Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,390 – Arachne

Posted by Uncle Yap on August 2nd, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a beautiful morning to be enticed into the spider’s web after being seduced last week. I really felt entertained, challenged and educated this morning after this pleasant work-out. Well done and thank you, Spider Woman

4,21 BUFFER ZONE My last solution in and I struggled to find the word play. Perhaps this entry from the Urban Dictionary may shed some light – The number of people needed in a group so you can enjoy yourself and not have to worry about having too much face time with *THAT* person in your circle (the frenemy, the “let’s just be friends” ex, the hookup that turned out to be a really bad idea, the tool, etc)
Damn, Kelly responded to Rob’s Taco Tuesday invite too; looks like only four of us. Let me ask Zak and Sara so there’s a buffer zone.
6 MISMATCH MISS (girl) minus S (shrinks) + MATCH (lighter of fire)
9,10 LORD OF THE RINGS *(OLD NORSE FRIGHT)  The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s earlier, less complex children’s fantasy novel The Hobbit (1937), but eventually developed into a much larger work. It is the second best-selling novel ever written, with over 150 million copies sold. Here is Uncle Yap’s challenge. Which is the best-selling novel ever written? The Holy Bible is not a novel.
11 FRENCH BEANS FRENCH (Norman, perhaps) + ins of E (eastern or oriental) in BANS (forbids)
15 CLUSTER C (Charlie in Alpha, Bravo, etc) LUSTER (American spelling of LUSTRE, sheen) Lovely surface
17 TANGENT TAN (hit as in tan his hide) GENT (man)
18 HELEN OF TROY A quasi-&lit *(HER FELONY TO) for the face that launch’d a thousand ships (after Christopher Marlowe, in Doctor Faustus) Her kidnap by Paris led to the Trojan Wars. My COD
22 PLOTTERS P L (PowerfuL minus all the innards) OTTERS (members of the weasel family)
23 DECAMP Ins of EC (Eastern Central postcode area, also known as the London EC postcode area is a group of postcode districts in central London, England. It includes almost all of the City of London and parts of the London Boroughs of Islington, Camden, Hackney and Tower Hamlets) in DAMP (wet)
24 CREVASSE Ins of REV (Reverend) + ASS (Jenny is a female donkey) in CE (Church of England)
25 DEFECT DEFLECT (turn away) minus L (learner or student)

1 HEROIC *(CHEERIO minus E, last letter of he)
2 DISHEARTEN DI (Diana, girl) + ins of ART (artful) in SHEEN (radiance)
3 IMPRISON Cha of I (first letter of Italian) MP (Member of Parliament or politician) RIS (alternate letters from oRgIeS) ON (about) Wonder whether this is Arachne’s prediction that the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi will end up in prison for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old prostitute.
4 BOLDFACE A very simple cha
5 FORCEFUL FORCE (pressure) FOUL (noxious) minus O (for oxygen gas)
7 TONS Rev of SNOT (nasal mucus, usually semi-dry) In the Chinese language, snot is a derisive term for something/someone very insignificant like Taiwan is to the PRofC or Singapore in the sea of countries with huge Muslim population.
8 HASH Ins of AS (when) in HH (His Holiness, honorific for the Pope) for my second favourite pastime where we run for miles through rain, sunshine, snow and tsunami to build up a thirst to be quenched by that golden elixir of life usually known as beer :-) My chapter runs every Tuesday at 6pm
12 BURGLARISE *(rain urges) Hands up, those who thought Arachne made a mistake with her anagram fodder. The English nationalise while the American nationalize. This word is one of those rare exceptions where BURGLARIZE is the English spelling and BURGLARISE is the American spelling. I learned something new today.
13 RECREATE *(treacheries minus his)
14 STAYS PUT STAYS (corset) PUT (couch as in Couched in such intemperate language, his argument lost all relevance)
16 TAHITIAN Ins of AH (expression of pleasure) in TITIAN (Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c 1488/1490–1576) better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school.
19 FEELER dd
20 EPIC ha

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

36 Responses to “Guardian 25,390 – Arachne”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Arachne and Uncle Yap. OK, UY, I’ve raised my hand because I entered BURGLARIES for the anagram in 12dn because I knew it couldn’t be BURGLARISE since it’s an American spelling. Found out I was wrong again when I put in CREVASSE at 24ac. Your explanation for BUFFER ZONE is very interesting and I don’t have anything better. Maybe the Tuesday morning crowd will.


  2. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the blog.

    Okay, my hand is up too. Here in the States, I’ve never encountered anything but ‘burglarize’ for the verb. I didn’t think the use of ‘American’ in the clue was referring to the spelling but rather to the fact that in other parts of the world one would use ‘burgle’ instead. I still think the British spelling was used.

    For 1a, since BUFFER ZONE is generally a neutral area between warring parties (similar to a demilitarized zone, such as that between North and South Korea), the definition is the ‘no fighting allowed (here)’. From Chambers, ‘buffer’ is a colloquial term for ‘a rather foolish or dull person, especially a man’, so a buffer zone would also be a punny definition for an old gentleman’s club.

    There were some excellent clues here. My COD was 3d, but many were worthy of praise. Thanks, Arachne!

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    caretman, I did consider what you said but it is gentlemen in the plural (buffer in the singular) and I also could not find anything that would remotely equate club = zone

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I think caretman’s right for the def. You’re right about the plural sense of gentlemen’s club, though. Maybe the question mark is to indicate the homophone: BUFFERs own?

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & The Spider Woman.

    This was superb: both challenging and enjoyable and my COD was HASH which was my last entry, having taking me ages to fathom it out.

    However, I never expected any lady setter to allude to a word like S*OT in The Gruaniad. The Murdoch Press, maybe?

    I justified BUFFER ZONE to myself as ‘Buffers One’ with ‘One’ being the Number 1 club in golf; otherwise the Driver. Well, it worked for me.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Your blog is as amusing as the puzzle itself.

    I took 12d to be an Americanism for ‘burgle’ – I hope never to have to say either, but I don’t think I’d ever say “We’ve been burglarised”! Typical example of a verb being suppressed in favour of its corresponding noun + suffix. The spelling didn’t bother me, as I’ve always understood ‘s’ and ‘z’ are interchangeable in this particular suffix. Now I learn there are national preferences.

    As for BUFFER ZONE, I agree with caretman’s definition. The plural form is unnecessary if you take the first noun to have an adjectival function, as in “bicycle shop”.

  7. Mystogre says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne.

    This one caused me some deep thought later in the evening. I find myself agreeing with caretman for BUFFER ZONE and thoroughly enjoyed CLUSTER. Strangely I put the correct spelling in for BURGLARISE, not realising it went against the grain, as it were. I could not see the American reference and was pleased you explained it. So, it was learning for me too.

    I enjoyed the rest although HASH was put in without really understanding why. Your explanation helped immensely here too. I got stuck trying to make HELEN a HELOT and wondering why she then had nowhere to go. All sorted eventually but it was a good workout. Thanks again.

  8. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY.

    We’ve waited even longer than usual for this Arachne puzzle [they don’t come nearly often enough] but the wait was well worth it.

    As usual, it’s invidious to pick out favourite clues but one of mine was 4,21, which really made me laugh. I don’t see any problem at all: caretman’s definitions are spot on and Stella is quite right about the plural form being unnecessary.

    Other witty ones were FRENCH BEANS, CLUSTER, CREVASSE [wonderful!] HEROIC [‘waving cheerio’ – superb!] IMPRISON, and EPIC [It wouldn’t surprise me if Arachne did compose one in her sleep!]

    And, of course, I also really liked HELEN OF TROY.

    Very many thanks, Arachne – come back soon!

  9. sidey says:

    While UY is an excellent blogger he does manage to make things difficult on occasion.

    BurglariZe is an American term, burglariSe is one English spelling of the word.


  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, I certainly didn’t find this meerkats: it was a chewy puzzle with lots of aha! moments when I finally got an answer. Thought the surfaces for IMPRISON and RECREATE were brilliant, and LORD OF THE RINGS was a clever anagram, although if you were being picky you’d insist on THE LORD OF THE RINGS. But I won’t be picky with Arachne, because I’ll end up in the centre of her web as breakfast.

    Fine puzzle, entertaining blog, thank you to both.

  11. Conrad Cork says:

    Very probably K’s D, but what a way to go!

  12. MikeC says:

    Thanks Arachne and UY. Most enjoyable. Re 4,21 and caretman@2, my local pub’s a bit of a “buffer zone” at times (most of us are around 60 y.o., + or _).

    Does anyone else think 5d is a bit dodgy? Isn’t “discharge of gas” a bit of a liberty for subtracting O (because there are so many other letters that would also fit)? I hesitate to quibble, for the same reason as K’s D!

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Very entertaining crossword, which I took to bed just after midnight and, yes, after I found two solutions in each quarter plus LORD OF THE RINGS I thought it was time for ‘nighty night’.

    This morning, with a strong cup of coffee, I finished the lot with HASH (8d) being the last one in.
    I had no problem with BUFFER ZONE and I am in support of caretman/Stella’s explanation.

    My first entry was IMPRISON (3d), and because this one was so good (Eat your heart out, Silvio!) none of the others were able to knock it off the Nr 1 spot.
    However, 15ac (CLUSTER), 18ac (HELEN OF TROY) [though I have a feeling that there’s a hint of a definition missing] and 24ac (CREVASSE) [no, not a cleavage this time] came very close.
    And 12d (BURGLARISE) too, even if I am quite confused now about the British/American issue. All the more since Anthony Lewis’ WordWeb tells me ‘burglarise (Usage: Brit)’ and ‘(N.Amer.: burglarize)’.

    I wasn’t familiar with the meaning of ‘couch’ that was used in 14d, therefore I was held up a bit in the SE.
    Also because 23ac was at that point ?E?A??, which wasn’t enough yet to find the solution (I considered ‘depart’ and ‘remain’ as well). Then I decided ‘city’ to be EC. Thought of that before, but wasn’t sure – I think perhaps ‘city’ needs capitalisation?

    I found it a pity that the solution and the clue of 2d had ‘dis’ in it, but this just nitpicking.

    As I said, very entertaining crossword with some lovely highlights.
    “In my sleep I composed a long poem” :)
    Many thanks, Arachne!
    And UY for the blog.

  14. Posterntoo says:

    Re burglarize: Chambers has both spellings, but says the word itself with either spelling is N. American usage.

  15. Eileen says:

    Collins doesn’t have the word at all, while SOED has ‘burglarize’ [sic] as ‘U.S. 1871′- definition: ‘to rob burgulariously’! I’m totally with Stella @6 in thinking that it’s the word itself, rather than the spelling, that Arachne is indicating as being American.

    [And I don’t know how I missed that clue off my list above – brilliant!]

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne

    I found this very hard to finish and ultimately failed on 3d (I kept thinking it must end in pus = noxious discharge). I also missed the parsing of hash.

    It took quite a time to get buffer zone. I too think caretman is right about the general sense of the expression. At the same time Stella’s point about the plural also seems sensible. However, Bryan’s suggestion of a golf club ref. (iron or wood)makes most sense of ‘club’.

    A quibble – I found the apostrophe in girl’s (2d) a bit worrying.

    As others have noted, several excellent clues.

  17. chas says:

    I took ‘american’ in 12d to mean the form of the verb rather than the spelling i.e. burglari[sz]e rather than burgle. The anagram fodder showed it to end in ‘ise’.

  18. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Great fun. As usual, Arachne blends lots of barbed opinion into her clueing which makes her puzzles instantly recognisable as her own.

    Since no-one else seems to be playing Uncle Yap, I will. Is Gone with the Wind the biggest selling novel of all time? Or am I being distracted by 5d.

  19. Sil van den Hoek says:

    PS, I am – just like Eileen – fully convinced now that BURGLARI-S/Z-E is called ‘American’ here because of being an Americanism. Exactly as Stella explains @6. I think she’s spot on, which gets a confirmation from Mr Oxford: “Burglarize (or burglarise): North American term for burgle”.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Paul, I’m sorry to dissent, but I think the answer is Don Quixote – at least here in Spain it’s reputed to be second only to the Bible.

    K’s D@º10, you do wise to keep a low profile is this case, as Tolkein’s spider-woman is particularly nasty :)

    I took HELEN OF TROY to be an &lit., Sil; I love the definition Eileen found for 12d: – “*burgulariously”? (the * here signifies doubtful authenticity :)); and finally to Tupu, it seems you’re a bit under the weather today, you’re not usually so grumpy :)

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Sorry K’sD, that should have been “in this case”

  22. Eileen says:

    Your * is very apposite, Stella! I’m sorry, I made the word more outlandish than it is by inserting an extra U: it is, of course, burglariously: [‘burglarious: of or pertaining to burglary; addicted to burglary; involving the guilt of burglary’ [SOED].

    Re HELEN OF TROY: I, too, wanted it to be an &lit – it all depends whether you think she went willingly or not! 😉

  23. tupu says:

    re burgle etc

    The verb burgle was it seems a late 19th century colloquial/humorous back formation from burglar (ex burglator). The American verb here seems to date from the same period (early 1870s).

  24. EB says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap & Arachne.

    I agree with most/all the previous posters – I thought this was excellent; some superb clues my favourite being 3d.

    I will nominate ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ in answer to Uncle Yap’s challenge.

  25. scchua says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne for a fine puzzle.

    I think the burglarise/burgle issue has been laid to rest, though I, despite caretman and Stella with their most viable explanation, still have a nagging doubt (even if that’s what Arachne intended) whether a club or any other place where those buffers congregate could be equated to a more geographical (ie. a broader) demarcation as a zone. (I know, think erogenous zone, but that’s no parallel either.) But still everything else was good.

    UY, I’ll hazard a guess, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

    Hi K’sD@10, you might want to visit today’s FT blog where, coincidentally, there’s a cartoon involving a spider.

  26. Arachne says:

    Evening all!
    First of all, many thanks to Uncle Yap for such an entertaining and erudite blog (as ever). Thanks, too, to everyone for your comments – what lovely, thoughtful people you are on here :)
    My thinking behind BUFFER ZONE was exactly as Caretman has it at (2) above.
    Re BURGLARISE, I went with Chambers i.e spelling can be either -ise or -ize, but usage is American. As for Blair and the unstable American, I shall never forgive them.
    And my children may never forgive me for the “Old Norse fright”, but when confronted anything remotely Tolkienesque I lose the will to live.
    Very disappointed not to be able to make the next S&B, but I have a date with 48 miles of Jersey coastline. Have fun, y’all.
    Love and hugs, Arachne x

  27. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, scchua at no 25 – how scary is that? Although I have met Arachne in the flesh (so to speak) and she’s not scary at all …

  28. riccardo says:

    Nice puzzle. I didn’t like the dd of FEELER in 19d, I’m a little surprised that it is just me. I really wanted 22a to be POLECATS.

  29. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Tupu, nice to see you back on form.

    Eileen, I honestly believed your quotation was correct, and was ready with an explanation of the asterisk. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary.

    Good night to all, and I hope my début cryptic blog tomorrow isn’t very late in posting.

  30. Scarpia says:

    Thanks UY.
    Usual high quality puzzle from Arachne,her puzzles are always great fun.
    Interesting observation on the -ize,-ise topic.
    Chamber’s gives -ize as the preferred option in (I think) all cases.See MODERNIZE,IDEALIZE,REVOLUTIONIZE etc.

  31. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, I failed on two clues today, so appreciate your explanation.

  32. Uncle Yap says:

    According to Wikipedia, the top 5 :
    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens over 200 million
    The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien 150 million
    The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien over 100 million
    (Dream of the Red Chamber) Cao Xueqin over 100 million
    And Then There Were None Agatha Christie 100 million

  33. Carrots says:

    Great sport, Arachne….and, as Conrad Cork comments to K`s D: “What a Way To Go!”

    Before I get maudlin about the imminent demise of my favourite “spit and sawdust” boozer (soon destined to become a family diner) I`d like to remind the greedy, big-five brewers that there is a niche market for their products to be found in “BUFFER ZONES”, defined by no muzak, no pool tables, no juke-box, no gambling machines…and no children.

    Add a host who is free to select his beers, knows how to keep and serve them and who can throw a mobile phone-user into the street (preferably through a window) and Nirvana comes close.

    As I struggled, albeit with delight, at Arachne`s puzzle today, I couldn`t help feeling that, somehow, it`s the end of an era…and one perhaps, she will miss a small part of too.

  34. Davy says:

    Now Carrots, would the window be open or closed ?. Quite a vivid image I can see. There’s quite a few mobile users on trains who nearly always speak with an obtrusively loud voice, that I would have liked to throw onto the railway line.

    The blog would be worth reading just for your comments alone. You always make me laugh so thanks for that.

    Also, great crossword Arachne.

  35. Peter C says:

    Brilliant puzzle – so nice to be amused as well as challenged. Thank you Arachne.

  36. Huw Powell says:

    Fun puzzle, yes, especially the brilliant surface for BURGLARISE. While I “found” BUFFER ZONE and FORCEFUL, I failed to parse them and left them off. Embarrassed about the latter. HASH was one of many words I considered for 8, but my favorites along the way (slowly disappearing with checks) were LENT, MESS, MASS, and HOST. I see the parsing, but not the definition. Where is hash a stew? I suppose in Chambers, the hilarious Misdirectionary of a Language Similar to English…

    Thanks for the blog, UY, and the puzzle and especially for dropping by, Arachne! I love it when the setters take the time to drop by and say “hullo”.

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