Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24191/Gordius

Posted by neildubya on September 25th, 2007


I enjoyed this puzzle very much, with a good mix of clues, and a couple of answers that used words that were new to me. I thought that I had posted this at lunchtime. Neil has just alerted me that something had gone wrong – so apologies ….


9 A POLO GUES (ts) An apologue is a short story with a moral.
10 RASTA – “a star” with the end ‘r’ moved to the front. Haile Selassie 1 was an Emperor, and was God incarnate to followers of Rasta.
11 ORACLES Coracles are small circular welsh boats, originally made up of a wooden frame covered with animal skin, and propelled by paddle.
12 RAM PAGE. Aries is the sign of the Ram, and Buttons was a page in Cinderella.
14 WATCH ED POT is the one that never boils. According to the saying. Ed Balls is the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Pot is a drug, so I am told.
15 UNCLE AN, the warning cry shouted by lepers, and a relative ‘with an’.
17 CAL I BAN The state being CALifornia, one being I, and embargo being ban. In The Tempest, Caliban is the deformed monster who is the slave of Prospero.
19 PIE D A TE RRE is Pierre around a date, and is also a small flat or apartment to a Frenchman
23 ROOMERS are tenants and sound like rumours.
24 N A CAR AT. I didn’t know Nacarat was an orange red colour, but I do now.
26 ENIAC is Caine backwards, as in the mutiny, and is the acronym for Electronic Numeral Integrator and Computer, which was built in the 1940s. Not many people know that.


4 PUR(e) SLAIN which spelt like that, or as Purslane, is a pot herb.
5 ESCROC anagram of a score and also a French term for a swindler. Not a word I knew before.
6 CROMWELL was the head of the Commonwealth, and I then worked back. There is a River Rom, and that followed by well, for good, and preceded by C, the head letter of commonwealth gives one Cromwell, or have I made it unnecessarily complicated?
7 E S CARP – carp meaning to complain or beef, and escarp being a slope.
8 HAVE IT IN WRITING – I got the answer but spent time trying to work out why, until I spotted ‘it’ in scrawl (sit, crawl). I think there was a clue last week which referred to something intent, which made me laugh. This did too.
16 EVA NESCE, Eva being the girl, and the rest an anagram of scene.
17 COR O NETS –subalters are cornets, and with a nothing in the middle become coronets. As Tennyson said “Kind hearts are more than coronets”.
18 BEVERAGE sounds like Beveridge, who was Master of University College, and was the author of two important reports.
20 ER OT IC refers to Eric, or Little by Little, a story about a good boys descent into moral turpitude, surrounding OT, or Old Testament.
25 CO IN – Commanding Officer IN = coin, or money.

8 Responses to “Guardian 24191/Gordius”

  1. radchenko says:

    Kudos for solving it all: thanks for the explanations. Lots going on even after unpicking the wordplay.

    I was miles off: odd herbs, french swindlers, obscure rivers (4, 5 and 6 dn), I guessed the “it in writing” but could only think of ‘get’ not ‘have’. All the same ‘it’ in ‘s-crawl’ — I’m not surprised I didn’t get any of these.

    I thought of Emperor Selassie, and buttons from cinderella, and pot, but couldn’t finish any of these off either.

    You also missed the other one I didn’t get, 22ac. What was that, please?

    Sheesh, 8 clues short before I gave up. Coming after Monday’s tough Arachne, someone not a happy bunny at the guardian.

  2. Simply_simon says:

    22ac – River without an r(iver) is IVER, which is a place in Bucks.

  3. conradcork says:

    I think 6 down is Gromwell, where g (good) replaces head of Cromwell. Gromwell is a relative of borage.

  4. Simply_simon says:

    Conrad, I think you’re right. Well my penance will have to be to leave it there for all to see. Thanks for the correction.

  5. davey b says:

    what about 2 down Romantic Iknow it means of love.But “Trick of memory” Why?

  6. beermagnet says:

    Davey, ROM is the “memory” and ANTIC is the “trick”.

  7. davey b says:

    Thanks Beermagnet

  8. radchenko says:

    Thanks, Simply_Simon, for “iver”. Did not know that either.

    Solution in the paper today says 6dn was indeed Gromwell. When did flower ever really mean flower and not river!!!

    On which, to what extent is this clue ambiguous? If flower does mean river then the deconstruction given by Simon seems OK to me.

    And a very minor quibble — shoudn’t 9ac have been “fables” not “fable”?

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