Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,528 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on January 10th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Today’s puzzle is very entertaining with many lovely and clever devices.

When I say I found a puzzle easy (like I did last week) it probably meant that I took less than 10 minutes to complete. I hope this does not discourage the newer members of this fraternity of cruciverbalists. When I discovered cryptic crosswords as a student, I did not finish a Times puzzle until about a year later … but perseverance and a positive learning curve helped. After forty years, one should have made progress :-)

1 CARPET Ins of R (first letter of Richard) in the House of CAPET which ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328
5 HEADSHIP HEAD (top) SHIP (liner) with an almost &littish surface
9 MOURNING Sounds like MORNING (alluding to the fact that lunch, the midday meal is usually taken from 12 onwards)
10 STRODE Ins of TROD (stepped) in SE (south-east where Kent is); also *(DORSET) which meant you got two cryptic elements in this clue. Quite like a Malaysian market vendor shouting “Buy one, free one”
11 OPEN SANDWICH cd The Open Championship, or simply The Open (sometimes referred to as the British Open), is the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf.
13 ERIN ER (Elizabeth Regina) IN
18 SHOW Not a very well-hidden answer; the only blot in this excellent selection of clues
20 LINGUA FRANCA Sounds like FRANKER (more open) for a language chosen as a medium of communication among speakers of different languages; any hybrid language used for the same purpose.
23 ATABEG Cha of A TAB (bill) EG (exempli gratia, for example)
24 INTRIGUE dd a secret illicit love affair would be grist to the mill for the tabloids
26 PINION OPINION (view) minus O (love)

2 AMOK AM (morning) OK (fine) for this Malay-origin word
4 TOILET Ins of I (one) on TO LET (property available) Hands up those who have, as naughty teenagers, inserted the I in such a sign. Uncle Yap’s hand straight up in the air :-)
5 HIGH-SPEED TRAINS HIGH (tall) *(PEDESTRIANS) A crafty surface, my COD
6 ABSENTEE cd nice misdirection; not all there is an euphemism for being a little insane or eccentric.
7 SHREW Ins of *(HER) in SW (south-west where Devon is)
8 INDECISION Ins of DE (rev of ED Miliband, leader of the British Labour Party) in INCISION (cut)
12 PROSCIUTTO *(POOR CUT IT’S) for finely cured uncooked ham, often smoked.
15 GESTATION *(INTO STAGE) from conception to delivery of a baby
16 STRANGLE Ins of L (learner or student) in STRANGE (unusual)
19 INSTEP Soldiers march in step
21 GIBED GI (soldier) BED (plot)
22 HUGO HUG (embrace) + O (love; same device as 26A, second blot) Victor-Marie Hugo (1802–1885) was a French writer best known for Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

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
rha = reversed hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

45 Responses to “Guardian 25,528 – Gordius”

  1. Dr G says:

    7D:Katherina Minola (also called Kate) is a fictional character in the comedy ‘The Tamimg of the Shrew’

    19D: ‘Instep’ is also the prominent arched part of the human foot, between the ankle and the toes.The arch is maintained by a tendon the ‘Plantar Fascia’. I damaged it a month ago .. walking too much. I am told it will take 6 months to 2 years to heal. Sheeesh!!!

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Funny how tastes vary: I thought 18 was rather a nice &lit.

    11 – Sandwich in Kent was the location of last year’s Open Golf.

  3. NeilW says:

    Only the Americans, much to the annoyance of the R&A, refer to it as the “British” Open, by the way! :)

  4. Mystogre says:

    Thanks UY? Funny how a club sandwich didn’t cut the mustard for a long time. And thank you Dr G for your Kate explanation. While I got the answer, the connection with the play was not there for me.

  5. jackkt says:

    The ‘Kate’ connection at 7dn may be more obvious to those who know the Cole Porter musical ‘Kiss Me, Kate’ which is based on ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.

    I had the same take on 18 as Uncle Yap, including that it’s a weak spot in an otherwise excellent set of clues. Still not sure I’ve understood everything on offer at 6dn.

    I was delayed at the very end by my inability (yet again) to spell PROSCIUTTO correctly.

  6. NeilW says:

    jackkt @5, as I said, different strokes… There were plenty of other equally easy and obviously constructed clues to compare to 18, was my point, with a scattering of old chestnuts. I just felt it was a nice, if straightforward clue, and didn’t deserve to be singled out.

  7. andy smith says:

    TY UY. Re 10, STRODE is also a town in Kent, which rather threw me because I then had a surplus ‘stepped’ with 2 defns and 1 anagram…thought 24 and 6 were pretty thin, and rather too many well sign posted anagrams, but otherwise entertaining.

  8. andy smith says:

    Re 10 – STRODE school is also in Dorset, which gives 5 references to the solution in the clue, if ‘in Kent’ can do double duty…

  9. andy smith says:

    Delete comment *8 – it is in Somerset, sorry.

  10. Shirley says:

    I thought StrOOd was the town in Kent? Maybe there’s another one?

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius, for a pleasant, shortish solve.

    I thought 18a SHOW was good, almost an &lit.

    Like jackkt@6, 6d I still don’t understand.

    7d was also good: TAMING and TRAINING rhyming, and I took it to mean she was tamed by training.

  12. Citywit says:

    6d. (Even) one absentee shows you’re not all there?

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    A pleasant puzzle with some good surfaces.

    I checked ‘Capet’ and ‘atabeg’ to make sure, but the answers were clear enough. I read 6d as Citywit @12. If one person is missing, not everyone is there (plus the double entendre).

    I was slightly held up in the SE corner (incidentally 7d and 10a are sister clues). I first wondered about ‘pennon’ for 26a, but this made no sense of the surface which is in fact rather good.

    As NeilW says some simple clues were also rather elegant. I ticked 7d, 12d, 16d, and 19d in addition to 26a as I went along.

  14. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, UY. I liked this except 12 dn PROSCIUTTO – def “often smoked”. I know that’s how it’s defined in Chambers but in many visits to Italy I’ve never encountered any prosciutto affumicato, crudo or cotto. Unless it comes from the NE(Italian Tyrol) where it’s likely to be called speck.

  15. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Pleasant puzzle from Gordius with some interesting clues: I particularly liked 5a, 10a, 4d, 7d, 15d.

    LINGUE FRANCHE do not have to be ‘hybrid’ tongues (though the original was), and traditional Italian PROSCIUTTO (crudo) is dry-cured and not smoked (so the def for 12d is a bit off).

  16. Gervase says:

    Sorry, cholecyst – we crossed!

  17. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. Enjoyable puzzle from Gordius, even if there was a sprinkling of old chestnuts.

    I liked 5dn and 7d and 8dn made me smile.

    Last one in was PINION and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t see the wordplay until I came here…

  18. harry says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    Nice puzzle, but a minor niggle – franca/franker and morning/mourning are only homophones for some speakers of English. An old complaint, and one I believe Eileen has raised before.

  19. crypticsue says:

    Very easy and enjoyable at the same time. My only slight hold up was with ATABEG. Are the people thinking STRODE is in Kent, thinking of STROOD? Thanks to Gordius and UY.

  20. Tata says:

    Many thanks to all for the blogs. Could 6d equally be absenter, the one who is not quite there?

  21. andy smith says:

    Shirley & Crypticsue – yes, you are quite correct, it is Strood not Strode in Kent, my mistake….

  22. Quink says:

    Foiled by ‘club sandwich’ which was my first in. It was only after getting 3dn (Personnel) that I realised my error. And what a long time it took to spot…..

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Nothing much to excite or disappoint here.
    I had to google ‘capet’, otherwise very straightforward (although I do not time myself, certainly not under 10 minutes).
    I am criticised when I complain if I find a puzzle too easy. By that I mean that there should be one or preferably two or three left to puzzle over after the rest has fallen easily.
    If I solved them in under 10 minutes I would not bother getting my pen out.

  24. Paul B says:

    13, 14, 16, 17, 21 & 22 are okay, with 4, 23 & 25 -ish. The rest is well dodgy IMO.

  25. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius for a reasonably easy solve. I didn’t know ATABEG, but the cluing was clear enough.

    Like Liz@17, I failed to parse PINION, though I felt it couldn’t be anything else, and it didn’t hold me up. I don’t know about under ten minutes, but certainly under 15, as I’d intended to be up and about by twelve, and it was five to when I started getting ready :)

    To Dr. G, my sympathies. By the time my fascitiswas diagnosed, it had chronified. I trust you’ll have better luck. I was walking pretty normally after two weeks of treatment, though.

  26. stanXYZ says:

    1a – Je n’ai jamais entendu parler de la maison royale Capet. Merci, M. Google!

    21d – What’s that apostrophe doing there?

  27. freda says:

    Re 6d, doesn’t absentee in this sense indicate that THEY are not all there, rather than YOU are not all there? Or am I misreading things?

  28. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    On 11a I got SANDWICH pretty quickly and thought of BEEF for the first word. I then spent an age trying to find some specific foodstuff that fitted :(

    On 21d I think “soldier’s” would fit better.

  29. Allan_C says:

    Re 4d the “opposite” minor vandalism used to be fairly common, scrubbing out the I.

  30. amulk says:

    A bit harsh PaulB @ 24 :-).

  31. Paul B says:

    Sorry Amulk – I know it’s best to be specific in offering negative opinions about clues, but today the list is too bloomin’ long.

    Stan! Best read GI BED = BED for GI = soldier’s plot. I s’pose.

  32. stanXYZ says:

    @Paul B – is that “soldier’s plot” or “soldiers’ plot”?

  33. flashling says:

    Quite a quick solve apart from misspelling prosciutto (again) I always write proscuttio for some reason. Wasn’t terribly impressed by absentee or intrigue but got them anyway. Thanks Gordius and UY and other commenters. Paul B seems in a bad mood today!

  34. NeilW says:

    I see Uncle Yap voted with his feet on this one!

    Night night all.

  35. RCWhiting says:

    freda @27
    I think ‘you’is both the singular and plural pronoun. Here it is plural although the misdirection depends on us, the solvers, assuming it is singular.

  36. JoannaM says:

    Re 6d: is it definitely absentee? Both absenter (as in an absenter from military parade) and absences would also fit. Absences also seems to fit the clue pretty well.

  37. JoannaM says:

    Apologies to Tata who had already suggested absenter. It occurs to me now that, for absences to be the solution, the clue would be “One of these indicates you’re not all there”. But as I beginner I may have missed the obvious.

  38. Bamberger says:

    Got one wrong 26a. Faced with p?n?o? , I assumed the definition was “wing” and so I now had p?n?ol. Love? Pangs of ther heart? Put in pangol hoping that it was word for a type of wing. Alas not.

  39. morpheus says:

    harry @18 fair observation but it would rather knock the homophone device on the head wouldn’t it if we were to exclude all pairings which had a slightly different pronunciation amongst some English speakers. Babies and bathwaters come to mind.

  40. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    I’m with you on this one and thought the puzzle was pretty good. I’ve ticked nine clues which isn’t bad at all so thanks Gordius.

  41. RCWhiting says:

    Not to worry, I am sure my great uncle from near Bristol always pronounced ‘babies’ exactly like ‘bathwater’.

  42. beermagnet says:

    So now we know what Simon Hoggart does while waiting on uncomfortable chairs for invariably late politicians:
    Ed Miliband and the curse of the Guardian crossword

  43. Paul B says:

    Stan @ 32, yeah sorry, I misread that: Logic would have to be

    GI BED = BED for GIs = soldiers’ plot. That one I thought tolerable.

    Flash @ 33 it looked a bit grumpy didn’t it, or dismissive I suppose. But I just didn’t want to re-blog the puzzle with a list of 75% of the clues together with my gripes.

  44. pangapilot says:

    No-one seems to have said it specifically: 7d: Kate was not just any character in The Taming of the Shrew – she was the “Shrew” (very-non-PC, I know!) who was “tamed”(ditto).

    I also share others’ objections to the placing of the apostrophe in 21d. Other clues fine by me.

    For those who didn’t rate 18a, doesn’t the surface sort-of admit that it’s “not the way to do it”?

  45. vynbos says:

    Thanks pangapilot, now I get it.
    I don’t like 10, why give us two clues to the answer? I’ve never seen that before. I thought my correct answer must be wrong. Perhaps Gordius liked them both equally? In which case,IMHO, flip a coin, pick one. (mind you, i only dabble in CC so MO is indeed H.)

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