Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,699 by Gordius

Posted by PeterO on July 27th, 2012


I found this a pleasing puzzle from Gordius, with some fine surfaces and a generous sprinkling of wit.

However, the wordplay in 19D held me up for quite a while; I think I must have it right, in which case I feel it is bordering on the unfair. At least the answer is fairly easily obtained – I suppose I should be the last to complain: my guess is that the blog will get plenty of hits from people looking for the wordplay.

1. Cast a stone in Devon (6)
SEATON An anagram (‘cast’) of ‘a stone’. I may well have passed through this Devon town, but that would have been a very long time ago.
4. Those with a twitch as a leitmotif? (8)
THEMATIC A charade of THEM (‘those’) + A TIC (‘a twitch’).
9. Good scope for a crafty move? (6)
GAMBIT A charade of G (‘good’) + AMBIT (‘scope’).
10. Impractical person who rigged sail in rough tide? (8)
IDEALIST An envelope (‘in’) of ALIS, an anagram (‘rigged’) of ‘sail’ in IDET, an anagram (‘rough’) of ‘tide’. Excellent surface.
11. Collision course? (5,9)
CRASH PROGRAMME Cryptic definition.
13. For each family mem­ber to be entirely unknown as an individual (10)
PERSONALLY A charade of PER (‘for each’) + SON (‘family member’) + ALL (‘entirely’) + Y (‘unknown’).
14. Pagan god carried by carthorse? (4)
THOR An answer hidden (‘carried by’) ‘carTHORse’.
16. Sin for which diplomat has nothing to lose (4)
ENVY A subtraction ENV[o]Y (‘diplomat’) with the O removed (‘nothing to lose’).
18. Mint for a girl and two boys (10)
PENNYROYAL A charade of PENNY (‘a girl’) + ROY + AL (‘two boys’).
21. Is it caused by a thing that goes bump? (9,5)
DISTURBED NIGHT Cryptic definition. A reference to the prayer:From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
and things that go bump in the night
Good lord deliver us!

Not quite the version I knew, but this is from The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, where it is identified as Cornish; it seems agreed that the author is anon.

23. Other than a lion — perhaps something less concrete (8)
NOTIONAL A charade of NOT (‘other than’) + IONAL, an anagram (‘perhaps’) of ‘a lion’.
24. Fermented grapes and rolled tobacco (6)
GASPER An anagram (‘fermented’) of ‘grapes’. Definition: slang for a cigarette.
25. Who classically breaks a horse but a noble French lady? (8)
MARQUISE An envelope (‘breaks’) of QUIS (‘who classically’ – Latin) in MARE (‘a horse’).
26. Fay produces old and new works (6)
WELDON An anagram (‘works’) of ‘old’ + ‘new’. Fay Weldon is an English author best known for the novel The Life and Loves of a She-devil (leastways, of her long bibliography, this is the only one I know).
1. Pudding might do as a starter, we’re told (4)
SAGO A homophone (‘we’re told’) of SAY GO (‘might do as a starter’).
2. Lover madly married … (7)
ADMIRER An anagram (‘madly’) of ‘married’.
3. failing in duty beyond love (8)
OMISSION A charade of O (‘love’) + MISSION (‘duty’).
5. Extremely heavy fall over inland Spain that skimmed water (11)
HYDROPLANED A charade of HY (‘extremely HeavY‘)+ DROP (‘fall’) + an envelope (‘in’) of E (‘spain’) in ‘land’.
6. Many a bore is barren (6)
MEAGRE A charade of M (‘many’) + EAGRE (‘a bore’, a tidal wave which ascends a river such as the Severn).
7. One in ruff, hard to overcome (7)
TRIUMPH An envelope (in’) of I (‘one’) in TRUMP (‘ruff’ in a card game such as bridge) + H (‘hard’).
8. Church performance to lead chart (9)
CATHEDRAL An anagram (‘performance’) of ‘lead chart’.
12. Help to worship un­likely to be spread by ear (6,5)
PRAYER BEADS An anagram (‘unlikely’) of ‘spread by ear’.
13. Afterthought proper to turn up on my return, having assumed title (9)
PSEUDONYM A charade of PS (‘afterthought’) + EUD, a reversal (‘to turn up’, in a down clue) of DUE (‘proper’) + ‘on’ + YM, a reversal (‘return’) of ‘my’. In the definition, ‘assumed’ is an adjective, not the verb that the surface suggests.
15. Reading a publication from the gutter? (8)
DRAINAGE An anagram (‘publication’) of ‘reading a’.
17. Take a chair after six or one may not stay (7)
VISITOR A charade of VI (‘six’ Roman numeral’) + SIT (‘take a chair’) + ‘or’.
19. Unknown party leader fell in like a fork in the road (1-6)
Y-SHAPED An envelope (‘in’) of SHAP (‘fell'; a fell is a hill, and Shap Fell in Cumbria in NW England is crossed by the A6 and a main line railway. The road over Shap Fell was a major link, until bypassed by the M6, and is a treacherous drive in bad weather; for this reason it has often featured in the national news) in Y (‘unknown’) + ED (Miliband, Labour ‘party leader’). The allusive references to Shap and Miliband are rather naughty, particularly in the presence of the red herring ‘Party leader’.
20. Union leader gets kudos for solving a puzzle (6)
SUDOKU An envelope (‘gets’) of U (‘Union leader’) in SDOKU, an anagram (‘for solving’) of ‘kudos’.
22. Lawrence lost a shoestring and got the bird (4)
WREN A subtraction: [la]WREN[ce], removing LACE (‘lost a shoestring’).

22 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,699 by Gordius”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Mahalo Gordius and PeterO. Needed your help with the parsing of Y-SHAPED. Favorite clue was 22d.


  2. Sylvia says:

    I struggled in the SE corner. Had TE and lace but never thought to subtract from Lawrence – thought the bird would be tern or teal. Agreed about Y-shaped.

  3. flashling says:

    I admit Shap went flying over my head leaving me a little bemused, I suspect Brits and especially non Brits have a few problems with the various British name places in clues like this, otherwise I sailed through this one. Although an answer is thematic I couldn’t see a theme. Thanks Peter O and Gordius for a nice late night workout before bed.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I have to put my hand up too over the parsing of 19. Otherwise straightforward, although it seemed quite hard work for some reason. I liked HYDROPLANED for the “inland Spain” and the clever DISTURBED NIGHT.

  5. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO. Yep, I needed help with 19d. I don’t think “party leader” for ED is naughty, or very unusual. Shap Fell is on the obscure side.

    Not keen on ellipses that join unconnected clues, as at 2d and 3d.

    Very nice misdirection at 12d: “by ear” had me thinking homophone rather than anagram.

  6. Pete_the_Teach says:

    Surely 21a is a reverse anagram of THING.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Peter, for explanations to 6d and 19d.

    I read 19a as Pete_the_Teach@6 did – a rather good clue.

    1d SAGO is an oldish Goons’ joke.

  8. PeterO says:

    Pete_the_Teach @6

    Yes indeed. That occurred to me as an afterthought when I was solving the puzzle, but had slipped my mind by the time I wrote it up – which is unfortunate, as it is a clever device. Thank you for pointing it out.

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO and Gordius.

    I came unstuck in the SE Corner after entering DISTURBED SLEEP at 21a.

    I never even considered the possibilty of an anagram.

    Also, I had opted for TERN at 22d.

    Now, my mistakes seem SO stupid!

    If I knew how to cry, I would.

  10. Jerry says:

    Thank you for including the clues with the explanation, and for underlining the definition in each case – all very helpful. :)

  11. Robi says:

    Good puzzle; the anagrams certainly helped with the solving.

    Thanks PeterO and Pete_the_Teach @6; I didn’t spot the thing/DISTURBED NIGHT.

    I have been desperately looking for the THEMATIC element. There are a few connected answers: WREN/CATHEDRAL; SEATON/WELDON (both in the North of England); Brian O’Nolan, who under the PSEUDONYM of Flann O’Brien wrote ‘Slattery’s SAGO Saga.’ [Wiki clutching at straws, methinks!]

    Perhaps this is all a result of my DISTURBED NIGHT. :?

  12. Robi says:

    ….. not, of course, forgetting the Y-SHAPED DRAINAGE tube…….

  13. martin says:

    Many thanks for the expanation of Y-SHAPED.

    Nice 1d extra in that Josh Stone is famous for being raised in Devon, although unfortunately about 20 miles from Seaton.

  14. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Gordius and PeterO.

    19d was the last in but once the crossing letters were in place, it all made sense.
    I liked Disturbed Night and remembered the rhyme you quote.

    I know Fay Weldon from her slogan – Go to Work on an Egg, which was brilliantly successful. (No doubt somebody will correct me if my memory plays false.)

    Giovanna x

  15. rowland says:

    Thanks to PeterO and everyone who has commented.

    Feeling pleased with myself today having completed both Indy and Guardian with very few hitches. The one that stands out for me here is 21 across. Does this really work? I got it easily, since the clue gives it away, but then I started the head-scratching!

    Never mind, I’m sure I’ll get over it, and thanks to all.

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Having written in six and a half solutions in the NW corner without a thought I suspected a Mondayesque non-entertainment.
    I was wrong, very wrong. Thoroughly tested by the rest and plenty of cleverness to admire.
    Especially impressed by 21ac, 19d (Party leader indeed!) and 22d (saw lace instantly but was misled by tradition, TE and DH etc.).
    Last in was ‘meagre’

  17. Miche says:

    Giovanna @14 – The slogan “Go to work on an egg” has often been attributed to Fay Weldon, but it’s a bit more complicated. “I flicked through some stuff from 1932 and spotted it, “Go to work on an egg”, so we put that up at the top. It didn’t sell any more eggs, of course, but everyone remembers it.”

  18. Trailman says:

    I quite like Gordius usually (I know not everyone does) but today was a bit here and there for me. One of my quickest solves for some time. Some stand-outs certainly – 23 deserves credit – but a few weaker clues too, eg 20. There’s a surfeit of clues with ? at the end: I felt Gordius was perhaps trying a little bit too hard for allusive cleverness.
    But how remarkable not to have an Olympic theme today! Maybe it’s being saved up for tomorrow. My money’s on Crucible.

  19. ginnifer says:

    I got ‘stargaze’ for 15down. I was so convinced it was right, I didn’t get 18!

  20. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Miche @ 17. I enjoyed the link!!

    Giovanna x

  21. Tim Phillips says:

    Dave Ellison @7: arguably one of the newest Goons jokes! I believe they first used it in The Last Goon Show Of All, 5th October 1972:

    “I say, I say, I say – how do you start a pudding race?”

    “I don’t know, how do you start a pudding race?”

    “Say go!”

  22. drago says:

    Thanks PeterO and Gordius.
    I had no complaints about Y-SHAPED, but am surprised that MEAGRE has gone uncommented, as I feel there is insufficient overlap with ‘barren’ – I rejected it and so didn’t pursue EAGRE, to my chagrin.

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