Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,474 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 8th, 2011

Uncle Yap.
Quite a grind but a good and entertaining workout for me. As to be expected in a Gordius, some obscure and esoteric references

ACROSS
7 BELSTONE *(BEEN LOST) The Belstone Fox is a 1976 film based on the novel “The Ballad of the Belstone Fox”, this heartwarming film chronicles the life of a fox much smarter than the dogs that hunt him. In fact, they never could catch him!
9 IBIDEM Cha of I BIDE (stay) M (Maidenhead) (used in referring to a book, chapter, passage, etc already cited) in the same place (abbrev ib. or ibid.)
10 GRID Rev of DIRGE (funeral hymn) minus E
11 ANTICIPATE Cha of ANTIC (clown) I (one) PATE (head)
12 STUCCO STUCK (attached) minus K + CO (company, firm) for any kind of plaster or cement used to coat exterior walls or make architectural mouldings
14 EYEPIECE EYE (organ) PIECE (composition)
15 YEOMAN YE (the old chestnut) OMAN (Sultanate)
17 ATRIAL adj from ATRIUM and within a court, there’s likely to be A TRIAL (court hearing)
20 TALENTED Ins of LENT (fast) in *(DATE)
22 FINITE Ins of IT in FINE (penalty)
23 TIMBERLAKE TIMBER (wood) LAKE (mere) for Justin Randall Timberlake, an American pop musician and actor.
24 KNOT must be a dd (1) snipe-like shore bird (Calidris canutus) of the sandpiper family (2) Situation vacant now filled by NeilW who said Gordian (after Gordius, our setter today) is associated with The Gordian Knot,  which Alexander the Great unravelled with one stroke of his sword. It is now used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved by a bold stroke (“cutting the Gordian knot”) Superb clue, Gordius
25 FAMOUS ha I think “in film” is extraneous
26 DEAD HEAT DEAD (what you will be if you are not quick on the draw in a gunfight) HEAT *(HATE) DRAW also serving as def
DOWN
1 WERRITTY Ins of ERR (sin) in WITTY (droll) for Adam Werritty (born 18 July 1978), a Scottish businessman. Werritty is a close friend of the former UK Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox: he resided for a period in 2002 and 2003 at Fox’s London apartment and was best man at his wedding in 2005. The two were also business associates who once held joint investments in the healthcare consultancy firm UK Health. Werritty was reportedly an adviser of Fox’s and is known to have accompanied him on at least 18 foreign business trips between 2009 and 2011 including visits to Sri Lanka and Dubai in 2011, and Israel in 2009; in 2007, when Fox was shadow Defence Secretary, they both attended a meeting with the Gulf Research Centre. Werritty was also appointed by Fox as the chief executive of the now disbanded conservative Atlanticist think-tank, “The Atlantic Bridge” – I have never heard of him until this morning
2 USED US (American) ED (editor, journalist)
3 POTATO Ins of TAT (crap) in POO (crap) My COD for the succinctness
4 DISCREET *(ITS CREED)
5 MISPRISION MIS (sounds like MISS, to feel absence) + ins of I (one) in PRISON (clued as one jailed) for the overlooking or deliberate concealing of the crime of another; any serious offence or failure of duty (positive or negative, according to whether it is maladministration or mere neglect); a mistake – New word to me
6 SEPTIC September the first + C (cold)
8 ENTREE *(TERENCE minus C, caught in cricket terminology)
13 CLOSED BOOK Can I label this as a cd?
16 ASTERISK ASTER (flower) IS K (thousand or grand)
18 LITTORAL LITTER (rubbish) minus ER + ORAL (said) belonging or relating to the seashore or to the shore of a lake, to lands near the coast, the beach, the space between high and low tidemarks, or water a little below low-water mark; inhabiting the shore or shallow water in a lake or sea.
19 EDWARD Tichy way to allude to the fact that King Edward is a common and popular variety of potato (answer to 3)
21 ANIMAL Rev of LAMINA (layer)
22 FOEMAN FOREMAN (gaffer) minus R (Roger)
24 KOHL Sounds like COAL (black stuff used as fuel) Helmut Josef Michael Kohl (born 3 April 1930) is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 (of West Germany between 1982 and 1990 and of the reunited Germany between 1990 and 1998) and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1973 to 1998.
 
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

29 Responses to “Guardian 25,474 – Gordius”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. This was pleasingly knotty for Gordius. I liked the crossed fox references in the top left corner, even though both almost defeated me. In desperation I looked up ‘Belstone’ and hey presto; that delivered WERRITTY whose Dickensian name registered with me last month – he may be a household name in the UK, but not way out East, eh. 23a, also one of the very last, was good, too.

  2. Dr. G says:

    KOHL is also a fine black powder used by Indian women to darken area around the eyes

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY.

    As molonglo says – “knotty”, which leads you to the second part of the dd in 24ac – reference to the Gordian Knot.

  4. Paul says:

    I think 26ac is just dead (not being quick) then anag of hate with draw as the def

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks UY, and Gordius for a very fair crossword.

    I would have finished, but couldn’t get 17a as I had misspelled 4d as DISCREET – doh!

    Whilst I got BELSTONE, I didn’t know it and thought it might have something to do with Fox’s pulpit near Sedburgh, but apparently not.

  6. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Gordius and UY. I agree with Paul about the synonymy of ‘quick’ and ‘alive’ (cf. the Creed, where he will come to judge ‘the quick and the dead’. Liked ‘knot’! Enjoyable puzzle.

    The homophone controversy rumbles on, with a lot of interesting postings yesterday. We Scots, who roll our R’s, have been cutting compilers a lot of slack for years and years. Still, it’s interesting to learn new things about regional dialects and accents.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. This almost defeated me, never having heard of 1d or 7ac. I worked out the former from the wordplay, with no idea that it referred to a particular person. The latter proved to be an anagram once I had the crossing letters, and it was then a case of guesswork.

    I found the clue to 23ac excessively vague, and I agree with you about 25ac – “in film” had me looking for the name of a film around (A)MO(U), without luck, obviously :)

    I needed your explanations for a few others, also, but I now appreciate this as a good puzzle. I smiled at the connected rhyming answers to 15ac and 21d.

  8. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I found this uncommonly tricky for a Gordius puzzle and almost abandoned it halfway through, having failed to make any sense of half of the clues. My last entry was 1d – the subject of Liam Fox’s bromance not being the first thing to come into my head as an ‘adviser’.

    I spotted the homophone at 24d immediately but read the clue the wrong way round and inserted COAL at first, which rather banjaxed the SE corner until I realised my mistake.

    Some good clues, though – I paticularly liked 5d (good construction and surface) and 25a (the addition of ‘in film’ cleverly disguised what would otherwise have been an obvious ‘hidden’ clue).

  9. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. Fortunately the Gaffer didn’t lose me today although 1 & 5 had to be made to order rather than taken off the shelf, as it were. Came to SEPTIC via SEPT + IC {1° C … pretty cold !}

  10. Robi says:

    Thanks Gordius and UY. Difficult for me; last one in was KNOT as I didn’t know it was a bird and didn’t spot the Gordian one. FOEMAN and MISPRISION new to me. Cleverly hidden Justin for TIMBERLAKE.

  11. Gervase says:

    Re 13d: I didn’t see this as a simple cryptic def – ‘Mystery’ is the definition, with a simple charade of ‘exclusive’ (CLOSED) and ‘order’ (BOOK – the verb, as in a table at a restaurant).

  12. Muz says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Tough work today, especially, I suspect for us non-UK solvers.

    13d was far from my favorite clue, but could it be closed=exclusive to book=to order? Or am I being obvious.

    I loved knot, which went straight in, as I already had Kohl.

  13. Thomas99 says:

    Gervase (11) and Muz (12)
    Yes – you’re quite right about 13d of course. I can’t see how it could work as a CD.

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Tricky and etntertaining.

    I thought this looked easy at first but several clues held me up. Like some others I had to check Belstone (the obvious anagram) to reach Fox. The lateral link to Werritty was cleverly amusing.

    I also had ‘atrium’ at first (it means both entry to a court and a court itself but this threw 18d into disarray and I had to rethink. The link to a trial was also clever.

    Littoral then becam clear but I failed to parse it properly. I took the said to relate to ‘littor’.

    Re 24a, Gordius was of course the ancient after whom the knot (and the ‘knotty’ setter) was named.

    I agree with Gervase and Muz etc. re closed + book in 13d.

    re 25a Fame is the name of a 1980 musical film. At first I thought ‘famous’ itself was a film name but it seems not to be.

    I liked 14a, 26a, 3d, 13d, 16d, 21d (though bit of an old chestnut).

    I was taken in at first by coal/Kohl and think the clue is a little too misleading though of course the crossing letters clarify it.

  15. Roger says:

    Ref. 25a, I’m sure Gervase (8) is right about in film, especially when combined with the clue’s allusion to an (acting) part.

  16. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog – you explained several things for me.

    On 1a I could see anagram of BEENLOST then totally failed as I had never heard of the fox in question :(

  17. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Gordius

    Gradually ground out all the answers apart from 1d. Thought that the DROLL part of the clue was DRY so I couldn’t get it to make sense. I like to think that I keep abreast of current affairs but if Gordius had actually mentioned Fox in the clue I might have done better.

    Can’t win them all.

  18. Jim says:

    Foxed by 7ac

  19. apiarist says:

    Way beyond me today. Too many words I had never heard of. 1ac,5d, 21d and so with me being being convinced that 13d was closed shop and 24ac was myna it left me absolutely baffled ! But thanks to the excellent blog I have learnt a lot.

  20. Plotinus says:

    Could someone please spell out for me how 25ac works?

  21. Wolfie says:

    Plotinus @20 – the answer is hidden in the clue: ..oF A MOUSe.. I think the film is a red herring.

    I found this much harder than usual for Gordius, but very satisfying to solve.

    Thank you for the blog UY

  22. Plotinus says:

    Oh dear. Thank you, Wolfie – and, as you say, a satisfying struggle!

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Quite an enjoyable puzzle by Gordius and, as ever, a fine blog, so many thanks Uncle Yap for that.

    Some obscure words indeed (WERRITTY, MISPRISION) but they were perfectly gettable from the construction.
    In 4d we were very careless, entering DISCRETE instead of DISCREET [not a very good clue anyway, because 'its creed' echoes quite clearly (though in the distance) 'discreet']. As a result we couldn’t find ATRIAL (17ac) which was however in hindsight a nice clue.
    We weren’t taken the double crap in 3d, but thought just like others that KNOT (24ac) was excellent.
    That said, just like quite a few words in the SE, it fell rather late in place.
    Reason for that, of course I would say, the COAL/KOHL dilemma in 24d.

    Gervase @8 says: “I spotted the homophone at 24d immediately but read the clue the wrong way round and inserted COAL at first, which rather banjaxed the SE corner until I realised my mistake”.
    Your mistake?
    We think the clue is clearly pointing in the direction of KOHL (although COAL might be justifiable).
    One that tupu @14 liked was 21d (despite indeed being a chestnut), but we didn’t like this one at all because this is another example of an ambiguous clue. I know it’s a “cross”word, but when looking at it as a stand-alone clue, the solution could just as easily have been LAMINA.

    A nice twist in TIMBERLAKE (23ac), original too. But it not fair to nót capitalise “just” (and also against the rules). It must have been possible to do something about that without ruining this great idea.

    Finally, 8d (ENTREE) is a really nice clue, but I have my doubts about the use of that little word “of” here. I know, it’s just a linking word, often used by other setters including Araucaria.
    Gordius uses it here as: “construction” OF “definition”, while IMO this is less acceptable than: “definition” OF “construction” (which is perfectly all right).
    Eventually I cannot be bothered too much because I know setters do it like that, but my occasional alter ego Dalibor made clear that he ‘would keep far from it’. :)

    But overall, a well-spent little hour.

  24. Ian says:

    25 across is sloppy, isn’t it? Well-known = “famous” and then “part of” signals the hidden answer, but by then we only have “a mouse…” left (with “in film” having zero function in the clue). Am I missing something?

  25. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Ian, I didn’t notice this, but I think you’re right.
    Although.
    One might say ‘part this or that’ (without that damned :) little word ‘of’).

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    After writing in half the solutions I was feeling disappointed at another washout.
    Boy,was I wrong.
    This was a thoroughly good struggle and I failed to get either Werrity (I knew of him), atrial (which was new to me) and although I had belstone I didn’t write it in since I have never head of it.
    A very good puzzle.

  27. Huw Powell says:

    A fun puzzle, though I never got close to the rather arcane 1d and 7a. OK, I do have “belstone” written off to the side where I was trying to grind out the anagram, but it didn’t look like a word to me. Funny that Hugh S. was just writing about the dilemma editors face over setters using people’s names in puzzles.

    I also wrote in COAL – the clue, to me, points more that way, but is perfectly fair IMO. DEAD HEAT easily forced the rewrite. I also see no need to capitalize “just in” – surely setters are allowed to abuse capitalization, just like punctuation, to build a tricky clue? I also liked that clue a lot.

    I agree “in film” is redundant. I wonder if it was part of a different way to build the clue that went undeleted by accident? Like “Part of a mouse in film”?

    Thanks for the blog, UY, and a fun exercise, Gordius!

  28. Uncle Yap says:

    I stand by my solution to 24Down Black stuff sounds like old chancellor (4). The name of the black stuff (for cosmetic purposes) may well be KOHL but so is the name of the former German Chancellor. So, if the clue is supposed to be a double definition, why is “sounds like” inserted in the clue? To me, that signals a homophone clue; hence my COAL (black stuff for fuel purposes) Perhaps, Gordius has made a mistake.

  29. Dave Dunford says:

    Solved this one in around half an hour, which is quick for me. Was vaguely aware of the Belstone Fox and the allusion to Liam Fox in that clue meant WERRITY was in mind when I came across 1d.

    Personally I don’t have a problem with 25ac: I think compilers feel entitled in “hidden word” clues to use as much surrounding verbiage (within reason) as is necessary for the sake of the surface (and Gordius was presumably going for a Disneyesque surface that wouldn’t have worked without “in film”). If FAMOUS is in “oF A MOUSe” then it’s also in “oF A MOUSe in film”; it’s merely a question of how much verbiage goes unused. I’ve seen much longer unclued fodder in this type of clue.

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