Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,354 – Arachne

Posted by Uncle Yap on June 21st, 2011

Uncle Yap.

Another delightful Tuesday morning spent unravelling Arachne’s exquisite blend of teasers. Lots of entertainment value.

ACROSS
5 PARDON dd “What? I didn’t quite hear you” being synonymous with “Pardon, can you say that again?”
6 NAPALM Ins of PAL (buddy) in NAM (Vietnam War)
9 RIPSAW RIP (rest in peace epitaph) SAW (saying)
10 IDEALISM I (one) DEAL (business transaction) IS M (first letter of My)
11 STUN Rev of NUTS (mad men) to stun is to knock out
12 WINDOW SEAT Ins of A in *(we sit down)
13 TROUBLE SPOT TROUBLES (dogs) POT (shot, as in billiards)
18 ESCUTCHEON *(chest on cue) a shield; especially one displaying a coat of arms
21 GRIN CHAGRIN (distress) minus CHA (tea)
22 MEATLESS M (half of MY) Eat less (diet)
23 DANUBE *(BENAUD) with def represented craftily by R
24 STREAM Ins of R (runs in cricket) in STEAM (water vapour)
25 METIER ME (the setter, Arachne) TIER (row)

DOWN
1 PRISONER Ins of SON (boy) in PRIER (one who pries or intrudes)
2 BOW-WOW BOW (bob, a quick bow perhaps to the Queen as she walks by) WOW (hit as in “Her latest single is a big wow / hit with her army of fans”)
3 HAVE-NOTS Ins of OT (OPT minus P, quietly) in HAVEN (asylum) & S (last letter of seekerS)
4 CALLUS CALL (refer to) US (American)
5 PAINTS Ins of I (one) in PANTS (trousers) I think there is a typo and the first word of the clue should be Describes. Well, this is the Gaurdian, isn’t it?  :-)
7 MISHAP ha
8 LIONEL MESSI *(millions see) What a splendid &lit for this Argentinian player currently with FC Barcelona. My COD
14 UNCLE SAM *(CALUMNIES minus I)
15 ORGANDIE Organ (means) Die (to cut out as in an industrial process) fine translucent plain-woven cotton dress material with a stiff finish; fine muslin
16 ASSETS A S (small) SET’S (class has)
17 LIMBER (C) LIMBER (S)
19 UTTERS Clubs can be PUTTERS (as used with deadly accuracy by Rory McIlroy, Congratulations) and picking 6 out of the 7 letters could yield the answer unless someone has a better explanation.
20 NODDER NOD (rev of DON, academic) + DrEaRy (odd letters)

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

42 Responses to “Guardian 25,354 – Arachne”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the blog and explanations for a couple of answers I got but couldn’t figure out why. I agree with 19d that it’s apparently the last six letters of putters, and I also figured that 5d was missing an ‘s’ on ‘describes’. But as always an excellent puzzle from Arachne.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Not as enthusiastic as you on this one. 3d, now you’ve explained it, defeated me and should be a good clue: but what is the “in advance”? I liked the anagrams in 12a and 8d.

  3. caretman says:

    molonglo @2, I think the parsing of 3d is not an insertion of OT in HAVEN & S, as Uncle Yap suggests. I read it as ‘asylum’ = HAVEN, ‘seekers finally’ = S, with ‘opt out quietly in advance’ = O(p)T entered in advance of the S, so HAVEN + O(p)T before S.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap – I consider this to have been a Curate’s Egg.

    I liked DANUBE and TROUBLE SPOT but I had absolutely no idea what MESSI’s first name was – so LIONEL was a guess based on the anagram fodder. But merely including a foreign footballer was very messy!

    I failed to get HAVE-NOTS and now I know why.

  5. Setanta says:

    Many Thanks Arachne & Uncle Yap [I love your parsing as much as the crosswords themselves]
    1a – the Catholic Church’s has a system of issuing pardons for past sins which is referred to as Indulgences – specifically a plenary indulgence granted for a particular prayer cycle [novenas and the like] releases a soul from purgatory

  6. Setanta says:

    mea culpa – that should have read 5a not 1a

  7. Bryan says:

    Setanta @ 5 & 6

    You must now say 5 or 6 Hail Marys and never let it happen again.

    You will then be pardoned.

  8. Brian with an eye says:

    To be fair, as footballers say, Lionel Messi is not just “a foreign footballer” but generally recognised as the best in the world just now. Thanks for the blog – a really enjoyable crossword.

  9. Mystogre says:

    Thanks as always Uncle Yap. I do enjoy your explanations. I have been in Nelson all day which is a decent drive, so I finished this a bit late tonight.

    I agree with your concern about 5d. Couldn’t get it to make sense as it was written. I was looking for a person. But I had real trouble with 2d and 9ac. Took one of those aha moments after I had left the work for a while.

    But I did enjoy DANUBE and METIER. Overall, a good challenge, or I might just be tired. Thanks Arachne as well.

  10. Geoff says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Great fun, apart from the typo at 5d.

    Some unusual and clever clues here – I particularly liked the devices at 17d and 19d. Other highlights were 11a (practically an &lit), 22a and the splendid 8d.

    3d was my last entry – unusually tortuous parsing here.

  11. walruss says:

    I think your explanations were more enjoyable than the puzzle, Uncle Yap, as this is a compiler I really do not ‘get’. Seems very flat always, no sparkle, even if the Messi anaga was good. Agree with caretman’s parsing @ #3. Thanks for blog!

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. I missed 9ac by one letter (the first) :-( but otherwise enjoyed this very much (apart from the typo at 5dn, which held me up there for a while).

    8dn was a guess on my part, after having enough checking letters to confirm LIONEL. I suppose I must have a faint memory of his name or I would never have guessed correctly! A very neat surface.

    I liked 23ac, too, and noted Arachne’s trademark ‘she’ in the def for 20dn.

    Couldn’t parse 3dn or 19dn, so thanks for clearing those up.

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks UY foran excellent blog and Arachne for a mixed blessing.

    I wnjoyed many of the clues ticking 13a, 18a, 21a, 23a, 2d!, 14d as I went along.

    I failed on 3d which I should have guessed but didn’t. The parsing is convoluted but not impossible once one has the answer!

    I also failed to understand ‘utters’ though I saw a possible link to putters, and organdie – I don’t like this clue which combines two unlikely cds. Incidentally, the parsing seems more likely on retrospective examination to be ORGAN (= Means) + (to) CUT-OUT (as a noun not a verb).
    Like others I assumed that 5d was an error.

  14. Shirley says:

    I’m sure we’re being very thick but can someone explain Uncle Yap’s blog for 15d? Why does organ = means?

  15. Thomas99 says:

    Shirley (14), tupu (13) et al
    15d-

    I assumed cut out was a verb – to cut out or die, like a motor, or the sound of a motor.

    And for means/organ I was thinking along the lines of “the organ of sight”; etymologically, organ originally did mean something like “that with which one does something”, hence its application to bits of the body with specific functions. Apparently the American president is also constitutionally the “sole organ” of diplomacy in certain contexts, but I only just found that out.

  16. tupu says:

    Hi Shirley

    As I said, I don’t like this clue. I suppose an organ is defined as such because it has a function, e.g heart pumps blood. Arguably one could say ‘the heart is the means by which the body circulates blood’.

    Then of course one gets ‘die’ = ‘cut out’ on top of that. Again, I think this is better seen as a noun. I have not seen it as a verb, as UY suggests.

  17. tupu says:

    Hi Thomas99

    Sorry (we crossed) and thanks re ‘die’. Your suggestion is simpler and has the advantage of not needing a hyphen and ‘improves’ the clue. We seem agreed re ‘organ’.

  18. Gaufrid says:

    Perhaps two definitions from Chambers will help the means=organ debate:
    “An instrument or means by which anything is done”
    “A means of communicating information or opinions, eg a newspaper”

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks Gaufrid

    Spot on as ever! :) I should have checked Chambers if only for the exercise – its so damned heavy!

  20. Arachne says:

    Afternoon, all. Firstly, thanks to Uncle Yap for his lovely blog. Delighted that some have enjoyed today’s puzzle, and as usual a promise to the disaffected to try harder! Just wondering if anyone is attending the ‘Sloggers and Betters’ do in Brum this Saturday? My previous engagement with a 46 mile ultramarathon has been kiboshed by a fall down a Scottish mountainside last week, so I’m intending to hobble to the pub in question some time in the afternoon. Hope to see you there, chaps! Love and hugs, Arachne x

  21. chas says:

    Thanks UY for the blog – you explained in several cases why I actually had the correct answer. On 19d the only word I could see was UTTERS but I totally failed to parse the clue.

    I liked R Benaud – once I had put Richie out of my mind and concentrate on what was actually present in the clue!

  22. Qaos says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap! A delightful blog as ever. I thought today’s crossword was wonderful – a few tough parts, but some lovely and entertaining clues – 8d and 12a were my two favourites.

  23. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, UY and Arachne. Failed on 3d and the explanation for 19d, too. I thought this was made slightly harder than usual because of the grid, most of the across clues’ starting letters where not in the down answers and vice verse (I am sure there is a more succinct way of phrasing that).

    I also think 12a is a better clue than had been acknowledged. I missed seeing it as an anagram, and thought it was a CD; however it now seems to be an &lit clue, too.

    Arachne: I am surprised: “chaps” but not “chapesses”?

  24. Taxi Phil says:

    Not my favourite compiler at the best of times, I found this a largely unrewarding slog, and failed to get 3D (having read the analysis of the word play, I’m surprised ANYBODY did). I though 19D was an appalling clue, and because of the obtuseness of some of the others I spent longer than I should have before conceding 5D was standard Grauniad. On the upside, I enjoyed 5A and 8D (but I am a soccer aficionado). However, COD 23A !

  25. Robi says:

    Thanks Arachne for a spidery puzzle, and to UY for a good blog – I failed to parse UTTERS, although just about managed the others.

    I’m not sure about bob=BOW; I thought a bob was a curtsy (Chambers: ‘a quick curtsy,’) which is not really a bow, is it? My Chambers Xword dic. does, however, give bow=curtsy. A female bow?? Can anyone please add some sense to this?

    WINDOW SEAT was very good, although I failed miserably to spot the anagram. I didn’t really get the ‘in advance’ in HAVE-NOTS, but caretman @3 seems to have nailed it. I thought GRIN and DANUBE were pretty clever. I can’t really see the problem in clueing LIONEL MESSI, as he is probably better known than some of the battles or towns in Shropshire that we get here.

    Satisfying to finish this, which I thought was quite difficult in parts.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was a beaut.
    A good challenge with some excellent clues.
    Only complaint is the missing ‘S’.
    I fail to see why a clue being difficult to parse (3d?) should be a criticism, surely, as long as it is logical, it should be commended.
    I also find it strange and a little petty when folk complain that they do not know a thing or (more often) person.
    Football is by far the most widely followed sport and at present Messi is its best-known exponent. Much better known than all the Chaucer/Shakespeare characters we are served up on a regular basis.
    Thanks UY for explaining 19d.
    Well done Arachne.

  27. rrc says:

    hard slog today with few smiles Im afraid

  28. otter says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, and thanks, Arachne.

    Having come to the blog thinking I’d finished the puzzle bar 15d, which defeated me, I noticed that I hadn’t got 3d either. Oops, that slipped my notice. Wonder whether I would have been able to get it had I gone back to it? Not sure.

    Got UTTERS and LIMBER but wasn’t able to parse them. Thanks for the explanations. I suppose they’re pretty similar clues in their construction, ie choose a word and knock off a letter or two.

    This being an Arachne puzzle, when faced with the obvious anagram for a footballer and rolling names around my tongue, I did wonder whether it might be a female footballer, and settled on Simone Ellis, but on investigation it seems there isn’t a footballer by that name. Realised after completing a couple more clues that it wouldn’t fit in anyway, and finally remembered Messi, after initially thinking ‘there would never be a footballer called Lionel!’

  29. StanXYZ says:

    G’Day!! Worth if just for 23a alone.

  30. Eileen says:

    Well, here’s one female chap going to Birmingham on Saturday.

    I’m very sorry to hear of your mishap, Arachne, but delighted to know that it means you can join us – ‘Every cloud …’ :-)

    Many thanks for the puzzle [I’ve been out all day and have nothing really to add to what’s already been said – loved 22 ac! – and thanks to UY for the blog.

  31. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Like Eileen, I’ve been out all day so only got the chance to tackle this one this evening. The last few Arachnes I’ve really enjoyed, but this one was a bit of a mixed bag – or maybe it’s just because I’m tired and my crossword brain has tucked itself up for the night. I couldn’t understand UTTERS, but I wouldn’t describe it as ‘appalling’ – if it had been by another setter whose name starts with A there would no doubt have been comments about how clever it was.

    Thanks UY for the blog and looking forward to seeing folk on Saturday in Birmingham.

  32. Arachne says:

    One of my campaigns is to “out” the bisexuality of various words – no “chapesses” for me ;)

    Look forward to meeting you on Saturday, Eileen and Kathryn’s Dad (and anyone else who’s going).

  33. Eileen says:

    ‘One of my campaigns is to “out” the bisexuality of various words – no “chapesses” for me’

    We’ve noticed= hurrah!

  34. Robi says:

    Arachne @32; ‘One of my campaigns is to “out” the bisexuality of various words – no “chapesses” for me.’ Haven’t got any response to whether a curtsy is a female bow or otherwise how bob=BOW works. :)

  35. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the blog

    I also got to this one late and HAVE NOTS stumped me

  36. Martin P says:

    Thanks for the reminder of dear old Ritchie’s broadcasts, less so for the one of napalm: all in all quite some mixture I thought.

  37. Sil van den Hoek says:

    We have the impression that Arachne’s recent crosswords fluctuate in difficulty and whatever else can fluctuate.
    But this one was in our opinion a real corker.

    Yes, there was that ‘mishap’ (in 5d) [mishap of the editor too, I guess :(].
    Yes, was another ‘mishap’ as a hidden in 7d, which we didn’t like very much as ‘hap’ was too obvious [I would have tried to find something like ....MISH A P...., I think].

    But when one can write a clue like 12ac (WINDOW SEAT) of which we thought (like Dave Ellison) it was a cd, only to discover that clever construction, well … wow!

    Like others we couldn’t parse UTTERS, but isn’t this original?

    A brilliant anagram for LIONEL MESSI – quite unbelievable that some people don’t know who he is.
    And 22ac (MEATLESS): another highlight.
    3d (HAVE-NOTS) was our last, and it took a while to exactly find out why (even after finding the answer). But isn’t that one of the reasons why it is such a good clue? (apart from its splendid surface)
    And although I don’t (want to) know anything about cricket, 23ac (DANUBE) is very clever (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richie_Benaud).

    On top of that, I think 1ac (PARDON) is just brilliant in its simplicity.

    Gosh, why am I so enthusiastic about this puzzle?

    [only a bit surprised that no-one so far commented on the final S in ASSETS]

  38. Carrots says:

    With no “aids” available, I was obliged to guess the clues I could not parse. There were quite a few: BOW-WOW, HAVE NOTS, CALLUS, ORGANDIE, and LIMBER among them.

    PAINTS, LIONEL MESSI (who he?) NODDER all stretched it a bit for me.

    But, thanks for stopping by, Arachne. I shall spot you immediately on Saturday: resplendent wearing a rug, mucky sandals and Wyeth hair-do….sporting a copy of “The Psychology of Housework” peeping from your Indian Bead satchel.

    If you turn up with a red rose, ironed and furled copy of “The Times” and a bag by Prada, I am lost.

  39. JH says:

    Well, I proudly put ARMAGH into 7d, having confirmed with Google that there had been a rail disaster there, only to trip up when I realised what 6a was. Oops.

  40. RCWhiting says:

    ref: the final ‘S’ in ‘assets’ (16d)
    Although the term set in educational usage is most commonly found in secondary schools I have heard it used in primary schools.
    There it refers to a ‘table’ of pupils of similar ability. Hence several ‘sets’ would make a class.

  41. tupu says:

    Hi RCWhiting and Sil

    I assumed assets was parsed a + s(small) + set (class) + ‘s (has).

    I imagine it is this parsing that Sil’s comment refers to. I seem to remmber there was some argument about such use of the apostrophe some time ago. It does not particularly worry me.

  42. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks RCWhiting and tupu.

    Fun to see two different parsings for the S.
    Indeed, tupu, we went for your option.
    It didn’t worry us either, but given the fact that is a rather unusual thing to do, I would have expected some remark by some person at a site like this.
    That’s all.

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