Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24263 / Gordius An odd puzzle

Posted by tilsit on December 18th, 2007


Solving time:  28 minutes (with help from Chambers and TEA)

Over the past few months I have really come to appreciate Gordius puzzles, plenty of wit, some topical stuff and a dash of quirkiness.  I bought the Guardian Setters’ Book of his puzzles and enjoyed some of them.  But today’s just didn’t hit the spot.  There were some clever clues but 19,25 seems nothing more to me than a weak cryptic definition at best.  Liked 4 across and 6 down reminded me of Paul at his naughtiest!

Had to use Chambers for 12 and 24.

ACROSS               (*) = ANAGRAM    (R) = REVERSAL


4  BURGHER  Nice cryptic def.


11 TAPIR    Homophone of TAPER



17  OSTLER   Is this just a cryptic definition?

19,25  DOWN THE HATCH   Looks like a straight definition.

22  WEEKNIGHT   Falstaff was large of girth, does that make him a “wee knight”?  I thought wee referred to height but I could and probably will be proven wrong.

24  TOHOS     SHOOT (*)   New word on me.

27  LANCASTER   have seen this clue so many times before – think I used it about five years ago.

28  TORCHER  Homophone of TORTURE

29  INCHES   IN +  CHES(S)


1   DIGITAL     GIT inisde DIAL

3   WATERFALL  Cryptic def.

4   BATTENS   See Chambers def2 for BATTEN which also goes with DOWN THE HATCHES to make the weell-known phrase.(Pedantic note: The E in hatches is not indicated – or is this OK?)

6  HAVE IT OUT    Say no more!

7  RODENT     DEN inside ROT

8 RUMPLE   John  Mortimer’s famous creation minus O.


16  DOWN TRAIN   Spooner’s  pronunciation of TOWN DRAIN

18  REGULAR    RURAL (*) with E.G. inside


21  TWO-BIT     W inside TOBIT  which I think is a  book of the Apocrypha

23  NATCH      TAN (R) + CH

8 Responses to “Guardian 24263 / Gordius An odd puzzle”

  1. Ygor says:

    Maybe someone can help a Yank out with 16D. Is DOWN TRAIN related to being sent down from university, or is it a phrase similar to “down size” perhaps meaning to lower educational standards for the modern student? Or have I missed it entirely?

  2. Shirley says:

    22A I assumed that Falstaff was being referred to as a “Weak Knight” which of course he wasn’t! Knights are often referred to as N in crosswords.
    And yes Ygor the Down Train was the train which took you out of Oxford towards London and implied academic oblivion!

  3. conradcork says:

    Dr Spooner is said to have told a student ‘You have tasted two whole worms, hissed all my mystery lectures, and must leave Oxford by the town drain’.

    It will have dealt a blushing crow to the studen’t academic ambitions.

  4. linxit says:

    Oops, I’ve just noticed I was supposed to blog this yesterday so thanks for stepping in, Dave. Your comments are pretty much exactly what I would have said anyway! I normally enjoy Gordius puzzles, but not this one. I also had to look up the same two answers.

  5. muck says:

    I know the Spooner quote, but surely the ‘up train’ went *to* London?

  6. Testy says:

    Up indicates towards the capital or towards university. Down indicates away from the capital or away from university. A student being expelled from Oxford and leaving by train to London would presumably be going up and down at the same time, which is unusual as the trains I catch usually go nowhere at all!

  7. muck says:

    Thanks Testy. Very amusing.

  8. Pilko says:

    Can somebody explain the meaning of 24a – TOHO(S). A new word for me, and I can’t find a dictionary/google explanation.

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