Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24842 / Gordius

Posted by mhl on October 28th, 2009


Apologies for the late post – I’m afraid I woke up late in an inconvenient time zone, don’t have access to a printer, found my online Chambers subscription had run out (and it won’t let me renew it), the Java applet crashed, it’s raining, etc. etc.

1. VALUE-ADDED TAX VALUE-ADDED = “extra esteem” + TA = “volunteers” + X = “cross”
10. CORDIAL C = “cold” + OR + LAID reversed
11. ANTIOCH A + NT = “New Testament” + I = “one” + O = “old” + CH = “church”
12. ODDLY DD = “divine” in [h]OLY
13. BOOBY TRAP A nice clue: PARTY = “say, Labour” + BOOB = “blunder” all reversed
14. LOOSE LOOS = “Battle” + E = “English”; I don’t think “freedom” can define LOOSE…
20. COMRADELY Good clue: COMELY = “attractive” around RA = “gunner” + D = “daughter”
23. SHALL S = “Second” + HALL = “space” – the latter perhaps a bit vague?
24. EFFENDI EFF = “Rude word” + END = “finish” + I = “one”
26. MIDDLE ENGLAND The reference meant nothing to me, but apparently John Bull is a personification of England
3. UNITY Double definition; Unity and Diana are two of the remarkable Mitford Sisters
4. AD-LIB AD = “puff” + LIB = “party”; as with 14 across, I think the part of speech is wrong
6. DITHYRAMB Never heard of this word, but it seems to be [e]DITH = “Girl loses head” + MARY reversed = “another gets up” + B = “to start Bacchus”
7. AMOUR AM = “morning” + OUR = “the Guardian’s”
8. SCHOOLTEACHER (CH CH TEAR LOOSE)*; not crazy about these semi-&lits either
15. ENGRAINED GRAIN = “corn” in (NEED)*
16. SYSTEMISE (MESSY SITE)*; seriously, “clearance” as an anagram indicator?
17. ISOLATION I = “One” + SOLUTION is SOLATION with U = “turn” for A = “article”; don’t like the definition, again, and I think the substitution is weak since it’s the wrong way round
21. MUFTI Double definition; Plain clothes and Muslim lawyer
22. YEARN YEAR = “time” + N = “quarter”

14 Responses to “Guardian 24842 / Gordius”

  1. Tom says:

    4d. I also wondered about AD-LIB = ‘free’, but the Compact Oxford does give ad-lib as an adjective (Chambers doesn’t) meaning (of music) ‘with free rhythm and expression’, which just about fits.

  2. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl, for persevering given all the obstacles. I would have been tempted to go back to bed!

    I agree with your reservations about 14ac and 4dn.

    I have come across ‘dithyramb’ before but never knew precisely what it meant, so thanks for the link.

    10ac was neatly put and 26ac made me smile.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, I finished this without any problems which was a great relief after failing on both Monday & Tuesday.

    I did wonder though how many solvers would recall Unity Mitford who had been very friendly with Hitler. As was her sister, Diana, who married Sir Oswald Mosley at Josef Goebbels’ house with Hitler as a guest. I bet one of the celebrity mags would have paid a fortune to get these piccies.

    Very enjoyable!

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, very enjoyable, today. The usual Di didn’t work, but I did know the Mitfords, and when i had got

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    Don’t know what happened there – it submitted itself mid-sentence.

    1 ac, Unity was apparent.

    Screwed up briefly on 8d, since I had written Affendi for 24ac

  6. ray says:

    Agree with your reservation on 16d mhl. I spent ages believing organise was the indicator and the solution was some sort of clearance before the penny dropped.

  7. Ian says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle up to the usual Gordius standard.

  8. Andrew says:

    Have just started traying to solve cryptics – was hoping a few regulars could help on these small nits which weren’t clear to me:

    1A: TA = “volunteer” – is this Territorial Army? It’s a stretch for me given soldiers are paid.
    12A: DD = “divine” – cannot fathom this either.
    13A: “one may catch” – is this the definition? Not sure how this fits.

    Thanks very much!

  9. Bryan says:

    Welcome, Andrew, I hope that the following explanations help.

    1a – Yes TA stands for TERRITORIAL ARMY which I served for a time without any pay.

    12a – DD stands for Doctor of Divinity.

    13a – ‘one may catch’ refers to a Trap.

    There’s lots of jargon involved with Cryptics and this site is a great place to pick up an understanding of various tricks.


  10. mhl says:

    Andrew: good question about DD for “divine” – you very often get “theologian” cluing DD (for Doctor of Divinity, as Bryan says) but I was unaware until recently that “divine” has a noun sense meaning “theologian” as well as its usual adjectival usage.

  11. martin searle says:

    I share the unease with 14A, to the point where I had the answer early, but didn’t fill it in until I got all the checked letters, in case I’d missed something.

    I also couldn’t see the rôle of the ellipsis in 23A.

    Dithyramb was a new word for me. I suppose it illustrates how a word can be core territory for one person, and alien to another. I can spot the most obscure medical ones, while my classicist friend could spot ‘dithyramb’ in her sleep.

  12. Andrew B says:

    I rather assumed that 14a took “loose” in the sense of “the dog was set loose to chase down the rabbits”, in which case it could be treated as synonymous to “free” and, at a stretch, “freedom”.

    I think the ellipsis must have been a typo personally. But who knows?

  13. Petero says:

    I’ve only just got round to this one, but there are a couple of looses … sorry, loose ends, which might be cleared up. Ad-lib as an adjective is in my Chambers (9th. ed), as is loose as a noun, with the definition freedom (archaic). Without Chambers to hand (and possibly with), your objections are very reasonable.
    I assumed that the ellipsis in 23A was an excuse for the lack of any sensible surface.
    Its probably too late to point out, but I’m going to anyway, that your commendation of 20A comes (I take it) from the surface reference to the expression “to kiss the gunner’s daughter” – that is, to be tied over a cannon for a flogging.

  14. Andrew says:


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