Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,830 / Arachne

Posted by Andrew on October 14th, 2009


I had quite a struggle with the spider-woman this morning, with the result that I didn’t have much time for writing up the blog, so apologies if anything isn’t clear. Some nice clues here, but also a couple of rather unsatisfactory ones (13ac, 24ac for example).

* = anagram
dd = double definition
< = reverse

6. DURESS ASSURED* less A (the “tip”)
11. HI-FI Nick Hornby wrote the novel “High Fidelity”
12. INTIMIDATE I D in INTIMATE. “China” = mate in Cockney rhyming slang, and it somehow seems a weakness that MATE occurs in INTIMATE
13. MOUNTAINTOP Seems to be a rather weak dd – am I missing something? And surely it should be two words, or hyphenated?
18. POSTMASTER (STAMP STORE)* &lit – very nice!
21. LINO hidden (“housed by”) walL IN Our
22. TURNKEYS TURN (=try) + KEYS (of which “escape” and “shift” are examples)
24. DRIVER A driver is a golf club, and a woman driver in “in charge of automobile”? Again this seems rather weak.
25. FLEECE FLEE + CE. “Do”= “swindle”
1. GRAFFITO (FO(r) FAT GIT)* – not GRAFFITI as I carelessly wrote in, causing trouble with 13ac..
3. HUNTSMAN NTS (National Trust forScotland) in HUMAN
4. BEHOLD BEHOLDEN less EN (letter)
5. HOODIE H + OO (“pair” in cricket) + DIE
15. ONLOOKER ON (=about = “touching”)+ LOOKER
17. ON EDGE Hidden in stONED GEtting
19. TENNIS (S + IN NET)< A bad serve in tennis could be in the net – another nice one.
20. RESULT RULES* + T(errible)

16 Responses to “Guardian 24,830 / Arachne”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew

    I struggled with this partly because I entered GRAFFITI for 1d. Also, I didn’t get 8d.

    I got 5a wrong, having opted for HERESY. I never even thought of Sarah.

    I did get 24a DRIVER but I still can’t see why it’s a woman!

    Evidently, a woman’s mind works differently.

  2. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Andrew,
    13ac. I thought was OK except that the “T” should have been capitalised.
    (I know this wouldn’t have helped the surface reading, but…).
    And, oh dear; 19d.
    I didn’t like “first serve” for “S”. (Anyone surprised?).
    If she’d written “first of serves”, instead of “of first serve” it would have worked perfectly and, I think, been an excellent clue…
    18ac. very nice, though.

  3. Orange says:

    Minnie Driver(the actress) I think is being used in 24a

  4. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. 18ac was my favourite too. I also liked 8dn and 17dn.

    I still think 24ac is a bit weak even if the reference to Minnie Driver was intended.

    5ac caused me the most trouble.

  5. Andrew says:

    I don’t see how 24ac can refer to Minnie Driver – “Woman” is surely a hopelessly vague indication. “Actress” perhaps..

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    I solved only half of this, thought it was hard, compounded by a grid I do not like.

    18a was good, but not much else here for me today.

    21a was verbose, with no real indicator lino was hidden.

    I didn’t really like yesterday’s either so I am looking forward to an uplifting Araucaria tomorrow

  7. George Foot says:

    24ac. A male setter might well have clued this as ‘Man in charge of automobile club.’ This was a female setter so clue is perfectly acceptable if not particularly subtle, just a dd.

  8. Bryan says:

    Yes, George, but a Politically Correct Setter would have clued 24a as ‘Person in charge of automobile club’.

    And, Orange, there is also Betty Driver, yet another actress, but I do not believe that either Betty or Minnie was alluded to.

  9. Phil says:

    Dave – I assume house is the hidden indicator in 21 across. I thought this was one of the better clues.

    I completed all but five clues before giving in and coming here. Like some of the others I was counfounded by graffito.

  10. Ian says:

    Struggled with this because I inserted GRAFFITI too for 1dn.

    The rest was moderately difficult due to some vety clever clueing.
    Highlights were 18ac and 25ac which made me smile.

  11. Duggie says:

    I don’t often do the Guardian puzzle and have never done an Arachne, but I was impressed by the elegance of just about every clue in this one. The surfaces read well, with subtle deceptions and, as Ian says, that essential ingedient humour here and there. So why all the grumpiness? Even the grid gets a kicking!

  12. mark says:

    Really annoying puzzle.

    two clues that made me smile thanks. 18A and 19D. But way too many that just don’t play fair.

    24A for the reasons given. Dreadful.

    21A – if ‘house’ is supposd to be the indicator then surely it should be houses.

    5A You can’t turn the name backwards but not the ‘s. That’s ridiculous!

    13A Just very 23A

    I won’t bother with this setter again

  13. Mike Laws says:

    Re “SARAH< + 'S". This is perfectly consonant with what is acceptable in Guardian crosswords. Had it been in an Araucaria, Mark, would you have vowed never to solve his puzzles again?

    Re "Woman". A driver can be either male or female, therefore a woman in charge of a car is a driver. Had it been "man" or "person" the clue would have been blatantly obvious, but the use of "woman" provoked a little extra thought, revealing once again the tendency of people to associate particular genders with particular jobs. I was happy to be reminded that such assumptions are unreliable.

  14. Bryan says:

    Ten Brownie Points to Dave Ellison.

    It is an Araucaria puzzle today (Thursday).

    But I’ve not yet ascertained whether or not it’s uplifting.

  15. Maarvarq says:

    Yuck. I got most of this one out (missed 5ac and 5dn), but I thought “pair” as an indicator for “oo” was pretty b****y obscure for a non-cricketer (yes, we do crosswords too), 2dn had an unnecessarily convoluted definition (I take it “unusually formed” means to indicate “isthmuses” is more usual, must congratulations, it just made it more irritatingly obscure), and “house” was a ridiculous indicator for a disclosed clue. As Mark pointed out, just making it “houses” would have been far better.

  16. EllyMay says:

    5D I took OO to be a pair of breasts or eyes!

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