Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,858 – Gordius

Posted by Andrew on January 30th, 2013


There seemed to be less to nitpick about here than I usually find in Gordius puzzles, but not a great deal to get excited about either, with a lot of very easy clues, some rather weak cryptic definitions, and a bit of obscure knowledge needed to confirm the parsing of 28a.

1. FAREWELL ADDRESS Cryptic definition
9. RELAY RACE ([p]LAYER CARE)* – in fact it’s an anagram of each element separately, but this isn’t really indicated
10. GRILL GR (Georgius Rex) + ILL (seedy)
12. ATTACKS AT + homophone of tax”
13. NAG Double definition
14. NODULES Homophone (approximately) of “no duels”
22. CORELLI CORE + ILL< Corelli was an Italian composer of the baroque period.
24. OVA Hidden in cardiOVAscular [irregularity]
26. LAMPLIT AMP (unit of electric current) in L L (L plates on a learner’s car) + IT
28. TRIAL Triple definition – “test” is the obvious one; “threefold” is unusual but guessable; and a new one on me: Antoine Trial (1737-1795) was a French singer, after whom a style of tenor voice is named
1. FOREIGN MINISTER Cryptic definition
2. RELIC ELI (OT priest) in RC
5. AVERAGE AVE (Latin “hail!”) + RAGE
6. DIGITAL DIG IT (understand it) + A L[earner]
7. EPISCOPAL Cryptic definition – the nature of a bishop’s see
16. EMU EMULATE less LATE (dead)
18. LOO LOO[k]
21. PONTIFF (IF NOT)* in P[iano] F[orte]
22. CALL BOX CALL (summon] BOX (fight). The Tardis has the form of a 1960s police call box.
27. LIE IN LIE + IN (fashionable)

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,858 – Gordius”

  1. michelle says:

    Thanks, Andrew for an informative blog. I had not realised that 28a was a triple definition.

    I found the lower half easiest, with the NW being the most difficult. Last in for me was 4d.

    I liked the grid design with the long answers round all four sides, and the short answers in the centre which made it easier for me with lots of beginning and ending letters.

    I needed help to fully parse 10a (the G = Georgius), 2d and 20d so thanks for the blog.

    I was only able to solve 22d with the help of google as I did not know what ‘Tardis’ is. So, you can tell that I never watched Dr Who….

    My favourite was 23d – the clue was so cleverly written and it really got my imagination going.

  2. Rick says:

    A fair summary Andrew. I rather enjoyed it but some of the cryptic definitions were a little weak (I often find these to be rather unsatisfying – it seems to be hard to come up with really good ones). I also agree that the homophone in 14 across is not very convincing. On the other hand, whilst they were straightforward, I did like 29 across and 5 down.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Gordius

    Very much agree with Andrew.

    On 28a my memory went back vaguely to Georges Thill, said by many to have been France’s best tenor, but logic, Chambers and google prevailed to give ‘trial’.

    I liked 11a, 2d, 5d and 6d.

  4. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Anyone else read “peer” as a perhaps more apt noun in 18d? Or was that intended as part of the misdirection? I thought of how Paul would have been applauded for saucy ambiguity had he set the clue.

  5. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Gordius and Andrew

    A bit of a breather puzzle today … and welcome … my head was starting to hurt with the great challenges we’ve had over the past fortnight. Messed up the NE corner by lazily writing CODICIL at 3, but quickly fixed.

    Last in were EPISCOPAL (which I quite liked) and ATTACKS (for no real reason apart from travelling anti-clockwise around the grid from NW. Liked the triple definition at 28.

  6. William says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Best thing here was the grid, which gives plenty of scope for fun with the 4 long lights.

    Being fascinated by shape and symmetry I record the grids and there has only been 2 others like this in the last 350 or so. Pity really.

    I found TRIAL getable but couldn’t parse it without the blog.

  7. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I had left 18a empty because I was unable to think of a tenor who fitted.

    If you ask me how many meanings has ‘spring’ I would immediately answer ‘many’. If you ask the same question about ‘see’ (7d) I usually answer ‘just one’ – even though I have observed this many times in crosswords. :( I got there eventually once I had all the crossing letters.

  8. Andrew says:

    Monkeypuzzler, I’m sure you’re right about the double meaning of “peer” in 18d. I didn’t notice at the time, but it makes that a very nice clue.

  9. William says:

    Monkeypuzzler @4 – nice, I missed that – a very Paulesque clue.

  10. Robi says:

    Enjoyable enough puzzle, thanks Gordius.

    Thanks also to Andrew; the usual gripe about homophones – in my experience NODULES is always pronounced as in ‘nod.’ Perhaps adding ‘poshly’ before ‘said’ might have fixed the problem.

    I’m surprised that others didn’t see the peer=lord in 18. I read it as an &lit (although someone will probably correct me and say that it is a semi-&lit!) Very Paulian. I spent ages trying to find some relevance to the centre patch. I got ‘up-and-ova’ with ‘cool,’ but then got stuck on ‘egansem!’

    Apart from the LOO, I did like the undead EMU, DIGITAL and ELLIPSE.

  11. michelle says:

    monkeypuzzler@4, andrew@8, william@9

    I’m a beginner, and often I find the blog comments more cryptic than the cryptic!

    Re 18d my first thoughts when reading the clue went to lord, earl, duke etc- am I on the right track for understanding your comments?

    Please clarify to a newbie…

  12. William says:

    Hello Michelle and welcome.

    Yes, you’re on the right track with earls & dukes but the additional reference was to a pee-er ie one who pees.

    Is that what you meant?

  13. Trailman says:

    Sitting on the bus with Mrs Trailman and she was talking about handbags so 13a was first in.

    That’s got the misogyny out of the way. Her medical knowledge contributed NODULES, gratefully accepted. But with 28a, well I have read books on opera history and not come across M. Trial. Maybe if I was a singing teacher.

  14. michelle says:

    william@12, thanks – okay, I get it now – oh that is not what I expected! Certain advantages to being a beginner, I see.

    Glad I got it as loo(k)

  15. Miche says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I had to look up TRIAL to find out the tenor connection. Also wasted a minute or so trying to fit CELLINI into 22a.

    Like Robi @10, I’ve only heard NODULE pronounced “nod-yule” rather than “node-yule.” I can’t find the latter online: Oxford and Macmillan, for example, agree on /?n?dju?l/. For some reason I can’t get the pronunciation on the Macmillan page to do anything, so here’s a direct link to the mp3:

  16. Miche says:

    Sorry, my attempt at including the IPA didn’t work just now – it looked fine when I previewed it.

  17. rhotician says:

    Robi @10.
    Adding poshly would work for nobody, not even a nob.
    The second half is also dodgy. Consider no duels and nod yules.

  18. Stella says:

    Hi Miche, I’ve had the same problem with IPA sumbols, even though, as you say, it looks fine in the preview. Maybe we should mention this to Gaufrid, if he’s feeling up to it.

  19. Derek Lazenby says:

    Gosh! A whole xword without resort to gadgets! A pleasing rarity for me. No doubt certain experts who think all puzzles should be geared solely to their abilities and to hell with the rest of the world will want to say this was too easy.

  20. duncandisorderly says:

    “sales resistance”? oh well. :-/

  21. Mitz says:

    Thanks Gordius and Andrew,

    Well, it was at the easy end of the scale, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun in places. I liked EPISCOPAL and ATTACKS (political comment Gordius? Well I never!) and CALL BOX made me smile, although I would have put “apparently” instead of “say” in the clue.

    William #6 – funnily enough, this grid appeared only just over a week ago – Puck’s offering on January 22nd.

  22. MalP says:

    Thanks to Gordius and Andrew.

    Like Brucew I appreciated today’s relatively straightforward puzzle, but like several others I can’t thing of any native accent that 14ac works in as a homophone (to me both syllables are different, and so is the stress). I’m also not convinced ‘retch’ means the same as ‘vomit’, but I don’t really want to think about that too much …

    5d and 25ac were my favourites

  23. William says:

    Mitz @21 thanks for that. I’ve been in the USA for 10 days or so and must have missed it.

    3 in 350 and I miss one – wish I hadn’t mentioned it!

  24. Mitz says:

    Don’t worry – I’m impressed that you keep a record!

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    And there I was thinking it is Wednesday and all along it was Monday……

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A straightforward puzzle? Yes.
    But we liked it [sometimes we like Gordius, sometimes we don’t (or do less)].
    Even if Gordius’ world of cryptics is not a perfect one, in his interview with Alan Connor he made clear that he wants to entertain us or at least bring a smile to our face every now and then. And that is exactly how I look at Gordius nowadays, despite my niggles & naggles [that’s not a real word, I know, but it sounds rather good :)].

    Anyway, I think in 14ac, it is just that the homophone indicator is wrongly positioned. Gordius wanted to say NO + a homophone of DUELS, so this clue should have been edited (in my opinion).

    Thanks for the blog Andrew.
    I do not agree with you about 9ac (RELAY RACE).
    I read it as ‘Player losing head’, so LAYER, which then should be prepared with CARE: (LAYER + CARE)*. Don’t see any problem with that.

  27. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Nice easy one for a Wednesday. Except for the bizarre TRIAL!!!

    Quite enjoyable though!

    By the way Andrew regarding the 9A “Anagramgate” I took the R for RACE from LAYER and the A for RELAY from CARE. So it’s not just an anagram of each word :-)

    Thanks to Andrew and G

  28. RCWhiting says:

    I think Sil has that one correct.

  29. rhotician says:

    Sil, whatever Gordius wanted to say, if you just reposition the homophone indicator then you’re left with ‘outlaw’ to indicate NO, which it cannot on it’s own. Then there’s no such word as ‘dules’. And DULES doesn’t sound like ‘duels’. They are anagrams though.

  30. Sea Doc says:

    First post as too intimidated usually though I enjoy reading others’.

    Why now? To commend Derek Lazenby @19. I rarely finish these things and it’s a joy when I do. Invariably the smugness and sometimes the satisfaction recede when I check here to find that some complain that it was too easy.

    Gordius, Rufus and Mr Lazenby, I salute you!

  31. RCWhiting says:

    Welcome Sea Doc,keep posting.

  32. MadLogician says:

    Add me to those who think 14 cannot work as a homophone. Duels has two syllables, ‘dules’ has one.

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