Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,570 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 28th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Gordius served up a most entertaining puzzle today with some creative definitions that raised some smiles.

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue.

1 SUPINE  Ins of U (bend) in SPINE (backbone)
4 STEEPS  dd
9 HESS  CHESS (game) minus C for Rudolf Hess  (1894–1987), Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany, infamous Nazi
10 TOUCHSTONE Ins of S (South point on the compass) in TOUCH-TONE (modern type of phone) for Touchstone, a jester in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It.
11 ALKALI  AL (Jolson, American singer, comedian and actor) + KALI (Hindu goddess associated with empowerment)
12 HITHERTO  Hit her to … a tichy way to say make her submit
13 PREFIGURE  PR (publicity) E (Eastern) FIGURE (number)
15 FIRM  dd
16 CANT   Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) was a German philosopher. Strange that Gordius used CANT Thanks to Mitz @3, I totally did not see the homophone for KANT. Sorry, I have admitted that I am a bundle of nerves before I upload.
21 GAMESTER  GAS METER with S moved back 2 places. I like the noun def slyly presented as an adjective
24 GLITTERATI  Ins of LITTER (offspring) in *(GAIT)
25 UNDO  ha
26 TYPIST  Ins of *(I SPY) in TT (Times) deft touch
27 CELERY  CELERITY (speed) minus IT
1 SPELLER  dd A person who can differentiate between two homophones certainly can spell
2 PASHA PASH (contraction of passion; an adolescent infatuation) + A for a Turkish title (abolished 1934) given to governors and high military and naval officers
3 NOTHING  Allusion to all or nothing
5 TAHITI  *(THAT II, ones)
7 SANCTUM  Ins of *(CAN’T) in SUM (total)
8 AUTHORITARIAN  AUTHOR (writer) + ITALIAN with L (left side) changed to R (right side)
14 FINGERTIP  cd digital extremity (answer to 6)
16 CHAPLET  Cha of CHAP (guy) LET (allowed)
18 CAPSIZE  Another tichy clue – the size of one’s cap would indicate how big one’s head is
19 NOONDAY  *(DANNY OO, loves) What a brilliant def for the time when both the hour and minute hands on a clock are vertically up. My COD by a length
20 STRESS  MISTRESS (concubine) minus first two starting letters
23 ROUTE  ROUT (utter and complete defeat) + E (Espana or Spain)

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

31 Responses to “Guardian 25,570 – Gordius”

  1. Dr G says:

    3Down: also a dd? Love = nothing

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    I got started at once with 1ac and then stalled briefly. I began to feel the puzzle was going to be a drag but it was, in fact, rather more enjoyable than I had feared. Some nicely structured clues. I ticked 10a, 17a, 24a, 14d and 19d along the way.

    I agree with Dr G re 3d.

  3. Mitz says:

    Thanks Uncle Y and Gordius.

    Very easy – comfortably finished on a 15 minute train journey – but good fun. Agree with UY: the definition for ‘noonday’ was a clear highlight. Also liked ‘authoritarian’ which was last in (on purpose). ‘Fingertip’ made me smile as well, despite it being a familiar device.

    Not sure what you mean regarding 16a, Uncle: “Strange that Gordius used CANT”. Surely it’s a straightforward synonym: ‘platitudes’ = ‘cant’, sounds like ‘Kant’.

  4. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    A rather interesting puzzle from Gorgeous, with a lot of clues requiring one or two letters to be moved, changed or removed: 9a, 10a, 21a, 26a, 27a, 5d 8d, 20d, 23d. Favourites were TOUCHSTONE, AUTHORITARIAN, NOONDAY.

    I had never come across STEEP as a noun, which I thought was the reason for the question mark in 4a, but good old Chambers lists it as ‘a precipitous place’. So what is the question mark for?

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – I always like to have access to the clues if possible. Great fun and not too hard today.

    Mitz @3 – Yes, it’s a (slightly strained – hence the “?”) homophone clue, not a DD. I’m not entirely sure how UY was parsing it, or what the strange thing about CANT was meant to be. Perhaps he thinks it’s a (certainly strange) alternative spelling of Kant, which would make a DD possible, just about. But if such a spelling existed, it wouldn’t be strange to use it, would it…

  6. andy smith says:

    TY UY.

    Gervase@4 – not all steep slopes necessarily have sheer drops. He could equally well have clued ‘perhaps’ instead of a question mark, IMO.

  7. Robi says:

    Relatively straightforward and enjoyable crossword.

    Thanks UY, for the clues as well; it would have been very strange to use ‘Kant’ as that would have given an impossible 16d word. I had to look up TOUCHSTONE as the jester, although the parsing was precise. As well as NOONDAY, I particularly liked GAMESTER, which took a moment to unravel.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks UY.

    Am I the only one totally failing to make any sense of 12ac?

  9. Gervase says:

    Eileen @8: 12a is a sort of reverse clue, with the first ellipsis representing the answer: HIT HER TO make her submit? ‘So far’ is the definition. Clue doesn’t need the second ellipsis, and is not the best in the puzzle, IMHO, although the conceit is ingenious.

  10. andyb says:

    12ac… presumably the solution is what is meant to go in the ellipsis, rather than the meaning of the words in the clue.

  11. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Gervase @9.

    [I shall make no further comment, as promised a few weeks ago. 😉 ]

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Rather too obvious.
    I cannot really imagine that UY would think this way but he could be suggesting that a compiler confronted with C-N- might have chosen a different word to ‘cant’.Especially if he were more familiar with physicists than philosophers.

  13. Robi says:

    Ha ha, RCW; that is probably the way UY was thinking.

  14. Mitz says:

    Quite so RCW – ‘cone’, ‘cane’, ‘cent’, ‘cony’… The list is almost endless!

  15. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Gordius for a fun puzzle and Uncle Yap for his thorough parsing.

    I particularly enjoyed 10a, Touchstone – guessing the jester before parsing the clue! 8d, Authoritarian was good, too and I thought 23d, Route had an extra layer of meaning, as I have heard it pronounced Rout in some parts of the country.

    Giovanna x

  16. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I particularly liked 19d – once I had shuffled the letters around to give NOONDAY.

  17. grandpuzzler says:

    G ordius
    U ncle
    Y ap
    Pash and sticky end were new to me. Appreciate the education.


  18. Rosmarinus says:

    Thank you Gordius. It’s a long time since I have had so many chuckles in one puzzle.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    Mitz, the Chamber’s word wizzard only gives 20! (I really meant that spelling, empathising as I do with Rincewind)

    Didn’t understand all of it despite finishing so ta for the blog.

  20. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Technical question: does anyone know a way of making the clues display for longer than 5 seconds when the cursor is held over a number? Is it a setting at “my” end or “yours”?

  21. sidey says:

    Your end.

  22. Robi says:

    Monkeypuzzler @20; I have the same 5 sec display. I don’t know how to change it!

  23. otter says:

    No problems here, although a few clues I wasn’t particularly keen on. The one I did fail to get (and didn’t bother spending too much time trying to work out) was HITHERTO. Once I saw the answer and realised what was going on in the clue, I’m quite glad that I didn’t manage to get it (that my mind doesn’t make those sorts of connections).

  24. Eileen says:

    Hi otter

    I don’t expect you to see this but thanks for that: it’s good to hear, after all, that I wasn’t the only one to have such a reaction to that clue. I felt pretty lonely [and surprised] yesterday!

  25. Wolfie says:

    Hi Eileen (and otter) – no, you weren’t alone. I was late starting yesterday’s crossword and have only just caught up with the blog. ‘Tongue in cheek’ references to domestic violence are clearly out of place in the Guardian, and I am surprised that the clue was not pulled by the crossword editor.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Funny that the word po-faced seldom appears in crosswords.
    It’s actually a boxing reference.

  27. Wolfie says:

    Funny that ‘leaden-footed sarcasm’ seldom appears in crosswords, despite its popularity with certain 15squared commenters.

  28. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry, Wolfie, I should have realised that you were anti women’s boxing. Mustn’t let them get above themselves, must we?

  29. Wolfie says:

    Afraid you’ve lost me there RCW

  30. Wolfie says:

    PS – ‘po-faced’ has nothing to do with boxing, according the OED.

  31. RCWhiting says:

    Nor does the clue or solution have anything to do with domestic violence – that is entirely your invention.

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