Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,786 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 6th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Not quite a smooth solve today as there were a few hard-boiled eggs (obscurities). Just glad that I managed to unravel all for this blog. Phew!

Hold cursor over any clue number to read the clue.

5 HAGGARD HAG (old witch) + GARD (rev of DRAG, transvestite garments) for H. Rider Haggard (1856–1925) an English writer of adventure novels of which SHE is probably the best-known among crossword solvers
10 GRAMPUS GRAM (little weight) PUS (matter) for popular name for many whales, esp the killer; someone who breathes heavily and loudly, a puffer and blower
11 INTERCEDE Ins of TERCE (Terce, or Third Hour, is a fixed time of prayer of the Divine Office of almost all the Christian liturgies) in *(DINE)
12 IRATE Captain Hook, a fictional PIRATE in J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy
13 ENDOW EN (the letter N) + DOW Jones & Company, an American publishing and financial information firm
17 WOODSCREW Cha of Tiger WOODS, American golfer + CREW (complement)
22 THUMB THU (some letters of THURSDAY) MB (Bachelor of Medicine, doctor)
25 ALIASES Rev of ins of SAIL in SEA
26 UNGUENT UN (one in French) + ins of U (bend) in GENT (man) quite mischievous to combine the two fodder elements into a single word, Frenchman
27 DETENTE Ins of TENT (shelter) in River DEE
28 SINCERE SINCE (given) RE (religious education)
2 SIGHTED Sounds like SITED (placed)
3 GONER Ins of ONE (single character) in GR (George Rex, king)
4 EXCHEQUER EX (former) A+ CH (Companion of Honour) + *(QUEER)
5 HAGUE H (hot) + AGUE (fever) for William Hague, British politician, currently Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State in the British Cabinet.At this juncture, may I ask the seasoned solvers about the supposed convention of only including names of people who are deceased in the grid of a puzzle. In my last Times blog, someone opined that the reference to the writer, LINKLATER must be to the father Eric (who is dead) and not to Andro, who is alive.
6 GLADIOLUS GLAD (cheerful) + ins of L (looks like the pound sign) in IOU’S (promises to pay) plant of the iris family, with sword-shaped leaves and long spikes of brightly coloured flowers
7 ASPHALT ASP (snake) HALT (stop)
8 DISTEND Ins of STEN (gun) in DID (managed)
16 RAWLPLUGS cd for the tradename of a tubular plug for fixing screws. Gordius must have his hard-boiled egg; something so obscure like PAR for a village in Cornwall. My LAI (last answer in) another obscure village in Vietnam made notorious by that infamous massacre of Vietnamese civilians by the US Army in 1968
17 WETLAND Ins of *(LET) in *(DAWN) Romney Marsh is a sparsely populated wetland area in the counties of Kent and East Sussex in the south-east of England.
20 BURMESE Ins of ME in BURSE (one’s fund, finance or purse; just like one of the meanings of EXCHEQUER, answer to 4)
23 TASSE dd A tasse à café, French for coffee cup, is a cup, generally of white porcelain and of around 120 ml (4  fl oz), in which coffee is served. In plate armour, one of a series of overlapping pieces forming a kind of skirt.
24 ELGIN *(NIGEL) The Elgin Marbles are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures (mostly by Phidias and his pupils), inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens

Key to abbreviations

dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(FODDER) = anagram

39 Responses to “Guardian 25,786 – Gordius”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. I thought this was pretty easy – for the second week running, Tuesday, it seems, is the new Monday. :)

    Doesn’t your convention about dead public figures only apply in the Times? Having said that, at first I put Heath for HAGUE, thinking it was HEAT (fever) + H(ot), and since Ted died a while ago he would have complied with your rule!

    My only real objection was to DOW = Jones. They were two different individuals.

  2. rrc says:

    i agree – but still very enjoyable and even with a couple of smiles – thats really a bonus

  3. ToniL says:

    Someone, yesterday, suggested that the puzzle wasn’t actually set by Rufus!
    Well today’s didn’t ‘feel’ particularly Gordian.
    Is someone playing games with us?

    I don’t think the wordy yet thin 16d did justice to what is a clever idea for a crossword clue. Also agree re Dow Jones!

    All in all a brief but enjoyable solve, thank-you to Gordius and to Uncle Yap for the blog.

  4. Rick says:

    Possibly a bit on the easy side but no problem with that as far as I’m concerned.; all in all a very enjoyable puzzle. I had a blind spot with 13 across (I could see what the answer must be but I couldn’t parse it); Uncle Yap and an excellent blog to the rescue! (-:

    We must live in different worlds, though, UY; “rawlplugs” is an entirely natural word for me and, once I got 17 across, it (they) went straight in (as it were!). (-;

  5. Andreas61 says:

    Gave up on the rawlplugs and came here for the answer. Now I see it, like ToniL I think it is a lovely clue. Thanks Gordius and Uncle Yap!

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks to Gordius and Uncle Yap
    Straightforward but very enjoyable. I particularly liked LEONINE and WETLANDS – how many of us tried to fit “mitt” in the latter, I wonder?

  7. KeithW says:

    On first pass I couldn’t choose between LEOPARD or LIONESS for 1d and then Leo IX popped up for my C.O.D. Thanks Uncle Y and Gordius for a nice, but brief, workout.

  8. muffin says:

    On 1d, was it just ever so slightly cheating by Gordius to omit the hyphen in “cat-like”. The clue would still work with it, but, of course, be very much easier.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Not sure about “slightly cheating”, muffin @ 8, as there seems to be no objection to the use of additional punctuation, such as ,. etc, in clues, so would omission be cheating? However, as a consequence, I failed to get 1d as I had entered (for CAT) LION—, and whilst so close, the answer failed to pop from my brian.

    RAWLPLUGS – great clue, and not an obscure word to me.

    Thanks, UY and Gordius for an enjoyable 35′.

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Completed very quickly (for me) but some amusingly clever clues.

    I liked 28a, 1d, 16d (very nice), 17d (my COD for misdirection).

    I must confess that in haste I saw 17a and moved on rapidly having lazily assumed that the ‘woods’ related to golf clubs :).

  11. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Gordius

    This was very enjoyable with everything slotting into place quite easily.

    Like Tupu, I never even thought of Tiger Woods at 17a.

  12. Stella Heath says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but how is a RAWLPLUG part of a WOODSCREW? One is used for attaching appliances to walls, and the other for joining pieces of wood. I was looking for somewhere to put ATM in the answer, which didn’t help, but the cd. didn’t really give me any idea of what the answer was supposed to be, and I only got it because it fitted.

    Other than that, good puzzle, with some nice surfaces.

  13. tupu says:

    HI Stella

    I assumed part of a woodscrew is ‘screw’. Rawlplugs are not usually used for fixing woodscrews (in wood) but for wall fixing for which you would not (necessarily or ideally) use a woodscrew as such.

  14. Robi says:

    Enjoyable puzzle with quite a few anagrams to help. I liked the WOODSCREW/RAWLPLUGS pairing.

    Thanks UY; RAWLPLUGS were/are a necessity for fixing shelves etc in the UK. In the old days they used to be made of asbestos!

    I thought BoURSE was the exchequer, although Chambers gives burse=purse. I’m not used to wearing TASSE.

    Stella @12; I think the parsing of 16 is that the WOODSCREW is the part that goes in the RAWLPLUGS. :)

  15. Robi says:

    ……tupu @13 has a better explanation…..

  16. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks tupu, that makes better sense of the clue.

  17. Gasman jack says:

    Uncle Yap could you explain what “Gordius must have had…………..US army in 1968″ is all about, please?

  18. Trailman says:

    Let’s hear it for 17d, and hope that after today the challenger can be forgotten and we won’t be seeing Romney alluding to eg the inside of COMMITTED.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Unlike several above I did not find this easy.
    True, the RHS went in like a greased screw into a rawlplug, but there was then a substantial hiatus before the LHS succumbed likewise.
    Last in was 16d (as soon as 17ac was in) and also my favourite.
    I liked 17d for the same reasons as tupu.
    I hesitated, like others, over ‘Dow’. We often see a clue to a person by giving one of their two names; this was two people who are associated – does it open things rather too liberally?

  20. William says:

    Thanks Nuncle. Jolly quick solve (for me) this morning. About 25 minutes so it must have been easy.

    Stella & Tupu re the Rawlplug clue – thank you, you saved my blushes as I had intended to gripe about this.

    ToniL @3 my feelings exactly. This did not feel like a Gordius puzzle – far too straightforward.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. You explained how a piece of metal is like a cup which I had failed to understand :)

    I am bothered by 21d: I could see the hidden answer but could not see where Style fits in. Could you please expand on this.

  22. William says:

    chas @21, no doubt others will have different interpretations but I read style as the verb meaning to name or ENTITLE; as in “The Pope is usually styled ‘His Holiness'”


  23. Uncle Yap says:

    gasman Jack@17 “Gordius must have his hard-boiled egg; something so obscure like PAR for a village in Cornwall. My LAI (last answer in) another obscure village in Vietnam made notorious by that infamous massacre of Vietnamese civilians by the US Army in 1968.

    Gordius is a good compiler but he is given to throwing in a bit of obscurity which would defeat most people. Many blogs ago, he clued PAR as village and it took me ages to find out that there is indeed an obscure village called PAR in Cornwall. Today, his obscurity is RAWLPLUGS which is a trade-name for a DIY item and definitely not in the same league of XEROX, BIRO and HOOVER

    The My LAI thingee was simply an inspiration following PAR …

  24. Gasman jack says:

    Thank you UY.

  25. Martin P says:

    Thanks everyone.

    Oddly enough I found this easier than yesterday’s.

    There were some unusual words, but ones I’d coincidentally stumbled upon before.

    I particularly enjoyed the misdirections e.g. Romney though, and thought it a well-balanced puzzle.

  26. Galeraman says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Gordius.
    @23 for those of us no longer in the first flush of youth, a Rawlplug is indeed in the same league as Xerox, Biro etc. RCW @19 you amaze me!! I am used to being so impressed by your dismissal of a crossword as too easy, when I have struggled, that I am comforted to find you had trouble with one I found easy.
    Haven’t we had both LASAGNE and ELGIN very recently, or have I suffered from two cases of deja vu!!

  27. Robi says:

    RCW @19 et al; I can’t see the objection to Dow Jones. It is an index and a company, and the ‘to’ Jones would seem to me to indicate the connection. Is that right?

  28. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I came to the puzzle late today and raced through it until I got to the SW corner, where Mitt R stopped me from seeing WETLANDS immediately, which in turn made WOODSCREW/RAWLPLUGS non-trivial (all good clues IMHO – nothing obscure about Rawlplugs to most Brits of crossword-solving age, who form the principal audience for the Grauniad). Got there in the end, though – and easier than yesterday’s Rufus (though I never find Rufus crosswords as easy as most others here seem to).

    Well clued, with none of the iffy ones which can somewhat disfigure Gordius’s puzzles.

  29. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Well an enjoyable puzzle. Slightly early for me being sat holidaying in the Red Lion in Alnmouth and assisted by several glasses of “Coast to Coast” (Slightly hoppy but very delicious)

    I still don’t understand what all those comments about Vietnam are about? Surely everybody’s at least heard of if not used a rawlplug? I worked for 40 years in IT and I must have used thousands. (Not at work I must add!)

  30. RCWhiting says:

    Galeraman @26
    Don’t be surprised!
    I reckon that I praise as many for being a good challenge as I do criticise for being a write-in.
    Somehow people seem to spot (and object to) the latter and ignore the former. Ah well.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    RCW it’s because with the easy ones you continue confuse easy with poor, which are only equivalent some of the time. Your comments re hard are spotted, rest assured, and when one day you call a real stinker “good” just becasue it is hard, no doubt some one will comment. It won’t be me because I will have given up and found something else to do.

    Interesting that you went RHS (write in) followed by LHS (harder). I went LHS (mostly write in) followed by RHS (harder).

    Thank heaven for differences, life would be so dull otherwise.

  32. RCWhiting says:

    That’s a very fair expression of your opinion,Derek.
    Of course,I do not confuse easy with poor; if it doesn’t puzzle me (easy) then it’s a failure as a puzzle. Very straightforward.

    BTW I have always found the left more satisfying than the right!
    So I agree with your last sentence.

  33. g larsen says:

    I whizzed through this and was surprised not to find more comments like NeilW’s ‘Tuesday is the new Monday’. Much easier than Rufus yesterday. I can’t recall ever finding a puzzle easier than RCW apparently did – a red-letter day indeed.

  34. chas says:

    William @22 thanks for that. I now agree that Gordius was perfectly correct where I had initially thought to condemn him for an error.

  35. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Gordius and UY
    Cup Day took preference and congrats to the Irish who bred the first seven horses to finish! Only really focused on this today and thought that this was one of his best puzzles – certainly did not find it easy.

    Knew about the things called Rawlplugs but did not know their name. Parsed GRAMPUS slightly differently by finding a puffer was the name for a small porpoise and tenuously linked that to a dolphin like grampus.

    Didn’t go down the presidential ROMNEY path but still took some time to settle on WETLAND.

    All in all a good work out.

  36. Andrew Barton says:

    I thought Jones as an indication for DOW was totally unsound. It only works if you think that Dow was the first name of Mr Jones.

    In general I was very disappointed with this crossword, it was a lot easier and a lot sloppier than Gordius’ usual products.

  37. Paul B says:

    Sounds a bit smelly, Andrew.

  38. mikewglospur says:

    Just read through all the comments above. Surprised no-one has queried/criticised 12A.
    How can “irate” be defined as “anger”?
    If it’s supposed to be = “with anger”, please provide me with an example of a sentence where this could be substituted for the word “irate”.

  39. RCWhiting says:

    “With anger” or “irate” could equally be used to describe her humour before she killed him.
    (posted with humour)

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