Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,384 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on July 26th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Very entertaining morning exercise that shouldn’t give too much problems. Thankfully, no obscure village in some remote part of Devon.  I found (or I like to think I found) I have been pleasantly seduced.

ACROSS
1 CASSE-NOISETTE Ins of NOISE (unpleasant sound) in CASSETTE (plastic case containing a reel of magnetic tape usually recorded with music … old recording after the advent of the compact disc) Tchaikovsky (1840 –1893) a Russian composer  wrote some of the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire, including the ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker (aka Casse-Noisette in French)
10 DEAD MARCH DEAD (lifeless) MARCH (month) for solemn music played at funeral processions
11 PEACE Ins of E (east, quarter) in PACE (step) (in full shalom aleichem ) peace (be with you), a greeting or valediction used esp by Jewish people.
12 CHOKY Cha of CH (central heating or with radiators) OK (in order) Y (one of the symbols used for unknown in algebra) an Anglo-Indian slang word for prison after chokidar, watchman
13 ELABORATE *(ARE rOund TABLE)
14 TRINITY  Ins of IN IT in TRY (test) At Oxford, third and final term when most of the tests are conducted. Excellent &lit!
16 LETTISH I have never heard a drunk trying to say LETTUCE, the vegetable; perhaps LET US have another for the road
18 DEEP FRY DEEP (abstruse) Christopher FRY (1907–2005) an English playwright best known for his verse dramas, notably The Lady’s Not for Burning, which made him a major force in theatre in the 1940s and 1950s.
20 CURRANT Sounds like CURRENT (in season)
21 UNDERBRED The platter is under the bread – snobbish talk, “not one of us”
23 TWILL T (time) WILL Well, looks like Gordius is taking liberties
24 SIGMA Rev of A MG (classic car) IS
25 MALAYSIAN MA (mother) LAYS (seduces) IAN (chap) Uncle Yap has been seduced and enjoying every minute of it :-) For that alone, my COD
26 LADY-IN-WAITING cd someone waiting must be expecting something

DOWN
2 ANATOMISE AN (a) ATOM (very little matter) IS E (first letter of easy)
3 SAMEY Ins of ME (Gordius the setter) in SAY (speak)
4 NURSERY N + *(SURREY) When Araucaria has this clue, we solve and move on but when a lesser mortal like Gordius sets this, we ask “Where’s the anagram indicator?” Perhaps North Surrey developing growth centre (7) A tad unfair, I agree, but that’s life
5 ISHMAEL *(HIS MALE) the son of Abraham born of Hagar, a handmaiden, brother to Isaac, born of Sarah. The brothers are said to mark the divide between Jews/Christians and Muslims
6 EXPLOITER *(oil expert)
7 TIARA Ins of I (one) in TARA, old Irish royal seat
8 EDUCATED GUESS What a lovely cd
9 TELEPHOTO LENS *(not else to help)
15 INFIRMARY INFIR (sounds like INFER, conclude) MARY (girl)
17 INANITION Rev of NO I (one) TIN (can) A NI (nickel)
19 YARDMAN *(MAYNARD) for a member of the Metropolitan Police aka Scotland Yard
20 CEDILLA Rev of ALL (everything) I DEC (first of December, month) for a diacritical mark (,) placed below the letter c to indicate that it is pronounced as an s
22 DOGMA *(go mad)
23 TRYST TRY (have a go) ST (street) for an appointment usually for
surreptitious liaison

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

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,384 – Gordius”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I LOL when I saw 25, knowing you would be blogging today!

    As usual a mixed bag from Gordius – some very nice clues and a few smiles but mixed in with some dodgy constructions and extraneous words. e.g. “Unpleasant” in 1; “you” in 22. I understand they help the surfaces but it just seems a bit lazy.

    The construction of 14 leaves a bit to be desired as well.

    Finally though, I agree it was amusing enough and perhaps one shouldn’t quibble…

  2. Brian H says:

    Re 4d, isn’t “developing” an anagram indicator? Can’t see your quibble.

  3. Mystogre says:

    Thanks for explaining 21ac UY, as it is not a term I have met before. Unlike SAMEY, which I seem to recall from another puzzle in the last six weeks or so. Not from Gordius though.

    The rest was a gentle ramble through things not completely uncommon and that was good. I struggled with the NW corner as I am not a ballet fan, although the clue worked nicely when I stopped worrying about it being ballet.

    The down clues pleased me more with the two long ones, as well as CEDILLA and YARDMAN being the best. Wasn’t Maynard a character in a detective series, or played one? Something in the back of the mind about that.

    So, thanks also to Gordius for helping me to ignore the Singapore humidity for half an hour.

  4. caretman says:

    Brian H @2, the clue (at least as it appeared online) was only ‘North Surrey growth center (7)’; UY was suggesting that adding ‘developing’ would have been a way to fix it. My reaction to that clue was the same as UY’s, but with crossing letters it became clear what Gordius was looking for.

    And Mystogre @3, you should think about relocating to Seattle. Riding home from work recently I saw a billboard selling a product described as ‘perfect for those sweltering 20 degree C Seattle days.’

    CHOKY and UNDERBRED were my last in, and I got CHOKY only after trying several other words and hitting the ‘Check’ button. I didn’t follow the wordplay, so thanks to UY for clearing that up. The rest I thought was fairly gentle. I liked 8d after spending forever trying to squeeze ‘A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE’ into an (8,5) form; no matter how hard I tried it never fit.

    Thanks, UY, for your impeccable parsing as always, and to Gordius for the fun half-hour.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Gordius this was a gentle breeze and very welcome following my painful struggles yesterday.

    Matthew Maynard was an English cricketer who, although born in Oldham (my own town), played for Glamorgan! I thought everyone knew that.

    I had heard CHOKY from somewhere but, even though I have been in 3 HM Prisons, it wasn’t in any of them. (Of course, I was just visiting for research).

    Do Queens still have Ladies-in-Waiting, I wonder?

  6. Geoff says:

    Thanks UY.

    Poor old Gorgeous is not everyone’s favourite setter, but there was much to entertain in this one, as well as few characteristically duff clues so that we didn’t forget whose company we were in.

    Last in was CHOKY – great charade, pity about the surface.

    Nice to see a bit of Paulian ribaldry at 25a (did the Guardian know that Uncle Yap would be blogging this one?), but my favourites were INANITION and CEDILLA.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Uncle Yap. I’ve been critical of Gordius’s puzzles in the past, but his last couple have been an improvement. There were some good clues here: I liked EDUCATED GUESS and thought LETTISH was quite funny. Some less than precise clueing elsewhere, but credit to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle overall.

    And I do agree with Uncle Yap’s comparison concerning 4dn.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Chokly defeated me – I saw the CH idea but plumped for Chomy and didn’t get round to googling it.

    I liked 1a, 16a, and 9d.

  9. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. At 4d, ‘growth’ seems to be both anagrind and part of the definition. Ref ‘you’ in 22d (NeilW @1) I guess that to the question ‘what could dogma make you ?’, one answer is ‘go mad’. Full marks to Gordius for MALAYSIAN.

    Your quip at 16a was terrible, btw UY … I loved it.

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I would object to 14a: as written the clue says that ‘try’ is contained ‘in it’ but actually it is the other way round.

    I liked Malaysian and Lady-in-waiting.

  11. chas says:

    I forgot to mention UY’s comment on 16a: a drunk’s pronunciation of ‘let us’ would come out as ‘lettush’ so it does not quite work.

  12. NeilW says:

    Bryan @ 5. I grew up with a liking for Maynard’s wine gums – I think it’s this Maynard that Gordius is referring to rather than your cricketer.. :)

  13. Martin H says:

    A straightforward solve, rather more Mondayish than yesterday’s

    Gordius sometimes finds novel, and rather matter-of-fact, ways of indicating the cryptic structure of his clues. NeilW @1 doesn’t seem to be on his wavelength, and UY tuts at 4, but I think Roger answers those objections @9. As for 14, could we not say, “What was contained in TRY? – ‘IN IT’”. The past tense is unusual, but it works for me at least.

    Not keen on LETTISH, if only because the indication here is so obvious that the clue hardly seems cryptic. If ‘drunk’ had had a possible double meaning…….but it didn’t.

    With reference to UY’s comment about 4d, the whole thing about ‘taking liberties’ is a can of worms, and I don’t feel like going to get my tin-opener just now; but I think this business of ‘we excuse a clue we think is dodgy when it’s by one setter but not another’ strikes me as very dubious.

    Gordius has given us some excellent puzzles recently. I don’t think this was up with the best of them, but was still very enjoyable, so thanks to him, and to UY for the thorough commentary.

  14. tupu says:

    NeilW @ 12 is probably right. I only remembered Milton Keynes’ ‘brother’! I too used to love that ‘confection’ and remember quips about being so easily affected by alcohol as to be able to get drunk on them.

  15. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap

    For some reason I couldn’t get CHOKY. A five letter solution with two letters missing, unbelievable!

  16. otter says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY, and to Gordius for an entertaining and not too difficult puzzle on a day when my head is hurting anyway. Didn’t have too many difficulties, although had head-scratching moments on quite a few and had to come back to them later.

    Ended up with DANSE-NOISETTE for 1a, thinking that ‘Danse’ seemed appropriate for a ballet, and remember the ‘Dansette’ record players (before my time, of course – ahem). Realised that a Dansette wasn’t a recording, but decided it was close enough and therefore must be the answer. Thanks for the clarification.

  17. John says:

    A very mixed bag, with some excellence mixed in with some very weak stuff e.g.
    T+WILL with “will” on both q & a;
    “working for a chippy” = DEEP FRY surely should be “work”;
    is “refiner” an acceptable anagrind in 6dn, and where’s the definition?;
    has anyone ever heard YARDMAN used of a policeman?.
    And unlike most, I don’t like MALAYSIAN since LAY is not synonymous withn “seduce” and is a vulgar import, clumsily used in this case.
    On the plus side, I would give Gord credit for some decent attempts at &lits in NURSERY, TELEPHOTO LENS and ISHMAEL.

  18. scchua says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Gordius for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Favourites were 24A SIGMA, 8D EDUCATED GUESS, and 21A UNDERBRED, got UNDER first and the 2nd part was an a-ha. Last one in was 12A CHOKY, from the wordplay it was either “chony” or “choky”; plumped for the latter (subconscious connection with “pokey”?), confirmed by dict. subsequently.

    John@17: DEEP-FRY: couldn’t it be a noun, that implement that’s working for the chippie?
    6D EXPLOITER: the surface reading and definition are perhaps intertwined: the anagram indicator – “refiner can make it” with the “it” refering to the fodder “oil expert”. And the definition – “(expert) refiner” – one who “can make it profitable”.
    YARDMAN: I think this is a whimsy, as indicated by the question mark at the end, for a Scotland Yard man, or policeman.

  19. John says:

    Thanks scchua for the suggestions.
    I think it should then be DEEP FRYER.
    As for 6d, I always think that when we have to search so hard for a plausible explanation, it just highlights vague wordplay which could have been avoided, and which would have been by other setters.

  20. Roger says:

    Hi John 17 (and scchua 18) I agree that refiner is not the best of anagrinds … rather reminiscent of composer that used to crop up regularly in the old (London) Evening News … but the clue is perhaps another go at an &lit. {How about: ‘Refined oil – expert is one who can make it profitable’}.

  21. Robi says:

    Thanks Gordius; bit of a relief after yesterday’s struggle (or is it because it’s Tuesday?)
    Good blog UY. LETTISH is how I might expect a drunk to slur the word ‘lettuce.’ Gordius was being a bit coy with LAYS=seduces, but the clue was fun, as was UNDERBRED, my COD.

    As scchua @18 says, YARDMAN is often in the press as two separate words, thus maybe justifying the question mark in 19. I also thought it was something to do with wine gums. I thought TWILL was very weak; surely, there could have been a construction with TW and ILL?

    For some silly reason, my first attempt at the anagram in 9 was TELEPHONE LOTS, with some (abstruse?) connection with long shots (?) at auctions. Never mind, eh; I’ll keep taking the tablets.

  22. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Not exactly plain sailing for me. Learnt far too many words for one puzzle, including one I wish I hadn’t. ANATOMISE, damn but that looks ugly, what a pity it is a real word. I would have prefered if it had been the sort of fiction that an illiterate manager of mine once put on a one word poster above the computer terminals. It said SIMPLICATE! (and sigh, now someone has registered the damn thing!)

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    As I am certainly no ballet buff I was really chuffed to get DANSE NOISETTE (Dansette is old recordplayer) but disappointed to have to bow to UY’s greater buffery.
    Otherwise enjoyable,especially ‘choky’.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    chas
    I think many of us pronounce lettuce as let iss (when sobre).
    Hence lettish is OK when drunk!

  25. Robi says:

    Derek @22; ‘simplicate’ as used by John Lennon!

  26. Robi says:

    …… and ANATOMISE: ‘His collected and calm manner could not prevent her blood from running cold, as he thus tried to anatomise his old condition.’

    A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    Maybe Charlie boy did use it, but it still looks ugly to me.ct

    I suspect Mr Lennon was exercising his sense of humour. Others ar merely incompetent idiots who can’t remember SIMPLIFY. SIMPLICATE is uterly pointless, as well as ugly.

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I think the problem with Gordius is the discrepancy between his cluing being adventurous and, at the same time, being too sloppy.
    So, there’s a plus but unfortunately a minus too.

    See, we liked 1ac (CASSE-NOISETTE), well-constructed, but is a ‘cassette’ a recording? I am not sure.

    I am with Martin H who understood ‘contained’ in 14d (TRINITY), but at the same time I do not like the use of the past tense here.

    And then 13ac (ELABORATE). I do not think ‘members’ is the anagrind here, so ‘complicated’ must be doing double duty.

    Some of you were looking for an anagrind in 4d (NURSERY), well, we were also looking for one in 5d (ISHMAEL). ‘Issue’? ‘&Lit’? Don’t think so.

    In 20d it should have been ‘the beginning of a month’ rather than ‘the month’?

    Many of you liked 9d (TELEPHOTO LENS) [never heard of that], but isn’t the surface (especially after the comma) utterly nonsensical?

    Many of you liked the cd of 8d (EDUCATED GUESS) too.
    I thought it was something completely the opposite of that.

    Finally, LETTISH would sound like ‘lettuce’ when I am drunk and drunk and drunk and another drunk :).

    Thanks, Gordius, for this crossword.
    It’s far from perfect, but at least there’s something happening.
    Which I really like, no mistake about that.

  29. Carrots says:

    After 20 minutes of torture at the hands of my Physiotherapist, I was relieved to escape and head for the nearest pub.

    I`ve often defended Gordius` somewhat cavalier style, but this was too much. Without repeating cries of “foul” from previous contributors, the following wrankled:

    CASSE NOISETTE: Why not “NUTCRACKER SUITE”? DANSE NOISETTE is also a perfectly acceptable answer!

    “Slow March” I have heard of: DEAD MARCH I haven`t.

    Is Lettuce a vegetable? “Lettish go then you and I…when the evening is spread out beneath the sky….”

    UNDERBRED sounds more like a patronising description of the interbred, who are definitely NOT one of me.

    A LADY IN WAITING is not an expectant mother.

    SAMEY is just a horrid word.

    INANITION: In over a year living in the USA, I have never heard of, or seen, a nickel referred to as “NI”

    I`ll feel less grumpy when I`ve stuck a few pins in my new plasticine model of Torquemada (my Physiotherapist).

  30. Uncle Yap says:

    Many of you missed the point I made about the LETTISH drunk. An inebriated person is unlikely to be rattling off a list of vegetable; he is more likely to be asking for the next drink … so it is NOT a discussion about homophones (drunk or otherwise), a subject I, being a non-native, try to avoid

  31. RichWA says:

    17d – Nickel is not the US 5-cent coin, it’s the metallic element Nickel, the chemical symbol for which is ‘Ni’

  32. rfb says:

    Carrots,
    You really are grumpy! Taking your points:
    1. Casse-noisette is the name of the ballet, not danse-noisette.
    2. Dead March is relatively common usage imho.
    3. I don’t believe that lettuce is an animal or a mineral. Of course it’s a vegetable.
    4. Underbred – I agree.
    5. Lady in waiting is a coy name for someone expecting.
    6. Yes it’s horrible, but it’s a word.
    7. Nickel the coin is not Ni. Nickel the chemical element *is* Ni.

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