Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Quiptic 598 / Arachne

Posted by Big Dave on May 2nd, 2011

Big Dave.

I really enjoyed today’s offering from Spiderwoman (the original Arachne in Greek Mythology was changed by Athene into a spider).

All definitions given are from Chambers 11th Edition. Most of the standard abbreviations used in the wordplay are shown with the unused letters in brackets e.g. S(mall).


4a Buttonhole head of Asda about price (6)
ACCOST – a verb meaning to buttonhole or confront is built up from A (head of Asda), C (circa / about) and a price

6a Nipper soon grasped church rules (5,3)
CANON LAW – a nipper or pincer placed around (grasped) ANON (soon) gives ecclesiastical law (church rules)

9a Four, for example, is even (6)
SQUARE – a double definition – four (two squared) is an example and a word meaning to be square or leaving no balance

10a Small, informal eaterie next to former place of execution (8)
SCAFFOLD – a charade of S(mall), an informal word for a cafeteria (eaterie) and OLD (former) gives a place of execution

11a Novelist Will’s amour propre? (4-7)
SELF-RESPECT – a cryptic definition of what novelist Will Self might regard as his amour propre

15a Despicable rogue elbowing wife out of the way? (7)
IGNOBLE – an adjective meaning despicable is an anagram (rogue) of ELBO(W)ING after W(ife) has been removed (is out of the way)

17a Minor court case enthrals little girl (7)
TRIVIAL – an adjective meaning  minor is created by putting a court case around VI (little girl)

18a We sup paltry, pathetic source of liquid (5,6)
WATER SUPPLY – an anagram (pathetic) of WE SUP PALTRY gives a source of liquid

22a Dealer manipulating our price (8)
CROUPIER – this casino dealer is an anagram (manipulating) of OUR PRICE

23a Policeman retrospectively applied law to international festival (6)
DIWALI – a charade of DI (Detective Inspector / policeman), LAW reversed (retrospectively applied) and I(nternational) gives this Hindu or Sikh festival of light

24a 1000 + 49 + 51, a way big number! (8)
MILLIARD – convert each of the numbers into Roman numerals (M + IL + LI) and add A RD (road / way) to get a thousand million – the use of IL to represent 49 instead of the more usual XLIX is the subject of much debate!

25a Forever embrace, protecting honour (6)
REVERE – hidden inside (protecting) the first two words of the clue is a word meaning honour


1d You are said to be taken in by drug addict and moneylender (6)
USURER – put U R (textspeak for you are) inside USER (Crosswordland’s drug addict) to get someone who lends money, usually at excessive rates of interest

2d,19d Football team entertained chums in lively fashion! (10,6)
MANCHESTER UNITED – this football team is an anagram (in lively fashion) of ENTERTAINED CHUMS

3d It is widespread at weddings etc, if not controlled (8)
CONFETTI – small pieces of coloured paper flung at brides and bridegrooms are an anagram (controlled) of ETC IF NOT

4d She murders two fools at home (8)
ASSASSIN – someone who murders, usually for reward, is a charade of ASS, ASS (two fools) and IN (home)

5d Stroke Heather having sex (8)
COUPLING – a charade of a stroke or blow and LING (heather in Crosswordland) gives a word meaning having sex

7d John’s grand manner (4)
LOOK – start with LOO, another colloquial word for a toilet (john) and add K (kilo / a metric thousand / grand} to get a manner or appearance

8d We and he regularly walk through water (4)
WADE – the odd letters (regularly) of We AnD hE give a verb meaning to walk through water

12d Lover’s little, but has the knack! (10)
SWEETHEART – this lover is a charade of S (‘s / is), WEE (small) and THE ART (the knack)

13d Move Althorp once? (8)
DISPLACE –  this verb meaning to move could be read as DI’S PLACE, Althorp being the former residence of Princess Diana when she was Lady Diana Spencer

14d Pity male bullied when others are having fun (8)
PLAYTIME – an anagram (bullied) of PITY MALE gives a period in the school day when children can have fun

16d Leading brands offered with special price reductions in the Spar (8)
BOWSPRIT – the initial letters (leading) of eight words in the clue give a spar running out from a ship’s bow, to which the forestays are fastened

19d See 2d

20d Suss Cameron’s wicked scheme (4)
SCAM – hidden inside the first two words of the clue is a wicked scheme

21d Perhaps saw money being raised (4)
TOOL – a saw is an example (indicated by perhaps) of this implement which is derived by reversing (being raised LOOT (money)

17 Responses to “Guardian Quiptic 598 / Arachne”

  1. Stella says:

    Thanks Dave, I enjoyed this too, although my last in (DIWALI)seems a little obscure for a Quiptic – or are the British so familiar with the sub-continent’s various cultures nowadays that it has become an everyday word?

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Dave, I enjoyed it too.

    Some risqué clueing, trademark use of the feminine third person pronoun, elegant surfaces … the SpiderWoman is in town, with a fine Quiptic.

    DIWALI and SWEETHEART were my favourites today.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the blog, Dave.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, too: favourite clues 15ac and 1,2,12,13,16 [pity about the necessity for ‘the’ but great wordplay all the same] and 21dn.

    Typical Arachne clue at 4dn – the only female one I can think of is Charlotte Corday! [And well done, Dave, for finding a picture of a female croupier!]

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Stella. Yes, I think DIWALI (or its variant spellings) is pretty well known to most people over here. At primary school, all the world’s major religions are studied so children will have heard about it there; and in cities and towns with large Asian populations it’s widely celebrated.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    Diwali is now pretty familiar in most parts of the UK, I think. Here in Leicester, we have the biggest celebrations outside India.

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi K’s D

    That’s twice you’ve beaten me to the same comment! :-)

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I was in fact going to say in reply to Stella that if Eileen drops in, she’d tell you all about the Leicester celebrations!

  8. Big Dave says:

    I’ve added a picture and link for Nikita – the clue reminded me of this fictional female assassin.

  9. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Dave

    I’d never heard of DIWALI but guessed it correctly.

    I was puzzled by ASSASSIN as being female because, surely, most of them were males?

    Your picture of Nikita and link have not reproduced for me.

  10. Big Dave says:

    Not sure what went wrong there – it should be ok now!

  11. Robi says:

    Enjoyable puzzle, but a bit tricky for a Quiptic, I thought. Although a fairly obvious answer, where is the hidden indicator for SCAM? I got some help with 2,19 by finding that Arachne taught Russian at Manchester University.

    Thanks Big Dave for your usual pictorially entertaining blog. I see that you didn’t give a picture for 5d, unlike a previous time with your tortoises. I didn’t get the parsing of DISPLACE until I got here, although perhaps I should have.

    MILLIARD is all very confusing – see billion. I can’t say I have ever seen this expression used in the UK. A thousand million is generally called a billion these days (after the American usage.)

    I particularly liked IGNOBLE and SWEETHEART.

  12. Big Dave says:


    I think the “hidden indicator” is the ‘S, which can be read as “has”.

    To be fair, the confusion with the numbers applies to billion rather than milliard. I gave the definition from Chambers to give some idea of the size.

  13. Stella says:

    Thanks K’s D and Eileen.

    When I left the country, the recent wave of Pakistani immigrants meant that all people resembling them were derisively called ‘Pakis’, and Margaret Thatcher had been voted in for North Finchley, where I have worked at one time, on the promise of ‘dealing’ with them – aagh!

  14. Tokyocolin says:

    I struggled with 23A since I know the festival as Deepavali from Singapore and Malaysia. I had heard it referred to as Divali which I entered but when it didn’t trigger the “ta-da” message, changed to Diwali since Vs and Ws seem fairly interchangeable on the subcontinent. I have since learned that is the most common spelling but that still leaves hundreds of millions with other ideas.

  15. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Arachne and Big Dave. Enjoyed this puzzle. Have not seen MILLIARD before so thanks for the education.


  16. Robi says:

    Thanks Dave, I think I have been ‘ad before with ‘s, although ‘has’ is not in my trusty Chambers Crossword dictionary as a hidden indicator. Might have been better for a Quiptic to say: ‘Suss Cameron embraced wicked scheme’ or somesuch.

  17. Derek Lazenby says:

    Late on parade, busy week. Therefore I’m comparing with Chifonie instead of the usual Rufus. This was harder I thought, but without anything specific to mutter about.

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