Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,086 – Arachne

Posted by manehi on August 11th, 2010


I’m not a huge fan of grids such as this where the long clues can somewhat spoil the fun if you get them early or lock you out of a corner if you don’t. Favourite clues were 15ac and 6dn.

8 BELABOUR =”Harp on”. (Blue Boar)*. The constituency of Barking also happens to BE LABOUR, as it has been since 1945.
9 CREOLE =”Cross language”. CuRsEs=”curses regularly” + OLE=”old American”.
10 STATUE =”bust”. TAT=”It’s tasteless” inside SUE.
11 CHESSMAN =”king, say”. CHE=revolutionary + SS=guards + MAN=work
12 ANNE is contained by unmANNEd, i.e. “unmanned guards” ANNE.
13 FOREIGN AID is “for the world’s poorest”. (If ignored a)*
15 GULF WAR rev(RAW FLU) after G[eorge]. Surface also refers to Gulf War syndrome and George Bush Sr.
16 APOLOGY (gay)* around POLO (the mint)
18 REPATRIATE PAT in (Eritrea)*
19 REAR =breed. (rare)*
22 SUNNIS I think this is rev(IN N[orth] US) + S[aint]
23 BRAINY B[ut]=”original but” + RAINY=wet
24 GLOBULAR =round. GL[asgow] + (labour)*
1 WESTON-SUPER-MARE (renew mousetraps)*
3 LOVE AFFAIR LOVE=”Dear” + F[ellow] inside A FAIR=”a fine”
4 TRACERY ornamental stonework. TRY around RACE
5 ACHE ACE=one around H[usband]
6 PERSONAL PRONOUN =”they[,] say”. (Spurn Napoleon or)*
7 FLOATING CAPITAL currency and movable assets. FLOATING=suggesting + CAPITAL=London
14 IMPRESSION double def
17 MASSAGE cook in the sense of manipulate. MA’S SAGE=”Mum’s an expert”
21 SOYA rev(AY + OS), where AY=vote and OS=oversized=huge.

45 Responses to “Guardian 25,086 – Arachne”

  1. Frank says:

    Thanks, Manehi: an enjoyable crossword of two halves – west side easy once the two long ones fell into place, but the east side took twice as long, and I got a couple of answers without understanding why, until I checked your blog. Now I can sleep easy…

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks Manehi. You are right about 22ac. I hope this doesn’t spark a continuation of yesterday’s debate about NI/Ulster!

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Manehi, I gave up on this with 6 to go after finding several clues unpenetrable and some of those that I did find unsatisfying.

    I’d never heard of the Battle of Salamis. It was all Greek to me.

    And who. apart from those involved, would know that Barking had a Labour MP? Somebody must be barking …

  4. rrc says:

    I enjoyed this despite few smiles or ah ah movements. I thought 8a was clevery clued, Also equally 13a

  5. walruss says:

    4, 15, 16 & 17 have 4 from 7 letters unchecked, which is not very helpful. All the 4-letter ones are 2 & 2. I’m not overly impressed with this, with some clues inc. WESTON and SALAMIS appearing a bit ‘done’. Average.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks manehi for an excellent blog

    Thanks too to Arachne for an enjoyable if partly tough puzzle. Looked at first like a doddle after 1 and 2d, but….

    9a Creole took a relatively long time to see. I got as far as wondering if ‘creous’ existed and then noticed creolisation in the dictionary and the penny dropped. Nice cd.

    I got ‘brainy’ as but + rainy but, in haste, didn’t properly take in the ‘original’ bit.

    Some other very good clues were 1a, 16a, 24a, 6d, 7d, and 17d.

    man = work seemed a bit iffy but just about ‘works’. I wondered about ‘ss’ too but guards is what they originally were.

  7. Myrvin says:

    Some tough bits for me too.
    I thought 8a was an anagram, but it took me ages to get it. I like the political reference manehi.
    2d funny. The Chambers def of 9a is quite interesting. Creole has meant someone of pure European blood, rather than ‘crossed’.
    I still don’t really get 11a. MAN?
    1a. The birthplace of the Minister of Silly Walks. It turns out that his family name was originally Cheese!
    9a was very contrived for such a short word.
    12a is another hidden with an extra word.
    I wanted 11a to be an anagram of ‘gay pens’. Never mind.
    Quite a lot of politics in this.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Quite enjoyed this. I liked the slightly cheeky surface in 10ac and thought there was a bit of &lit about FOREIGN AID.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Myrvin @ 7 – interesting comment about CREOLE. My Collins gives your sense as captalised – ‘Creole’ – whereas the sense here (a language created by the coming together of two different language communities) is given as uncapitalised, ‘creole’.

  10. tupu says:

    Hi Myrvin and K’s D.
    I think that, for linguists, creole is a type of language, as is pidgin, and not one in particular. I remember seeing some discussion of ‘creoles and pidgins’ in liguitics texts.

  11. manehi says:

    Myrvin, 11ac: e.g. “man the stations”

    Kathryn’s Dad: is FOREIGN AID &lit, or could the definition be just “a disaster for the world’s poorest”? Shades of a Global Econ paper from way back. I’ll stick to the trusty “it depends”.

  12. Myrvin says:

    MAN. KD, in your sense, Chambers does have “to provide with a (human) worker, operator, etc”. Is this ‘to work’ or ‘work for’?

  13. Myrvin says:

    … sorry – manehi’s sense.

  14. irm says:

    thanks manehi

    I got there in the end, but having put in 11ac chessmen I struggled with 7dn until the penny dropped.

    It’s been a 100% week for me so far (slowly but surely) and I even managed to crack Araucaria prize puzzle this morning.

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, manehi, I needed you for 3 and 7d.

    My last three took ages (8a (same as Myrvin at #7), 10a and 3d). I was convinced the girl’s was su’s at 10a, giving STATUS, which didn’t make sense, but finally a penny fell. Similarly, with 7d I couldn’t see anything but CLEARING, so failed by 0.2 of a clue today.

    I found this quicker and easier than Arachne’s usual fare on the whole, and quite enjoyable, too.

  16. tupu says:

    Hi manehi and K’sD
    Re 11a
    I’m a bit unsure about the comments.

    The simplest reading (1)is that ‘foreign aid’ is an anagram of ‘if ignored a’ (NB the ‘a’ is needed here). Disaster is then the anagrind and ‘for the world’s poorest the def.

    (2)An additional reading (K’sD’s)seems to be a double take on disaster i.e 1 + a cynical/realistic comment

    (3) Manehi’s last suggestion lacks an anagrind and should have at least a question mark I think for that. I suspect both 2 and 3 also need one to temper the one-sided statement. NB I am not wanting to take sides on the politico-economic issues themselves but only to assert the significance of their complexity as manehi’s ‘it depends’ suggests.

    1. is simplest and was my own quick reading. 2. adds a possibly nice double take. 3. is not I think satisfactory.

  17. manehi says:

    tupu – I was only responding to K’s D remark about a possible &lit, not suggesting an alternative parsing of the clue. My reading was as your #1.

    (Edit:) Myrvin – “man the tills”/”work the tills”? Though, as noted by others, the association is fairly loose.

  18. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, manehi

    I didn’t like vote = AY or SS = guards.

  19. Richard says:

    Having looked back at the clue, I now see that AY is properly derived from ‘vote in support of’.

  20. Myrvin says:

    manahi. Nobody says ‘work the tills’ or ‘work the barricades’. I can see it’s an easy mistake, but I don’t think we should see this again.

  21. John says:

    Myrvin @7 – “12a is another hidden with an extra word.” I don’t see another word, just “woman” (def), “unmanned”(container), “guards” (indicating something hidden).
    Did I miss something?

  22. tupu says:

    Manehi @17

    Many thanks. I see that I also misread your initial comment by failing to register the *. :( Apologies, especially when the whole blog was so good.

  23. tupu says:

    HI Richard
    re SS
    As I noted @6, I too was not at first happy re SS = guards. But when I checked I found that it had been established in 1925 as a special guard for Hitler. The letters stand, it seems, for Schutzstaffel lit. protection squadron.
    Perhaps this is a bit obscure, though, for use in an English Xword in 2010?

  24. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Manehi.

    I usually reckon to enjoy Arachne’s puzzles and this was no exception. There were some great clues, with lovely smooth surfaces, eg 8, 1, 15, 18, 20, 22, 24 ac and 1, 2, and 17dn – and 3dn made me think of the ‘dear fellow’, the late Michael Williams, along with his wife Judi Dench, in the TV series, ‘ A Fine Romance’. I liked 8dn very much, too.

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, Bryan but, to be fair, Manehi’s observation that Barking had a Labour MP was not essential to the solution – and it did rather make the news at the General Election, when Labour’s Margaret Hodge won a massive majority and scotched Nick Griffin’s aim to be the first BNP MP.

    And, as Manehi’s link shows, the Battle of Salamis had a profound effect on the development of Western civilisation, making it arguably ‘one of the most significant battles in human history’.

    K’s D #8

    I’d say there’s more than ‘a bit’ of an &lit about 13ac. My reading is something along the lines of tupu’s suggested interpretation of yours – except that I would call it a realistic, not cynical comment. But I suppose it does depend on one’s viewpoint!

  25. Stella Heath says:

    A fair, reasonably toughish puzzle, I thought, though my failure to see ‘soya’ held me up in the SW corner.

    Thanks, Manehi, for explaining ‘sunnis’, and for the additional information on 8a, which made me :)

  26. Myrvin says:

    John. Your quite right. I don’t know where that came from. I’ve looked to see if there’s another hidden, but I can’t find one. Sorry. I offer my 16a, I’m not very 23 today after all.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    It would be easier if there was just one thing to have a viewpoint on, or just two opposite minded sets of people to have one.

    Literal-minded ‘thicko’ that I seem to be today (some days I can’t see anything but mirages), I missed the political ref. re Barking and simply took it as the anagrind.

    If you and manehi are right on this one, as may well be, K’sDad’s ‘as lit’ suggestion re aid looks pretty similar in structure – a simple anagram plus a subtle aside.

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    You seem to have misunderstood me re 8ac: I hadn’t seen the BE LABOUR aspect until Manehi pointed it out and I’m not sure it was intentional – just a bit of icing on the cake, perhaps. My point was in answer to Bryan, who implied that the clue was unfair, since he couldn’t be expected to know that Barking had a Labour MP. He wasn’t: the answer was BELABOUR – ‘harp on’, anagrind ‘Barking’, as you say.

    For me, it’s not analogous to 13ac, where the surface makes perfect sense: if foreign aid is ignored, it will be a disaster for the world’s poorest. A superb clue.

  29. Stella Heath says:

    Or maybe foreign aid as it is presently perceived is a disaster for the world’s poorest!

  30. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella – quite right: as I [and Manehi] said before, it all depends … 😉

    We mustn’t get too political on this [a hobby horse of mine]: it makes no difference to the perfect surface [and & litness] of the clue!

  31. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’m just glad that I interpreted it correctly as an &lit, and that it’s getting the praise it deserves as an excellent clue!

  32. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog, manehi.
    And to others for comments.
    Can’t say I enjoyed this one much.
    Too many 8ac-ed clues

  33. Brigadier Carruthers says:

    I finished in a reasonable time but had to check HOW 22 across worked. Doh! And the man work thing is a bit sleight, so to speak. There should be a ban on 1d. Resort 6-5-4 appears too often. It’s like puns about fish. Obvious. If it’s not 6-5-4 it’s 8-2 Westward Ho!

    Apologies to all non UK citizens for whom it is, perhaps, obscure but as eggs are eggs it will be waiting for you down the line.

  34. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen et al.

    :)It seems to be a ‘misreading day’ as I seem to pick up one wrong message after another.

    I thought (rightly/wrongly?) that Kathryn’s Dad was implying an ‘& lit’ that was critical of ‘foreign aid’ and Manehi and later Stella noted the possibility of more explicit statements in that direction. I then thought Eileen was taking the same line, but her reading in 29 is much more positive. I also thought by the gloss on Margaret Hodge’s victory that she was accepting Manehi’s point re Barking rather than treating it as merely possibly unintentional ‘icing’.

    Also when I noted that there were more than just two opposite thinking groups re foreign aid, I should have added that an individual might have several different points of view at the same time!

    I take it that Eileen’s ‘hobby horse’ @30 is not ‘foreign aid’ but the need to avoid getting too politically focussed in the blog at the expense of X-word issues. There may be something useful here in Kipling’s comment that “There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, And-every-single-one-of-them-is-right!” even if we don’t really believe it! Having written this, I realise that this message itself might be interpreted in many different ways.

    To be fair to myself, I did try to distance myself from the politics of 13a (though I am interested in them), and to comment on different readings purely from the question of clue structure as I understood it.

  35. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Lately, you and I seem to be fated to misread each other! :-)

    We are in grave danger of going severely off-topic here, so I don’t propose to discuss it any further, after making my position [I hope] clear.

    My final paragraph at #28 stated my position, as one who marched round Edinburgh in 2005 for the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign, but I then realised that Stella’s point made perfect sense, without detracting from the excellence of the clue.

    I realise that my comment 30 was ambiguous but the intended meaning was the opposite of what you understood: ‘this’ referred to foreign aid, millennium goals, etc., not the whole clause. [I regretted using the term ‘hobbyhorse’ [too trivial] as soon as I had hit ‘Submit’.]

    I’d now like to concur with your final paragraph and leave it at that – please! :-)

  36. Myrvin says:

    Stella. Don’t mention the tutsis. I did it once but I think I got away with it.

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Many thanks as usual for your patience!

  38. tupu says:

    Hi Myrvin.

    Oh dear! Sorry. I just happened to know about them.

  39. stiofain says:

    Im sorry if people think I bang on about these things after yesterdays ni/Ulster messages but I really must say that pat or paddy (18ac)is considered a racist term with negative connotations by me and other Irish people.Otherwise pretty dull fare with a few nice clues but I dont like this grid at all.

  40. Sil van den Hoek says:

    “Otherwise pretty dull fare with a few nice clues but I dont like this grid at all” ?

    Well, as we are all different, this really was my cup of tea.
    Intelligent, adventurous and thoughtful clueing.

    High Quality!
    [nothing more to add, since the only clue that I found weak has been upgraded by the Barking connection]

  41. Little Dutch Girl says:

    We did today’s crossword this evening.

    I wasn’t expecting to see the discussion about Foreign Aid (although this is the Guardian crossword and one expects/isn’t surprised that the readership to be/is politically aware). To me the expression “Foreign Aid” jars. It is now more common to refer to Development Assistance – although Pakistan might be about to receive Emergency Aid. The nuance is that assistance has long term (hopefully beneficial) effects. Aid has the nuance of sticking plaster – to solve the immediate problem but not address the underlying issues – which is why recipient countries prefer the term “Assistance”.

    I was surprised that no one commented on the use again of “S” for saint – or did we exhaust that discussion last week?!

    Thanks for the blog manehi.

  42. Sylvia says:

    I originally had ‘Sadhus’ for 22a before getting 6 and 7d

  43. Scarpia says:

    Thanks manehi.
    Super puzzle from Arachne,very inventive clueing with some clever misdirections.
    Re. 8 and 13 across; whichever way you view them,with or without “the political comment”,they are both very good clues.Made even better,in my view by the added dimension.
    CD at 3 down was excellent(made me laugh).
    Other favourites 15 and 22 across and 6 down.

  44. Barnaby Page says:

    I thought the holy man in 22ac might have been a reference to Cardinal SIN, but on reflection that would leave the “backing” indicator in the wrong part of the clue.

  45. MarcoPolo says:

    A minor point that doesn’t seem to have been raised re 8ac: “harp on” is not quite the same as BELABOUR, it needs to be “harp on about”; leaving “Barking” as the (topically chosen) anagrind.

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