Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,217 / Arachne

Posted by Eileen on January 12th, 2011


There’s something for everyone here: art, opera, literature, geology and science. I have niggles about one or two definitions but there are some clever clues, with some good anagrams and smooth surfaces, giving an enjoyable puzzle overall. Many thanks, Arachne.


1   CENOTAPH: C[onservative] + ENOTA [reversal of AT ONE – in agreement] + PH [public house – ‘local’]
WARMTH: WAR[wickshire] + M[a]T[c]H: I was surprised to find this abbreviation in Chambers: I’d always thought it was ‘Warks.’ which Collins does give, as well as War.
9   DEAD LOCK: DEAD [having gone] + LOCK [YALE]
10  MANTEL: MAN [husband] + TEL [reversal of LET – allowed]: this is at least the third appearance in the last few months for Hilary Mantel, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of ‘Wolf Hall’.  I hope she is becoming more familiar!
12  IDLES: hidden in paID LESs
14  POLE POSITION: double / cryptic definition
18 POLLY TOYNBEE: anagram of POET BY LONELY – a lovely surface
21  RARE EARTH: anagram [bats] of RATHER around EAR [attention]
24  THORAX: THOR [Scandinavian?] + AX[e] [blade cut]
25  SPLATTER: S[econd] P[age] LATTER [second of two]
26  CASTLE: CAST [drop] L[ine] + E[lizabeth]: I’m not at all keen on this one: apart from the definition, surely E can stand for Elizabeth only in conjunction with R? Or is Windsor supposed to be doing double duty?
27  ANTELOPE: ANTE [stake] LOPE [bound]: I did like this, though.


1   CADDIE: CAD [rat] +  DIE [punch]
NEARLY: N[ew] + EARLY [potato] : as Chambers says, usually found in the plural: I know you can have early varieties of lots of things in the garden, but I always knew what my grandpa meant by his ‘earlies’.
4   PACKAGE TOURS: PA [dad] + anagram of GOATSUCKER. This one made me laugh: I didn’t know what a goatsucker was [it’s a bird similar to the swift] but it didn’t matter, anyway!
6   APART: APARTHEID [segregation] minus HE [chap] and I’D [one had, in short]: another great surface
7   METALLIC: L [student] in anagram of CLIMATE
8   HOLOCENE: anagram [flourished – waved] of ONCE in HOLE [opening]: the Holocene is a geological epoch which began approximately 10000 years ago
11  GO DOWN THE PAN: GO [try] DOWN [fell] THE PAN [greek god of pastures]: I thought this was rather weak.
15  INEBRIATE: I [one] + anagram of BEER AIN’T – inebriate is an adjective [or noun] here: amusing surface!
16  OPERATIC:  O [ought] [“non-standard corruption of ‘nought'” [Chambers] but also “variant of  ‘aught’ ” –  so it’s anything or nothing!  +  PER[son] + A TIC [a jerk]: Albert Herring’ is a comic chamber opera by Benjamin Britten.
17  CLARIONS: CL [chlorine] AR [argon] + IONS [particles]
19  ONE-TWO: double definition: “a blow with one fist , followed by a blow with the other” – and nothing to do with clue 12.
20  DECREE: DE [of French] CREE [Canadian natives]
22  EMAIL: hidden in hobbEMA ILlustration’s: I learned this artist’s name from Araucaria a few Saturdays ago.

33 Responses to “Guardian 25,217 / Arachne”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen – I agree that this one was good fun, especially the goatsucker, but I think you mean PACKAGE TOURS for 4dn.

    I also agree with your reservations about 26ac.

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Andrew – how did you guess? Corrected now.

  3. Andrew says:

    PS – 17dn: I suppose one can quibble as to whether an ion is a particle, but it makes a change from “charge”! (Of course, it’s in the plural, and ions are made up of particles, but then so is everything.)

  4. Eileen says:

    I always understood an ion was a ‘charged particle’ so I’m afraid i didn’t look it up.

    I have to go out now, so I’ll deal with any further amendments this afternoon.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Eileen. I found this pretty accessible and enjoyed it, like you, for the range of topics and clueing.

    I liked the in-house reference to POLLY TOYNBEE and appreciated HOLOCENE and DEADLOCK too. I see what you’re saying about CASTLE, but for me it just about works. And now I’ll be on the lookout for goatsucker in a future crossword. Let’s just hope it’s not one of Paul’s.

  6. Uncle Yap says:

    Thank you Eileen for an excellent blog. I laughed at the one-two answer to 19D. Go down the pan is a new expression for me.

  7. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen – you cleared up 27a for me (I thought it might be POLE reversed). Struggled with the SW corner but 26a then led to –TIC for 16d which was a nice clue. A couple of others, though, seemed forced – the ones you mentioned plus the nurse in 12a (verb, 3rd person singular and 8d’s ‘flourished’ (subject missing?).

  8. William says:

    Thank you Eileen, enjoyed this.

    Loved ANTELOPE and DEADLOCK – both very smooth.

    With Gaufrid’s indulgence, could I take the opportunity to ask Monica if there is anything we could do to help the poor blighters in Queensland? They really are in dire straits.

  9. Robi says:

    Thanks Arachne and Eileen. As you said, something for everyone – good to see a few science answers included. A delightful puzzle.

    Like molonglo@7, I got 27 by thinking of pole (rearranged) for stake and thinking that ‘ante’ was some wordplay for ‘anti’ (on the contrary) ………. oh well, it provided the correct solution albeit in an incorrect way.

    Just couldn’t get the wordplay of 1a – it had to be CENOTAPH because of the definition and I thought ‘tap’ could mean local as in pub, leaving ENOH as some obscure acronym for a European agreement (or a Cameroonian football midfielder !?). I need to look out for reversals more often!

  10. pommers says:

    I enjoyed this one so thanks Arachne, and Eileen for the blog.

    Regarding comments 3 and 4. An ion is an atom or group of atoms with either one or more electrons missing, leaving a positive charge, or extra electrons added giving a negative charge. If particle is OK for atom then it certainly is for ion IMHO. (sorry – I’m was a chemist when younger).

  11. Roger says:

    Thanks Eileen ~ and a somewhat belated Happy New Year to one and all. Was entertained by Arachne today but tend to agree with molonglo (@7) that there’s something not quite right with 12a. As the clue says, “nurse doesn’t work”.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen, and for clearing up a few places where I missed the wordplay — 27ac and 6dn, for example. Lots of good surfaces here, I thought. 18ac was probably my favourite!

  13. Dave H says:

    Thanks Eileen
    One of my occasional contributions to the site, re 12a I took “nurse” to be the hidden word indicator ie to harbour or support, with “doesn’t work hard” as the definition.
    Very enjoyable crossword however as an online participant only of the Guardian Crossword site I have never heard of Polly Tonybee and neded help with the anagram

  14. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Dave H – that’s how I took 12ac but I agree with molonglo and Roger that the syntax dooesn’t quite work. It would if the answer were IDLE and the containment / hidden indicator ‘nurses’ [don’t work hard]. Or, I suppose, at a stretch, you could read ‘nurse’ as an imperative.

    From the Guardian website:

    “Polly Toynbee is a columnist for the Guardian. She was formerly BBC social affairs editor, columnist and associate editor of the Independent, co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer.”

    I tried – without success – to remember her perhaps conducting a solitary campaign against a poet, to make it an almost &lit! As K’s D says, it was very nice to see her included.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Arachne

    A nice puzzle which I’ve had to complete in a hurry between spells of trying to get Windows working on my PC.

    I completed this correctly but for some reason could not parse rare earth properly. Thanks for that and for proper reading of punch in 1d.

    re 12a. Weve seen this sort of thing before. The two words ‘paid’ and ‘less’ nurse idles. But I seem to remember there were different views about such a reading before.

  16. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    “re 12a. Weve seen this sort of thing before. The two words ‘paid’ and ‘less’ nurse idles.”

    Many thanks: you’re quite right – that works. :-)

  17. Martin H says:

    hi tupu – put an imaginary list-indicating comma in and pretend it’s a newspaper headline: ‘paid, less nurse……’, as you might read ‘Woakes, Shahzad survive last over to win…..’ I’m not sure I like it but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

  18. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen and Arachne, and to tupu for putting my thoughts into words re ‘nurse’ :)

    I couldn’t see the parsing of 1ac, and took 27ac to be ‘ante’ around (‘bound to’) <'pole' (stake on the contrary). I obviously didn't think it out too well, since this has 'stake' doing double duty. Your explanation is much neater, though it doesn't quite explain the final expression. I suppose it's pointing to the kind of animal to look for, since we're unlikely to find an antelope tied to a stake.

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    I just took it as “bound [added] to stake [=] quadruped”, rather than the contrary.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    Don’t you mean ‘stake'(ante) added to ‘bound’ (lope), which would explain the final remark?

    Anyway, your parsing is much neater than mine :)

  21. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    Yes! :-)

  22. Kate says:

    I love this blog! Enjoyed today’s puzzle but like most wasn’t entirely happy with 12a and 26a.

  23. Wolfie says:

    An enjoyable puzzle – like Robi I enjoyed the scientific references.

  24. Carrots says:

    I must be sickening for something because I found yesterday`s puzzle tedious and I didn`t like this one at all. Although I got all the answers except HOLOCENE (couldn`t get “Plioscene” out of my head) there were quite a few guesses which I needed Eileen`s blog to explain. Even so, I still don`t understand “nurse” in 12 ac. and I think “Heat” rather than WARMTH provokes passion….”warmth” is just congeniality or cordiality.

    However, many thanks Spiderwoman and for your blog Auntie E. Maybe I`ll get out of the right side of bed tomorrow…I certainly hope so.

  25. Wolfie says:

    Carrots: WARMTH crops up frequently in nineteenth-century literature with the meaning of ‘anger’ or ‘passion’. (The OED gives an example from ‘Pickwick Papers’.)

  26. dr grumpy says:

    I know that Paul is ever so clever, but I do tend to cleave to the principle that clues should not read as clues, but as credible sentences or phrases; so thanks to Arachne for such a well-mannered crossword.

  27. tupu says:

    Re 8d Given the clue’s wording (‘present era’)it is perhaps worth noting that we are still in the holocene.

  28. Mr Beaver says:

    Tupu – according to some, we’re now in the ‘anthropocene’

    I must say I rather side with Carrots on this crossword, several clues seemed forced or a little inaccurate and we put in three (1a, 26a, 27a) without being able to parse them, so thanks to Eileen for explaining these!

  29. Carrots says:

    Wolfie: this 2011, not 1811, and Tupu: how will I know when I`m not (in the holocene)? Now “cleave to the principal”, Dr Grumpy, I like…a bit like “cut to the quick”, which I don`t understand either.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Mr Beaver

    Thanks for that. It makes good sense and the thought if not the name did fleetingly cross my mind. :) It’s just typical, though, that no-one (your kind self excepted) tells me anything! Here I am, thinking I’m living in one epoch, and I suddenly hear just as I’m off to bed that I may well not be. Most unsettling, I must say!

  31. Carrots says:

    Thanks for your support Mr Beaver (I don`t get much from some pit-knickers). I`m glad my melancholia is not entirely to blame for plucking a couple of legs off Spiderwoman. I just wish you hadn`t named your pseudonym after my “`Ol Skool Magazine”, copies of which I used for target practice until the ghost of my adolesence was well and truly laid.

  32. Monica M says:

    With Gaufrid’s indulgence

    Well I’m very lucky, I am high and dry and safe. But there are many people suffering greatly. The scale of these floods is epic, almost 3/4 of the state is affected.

    Brisbane was spared a record flood, the main problem here is that the CBD is shut down. I don’t imagine there will be many offices reopened until next week.

    The best way for those overseas to help is through the Premier’s relief appeal at

    Also, make contact with any friends you may have, a quick email or text message can make the world of difference.

    Thank you for your kind support.

    I’ll be dusting off my steel caps and work duds, there is plenty to be done and we’ll all need to pitch in!!!!

  33. Daniel Miller says:

    Good stuff!!

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