Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24345/Gordius – The Pope’s a rapist?

Posted by ilancaron on March 25th, 2008


A mix of the easy and the hard. I had to trawl Google a bit here and there. Finding one of my answers on this very site (see 24A). Questions about some of the last downs … lots of useful comments have clarified things!


1 WARD=rev(draw),ROBE – Archbishops are well-known for wearing ROBEs? The Archbishop of York is Ebor=rev(ROBE) apparently.
5 TO,BAG,O – I’m beginning to think it’s a cryptic cliche TO BAG nothing when going hunting (in the West Indies at least).
11 EYR(I)E – ref. Jane EYRE.
12 CATER,PILLARS – whimsical description of where you’d find CATERPILLARS (am I missing a way to associate them with journalism apropos the Grub Street ref?)
15 S,ARK – a useful cryptic island: others are Inch, Iona…
18 IN,SECT,B(IT)E – BE is “live”.
19 TONE – two meanings: not a homophone. Needed Google to find this river in Somerset.
24 T,ALMA – T’s our model (car), and ALMA’s our girl. And thanks to Google again, TALMA’s a cape (found by said search engine incidentally on this very site as an answer to a recent Inquisitor!).
25 EROTICISM=(isometric)* – apposite anagram!
26 ANSWER=(as Wren)* – not sure what the surface is supposed to imply though: “You may find it as Wren built”.
27 SKIP,JACK – A Brit dumpster is a SKIP and a lift’s a JACK (“from a” indicating the concatenation of JACK after SKIP). Hang on, I’m looking up SKIPJACK… a fish pie? Almost… just a kind of tuna.


1 WETS – two meanings: one of my last. Ref. Maggie’s epithet for anyone who didn’t agree with her hardline and boiling over results in getting things WET (though the parts of speech don’t agree do they?). So it’s WETS=rev(stew=boil).
2 RUED – [gran]rev(DEUR). Our “ancestor” is our gran.  
4 BARTERED BRIDE – I got this from the crossing letters and a bit of inspiration. It’s an opera by Smetana… “Marenka and Jeník want to marry. However, Marenka’s father, Krušina, has other ideas. He wants Marenka to marry a boy she has never met, Vašek, the son of Micha, who is a wealthy landowner. The marriage-broker Kecal is hired to broker the marriage between Marenka and Vašek. Kecal is made aware of the relationship between Marenka and Jeník, and becomes determined to break them up in order to facilitate the marriage of Marenka with Vašek.”. Sounds even better than “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”.
6 OVERLO(R/a)D – Replace “a” with R (roger in radio-speak) in overload.
7 AB,REACTION – means “purging of emotional tensions”. AB’s our (able-bodied) “rating” and the right really do tend to be REACTIONary.
8 OPEN SECRET – an oxymoron of course – and is the other ref to the fact that it’s foreign (OPEN?) espionage (SECRET?) that MI6 engage in?
10 RAPE OF THE LOCK – again Googled to resolve this… it’s ref. Alexander POPE’s (not the one in Rome) satire RAPE OF THE LOCK (which was about a lock of hair, not trying to gain entry by forcing a key).
13 ASPIDISTRA – (it’s paradis[e])*. Only know this plant from George Orwell’s rather superior satire “Keep the ASPIDISTRA Flying”.
14 ERYSIPELAS – (replies, say)* — again not a homophone. Incidentally, not a very pleasant complaint: “acute streptococcal infection characterized by deep-red inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes”.
17 SCARFACE – Ref. Al Pacino’s nickname in the eponymous movie. Can’t work out the wordplay though: must have something to with SCARCELY or SCARCE: “Hood hardly ever appears over nothing”. FA=F*** All in SCARCE (after all).
20 SCRIMP – Cryptic def I suppose. Am I missing something? Perhaps M (little money) in SCRIP (shares?).
22 MINA – OK this is definitely a cryptic definition since MINA (alt. myna, mynah) birds are known to be talkative.
22 AM,OK – I’m fine. Really.

14 Responses to “Guardian 24345/Gordius – The Pope’s a rapist?”

  1. Eileen says:

    1A WARD,ROBE=rev. Ebor[Archbishop of York]draw?

  2. Eileen says:

    Forgot to add: 1D WETS=rev [stew] ‘boil’

  3. Chunter says:

    17D: FA in SCARCE. Let us just say that ‘A’ stands for ‘all'; ‘F’ stands for the usual rude word.

  4. Chunter says:

    20D: M in SCRIP?

  5. nabokov1 says:

    Scrip is a shares certificate apparently (US).

  6. beermagnet says:

    I suspect 26A You may find it as Wren built (ANSWER) is an allusion to the famous epitaph on Sir Christopher’s tomb in St Paul’s: “Lector, si monumentum requiris,Circumspice” (“Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you”)

  7. Andrew26 says:

    ‘FA’ can also refer to Fanny Adams – Gordius not turning into Cyclops yet, I suspect.

  8. muck says:

    Thanks for 24ac (T+ALMA): I wasn’t sure whether it was a piece of clothing or a geographical headland. The other clues weren’t too difficult imho.

  9. muck says:

    I believe, Andrew26, that Fanny Adams is a euphemism for F*** ALL.

  10. George Foot says:

    22D I took mina to sound like minor, inconsiderable. Or perhaps you meant that anyway and everyone else had assumed it.

  11. Tom Hutton says:

    I don’t see how it’s relevant to the clue but Military Intelligence (MI) is a supposed oxymoron

  12. mhl says:

    I think that the intended reference in 8 down is that the existence of MI6 was officially denied until relatively recently.

  13. John Ridge says:

    5 TO,BAG,O – an alternative cliche is “One of the West Indies also takes a catch” from TO(BAG)O

  14. Paul Pridmore says:

    My source for the following expansion on 17 down is The Cassell Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green, which is huge, and beyond praise even in the first edition, which is all I have.

    fanny adams n. (1) [mid-19c] (orig. naval) tinned mutton (cf. HARRIET LANE). [the brutal murder and dismemberment of 8-year-old Fanny Adams, at Alton, Hampshire, on 24 August 1867; the murderer, one Frederick Baker, was hanged at Winchester on Christmas Eve; 5000 people watched the execution]

    fanny adams/f.a. n. (2) [1910s+] euph. for F***-ALL, i.e. nonsense, rubbish (cf. SWEET FANNY ADAMS). [for ety. see FANNY ADAMS n. (1)]

    [the book prints F***-ALL in full]

    sweet Fanny Adams/Miss Adams phr. [1910s+] absolutely nothing at all (cf. S.F.A.). [euph. for sweet f*** all; the identity of Fanny Adams remains a mystery and is presumably based only on the initial letters]

    [the book prints sweet f*** all in full]

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