Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,019 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on May 25th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

Gordius follows Gordius and today’s offering is just as varied and quite a delight to solve. Nothing very complicated except possibly for 11Down where there appeared to be a hard-boiled egg in the soup.
Before I forget, I must thank Gaufrid for so ably covering for me when I visited Shanghai recently to attend the World Expo. I must say I was impressed with the British Pavilion which featured The Dandelion, a very artistic and innovative presentation, made from 60,000 Perspex spines, each containing a seed, which sway gently in the breeze.

ACROSS
1 TABLOIDS Cha of TAB (bill) LOIDS (sounds like Lloyds, the British retail banking group)
5 SCURVY S (first letter of slim) CURVY (buxom) a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C when the diet is devoid of fresh fruit and vegetables
9 AIRINESS *(as rise in)
10 DAMASK DA (District Attorney, US lawyer) MASK (conceal) material, originally of silk, now usually of linen, also of cotton or wool, woven with a pattern
12 SCOREBOARDS Ins of BOARD (directors) in SCORES (twenties)
15 RABID Ins of B (first letter of bridge) in RAID (attack)
17 SAWHORSES Cha of SAW (spotted) HORSES (animals)
18 BOYLE’S LAW BOYLE (sounds like boil or cook) SLAW (cabbage) for the physics principle that, for a gas at a given temperature, pressure varies inversely to volume, announced by Robert Boyle in 1662
19 MOUSE Ins of O (nothing) in MUSE (meditate)
20 EATING APPLE Cox here refers to the variety of apple, not the one shouting orders on a rowing boat. Nice allusion to the popular legend of Eve’s disobedience in eating from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil (popularly presented as an apple tree) My COTD
24 DAHLIA DAHLI (sounds like daily or every day) + A
25 ESCAPIST *(Siesta PC)
26 SQUASH dd
27 TRITONES Ins of TON (weight) in TRIES (attempts)

DOWN
1 TRANSCRIBE Ins of RAN (managed) + SC (science) in TRIBE (race)
2 BARROW BOYS Costers is short for costermongers (sellers of fruit and other wares from a barrow) Allusion to Barrow-in-Furness, the largest town in Cumbria
3 OUNCE Ins of U (turn) in ONCE (formerly) for a unit of mass
4 DISCONSOLATE Cha of DISC (record) ON (playing) So Late (long after hours)
6 CLASSROOM cd In the British education system (also transplanted to colonies which became Malaysia) the first six years of education are spent in Primary One to Six, followed by 5/7 years in Form One to Five and Lower/Upper Six (now known as Pre-U)
7 ROAM Sounds like ROME “All roads lead to Rome” means that there can be many different ways of doing something and reflects the once mighty control by Rome over most of Europe
8 YOKE Ins of OK (all right) in YE (the old horse chestnut)
11 BROWN WINDSOR Brown (Gordon, the last Labour PM) Windsor (Thanks to Lanson, HM is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth WINDSOR) Brown Windsor soup is a hearty British soup that was popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The soup generally contains lamb or beef steak.  Brown Windsor Soap was made famous by its award-winning showing at the Great Exhibition of 1851. By the end of the Victorian era, just about every household in the country would have stocked Brown Windsor Soap !  Gordius certainly knows how to ferret out such obscurities.
13 ASSUMPTION dd supposition; that which is taken for granted or supposed;  the Assumption of the Virgin, celebrated on 15 August (declared a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church in 1950)
14 USHERETTES U (upper class or smart) SHE (lady) RETTES (rev of SETTER, Gordius) “seen at the flicks” nice touch for the ladies who lead you to your seats at the cinema
16 DIETETICS DIET (Parliament in Japan) + *(etc is)
21 ADAPT ADA (girl) PT (physical training, exercises)
22 IDES ha
23 THOU dd one-thousandth of an inch

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

37 Responses to “Guardian 25,019 – Gordius”

  1. Lanson says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Gordius, 11d HM is Her Maj, Elizabeth Windsor, and googling gives -
    Brown Windsor Soap was made famous by its award-winning showing at the Great Exhibition of 1851. By the end of the Victorian era, just about every household in the country would have stocked Brown Windsor Soap !

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, it’s great to have you back even though Gaufrid was the perfect substitute.

    What’s the betting that he now edits your preamble for being ‘off topic’?

    I enjoyed this even though I last encountered Boyle’s Law over 60 years ago as a staple of my Physics class. I now recall that the lovely Lady Isobel Boyle was done for shoplifting which is more than I recall about her boring ancestor.

    I’d never heard of BROWN WINDSOR soap but thank you, Gordius, for kindly reminding us of the other Gordy.

  3. Bryan says:

    Correction: it was Katie Boyle who used to light up our tv screens; Isobel Barnett was the one nicked for shoplifting.

  4. Colin says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I agree with your assessment and COTD. Also very much enjoyed 4dn and 18ac.

    16d is interesting for me. ‘Diet’ is indeed the term used for the national parliament in Japan but only in English. The Japanese refer to their parliament as ‘??’, pronounced Kokkai. Similarly, the German Bundestag is translated into English as Federal Diet. So it is an English word for parliament but not the English parliament.

  5. TokyoColin says:

    Sorry, I should have realised the Kanji would not display.

  6. Ian says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    Enjoyable but terribly easy Gordius that was the crossword equivalent of a Chinese takeaway. You feel hungry almost immediately afterwards. Probably the high glycemic load.

    Easier than Rufus. 12′

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. A pleasant puzzle and a fairly quick ‘solve’ with little excitement but some interesting clues.
    7d nicely misleading (for me at least) since I first tried Rome which then caused trouble for 10a.
    26a. puzzled me for a bit – I must get used totrying ‘q’ before every ‘u’ I see.
    16d. naturally recalls the schoolkid’s giggles about the Diet of Worms. I seem to remember that parliaments were called diets because they met for a number of days.
    11d. came easily because slim bars of BW soap were standard on trains for many years and I remember being struck as a youngster by the name.
    20a. also puzzled for a time though the answer was clear to me right away. More bible studies needed! A good clue.
    14d. brought back old memories of torches shining in the cinema.
    12a. was weaker than most.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Probably not much of a challenge for many, but I did enjoy this one, particularly DISCONSOLATE and EATING APPLE.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    An easier G. today, but enjoyable. Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the explanations for 1ac and the early disobedience of 20a.

    I had put in ROME for 7d (thinking it a rather weak clue, until light dawned), which rather held me up with 10a.

    I must remember Q before U, too, tupu.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. And to Lanson for explaining the ‘soap’ ref in 11dn. This was an easy Gordius, I thought. The one that raised a smile for me was DISCONSOLATE. 7dn was my last — I had ROAD for no good reason until the penny dropped.

  11. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.
    I enjoyed this a lot,a few easy clues,some unfamiliar vocabulary and two cracking homophones(1 and 18 across)!

  12. Dave H says:

    I fell into the trap at 20a and wrote in Little Rower which obviously caused a lot of problems in the botton left section. 21d got me rethinking and finally got 20a last to go in.
    Generally enjoyable and not too many grumbles and especially liked 4d and 7d

  13. tupu says:

    Re parliament in 16d. there are other examples of this idea of course, e.g. in Reichstag.

  14. walruss says:

    Rather easy as Liz mentions, not too exciting and a bit clumsy. The DISC ON SO LATE joke I have seen before – maybe it was in an Araucaria puzzle some years back?

  15. Bill Taylor says:

    11d was clever, though I’d take issue with Uncle Yap’s “hearty British soup.” I remember Brown Windsor as the watered-down mainstay of seaside landladies. But we had this discussion yesterday!

  16. cholecyst says:

    thanks, Uncle Yap. I, too, had ROME at 7Dn, which meant I had to put YASMAK for 10 ac (Well, it’s a conceal material!)

  17. Tom Hutton says:

    I very much object to the view that u is in any way smart. Most of the u people I know are irredeemably thick and have poor dress sense.

  18. Mr. Jim says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap and Gordius.

    We got everything except USHERETTES: got too hooked on the idea that it had “ME” reversed in it somewhere.
    I’m not normally much of a fan, but he’s slowly winning me over. Not much to complain about today, and plenty of good things (Boil Slaw, Eating Apple etc.).

  19. cholecyst says:

    18 ac. SLAW does not mean cabbage. It means salad (from the Dutch – maybe Sil can confirm if he visits today). Mind you, don’t know of any other way it’s used in English but Coleslaw, where cole does indeed mean cabbage.

  20. Bryan says:

    Cholecyst @19

    SLA in Dutch means Lettuce or Salad.

  21. William says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap, and welcome back.

    I failed on USHERETTES because I didn’t spot the U = smart. I’m perfectly happy that this has passed into ‘crucilore’ but can anyone explain why U should be synonymous with smart?

    Many thanks

  22. Bill Taylor says:

    U (and non-U) goes back to the mid-’50s and studies of the social differences between upper-class (which I guess loosely translates to “smart”) and non-upper-class people. Nancy Mitford gave the debate prominence with her essay, “The English Aristocracy.”

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yeah, must have been easy as even the class dummy came in in just under the hour.

    This is no good, there’s nothing to have a scrap about. Dang, that usually keeps me entertained far longer than the puzzle.

  24. walruss says:

    Well Derek, ‘U’ isn’t really the same as ‘smart’. Discuss?

  25. cholecyst says:

    It was Alan Ross who invented the ghastly U/non-U business. See http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/a-u-and-nonu-exchange-in-1956-alan-ross-defined-the-language-that-marked-a-man-above-or-below-stairs-today-can-one-still-tell-1420569.html.. Is it U to do crossword puzzles?

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well thanks for trying, but what is there to discuss? Some people think they are synonyms and that knoweldge is common enough to solve crosswords with even though the association is dubious. If it was a showstopper then that would be different.

    Yesterday afternoon I found a part of a pub I used to go to that has seating that my back can tolerate, so maybe I’ll try doing that instead. It’s taking ages, but getting back out into the world is happening. That makes me lucky despite the duration, some are in a much worse state.

  27. walruss says:

    It sounds like you have been through the mill, so all the very best.

  28. crosser says:

    Thank you, Uncle Yap. Just two points.
    I thought an ounce was a unit of weight, not mass (3d) but I don’t really know much about it, not being scientifically minded.
    One little quibble : “boil slaw” and “Boyle’s law” are not homophones, since the “s” is different (unvoiced in the first, voiced in the second) but I’m afraid that is nit-picking!
    It was a really good puzzle and I enjoyed it, particularly 20ac.

  29. tupu says:

    As Bill and Cholecyst say, it was Ross and Mitford (I encountered them in her book Noblesse Oblige, 1956) who brought the U/non-U distinction into the limelight. My recollection is that the main focus was on language use (especially u-words and non-u words for the same thing) and the thesis was quite subtle and not merely snobbish. The argument was that as other means of distinguishing the classes were waning, the u-people constantly tried to mark themselves off from non-u aspiring middle class by having their own distinctive words for things. Examples of the time were (U-first)
    Die, Pass on
    Napkin, Serviette
    Lavatory or Loo, Toilet
    This would be followed by non-u adoption of the words in question and then the u-folk would have to find new ones. So the scene was always changing.

  30. Scarpia says:

    Chambers gives ‘cabbage salad’ for slaw.

  31. cholecyst says:

    Scarpi: Yes I know. But Chambers doesn’t give SLAW = CABBAGE.

  32. cholecyst says:

    Whoops, I meant Scarpia.

  33. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap.

    I really enjoyed this. An after dinner solve for me, unusually.

    Colin @4 – There is no such thing as an English Parliament at the moment – unfortunately, in my opinion…

    I do groan every time there is a U/non U reference in a crossword.

    In 11 down, (June) Brown and (Barbara) Windsor are in the same soap, of course….

    P.S. I’d appreciate some feedback to my post in the Chatroomblog @276. Thanks.

  34. Davy says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    A nice puzzle from Gordius today and it’s good to see that he’s getting less criticicm than previously. A lot of good clues with TRITONES being my particular favourite. Yes the puzzle was considerably easier than yesterday’s Rufus but there were one ot two clues that required extra thought such as SAWHORSES and DIETETICS.
    Gordius is definitely improving. I wish I could say the same about Rover.

  35. Scarpia says:

    cholecyst.
    Forgive my ‘gall’ :),you are quite right,’slaw’ is salad and ‘cole’ is cabbage, but ‘slaw’ is often used in the vernacular to mean ‘coleslaw’(not an exact definition of cabbage I admit).
    I don’t know if this quite justifies it’s use in the clue – but I, for one, can cut a bit of slack for a setter if it leads to a good clue.

  36. mike says:

    Weight is a force, so a vector as it has size and a direction. Mass is a scalar, as it has magnitude only. Kg is a mass unit, Newton is a force unit. In old money there was once the Pound for mass, and Pound Weight for force, that being the force exerted by gravity on a mass of one pound. Sorry to be pedantic but 30-odd years as a Physics teacher means I get unreasonably cross about mass/weight confusion. Don’t get me started on labels in shops….

  37. crosser says:

    Thank you, Mike (@36), for your explanation – and your patience!

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