Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,644 / Gordius

Posted by Eileen on May 24th, 2012


The usual Gordius mix, I think.


1   INVOICE: simple charade of IN [fashionable – yet again] + VOICE [singing]
5   GOODBYE: anagram [trip] of BODY and EGO: the clue actually indicates that it’s an anagram, for which there’s no indicator, of BODY in an anagram [trip] of EGO
9   RECKLESS DRIVERS: homophone [said to be] of WRECKLESS [safe?] DRIVERS
10  AGORA: AG [silver – precious metal] + OR A : I know this word as an ancient Greek place of assembly but it’s also one-hundredth of an Israeli New Shekel
11  LEARNEDLY: anagram [astray] of NEARLY LED
12  STIMULATE: TIM [Bresnan] IN ‘SULATE': no doubt many of you are on first-name terms with this cricketer: I’m not but I like this kind of clue, which made it very clear.
14  WAFER: FE [iron – another chemical symbol] in WAR [conflict]
15  HASTE: anagram [change] of AS THE
16  ACTINIDES: ACTIN[g] [drama ‘detailed’] + IDES: Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March
18  WRAPPED UP: double definition, although, for me, that’s not what ‘well dressed’ means.
21  SPEAR: SP [childless] + EAR [listener] : s p is a genealogical abbreviation of sine prole [wihout issue]
22  BUILDING SOCIETY: for overseas readers, this is a cryptic definition, referring  to David Cameron’s ‘big idea’, launched in 2010, with the aim “to create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a big society that will ‘take power away from politicians and give it to people'”. The Yorkshire is an example of a building society, hence the ‘say’
23  TANGLED: T [T-square] + ANGLED [cornered]
24  DISUSED: DIED [expired] round [without] SUS [suspicion]: I thought this had a double S but Chambers gives both spellings


1   INROADS: anagram [new] of RAIDS ON
2   VICTORIA STATION: anagram [perhaps] of TO[u]RIST VACATION minus U [fashionable] + I [one]: a clever idea but I don’t like U = fashionable
3   ILL-NATURE: anagram [translated] of LATIN RULE
4   EASEL: cryptic definition
5   GODPARENT: anagram [somehow] of GET PARDON
6   ONION: Reversal of I [one] in NO NO [repeated refusal]
7   BREAD OF IDLENESS: cryptic reference to  Proverbs 31.27, extolling the virtuous woman, whose price is above rubies:
‘She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness’ [AV}. Idle people would buy bread ready-sliced but I’m afraid this doesn’t quite cut it for me. 😉
  ESSAYER: ESS [letter] + [A.J.] AYER [philosopher] : I didn’t like this one at all: an essayer is one who essays; to essay means to attempt or test, not to write; an essayist is one who writes. I was therefore shocked to find, buried deep in SOED – essayer: an essayist!
13  ABANDONED: DONE in A BAND [a body] – nice surface
14  WIND SOCKS: WIND [turn] + SOCKS [blows]
15  HAWKBIT: HAWK [warmonger] + BIT [a little] – a very straightforward clue for this [to me] unfamiliar weed
19  PEDAL: cryptic definition and also hidden in stopPED A Lorry
20  POSED: OPPOSED [fought against] minus OP [work]

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,644 / Gordius”

  1. Rick says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog Eileen; thanks also to Gordius for a fine puzzle that I greatly enjoyed.

    With regards to 18 across, I thought that “dressed” referred to covered (e.g. with bandages) rather than clothed as such, and so “well dressed” could then give you “wrapped up” (e.g. swathed in bandages).

    Like you, I liked 12 across. 16 across was also a favourite. I agree about the use of “U” for fashionable” in 2 down but I did like the clue overall which had a great surface. I also agree that 13 down had a fine surface and I also liked 14 down.

    Given that “essayer” can mean “essayist” I didn’t share your problem with 8 down (but I see where you are coming from).

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I gave Gordius the benefit of the doubt (just) on GOODBYE, since at least the two words remain distinct so you stick body inside ego and then “grind separately.”

    For me it was WRAPPED UP as in “against the cold,” which seemed OK, again just. :)

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi Neil

    “For me it was WRAPPED UP as in “against the cold”: yes, for me,too, but to me ‘well dressed’ implies elegance [Chambers: ‘wearing stylish clothes’ – but that’s ‘well-dressed’, which may make a difference?

  4. Rick says:

    NeilW @2

    > For me it was WRAPPED UP as in “against the cold,” which seemed OK, again just.

    Ah! That’s probably a better interpretation than mine.

  5. aztobesed says:

    Perhaps I’ve lived too long in London. ‘He was well hard’, ‘well tooled-up’ ‘well out of order’. On a cold day – ‘well dressed’.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Gordius

    Started easily and got harder. Thanks for parsing 13d. I just about accepted well dressed for warmly dressed. I also accepted 8d though wonder how well known Ayer is these days.
    I hope there was no DD implied in 5d which seemed slightly close to the bone.
    I had to guess and check actinides and bread of idleness.
    My favourite was 22a.

  7. Robi says:

    Entertaining in parts; I did like (w)RECKLESS DRIVERS.

    Thanks Eileen; I missed the ha in PEDAL and the philosopher. I didn’t know HAWKBIT, BREAD OF IDLENESS, Bresnan or AGORA. Isn’t that another name for a bull? 😉

    I think you are right about WELL DRESSED and well-dressed. I thought the clue was well good. With respect to ‘U’ for fashionable, ‘U’ might be interested in this [I doubt it.]

    I saw GOODBYE as NeilW @2, and thought it was OK.

  8. Robi says:

    P.S. I assume you thought of loaf=idle in 7, but it got lost in your blog joke. :)

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I did not like this. The cryptics were OK and made it an easy solve.
    However there were several long solutions which to me, at least seemed either invented for the puzzle (9ac), extremely obscure (7d) or just plain wrong (22ac). Dave’s ‘big idea’ is the ‘big society’,I have never seen or heard ‘building society’ used in that context.
    I liked 12ac very much but felt it would have been fairer to the wider readership if Bresnan had been replaced with Henman (C’mon Tim).

  10. Robi says:

    P.P.S. A bit more about ‘U’ in crosswords.

  11. aztobesed says:

    It’s a small point but I think it goes with the nature of the clue that the Yorkshire is one of the ‘big’ building societies.

  12. Eileen says:


    Re 22ac: in the quotation which I deliberately included in the blog, the ‘big idea’ is spelled out as ‘building a big society’.

    Robi – thanks for your comment 10, which supports my view:

    “Sometimes setters use the words “smart” or “fashionable” to clue U, which is debatable since the U and non-U meanings are not related with fashion.”

  13. Robi says:

    RCW @9; I’m with you for Tim Henman. Not sure why you don’t like RECKLESS DRIVERS; you may be amused by this from ‘America’s finest news source.’ I thought you were also a bit hard on BUILDING SOCIETY; seemed to me to be a concatenation of Dave’s ‘Building a Better Future’ and his ‘Big Society.’ :)

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen et al

    I am less worried about ‘U’ as fashionable. A key element in Ross/Mitford was the way that U speech was forever changing as the non-U class tried to emulate it. So the non-U’s idea that U speech was good to follow is quite close to the idea of fashionable I think.

  15. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog. I needed you to explain why SPEAR was right.

    I did not like 9a: I do not see how [w]reckless can be ‘safe’.
    7d was new to me but I guessed it once I had the crossing letters.

  16. Rick says:

    RCWhiting @9, Robi@13:

    Tennis over cricket – oh dear! To quote an old favourite, “I could never take a game seriously where love meant nothing!”. (-;

  17. Robi says:

    Rick @16; I could never take a game seriously that is played for four days and when it rains on the fifth day a draw is declared! :)

  18. Rick says:

    Robi @17: Touché! (-:

  19. martin says:

    12a. I wasn’t happy with using Tim Bresnan as I think sports people should be really famous to be included in crosswords. Although as a cricket fan I got it easily, in fact I was misled into thinking “they can’t really mean him”.

    Chas @ 19. I think it is because a safer driver is wreck-less (without wrecks).

    Robi @ If you don’t know hawkbit, you are lucky. Once it’s in your lawn, it’s a real pain.

  20. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Gordius for the puzzle and Eileen for the superblog.

    I struggled with U, too. For me the whole point of U is that it is not fashionable. Thanks, Robi for the links.

    An essayer should be a tryer!

    Anyway, enough grumbling! It’s all good fun and thanks to the setters who continue to entertain us.

    Giovanna x

  21. aztobesed says:

    Berners-Lee is an admirable pick for a British crossword?

  22. William says:

    Thank you, Eileen.

    This was an uncharacteristically rapid solve for me – scarcely enough for the morning cuppa.

    Thanks for the biblical reference of BREAD OF IDLENESS. Being a 60s kid, I once a had a cheque book holder with “Sliced Bread” printed on it! I suppose the current generation will wonder what on earth cheques were.

  23. Robi says:

    martin@19; the HAWKBIT wouldn’t have a chance with all the moss in my ‘lawn.’

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Two Fridays in row that it was relatively easy, despite learning a few new things. Being the class dummy I shan’t be complaining, though no doubt some will. (I’ve had a little bet with myself as to who!)

  25. MikeC says:

    Thanks Eileen and Gordius. I agree about the “mix”. Some good stuff but also some odd ones. I was foxed by 10 – not knowing the monetary unit meaning of AGORA, I thought it was a hidden answer (“fraction”) in “metAL OR A”. Should have checked it!

  26. apiarist says:

    When I started this I thought it was going to be entirely made up of anagrams but it turned out to be a little gem.It has been a good week so far.

  27. NeilW says:

    Derek, I hate to point this out but, even here in Indonesia, it’s still only Thursday… 😉

  28. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yes I know, but today is a non day, I’ve fast forwarded to tomorrow already.

  29. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I didn’t know the cricketer, but given the definition and S—ULATE it was pretty clear: no need to worry about anyone called TIP or PEC…

    S.p. for sine prole new to me. Must file that away.

    Don’t like “unfashionable” for “non-U.”

    Martin @19: I think “wreckless”=”safe” is just too big a stretch. There are all too many reckless drivers who haven’t had a wreck yet.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Giovanna
    Not fashionable today, fashionable tomorrow etc.,

  31. tupu says:

    Hi Miche

    Doesn’t ‘unfashionable’ in the clue mean ‘fashionable is removed’?

  32. Miche says:

    Hi tupu.

    Yes. Just a different way of phrasing the same idea. U/non-U don’t mean fashionable/unfashionable. They’re not a million miles apart in meaning, but not (IMO) close enough.

  33. tupu says:

    HI Miche
    Thanks. If you are saying unfashionable in the clue = not fashionable, OK. But unfashionable out of the clue is not the same as not fashionable, just as ininterested is not the same as disinterested.

    Such quibbles aside, my recollection is that in Ross/Mitford U = upper class favoured usage, i.e. elite fashionable usage, adopted to keep the lower classes at bay. As I noted earlier this U – usage has to be changed constantly because the lower classes keep trying to follow the U-fashion. Admittedly U = fashionable omits the upperclass reference, but we are talking about high fashion and that seems fair enough to me in the context of the puzzle. I suppose we must agree to differ.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not too bad, but as ever with Gordius a bit of a mixed bag, mainly because he is just always precise enough, like in 5ac (GOODBYE) [a clue which we did like though].
    Two more examples are 6d (ONION) in which the word ‘by’ doesn’t feel right, or in 19d (PEDAL) where there is strictly speaking no hidden answer indicator [perhaps, Gordius wants us ‘stopped’ to do double duty?].

    Nice anagram in 2d, but what a pity that U had to be I.
    And there were certainly more nice surfaces.

    We didn’t get BREAD OF IDLENESS (7d). For me, unfortunately, the Bible is something outside my world, so there you are. BTW, could BREAD (meaning ‘money’) have something to do with ‘ready’? (And, er, money is also something outside my world :) )

    Finally (and one of the main reasons to comment tonight), it is remarkable to see how many people liked the device in 12ac (STIMULATE).
    May I invite you all to take a look at the discussion in last Monday’s Indy blog on a Punk (i.e. Paul) puzzle? Quite interesting, in my opinion.

    Many thanks Eileen (and Gordius, too).

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oops …. he is just always NOT precise enough ….
    Makes quite a difference.
    Still, a puzzle enjoyable enough.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

× 8 = forty