Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,893 – Gordius

Posted by Uncle Yap on March 12th, 2013

Uncle Yap.

Fortunately a relatively easy puzzle without too many obscurities. Shouldn’t trouble any of the regulars.

9 BATTY Get increase extremely tidily, which is crackers (5)
BAT (get in crease, go in to bat at a cricket game) + TidilY (extreme letters) for a word meaning mad, deranged, insane, crackers)
10 ELEVATION Taking up last book slightly adapted without opening (9)
REVELATION (last book of the Holy Bible) minus opening letter & slightly adapted by V and L changing places
11 YACHTSMAN Chants may be composed by sailor … (9)
12 ICING … it’s sweet to hear one give voice (5)
Sounds like “I sing”
13 LIAISON Union as holding one in celebrity (7)
Ins of AIS (ins of I in AS) in LION (celebrity) for one of the most commonly misspelt words in the British English language
15 EXPOUND Interpret former mass (7)
EX (former) POUND (mass)
17 VIOLA Instrument involving some abuse? (5)
VIOLATE or VIOLATION (abuse) minus TE or TION
18 SAP The French step over drain (3)
Rev of PAS (French for step)
20 OFFAL Waste from a plate? (5)
Cha of OFF (from) A L (plate warning of learner driver at the wheel)
22 REFRESH Give new spirit to priest in sheer confusion (7)
Ins of FR (Father, Friar, priest) in *(SHEER)
25 LEE TIDE Organise swimmer to reverse aquatic movement (3,4)
Rev of EDIT (organise as in to manage a publication) EEL (swimmer)
26 SWING Sometimes boys win, girls lose — or it can go the other way (5)
27 AIRWORTHY Worry a hit might spoil Dreamliner’s quality? (9)
*(WORRY A HIT) The Boeing 787 Dreamliner or simply Boeing 787 is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
30 ABSORBENT Away traversing the globe, able to take it all in (9)
Ins of ORB (globe) in ABSENT (away)
31 STOAT Toast drunk once in judge’s garb (5)
*(TOAST) for an animal whose coat (ermine) is used in the trimmings of a judge’s attire
1 OBEY Comply with order unknown (4)
OBE (Order of the British Empire) + Y (symbol for unknown in algebra)
2 STACCATO Notes detached and cast out by censor (8)
*(CAST) + CATO (Cato the Elder or “the Censor” (Marcus Porcius Cato 234BC–149BC), Roman statesman)
3 CYST Bladder and hearts lost in city street (4)
CitY StreeT (hearts lost)
4 BEAM ENDS Last resort on reaching which former airline improves (4,4)
BEA (British European Airways, a British airline which existed from 1946 until 1974) MENDS (improves). “last resort on reaching” … please see neilw@1 for explanation of this expression which is new to me.
5 SEANCE A scene suited for necromancy? (6)
*(A SEANCE) for a word that means the art of revealing future events by calling up and questioning the spirits of the dead; enchantment; sorcery.
6 LATIN PROSE Classic writing makes it personal (5,5)
7 MILIEU Setting maybe at Watford Gap? (6)
MI (British motorway) LIEU (place) Watford Gap is a busy intersection of the MI
8 SNUG Cosy with raised arms (4)
Rev of GUNS (arms)
13 LOVER Endless uprising of one head over heels? (5)
Rev of REVOLT minus T
14 SCAVENGERS Those who delight in filth, namely TV characters (10)
SC (scilicet, namely) AVENGERS, characters from a 1960s British TV series of the same name
16 DOLCE It’s sweet to find many in benefit (5)
Ins of C (one hundred, many) in DOLE (benefit)
19 POLARITY Shame about oral outburst going to extremes (8)
Ins of *(ORAL) in PITY (shame)
21 FRICTION Disagreement about a dash of reality in romance (8)
Ins of R (a dash of Reality) in FICTION (romance)
23 FLIMSY Run across single copy lacking substance (6)
Ins of I MS (single ManuScript, copy) in FLY (run)
24 HEARER Audience are captured by this lady (6)
Ins of ARE in HER (this lady)
26 SCAM Swindle over burgers? (4)
Rev of MACS (burgers as flipped in McDonald’s)
28 OAST Seaside not the first to get drier (4)
COAST (seaside) minus C for an oven or drier
29 YETI Creature that’s doubtful, nevertheless one can be seen (4)
YET (nevertheless) + I (one) for the abominable snowman whose existence (like Bigfoot) is always a matter of controversy

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 25,893 – Gordius”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Fun from Gordius today. Nothing controversial and some clever devices – I especially liked BATTY.

    ELEVATION – don’t forget you need to “adapt” it!

    PAS – you’ve got a typo – pass instead of step.

    If you’re on your BEAM-ENDS, you’re in big trouble. This from the net: “The beams here are the horizontal transverse timbers of ships. This nautical phrase came about with the allusion to the danger of imminent capsize if the beam ends were touching the water.” (I’m not sure “capsize” is the right word, though!)

    Isn’t Watford Gap a service station rather than an intersection?

  2. NeilW says:

    Actually, sorry, “capsize” is correct.

  3. NeilW says:

    By the way, Klingsor, over in the Independent, clued SCAVENGER last week thus: “Steed, perhaps, that is first of all a carrion-eater.”

  4. dreadnought says:

    Nice two cups of tea job. Thanks Gordius and UY for blog. Now I see why ‘milieu’ works. Nice.

    more on 4d: when “reaching” (i.e. wind more or less at 90 deg to ship heading) the boat will heel over. The ultimate in heeling over is when the ship dips its beam ends into the water and starts to capsize, as NeilW says. Hence def= “Last resort on reaching”.

  5. stiofain says:

    Pretty dull and the usual shoe-horned-in religion.

  6. michelle says:

    I failed to finish this puzzle, giving up on 31a STOAT.


    I solved but could not parse 20a.

    I learnt a few new words today: BEAM ENDS, OAST & LEE TIDE.

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap.

  7. sidey says:

    Watford Gap Services provide conveniences for travellers hence M1 loo. Never heard MILIEU pronounced that way though.

  8. muffin says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Gordius
    Very straightforward. Last in was SCAVENGERS, which I thought was rather weakly defined. SCAM also irritated me – no way of knowing which direction to write it until crossers entered.
    MILIEU and STOAT did raise a smile, though.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks UT and Gordius.

    I enjoyed this, some nice touches BATTY, ELEVATION (my last in) etc.

    I am still wondering about MILIEU – I am sure it is M1 Loo, but shouldn’t there be some indication of an approximate homophone for Lieu?

    muffin @ 8. I have no problem with the temporary ambiguity of SCAM (and SNUG, SAP) – it is something to be resolved later. After all, Araucaria’s alphabetic ones (enjoyed by all) are full of such ambiguities from the start.

    Held up slightly by EXPOUND by writing EXPLAIN, thinking PLAIN (chant) might be connected to mass.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Thinking about it, EXPLAIN is nearer to INTERPRET than EXPOUND is, I would say.

  11. muffin says:

    Dave Ellison @ 8
    SCAM is a minor quibble, I agree. However SNUG is unambiguous, showing that it is possible to use this type of construction more fairly.

  12. muffin says:

    Dave Ellison @9, not @8.

  13. NeilW says:

    sidey @7 and muffin @8, in the phrase “day in lieu” I have always heard it pronounced “loo”.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I enjoyed this one from Gordius — even more in retrospect with the parsing of 4dn and 7dn fully explained. Some nice touches.

    Fell into the EXPLAIN trap temporarily at 15ac.

    Thanks to NeilW for the info on beam ends, a phrase I did know but not its origins.

  15. colin says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap and Gordius.

    24 was last in for me as I was desperately looking a girl’s name to fit so G’s misdirection worked nicely for me if no one else. I also missed the “in crease” trick. D’oh!

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Gordius

    Started like a write-in but got steadily more tricky and enjoyable overall.

    I simply took milieu as M1 + lieu (place)

    I was hesitatnt about ‘airworthy’ as a ‘quality’ (cf. ‘airworthiness’) but it was otherwise a good clue with a clever surface and an unlikely anagram.

    I ticked 9a, 12a, 2d, 4d, 6d and 19d.

  17. Paul B says:

    ‘In-crease’ … arrgh.

  18. John Appleton says:

    BEAM ENDS was last in, never heard the expression. Other than than, no great trouble.

  19. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Gordius and UY

    Found this slightly tougher than normal from this setter and got ruffled by his looseness today (CYST = bladder ?, EXPOUND = interpret ?, MAC = hamburger ?). The last one could have been fixed by simply writing ‘Not a big swindle over burgers?’ surely.

    Other than that, I thought that there was some very clever clues – OFFAL, MILIEU (although local knowledge required to really get it) and BEAM ENDS.

    Last in was LEE TIDE that I had not heard of.

  20. Robi says:

    Pleasant enough crossword with some nice touches.

    Thanks UY; I agree with you and tupu @16 that MILIEU is just M1 + place – no homophone, and it is a place as well as having services.

    Despite its derivation, I am surprised that CYST is still used to mean bladder. Can anyone out there reference a modern usage for this? I always think of it as an abnormal fluid-filled sac.

    I particularly liked BATTY and the surface for ABSORBENT.

  21. NeilW says:

    Robi @20, ever heard of cystitis?

  22. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Gordius and Uncle Yap.

    I thought MILIEU was fine. A lieu is a place (or setting)and Watford Gap is (almost exclusively) associated with the M1. In lieu of gives an extra chuckle.

    Thanks, Dreadnought @4 for the extra explanation of reaching.I really like the nautical expressions, which feature so prominently in our language.

    STOAT went in via ermine.They are beautiful creatures except when robbing the birdtable!

    Giovanna x

  23. Robi says:

    NeilW @21; fair cop, thanks!

  24. Rowland says:

    Not very good, held together with grammatical string and tape really,with the ugly Guardianisms especially at BATTY. 26 too is amnbiguous. Easy to correct as well!! Not my cup of tea at all.

  25. NeilW says:

    My final thoughts on MILIEU: a typically dodgy Gordius clue, open to interpretation.

    UY’s parsing is absolutely OK: LIEU is in Chambers as “Place or stead” but, then it carries on, “chiefly used in the phrase in lieu of” so, given that most English language speakers would say “in loo of” I think either parsing is fine.

    As Michelle would say: “I solved it but I didn’t parse it.”

  26. Trailman says:

    Typical Gordius mixed bag, but I’ve been enjoying reading how one solver’s meat is another’s poison.

    For me, LATIN PROSE was weak, and not too keen on AIRWORTHY either, but MILIEU was a chuckle along with STACCATO and STOAT. Just goes to show how different we all are.

  27. NeilW says:

    Paul B @17, is that a positive or negative comment? Personally, I thought it was excellent.

  28. george says:

    I am having one of those days today. It took me ages to get going and after several attempts I still had 3 in the SE corner to solve. After a break for some lunch and a large cup of coffee YETI, STOAT and OAST fell so easily in to place that I could not understand why I had been stumped by them earlier.

    Thanks UY for the blog as I could not parse some.

    I (like bruce @19) was surprised that the solution to 3d ‘bladder’ was CYST. I know that you can have cysts in most places, including in/on your bladder. The Chamber’s definitions for the two terms do not in my opinion really overlap, but another online definition of cyst I found does: In an animal or plant, a thin-walled, hollow organ or cavity containing a liquid secretion; a sac, vesicle, or bladder.

  29. PeterM says:

    17: it is probably the most abused instrument!

  30. rhotician says:

    NeilW @27: PaulB does like to be cryptic and I feared that ‘arrgh’ might be interpretted as ‘groan’. I read it as “one of the worst clues ever, even for Gordius’. And I agree. Even ‘get in crease’ is very poor for BAT.

  31. Tom Hutton says:

    On your beam ends is more likely to be the position of a boat when washed up on the shore and resting on its beam ends. Washed up and on your beam ends are very much the same thought rather than any notion of imminent death by drowning.

    27ac is rather curious as of course the Dreamliner is currently not airworthy as far as I know.

  32. rhotician says:

    Trailman @26:Meat and poison. You don’t like AIRWORTHY. But you do like STACCATO. They are both incorrectly clued as nouns.

  33. Tom says:

    Rowland@24. Couldn’t agree more. 9, 10 and 26 particularly poor.

  34. nametab says:

    stiofain @5: are you objecting to something’s being shoe-horned in or specifically to religion’s being shoe-horned in? In either case I don’t understand the objection.

  35. Martin P says:

    Thanks Gordius and folk.

    I didn’t see in-crease either.

    I found the NE corner quite tough for no clear reason.

    My COD 31a.

    A fair Tuesday walkabout though I’d say.

  36. Martin P says:

    Stiofain: religion plays no part in my life, and it does jar a little that some seem to assume we’ll know the bible as a matter of culture. However, no more so than those who expect we’ll also be familiar with US television shows.

  37. Badger says:

    I see many complaints about “Grauniadisms” .Repent you do not know how lucky we are.
    Tomorrow I leave for two months in India where my paper of choice is the Hindustan Times which
    prints old Times crosswords.
    Yes they print the grid and yes they print the clues but to quote the late Eric Morecambe “not necessarily
    In that order”.
    I may solve one across as “Mayan” only to find that the grid has seven spaces. At other times the across clues are correct but the downs are from a different day. Grrrr.
    Looking forward to being back

  38. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Well I found this enjoyable and managed not to be offended by adjectives clued as nouns :-)

    However I didn’t find this particularly easy or straightforward, quite the opposite in fact. (Must have been those damned adjectives!)

    Different strokes etc……

    Last in was ELVATION (until I realised I’d missed 24d which wasn’t exactly taxing)

    Thanks to UY and Gordius

  39. Huw Powell says:

    COD was one I missed – LATIN PROSE. A perfectly fair anagram clue that never occurred to me to solve that way.

    Otherwise a bit clunky, a half dozen not solved (MILIEU??? what?) and a few more left in pencil. Most of the way through this the word “wavelength” kept occurring to me.

    But they’d (the Grauniad puzzles) be no fun if I could solve them all. Especially if I could in ten or twenty minutes. That’s why I gave up on the American “quicks”, like the NYT Sunday crossword “puzzle”.

    Thanks for the exercise and whichever clues I really liked (5d), Gordius, and the blog, Uncle Yap and the rest of you.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

eight + 1 =