Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,584 – Gordius

Posted by manehi on March 15th, 2012


Enjoyed this, though the long down clues going in third and fourth meant it didn’t last very long. Favourite clue 21dn.

9 EAVESDROP =”spy” [L]EAVES DROP=”What happens in the fall, without starting”
10 MAIZE =”Grain” I=”one” in MAZE=”bewilderment”
11 INNARDS =”guts” INNS=”Locals” around A RD=”a road”
12 EMOTIVE =”arousing feeling” rev(TOME)=”About a book” + I’VE=”setter has”
13 IFFY =”open to doubt” [J]IFFY=”instant, not opening”
14 DIPHTHERIA =”disease” DIP=”Immerse” + (the hair)*
15 ECLOGUE =a pastoral “poem” [wiki] E[nglish] + CLUE around rev(GO)=go back=”return”
17 WAYBILL =”list of items carried” Spoonerism of BAY WILL=”horse is going to”
19 RESPONSIVE =”Likely to give an answer” ESP[ecially] inside (version)*
22 BERG =ICE=”First part of 18″ hidden in [rub]BER G[loves]
23 INFANCY =”Early days” IN FANCY=”in imagination”
24 NATTIER =French “painter” [wiki] also the opposite a synonym of “smarter”
26 LOTUS PLANT LOTS=”large numbers” around U[-bend]
27 UNSHACKLE =”free” SHACK=”Hut” inside UN=”one” + LE=”the” in French
2 EVENTFUL =”Momentous” VENT=”opening” in (fuel)*
3 TSAR =”Ruler” rev(RAST[afarians])
4 PRESTIGE =”Standing” (gets ripe)*
5 SPEECH =”lecture” rev(HEEP’S)=”Uriah’s reflected” around C[opperfield]
6 SMOOTHLY =”works without difficulty” (most holy)*
7 VIZIER “Muslim official” VIZ=”Namely” + IE=”that is”=”that’s” + R[ight]
8 VEGETABLE GARDEN =”Where we used to Dig” VE=Victory in Europe + GET ABLE=”become competent” + (danger)*
16 GOODNESS “commendable quality” (does song)*
17 WAVINESS =”Undulating tendency” VINE=”climbers” inside WAS + S[outh]=”direction”
18 ICE PICKS cryptic def
20 SAFETY cryptic def?
21 STYLUS =”writer” STY=”Pen” + LUS[t]=”endless desire”
25 TRAD =”Jazz from New Orleans” rev(DART)=”upstream” – the Dart is a river in Devon

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,584 – Gordius”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks manehi

    NATTIER is a synonym of smarter.

    Does VINE = climbers in the plural? I wasn’t really happy with VE = victory but then there’s always at least one or two loose clues in a Gordius, I guess.

    You seem to have left the title off the blog, by the way.

  2. NeilW says:

    Oh! The title’s appeared now.

  3. Frank says:

    Thanks Manehi. Quite an easy canter, this, especially given two obvious long answers. I think, though, that Spoonerisms should only be used if they’re witty, not just because the switch sort of works. And I wonder how many filled in 24a before they’d got at least two of the alternate letters?

  4. manehi says:

    Thanks, NeilW – I made a mistaken association with “tattier”, I guess.

  5. Gervase says:

    Thanks manehi.

    Not difficult, certainly, but one of the better Gordius puzzles (IMHO). 1dn was a write-in; 8dn took me slightly longer – I saw the GARDEN immediately but the wordplay for the first part was a bit 13ac. I did contemplate WHEAT for 10ac: A (one) in WHAT??!! I agree with NeilW that the clue for 17dn leads to WAVINESSS, with an extra S.

    I hadn’t come across the artist NATTIER, but the alternative def was a giveaway. 15ac unusually tricksy for G – I liked this.

  6. sitywit says:

    Thanks, Manehi and Gordius. Just the spelling of diphtheria, and 18 is plural.

  7. manehi says:

    Thanks sitywit, edited.

  8. NeilW says:

    Gervase, I hate to point this out, since you’ve just agreed with me but wouldn’t that give you “whaat”?

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi and Gordius

    I started a cold last night and this may have slowed me down. I found this hard in places.

    I agree with NeilW and Gervase about ‘waviness’. The ‘s’ should be dropped off ‘climbers’. This also left me uncertain by contagion about 24a which looked as if it might be an erroneaous anagram of painter. I had to check the artist Nattier before being finally convinced. Similarly, I wondered at first if 13a was ‘moot’ (mo + a misclue of [n]ot). I think Gordius leaves one uncertain about such possible errors – an odd form of ‘misdirection’ – but maybe that is unjust.

    I liked 9a, 15a, 4d.

  10. Gervase says:

    NeilW – you’re absolutely right, of course! (But WHAAT is a much nicer word, anyway).

  11. Kayoz says:

    Well, I would like to change the subject back to the crossword, if that is ok?

    First in was 22a BERG. I always see the ones that are ‘in there’. My partner always sees anagrams amazingly. Second was 8dn. Liked that one, it had to be some sort of garden.

    Loved 1dn, THE definite article. The very thing!

    9a EAVESDROP was clever. 11a INNARDS made me groan because I started with INSIDES like ‘insiders’ minus the R.

    15a Although solvable, ECLOGUE is a new word for me.

    I wonder if 17ac WAYBILL should have a hyphen. I am starting to sound like the hyphen police, please disregard.

  12. Kayoz says:

    7dn VIZIER was clever

  13. William says:

    Thank you Manehi.

    Loved EAVESDROP and agree on VINES.

    Thanks also to Tupu @9 for ‘uncertainty by contagion’ – I’ve wanted an expression for this for ages. It’s what often happens to me with The Reverend!

    Kayoz @11 don’t worry about feeling like a nag – it’s what this place is all about. On the other hand, we ship all over the world and don’t tend to allow a hyphen into WAYBILL. Do keep up the police-work, however.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Mmm…..not very exciting or challenging.
    Last in was 1d.’Eavesdrop’ occurs quite often and always causes a little hesitation- it is the structure I think.
    ‘Eclogue’,although unknown to me, was one of the first in, such an obvious cryptic.
    I often get a few minutes of puzzlement over a Spoonerism but this one was too clear.
    The apparently heinous crime of too many esses is of little significance in a puzzle of this standard.

  15. mark says:

    Agree with others on 17d.

    And 20d……thought of safety but couldn’t believe the clue could be so lame! Oh dear.

  16. Dave Ellison says:

    Mark, transfer 20d to Rufus and others would be quite happy with it (not me though).

    1d should have been obvious, but it took me sometime. I thought I had seen it before and Arachne had “The exact thing!” in the G Quiptic 628, 28 Nov 2008.

    Enjoyable Xword. Thanks maheni.

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    manehi, even – sorry

  18. mikeh says:

    RE 4 dn

    Is ‘fruit’ really an anagram indicator?

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to manehi for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer for EMOTIVE.

    I am going to differ about 17d.
    Climbers=VINES with WAS about it gives WAVINESS exactly.

  20. tupu says:

    Hi chas
    Yes but where does the ‘to find direction’ come in then?

  21. chas says:

    Silly me! I have looked again at the clue and I now see the extra ‘direction’ just as tupu pointed out :(

  22. Robi says:

    Thanks Gordius and manehi.

    Not that easy for me. ECLOGUE (the cryptic ‘go back’ was so easy to spot [RCW] that I missed it!) and NATTIER (as artist) unknown by me. Re 17d, I suppose that you could say that a vine is one of many climbers, if you wanted to be generous. Like mikeh @18, I was surprised by fruit as an anagrind, if that is what is going on. I originally thought that the answer was going to end in ‘lime.’

    I did like the EAVESDROP clue. Once I got the -k-e at the end of 27, I thought the answer was going to be ‘pondokkie’ (a type of hut!)

  23. bat020 says:

    15a ECLOGUE was the last one in for me. Thought it was rather ungainly: “return” -> “GO back” -> “OG” involves a double unwrapping, whereas “CLUE” is just there as is.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    A few more double unwrappings would be welcome hereabouts. Some of these clues do not have even one unwrapping.
    As Mark says @15,’safety’ is just a definition.

    Fruit is used quite often as an anagram indicator, I suppose its attraction is the scope for misdirection.
    It needs to be considered in a metaphorical sense,like ‘the fruit of ones labours’. It’s what you get out of something,what it yields.
    So here,’gets ripe’ yields ‘prestige’.

  25. mikeh says:

    Thanks. I can see how that works now. As a relative novice it is not one i’ve seen before. It works well as misdirection.

  26. pennes says:

    the first Gordius I’ve attempted, which turned out to be easier than I thought on first run through. I got stuck at south east as I thought the writer was probably william Styron , who wrote Sophie’s Choice; ( the name has probably stuck as it is a bit unusual). I had nattier to fit but was on the lines that it must be an anagram of either painter or smarter.

  27. Huw Powell says:

    Count me in the “extra S in 17d” crowd. Oh well. A nice wide range of cluing, and a steady solve, each new word eventually resulting in another. Had to verify ECLOGUE and NATTIER of course.

    Thanks for the puzzle, Gordius, and the blog, manehi!

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