Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24125/Gordius

Posted by linxit on July 10th, 2007


Sorry for the delay – I had a veterinary emergency when I came home from work today. The cat had managed to develop an arterial thromboembolism (some sort of blood clot in the arteries), which can be fatal, so I had to rush her to the vets and she’s going to be in hospital for a while. I also forgot that my tea was in the oven when I noticed she was suffering, so came home to charred remains! Anyway, on to the crossword. This started out very easy in the brief glance I had time for this morning, and I finished off a third of it in two minutes. I was then in meetings for the rest of the day, and planned to finish it when I got home… Now I’ve finally got time to look at it, I seem to have developed “solver’s block”, but I’ll wade through and have a report up in the next hour or so.

Blimey, that was tough! A lot of obscure words, tricky definitions, one (22ac) I’d never heard of, but managed to guess and confirm on Wikipedia. I think the ones I got this morning were all the easy clues and none of the harder ones.

8 S(HATTER)S – nice easy start…
9 U,TOP,IA=A1 rev
10 FRED=”thread” when pronounced by a Cockney – I needed the crossing letters to get this, and it was one of the last to go in.
11 MANCHE,STER(rest*) – La Manche is the French word for the English Channel. Exact translation is “the sleeve”.
12 S(OFF)IT – one of those words that builders and DIYers use, and I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about! Got it from the wordplay, but had to look it up to check.
15 ASTILBE (its able)* – obvious anagram fodder, and I’d heard of the plant.
22 PAST,ON – never heard of them. A guess based on the wordplay and checked on Wikipedia, the Paston Letters seem to be quite important. Maybe I should visit the British Museum more often.
23 EVIL(live*),IN TENT – one of those phrases that you’ll never find in a dictionary. “which is antisocial” is a very loose and unsatisfactory definition, to my mind.
26 PEER,AGES – &lit with a sly dig at the government.
1 C(HERO,OT(to rev))S – one of the last ones I got.
3 FER(M)AT – obvious from the “last theorem”, but took me far too long to spot that it was (after*) + M (last letter of “theorem”).
4 A,SIN,I,CO – Another guess from the wordplay, followed by a Google search to check. I found a great quote from Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida though: “Thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an asinico may tutor thee.”
5 BUSH,BABY – primitive primate, that’s about right!
6 CINEMA – AMEN,I,C all rev.
13 FRI(TILL)ARY – I only knew it as a butterfly before, so this was another one I struggled with.
16 BROWN,IN,G – IN = “having assumed office”
19 RECEIPT – nice misleading cryptic def.
24 OPAL – See as in diocese, so it’s the ending of “episcopal”.

8 Responses to “Guardian 24125/Gordius”

  1. ilancaron says:

    hard puzzle — i gave up on the SE corner. Didn’t see OPAL (no pun intended).

    Smoenoe should produce an anthology of Gordius epithets for Bush: “primitive primate” and last week we had “political disaster”.

  2. Bracoman says:

    Hope the cat will be OK.

    I liked the clue for “odometer” as it does exactly as it says in the clue.

  3. Stan says:

    Wasn’t it also Gordius who had Jeb Bush as “Ballot Rigger” in a recent puzzle ?

    Also : having ASTILBE, PASTON, ASINICO and FRITILLARY in the same puzzle … who does he think he is ? Araucaria ??

  4. radchenko says:

    Tough puzzle indeed. Though 26ac rasied a wry smile.

    Hope the cat is OK.

  5. Sally says:

    How’s the cat? Mum and I looked because we were curious about “Asinico”, but then got much more concerned about the state of her health. Update please.

  6. linxit says:

    Hi Sally,

    Thanks for enquiring. The cat is back with me now, but still not in the best of health. She’s got a heart disease and has to take two tablets a day to thin her blood and correct a heart murmur. As a rule, cats don’t like taking tablets – but Holly is one of the world’s worst. I’ve failed twice today to give her one and now she’s in hiding! Wish me luck…


  7. Sally says:

    Sounds tough. I have great sympathy with the problem of getting cats to take tablets, and am thankful that my elderly tortoiseshell can have her medication sprinkled on her food. I do indeed wish you luck.

  8. Aussie Battler says:

    We get a reprint of the Guardian Xword in the Brisbane Courier Mail somewhat after the British edition. If Gordius keeps this up, he’ll be on my ‘do not attempt’list along with Araucaria, Brummie and Bunthorne
    Michael Mac

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