Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25187 Gordius – … but now I see

Posted by Uncle Yap on December 7th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

What a fantastic feeling to wake up, switch off the air-conditioner, have a cold shower and start the day with a nice cup of coffee and then hit the crosswords. Well, I am safely back in sunny Malaysia, 3 degrees north of the equator, at my pc in shorts and t-shirt in the 30 degree Celcius ambient temperature. When I tackled today’s effort by Gordius and came to 8Down, I thought how appropriate and timely; hence my headline today.

ACROSS
1 CHANGE Ins of HANG (depend) in CE (Church of England) This 1 across answer is also used in certain anagram clues below as the anagrind (anagram indicator)
4 LAWFUL L (learner or student) AWFUL (very bad)
9 HERD Sounds like HEARD (detected noise)
10 MONETARIST MONET (artist) ARTIST minus  T
11 STROLL S (Sweden – International Vehicle Registration) TROLL (goblin in Norse mythology)
12 WAT TYLER Sounds like WHAT TILER – Walter “Wat” Tyler (1341–1381) was the leader of the English Peasants’ Revolt of 1381
13 CHARGRILL CHARGER (horse) minus E (not English) + ILL (badly)
15 THUS ha I suppose the ellipses here and above are to legitimise the otherwise un-English construction
16 ARGO Cha of A R (right) GO (turn) for the ship that Jason and the Argonauts sailed in during their quest …
17 UNASHAMED *(Human as) + ED (from EDITOR, answer to 20)
21 MASTODON Ins of *(STOOD) in MAN (fellow) animal of the Mastodon genus of extinct mammals resembling elephants,
22 TROOPS Rev of ins of O (ball, round hence O) in SPORT (play)
24 METASTASIS *(state amiss)
25 LAWN LAW (rules) N (number)
26 ENDURE *(under) E (East, quarter)
27 OYSTER *(DESTROY minus D)

DOWN
1 CHEETAH Sounds like CHEATER like Bernard Lawrence Madoff
2 AUDIO AUDI (German car) O (love)
3 GAMBLER Ins of AMBLE (stroll, answer to 11) in GR (George Rex, King George)
5 ASTUTE Ins of U (Universal rating meaning for all audience) in *(taste)
6 FORSYTHIA FORSYTH (Bruce FORSYTH, UK television personality) + I (one ) + A. By a strange coincidence, the Daily Mail which was given out free of charge at Stensted Airport where I flew back home from on 5 Dec had this headline – Brucie’s tirade at Louis Walsh, the ‘jumped up karaoke judge’
7 LISPERS People whose speech defect causes them to say TH in place of S or Z; thus sing  a song becomes thing a thong. My COD for making me laugh
8 SNOW BLINDNESS I suppose we can call this a cd. Amblyopia is impaired sight without any apparent damage to the eye
14 RIGHT HAND In cricket, the off side. The reference to French IMO is arbitrary since most languages incorporate the bias against left-handed (sinister, gauche, French for left) and pro RIGHT (synonymous with correct and ADROIT, French for right). However, others, perhaps more validly, think the reference is to the side of the road used by motor vehicles. Anyway, hardly a matter to lose sleep over.
16 ACADEME Ins of *(MADE) in ACE
18 SATISFY SAT (Saturday) IS FY (FridaY minus content)
19 EMPOWER Ins of POW (prisoner of war) in rev of REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, soldiers)
20 EDITOR *(TRIED O, nothing)
23 OWLET ha

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

22 Responses to “Guardian 25187 Gordius – … but now I see”

  1. Dr. G says:

    The ambient temperature was 26 this morning.
    It must have felt like 30 to you after your London winter.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    I took the reference in 14dn to refer to driving on the right side of the road – first instituted, I think, by Napoleon in Europe which would legitimise using France as the example.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Like NeilW I immediately thought of cars and roads for offside (don’t mention the cricket anyone else). Amblyopia is a useful word; but I got 8d with only the W crossing in what was a fairly unchallenging puzzle. Madoff (1d) is shaping up as a household word, useful also for puzzle setters I’d have thought.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Gordius

    This was a real joy with several tricky clues to negotiate.

  5. rrc says:

    -8 when I put the car away last night, makes me quite envious of the blogger – this crossword was a joy to do, it started with 1a which I think ia supoerb and continued. I have not had so many grins and smiles for many a crosssword.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    14d – Yes, NeilW is right, it’s about driving. In the UK the off side of a car is the right hand side; in France it would be the left. From thefreedictionary.com:
    “Off-side [...] the side of a vehicle nearest the centre of the road (in Britain, the right side)”

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Glad to see you are home, safe and warm!

    A pretty enjoyable puzzle as others have said. Quite the best from this setter for some time with some very smooth surfaces.

    Like others I assumed 14d was about cars. A good clue.

    Monetarist was last to go in and I carelessly misparsed it slightly, taking the ‘t’ from Monet which would then of course demand an anagram indicator.

    Other clues to please were 12 (my COD) and 13.

  8. tupu says:

    ps
    Should add I had to check the meaning of amblyopia before guessing the answer. I had wondered if the ‘amb’ might signify a connection with ‘double’ but it comes from ‘amblus’ = ‘dull’ acc. to COD. Snow blindness is apparently one of many forms of the condition.

  9. Rosmarinus says:

    My first comment as a relative beginner. Really enjoyed this one. My only mistake 25ac – (C)LAWS, C is a number and claws do need cutting.

  10. paul8hours says:

    A very pleasing puzzle. I have started to look at them from the point of view of whether my kids could do them if they had the vocabulary and this one scores quite highly.
    Not too many words no longer used in everyday speech and the named characters are either still alive or well known historical figures.
    Clever anagram bluff in 13 which had me fooled for a while.

  11. Robi says:

    Thanks to UY and Gordius. As another relative beginner, unlike molonglo @ 3, I found this quite challenging. Like @9, I originally put LAWS in 25a. It’s interesting that academe seems to have largely been replaced by academia in popular usage, particularly verbal.

  12. Mr Beaver says:

    I’m another one to put LAWS. Just haste,really, as it was one of the last to go in and I should know that if you can’t parse it, it’s probably wrong!
    Not overly inspiring overall, but it’s always nice when you can finish a crossword over lunch.

  13. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap; glad you are back home and thawed out. Like paul8hours @10 I spent a while trying to decipher the anagram at 13A. Fooled again.

    Cheers…

  14. Lawrence says:

    12 across reminded me of the joke Q:”Who led the Pedants’ Revolt?”
    A: Which Tyler

  15. Richard P says:

    Isn’t 14d just that the off side of a vehicle is the right side, but not in France where it’s the left side, rather than the side of the road you drive on?

  16. MarkB says:

    I’m nitpicking, but I don’t think snow blindness would normally be classified as amblyopia, which implies a lack of any physical defect: the usual medical term for snow blindness is photokeratitis.

  17. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap & Gordius

    13a stumped me. Can’t think why as it is so obvious. I was trying to form an anagram of HORSE, minus E as the start of the word and nothing would fit.

    This snow & ice must be affecting my brain!

  18. Roger says:

    Thanks UJ. The words shorts & t-shirt don’t readily spring to mind hereabouts, more like brass & monkeys. Hope you enjoyed your UK trip, though. I’m with Mr Beaver on this one ~ it was a good puzzle, agreed, yet seemed to lack a certain je ne sais quoi. Having thed that, I had to thmile at theven down, top clue for me today also. And why do I always think of the Power Rangers when I hear the word Mastodon …

  19. scarpia says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.
    A good and surprisingly uncontroversial puzzle from Gordius.No real complaints from anyone – surprising for this setter,perhaps because,as Tupu says,it is one of his better puzzles.
    Favourite clue for me was MONETARIST.
    Roger@18 “And why do I always think of the Power Rangers when I hear the word Mastodon …” I haven’t got the foggiest,but I have the feeling that someone may enlighten us. :)

  20. tupu says:

    Hi MarkB
    You may well be right re snow blindness. My comment @8 was drawn from one web site
    http://www.operatingmicroscopes.com/operating-microscopes-resources/ablyopia-amaurosis-and-disturbances-of-vision-without-ophthalmoscopic-change.html
    which said
    “Snow blindness. This is a form of amblyopia produced by the blinding reflections of the sun upon the naked eye of persons (usually strangers) exposed to the brilliant snow fields of northern latitudes or mountain resorts”.

    Other sites do not seem to link the two and this site misspells amblyopia in its heading.

    The more I think about it, the less I like this clue, although the ‘on reflection’ idea is nice, and the ‘could be’ might be taken to point to the definitional doubts.

  21. William says:

    Thanks UY and welcome back home.

    Thinking of 14d, I read an article recently about left/right driving habits that might be worth sharing: The author maintained that until Napoleon, everybody drove on the left; and supported his view by observing that, as most people are right handed, one made sure one passed another horseman in such a way as to ensure right-handed sword engagement. (Makes sense). The change to passing on the right is thought to have been a misunderstanding. Moving vast numbers of troups across Europe, Napoleon was frequently delayed by local traffic and is said to have demanded in rage, “MES ARMÉS ONT LE DROIT DE PASSER!” or something like that, which got taken to mean they would pass ON the right. Perhaps if he had come here, we too would be right handers.

    Thought I’d share this, but no doubt there are contrary (and probably more historically accurate) thoughts.

    Kind regards.

  22. Huw Powell says:

    Hmmm, ’twas fun, so thank you Gordius, and Unka Yap for explaining 13 (btw, the ONLY word returned by OneLook for ?h?r?r?l?, confirming my guess).

    RIGHT HAND seems clumsy to me, I thought it might be a cricket thing, but the French Connection is a bit iffy. I thought LISPERS rather rude, and refused to ink it in.

    But my big complaint is with SNOW BLINDNESS. It has nothing to do with amblyopia, which is a brain problem usually caused by (healed) eyesight problems that lessened the ability to interpret information from the optic nerve. Nothing to do with snow blindness other than the link posted above. I “got” the answer, but the clue could have been better.

    As an ex-pat I also got left out of a few very Britisque details, like REME and the “U” rating. Oh well, it’s a British paper, and they do allow USianisms to frustrate their solvers as well.

    All that whinging aside, yes, there were some very nice surfaces, and some delightful inside-out clues, such as MONETARIST.

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