Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,501 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on September 23rd, 2008

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

An enjoyable set of clues which were quite entertaining.

1 BANGALORE Cha of BAN (prohibition) GALORE (8 is abundance)
6 DONNA Prima Donna is an enetertainer… take away the prima and you get Donna
9 STRAP Cha iof ST (Saint Paul) RAP (blame)
10 RICHELIEU Cha of RICH (wealthy) E (English) LIEU (place as in lieu of)
11 TRAGIC MUSE *(great music) and of course we know there were 9 muses of which the best known must be Erato
12 LEAD Yes, copper is a better conductor than lead and lighter, too
14 OMICRON (c) OMIC Ron (see 19Down)
15 DEADPAN Peter Pan, the piper is dead, Long live Peter Pan
17 IGNEOUS *(in goes u-turn)
19 ENCLOSE Cha of EN (space in type-setting and printing) C (Roman numeral for one hundred or many) LOSE (forfeit)
20 IAGO Cha of I (one) AGO (past)
22 ALL HALLOWS Very clever inter-twining of All-All (the lot) & *(hows). All Hallows Day is on first of November
25 ANIMATION *(into a main)
26 TRICE T (heart of Patna) Rice (cereal)
27 EAGRE sounds like EAGER (zealous)
28 TOLERANCE *(to learn) + CE (Church of England)

1 BESET Ins of E (English) in BEST (optimum) This is the second time the device E = English has been employed (see 10A) My moderator, Dr Brian Skinner is very strict about the use of a device once only in a puzzle unless, of course, the device is a repetitive one forming a special theme. Surely E = oriental, the end, sweetheart & many more … could have been employed
2 NARRATION Ins of ARR (a right reverend, the honorific for a bishop) in NATION (state)
3 AMPHITRYON Thank goodness for One-Look and Wikipedia or I would not have got this.
Cha of A mph I (rate of one) Try on (cheeky bash) A character in Greek mythology, whose wife Alcmene was visited by Zeus while Amphitryon was gone Heracles was the result… hence cuckold
4 OARSMAN *(a Roman’s)
5 EXCISED Cha of excise (administrators of customs duties) D (initial duty) Nice touch of duty doing double duty (this sounds corny)
6 DIET Cha of die (what’s cast) T (the model ala Henry Ford)
7 NAIVE Rev of Evian mineral water … another bit of totally useless information … if water is bottled and subject to pressure usually with carbon dioxide, it is called sparkling
8 ABUNDANCE Cha of A BUN (cake) DANCE (walk)
13 CALCULATOR *(Call out RAC)
14 ORIGINATE Ins of I GIN (a single shot of the hard stuff) in ORATE (hold forth)
16 PROMOTION PROM (concert) + OTION (rev of NO I TO)
18 SELFIST SEL (rev of Les) fist (hand)
19 ETHANOL ETH (Glum girl) & *(loan) Thanks to Googles, I found out that Eth is a character from Take It From Here, a BBC Radio Comedy (1948-1960) Eth was the long-time fiance of Ron Glum…more stuff for Uncle Yap’s store of totally useless information :-)
21 GOING Ins of I in gong (medal or decoration)
23 SCENE sounds like seen (viewed)
24 SAFE dd

33 Responses to “Guardian 24,501 – Gordius”

  1. Eileen says:

    I think 15ac is referring to the Greek god Pan, the god of fields, woods, shepherds and flocks, generally depicted playing on panpipes.

    I hadn’t come across ‘selfist’ before.

  2. Eileen says:

    PS: I liked 10ac: ‘lieu’, being a French word, is ‘his’ place.

  3. Andrew says:

    Surely 6ac is MADONNA less MA

    I also agree with Eileen about Pan – “the piper at the gates of dawn” (a chapter in The Wind In The Willows)

    Quite a few obscurities for a weekday puzzle, I thought. I couldn’t remember who Amphytrion was, and like Eileen hadn’t heard of selfist, though it was easy to guess. And why did Gordius choose the obscure EAGRE for 27ac, when EAGLE would fit?

  4. Eileen says:

    I forgot to mention 6ac. I took it the same way as Andrew.

    Quite a few Classical allusions: gods and Muses and cuckolds and letters…

  5. Tom Hutton says:

    Ethanol….another clue which does not encourage younger people to try cryptic crosswords in the Guardian. To be fair there was a revival of the show on TV in more recent years (but not very recent).

  6. Tom Hutton says:

    I should have added that this was a most enjoyable crossword with extremely fair clues.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    15ac Does the ellipsis refer to that Ron had a deadpan voice?

  8. conradcork says:

    Ron’s voice was deadpan all right. Check it for yourself on BBC 7 on Thursday at noon and 7:00pm.

  9. Tom Hutton says:

    It contains one of the nicest lines in radio comedy when Eth says to Ron apropos of his search on the couch for his dolly mixture, “A gentleman would have said “Upsy half a mo and not just groped!” A lesson we all can learn, I think.

  10. John says:

    I have 12 ac as “bend” not “lead”. To flex is to bend. I don’t see the “lead” connection.
    I’ve not heard of “selfist” either. Has anybody?
    Also had to look up “eagre”. Surely something could have been made of “eagle”.
    I find 3 down extremely laboured. I prefer elegance in clues.
    Liked 7 dn, 13 dn though.
    I remember the Glums – am I right that it was Dick Bentley and Joy Nichols?

  11. PaulW says:

    Selfist -(n.) A selfish person

  12. PaulW says:

    Flex as in cord or LEAD

  13. Eileen says:

    Dick Bentley and June Whitfield, John

  14. Eileen says:

    You started me remembering – and Googling! – John. Joy Nicholls WAS in TIFH until the end of the 6th series, in 1953, when she went back to Australia and was replaced by June Whitfield. The Glums started later that year in the 7th series.

  15. John says:

    I knew it was June Whitfield, Eileen, just testing!
    And I missed “lead” as in “leed”. I read (red) “lead” as in “led”, and thought of copper pipe, rather than wire. Oh, the limitations of the printed word!

  16. Geoff Moss says:


    “You started me remembering – and Googling!”

    (Pedant mode on)

    ‘To google’ is now a recognised verb in both Chambers and COED (but not Collins as yet so far as I can determine)so you didn’t need the capital ‘G’.

    (/Pedant mode off :-)

  17. Eileen says:

    Thank you, John. [You don’t know how much it cost pedantic me to use the g word as a verb at all. ;-)]

  18. Eileen says:

    I’m sorry, Geoff. I thanked the wrong person.

  19. John says:

    Henceforth, may the highlighting of a sensible contributor’s perfectly understandable refusal to be swept up by modern jargon be known as “geoffing”.

  20. Eileen says:

    I would second that, had I not expressed my disapproval of the use of nouns as verbs, ;-)

  21. muck says:

    For 6ac, I had SHEER from ‘Lady’=SHE + E[ntertaine]R and ‘without qualification’ as the &lit defn.

    This persuaded me that 7dn was EVAIN rather than NAIVE

  22. muck says:

    Of course I meant EVIAN for 7dn

  23. Gary Howe says:

    Can anyone explain why ‘try on’ is ‘cheeky bash’ in ‘amphitryon’?

    I can see the ‘cheeky’ but not ‘bash’



  24. don says:

    I feel less guilty in ‘googling’, ‘wikipeding’ and so on knowing that even Uncle Yap has to resort to such low tricks of the trade.

    Regarding John’s lead/bend, I am amused/intolerant (depending on the weather) of ‘lead’ singers (similar to lead toy soldiers) and ‘chase’ groups (as in the TdF) when the ‘ing’ is omitted by trendy commentators.

  25. NealH says:

    The only thing I could think of for “try on” being “cheeky bash” was in the sense of “try it on” i.e. have a cheeky bash at something. However, I’m not convinced anyone would ever use “try on” on its own in that context.

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    Where do you stand on verbs as nouns, Eileen?

    Nouns as verbs – would they be dnuregs, or do I mean evidnuregs?

  27. Eileen says:

    Dave – in the alleged words of Martin Luther, ‘Here I stand, I can do no other': a gerund is a verbal noun [not a noun as verb] eg ‘the living is easy’ [Collins]. A gerundive, however, is an adjective – but only in Latin and it’s too late at night for that.

    The ‘nouns as verbs’ that I was meaning were those such as ‘to access’, which is the earliest example that I can remember being offended by, but it’s now in the dictionaries, joined by countless others, and I know that there’s no use going on about it but you did ask… ;-)

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    It is 49 years since I last did Latin, and I couldn’t recall the difference between a gerund and a gerundive. I see now adjective and gerundive have the same endings. Yes, a gerund, I was told, is a verbal noun, so more like a verb as a noun. I seem to recall you did something nasty to the root of the verb to get it.

    I hadn’t realised gerundive was only in Latin. A bit like aorist was only in Greek, I think (and that’s 51 year’s ago). (I have just checked it is in some other Indo-European languages)

    However, I am wandering too far from the purpose of this blog.

  29. Geoff Moss says:


    Was your comment #19 intended to be humorous or were you implying that my contributions to this site are not sensible?

  30. ACP says:

    IMO, cluing ETH and RON that way is just being exclusive – few know it and the rest have little chance of finding out except by these blogs.
    The last couple of Gordius have been better for me, but that sets him back in my opinion a fair bit.

  31. mhl says:

    This was very hard, I thought. I very rarely give up on the daily Guardian crosswords nowadays, but this one defeated me, and now seeing Eth and Ron, AMPHITRYON, DANCE for “walk” (?), EAGRE, SELFIST, etc. I should have done so much sooner… Not to say that any of the clues are unfair in the slightest, of course, just for me it was much less fun than most.

    Thanks for the excellent blog (and comments) on this anyway…

  32. Testy says:

    I don’t think that “walk” was intended to indicate DANCE rather that a cakewalk (which is a kind of dance) could in a punny kind of way be referred to as A BUN DANCE (apparently a cakewalk was called such because the best performers were rewarded with cakes!)

  33. mhl says:

    Ah, oh course. Thanks…

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