Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,823 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on October 6th, 2009

Uncle Yap.

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

Quite an interesting puzzle with some varied devices. However, I think the double definition in 23Across is dubious, notwithstanding that it has a beautiful surface. Calling and work are both the same kind of synonyms for occupation;  thus, more a duplicate definition than a double definition or water from the same well.
Bound to jump (6) is similarly a flawed dd for SPRING,
whereas Season well (6) is legitimate

7 ORNAMENT Cha of OR (Other Ranks for soldiers or men) + ins of AMEN (last word) in NT (New Testament or scripture)
9 COUSIN Ins of US (we, the Guardian) in COIN (money)
10 IMAM Nice play of I’M (setter is) A M (first letter of Muslim, indicated by Muslim leader which also plays double duty as def)
11 VETERINARY *(vary entire)
12 UNDIES Can be said to be an &lit *(nude is)
14 EVENSONG A melodic cha of EVEN (plain) SONG (chant)
15 LEAN TO Ins of ANT (worker) in LEO (Zodiac sign)
17 MYRIAD rha
20 FREE REIN Cha of FREE (complimentary or without charge) REIN (sounds like to reign or lead)
22 AUGURY A *(guru) + Y (variable) Would have preferred “at end of day”
23 OCCUPATION Dodgy dd. I think they are water from the same well.
24 RANK dd Remember the man hitting a huge gong?
25 WRITHE Ins of H in WRITE (record, answer for 21)
26 TAX HAVEN TA (thanks) CUXHAVEN (German port) minus CU (copper)

1,21 CRIMINAL RECORD A tichy cryptic definition but, seriously, such infringement of copyright should be a civil rather than a criminal matter.
2 HARM This is my most shaky answer today as the crossing letters can also support MIAM. If I am correct, then it is the insertion of A (an, indefinite article) in HRM which can stand for Human Resources Manager or Management, rather a stretch for labour politician.
3 PELVIS Cha of P (piano or soft) ELVIS (The King)
4 SCARCELY *(as cycle r)
5 FURNISHING Ins of URN (vessel) in FISHING (maritime industry)
6 MICRON *(C minor)
8 TITTER TWITTER (Internet feature) minus W (west)
13 INADEQUATE *(a Dane quite) Isn’t Viagra available in Denmark? :-)
16 TEENAGER Cha of TEE (support for golf ball when driving off) NAG (horse) ER (Elizabeth Regina, the Queen)
18 DERANGED Ins of N (name) in RAG (newspaper) -> RANG inserted into DEED (indicated by indeed)
19 ENLIST Cha of EN (space in the printing trade) LIST (inclination)
22 ANNEXE Ins of EX (old flame) in ANNE (girl)
24 ROAD Sounds like ROWED (gone by water)

34 Responses to “Guardian 24,823 – Gordius”

  1. gsgeorge says:

    HARM(AN) is he Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

  2. ACP says:

    re 12ac being &lit. – ‘without them’ does not form part of the wordplay so you can’t really say it’s &lit.

    I agree on 23ac being weak.
    Never heard of Cuxhaven. Is it at all important ?

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I still don’t quite get 25ac though. Is it that to “write up” is to “record”? Still seems a very “tortuous” clue!

  4. ilancaron says:

    In 20A, it was interesting that both rein and a homophone of rain can be lead! I was a bit confused at first, wondering what the sounds-like indicator was doing there.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap

    I entered INVOCATION for 23a which threw me for a while. It took me 24 minutes – 7 more than yesterday.

    The order in which the solutions are entered is clearly important because, if I had entered CRIMINAL RECORD previously, then I would not have made it so difficult for myself.

    Well done, Gordy, you are up there with the very best.

  6. rrc says:

    unlike yesterday a wide range of clues made me smile on solution

  7. IanN14 says:

    I’m with NealH here.
    Can anyone really explain 25ac?
    Are we supposed to imagine the word “twisted” somehow to see “record” meaning “write”?
    How the Hell does this work?
    Is there something missing from the online clue? A 21 perhaps?
    The “Do the twist” bit is the definition, so are we to assume it’s wordplay too?
    And if so, is it right that it’s just indicating more wordplay?

    Anyway, I did like 12ac; &lit or not…

  8. rob lewis says:

    3dn is even better when you remember ‘Elvis The Pelvis’was the King’s early nickname (based on his stance at the mike)- I can’t see the fuss in 25 ac – H in write seemed natural when writhe means make twisting, turning motions. on 23ac i agree its weak and I strated with vocational whihc seemed to fit ‘calling’ more precisley…then did 1 down and changed my mind !

  9. IanN14 says:

    But, Rob, how do you get “write”?

  10. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap.

    In my printout of the puzzle, 25ac reads: ‘Do the twist — 21 without heroin.’ This seems straightforward to me — record=write around h. Is there a misprint in some versions?

    This was a bit of a slog for me, but I did smile a few times.

    re 26ac I’ve never heard of Cuxhaven either and it was the check button that helped me out with this answer.

  11. Bryan says:

    There are 2 versions of 21a:

    The PDF version is ‘Do the twist – 21 without heroin’.

  12. liz says:

    Aha. Just checked the online version of 25ac and ’21’ is missing. Oddly it isn’t missing in the PDF version.

  13. IanN14 says:

    Ah, that explains everything….
    Thanks liz.

  14. The trafites says:

    What is Cadbury’s doing there? That threw me for a while, and is totally misleading as it has nothing to do with the clue other than to make it read better?


  15. Bryan says:


    Cadbury’s is only SOME of the ‘Cadbury’s Dairy Milk’.

    Fair enough, I’d say.

  16. Chris Melluish says:

    Harriet Harman is Leader of the House of Commons and definitely female.

  17. John says:

    I agree that Cadbury’s is superfluous. The clue doesn’t need it.
    And surely Elvis deserves a better description than “rock star”. It’s like calling da Vinci a cartoonist.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Post 1 is of course the correct interpretation of 2dn.

    And yes yet again the online version has a major typo in 25ac.

    Why is the person that does this still employed? If it was such a hard job then there would be constant complaints about the paper version or the pdf version, but there NEVER are. Doesn’t that say anything to anyone about the relative competence of the various employees?

    More fundamentally, why does the situation even occur? You have a single source of the crossword, the setter. Why are they not required to use a single computer program to submit their efforts? There are several low cost and high quality programs to chose from. We are not talking about rare and expensive software here. The Guardian then merely has to submit the setter’s efforts to programs which automatically produce the required output format (typeset/Java/pdf). Technically this is utterly trivial. Politically it may be less easy as various software suppliers may not wish to provide inter-working, but any half decent programmer can find work arounds for such problems.

    In short, there is no valid excuse why the on-line version should always be the one to contain errors. If there were even one slight excuse I would be less likely to be so critical so regularly.

  19. NeilW says:

    Derek et al, as the first to mis-complain about this clue, may I add – I was away from my computer when the penny dropped – again the curse of the on-line solver! Is this a deliberate policy to penalise those who do not pay? (If so, maybe we shouldn’t complain!) Unfortunately, here in Indonesia, I don’t have the options of the average UK commuter.

  20. AndyB says:

    Maybe it’s just my schoolboy sense of humour(?) but I really liked 12ac which no-one else has mentioned. To have a word like ‘undies’ in what is generally a fairly highbrow crossword made me laugh. I thought it was also quite a clever definition.

  21. Derek Lazenby says:

    Fair point Neil, but if I were still in a healthy state I would have been more than willing to put my efforts where my mouth is and volunteer my services for free.

    I have worked in software areas where thousands of pages of printout would have been required to get “the full picture”. I have also done programs which help Freeware crossword programs to be used in conjunction. Sometimes this has been full automation and others simply an assistance to a manual user. Either way, I know the relative scale of the problems involved and how they compare to “real world big programs”. My use of the word trivial was therefore rather more than an educated guess. Which begs the question, what is stopping people from doing the trivial?

  22. Bryan says:

    The Grauniad is justifiably proud of its reputation for creating misprints here and there.

    I recall it happening when The Grauniad was hand-written on papyrus. Or should that be papyri? Or something?

    It’s all a question of ‘branding’.

    You wouldn’t expect Cocoa Cola to change one iota, so why attack your favourite newspaper?

  23. Paul (not Paul) says:

    I need some help with a definition. How does annexe equate to “its appropriate”. “To appropriate”, “its approriated”… possibly but I don’t get its appropriate.

    Also, I could easily be not wearing undies and still not be nude but lets not let accuracy get in the way of a good clue.

    Typical Gordius, the good mixed in with the strained and convaluted but enough fun to make it worthwhile.

  24. Chunter says:

    It’s not only the misprints that annoy me. The print version often (perhaps usually – I don’t know) becomes available hours after the online and PDF ones. It’s not unusual for its appearance to be delayed until after 6.

    So it was when I switched on my computer at 4.30 this morning: no puzzle but a chance to cheat by reading Uncle Yap’s blog, which had already been available for 3 hours!

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Bryan, I don’t wish to attack the dear old Grauniad. As you say, it would lose some of it’s endearing charm. But I rather think that puzzles of all varieties are a rather different kettle of fish to plain text.

  26. Mark Hanley says:

    I normally struggle to complete Gordius but raced through today, the only real quibble I had, as mentioned earlier, was with “myriad” – I agree that Cadbury’s is only there to improve the surface reading, otherwise a nice puzzle.

  27. John says:

    Paul (not Paul):
    To annexe is to appropriate, (take over), which makes annexe = appropriate, so
    “It(the answer)(i)’s “appropriate” (verb) etc……”

  28. The trafites says:

    Chunter #24, I think if you use the ‘search’ function at the bottom, select puzzle and month, you get a link before it is on the ‘front page’, so to speak. The same works for when there is no PDF version of any puzzle too.

    Also the PDF version is a print ‘version’ too?


  29. Chunter says:

    Nick, I do use the ‘search’ function. I call it the print version because that is how it’s referred to on

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Cadbury’s makes a better surface reading?
    That’s a (and probably, the) way to look at it.
    Maybe, but I don’t get the clue fully anyway (my fault).
    MYRIAD are the Thousands, and they ‘carry’ some (reversed) Dairy Milk? Well, you can read it like this if you really want, but I think our Dairy Milk is more likely to carry the Thousands.
    Anyway, if you read it as MYRIAD = some Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (reversed, that is), then the reason for using ‘Cadbury’s’ can also be that MYRIAD is now fully inside CDM, which would not be the case when using only Dairy Milk.
    Maybe Gordius had this in mind – it is just an idea.

  31. Paul B says:

    Well, another Gordius puzzle basically. But I was incredibly pleased to see ‘indeed’ used seriously, especially after just having returned from a Magma gig. Now there’s a guy who knows how to twist language.

  32. NeilW says:

    If anyone reads this so late on…

    As if to mock us, the online version of today’s cryptic has a misprint in the first across clue! (4,5) should be (5,4).

  33. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, NeilW

    I am quite sure that it’s not there ‘to mock us’ but simply to confirm that it’s authentic.

    It’s an Anti-Phishing feature.

  34. Chunter says:

    Today’s print version arrived even later than yesterday’s – just after 6. Do they deliberately delay it?

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