Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize 25,598 / Gordius

Posted by Eileen on April 7th, 2012


Well, here’s a turn-up – a Gordius as a Prize crossword, especially after a week of pretty challenging puzzles. [Regular readers will understand that I was speechless when I saw it as my blog!  😉 ]

I think this would make a reasonable Quiptic puzzle: a variety of clue types – anagrams, double definitions, hidden words, reversals, all straightforwardly clued, along with a number of real old crossword standbys: ious = promises, T = model, TT = race, SS = on board, LA = city,  TAR = sailor, PO = river, ASS = fool – and the poor unaspirational Cockney.

[There has been talk lately that, although we here have traditionally expected more of a challenge on Saturday, the tendency these days seems to be for the Prize puzzle to be more accessible, to encourage more entries [?]. If that’s the case, fair enough: I look forward to Rufus being given his head – at least he would raise a smile or two! 😉  At the time of writing, we have the expectation of a Bank Holiday Special this weekend – let’s see what happens!]


4 I have a dog (6)
double definition – but I’m not sure about the ‘have’

6 French leader’s refusal to entertain a fellow European (8)
NON [French refusal] round A POLE [a {fellow} European]

9 Model violated when about to leave (6)
T [model] + reversal [when about] of RAPED [violated]

10 Suffered discomfort after a race, but hung on (8)
ACHED [suffered discomfort] after A TT [a {Tourist Trophy} race]

11 Tracks crossing the river where people jump (11)
TRAMLINES [tracks] round [crossing] PO [river]

15 Ham is above the law (7)
OVER [above] ACT [law]

17 City call to spend? (4,3)
LA [city] + SHOUT [call]

18 Savour impertinence from sailors? (6,5)
TAR TAR [sailors] + SAUCE [impudence]

22 Lust like a Cockney saying he’s jolly drunk? (8)
sounds like ‘appy [jolly] tight [drunk], as the much-maligned crossword Cockney might say it

23 Ship’s boat turns in, as for good (6)
reversal [turns] of YAWL [ship’s boat] in AS – definition: for good

24 Harry led astray by the arms? (8)
anagram [astray] of HARRY LED

25 Cuts 23 on board (6)
EVER [synonym of 23, ALWAYS] in SS [‘on board’]


1 Come running and pull to pieces (4,2)
double definition

2 Part of the country is against ale brewing (4,6)
anagram [brewing] of AGAINST ALE

3 Sticky stuff used by agents to catch a fool (8)
MOLES [agents] round [to catch] ASS [fool]

4 This will help you to sleep soundly, said easterner (8)
sounds like [‘soundly’] said Asian [Easterner]

5 Weak prescription to treat paw injury? (3,5)
anagram [injury] of TREAT PAW

7 What may be heard from the choir? (4)
hidden in thE CHOir

8 Party leader at international organisation turns up without cover (4)
reversal [turns up] of ED [Miliband – party leader] + UN [United Nations – international organisation]

12 Volume containing a true array of writing (10)
LITRE [volume] round [containing] anagram [array] of A TRUE

13 Figure out place to have sex (8)
anagram [figure] of OUT PLACE

14 Godless found at armed robberies? (8)
AT HEISTS [armed robberies]

16 Shrewdly, as a follower of Robin Hood (8)
A  STUTELY [Will Stutely, a follower of Robin Hood]

19 Frugal type puts in a pound for the plate (6)
SAVER [frugal type] round [puts in] L [a pound]

20 Spare wound (4)
double definition – I didn’t know the ‘spare’ meaning

21 Stimulus is false without promises (4)
SPURious without ious [promises]

19 Responses to “Guardian Prize 25,598 / Gordius”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Eileen. Missed you last week. Presume you saw a MANKINI in your future and decided it was time to visit the grandchildren. I vaguely recall Will Scarlet but Will Stutely was new to me. Wasn’t aware that GASH also meant spare.


  2. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    All went swimmingly for me until I got to 20d. The slang use of GASH was new to me, and there are a lot of words that fit _A_H.

    I agree re those old standbys PO, LA, TT etc – and haven’t there been a fair few Europeans=Poles lately? Given that, nice to see ED clued by “party leader” and not the tired old “journalist.”

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Just one clue that was prizeworthy – 20d. I spent twice as long on that as all the rest together, then gave up. Enough said.

  4. flashling says:

    Hmm saw GASH=SPARE in the Guardian back in 1988 or thereabouts when I was first learning the craft, I remember my mentor at the time believing it referred to ladies private bits… not seen it since.

  5. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Eileen. GASH meaning SPARE was in common use in the military in post war years, and earlier I dare say. In naval usage as a noun it applied particularly to refuse or rubbish.

    I wondered about 18. In English usage TARTARE is usually applied to the sauce; Tartar is bitartrate of potash, precipitated from wine or a word used to describe other incrustations.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen, this was so easy that I kept checking to see if the real Prize Puzzle would appear.

    I guess that the Head Honchos at the Grauniad didn’t want to admit their mistake.

    Fortunately, today’s Puzzle looks like the real thing.

  7. crosser says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I didn’t know gash, either, and wonder if it is connected with the French word “gacher”, though I’m not at home at the moment so can’t check. I agree with Biggles A @5 about tartare/tartar.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Biggles A and crosser. I decided against commenting on what I thought was a misspelling when I found TARTAR SAUCE as an alternative spelling in Chambers and, disappointingly, the only spelling in my preferred Collins!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Gordius

    Vewry straightforward for the most part. I thought I knew my Ropbin Hood but had to check Stutely. Some say he and Will Scarlet were one and the same. I also checked ‘gash’ to be sure. Was lightly amused by 4d, 13d, and 14d.

  10. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    I always thought TT was time trial.

  11. Bamberger says:

    I got nowhere near finishing this and respectfully wouldn’t say it was Quiptic standard. As ever the more answers you get, the easier it gets and even just having one letter can make the difference.

    Anyway main failures were
    4d I had sedative -couldn’t see why but couldn’t see anything else which didn’t help with 15a
    16d Quite simply hadn’t heard of stutley
    20d I hadn’t come across gash=spare. I have come across a “gash” accountant meaning one who isn’t particularly competent.
    23a Never come across a yawl
    25a I don’t suppose I’ll ever like clues such as these. If you haven’t got 23 you are stuck. Is this cleverness on the compilers part or just laziness?

    Thanks for the blog

  12. Trebor says:

    Like others have mentioned I do also wonder if last Friday’s Auracaria (tricky zodiac themed one) was in fact intended as the prize with this Gordius intended for the Friday.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen f6r the blog.

    I am another who has never heard of GASH=spare and also my knowledge of Robin Hood’s merry men does not include Stutely.

    That was fairly simple – but today’s prize !!!

  14. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen

    20dn GASH is in Chambers as ‘spare, extra’. I have come across it in Edinburgh as in “I’ve got some gash paint” ie left over from a legitimate job.

  15. Eileen says:

    Hi muck

    “20dn GASH is in Chambers as ‘spare, extra’.”

    Yes – that’s how I got it! ;-). [The back cover of my Chambers finally dropped off this afternoon, so it seems time to get another one, since, regrettably, it’s virtually impossible to be a 15² blogger without, but, as I’ve often indicated, I much prefer Collims, for a variwety of reasons.]

    But it’s not even as if it’s a wonderful surface!

    Thanks, everyone, for the comments. I’m so glad it’s not just me!

    I hope you all enjoyed today’s Araucaria – I did, of course!

  16. liz says:

    Eileen @15 re today’s — Me too!
    re the Gordius — over v quickly. I guessed 20dn was GASH, but have never heard of the ‘spare’ meaning. I’m afraid I didn’t bother looking it up.

  17. liz says:

    Oh, and Happy Easter, everyone.

  18. Mitch says:

    liz@16 & Eileen@15 — today’s Araucaria was absolute bliss. Total reverse of the crossword of 7 days ago which was a travesty.

    Off-topic comment to Gaufrid.
    Many moons ago I ‘moaned and groaned’about the layout (typeface/contrast etc) of this site. Apologies – I’ve since had the cataracts fixed 😉

    Seasons greetings to all.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Too easy.
    ‘Gash’is a scrounger’s word. “Is that gash” looking longingly at any building etc material belonging to someone else.

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