Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian No 25,243 by Arachne

Posted by PeterO on February 11th, 2011

PeterO.

There are some clever clues here, and a few too clever by far for me.

Across
1. Bird’s noise when pushing out many eggs (6)
CUCKOO KOO is ‘many eggs’, which is the sum of my contribution to this clue.
5. Mouth part strangely absent in mutant carpenter ant (8)
ENTRANCE Anagram (‘mutant’) of ‘carpenter ant’ less (‘absent’) an anagram (‘strangely’) of ‘part’. Definition: ‘mouth’.
9. Saw kettled students breaking out (8)
SALLYING Envelope (‘kettled’??) of LL (‘students’) in SAYING (‘saw’).
10. In a book? It’s about time! (2,4)
AT HOME Envelope (‘about’) of H (‘time’, hour) in A TOME (‘a book’). Definition: ‘in’.
11. Ignores a mate, fooling around in open relationship (6,1,5)
MENAGE A TROIS Anagram (‘fooling around’) of ‘ignores a mate’. It seems to be French Week at the Guardian.
13. Clever chap saw Hizbollah as shield (4)
WHIZ Hidder answer (‘as shield’?) in ‘saW HIZbollah’. The clue requires the less usual spelling of Hezbollah.
14. Doctor is wrong about woman in Austin, perhaps (8)
MOTORIST MO (‘doctor’) + envelope (‘about’) of ‘is’ in TORT (‘wrong’). Definition: ‘woman in Austin, perhaps’.
17. Empty urban land for public use is rare (8)
UNCOMMON UN (‘empty UrbaN‘) + COMMON (‘land for public use’).
18. Audibly voiced low spirits (4)
MOOD Homophone (‘audibly’) of mooed (‘voiced low’).
20. Crime novelist (foreign), star sign’s Leo (5,7)
STIEG LARSSON Anagram (‘foreign’) of ‘star signs Leo’. As Stieg Larsson was born in Sweden on 15 August 1954, the clue is an &lit.
23. Ms Andress famously appeared in one explosive scene (6)
BIKINI Double definition: ‘Ms Andress famously appeared in one’ in Dr. No; and Bikini Atoll, the nuclear test site.
Andress in her iconic Dr. No scene

Andress in her iconic Dr. No scene

24. Hysterical and sexless, cut up sexy clothes (8)
NEUROTIC NEU[ter] is ‘sexless, cut’, and [e]ROTIC is ‘sexy’, but where that gets us I’m not sure.
25. Girl can take school punishments (8)
BEATINGS BEA (‘girl’) + TIN (‘can’) + GS (grammar ‘school’).
26. Watch socialist go mad (6)
SEERED SEE (‘watch’) + RED (‘socialist’). The definition ‘go mad’ would seem to be the two-word SEE RED.
Down
2. State starts to use the axe with no intelligence (4)
UTAH First letters (‘starts’) of Use The Axe + ‘[wit]H’ with no WIT (‘intelligence’).
3. One causes a buzz, catching anarchist leader on lam in US city (9)
KALAMAZOO Envelope (‘catching’) of A (‘anarchist leader’) ‘lam’ in KAZOO (‘one causes a buzz’). The Michigan city.
4. Determine position of Eastern countries (6)
ORIENT Double definition.
5. Fight calls for signs of commitment (10,5)
ENGAGEMENT RINGS ENGAGEMENT (‘fight’) + RINGS (‘calls’).
6. Grassroots conservatives who think America’s in a pretty pickle (3,5)
TEA PARTY A (‘America’) in an anagram (‘pickle’) of ‘a pretty’. A simple but effective &lit.
7. Hate violence, love right (5)
ABHOR ABH (‘violence’, actual bodily harm) + O (‘love’) + R (‘right’).
8. Order junior chef to cut rebellious talk (10)
COMMISSION COMMIS (‘junior chef”), and S[edit]ION is ‘rebellious talk’, which is certainly ‘cut’ (indeed edited), after a fashion.
12. Decide not to conceive brood (5,5)
THINK TWICE Perhaps a triple definition? On reflection, I think a better description of this clue might be that ‘conceive’ and ‘brood’ are both synonyms for THINK, so that ‘conceive brood gives the wordplay THINK TWICE, with ‘decide not’ as the definition.
15. Perhaps Horace is aware of pronounced facial feature? (5,4)
ROMAN NOSE Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in English as Horace, was a Roman poet + NOSE, a homophone (‘pronounced’) of knows (‘is aware’). The facial feature is also pronounced.
16. Liquid mixture is sprinkled on muesli (8)
EMULSION Anagram (‘sprinkled’) of ‘on muesli’.
19. Independent children’s doctor raised concerns (6)
ISSUES I (‘independent’) + reversal (‘raised’, in a down clue) of SEUSS (‘childrens doctor’).
21. Live and die outside of society (5)
EXIST Envelope (‘outside of’) S (‘society’) in EXIT (‘die’).
22. Presentiment about lifespan (4)
TIME Hidden answer (‘about’) in ‘presenTIMEnt’.

56 Responses to “Guardian No 25,243 by Arachne”

  1. xerx says:

    24ac I solved as n = neutral (sexless) + erotic (sexy) round u (cut up)

    Sorry can’t help with the others

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Arachne for the puzzle and PeterO for the blog. On 1ac maybe: C(L)UCK + 00. That is, the bird noise being CLUCK and the many (L) being pushed out. I agree with your parsing of 26ac and feel two words should have been indicated. Thanks for your explanation for 8d – Commis is a new word for me.

    Cheers…

  3. David says:

    Thanks Peter.

    9a. I think ‘kettled’ refers to the police practice of enclosing demonstrators.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO

    I never seem to be on the same wavelength as this setter so I abondoned it without finishing.

    With 10a, for example, I entered AT LAST which worked for me but was, of course, wrong.

    With others, like 1a, I got CUCKOO (the correct answer) although I couldn’t fully figure out the clue before GrandPuzzler’s contribution @ 2.

    Thanks PeterO, GrandPuzzler and 225 for bringing light into my darkness.

    May your illumination never glow less!

  5. blaise says:

    Re 1a, an explanation might be that some cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, first removing (pushing out) the real owner’s eggs.

  6. blaise says:

    I suspect PeterO has the correct parsing for 8d, although I thought for a while that the second part was NOISe (= talk?) reversed (rebellious?) and with the final letter cut.

  7. Dawn says:

    Thanks PeterO for the blog. I appreciated the layout giving the clue as well as the answer. I managed some of the lower right and then ran out of time today so nice to see the solutions.

  8. Brian (with an eye) says:

    My suggestion for 24 (which it’s taken a long time to work out):

    N for neuter, then EROTIC (sexy) ‘clothes’ (envelopes) U(p) (‘cut up’).

    It’s nice to have a setter whose mind works in a different way from most! I think 9a is a great clue – the topicality being absolutely unhelpful.

  9. Median says:

    Not many comments so far. Because folks are still wrestling with this puzzle, perhaps? I gave up with about half a dozen clues to go – disappointing. Thanks, folks for the explanations. I agree 26ac should have been indicated as (3,3).

  10. Andrew says:

    I think blaise is right about 8dn – with “rebellious” = “rising”. S[EDIT]ION would be too much of a stretch, I think.

    Altogether quite a tough one, but with some nice moments, including a nicely concealed definition at 10ac, and a trademark Arachne-ism in 14ac, using “woman” where “man” or “person” might be expected.

  11. Jim says:

    9ac: Adage=Saying around LL for students
    5ac: carpenter + ant -part = anag. of entrance

    Also put At las(t) for 10ac. Corrected when I got Abhor.

    Difficult puzzle taking 45 mins to complete

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    The kiss of the Spiderwoman was too much for me today; like Dawn, I had to give up with a bit to go. I usually enjoy Arachne, and today I liked SALLYING for its contemporary use of ‘kettle’, which has only come to attention recently in news items on demonstrations. I wasn’t keen on H = time = hour.

    Anyway, it’s not every day that you see a curvy woman in a bikini on a 225 thread, so it’s not been a completely wasted morning. Thank you for your super blog, Peter.

  13. Brian (with an eye) says:

    I’ve just realised I completely overlooked and therefore repeated xerx’s explanation of 24. Sorry.

  14. John Doe says:

    Any traction on this one for 24a?

    sexless cut : NEU[TER]
    cut up : RIOT, where ‘cut’ does double duty
    sexy anagram indicator to give ROTI
    clothes : C (a stretch, I know)

  15. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, PeterO, for the blog, and Arachne for the puzzle, which I certainly found tougher than usual.

    I agree with blaise and Andrew re 8dn and xerx and Brian [sorry, John Doe!] re 24.

    I thought 9ac was brilliant for its topicality: I had to look up ‘kettle’ when I read it in news reports of the student protests,

    14 ac was something of a double bluff for me [and hurrah for Arachne using 'woman'!] – I was sure it was going to be about Texas.

    Perhaps, for balance, we should have had a picture of Horace [super clue!] or Stiegg Larsson – but it wouldn’t have been quite the same, would it? :-)

  16. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen at no 15: Horace in a bikini would not have been an attractive sight and anyway, that would have been a bit of an anachronism, which as a classicist I’m sure you’d appreciate!

    Meant to say earlier that I also really liked ABHOR.

  17. Thomas99 says:

    1a is an &lit isn’t it? I’m assuming cuckoos go “cuckoo!” while they’re pushing out the other birds’ eggs, although this would seem to be a bit of a giveaway…

  18. Roger says:

    Thanks PeterO. The three from your blog that I might have helped with were sorted before I even woke up, dammit !
    I wonder if there’s an element of &lit about 12 for those thinking of starting a family ? Read 8d as the reversal of NOIS(e) as did blaise @6. Thanks Arachne, ingenious stuff today.

  19. SteveTheWhistle says:

    On 8d, I originally read it as rev of NOIS(e), but I agree with PeterO as CUT = EDIT OUT.

  20. crypticsue says:

    It took me a while to sort out the SW corner but I did enjoy this crossword so thanks to Arachne and PeterO for the blog.

  21. Scarpia says:

    Thanks PeterO.
    Super puzzle from Arachne.Plenty of innovative devices used in the clues,which took a fair bit of working out.
    14 was great,with Arachne,again,catching me out with the use of woman in the definition.Not a complaint,it’s just a nice piece of misdirection which I should have picked up on sooner,as this setter has used it before.

    What I like about Arachne’s puzzles is the little tricks which make the solving so much more of a challenge,e.g. 2 down,on the face of it just initial letters,but with the last letter clued in a more devious way.
    Too many excellent clues to pick out a favouite.Shame about 26 across,no doubt gremlins(again)got into
    ‘A haunted rig’!

  22. Robi says:

    Zut Alors! Menage a trois! Zis Grauniad eez verry France! Not sure an open relationship is a menage a trois, but different folks have different strokes.

    Nice, but challenging puzzle, and thanks PeterO for a good blog – I like having the clues above as it is easy to connect clue and answer.

    I parsed 8 the same as Blaise et al. I saw red over 26; I spent ages trying to find the verb ‘seer’ before I realised it was a Grauniad mistake for 3,3 :!:

    I did like THINK TWICE, which I thought was a very clever clue. :) For a few of these I put in the correct answer before parsing them properly. I liked your pictorial answer to 23.

  23. Robi says:

    P.S. I liked grandpuzzler’s @2 explanation for 1, which I think must be correct. I just got this mistakenly as an &lit.

  24. max says:

    Really appreciate including clues in explanations – thank you!

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Two days running I finished without being sure why. Strangely, this one seems to be considered harder, so that shouldn’t have happened. Oh well, mine not to reason why, mine just to walk the whippet, who has been waiting patiently whilst I finished this!

  26. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Arachne

    I solved this in two goes with a trip out in between. Some very clever clueing, I thought.

    I don’t understand your parsing of 5. Surely, as Jim says, it is *’carpenter ant’ less ‘part’ (strangely = the order of its letters in the fodder).

    Like Eileen, I agreed with blaise and Andrew re 8dn and xerx and John Doe re 24.

    I quickly saw 26a and enacted the answer having wasted masses of time looking for a six letter word.

    I read 1a as blaise did. But grandpuzzler’s idea is ingenious and preferable I suspect. Duck for zero was originally duck’s egg.

    Like PeterO (after he had thought twice)I read 12 down as conceive + brood = ‘think’ twice.

    Best clues for me were 11a (unlikely anagram), 14a (misleading), 7d.

    1a and 24a are, as PeterO says, a bit too clever.

    26a is unacceptable.

  27. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO. I found this quite tough in places and didn’t see the wordplay in a number of clues, so thanks everyone for the explanations.

    Managed to stop myself settling for AT LAST but failed to get SALLYING, despite understanding that ‘kettled’ was an indicator for containment :-(

    Some good surfaces, I thought, lots of variety and I liked, as ever, the gender twist in 14ac, which this setter has done before!

  28. Tokyo Colin says:

    I enjoyed solving the ones I solved and understood so knew I had missed something on the ones for which I drew a blank. Thanks PeterO for the blog and others who helped join the dots.

    I have never heard the expression “Actual Bodily Harm”, although I am familiar with it’s older sibling “Grievous Bodily Harm”. A strange expression – is there “Pretend Bodily Harm”?

    I was also left with a blank for 8dn, having never heard of a Commis. A useful new word since I know of all the other common roles in a restaurant kitchen. There seems to be two opposing camps for the parsing of this one. I cast my vote with PeterO as amplified by SteveTheWhistle@19. Cut = “EDIT out” is so much more elegant, more Arachne than Noise = Talk.

  29. Tokyo Colin says:

    To Tupu@26. I hadn’t seen your entry when I wrote a moment ago. I think your parsing of 5ac is identical to PeterO’s, but just using different terminology.

    And I see you cast your vote for the other parsing of 8dn. I hope someone, preferably Arachne herself, will set us straight.

  30. PeterO says:

    Grandpuzzler @2 – a convincing wordplay for 1A; and Blaise @5 – a good &lit surface (even though it seems that a cuckoo typically pushes out just one egg to make room for her own; it is left to the developing chick to evict the rest). Thank you both. David @3, thanks for pointing out the (very apposite) use of ‘kettled’ in 9A, which had slipped under my radar; it makes for a very good clue. And while we are about it, thanks to Xerx @1 for the explanation of 24A.
    I stick by my interpretation of 8D, because I find NOIS[e] dodgy both for ‘rebellious’ and ‘talk'; but it is a possible alternative explanation.

    Eileen – sorry, but I was too busy trying to work out the clues to consider giving equal time to the cheesecake in 23A!

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    Colin @28, ABH and GBH are two different levels of violence with which you may be charged. Having never been charged, and thus far, touch wood, not having been on the receiving end, I wouldn’t know the precise difference in meaning, but there is one.

  32. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    My comment was perhaps misleading: I was apologising to John Doe for NOT agreeing with his interpretation! :-)

  33. PeterO says:

    As Tokyo Colin suggests, it seems to me that what I was trying to say in 5A is essentially the same as Jim @11 and Tupu @26.

  34. tupu says:

    Hi Tokyo Colin and PeterO

    Apologies re 5a! Tokyo Colin is right. I simply misread PO’s original parsing.

    Re 8d. I am naturally uncertain. I see the point and the attraction but am not happy if one wants ‘edit’ to do double duty. But PeterO is right that sion = sedition (cut).

  35. yogdaws says:

    Thanks PeterO

    And to Arachne for a satisfying toughie.

    Shared Eileen’s enthusiasm for ‘kettled’ topicality.

    Grateful to grandpuzzler’s ingenious parse re 1a.

    And, as a film buff, enjoyed cheeky Dr No ref in 23a

    But 8down? From SION to SEDITION? Beyond a stretch…

  36. Martin H says:

    I’m sure PeterO is right about 8. I spent time trying to justify cut = ‘shun’ as homophone (talk) of -sion, and still find a function for ‘rebellious’, but no. Failed on ‘think twice’, which has turned out to be an excellent clue, and thanks for the explanation of the equally good ‘Utah’.

    Time = hour = h, well, no thanks; nor for ‘voiced low’ = ‘mood’ – readily understood, but clumsy. In 22, I’m not convinced about ‘about’ as a ha indicator – it’s just not enough; ‘time ‘ is certainly in there, but what’s about it is ‘presen….nt’, which is not clued.

    Some very clever constructions and false indications, but somehow not the most enjoyable of puzzles. Perhaps I’m not in the right frame of mind. I deliberately did the whole thing without looking at the setter’s name, and was perhaps in a hurry to finish so I could look. Should have guessed really, because it seemed fairly obvious once I knew.

  37. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Peter O

    Like Bryan@4 I don’t seem to click with Arachne. Perhaps we don’t get enough of him. Failed to solve four or five clues, knowing Steig Larsson would have helped.

    Didn’t like 26a SEERED at all.

  38. muck says:

    Thanks Arachne for a challenging but entertaining puzzle.
    Thanks PeterO – as others have said, it is good to have the clues included in the blog

  39. muck says:

    26ac SEE RED had (6) in the Guardian newspaper version. Is it the same online?

  40. tupu says:

    Hi gm4hqf

    Re Arachne:
    From http://bestforpuzzles.com/people/a.html
    A very informative site

    “Arachne is a crossword setter in The Guardian. She taught Russian at Manchester University from 1979 to 1997 and started setting crosswords some 20 years ago. She wrote a boring book on 18th-century Russian shipbuilding terminology and is now a secondhand bookseller in Manchester”.

    Hi muck
    I did it in the paper too, but it seems to be the same on line.

  41. walruss says:

    Bit of a frustrating day today on the crossoes, as |I didn’t really get on with this one either. Sort of trying too hard or something, can’t really put my finger on it. The compound anagram was all right though, but it did look contrived!!

  42. Robi says:

    PeterO @30; you may be right, but I understand that ‘rebellious’ is a reversal indicator, so I think Blaise @6 has a simpler explanation.

  43. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen @32

    :) I seem to be finding the blog harder to decipher than the puzzle and need to put some more pennies in my mental meter. But at least we seem agreed re the parsing.

  44. Carrots says:

    I thought that The Black Widow had had me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but was astonished to find that only two of my several wild guesses were correct: SEERED which I had as SEETHE (with S gone = mad)and WISH (presentiment/anticipation stretching the definition somewhat). So, many thanks maneater… and to Peter O for a difficult and demanding blog, very well formatted I`d like to add.

    I`m just relieved to have got there in the end: failing this would have meant being two down on the week so far and put me in fear of early-onset Alzheimers. Crosswords like this are not good for hypochondriacs (like me).

    Good stuff though: thankgawd for good bloggers!

  45. Martin P says:

    Sorry if anyone’s said this but I think 24a is “n” (and as in fish ‘n’ chips) then “erotic” clothing “u” (film no sex), that is cutting it up.

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    One more puzzle that we managed to solve this week far away from Books Etc. [the only setter who let us down (or is it the other way around?) was, of all people, Gordius].

    Seeing the name Arachne made our heart beat faster – well, certainly mine, as I am a big fan of this setter.
    Despite the fact that her crosswords vary like ebb and flow.
    As always, political references (one of the things I like in her clueing), often pointing at the US – like today in 2d and 6d.

    The discussion seems to focus mainly on three clues (1ac, 8d and 24ac), exactly the ones that we didn’t understand either.
    I like grandpuzzler’s explanation for CUCKOO (#2), we thought of OO for ‘eggs’ too. And if that’s the construction, the superb surface adds to this making it an exceptional clue.
    For 8d, I’d like to go with PeterO, although the ‘reversal’ idea is attractive too. Maybe they could both be right – thát would be unique!
    As to 24d (NEUROTIC) I join Brian (with an eye) @8.
    But I don’t like ‘sexless’=’neuter’=’n’.
    Chambers confirms all the connections, but as a whole it is one step too far for me.
    BTW, we were thinking of: ‘n’ [for: and (with the quotation marks)] + ‘erotic’ around ‘U’ [perhaps in some way meaning 'sexless' - posh people do look sexy, but are they really? :)].

    It’s obvious that SEE RED (26ac) is the second enumeration mistake this week after last Sunday’s Everyman crossword.
    But just like in that puzzle it wasn’t an obstacle.
    And we shouldn’t blame the Spider Woman for this.

    Martin H (#36) mentions 22d (TIME) and, although I don’t share his view on this crossword as a whole (normally I do), I think he’s right about this clue.
    We have the feeling that is a clue in a kind of loop.
    ‘Presentiment’ is going about (here meaning ‘covering’) TIME leading to ‘lifespan’, but there is no indication that it is actually leading to ‘lifespan’. So, the clue doesn’t make clear what the definition is – ah well, we got it.

    Andrew (#10) stated re 14ac (MOTORIST): “a trademark Arachne-ism in 14ac, using “woman” where “man” or “person” might be expected”.
    But what about the predecessor wherein WHIZ was a ‘clever chap’. Chap?

    In 5ac (ENTRANCE) we thought the first anagrind (‘strangely’) is superfluous. One could say ‘PART’ is absent in ENTRANCEPART, which is an anagram of ‘carpenter ant’ (which is in fact a real word!!).

    And finally, the Winners!
    We thought the trilogy at 9,10,11 across was outstanding, but since PeterO revealed that he is (sadly: was) actually a Leo this must be our Clue of the Day.

    We might be niggling over a few clues, but it is certainly nót in the same way we did over, say, this week’s Gordius.

    For me [I don't say 'us' :)] this crossword felt like A Kiss.
    Yep, of the Spider Woman.

  47. Martin P says:

    Hi Sil so you didn’t like my “u” equals film classification meaning no sex then? :)

  48. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Martin P, your post wasn’t on there when I started writing my (long) post, so I couldn’t see that there was someone out there with the same idea. A nice idea, isn’t it?

  49. tupu says:

    Hi Sil

    I’m a bit unsure about a US political point. Tea Party, though the reference is American, is clued pretty neutrally, and ‘kettled students’ – potentially the most controversial reference – is home based.

    The political edge of the Utah axe went past me but you may well be right there! Google reveals that there is a strong contemporary effort to axe public education there. If this is referred to, you and the puzzle are very up-to-date indeed! see
    http://utahlegislaturewatch.org/2011/02/10/education-facing-the-budget-axe/

  50. Martin H says:

    Evening Sil – my problem with 22d is that ‘presentiment’ is not ‘about time': part of presentiment ie ‘presennt’ is. ‘About’ doesn’t mean ‘contains’. Perhaps something like ‘Presentiment involving lifespan’ would have been closer to what was needed. But, as you say, we got it. Hmmm, is that enough?

  51. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi tupu,
    when I say: “As always, political references (one of the things I like in her clueing), often pointing at the US” are part of Arachne’s crosswords, I’m not referring to specific things nor do I say she’s right or wrong [I do have a preference, though].
    Look at Arachne’s previous crosswords, and there are always clues that have a political surface. That’s what I wanted to express.

    Even if the State in 2d (UTAH) has nothing to do with the surface of the clue, that surface is in a way referring to something American.
    Like it or not, but it is one of the reasons that I want to kiss her, the spider woman … :)

  52. PeeDee says:

    Ouch! This crossword hurt my brain. Thanks PeterO for helping me out.

  53. Huw Powell says:

    Martin, your “U” = sexless makes the only reasonable parsing I have seen for 24a, and explains why I never would have got past pencil on it. Like ABH. And GS. Britishisms too far away for me here in the USA. Also penciled COMMISSION, though I “buy it” now; SEE RED due to the typo in (6); CUCKOO; AT HOME; ROMAN NOSE, though I was fairly confident of it. Got nowhere near some novelist I have never heard of and probably never will. For 12d I had THINK AGAIN or THINK TWICE, but lacked checks to decide, and never caught the “think” x 2 device.

    So a very mixed bag here – some very delightful clues and surfaces and tricks, some I simply never would get due to cultural gaps, and some I think shouldn’t have got past an editor.

    Thanks Arachne and PeterO and everyone else who helped parse some of the odder clues!

  54. crosser says:

    Hi Sil
    It’s a bit late so you may not see this, but why do you say @51 “Even if the State in 2d (UTAH) has nothing to do with the surface of the clue, that surface is in a way referring to something American.”?

  55. Sil van den Hoek says:

    crosser @54, sorry to hurt any feelings (if I do), but the answer to your question can only be based on my interpretation of Arachne’s thoughts on politics (in which I may be completely wrong, of course).

    But when you would take, let’s say, the last 10 Arachne crosswords, you will find that in each puzzle there are several surfaces referring to politics, and America and/or Conservatives in particular. Always with a light left-wingish undertone.

    So, when I see ‘State’ in one of her clues, like in this puzzle, my mind more or less automatically goes in the direction of the US, certainly when the rest of the clue is not that neutral [one might even think of the death penalty, for example]. Whether that’s right or wrong, is another matter.

    Yet, I have a feeling that Arachne in a way puts something of herself in the clue-writing.
    It is this personal touch that gives her crosswords just that little bit extra.
    As I said, it’s only my perception.
    Maybe I see things that aren’t there.
    But I like it.

  56. crosser says:

    Sil @55
    Many thanks for your full answer to my question and certainly no hurt feelings. Since the two parts of the clue are distinct from each other, I don’t sense any reference to America in the second part. This means that I don’t agree with your interpretation, political or otherwise. But, as you suggest, we all have our own perception and we can all be right or wrong. Thank goodness, since otherwise the world would be very boring!

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