Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,330 – Arachne

Posted by Uncle Yap on May 24th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

I do not remember ever blogging this setter and today’s mini-theme of people who need their heads examined left me as cold as if I were reading about 18th-century Russian shipbuilding terminology. However, there are some very clever, creative and challenging clues …

1 WOLFMAN Ins of LF (Large Fellow) in WOMAN – The Wolfman is Sigmund Freud’s groundbreaking study of Sergei Konstantinovitch Pankejeff, a wealthy young Russian man, subject to psychotic episodes and neuroses.
5 OPUS DEI *(OEDIPUS) After Dan Brown, everybody should know this
9 SUCKS dd
10 NEWSGROUP Cha of NEWS (latest) GROUP (type of therapy)
11 OBSERVABLE O (Oscar) BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy aka mad cow’s disease) + *(VERBAL)
12 ANUS A NUS (National Union of Students)
18 RALLENTANDO *(A ADLER NOT welL maN) musical term for slowing down tempo
21 URNS U’R (abbreviation for You Are) NS (north south; bipolar)
25 IDENTICAL ID (in psychology, the part of your mind that is unconscious and has hidden wants and needs) + *(A CLIENT)
26 REINS Sounds like REIGNS Quite a stretch of a def
27 NUMERAL rha
28 EASTERS Ins of S (first letter of Seroxat) in EATERS (consumers)

1 WISDOM dd Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom,(1915 – 2010) was an English actor, comedian and singer-songwriter best known for a series of comedy films produced between 1953 and 1966 featuring his hapless onscreen character Norman Pitkin
2 LOCUST LOCUS (place) T (time)
3 MISTRESSES DISTRESSES (worries) with initial letter changed to M. I do not fully understand this clue. Is it meant to indicate that by changing the first letter of Distresses, you get Mistresses which is defined as housewives? Surely, that is politically incorrect, especially as Arachne is a lady
4 NINJA NIN (erotic writer) + JA (German/Austrian for YES) Anaïs Nin born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell (1903 –1977) was a French-Cuban author, based at first in France and later in the United States, who became famous for her published journals, which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death. Nin is also famous for her erotic literature and short stories. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously.
5 ORWELLIAN cd probably alluding to The Animal Farm
6 URGE ha My COD for its primal simplicity
7 DOORNAIL DOctOR + *(LAING minus G, girl)
8 IMPOSING IM (rev of MInd) POSING (pretending)
15 BOTANICAL EB OT minus E (TO BE cut back) + ins of I (one) in *(LACAN) for a drug made from part of a plant (as the bark or root or leaves)
16 FREUDIAN Ins of U (posh) in FRED (boy) + IAN (man)
17 BLENHEIM Acrostic for Blenheim Palace, a large stately home in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, built for the victor of the Battle of Blenheim, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
19 LUPINE Ins of UP (in happy mood) in LINE (rank)
20 THESIS THERAPISTS minus RAPIST (sex offender) + IS
23 HALVE Ins of L (last letter of mentaL) in HAVE (experience)
24 STAR cd

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

43 Responses to “Guardian 25,330 – Arachne”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the blog. I agree on the clue of the day, short and sweet and memorable. On 3d, I don’t think there’s more than you saw, but I did not see it as terribly politically incorrect, as the mistress of the house (with the corresponding abbreviation Mrs) was the wife. So perhaps an old-fashioned definition but acceptable in my mind. I also liked 3a, again simple and effective. Overall it was a fairly straightforward puzzle. Thanks to Arachne for the workout.

  2. Uncle Yap says:

    In these days of bedroom shenanigans, the word, mistress has a dominant connotation of a Wo-Man United playing away from home (apologies to Paul)
    STP PRESS : After Arachne, I started on the Times puzzle and would you believe that 1Across is Like subconscious slip in dispute about Republican fellow (8) ? Talk about co-incidence :-)

  3. caretman says:

    Is today some anniversary of importance to psychotherapists? Like the 100th anniversary of Freud’s first couch purchase?

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, especially for explaining 1a. Is there something similar for Jung and tarot cards, 13d? I liked bits of this, including the uprising ‘rebellious’ in 27a. Not so keen on the grammar of ‘dons’ in 16d (I think we’ve had this argument about inserts before): the boy and man are doing the donning. Not sure BOTANICAL = drug.

  5. Arachne says:

    Morning, chaps. I’m popping in early, and briefly, as I’m off to Ilfracombe in 10 mins to prepare for running the Forces March (5 marathons in 5 days) from tomorrow. Hope today’s offering will provide some enjoyment and not drive too many people mad. Love and hugs, Arachne

  6. Matt says:

    I think I enjoyed this – looking at it now I’ve finished, the answers are all words I know and are not too psychoanalysis related. However I’m not sure whether I enjoyed actually doing this, or whether I’m just proud I finished it… My first pass through yielded about 3 answers and I thought I might be on for a struggle (I was). Thank heavens for Google (Googling Jung’s Archetypes didn’t help with 13d, but I had a fascinating read about them).

    It’s unusual in 16d to have the answer all over the rest of the crossword more or less. I assumed it couldn’t possibly be Freudian as it was too obvious and got sidetracked assuming the “founder of psychoanalysis” meant “p”

    Thanks Arachne and thanks UY for the blog. Just need to find out what Jung had to say about Tarot Cards.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I too thought this would be a struggle when I saw so many themic references, and I think that may have influenced my thinking processes, as in retrospect the clues are perfectly gettable without specialised knowledge. On my first run through I already had several answers, both across and down, so I can’t say it was difficult, although I started halfway through the across clues.

    I agree with caretman re 3d., but took the secondary def. in 24ac to be ‘rains’, which in some climates are predominent weather periods. You may well be right, though.

    As for 5d, I think the reference is more clearly 1984, though both books are identical in theme.

    Thanks Arachne for the puzzle, and for popping in to wish us well.

    Best wishes to all the sloggers and betters this afternoon. Wish I could be there!

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne

    An extremely enjoyable and cleverly constructed romp through the thought associations so beloved of dear old Sigmund (once hypnosis proved too dangerous).

    Lots of teasing clues with 12a suddenly back to basics!

    Too many excellent clues to list them all, but enjoyed 21a, 26a, 20d, 23d as well as 12a.

    Molongolo. I can’t see what is wrong with 16d – the U (posh) dons (puts on) Fred and Ian.

    Many thanks Arachne – enjoy Ilfracombe!

    UY – typo re bulimia.

  9. greyfox says:

    Thanks for elucidating some of the wordplay in this impressively themed offering Uncle Yap. Chambers gives ‘Orwellian’ as: relating to or in the style of the English writer George Orwell (1903-50); characteristic of the dehumanized authoritarian society described in his novel 1984.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I thought that this was a terrific puzzle – one of the most enjoyable ones of 2011 so far for me.

    Such a change to have a thematic crossword based on something scientific/medical. I’ve got several of Freud’s works on the bookshelf (although I haven’t read them for three decades …) so I was familiar with the theme; but I still found it tricky to finish.

    What I really liked was the way that the theme was bound into both clues and answers. If I list my favourites today it will take up half the blog, but I especially liked HALVE, LOCUST, NUMERAL and DOORNAIL.

    And there are some subtleties in there too. The ID got a mention (although I can’t see EGO yet). And there’s a nod to Freud’s theory of child development: the ORAL, ANAL and GENITAL stages (9ac/26ac;12ac;6dn), where he postulated that the infant’s pleasure went from the mouth (sucking on the breast), to the anus, through controlling number twos, then to the sticky-out bit just at arm’s length where most of we men end up. And that’s why we call someone anally retentive, since you were wondering, because they’re stuck at the second stage – the youth of today have reduced that just to ANAL. So although Freudian and Jungian theories are largely discredited now, at least Sigmund gave us a piece of contemporary-speak.

    Brilliant puzzle. When Arachne’s finished her five marathons I want to have her babies.

  11. tupu says:

    ps Agree with Stella re 1984. And also with Caretman re 3d.

  12. Mystogre says:

    Thanks to both Uncle Yap and Arachne. I did not enjoy this one but the explanations have helped to fill in blanks in my understanding. The clues gave the answers but the subject matter was what put me off.

    I also decided the answer to 16d could not be because the name came up so often. In the end it was the only thing that fitted and I kicked myself over it. Almost too obvious.

    I enjoyed 17ac as I live just 30 km up the road from a place of that name, but not in the UK.

  13. walruss says:

    Me neither, with the clues clunking along. Like a bad whisky, not too smooth, and an odd theme really. Might have been fun to ‘discredit’ them somehow!

  14. PeeWit says:

    I, too, very much enjoyed this puzzle. My friend and I always say that a good crossword is one that entertains and informs. This certainly fits the bill. Well done Arachne!

  15. PeeWit says:

    I, too, very much enjoyed this puzzle. My friend and I always say that a good crossword is one that entertains and informs. This certainly fits the bill. Well done Arachne!

  16. PeeWit says:

    Please excuse double post. Damn iPad typewriter

  17. Andrew says:

    This was good fun, and a nice antidote to a crowded train journey this morning (cunningly combining a work trip to London with the S&B meeting this evening). Thanks Arachne, and UY for the blog

    I don’t think there’s a “stretch” in the definition of 26ac – “reins” is a common name for a device used to keep toddlers from wandering too far while still giving them a bit of freedom.. E.g. see here.

  18. alan j cannon says:

    I am surprised by the resistance and antagonism to the subject of psychoanalysis but given the state of the collective unconscious in this era perhaps i shouldn’t be. I assumed it was something quite basic amongst the intellectual strata but apparently not convincing me that we do indeed live in a dark age. It is rather telling of the kind of people who have the cruciverbalist compulsion and the time; affluent,complacent, bourgeoise and have a low pain threshhold. Part of the impulse in puzzle solving for me is the preserving of my sanity something from which most of you are blithely immune. I feel mildly shamefaced to be included in your ranks.

  19. Robi says:

    I found this quite a struggle but a well-constructed puzzle that was finally enjoyable.

    Thanks UY for a good blog; I missed the rha in NUMERAL. Like Andrew @17, I think REINS are common toddler restraints, at least in the UK.

    Alan @18; I enjoyed the theme, but you don’t have to be included in our ranks if you do not want to be. Maybe your psychoanalysis of the posters is rather inaccurate.

    Like others, I thought the simple URGE was a classic clue.

    Molonglo @4; BOTANICALS refer to a class of drugs derived from plants and the word is in common use in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical field.

  20. Robi says:

    P.S. Interesting article on ‘dead as a doornail’ here.

  21. Wolfie says:

    I thought this was an excellent and most entertaining crossword from Arachne – one of the best Guardian cryptics this year in my opinion. I loved the psychoanalytic theme.

    I really don’t understand the comment @ 18. It’s clear that this crossword was enjoyed by many of today’s posters, less so by others – this is entirely usual. There would be little point in a forum like 15 squared if all solvers shared the same opinions.

    Thanks also to UY for the blog, especially for the parsing of 3d and 25d.

  22. norm says:

    I thought that was excellent. Fairly easy, yet satisfying and very clever. More like this please!

  23. norm says:

    Wolfie and I clearly feel the same way – perhaps helped by WOLFMAN in the solution and Norman in the clue to 1a and 1d respectively :)

  24. otter says:

    I found most of this surprisingly doable, and really enjoyed it. I thought the theme was fabulous, especially the playful and sometimes tongue-in-cheek way in which Arachne treated aspects of it. (Eg playing on popular misconceptions and prejudices of psychotherapy/psychoanalysis.)

    I always admire when a setter manages to get a reference to the theme into every single clue; in this case, I think it’s a tour de force, because none of them felt especially forced or contrived to me.

    Thanks a lot, Arachne. And good luck on the Forces March (rather you than me!).

  25. Posterntoo says:

    See Chambers for a DD of Orweiilian, second pertaining to the dehumanized society in 1984.

  26. Tor says:

    alan j cannon’s 18 is rather amusing, I think it needs reading in the spirit of Arachne’s rather fine puzzle.

  27. rot says:

    alan j cannon’s 18 is rather amusing, I think it needs reading in the spirit of Arachne’s rather fine puzzle.

  28. Ringo says:

    Another masterly effort from Arachne (only Araucaria now standing between Arachne and the top-setter laurels, for me, I think – but then I have a soft spot for spiders) – thanks to Uncle Yap, too.

    Alan J Cannon @ 18 has also cheered me up no end.

  29. Martin H says:

    Nice one Arachne – favourites NINJA and URNS. Great variety and ingenuity in the clueing, and nice to see a definition successfully placed centrally in the clue (3d).

    With intensively themed puzzles the setter often seems boxed into a corner and obliged to enter a bit of a duff word, this time ‘Easters’. ‘Id’ demands a more detailed definition than just ‘unconscious’, I think; and I felt ‘ON THE COUCH’ was a bit weak. Like Matt I was surprised to see ‘Freudian’ in there. Small points though in the context of such an excellent crossword.

    Chambers gives ‘botanical’ as ‘vegetable drug’.

    Evidently a j cannon restricts his ticking off to female cruciverbalist correspondents. Or was ‘bourgeoise’ a Freudian slip?

  30. stiofain says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this too and much prefer themes that dont require an esoteric knowledge of a specialised subject.
    re 18 is your first name an anagram and reference to the puzzle?
    ” It is rather telling of the kind of people who have the cruciverbalist compulsion and the time; affluent,complacent, bourgeoise ”
    Im skint and from one of the most socially deprived areas in Europe.

  31. Stella Heath says:

    I was one of those initially put off by the theme, not because of rejection, as Mr. Cannon@18 seems to imply, but because I thought I wouldn’t have the knowledge to complete the puzzle without resorting to Google et al., which turned out not to be the case, more to the credit of the spider-woman.

    Though I may be bourgeois and reasonably affluent, due to an accident of birth and profession, I try not to be complacent. As for my low pain threshold, it’s well compensated by suffering from ME/fibromialgia, thank you very much!

    And one of the reasons I enjoy this site is that it sticks to its subject, without emitting judgment on other posters, or unknown people in general.

    Sorry, I felt the need to say it, though most people have managed to brush over the comment in a most civilised manner, which gives a far better idea of the calibre of the posters here than the post in question :)

  32. Conrad Cork says:

    Botanicals for me are what makes gin gin. (OK alcohol is a drug: I tell my doctor it is self-medication for anxiety.)

    Arachne is up there with the best. Cheers.

  33. Husky says:

    Wonderful crossword. Arachne’s definitely one of my faves.

    I scuppered myself by putting STUD for 12a. Ok, it’s half of “students” rather than a lot of it, but I thought object of fixation made a very nice definition. Oh well.

  34. RCWhiting says:

    I do not think AJC (#18) should have posted that view, although I do agree with most of it. These folk are quite entitled to their rather odd mannerisms.

  35. MikeC says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog, and Arachne for the puzzle. For me, this has been a grand day – enmeshed by the spider woman, then wading with Redshank in the FT. Both highly entertaining challenges.

  36. John says:

    I think there’s a redundant ‘a’ in the fodder for 15 ac.
    Nice puzzle though.

  37. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap. A bit late to comment, but would just like to register my enjoyment of this puzzle. Thanks Arachne and good luck with the Forces March!

  38. Carrots says:

    Strewth!! I have a horrible feeling that, after five marathons, the Spiderwoman will probably be feeling a bit peckish…and I`m relieved that K`s Dad has volunteered to sacrifice himself as sustenance for the Grauniad`s favourite predator.

    She had me entangled in her web for over two hours before I realised that escape was futile. True, many of my guesses worked out from the parsing turned out to be correct, but SUPINE, OSWALDIAN (?!?) and RELIENTANDO (!) clearly were not….the last grasps at straws through which she will, no doubt, suck out all my bodily fluids.

    But, otherwise, what a super puzzle! Only by retrospectively combing each clue and its solution can one appreciate how good it is. A Midas Touch……!

  39. JoannaM says:

    First posting to say how much I enjoyed this, though failed to finish because I stupidly misspelled opus dei as die.

    Thanks to UY and other bloggers here. I always turn to this blog to explain the clues I fail to solve or fail to understand. Great help for a beginner like me. Thanks also to Arachne. She had me spinning for ages.

    Can anyone explain tarot cards and Jung?

  40. MikeC says:


    Have a look at this

    Not sure how much it helps, really!

  41. Joanna says:

    Thanks MikeC. Have read, inwardly digested and um… Suggests even more plaudits to Arachne I reckon

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