Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,727 by Gordius

Posted by PeterO on August 29th, 2012


My ISP has been bouncing up and down all evening, so I have published a preliminary version and will polish it up as and when I can do so.

As often with Gordius, there are in this puzzle some unusual twists in the wordplay; regard them as inventive or rule-breaking as you will. I found this a well-crafted set of clues.

1. List of items to finish in the oven (6)
AGENDA An envelope (‘in’) of END (‘finish’) in AGA (‘oven’).
4. Supposed to be set in the grass (7)
REPUTED An envelope (‘in’) of PUT (‘set’) in REED (‘grass’).
9. Regret about a lot of leisure, as artists do (9)
REPRESENT An envelope (‘about’) of RES[t] (‘a lot of leisure’) in REPENT (‘regret’).
10. Love to diversify with reproductive organ? (5)
OVARY A charade of O (‘love’) + VARY (‘diversify’).
11. Food store hard to find in eastern capital? (5)
DELHI An envelope (‘to find in’) of H (‘hard’) in DELI (‘food store’).
12. Party programme easily seen to come to nothing (9)
MANIFESTO A charade of MANIFEST (‘easily seen’) + O (‘nothing’).
13. Auntie, say, loses head in high spirits (7)
ELATION [r]ELATION (‘auntie, say’) without its first letter (‘losing head’).
15. Models may be overhauled, but not often (6)
SELDOM A anagram (‘may be overhauled’) of ‘models’.
17. To some extent unprepared, perhaps, for a marital contract (6)
PRENUP An anagram (‘perhaps’) of ‘unprep[ared]’ (‘to some extent’).
19. Leading sniper did his work, being good at it (7)
SKILLED A charade of S (‘leading Sniper’) + KILLED (‘did his work’).
22. Mount a siege to join society? (9)
BELEAGUER A charade of BE LEAGUER (‘join society’).
24. Shadow causing some encumbrance (5)
UMBRA A hidden answer (‘some’) in ‘encUMBRAnce’.
26. Hum of old bishop at older city (5)
ODOUR A charade of ODO (‘old bishop'; there are several such, so let us take Oda – or Odo – of Canterbury, ob 958) + UR (‘old city’).
27. In some degree the whole of Ireland can be seen dancing (9)
BALLERINA An envelope (‘in’) of ALL ERIN (‘the whole of Ireland’) in BA (‘some degree’).
28. Regrettable adventure to the abyss with immature backing (4,3)
GULF WAR A charade of GULF (‘abyss’) + WAR, a reversal (‘backing’) of RAW (‘immature’). A semi &lit?
29. Result of mixed race involving heartless king and wife cut short (6)
HYBRID A charade of H[enr]Y (‘heartless king’) + BRID[e] (‘wife cur short’).
1. Contract given to a composer (7)
ABRIDGE A charade of ‘a’ + BRIDGE (‘composer’, perhaps best known as a teacher of Benjamin Britten, who wrote in homage the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
2. Peel gets cross, upset and put out (5)
EXPEL An anagram (‘upset’) of ‘peel’ + X (‘cross’).
3. What’s cast by artist who knows how to feed (9)
DIETITIAN A charade of DIE (‘what’s cast’) + TITIAN (‘artist’).
4. Popularity lists for sailors? (7)
RATINGS Double definition.
5. Assured fact that may have to be corrected? (5)
PROOF Double definition, more or less; a printing proof is struck to be checked for corrections.
6. Growth of Grahame’s character’s instrument? (9)
TOADSTOOL A charade of TOAD’S (‘Grahame’s character’s'; Mr Toad in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows) + TOOL (‘instrument’).
7. Time’s not up in Ohio (6)
DAYTON A charade of DAY (‘time’) + TON, a reversal (‘up’, in a down light) of ‘not’.
8. European nearly related, but not quite (6)
GERMAN GERMAN[e] (‘nearly related, but not quite’).
14. Fill a poor mocked victim with embarrassment (5,4)
APRIL FOOL An anagram (‘mocked’) of ‘fill a poor’.
16. A wreath doubtless required, but in no hurry (9)
LEISURELY A charade of LEI (‘wreath’) + SURELY (‘doubtless’).
18. Could Wodehouse be right as performer on pipes? (7)
PLUMBER A charade of PLUM (‘Wodehouse'; his first name Pelham was shortened to Plum by friends and family) + ‘be’ + R (‘right’); again with a cryptic definition.
19. Brook, quiet at first, took on a high note (6)
SHRILL A charade of SH (‘quiet’) + RILL (‘brook’). I have taken the answer to be the verb, hence ‘took’ is underlined as part of the definition.
20. Appliance for the unsound? If dead, a mistake (4-3)
DEAF-AID An anagram (‘mistake’) of ‘if dead a'; with a cryptic definition.
21. Shape departed at length (6)
OBLONG A charade of OB (‘departed’) + LONG (‘at length’).
23. Shaft, thin, without head but with head (5)
ARROW [n]ARROW (‘thin, without head’), with the definition at both ends!
25. Growth of scripture teaching among lawyers? (5)
BRIAR An envelope (‘among’) of RI (‘scripture teaching’) in BAR (‘lawyers’). The second time that the rather vague definition ‘growth’ has been used.

18 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,727 by Gordius”

  1. Sylvia says:

    I found this quite straightforward, particularly for a Wednesday.

  2. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    If “took” is part of the definition in 19d and SHRILL is a verb, then the tense is wrong. But if it’s part of the wordplay it’s rather Yodaesque. I think it’s just there for the surface.

    I looked for a homophone indicator in 3d before twigging that it is indeed DIETITIAN and not DIETICIAN.

    Otherwise straightforward enough. My favourite: BALLERINA.

  3. Fat Al says:

    Thanks PeterO,

    I learnt some new things today. I’d never heard of an AGA oven, or the composer BRIDGE, and didn’t know that P.G.’s nickname was PLUM.

    The only one I couldn’t understand though was 26a, as both Bishop ODO and the slang use of Hum were new to me. So thaks for that. When your ISP is back to normal, I think you need to include the old city UR part of the charade.

  4. John Appleton says:

    Not as straightforward for me as it has been for some this morning, it seems. Biggest quibble is with the definition at 28a – underplaying the whole thing somewhat.

  5. crypticsue says:

    I too am in the straightforward corner. Very enjoyable too. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Gordius

    Some mixed feelings as often with Gordius. PeterO’s comment re inventive/rulebreaking seems very fair.

    I was not wholly satisfied with ‘mocked’ as an anagram indicator and wondered if ’embarrassment’ could be read as a slightly better one. I thought the unlikely anagram made this potentially a very good clue.

    I was left uncertain re long = at length. It feels too close etymologically and not quite close enough semantically.

    28a is quite clever though (partly because?) the definition might please everyone or no-one depending partly on whom one blames for which war. For what it’s worth (not much :)) my own view is similar to Desmond Tutu’s elsewhere in the Guardian).

    My favourite clue is 3d.

  7. Trailman says:

    Fairly straightforward, but the SW corner gave me some trouble; getting OBLONG earlier, which is fairly standard stuff, would have helped. But I really don’t like the charade at 22: what on earth is a ‘leaguer’? Well, I see it now, but …
    Each to their own. That was my blind spot, but I was OK with Bridge, Aga and Plum.

  8. Robi says:

    Some of this easy, interspersed with slightly more tricky ones.

    Thanks PeterO; I didn’t like BE LEAGUER and the two ‘growths.’ Like Fat Al @3, I didn’t know BRIDGE, PLUM or ODO. I would always spell the word DIETICIAN; surprised at the two ‘t’ variant. I’m afraid that I don’t get the ARROW=’with head;’ perhaps someone can explain in simple terms.

    I liked the definitions of PLUMBER and BALLERINA.

  9. tupu says:

    Hi robi

    The definition is ‘shaft’ and the ‘thin’ is narrow which minus it’s head = arrow. An arrow has a head as in ‘arrowhead’ (cf Collins).

    There is an old story of an enquiry at a spiritualist seance. The medium claimed to be in touch with an old Amertican Indian chief (it seems they often made this claim) and the enquirer asked if the chief could be rquested to tell them the name for an arrowhead in his language.

  10. Robi says:

    Thanks tupu @9; I got the (n)ARROW bit; just didn’t see ARROWhead (doh!)

  11. rowland says:

    Staightforward club for me, with some provisos as usual! GULF WAR def looks like an opinion to me, which I’m given to understand is not de rigueur, but happy to side with it.

    Many thanks

  12. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog.

    I knew that Wodehouse is referred to as Plum but I failed to see that ‘be right’ gives BE R :(

    I do not like leaguer as society!

  13. ToniL says:

    chas@12; leaguer isn’t society.

    I understood it thusly; leaguer is a member of a league.

    League and society are synonyms – so…

    To ‘join society’ is to ‘be (a) leaguer’ !

  14. William says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    ODO/PLUM new like everyone else. Also, I can’t spell DIETITION apparently.

    Miche @2 mentioned Yoda-esque and that applies to ABRIDGE at 1d too.

    BELEAGUER a bit grim I thought.

    All pretty do-able, just a bit clunky for my taste.

    Thank you, Gordius.

  15. Mr & Mrs Jones says:

    Thanks to Gordius and PeterO. We took 8d to be from cousin-german – a first cousin.

  16. Edward says:

    Making “heartless king” in 29a be HenrY is remarkably flexible – seems to allow a lot of two letter combos. Shouldn’t that construction be reserved for KG?

  17. sheffield hatter says:

    Late posting because I did this while away on holiday.

    I was struck by the number of clues that ended in question marks when there was nothing really very dubious about them.

    Love to diversify with reproductive organ?
    Food store hard to find in eastern capital?
    Popularity lists for sailors?
    Growth of scripture teaching among lawyers?
    Growth of Grahame’s character’s instrument?
    Assured fact that may have to be corrected?

    I don’t see any benefit to either the surface or the crypticality from these superfluous question marks.

    The clue that has had some people getting a little grumpy had a well-merited query after it: Mount a siege to join society? …as did this one: Could Wodehouse be right as performer on pipes? …though there are other compilers who would be happy to let “performer on pipes” = PLUMBER stand unqueried. Likewise: Appliance for the unsound? …has attracted no adverse comments, so the question mark has done its job in this instance as an indicator of a dubious definition.

    Maybe Gordius could be a little more sparing with his ?s in future?

  18. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Gordius and PeterO

    Also only picked this one up today – clues went in steadily enough with a couple of new ones in FRANK BRIDGE and DAYTON. Have seen ODO in other crosswords.

    Had written in DIETICIAN until I went back to parse it properly and corrected.

    Enjoyable enough and didn’t find the little Gordius nuances got in the road of the solve.

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