combined in one word, and whether Labour leader can equal L. Indeedies? Gatesheadites?


5. FLAG RANT. The use of ‘with’ allows the charade to be reversed – either side can be ‘with’ the other.


10. LEA(RN)T. A pretty obscure word for a water channel, ‘leat’ is more familiar in advanced cryptics. 


13. No idea. Is RECK a Scots retreat, and can WRECK mean strike? Not really.

14. LATRINES. CD. Last one I got. Somewhere I had a vague idea that ‘head’ was a naval word for a latrine – turns out to be true.


20. PORT LAND BILL. Nice clue. The first ‘on’ is slightly redundant, but you can read it as PORT with LAND on.

23. BOW(E)LS. Don’t see the need for ‘their’ in the surface or wordplay.

24. ENTRAILS. SENT by RAIL, with the S last. Very clever.

26. RHESUS. Ref blood groups.


3. UN(FROCK)ED. It looked like it might be unclothed, but that didn’t quite work, so I held out for a better answer, fortunately.  

4. T ASSET. Another guess, confirmed post facto.

5. FAR EWELL ADDRESS. Not everyone will be familiar with this town near Epsom, but it can be deduced from the other wordplay elements and definition.

6. AILMENTS. (TERMINALS* – R).  A possibly unximenean but, to my mind, quite fair,  use of ‘outright’ to mean ‘without R’, which seems fine here.

8. NO-NONSENSE. Ref Edward, not King.

12. HERE TOFORE. (FOOTER*) Another clue in which a word has to be split to make it work – ‘hearsay’ meaning ‘sounds like here’.

16. STEAPSIN. “Hmm, sounds like soaks in… steeps in? Could there be an enzyme called ‘steapsin’. Oh good, there is”.

 21. THE IR. Ref The Inland Revenue, but I’m not quite sure what ‘traditional’ adds.

22. I’m sorry, I haven’t a cleu. Or a clou? Any offers?

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,059, Gordius: All bar two”

  1. says:

    I’m an ‘easy libertine’ apparently.

  2. says:

    I’m sure that’s the best kind to be.

  3. says:

    22d is clou – means the chief point of interest, dominant idea

  4. says:

    I finally solved 13a. It is actually ‘neuk’ – which is a Scots form of nook, and obviously sounds like nuke.

  5. says:

    is an “easy libertine” more or less libertine than a “hard libertine”?

  6. says:

    “Traditional” is there in 21d because the IR is no more and has been replaced by HM Revenue and Customs.

  7. says:

    Thanks for all those clarifications. I did have ‘clou’ in mind, but only knew it as the French for nail – must remember to leave my old Chambers at work dor such occasions. As for ‘neuk’ (well done Colin)at least in an Azed you’d have three letters checked on a word like that! Still, that does make a relatively high tally of relatively obscure words, maybe it’s medium hard/hard.

  8. says:

    Easy / hard and X / L: I think these can operate independently. I’ve seen some puzzles that break lots of rules but can still be solved quickly, and vice versa. (Always assuming Ilan’s question was serious, rather than a joke about ‘libertine’.) For what it’s worth, I’d draw the X/L line for daily puzzles between “Labour leader” (X for me), and “Indeed” (definitely L). Arbitrary, I know.

  9. says:

    I wish to complain. I never do in-deeds.

  10. says:

    Are you allowed to be a libertarian Ximenean?


  11. says:

    A “hard Ximenean” writes:
    I think, after a Guardian clue from last week, we need a new class of “Libertine” called a “Ruminater”
    Or perhaps, for those who have broken clear of the “Libertines” to form a new group, a “Babyshambler”

  12. says:

    Quite possibly. And it makes you wonder whether known Libertine Pete Doherty called his band Babyshambles after someone called Abby? Does Kate know?

  13. says:

    “Offers welcomed for 13 across and 22 down”

    I am one of your many readers who haven’t seen this crossword and so can’t help unless you print the clue (is that allowed?).


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