Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,686 by Gordius

Posted by flashling on July 12th, 2012


Your regular blogger Andrew is away on his holidays and has asked me to stand in for you all. After yesterday’s comments I won’t say how easy I found it :-)

Actually not too bad for me, please let me know of any tyops or other corrections.


1 DESCRIBE DE (of French) + SCRIBE
11 DOLCE C(onservative) in DOLE. How long has it been since the dole existed?
15 IDEA Hidden in paID EAch.
18 CHEQUE BOOK Hom of check + BOOK (him Danno and cue Hawaiian music)
19 DEAN A in DEN
24 RIDGE DIG* in R.E.
26 SAMPLE S(outh) + AMPLE
27 EYESIGHT YES in EIGHT. Except that with eight rowers you have a cox and should be called a nine Shirley? Yes I know…
1 DIVE Hidden rev in EVIDence.
2 SATE No I in SAT(i)E
7 ILL DEFINED ILL + (D + E) (musical notes) + FINED
23 KNUT K + NUT and King who forced Edmund II to divide England.


38 Responses to “Guardian 25,686 by Gordius”

  1. ToniL says:

    Thank-you Gordius and flashling.

    Nice touch in 3, where the Tips (capital T) are PG

  2. flashling says:

    @ToniL so it is, I missed that bit a nice touch from Gordius.

  3. Miche says:

    Thanks, flashling. Don’t see any tyops.

    Thanks, too, ToniL. I didn’t spot the PG Tips.

    17d – I thought at first that “knockout” had to be split in two to get a verb equivalent to STUN, but I see that STUN is also a noun: “A shock, stupefying blow” [Chambers].

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Gordius and flashling. I was going to comment on the tyops but Miche beat me there as usual. Book em Danno – ironically I’m leaving for Honolulu Thursday AM.


  5. JollySwagman says:

    Another lovely puzzle from Gordius. Usual stuff – no knockout COTD but just lots of little smiles. Like M @#3 I read 17d as a wordsplit so slightly disappointed to find the other reading – works both ways. Spotted the capital in Tips though – that too works even even if you don’t spot it.

    I suppose the ximtrolls will be along later for 25a – works fine for me.

  6. John Appleton says:

    I did wonder if Tips referred to PG, but then didn’t spot that it actually did. I think I’m missing something in parsing of 23d, got the answer easily enough, but is there an extra “head” in there somewhere?

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks flashling and Gordius

    An enjoyable puzzle with some nice touches as noted. I missed the PG – very clever – and thought the clue was slightly loose. I ticked 21a and 13d (for its whimsy) but 3d would definitely be my COD if I’d only noticed.

  8. Robi says:

    Pleasant puzzle; I too missed the Tips.

    Thanks flashling; had to Google the “Book ‘em, Danno” phrase to understand your 18 comment.

    John @6; as in the blog, I think it is: King [KNUT] added head [NUT] to the King’s Head [K.]

    I enjoyed DIVE and BULLETIN BOARD (spent ages looking for a slug inside :( .)

    NUTSHELL was the last in; thought it was just someone who nuts might produce a knockout; not very convincing unless you meet someone in a dark alley!

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Mosty straightforward, especially the top half.
    There were enough puzzlers elsewhere to leave me satisfied.
    Like tupu I missed PG and it would have been COD; the capitalisation should have alerted us.
    Although I had ‘sate’ very early, it was written in last after checking my music dictionary: I was certain that Eric’s name was Sati.
    John A.
    King (def +Knut) added head (nut) to King’s Head (K).
    ie K+nut
    There are too many kings but not in this clue.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks flashling.

    I thought this was quite a smooth puzzle, with some nice touches. I liked the surfaces of 19ac and 21ac.

    I spotted the PG at 3dn and tried to think of a fruit that began and ended with those letters…then entirely missed what was going on. :-(

  11. John Appleton says:

    Thanks RCW and Robi – Don’t know why it hadn’t coccurred before. I was thinking that “King” was suitable enough to represent K. Probably is, but the surface is better Gordius’ way.

  12. Trailman says:

    Something of a relief after the rigours of yesterday!
    I read 13d as dd as well as cd, pitchforks being farm implements as well as orchestral tuners. Though to be vv nitpicky it’s oboes tuned by p’forks which tune the orchestra. I guess that’s why there’s a ?
    Liked 12a, which thoroughly misdirected me. Last in.

  13. Wolfie says:

    I enjoyed this gentle workout after yesterday’s brain-bender!

    I think 1ac parses as DE (German) SCRIBE.

    Thank you Flashling for the blog.

  14. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for the blog, all fairly straightforward today.

    Wolfie @ 13: Er, I don’t think so – ‘de’ is French for ‘of’.

  15. duncan says:

    I’m parsing 17d slightly differently…. having been headbutted (“nutted”) into unconsciousness once myself, I saw “nut” as knockout, & “shell” as the “abyss” whence came the nut. plainly the explanation given above is better, though I feel we’re missing an indicator for the reversal of “stun”… I see the “over” merely as indicating that “hell” follows in the compositing of the solution.
    no matter. the entire grid occupied less time than trying to fathom “bridlington” yesterday. :-)


  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Flash, a puzzle enjoyable enough, indeed.

    Maybe, it’s just me, but there are also a couple of things that I just can’t stand (sorry).
    26ac: “A quarter is enough to try”. The word “is” is completely out of place, IMO. It should have been “A quarter’s enough to try” (although the Gervases of this world don’t like that either :)).
    14d: “Vote could be free but odd about finish” . I do not understand the use of the word “but” here.

    The hidden IDEA was very hidden, wasn’t it?
    [should be pa]ID EA[ch month].
    TIMES LEADERS having alternative opinions?
    Perhaps, I am not British enough yet.
    Which is also why I didn’t understand the capitalisation of Tips. With so many people gushing about it, something must have been right. And right it was!

    Not a bad crossword at all, but I just don’t want to see the occasional Gordian iffiness.

  17. Paul B says:

    I suspect you’re stuffed, in that case Sil. Not that I’d want to see you stuffed into a case.

  18. rhotician says:

    Sil, why is “A quarter’s” better than “A quarter is”? And why would Gervase not like it?

  19. slipstream says:

    I enjoyed PITCHFORK.

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Because “A quarter” = S and “enough” = AMPLE.
    The word ‘is’ in between these two has no cryptic meaning at all.
    In my opinion, shouldn’t be there.

    “A quarter’s enough” could mean “A quarter HAS enough”, which the justifies S + AMPLE.
    A while ago, Gervase made clear to me that he does not like the apostophe-s ‘device’. A reason for it is that – let’s take this ex-SAMPLE – from a cryptic POV it means HAS, while in the surface it should be interpreted as IS.
    In this particular case I would support him.

    And I will not get stuffed in that case, if you don’t mind ….. :)

  21. Davy says:

    Thanks flashling,

    I thought that this was an excellent puzzle from Gordius who often gets a lot of flak.
    My COD was ILL-DEFINED which I thought was brilliant. Loads of other good clues too.
    I failed on just OIL. From _I_ the correct word would not come to me and seeing the answer
    I don’t really know why. Thanks Gordius.

  22. snigger says:

    Missed out on a couple today. Yet saw the PG Tips straight away.
    Harking back to yesterday and the relative difficulty, Pasquale maybe(?) would not have capitilised “tips”, making it a harder clue for me, but many seemed to have solved it without making that particular connection.

    duncan@15 – stick to my method – Bridlington – the only word that fits.(and then come here to find out why)

  23. flashling says:

    @snigger err that only works if you’re not a blogger, which ok most here aren’t, believe me it would be nice to refer to higher authority (other than Chambers) sometimes :-)

  24. rhotician says:

    Sil @20.

    “is” in the SAMPLE clue is wrong, invalid, bad, whatever. So is “but” in REFERENDUM.

    I was curious to know why Gervase would object to your correction, and your reply is interesting.

    Some might say that “‘s” = has = + is unnecessary. “A quarter enough” is enough to indicate SAMPLE. Or if you must “A quarter has enough”.

    It comes down to striking a balance between correct cryptic grammar and pleasing surface. I assume that the cryptic aspect is paramount. But then we get into the tricky question of how far the cryptic indicators can be misleading and still be “fair”.

  25. rhotician says:

    PS What do you think about “to try” for SAMPLE? Shouldn’t it just be”try”

  26. flashling says:

    @Rhoticican well I like smooth surfaces, rather than a rigid definition/wordplay split, setters have been using punctuation which I was always taught to ignore as defintions so what’s the problem ignoring linking words, dailies are not like some barred crosswords where every letter has to count (apparently).

    If the surface raises a smile and is well done then I think the setter is better suited to the Indy/Grauniad than stuffier places.

  27. Paul B says:

    S AMPLE = a quarter is enough: to try = SAMPLE. And the surface just about makes sense. To me. So that was probably the wrong one to pick.

  28. rhotician says:

    Gentlemen (@26 and @27),

    Yes, the surface does make sense, just about. It didn’t come close to raising a smile with me. I think “A quarter, enough to try” is just as adequate, or enough if you like.

    I like smooth surfaces. I like amusing ones even better. In fact I dislike clumsy surfaces and ones that make no sense.

    I liked the PG Tips conceit. But I have to say that using “Tips?” rather than just “tips” doesn’t make the surface any less nonsensical.

    However, in respect of crosswords, I am self-taught so perhaps these are really matters of taste and de gustibus non est disputandum.

  29. JollySwagman says:

    Late back.

    Re 26a – agree the apostrophe S would have stifled complaint (except one apparently) but whether “is” should be effectively allowable padding (such as articles and “to” with a verb in the ximenean cryptic grammar) in non-ximenean grammars is an interesting point.

    There’s probably a case to be made for it on the basis that, eg in the present case:

    “A quarter” = S
    “A quarter is” S

    enable the “is” to be swallowed.

    More generally “is” representing equality might give that word reasonable free range – obviously it also get used as alinkword on that basis.

    Re 14a – “But” always seems to cause a slight bump – it gets in as a conjuction almost like “and” but how you throw away that additional implication of reluctance I’m not really sure. Presumably there’s an example somewhere which excuses it but I can’t think of one myself.

    Re 12a – Times Leaders were (mainly during the time of John Jacob Astor – uncle of The Observer’s David) renowned for being controversial at times – in contrast with the paper’s (pre Murdochian) image of staidness.

  30. Paul B says:

    As mentioned, the IS is not superfluous: S AMPLE directly equates to ‘a quarter is enough’. So whether by accident or design, Gordius gets it absolutely right in that case.

  31. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Usually, either I agree with you or learn from you on these matters, but this time I cannot follow you (yet), Paul.

    Could you please explain WHY the word ‘is’ is not superfluous?
    I can’t read S AMPLE as S=AMPLE (if that’s what it all about).
    Or is it =S + AMPLE, which I find odd too?

  32. Rorschach says:

    Ample = is enough

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well, Rorschach, that was my first thought too when I solved the puzzle. If it is like that, fine. But can you give me an example of a sentence or expression in which this equality works?

    While this discussion should perhaps stop now, I keep on asking because I really would like to understand it.

  34. rhotician says:

    I think that’s enough now, folks.

    Or do I mean I think that ample?

  35. Paul B says:

    Well that’s another matter. I’d been thinking it means ‘more than enough’. Slightly different discussion angle there though.

    Rorschach isolates the meaning for AMPLE well. If we were to correct the clue, we’d get

    a quarter is more than enough (equals)
    S is more than enough (equals)
    S AMPLE.

    Works for me, as Jack Rosenberg once said, with or without the IS. Perfectly good clue, in that respect.

  36. rhotician says:

    is enough does not equal ample. it equals is ample.

    I think we agree that enough is enough.

  37. Huw Powell says:

    I think this was one of those “wavelength” things for me – some very easy clues, some really hard ones, and not as many chuckles as I prefer. And too many really vague clues.

    “of Foreign” for DE? No brilliance there.

    “TIMES LEADERS”? Never heard of the phrase. Is it a Brit thing? I may have been a bit lost as Sil @ 16 on some of these. If so, that’s a fair cop, since this is a British puzzle.

    SAMPLE is weak.

    A RAISIN is not a fruit, the fruit is a grape.

    While 7 was nice, I hate the use of “notes” to mean any number over 1 of letters between A and G or perhaps any combination of the Italian names for the notes. That just strikes me as lazy. But that’s the wavelength thing? If DE in 1 was “of Foreign” and DE here is “notes”, why not figure out something interesting to use? There is a state in the US abbreviated DE…

    15 was too verbose, too many words that were just filler.

    17 was awful, IMHO. Was “knockout” supposed to mean “NUTS”? Really?

    Oh well, as I said, I think it was a wavelength thing, and even though I got most of it, I had piles of squiggly lines and question marks pointing to various clues.

    But to sum up, thanks to the Grauniad and Gordius for the very low priced (free!) entertainment, and Flashling and everyone else for the blog!

    PS, I think Robi@8 is correct on 23.

  38. Davy says:

    Huw at 37 :

    The clue for 17 was ‘Knockout over the abyss, wherein is brevity (8)’

    Knockout over = STUN backwards leading to NUTS with abyss = HELL and the definition is brevity = NUTSHELL as in ‘in a nutshell’
    I suppose that nutshell by itself is argueable

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