Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,730 / Arachne

Posted by Gaufrid on June 19th, 2009


It seems another blogger has been prevented from posting for one reason or another so I’m afraid you will have to put up with me again.

A lot of excellent clues today and a most enjoyable puzzle overall. I was tempted to list my favourite clues but there are too many of them to fit into a preamble of reasonable length.

1 ELEMENTS  dd – Am (americium) and I (iodine) are two chemical elements
5 SCOPES  COP (policeman) in SE (corner of London) S (square)
11 PLEAD  hidden in ‘temPLE ADvocates’
12 BULLDOG CLIPS  BULLDOG (Oxonian official) CLIPS (cuffs) – ‘bulldog’, a proctor’s attendant at Oxford
15 HAUL  homophone of ‘hall’ (state room)
18 MAUSOLEUMS  AU (gold) SOLE (fish) in MUMS (mummies)
19 TOOL  TOO L[arge] (oversized)
24 ROUSE  R[iver] OUSE (water in the east)
25 RUTHENIUM  THEN (in those days) I (international) U (unit) in RUM (unusual) – Collins confirms u=unit
26 WIDGET  W (wife) ID (I had) GET (buy)
27 UNCLE SAM  UNCLE (Tom) S (south) AM (American)

1 ECHT  C (Charlie) in THE reversed
2 ESPY  hidden in ‘berniES PYramid’
3 EREBUS  *(BE SURE) – a volcano in Antarctica
4 TRIAL AND ERROR  RI (Indonesia, IVR) A LAND (a country) in TERROR
8 SIDESADDLE  IS reversed [destroye]D [kne]E SADDLE (joint)
14 MUTUAL FUND  MUTUAL FUN (enjoying things together) D[evelop]
17 COMPLETE  L (league) in COMPETE (contest)
20 PINEAL  PINE (long) A L (a student)
22 MISS  dd
23 IMAM  M (male) AMI (friend) reversed

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,730 / Arachne”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. I particularly liked ECHT, HAUL and MAUSOLEUMS but, as you say, lots more besides, with some great surface readings.

    I had HAPPENING as a double, rather than cryptic definition. Chambers gives it as ‘fashionable’.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    I read 9a as a double definition rather than a CD. fashionable = happening, (an) event = (a) happening.

    I’m not taken by the clue to ROUSE.

    In 1a did like ‘Am I?’ as a definition by example.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Eileen & Colin
    I read 9a both ways and in the end decided to give you something (other than the puzzle) to comment on :-)

  4. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.
    I was stuck for an explanation of 1ac ELEMENTS.
    Not too sure about 24ac ROUSE either.

  5. golgonooza says:

    Thanks Gaufrid,

    This was also enjoyable for me, and I liked ‘kind old Palestinian’ for Good Samaritan. I also enjoyed the wordplay in 4d and 13d. I dragged the word ‘echt’ out of my dusty long term memory, and vaguely thought that it must mean real, but the only thing that sparks in my mind is the bit in the Wasteland which goes something like ‘ bin gar keine russin, stamm aus litauen, echt deutsch’. Don’t know what that means but anyway!

  6. sidey says:

    A v. minor ‘toms’ theme. I’m sure another setter would have included some other uses.

    I predict another ‘joint’ debate. ;O)

    Isn’t 6d a bit of a cliché? I’m sure I remember it from pre-interweb days.

    Nice puzzle though.

  7. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Hmmm…I’m not as enthusiatic as everyone else.

    I failed to get bulldog clips as I managed to make bullion coins fit to as much satifaction as many of the other clues gave. Bullion = Oxonian ? and They hold value.

    Anyway I’ll leave it to other to rant about obscure knowledge of oxbridge colleges but it is a pet hate of mine in these puzzles.

    Still can’t make sidesaddle work either and Ruthenium! Really. Do, I need to memorise the whole periodic table because don’t try and tell me that it was gettable from the wordplay ‘cos it wasn’t.

    But mostly good. Mutual Fund my favourite.

  8. jvh says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.

    25a: IU is the abbreviation for international unit. I felt the clue suggested that THENIU included RUM, rather than the other way round.

    20d: Pineal is an adjective: the pineal gland is an organ.

  9. muck says:

    Pineal is an adjective, jvh.
    Chambers says so.
    But ‘the pineal’ is sometimes used as a noun…

  10. jvh says:

    Thanks for the references, muck.

  11. John says:

    To be picky, 23 ac should indicate a French “friend” shouldn’t it?
    And as usual I’m not so fond of indiscriminate initial letter usage, e.g. “l” for league, “s” for square.
    And I agree with jvh that the wordplay is the wrong way round in 25 ac.
    But enjoyed it nevertheless, esp 18 ac 21 ac and 10 dn.

  12. Gaufrid says:

    Chambers has ‘ami’ (defined as friend) so I don’t think that ‘French’ is necessary.

    This was not ‘indiscriminate use of initial letters’ as you put it, since ‘l’ and ‘s’ are standard abbreviations for league and square respectively, as confirmed in Chambers (and probably Collins, I haven’t checked).

  13. crikey says:

    I’m with Paul above (comment 7). While there were some nice clues (particularly liked ‘tool’), I thought there were too many vague indicators, plus a few question marks over parts of speech – does the surface reading for ‘plead’ actually make grammatical sense? Shouldn’t it be ‘speech’, rather than ‘speak’? I realise that it needs to be ‘speak’ for the definition to make sense, but… ho hum…

    I also thought the surface for the very obscure ‘ruthenium’ was terrible. It really sounded like the setter was struggling to come up with a sentence to incorporate the wordplay, and as jvh points out above, I’m not sure it makes sense anyway!

    Compared to last week, this one has been pretty disappointing for me – I really hope it’s Paul or Shed tomorrow to redress the balance…

    Sorry to sound grumpy, I’m actually quite a mellow person really, honest!

  14. Dagnabit says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. I missed 12ac and 24ac. For 12ac I invented my own brand name – Fulldon Clips – thinking that a “full don” could be the name of an official at Oxford.

    Crikey, unless I am misunderstanding you, the grammar in 11ac makes sense if you read “advocates” as a noun.

  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Nice crossword with some very ordinary clues (22dn, 6dn, 17dn, 9ac) and some very good clues (mentioned by several people above).
    We had the same ‘problem’ with the construction of 25ac as jvh (#8) and others, but also with a part of 8dn.
    ‘Having finally destroyed knee’ meaning both D and E?
    Not so sure about that.

  16. Mr Beaver says:

    Paul (not Paul) – I understand your finding ‘Bulldog’ for Oxford Uni police a bit obscure. When trying ‘Bullion’, were you perhaps thinking of the infamous Bullingdon Club, stamping ground of half the Conservative front bench ?

  17. Neil says:

    Sorry to be late!
    I completed it but didn’t like it much and go along with all the critical comments above.
    Particularly, though they may be legitimate, the preponderance of single letters (or, sometimes double ones). “Am” and “I” foxed me, although I got the answer (1a). SE for corner of London? AND S for Square. Hmmm (5a). L for large is commonplace, but amongst so many others? (19a) IU AND maybe a missing “in” after ‘included’ (25a). W for wife (26a). S Am (27a). C for Charlie? C’mon! (1d). R(epublic of) I(ndonesia) (4d). (destroye)D AND (kne)E, indicated only by “finally” (8d). Beginning to D(evelop) is perfecly legit, but it’s yet another (14d). L for league (17d). L may usually be ‘student’ but yet another (20d). And finally, M for Male (23d). There may be some I’ve missed.

    As I’ve said, my quibble is not with legitimacy but with frequency. Isn’t it a bit lazy?

  18. Neil says:

    I’ve only just noticed there were 3 ‘L’s: large, league and student.

  19. John says:

    Once again may I just say that Chambers is not the Bible it seems to be for some. If I used initial letters in every day communication would anyone understand them?
    “Jst popping dn to the s for a bit, meet me thr” I may well text my spouse. Where would she go?

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