Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,452 – Arachne

Posted by Uncle Yap on July 28th, 2008

Uncle Yap.

dd = double definition
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

I have just been told that this is my blog. Better late than never.
Quite an easy start to the week

ACROSS
9 MACMILLAN *(Camilla M for married N for name) Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC (1894–1986) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963. Well known in Malaysia as he presided at UK Premier when Malaya became independent and Malaysia was formed.
10 SHEBA
11 GRAVE dd
12 ISHERWOOD Antony Sher, British actor
Sir Henry Joseph Wood, English conductor,
Christopher Isherwood (1904—1986), Anglo-American novelist
13 THEATRE *(at three)
14 ASHTRAY *(a trashy)
17 RIPON Rip off? no, rip on
19 BEE 3/9 or one third of the letters of Beethoven
20 ULTRA ha
21 THOREAU au-thor Take the au to the back and insert e (last letter of the)
22 THEBANS the bans (curses)
24 BREAKFAST *(baker) fast (cracking)
26 ASSES (m) asses
28 ASSET tv set
29 LARCENIST Ins of CEN in *(trials)

DOWN
1 SMUG rev gums
2 SCRAPE scrap + E
3 DILETTANTE Ins of L (student) in DIET (slim) TANTE (French for aunt)
4 PLAICE sounds like place (rank)
5 INCHOATE *(on the cia)
6 USER ha
7 DEMOCRAT De (Delaware) Mo (Missouri) C (circa or about) RAT (desert)

8 BAND B (black) and ; I do not like this kind of clue where 75% of the answer is given by the fodder. Oops, forgot to mention Blue are an English pop boy band consisting of four members: Lee Ryan, Duncan James, Antony Costa, and Simon Webbe. Together the band sold over 3.7 million records.
13 TAROT Ins of O (over) in tart (sharp)
15 HOUSEMATES simple cha
16 YEARS Ins of AR (a king) in yes
18 PROTEASE proteas (plants) E (first letter of excrete)
19 BRUTALLY Ins of RUT (sex) in BALLY, a euphemism for bloody, but almost meaningless.
22 TATARS *(start a)
23 ABSEIL Ins of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy aka mad cow disease) in AIL
24 BEAR dd
25 KOTO Removal of Y (unknown) from KYOTO ; a Japanese musical instrument consisting of a long box with thirteen silk strings.
27 SATI *(its a) more familiarly “suttee”, an Indian widow who burned herself on her husband’s funeral pyre; the Hindu custom of so doing.

15 Responses to “Guardian 24,452 – Arachne”

  1. Tom Hutton says:

    Is Tarot a definition of card?

  2. AlanR says:

    8d: Why does ‘band’ mean ‘blue’?

    19d: What do people think about ‘described by [euphemism]‘ meaning surrounded by [bally]? I know that one can talk about describing, say, a circle, but can describe mean the same as circumscribe?

    Generally quite an enjoyable and easy puzzle!

  3. Tom Hutton says:

    As far as 8dn goes, isn’t there (or wasn’t there) a pop band called Blue? This would make the clue OK.

  4. AlanR says:

    According to my dictionary, Tarot is ‘a game played with, or each card of, a pack of 78 cards.’ I haven’t heard it to stand for a card though – I think people usually talk about ‘Tarot cards.’

  5. muck says:

    A few new (to me ) words in a Mon puzzle: 22dn TATARS (alt spelling of ‘tartars’); 25dn KOTO; 27dn SATI (alt spelling of ‘suttee’). But it’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new: good puzzle, good blog.

  6. smutchin says:

    Tom: I reckon yes, “card” in 13dn is a fair definition of Tarot, as in “a tarot card”.

    Muck: I thought Tartars was the alternative spelling and Tatars the preferred version, Kazan being the capital of Tatarstan. You’re probably familiar with the sound made by the koto, if not its name.

    Would anyone else consider 25dn and 27dn “&lit” or is it just me?

  7. golgonooza says:

    Yep Smutchin I thought 27dn was definitely &lit. Thought 8dn was very clever too, although it took me ages to remember the band Blue.

  8. John says:

    Not a bad puzzle but 12 ac is obscure. I presume I = 1 = A, but not convincing. In 22 ac what makes “bans” into “curses”? In 19 dn, “rut” isn’t a euphemism, it’s a word for sex bewteen non human mammals.
    By the way what does &lit mean. Is it txtspk?

  9. muck says:

    John: 22ac ‘ban’ is defined in Chambers as ‘a proclamation’ [as in reading the bans for a wedding] but also as ‘a curse’. I have never understood the meaning of &lit either!

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Ximenes in his 1966 book “Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword” has a chapter on &Lit, his favourite clue. &lit. is short for “This clue both indicates the letters or part of the required word, in one of the ways already explained in this book, and can also be read, in toto, literally, as an indication of the meaning of the whole word, whether as a straight or veiled definition… Every word of the clue does double duty.” One of his examples is: “This is when models that have lost their shape are employed” Ans: SELDOM. Hmm?

    I am not sure if he is the originator of the phrase.

  11. C G Rishikesh says:

    Alec Robins in his book “Crosswords” (Teach Yourself Books, 1975) (later republished as “The ABC of Crosswords”) mentions that the &lit type of clue “was used to some extent by Afrit, more regularly by Ximenes…”

    Afrit precedes Ximenes, I think.

    The above observation, however, doesn’t address the question who coined the word.

    Alec Robins writes: “The idea is, briefly, that the wording of such a clue gives accurate indications from which the answer can be worked out, and also that _the same wording,_ exactly as it stands, is literally a definition of that answer. In other words, the solver must read the clue once to discover what kind of answer he is supposed to be looking for, and then he must read it again in order to see the instructions for working it out.”

    Robins adds: “A different solver may tackle the clue the opposite way round: that is to say, he may read the clue as an indication of how to arrive at the answer and then read it again, whereupon he will realise that the whole clue as it stands is a definition of the answer in itself.”

    He concludes: “It seems to me, therefore, that we shall appreciate its purpose and its subtlety better if from the outset we think of this type as a ‘read it again’ clue.”

  12. Paul B says:

    The &lit that springs to mind this morning is

    The jungly mass one cleaves (6)

    which is quite a complicated clue, involving single-letter indication plus synonym in a charade, containing an anagram, ‘&lit’.

    The meaning of ‘cleave’ here is to hold rather than the obvious and opposite (one reason why I like it), and essentially the setter is saying ‘M+ACE holds THE anagrammed’.

    That’s the techie bit, but: there’s no definition! Luckily, if you read the whole thing, it’s actually a definition of the answer, MACHETE.

    That’s made things a whole lot clearer, I’ll bet.

  13. muck says:

    Thanks 10, 11 & 12 above, for your most entertaining & erudite explanations of &lit

  14. Berny says:

    Despite all the erudite explanation, I still found this to be far too loosely clued. Unhappy with ‘tarot’, ‘thebans’, ‘brutally’ among others. Very unsatisfying indeed.

  15. Speckled Jim says:

    …and don’t bees buzz rather than hum?

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