Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,775 by Gordius

Posted by PeterO on October 24th, 2012


This one gave me something to think over, and to amuse me in the process. Thanks Gordius.

1 SUPERTAX Plan ups extra revenue (8)
An anagram (‘plan’?) of ‘ups extra’, with an &lit-ish definition.
5 OPIATE Work the Queen leaves for one providing horse, say (6)
OPERATE (‘work’) with the ER replaced by I (‘Queen leaves for one’). Horse is slang for heroin, an opiate.
9 IRONISTS They may be sarcastic, when press is across the street (8)
An envelope (‘across’) of ST (‘street’)in IRON (‘press’) plus ‘is’.
10 USSHER Junkie kept quiet for old archbishop (6)
An envelope (‘kept’) of SH (‘quiet’) in USER (‘junkie’). James Ussher was Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh from 1625 to 1656; he was the one who dated the creation to 4004BC.
12 GERONTOLOGY Try on Google, say, for study of the elderly (11)
An anagram (‘say’) of ‘try on google’, and not the most obvious one at that – but the definition made it much easier.
15 ASCOT Course for Angus, say? (5)
A charade of A SCOT (‘Angus’, as a generic Scottish name).
17 RULE OF LAW Sport has sign defect, but it keeps order (4,2,3)
A charade of RU (Rugby Union, ‘game’) plus LEO (‘sign’ of the Zodiac) plus FLAW (‘defect’).
18 TOODLE-PIP How I told pope I was leaving? (6-3)
An anagram (‘how’?) of ‘I told pope’.
19 THETA The thanks given in a letter from Athens (5)
A charade of ‘the’ plus TA (‘thanks’).
20 PRAIRIE DOGS Roger is paid for training North American marmots (7,4)

Training? Who needs training?

An anagram (‘for training’) of ‘Roger is paid’.
24 CHASTE Tea set broken without blemish (6)
A CHArade of CHA (‘tea’) plus STE, an anagram (‘broken’) of ‘set’.
25 FLAMENCO Dance with lover, a sergeant? (8)
A charade of FLAME (‘lover’) plus NCO (non-commissioned officer, ‘a sergeant’).
26 EMBRYO The outcome of intimacy may be more by accident (6)
An anagram (‘accident’ – and/or ‘may be’) of ‘more by’. I like.
27 CYSTITIS City sits uneasily with trouble in waterworks (8)
An anagram (‘uneasily’) of ‘city sits’, for an inflammation of the bladder lining.
1 SKIN GRAFTS Superficial treatments for ruler with large amount on board (4,6)
An envelope of KING (‘ruler’) plus RAFT (‘large amount’) in SS (‘on board’).
2 PROTRACTOR Does one measure degrees of support for mechanised farming? (10)
A charade of PRO TRACTOR (‘support of mechanised farming’).
3 REIGN Rule where to abdicate is pointless (5)
A subtraction: RE[s]IGN (‘abdicate’) without S (‘pointless’).
4 ACTION REPLAY Court case over drama, following dispute with referee (6,6)
A charade of ACTION (‘coure case’) plus RE (‘over’) plus PLAY (‘drama’).
6 PUSSYFOOT Face of toy designed to be indecisive (9)
A charade of PUSS (‘face’) plus YFOOT, an anagram (‘designed’) of ‘of toy’.
7 ACHE Teacher’s heart complaint? (4)
A hidden answer (‘heart’) in ‘teACHErs’.
8 EARN Deserve a pot, as they say (4)
A homophone (‘as they say’) of URN (‘pot’).
11 FOOLS PARSLEY Loss of player — perhaps from something that disagreed with him? (5,7)
An anagram (‘perhaps’) of ‘loss of player’. Fool’s parsley is a poisonous plant, so we have another semi-&lit.

Do you think this looks like parsley?

13 BLUE-BONNET Scots peasant goes on ahead, if spaced (4-6)
This kind of clue I think has been described as a definiton-and-a-half: a blue bonnet is a hat, which goes on a head (‘if spaced’); or a Scots peasant.
14 SWEATSHOPS Days in which we have dances where people are exploited (10)
An envelope (‘in which’) of ‘we’ in SATS (Saturdays, ‘days’) plus HOPS (‘dances’).
16 TELEPATHY Plate they designed for wireless communication (9)
An anagram (‘designed’) of ‘plate they’, with a nicely cryptic definition.
21 EMMET Worker visiting Cornwall? (5)
Double definition: an emmet is an ant, and (same word, really) a disparaging term for the tourists who swarm over Cornwall.
22 ACNE Skin trouble said to be found in London (4)
A homophone (‘said’), complete with dropped aspirate, of HACKNEY (‘found in London’).
23 GARB Dress to boast about (4)
A reversal (‘about’) of BRAG (‘boast’).

24 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,775 by Gordius”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Gordius and PeterO. Ussher? Really? Well I did know somebody came up with 4004BC. Love the toodle-pip every since I heard Arachne use it in a blog here. CYSTITIS and BLUE-BONNET and FOOL’S PARSLEY were new to me but gettable from the word play.


  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. This was a good Gordius with a number of unknowns, and earned ticks: like 5a’s horse clue and puss=face in 6d. Until that answer sprang out, I’d toyed with ‘pusher’ for 10a since the archbishop can have one S.

  3. Rick says:

    Thanks for the blog PeterO; very helpful as always (I hadn’t come across “EMMET” for example).

    I enjoyed this offering from Gordius. Being a Londoner (originally), 22 down was one of the first in, since that’s obviously how one should pronounce “Hackney”! (-;

    Several fine clues: 6 down and 14 down were particular favourites.

  4. muffin says:

    Thanks Gordius and PeterO
    Straightforward but enjoyable.
    “Parsley” is one of my “blind spot” words. I KNOW it’s either “parsley” or “parsely”, but always struggle to remember which. Needless to say I entered the wrong one, thus delaying my seeing “flamenco”!

  5. fearsome says:

    THanks PeterO,
    Like others I had guessed emmet and didn’t fully understand blue-bonnet
    Good fun especially embryo

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Gordius

    Relatively easy after yesterday but well constructed. I knew emmet was an ant but had forgotten the Cornwall usage. Like molongolo I also played with pusher (which didn’t properly fit the clue, but pussyfoot put me right.

  7. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I thought USSHER was topical, since 23 October, 2004 BC, was his calculation for the first day of creation. Then I realised I’d got today’s date wrong – it’s the 24th. As you were…

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO & Gordius. Very enjoyable!

    I guessed USSHER correctly and it’s now nice to have an explanation and also to know when Creation occurred.

    But was he right?

  9. muffin says:

    Scots peasants became obsessed with wearing these blue bonnets – indeed it became so prevalent that it was referred to as the “blue-bonnet plague”.

    (Sorry about that……..very old joke)

  10. Martin in beds says:

    The picture looks very much like parsley. I think PeterO’s problem is that cooks don’t let parsley grow out as they contiually trim bits off. If you let any of the umbelliferan herbs, such as parsley, coriander, dill, etc, grow to seed, then they all start to look like cow parsley, which is the most familiar wild example, and you also understand how that plant got its name.

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I had BLUE-BONNET as the answer but did not know the Scottish relevance.

    On 24a I tried an anagram of ‘tea set’ and got estate which did not fit at all. Eventually I got ACNE and that led to the proper answer.

  12. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Gordius and PeterO

    Probably one of the best Gordius puzzles that I have done – everything clearly clued with some new words and the occasional chuckle. BLUE-BONNET was last in, thought that FOOL’S PARSLEY was clever and EMBRYO raised the biggest smile.

  13. Robi says:

    The anagrams made this doable, although I missed a few at the beginning.

    Thanks PeterO; didn’t know BLUE-BONNET, EMMET, USSHER & FOOLS PARSLEY, so struggled a bit, especially in the SE corner. I suppose with ?S?H?R Gordius was struggling – USSHER or ESTHER really. According to Wiki, the date of the creation was the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, so I assume that means 22nd Oct. Maybe it was on 22nd Oct but a few billion years before. At least he got the BC right. ;)

  14. William says:

    Thank you, PeterO.

    Pleasant enough and all perfectly fair, but I found this rather thin gruel today with its preponderance of anagrams.

    Still don’t see how the BLUE BONNET clue works – is it a name for a Scottish peasant as well as his headgear?

    Thanks Gordius.

  15. Rick says:

    Robi@13: “Escher” would be another possibility. Perhaps:

    Note Sonny (initially) and Cher produced works of art? (-:

  16. Trailman says:

    Hi William @14, Wikipaedia gives bluebonnet (no hyphen) for the peasant as well as his hat.

    I had PUSHER for 10ac, knowing the bishop but clearly not his spelling. Logged on to 15sq confidently looking for the Grauniad’s apology that 6d/10ac didn’t fit (it wouldn’t be the first time). Ah well.

  17. William says:

    ESCHAR would be another candidate – “Piece of dead tissue that is cast off from the surface of the skin, particularly after a burn injury”

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I enjoyed this one.
    Just testing enough to make it worthwhile.
    Last in was ‘opiate’ and I still couldn’t parse it: I took work = op rather than operate.
    ‘Fool’s parsely’ was unknown but very soluble as was ‘Ussher’.

    (today’s Quick has ‘prairie wolf’ across the top)

  19. muck says:

    Thanks Gordius and PeterO
    13 BLUE-BONNET was new to me
    20 PRAIRIE WOLF appears in today’s QXW

  20. Ross says:

    As a proud Cornishman, I was extremely pleased to see EMMET in this one. I wonder how common it may be outside Cornwall though?

    Thanks PeterO

  21. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Gordius and PeterO – especially for the super illustrations.

    Opiate was last in as I keep forgetting that drug reference.

    Ascot produced a groan once I forgot about the cattle!

    Good fun.

    Giovanna x

  22. tones says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO. I quite liked skin grafts and fool’s parsley.

    PS Re: “Do you think this looks like parsley?”
    Not really. Parsley has a larger nose and a much longer tail. :)

  23. dan says:

    Telepathy was lovely!

  24. samui pete says:

    Thanks. Very enjoyable.

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