Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,441 – Gordius

Posted by Andrew on September 30th, 2011


A typical Gordius, with some nice ideas but sometimes flawed by inaccurate or clumsy execution, though my opinion may be coloured by having had to solve it (and write this) in rather a rush. Maybe kinder thoughts will prevail in the comments..

1. ADDRESS Double definition
10. EVEN NEVE[r] reversed. Even=time as in the old-fashioned meaning of “evening”, as in “eventide”
12. GATEAU GA (Georgia, state) + TEA + U (posh)
13. INCREASE RE (Royal Engineers =soldiers) in IN CASE
14. MESSIEURS Cryptic defintion: how some of the locals might be addressed in Nice
17. MILES Double definition (rather a weak one, I think) – Miles could be the name of a Roman soldier – e.g. Miles Gloriosus, and a day’s march would cover miles.
23. APPETITE PETIT (small) in APE (primate)
24. FAG END Hidden in oF A GENDer . “Issue” is superfluous to the cryptic reading
26. ASPIDISTRA (PART IS SAID)* Obligatory link
27. USER TROUSERS less SORT reversed
28. REVENGE REVENUE with U (turn) replaced by G, and “revenge is sweet”. The substitution is rather clumsily and ungrammatically indicate – “should” is redundant.
29. PORTEND It’s the END of the PORT
2. DEVIATE SEDATIVE* less S (compass point). Nice idea, but it’s a shame that S is not the only “point” in “sedative”
7. MARKETING MARK (boy) + (GET IN)*. Marketing is not really the same as sales, as anyone who works in that department will tell you..
9. SENIOR MOMENTS Double definition – “senior moment” is semi-jokingly used by those of a certain age to mean a silly mistake brought on by decreasing brain power.
15. SHERE HITE Homophone of SHEER HEIGHT, Shere Hite was a “sex educator and feminist”, prominent in the 1970s
18. IMPASSE PAS (French “step”) in SEMI*
20. BUFFALO (OFF A BUL[l])* , and an attempt at an &lit, as a buffalo is a bit like a bull but not quite, or soemthing.
21. NANKEEN NAN (Granny) + KEEN (sharp)
22. PIPING PIP IN G (first letter of Great Expectations, of which Pip is the hero and narrator.

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,441 – Gordius”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. Actually, I thought this the best Gordius for a long time. The occasional dodgy clue but made up for by the effort to be inventive.

    MILES, of course, is Latin for soldier…

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    MILES is actually Latin for ‘soldier’, which, together with the French in 14 and 23ac and 18dn, might raise some justifiable objections.

    I’m probably having a 9dn but I don’t understand ‘superiority’ in 15dn.

  3. NeilW says:

    Hi Eileen. I read 15 as being the answer to the question, “What’s the difference between them?” Answer: “The sheer height of him.” In that context, the difference is a superiority. Well that’s what I thought, anyway… :)

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Neil: I suppose that works – in a Gordius sort of way. ;-)

  5. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew. I thought ‘should’ was needed at 28a so that the clue read along the lines of:
    If you take a word meaning tax system and replace ‘u’ with ‘g’ then the result would be something that could be sweet.
    It would read rather strangely without it, surely.

    At 2d, at least S is at the front (sharp end, pointy bit). And I wonder (unfairly, perhaps) whether 1a came from experience …

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew for a self-confessedly slightly grumpy blog and Gordius for one of his best efforts IMO

    Like NeilW I rather enjoyed this. I agree with him and Eileen re ‘miles’.

    I found 1a amusingly reminiscent of the rules of so-called ‘pernoctation’ whereby a main component of getting an Oxbridge degree is to sleep a requisite number of nights in one’s college or approved lodgings.

    I found some clues hard to see – I was barking up the wrong tree in 19a, 29a, and 7d.

    I also liked 23a, 27a, 28a (agree with Roger), and especially 9d if I remember rightly.

  7. tupu says:

    re 15d

    In addition to NeilW’s point, I felt ‘superiority’ helped the clue along in an &lit sort of way, given that ‘superior’ most literally relates to height.
    I agree though that there is arguably more of a ‘touchy, feely’ quality to the clue than an inevitable clear logic.

  8. Will Mc says:

    I wish Gordius would stop trying to do &lits as he’s not very good at them.

  9. MikeC says:

    Thanks Andrew for the blog, and Gordius for most of the puzzle.

    Maybe I’m feeling unduly grumpy, having failed to get 22d, but is this what we expect of a clue? The definition is obvious enough (so why didn’t I spot it? – very annoying) but the word play is, imho, impenetrable.
    Like “the” boy in [a] “title’s opening letter”.
    Doesn’t this leave the field a bit too wide open?

    Reasonably happy with most other clues, though I have doubts about 15d, like some other commenters. MILES came from a long way back, for me!

  10. Cinculus says:

    Members of the military, or even the local militia, would not find MILES too abstruse.

    Thanks to Gordius for a wholly enjoyable puzzle.

  11. Miche says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Regarding 15d, I’m pretty sure Shere Hite’s first name rhymes with bear, not beer. She certainly doesn’t object to being so called here (about a minute in):

    But whether it’s “share height” or “sheer height”, I can’t quite get it.

  12. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew

    Couldn’t figure out 14a, 17a and 15d. Strange clues in my opinion.

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was collapsing like a pack of cards and I was ready to be disappointed after three good days.
    Then all was largely saved by 14, 28 and 29 across and 15 and 22 down which led me on a merry and enjoyable chase.
    14ac was particularly misleading because I was looking for inhabitants of the Nice region rather than a general term for the whole of France.
    Strangely I took the ‘title’ in 22d to be The Guardian which still worked.
    I don’t sympathise with any of the objections to 17a,28a, 15d,22d above.
    All in all a good offering from G.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Miche @11
    Over 40 years I must have heard Shere Hite’s name spoken many times and never as Share.
    The main difference between spoken English and American is in the vowels and the male in your clip seems to have settled on somewhere between -eer and -are. I think in an English crossword sheer is definitely to be preferred.

  15. MarkB says:


    Surely its “Shir” as in Shirley (her full Christian name)?

  16. William says:

    Thank you, Andrew.

    Gosh, that was a struggle. It’s all been said, really. Rather clunky &lits and inpenetrably wide open parsing, such as PIPING made this mot much fun I’m afraid.

    MILES was quite clever and I failed to spot it.

    RCW@14, I agree with you, the ‘share’ sound would be most unusual.

    Gordius always leaves me feeling slightly short-changed, which is a shame as there are some clever clues here. Hey-ho, prize tomorrow.

  17. Trebor says:

    You are all too kind. The word play for piping is outrageous!

  18. Thomas99 says:

    Yes, the wordplay for piping is outrageous. It’s a great clue.

  19. John Doe says:

    Sheer, Share, or Shir

    Drury University informs us that it is “Share Hite” at That certainly corresponds to the pronunciation I have heard on US TV, thought it’s been a while since I’ve heard her name mentioned.

    But pedantry aside, I do agree that Superiority in Stature = Sheer Height is a stretch, and while the translation from Latin to English in 17a hardly flickered the needle on my pecadillo meter (but then I did do Latin at school), the requirement to substitute a French word for an English one must be a violation of a section in a paragraph in a rule somewhere.

  20. Derek Lazenby says:

    Apart from the incompetent and the perverse, who reads books by so called sex experts? Never heard of her. Missed Nothing.

  21. tupu says:

    Re 15d and 22d

    I take the points made in criticism, but not as seriously as some seem to do.

    I think the main problem with these clues is that they rely on information that some solvers do not have, so there is a ‘general knowledge’ element to them. But the answers are quite clear if one can recall the references with the help of the wordplay and crossing letters, and they are both quite amusing.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Derek, the answer to your question is: millions worldwide.
    Back in the 70s she was all over the media in the UK.
    tupu, you are right although I would say there is a GK element in most cluees in most crosswords.
    For example, why has nobody complained about ‘What’s left’ to define ‘fag end’ in 24ac? Don’t all the non-smokers feel unfairly treated?
    There is no end to this so we had better just leave it alone.

  23. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    When Shere Hite was in the news (mumble) years ago one thing stuck in my memory.
    Somebody on the radio said the first name should rhyme with Sherry. I am convinced my memory is correct. I make no such claim for the person on the radio as I cannot remember who that was.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ah well, you see RCW, it is like this…

    My earliest recollection of the media is when a local paper asked a friend how she felt about winning a prize. Her two word answer was misquoted with two other words!

    Then there were the Mods and Rockers. They were paid by the press to fight and generally run up and down shouting and waving their arms about. This was duly reported as RIOTS!!!!

    So by the time Ms Hite was in the media, I’m afraid I was no longer observing the media as it was clearly no more than a vehicle for pathological liars preaching to the willingly gullible. I was more likely to be found reading the so called Underground Press and avoiding TV news completely. Not, you understand, that I trusted them any more than the mainstream media. I just figured that if I was going to be lied to, it might as well be in an entertaining fashion involving viewpoints I could sympathise with.

    The nearest I ever got to regular newspapers was The Sporting Life.

    And what has changed in the media over the decades? Oh yeah, phone hacking. Don’t ya just love such fine upstanding members of society? Really makes you want to pay attention, not.

    So there ya have it, never heard of the woman.

  25. Cinculus says:

    My initial attempt to insert the tiger from “The Jungle Book” at 15d failed. Kipling apparently claimed he should be pronounced “Skere Khan”.

  26. el stano says:

    Ms S Hite … hmmm?

  27. ernie says:

    Been on holiday. Took this with me. Just got back.

    No objections. Very good fun. GK needed for all xwords.

    Thanks to Gordius and Andrew.

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