Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,595 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 13th, 2009

Uncle Yap.

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

Not too difficult a puzzle with some clever wordplay, especially with some words doing double duty. I love the &lit hidden answer clue for Ithaca. Very entertaining

ACROSS
1 BLENDER B (second class) Lender (bank)
5 RAFFLES RAF (Royal Air Force) rev of self
9 SHELF She (woman) LF (odd letters of life)
10 DECIMATED December 1st Mated (wed)
11 COAL MINING *(claiming no)
12 FARO Far (long way) O (round)
14 STRIKE A LIGHT Strike (hit) alight (land) an exclamation expressing surprise – Funny how I have never seen or heard this phrase before.
18 WILTON CARPET wilt (lose courage) on carpet (being disciplined
21 LOTS Rev of Stole minus e
22 PROHIBITED Cute way of clueing synonym of “not allowed” indicated by homophone “not aloud”
25 EUPHORBIA Ins of B in euphoria. Bush doing double duty as def and fodder
26 ROAST What a lovely anagram of a sort with cook doing double duty as def as well as anagram indicator
27 SISTINE *(i is sent)
28 DRY LAND Simple cha describing USA during the Prohibition years

DOWN
1 BISECT Ins of SEC (dry as in wine, also first part of the answer to 28Across) in BIT (a little)
2 ENEMAS *(seamen) the definition tickled me
3 DEFAMATION *(named i fat O)
4 RODIN Cha of Rod (perch) in (home)
5 RACONTEUR cd
6 FUME dd
7 LITHARGE *(a lighter)
8 SIDMOUTH Simple cha of a small town in Devon
13 ELDERBERRY Ins of ERR (sin) in EL (Spanish definite article) Derby (race)
15 INCURABLE *(brain clue)
16 SWELTERS *(wrestles)
17 PLATYPUS Ins of T (first letter of Tom) in PLAY (sport) PUSS minus the tail, like a Manx cat
19 ITHACA What a brilliant &lit ha clue for The City of Ithaca (named for the Greek island of Ithaca) which sits on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York State, USA.
20 EDITED Ins of IT in EDED (DEED with leader D going to second place after E)
23 HOARD Ins of O (nothing) in hard (difficult)
24 NORI Rev of IRON, a seaweed of the genus Porphyra used as a foodstuff in Japan in the form of dried sheets (for wrapping sushi) or as a paste.

22 Responses to “Guardian 24,595 – Gordius”

  1. Stakhanovite says:

    5D should start RA…

  2. TwoPies says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, straightforward and enjoyable I thought. Took me a moment to work out why 5d was a cd.

  3. Eileen says:

    Good morning, Uncle Yap and thanks for the blog.

    As you say, an enjoyable puzzle with some nice surface readings.

    ‘Strike a light’ is rather dated – often preceded by ‘Cor blimey’.

    I liked the cryptic clue for 5dn but was surprised to see ‘tedious’. I wondered if it was just me who regarded RACONTEUR as a largely complimentary term [often found in obituaries] and found that while Chambers has simply ‘a teller of anecdotes’, Collins has ‘a person skilled in telling stories’ and OED ‘one skilled in recounting anecdotes or stories’.

  4. Ian Stark says:

    Always a pleasure to learn new words (LITHARGE, EUPHORBIA). The real challenge, of course, is to sprinkle them into daily conversation.

    2d is the first clue to cause me to laugh out loud for a while. My wife even asked “what are you doing in there?” (that’s all you need to know).

    I found this a generally satisfying crossword and was pleased to finish it in one sitting (THAT’s all you need to know).

  5. brisbanegirl says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    I’m pleased to know I’m not the only one who still laughs at a bit of potty humour.

    I only got 5d by “cheating” and even then had no idea why, but after a bit of thinking I eventually clicked..

    And … more Australian animals ….

  6. JamieC says:

    Thanks for the blog. I got stuck on 5d, which I don’t think is a very fair clue because, as Eileen says, a raconteur is someone who is good at telling stories.

  7. smutchin says:

    Is “cook” really acting as an anagram indicator in 26a? I’d say not unless the “of” were part of the anagram fodder, which it isn’t. I thought it was just “of” that was indicating the anagram – a bit like “from” yesterday. Not that it matters – the clue is fine by me either way.

    I liked 5d – a cryptic definition worthy of Rufus! Eileen – I think the word is sometimes used euphemistically (especially in obituaries) to describe someone who likes the sound of his own voice.

  8. Eileen says:

    Smutchin, I agree with you about 26ac.

    You got me going rather re RACONTEUR. I’ve looked up several online sources and practically all the definitions include the word ‘skilled’. On a site illustrating usage, epithets applied include ‘born, excellent, brilliant, great, natural, superb, wonderful’ – no hint of a pejorative sense anywhere. I know it’s only a little niggle but I just think ‘entertaining’ or ‘amusing’ would have been better than ‘tedious’.

  9. smutchin says:

    Eileen, you may enjoy this: Guardian article on the language of obituaries

    “Thus we have one dissolute old lord, widely acknowledged to be a borderline rapist, described, in homage to one of Massingberd’s finest confections, as an ‘uncompromisingly direct ladies’ man’. The codes, to those who love their obits these days, are fairly well known. ‘His door was always open’ – lush (or, to finesse it, ‘his door was always open, at any time of the day or night’ – lush, with an eye for the students). ‘Tireless raconteur’ – bore. ‘Vivacious’ – drunk. ‘He tended to become over-attached to certain ideas and theories’ – fascist. ‘Gave colourful accounts of his exploits’ – liar. ‘She did not suffer fools gladly’ – foul-tempered shrew. ‘Fun-loving bachelor with many male acquaintances’ – serial cottager (or, as we might say in obit-speak, possessed of unusually detailed information on aspects of location, opening hours and popularity as they related to the British public lavatorial system).”

  10. Geoff says:

    I agree with Eileen and Smutchin on 26ac. ‘Entertaining’ would have been a bit better than “tedious’ for RACONTEUR, but I can’t say it held me up.

    As a chemist, I was pleased to see lead (II) oxide get a mention at 7dn, although this old name is probably unfamiliar even to many of my fellow professionals.

    2dn is worthy of Paul!

    I wasn’t familiar with Cayuga Lake, not having ventured much into upstate NY, but it seemed to be a ‘hidden’ clue, and ITHACA was a familiar name as the home of Cornell University. Splendid &lit, as Uncle Yap points out.

  11. Eileen says:

    I enjoyed that, Smutchin: thanks for exhuming it. I’m pretty sure I remember reading it when it came out but it’s good for a re-visit. [As a retired teacher, I’ve always had fun decoding school reports, too. :-)]

  12. Chris says:

    For 25ac, I don’t think “Bush” is serving double duty – I read it as “perhaps began” = “born” = “b”.

  13. Derek Lazenby says:

    It’s usually me who can’t remember, or who has never heard, so I was quite cheered up by the comment re Strike A Light.

    There were a couple there that I only got because nothing else fitted, so thanks for the explanations.

    Umm, do you lot know every town in every country? Not sure how you can say it’s easy unless you have a photgraphic gazetteer in your brains. I had to research Cayuga Lake. I couldn’t do that on a train.

    I hate gardening so guess which one I also hadn’t heard of.

    Hmm, I think I see where it is I’m getting bogged down in general. It’s the several levels of solving type of clues. Maybe I need more practice, but what is more likely is I’m not warped enough :)

  14. Geoff says:

    Chris’s suggestion for the parsing of the clue for 25ac is clever. To be really pedantic, ‘bush’ is not a very good definition for EUPHORBIA – possibly the largest genus of flowering plants, with over 2000 described species. Although there are shrubs and even trees in the group, well over half of the species are herbs (in the botanical sense of non-woody plants – most Euphorbia spp are poisonous and not recommended for flavouring food!), including all the native British ones. The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrime) could just about be described as a bush, but not most of the other cultivated ones.

    One way round this would be to interpret the clue as: ‘Bush perhaps’ (definition) began (= born, ie B) etc.

  15. 13eastie says:

    Re. potty humour, the clue for (number) 2 seems to be a blatant rip-off of the more elegant 12 in the current Cyclops, whose definition, while failing dismally to be as lavatorial as Gordius’, does call more explicitly for a plural solution to be administered.

  16. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed this today.

    26a I read this as being a very clever clue, the “a sort” indicating an anagram of itself; slightly unhappy about the “of”, but worth it for the overall effect.

  17. dave says:

    Derek,
    Its a bit like that magic trick, where you are shown 100 pictures, and told you will remember all of them. Of course you can’t list them all (unless you are indeed quite warped) but with a little pointing in the right direction, the clues lead you to something you know you’ve seen or heard somewhere before. Maybe prolonged cryptic solving increases that degree of “warp”
    Approaching 30 years of near daily solving, and I regularly perplex non-crossword types with absurdly obscure bits of information, mostly gleaned from this addiction!

  18. Dieci says:

    I wasn’t that excited by 19d since I solved it simply by looking up towns in New York with a view of Cayuga Lake (cheating, I know)… I didn’t actually see in what way it was cryptic until reading this post. Is 3d not the more interesting &lit clue?

  19. hofdark says:

    I would have preferred my first comment to be a positive one but I have to say I didn’t think much of this crossword. Several too easy clues but no stand out clever ones.

    Not happy with raconteur, Ithaca or fume. Raffles was my favourite of the day.

  20. Harley26 says:

    19 down i thought was a hidden clue as someone else suggested – I didn’t even bother to look up where Cayuga Lake was as i didn’t think it relevant. It’s a nice touch that it is in Ithaca too.

    No problem with Fume but I have to agree that the raconteur clue would have been better if a more accurate hint rather than tedious had been used.

  21. Shed says:

    13eastie: Gordius can hardly have ripped off the current Cyclops, as he will have submitted his puzzle some time before the Cyclops appeared.

  22. KG says:

    I haven’t yet had the chance to ask my chemist mate if she knows what litharge is. I’ll bet she doesn’t (she always complains when University Challenge ‘chemistry’ questions are posed in 19thC language, as they usually are). ‘Lethargy’ would have fitted nicely instead.

    Until I figured it out, I also wished that Gordius had gone for ‘strata’ instead of Ithaca – but then what would we have talked about?

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