Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24118/Arachne

Posted by linxit on July 2nd, 2007


Solving time approx. 15 mins. I think this is the second time I’ve blogged an Arachne puzzle on a Monday. As in the last one, the surface readings are all good, and most of the clues are scrupulously fair, although I’m a bit stuck on the wordplay of a couple.

1 GREATER LONDON (Enter Gordon al)* – I had to have a few crossing letters to get this, as ENGLAND and GARDEN both stood out from the anagram fodder.
10 AMNES(names*),I(s),A
13 DRAVID,IAN – not a clue for non-cricket lovers! Rahul DRAVID is the Indian cricket captain, although (now Sir) IAN Botham is probably famous enough outside cricket these days.
16 SWIVELLED – being SNIVELLED with N (soN finally) replaced with W(eek).
18 SONG,CYCLE – Imagine, perhaps (the John Lennon SONG) + CYCLE = age. I checked afterwards in the dictionary for that definition of cycle, and it’s there.
19 SNAFU (fauns*) – Army slang, I think. Situation Normal, All F***ed Up.
20 A(dvice),NCHORAGE(no charge)* – which leaves “the roads” as the definition??? I don’t get it. [Ilan confirms that “roads” can be a synonym for “roadstead“, which is a partly sheltered anchorage.]
24 DENT(tend*),ATE(eat*) – Bats and nuts being the two anagrinds.
26 ROBERT,BRIDGES – Robert the Bruce was king of Scotland about 700 years ago.
2 RENDITION – I got this from the crossing letters, but don’t understand the rest of it. I thought perhaps there might be an anagram of it meaning “dubiously legal”, but if so I can’t see it. [Explained by Stuart and David in comments – “extraordinary rendition” is the dubiously legal (more like illegal by the sound of it!) extraction of criminals from one state to another for “questioning”.]
5 LOOK,AL,IKE – Cockney rhyming slang: butcher’s (hook) = LOOK, boy = AL, once a president = IKE (Eisenhower).
6 NEEDINESS – similar to 16ac. N(ationalist) replacing S(ociety) in SEEDINESS.
7 OK,API – OK = fine, but I don’t see where API comes from.
8 HASTINGS,BAND(“banned”),A – former dictator of Malawi.
9 GR,AND,DAUGHTER(the guard)* – I’d never noticed that anagram before – must be very useful.
16 SACRAMENT(o) – O = Oscar is a phonetic alphabet letter.
21 CONDO – short for condominium, and found in the name “CONDOleezza Rice”, the US Secretary of State.
22 EDGAR – from King Lear. Edgar disguises himself as Poor Tom, a beggar.

7 Responses to “Guardian 24118/Arachne”

  1. Stuart says:

    2D “extraordinary rendition”, the term used recently in US concerning moving captives so they can be ‘questionned’ in other countries, is “dubiously legal”.

  2. David says:

    Rendition = performance: extraordinary rendition is the (dubiously legal) practice of transporting prisoners to another country for torture.

  3. David says:

    (Woops – just beat me to it, Stuart!)

  4. linxit says:

    Thanks, Stuart and David – I suppose I should watch the news a bit more often!

  5. ilan says:

    I too was confused by ANCHORAGE — but one of the meanings of roads is a part of a harbor apparenlty: see (roads is used for roadstead). I had to look this up.

  6. Dudley says:


    The OED’s definition is ‘A sheltered piece of water near the shore where vessels may lie at anchor in safety; a roadstead’. Chambers has ‘An anchorage in an area of sea protected by guns, etc’.

  7. radchenko says:

    For a Monday crossword, I found this just staggeringly difficult. The first ten slotted in quickly, but then I hit a brick wall. I think 16ac, 6dn and 7dn very obscure, not to mention poets, dictators, and references to Lear, and obscure definitions (anchorage indeed, although the clueing was clever). It was not until an hour later that ‘Greater London’ swam into view that the last ten just fell like dominos. But the very last one to go was ‘rendition’, and I have to say I think this an excellent clue.

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