Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24328/Gordius

Posted by linxit on March 5th, 2008


Solving time 22:30

A bit of a mix of good and bad clues, easy and hard, and one made-up word at 5D (not in any of my dictionaries anyway, which include the latest Chambers and Collins editions).

10 SAM,BA – ref. 13A without AI.
12 RADIANT – (The Guardian)* minus HUGE – nice surface reading.
13 AIDAN,CE – not a word I’ve come across before. St. Aidan was the Irish missionary who founded the monastery on Lindisfarne.
14 CAPITAL CHARGE – cryptic definition, although no longer true for treason according to Stephen Fry on QI last week.
17 EVADE THE ISSUE – I assume this is supposed to be a cryptic definition, but it’s not the usual type, which allows of two different readings of the clue, e.g. Rufus on Monday: “Two tools for a pound” for PESTLE AND MORTAR. This is more like a cryptic answer to a straight clue, and 3D is the same. Has Gordius invented a new clue type here? I can’t decide whether I like it or not, but unlike 3D, at least this one’s humorous!
24 C(USTODI)AN – i.e. studio* inside CAN
25 A,NG,RY
26 (y)EAST – took me a while to think of a 5-letter word ending in EAST that could mean riser.
27 RHYMESTER (Merry’s the)* – William McGonagall was renowned as one of the worst poets ever.

1 HIS GRACE (is charge)* – charge coming from the 2nd word of 14A.
3 STAR ATTRACTION – another “cryptic answer” clue.
5 NETCASH – has to be the right answer, as 20D more or less confirms it. Appears to be a website where you can make online payments:, rather than a real word.
9 BORDERLINE CASE – a more traditional cryptic def, and quite a good one.
15 PREMISSES – “premises”. Reads very naturally so you almost miss the clear homophone indicator.
16 BE(TRAY)ER – really obvious, and the second clue using BEER as a container. Not good.
18 EARL,I.E.,R – very clever, ref. Warwick the Kingmaker.
20 SPECIE – part 2 of 5D is CASH, and specie is another word for coins.

13 Responses to “Guardian 24328/Gordius”

  1. Testy says:

    The “cryptic answer” type clues aren’t new and I’ve enjoyed them in the past but I agree we probably don’t have a name for them.

    We already have “reverse anagrams” (e.g. Ned’s issue = SEND OUT). So I guess these could be “reverse CDs”.

  2. Paul B says:

    Could we have the clue for 17ac please?

  3. linxit says:

    17ac: Take the pill? (5,3,5)

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    I have no problems with 17A or 3D, except that I would have preferred the answer to be AVOID THE ISSUE.

  5. Shirley says:

    13A Can anyone help with what Aidance means?
    We thought it must be right Aidan + CE, but we don;t know why.

  6. muck says:

    I didn’t like 17ac either, but Chambers does have ‘evade’ as ‘to avoid artfully’ so it does work.

  7. muck says:

    13ac: Aidance isn’t a word I knew either Shirley, but it is in Chambers (under ‘aid’ and meaning ‘help’).

  8. Paul B says:

    I think while most cryptic definitions are actually a definition of the subject word or phrase written in a misleading way (as with Rufus’ PESTLE AND MORTAR: these do actually pound whichever substance), Gordius’ is not. I am not convinced as to this ‘new clue type’.

    Plus, as any Catholic will tell you, taking the pill isn’t the only way to avoid (surely the better word to use in this case, bearing in mind there’s no SI) making a child.

  9. AlanR says:

    Couple of questions:

    4d: “course not much spoken about, like the M25″ – not much spoken about gives OR[BIT]AL – where does “course” come in?

    15d: “propositions for where they say one can’t smoke” – what’s the smoke about? Is it just a reference to the fact that all premises are non-smoking now?

  10. Amnesiac says:

    4d – It’s a clue that has two definitions (course, like the M25) wrapped around the wordplay. You get these occasionally.

    15d – Yes!

  11. ACP says:

    For 3dn, I see no definition of ‘star attraction’ – reverse CD or not. How can it work ?

  12. beermagnet says:

    I think “solar gravity” is actually quite a good definition for “star attraction”. I suppose the only reason the clue has a question mark is to indicate that the answer is more normally used in the other sense, without it the clue becomes a general knowledge question rather than a CD.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    I thought the question mark to “solar gravity” was also, in part, because “solar” refers to the sun and not to stars in general.

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