Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,606 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 10th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Quite a gentle walk this morning through Gordius’s garden with a couple of unfamiliar words (but compensated by very gettable clueing).

Hold cursor over clue number to read a clue.

1 BEAUFORT SCALE *(FORECAST A BLUE) a scale of wind velocity, with 0 for calm, 12 to 17 for hurricane … devised by Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), English admiral and hydrographer
10 OPINION O (round) PINION (wing)
11 ASSAGAI ASS (animal) AGAIN (repeatedly) minus N for a slender spear of hard wood tipped with iron, either for hurling or for thrusting with, used in S Africa.
12 LITRE LIT (fired) RE (Royal Engineers, soldiers)
13 PREDICATE Ins of IC (99 in Roman numeral) in PREDATE (come before)
14 RUNIC Ins of NI (Northern Ireland, Ulster) in RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary, since replaced by Police Service of Northern Ireland) I get the sense of deja vu, remembering that some years ago,  in the rpc newsgroup, I asked for help to parse a very similar clue for this identical word. Eerie
16 EMMENTHAL Ins of *(THEN) in EMMA (girl) & L (learner, student) for a hard Swiss cheese, similar to Gruyere, made in the Emmental or Emme valley.
18 OPERATION Ins of ERA (time) in OPTION (choice)
19 DRAWL DR (doctor) AWL (a pointed instrument for boring small holes)
23 PAPAW PAPA (father, parent) W (with) for a tropical fruit aka PAYAYA, with many natural medicinal values
25 ORINOCO OR (gold) *(COIN) O (duck) The Orinoco is a river in Venezuela and Colombia.
26 WHEELER-DEALER Bike shop is a tichy way to describe an unscrupulous businessman
3 URINE UR (old city) IN E (Espana, Spain)
4 OWN UP OW (cry of pain) NUP (rev of PUN, witticism)
6 CUSHIONED Ins of O (ring) in CU (cuprum, copper) & SHINED (polished)
7 LOGIA Ins of I (one) in *(GAOL) sayings, esp early collections of those attributed to Christ. Interestingly, the singular is LOGION
8 ROLLER-COASTER ROLLER (Rolls-Royce, posh car) COASTER (ship) Can someone explain the dirty British bit ? Yes, thanks to Peter Waterman @1, this is from a poem Cargoes by John Masefield @2
9 NIGELLA LAWSON *(ALLOWS LEANING) Nigella Lawson is an English food writer, journalist and broadcaster.
15 CHAMPLEVE CHAMP (title holder) LEVEL (par) minus L for a type of enamel work in which vitreous powders are laid in channels cut in a metal base … new word to me
16 EPICENTRE *(PIECE RENT) point on the earth’s surface directly over the point of origin of an earthquake
17 HEADPHONE HEAD (which ONION is a slang word for) PHONE (ring)
21 EARTH ha  … nEAR THe house
22 SCOLD SC (scilicet, namely) OLD (elderly)
23 PRIMA dd Louis Prima (1910-1978) was an American singer, actor, songwriter, and trumpeter.

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

28 Responses to “Guardian 25,606 – Gordius”

  1. peter Waterman says:

    The “dirty British coaster” is from a poem by John Masefield which I learnt at school 45 years ago. i can also remember “quinquereme of Nineveh” from it. if I remember it did feature in a Guardian crossword not too long ago.

  2. Uncle Yap says:

    Mr Waterman, I take my hat off to you for your elephantine memory

    Cargoes by John Masefield

    QUINQUIREME of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
    Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
    With a cargo of ivory,
    And apes and peacocks,
    Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

    Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
    Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
    With a cargo of diamonds,
    Emeralds, amythysts,
    Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

    Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
    Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
    With a cargo of Tyne coal,
    Road-rails, pig-lead,
    Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

  3. peter Waterman says:

    Thanks for complimenting the memory but I’m sure I’m not alone in remembering their whole class rhythmically reading it out loud. You don’t forget that!
    I also remember the sea swell one imagined in reciting “Sea Fever” by the same poet.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I’m sure that Masefield poem featured not so long ago – I remember looking it up as a result.

    I was interested by your definition of EPICENTRE, which I see is quite correct, according to Chambers. The news always talks about how deep the EPICENTRE of an earthquake was, which is important as it’s related to the likelihood of a tsunami (something of a preoccupation in this neck of the woods) but it would appear that this in incorrect usage of the word.

  5. Miche says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I can’t recall a recent Guardian appearance of Cargoes, but it was alluded to in Azed 2074 a few weeks ago (17a, TINWARE).

    CHAMPLEVE and LOGIA new words to me, as is the spelling of ASSAGAI, but all clear enough from the wordplay. EPICENTRE is a much misused word, especially figuratively: “He’s at the very epicentre of the scandal.” I wish journalists would look it up before using it. Or instead of using it.

  6. NeilW says:

    The recent puzzle that both peter Waterman and I were remembering was Araucaria’s of November 11th last year:

    Wild ape challenged wolf for its companion in Cargoes? (7)

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    I found this very easy for a Gordius – I had polished off most of it in 10′; the last few 21d EARTH, 23d PRIMA and 26a and a couple of others took another 15’!

    I thought 21d EARTH one of the clever hidden answers I have seen in a while, “house” being the appropriate verb.

    In 23d I took the “Leading performer” to indicate P, which is why this delayed me. Then I recalled I had a vague recollection of a trumpeter called PRIMA.

    Thanks UY

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Gordius.

    Very enjoyable, as always.

    After first equating Louis and Trumpet with Armstrong, I eventually recalled Louis Prima who appeared with Alice Faye (among others) in ‘Rose of Washington Square’ (1939).

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Thanks too Peter Waterman for the source quotation for ‘coaster’.

    I guessed Prima but had to hunt ‘champ’ words to get ‘champleve’.

    Dave Ellison – I didn’t think it needed ‘house’ as a verb but took it simply as buried in ‘near the house’. However, I see your idea avoids double duty for ‘in’.

    Gnerally a good puzzle from this variable setter. Some nice clue surfaces but there seemed to be rather a lot of anagrams.

  10. Le Petomane says:

    I prefer Dame Edna’s version – “Quinquireme of Nivea”.

  11. Allan_C says:

    tupu@9 – so I wasn’t the only one to notice the abundance of anagrams!

  12. Robi says:

    Enjoyable; the anagrams made it a fairly straightforward solve, although CHAMPLEVE new to me. I didn’t know Louis PRIMA, either.

    Thanks UY; I’m more used to the PAwPAW spelling. I thought I might get stuck on the ‘kitchen expert’ but Nigella is well-enough known (at least in the UK.)

  13. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A reasonably testing exercise, I thought.
    Last in was ‘roller coaster'; the poetic coaster was familiar from early on but I was searching for some kind of ship (eg coaler).
    Champleve was new to me but as said earlier it was well clued.
    First in was ‘logia’ which was not familiar alone except I think it exists as part of other words.

  14. crypticsue says:

    Got to be careful what I say today, but this was definitely one for the lovers of anagrams and of the Masefield poem. I too learned this at school and can still recite it today. Thanks to Gordius and UY too.

  15. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog.

    I am so used to the word eastern indicating the letter E that I just do not think of it as anagram fodder. I got there eventually, when I had all the crossing letters present.

    I am another who is used to PAWPAW – so it took time to see the spelling here.

  16. Bamberger says:

    I was determined not to use any aids -but after a full hour I had only solved 2d,8d,12a,14a & 26a.

    I knew that 1a , 20a & 9d were anagrams but no matter how I wrote down the letters I just couldn’t get them. That said I had never heard of Nigella Lawson so wouldn’t ever had got that.

    10a Simply didn’t know pinion.
    11a Didn’t know this either
    13a Had no idea that predicate meant part of a sentence.
    16a I was looking for an anagram of cheese + 3 other letters and coudn’t what they were. Pretty tough clue unless you have some crossing letters givne that emma is one of hundreds of girls names.
    18a I guessed operation but couldn’t justify it so didn’t put it in. Still don’t really see why work =operation.
    7d Just didn’t know the word.
    17d I have never come across onion as slang for head. Loaf, bonce, nut -but onion ? Is it regional and if so where?
    23d I guessed prima but didn’t write it in as I couldn’t see why -the only Louis I could think of was Armstrong.

    Should have got 24a & 21d

    Just wasn’t on the setters wavelength today.

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    tupu @ 9. I at first thought the “in” was the hidden indicator, but that would render “house” superfluous, to be avoided in my view. Then I decided the “in” was part of the definition (but also doing double duty just to confuse us) and hence “house” was the indicator. That’s why I thought it was clever.

  18. Cosafina says:

    Champleve was new to me, but was clear from the wordplay.

    Louis Prima is one of my favourites – particularly this

  19. tupu says:

    Hi Dave Ellison

    House would not be wholly redundant since it adds to the surface and the definite article could not in any case stand alone. But then that leaves double duty for ‘in’, as I noted, and I’m not sure if that’s a game Gordius would play.
    Your own suggestion avoids that problem altogether, with ‘near the’ as the subject of ‘house’ and so seems preferable.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    I am surprised that tupu and Dave E. make such a big thing of 21d but are quite content with ‘garden’= ‘earth’ as the definition.
    It is fine to me but then I am notably easy-going with definitions.

  21. tupu says:

    Hi RCW
    For what it’s worth ( :)I concede not much!) the question is not one of definition – ‘it’s in the garden’ – but of the inclusion indicator. Dave E. suggests ‘house’ for this whereas I had thought, before I saw his comment, that it was simply ‘in’ doing double duty.

  22. iz says:

    This was the first non Rufus and non Araucaria one I have solved. :)

    Anyone know why Emmenthal is cheese ‘cooked’?

  23. Robi says:

    iz@22; the cooked is an anagram indicator for ‘then,’ which is restructured as ENTH in EMMENTHAL.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    ……..also it tastes better……especially with German beer.

  25. iz says:

    oh thanks, the comma between cooked and then confused me….how pedantic! sounds tasty.

  26. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Bamberger @16 and RCW @24

    We seem to be having a German beer theme today?

    Or is it just my wishful thinking.

    “Eine halbe Schlenkerla bitte”

    Much easier than the last Gordius I did but very enjoyable.

    Never heard of the poem or champleve but both adequately clued.

    Thanks to UY for the blog and Gordius for the crossword

  27. Alan Browne says:

    I was late tackling this enjoyable puzzle – hence this late post which will probably be missed by everybody!

    It always seems to be me that has to point out that IC (found in 13 across) is not the Roman numeral for 99 (XCIX is). I don’t mind seeing a living language evolving through repetition of easier ways to express things, but attempts to change a centuries-old fixed code (although note the later alternative IIII for IV on clocks) are surely to be discouraged.

  28. Huw Powell says:

    Putting “cloisonne” in for 15 slowed me down a bit in the SW… “almost” = “close”, plus “on”, plus “in” for “title holder”, but without a good excuse to glue them together that way. OPERATION forced me to erase it, and STEEPNESS led me to “assemble” the correct answer and look it up.

    Guessed LAWSON and thought that was good enough to research who she might be for the answer. I often have to do that with well-known UK people and places that I have never heard of and probably never will.

    Nice puzzle, thanks Gordius and UY!

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