Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24733 / Gordius

Posted by mhl on June 23rd, 2009


Another quick post, I’m afraid – I hope there aren’t too many mistakes here. (I had a lot of trouble with this, which is pretty typical of my experience of Gordius’s puzzles.)

7. NIGHT OUT Reverse anagram: NIGHT OUT might be “Thing”
9. HERMIT M = “Many” in HERIT (!)
10. EDDO ODD = “Strange” + E = “English” all reversed; I hadn’t heard of this vegetable before
12. ALBEIT I in ALBE[r]T
14. FEEL-GOOD GLEE = “joy” reversed in FOOD, referring to the “FEEL-GOOD factor”
22. SMALLS S[hopping] MALLS
23. DERIVATIVE (VERDI)* followed by EVITA reversed – very nice!
24. GARB GARB[age]
25. TRUSTS Cryptic definition, I suppose?
1. VINDALOO O = “old” + LAD = “boy” all reversed in VINO = “Plonk”
2. OHIO HI = “greeting” in OO? I’m not sure why OO would be “castle”… Thanks to Richard Vodden, who explains below that “o-o” is chess notation for castling
4. CHILTERN Cryptic definition referring to the Chiltern Hundreds
5. PROPAGANDA Sounds like “proper gander”
6. GIGOLO GIG = “carriage” and L = “student” in OO = “its lamps”, I suppose just referring to carriages’ lamps appearing like two circles?
8. THRIFT Double definition; I needed to look up the “growth” sense
16. COLLAPSE ALL reversed in COPSE – the definition is “State of banks”
18. ALLERGEN ERG = “Work” in ALLEN = “a particular key”
19. PARISH PARIS = “Miss Hilton” + H[ilton]; to be given a parish as a priest is to be given a living. I felt that the double duty of “Hilton” combined with the old sense of “living” was a bit harsh here.
21. EXEDRA X = “Times” + ED = “editor” in ERA = “Age”; a new word for me – one of the meanings in Chambers is “a room with seats”
22. STERNE STERN = “Austere” + E = “English”
24. GOON Spike Milligan was in the Goon Show; “to continue” might be “to GO ON”

36 Responses to “Guardian 24733 / Gordius”

  1. Richard Vodden says:

    2 across: Its a chess notation thing. When you’re writing down a game o-o means castle (specifically on the kings side o-o-o means on the queens side).

  2. Richard Vodden says:

    D’oh – I meant 2 down!

  3. mhl says:

    Ah, thanks – I’ve updated the post with that.

  4. Andrew says:

    8dn – readers of a certain age may remember that the thrift was the plant that appeared on threepenny bits.

    25ac – I think it’s more of a double definition: a trust is a type of investment, and to trust someone might be risky.

  5. John says:

    Tequilla? Chambers I suppose.

  6. NeilW says:

    Perhaps I’m missing the point of 26ac, but shouldn’t the clue have read “…after 9″ rather than 7? i.e. after “one over the eight”.

  7. nick says:

    Not when 7 is Night Out

  8. IanP says:

    Night out, tequilla, feel good, vindaloo, collapse, hangover…

    What larks! Throw in “gigolo” and the night out gets even more interesting…

  9. mhl says:

    John: yes, Chambers gives the double-L version of TEQUILLA as an alternative :/

    Andrew: with regard to TRUSTS, that’s roughly what I thought – the second definition seems a bit mean-spirited, though, so I wondered if there was more to it… Thanks for the thrup’nny bit information – Wikipedia says that coin is very rare and only minted in the year 1937.

  10. Andrew says:

    Strange, I’m sure I remember the 3d coin with the thrift being reasonably common in my (extreme) youth. The Wikipedia article is a bit contradictory, as it illustrates a 1943 coin with the thrift. Maybe it’s just the examples minted in 1937 that are rare.

  11. Neil says:

    Yet another horrible (double) non-homophone, unfair to the Scots and Irish, most of England west of a line drawn north-south through the middle of the country and most Americans. I think that it is very rude to pander (not a homophone for ‘panda’!) only to those that peculiarly choose not to pronounce an R on the end of a word when they can manage to elsewhere. Such a particular usage needs qualifying in the clue, as non-H usage so often is.

  12. liz says:

    Came back from a week’s holiday…to Gordius! Really struggled with this one, not helped by having NIGHT CAP for 7ac. I did get EDDO, but had to look it up to confirm, ditto ANANIAS, but thought that the clue was a little unfair — surely there should have been some ref to ‘foreign’ fruit, given the word was obscure enough.

  13. Ian W. says:

    To #9 and #10, what the Wikipedia article on the threepenny bit seems to be saying is that the version with the head of Edward VIII was minted only in 1937, naturally, and is very rare. Later Geo. VI versions were identical with the thrift on the obverse. Off to get a life now.

  14. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ian, that’s what I eventually decided it meant. Now, what is this “life” thing of which you speak?

  15. Dagnabit says:

    Bad day for me – I missed five, all on the right-hand side. And on the left I was slowed down by the fact that the spellings in 15ac and 20ac are not common in the U.S. On the bright side, I got 21d because it had shown up two weeks ago in the Sunday New York Times crossword, which was the first time I’d ever seen or heard of it!

  16. Derek Lazenby says:

    Umm, actually, that’s a good point, my (elderly) UK dictionaries and the free Chambers on line give one L in TEQUILA. OOer. I just went by the word play, never thought to check it!

    Two others, including an ancient Chambers I didn’t know we had until the wife just told me, don’t even list it.

  17. Neil says:

    Dagnabit, and other American pals … how did you do with 5 down? From the southwest of England, I struggle with the like, though I’ve learned to look out for such nonsense. Astonishingly, the estimable ‘Western Morning News’, a daily paper covering Devon and Cornwall, does it too in their crossword! In consequence, I abjure it. (It’s not very demanding anyway).

  18. Dagnabit says:

    Hi, Neil,

    I did solve 5 down, but only by mentally inserting each letter of the alphabet into the first position (I had the first three crossing letters) until I saw a connection between PR_P_G… and the definition. Only then did I “hear” the wordplay. And then groaned.

    I’m ashamed to admit it, but many Americans think all Britons speak this way, so being constantly exposed to such a prejudice probably made this one a bit easier for me.

    That’s terrible about the Western Morning News!

  19. Dave Ellison says:

    This is my weekly sticking up for Gordius rant. I enjoyed this, there were some original and witty clues. I would still like to try my “guess the setter” week where the Guardian publishes Xwords anonymously. I am willing to bet many people would think some of today’s offering were Paul’s eg 17ac, 5d, 2d, 6d, 7ac and 12ac.

    Is ANANAS so obscure? I knew the word (probably from a Guardian Xword from the sixties!) 10a I didn’t but was easily gettable; similarly 21d once I realised Times wasn’t T. 2d OHIO was a refreshing new idea (the 0-0, I mean); at least, I hadn’t seen it before.

    I still have a threepenny bit somewhere (and I used to have a silver one); I hadn’t realised it was thrift – I used to think, incorrectly, it was a thistle!

  20. Dagnabit says:

    Hi, Derek,

    The two American dictionaries I consulted don’t list “tequilla” either. And since the name is derived from the town of Tequila in Mexico, I wonder if we can deem this an out-and-out error rather than an acceptable variant?

  21. Dagnabit says:

    Dave, I agree with you about 2d.

  22. Tom Hutton says:

    I think that the trust thing is to point out that investing in investment trusts is a risky thing (as it turned out). I may say that for forty years as far as I can remember I have invested in Investment Trusts with absolute satisfaction so it it the new people who are not to be trusted not the trusts.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    I would hope so, but the modern dictionaties here seem to have developed the habit of validating mistakes by including them on the grounds of common incompetence (sorry, political correctness, — I should say common usage, grin).

    Anyway, I’m going to the pub shortly, I shall squint at the labels behind the bar.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry, typing with wrong glasses and light not on in the dusk, can barely see, I meant dictionaries.

  25. Dagnabit says:

    Derek, no problem – I’m reading with wrong glasses.

    Mhl, I forgot to mention earlier that I found the answer to 16d to be a bit mean-spirited as well – there seems to be a theme of financial cynicism throughout today’s clues…

  26. Tim says:

    I don’t recall having done many Gordiuses (Gordii?) – the random infrequency of my solving tends to mean a predominantly Araucarian diet. I might give these a wide berth in future tho – over a third of these clues had answers that I’d never heard of – and one or two involved clues I’d never heard of either. Oddly enough hangover and night out came quite easily…

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    OK, I’m back from the pub. The landlady was indulgent and passed me a bottle so that I could read the label. It said Tequila. QED.

  28. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Standard Gordius fare. Some great clues. I really enjoyed the first 2/3s. But why does he have to spoil a grid with nonsense words like Ananias and Exedra (don’t tell me it was gettable from the wordplay – I googled 20 words and gave up). I’m coming to the conclusion that Gordius is the Nani of crossword compilers rather than the Christiano Ronaldo.

    And the tequilla debate. Its said te-kil-la not te-ki-ya which it would be if ll was the common spelling. I wrote it in as it seemed obviously right but these things do undermine your faith in the compiler’s cluing accuracy

  29. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Oh. And I had Hoists for 25. Hosts – they give parties; I – one in and thedefinition was a bit vague around hoist by ones own petard. A bit vague but good enough for Gordius.

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    It is almost the next day now (well, actually it is the next day), but I think there’s a lot not so very good about this crossword.
    But to start off in a positive way, I’d like to say that 21dn is a very nice clue.

    But then:
    7ac: “thing perhaps’ would be ‘night’ – but then ‘out’?.
    ‘Night out’ would be ‘thing’, but then ‘perhaps’? If it belongs to ‘on the tiles’ it is misleading.
    11ac: This was the first one we got. Where is the definition? If I would live in Hartlepool, then I …..
    17ac: Nothing wrong with this clue. Outside England, ‘ananas’ is the common word for ‘pineapple’ (as it is in my home country).
    20ac: A lot of comments on this already and rightly so. Tequila can have an extra L according to Chambers, but nobody in the world wants that extra L !!
    23ac: I am sure that I have seen the use of Evita backwards before (in a Cinephile puzzle). So very nice??
    2dn: Indeed, a novelty: 0-0 for castle, but it should be: castling. And what to do with the hyphen?
    5dn: Again one I am sure of to have seen before.
    6dn: Lamps for two O’s? The idea is nice, but not enough to convince me.
    19dn: ‘Living’ must be the definition of ‘parish’. Can anyone tell me why?
    24dn: This is the third one I have seen before.

    Even so, not a bad crossword in itself (despite my deja vu’s), but even for me as a convinced Libertarian, just a bit too ‘sloppy’.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Paul (not Paul), the place name that the drink is named after has a single L. If we are to respect local traditions, such as we no longer say Bombay, then that spelling has to be correct.

    Sil, I thought the parish connection was explained in the blog?

    Thanks for confirming my worst suspicions, every other place, including the bottles, have one L, but Chambers just has to validate the incompetence of others by including the LL version. I just put tequilla into google, it said, did I mean tequila, and the first ten pages of matches contained absolutely no instances of the two L version (I got bored at that point). Conclusion, tequilla doesn’t exist, it’s an error, it isn’t even a common error, and shouldn’t be in any dictionary.

  32. Neil says:

    Eileen … perhaps you’re away? Thought you might have a comment to add about 5down?

    IanP, #8: well spotted! Maybe Hartlepool too, from what I’ve been reading in the Sunday comics?

    Dave Ellison #19: i seem to recall that a silver thru’penny bit was a Joey? I’ve still got a couple. offers invited!

    20ac: ‘Tequilla’ … maybe Mrs Chambers has consulted with her Welsh uncle, Llewellen, from Llandudno, and we’ve just been saying it wrong?

    IanW #13 and Andrew #14: please expain “life” (or should that be Llife?). Might it be a bowl of cherries, at all?

  33. Neil says:

    Correction: for: ‘expain’ read ‘explain’ throughout.

  34. chunter says:

    2dn: a bit pedantic I know, but ‘O-O’ is pronounced ‘castles’ rather than ‘castle’.

    6dn: Both Chambers and the OED give ‘eye’ as one of the meanings of ‘lamp’.

    4dn: Highly topical!

    More to come (I was out yesterday).

  35. chunter says:

    20ac: Googling for “tequilla” gives 1.2m hits, so the spelling is not uncommon. The OED has an example of its use in Budd Schulberg’s novel about Hollywood ‘What makes Sammy Run?’, and mentions ‘tequela’ as yet another spelling.

    Hint: to do an exact search of Google enclose the word or phrase in double quotes.

  36. Mr Beaver says:

    I enjoyed this, but didn’t manage to complete it (several clues in NE corner).

    Is ANANIAS reasonably common knowledge ? I certainly hadn’t heard of him.

    I thought 11a ‘interesting’. If it’s a semi-&lit, then it’s somewhat insulting to the inhabitants of Hartlepool. If not, then having just ‘Where’ as a definition of the place seems a bit thin.

    Also, did anyone else have TURNIP as an answer to 8d ? I thought this worked, though perhaps I’m influenced by memories of Baldric in Blackadder…

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