Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,776 – Arachne

Posted by manehi on August 12th, 2009


Two long anagrams gave me an quick start to a generally straightforward puzzle, but I’m still stumped by some of the wordplay.

Edits thanks to comments

2 MIGHTY Sounds like “might ‘e”
9 CENTRAL AMERICAN (cia men ran cartel)*
10 BROOCH B[edizen] ROO=kangaroo=jumper CH=chain
11 ANACONDA (Canada)* around ON[e]
12 SWEET PEA think the definition is “bloom”, so SWEET=delightful and PEA[r] is the tree
14 SALUTE got from checking letters, but can’t parse the clue: “Gunshots from a drab outlying part of London (6)”

drab=SLUT, around A, and E[ast] was a postal district of London (see comments)

15 FAT CAT F[s]A [mus]T and apparently CAT = tackle
18 MESSIAHS (Shami)* around ESS i.e. the letter S
22 BIGWIG B[et] 1 G[rand] W[on] 1 G[rand]
24 WEATHERPROOFING (when poor frigate)*
25 SARTRE hidden – writer’S ART REally
26 CARROT ROT CAR with the order swapped
1 EYEBROW far end of [th]E + (bowery)*
2 POTTO POT[a]TO without the a
3 SMASH-UP (mass)* + HUP=turn to right
5 ICE CAPS cryptic def? don’t really get it IC = In Charge + rev(space)
6 HOI POLLOI only way this seems to work is if HO=house + I=originally I[nsisted] + POLL + O=no I=one, but there’s probably a better explanation
7 YEAR DOT YE=the old + (Brigitte) b[ARDOT]
8 SAHARA Louis SAHA the french international footballer + RA the Royal Artillery
13 ESCALATOR hidden in mESCAL A TORturous
16 AIMLESS AIM the London Alternative Investment Market + LESS=not so
17 TOP GEAR might be the fourth gear, and is a BBC programme
18 MIX-UPS UPS=high points, MIX=cross (e.g. a cross between X and Y)
20 HAIRNET (the rain)*
23 GOFER Golfer minus the L, which I guess is supposed to stand for pounds=”weight”

34 Responses to “Guardian 24,776 – Arachne”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks manehi. I don’t get 14ac – SALUTE= gunshots (as 21-gun salute), and L is a part of London.. can SAUTE be “drab”?

    I think you’ve got it right with 6dn.

  2. enitharmon says:

    14ac = (a slut)* + E(ast), old London postal district – salute as in 21-gun salute for state occasion.

  3. Conrad Cork says:

    I tink 5 down is ic for in charge, and space (opening) reversed. Not particularly good IMHO.
    And 14 across seems to be ‘a’ with slut (drab) outlying it, follwed by part of London suggested by ‘e’. If anyone can come up with a better answer I may revise my lowish opinion of this one.

  4. enitharmon says:

    5 dn IC (in charge) + reversal of SPACE (opening)

  5. harry says:

    6 dn – that’s exactly how i parsed it. I thought it was quite clever
    Still don’t understand salute though

  6. manehi says:

    Thanks for the comments

    6dn – my misgivings were over HO for “house”, really

    14ac – seems like a ridiculous way to clue an “E”, but that sounds about right. will update this and 5dn

  7. Chunter says:

    1dn: presumably a reference to Leigh Bowery (Lucian Freud’s model) and in particular to his size.

  8. IanN14 says:

    I think Conrad Cork is right on all counts @3 (especially his lowish opinion of it).
    “E” for part of London?
    Almost as bad as “L” for weight. How does that work?

  9. Eileen says:

    I agree with all the reservations about 14ac and, Ian, I didn’t like ‘L’ for weight, either. It isn’t in Collins but Chambers has it -“usually written ‘lb'”.

  10. The trafites says:


    l = libra (Latin), pound weight (usu written lb) (Ref. Chambers).


  11. liz says:

    Thanks, manehi. Couldn’t see the wordplay for a number of these, including 14ac. I never knew that ‘hup’ meant ‘turn right’, but now I do!

  12. cholecyst says:

    Liz – HUP = turn right. Is this Scots? If so, the opposite is HECK (both are instructions to draught animals).

  13. Richard says:

    12ac- delightful = sweet fruit tree almost = pea(r). Almost doing double duty as part of the definer “almost in bloom”. That’s how i read it.

  14. sidey says:

    According to the OED and Chambers the opposite of hup is hie.

  15. Eileen says:

    Chambers also has ‘neither hup nor wind [Scot] to do neither one thing nor another, be unmanageable’ and, under ‘wind²’, ‘to turn [a horse] to the left’.

    Cholecyst, ‘hup’ itsef is not given as Scots.

  16. cholecyst says:

    Eileen: This is a bit recondite but see “The Scots Thesaurus”
    Published in August 1991, MacMillan Publishing Company . This gives many (to a Sassenach) previously unheard of words for addressing animals eg “gussie, gus gus” – to pigs; “hurly hawkie” to call cows in for milking You’ll find the tome in Google books.I’m sure these words will prove useful to fellow bloggers. But I agree: “hup” is not unique to the Scots tongue.

  17. Eileen says:

    Thanks, cholecyst – they sound lovely!

    I see ‘hup’ is given as ‘interj [to a horse] to go faster OR to turn to the right’ – could be confusing!

  18. NeilW says:

    Eileen, it’s “go on” as well as “go faster” to a horse – maybe this other meaning is the origin of the order to troops, “Hup, two, three, four.” Shows how the enlisted man was viewed by his superiors (once upon a time…?)

  19. harry says:

    Just got back from work where I use “ho.” as an abbreviation for house every day. Certainly in Scotland it’s a standard legal abbreviation – e.g. “w’mo. ho. 3rd fr.” = wesmost house on the third floor (of a tenement).

  20. John says:

    Sloppy cluing throughout (e.g. 14 ac, and particularly 2 dn) and random first letter abbreviations (“p” for prince, “l” for weight) made this an irritating puzzle.
    Has anyone got any idea why “tackle” = CAT?
    And HUP is so obscure as to be impenetrable even when “explained”.

  21. muck says:

    John#20. Chambers, 11th edn has: Cat(1)… “a heavy tackle for raising the anchor to the cathead”

  22. NeilW says:

    John, you’re right. Easy crossword though – I just assumed the answers to ridiculous clues using the likes of cat and hup; the solutions were obvious. Actually manehi gives you a link in his post for the explanation of Cat = Tackle. I agree though that these dictionary-sourced easy options are tedious in the extreme. Give me a Paul any day with lateral thinking being the required skill.

  23. muck says:

    I just noticed also that manehi does give a link to cat=tackle, which was obscure, but FAT CAT was a wonderfully topical clue. MESSIAHS was pretty witty as well.

  24. muck says:

    MESSIAHS: Shami Chakrabarti has been Director of Liberty since 2003
    She claims to have a sense of humour. But is something of a messiah. Hope she’s reading this.

  25. The trafites says:

    Muck, thanks for that – I thought this was just a ‘mis-mash’ of wordplay to fit the word.

    Learn something every day.


  26. Eileen says:

    Muck, yes ‘Shami at Liberty’ was a brilliant anagram / indicator!

  27. Maurice says:

    6d hoi =initials of first 3 words then poll=vote then oi = no one

  28. PJAJ says:

    I think 6d is ‘House’ initially (H) with ‘no one’ (OI) standing either side as ‘supports’ for POLL.

    Does that work?

    I thought 14ac (SALUTE) was a slightly off clue. Is slut really a synonym for drab?

  29. IanN14 says:

    @29. What?…
    @27 & 28, Maurice & PJAJ, I think manehi was right originally.
    HO is a much used daily crossword convention for “house” (unlike “L” for lb).
    Still don’t like “O” for “no”, though.

  30. muck says:

    PJAJ#28: Chambers has drab(2): a sluttish woman; a whore.

    There is also a proverb, which appears to confirm the synonym: There was never a slut but had a slit, there was never a daw (=drab) but had twa. (from the Everyman Dictionary of Quotations and Proverbs: apparently said to girls with torn clothes).

  31. liz says:

    Eileen — I liked Shami at Liberty, too!

  32. mark says:

    Appalling crossword.

    many others have said why.
    In addition:
    Since when has 4th been top gear, 5th or 6th now.
    And I got Shami but why is the defintion “to provoke leaders” why provoke?
    Saha – hardly the first french inetrnational you’d think of…and the french manager thinks the same. Does Arachne actually follow football or just has a reference book perhaps?
    14a dreadful.
    And I don’t get 19D but that may be me I admit.

    Sigh..and it’s impossible A as setter today I hear…is it even worth buying the paper!

    20d was only good clue.

  33. Shed says:

    I’m amazed there haven’t been more grumbles about 4ac. ‘Mighty’ and ‘might he’ sound the same in a Cockney accent, OK – but I don’t see how ‘Could Cockney sound’ leads to ‘”might he”, as pronounced by a Cockney’. And in 19dn I don’t see how ‘felling’ means ‘turning upside down’, even if you are familiar with the sorbus (which I wasn’t) and the expression ‘sub rosa’ (which I was, but don’t use very often).

    Like many others, I was baffled by 15ac, 3dn, 8dn and 16dn – though I got the answers and they make sense now I’ve read the above. But it seems like a lot of general knowledge for one crossword.

    I did think 13dn was rather neat, though.

  34. Sylvia says:

    17d: G is the fourth letter of programme!

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>

× 2 = four