Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,558 – Arachne

Posted by Uncle Yap on February 14th, 2012

Uncle Yap.

Another cleverly spun web of intrigue and verbal artifice from our Spider Lady.

And of course, today being a special day for romance and lovers, I was expecting to see the theme right down in the heart of the grid. In addition, other sentimental stuff were served. (Friends, fret not, Gaufrid will not be after me as I know this paragraph will appear below the exposed line :-)

Last week, someone alluded to the deficiency of my blog in that I did not type out the clues and described each answer in full and total detail. Each time I have to blog, I race through the puzzle, full of trepidation and anxiety, not just to get the wordplay exactly right but to present the blog in a timely fashion. So, it is stress, stress and stress until I upload. For me to re-type the clues when I expect everybody to have his own puzzle and can read therefrom would be asking to be spoon-fed beyond the normal call of duty. I always try to be as detailed as possible but cannot possibly explain each answer to death, since I do expect a modicum of elementary knowledge of what a cryptic crossword puzzle is all about and that solvers all have a dictionary handy. Love me, love my blog.

1 PICKLE Cha of PICK (flower or the best, the cream) L (left) E (last letter of romance)
4 WALLIS WALLIES (foolish people) minus E (Elizabeth) for Mrs Simpson of the 1936 Edward VIII’s abdication fame. I wonder about Arachne’s use of an abbreviation which does not stand on its own. ER is Elizabeth Regina but E is hardly a legitimate stand-alone abbreviation for Elizabeth.
9 ITEM … exIT seEM  …
10 ABERRATION CABER (the pole or timber used in a Scottish tossing game) RATION (quota) minus C (Roman numeral for 100)
11 ENFOLD Ins of FOL (ins of O, love in FL, Florida) in END (death)
15 INCH INC (including) H (hand) for 1/12 of a foot. Here again, I pause since Chambers does not support H for hand whereas RH for right-hand is supported.
16 FOND FO (flying officer, airman) ND (no date)
21 HOLY WRIT HOLY (sounds like wholly, all) W (Western) aRtIsTs (alternate letters)
22 STRIPS ST (initial letters of shedding & torrid) RIPS (tears)
25 SUIT dd
26 SARTRE ha
27 VERSES OVER (about) minus O (lost love) last letters of makeS mE & nauseouS

1 PETUNIA P (piano, quietly) *(AUNTIE)
CAMPO dd Campo is the name of several rivers in Brazil, Equatorial Guinea and elsewhere; hence flowers. However, I prefer the alternate parsing by sidey@1 that it is the combination of CAM & PO, both rivers (and flowers)
3 LEAP DAY cd for 29th February when ladies are permitted to propose to their male friends
5 ATRIUM ha entrance hall or chief apartment of an ancient Roman house; a church forecourt or vestibule; a central courtyard ; a cavity or entrance ; specif either of the two upper cavities of the heart into which blood passes from the veins.
7 STOMACH STOMA (mouth) CH (Companion of Honour) as in He has no desire/stomach for more speeches
8 BE MY VALENTINE BEAMY (radiant) minus A (middle letter, heart) VAL (girl) *(TEEN IN) with barking mad as anagrind
14 HONEY BEAR Spoonerism for BUNNY HAIR (rabbit fur)
18 RUSHDIE Ins of SH (quiet) DI (girl) in RUE (regret) for Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, a British Indian novelist and essayist.
19 NAPPIES NAP (sleep) PIES (food)
20 ARCHER SEARCHER (he goes looking) minus SE (points on the compass)
23 ROSES cd &/or dd hip is the fruit of roses and pink is a common colour for roses. Today in Kuala Lumpur, a single rose will cost RM10 (about 2 quid) ten times the normal price … and for that, you have to book in advance.

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
rha = reversed hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

58 Responses to “Guardian 25,558 – Arachne”

  1. sidey says:

    2d CAMPO is made from the two rivers the Cam and the Po, good old crossword standards.

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks to Arachne for the puzzle and Uncle Yap for the stellar blog. Learned about wallies today. Thanks also for parsing FOND for me. RE 2d: I thought the savanna might be composed of two flowers: CAM and PO.


  3. stiofain says:

    cheers UY
    it was a nice Arachne I didnt get the CAMPO ref
    the blogging software at here
    is more about leaving bits out than copy and pasting stuff in
    it has been simplified a lot

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    Pipped at the post! Should have typed faster!

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY.

    I read 13 as an insertion (seduced by) of *(MARY) in LACHL(an)

    I thought perhaps the second half of 23 had more to do with “English ROSES” and their rosy (as in pink) cheeks, rather than pink roses.

  6. JollySwagman says:

    Lovely puzzle – topical and amusing – thanks A – and UY for the blog – your blogs are fine by me.

    Agree with NeilW #5 re 23D. I read it as “English rose” i.e. classic idea of an English beauty with fair skin but rosy cheeks – otherwise what is “cheeks” there for?

    Which makes it a DD with both defs cryptic – a clue type I start to warm to, despite not being generally a great fan of CDs. I was reading “reproductive hips” as RE for a while – then went “ping” – so it worked for me.

  7. NeilW says:

    UY, thinking about your objection to H = hand, I suppose, for much the same reasons, wouldn’t one have to object to E = Elizabeth? (Personally, I’m fine with both.)

  8. JollySwagman says:

    Re hand->H, Elizabeth->E. My view is that it would be unfair to pull an individual letter from a single word defined by an obscure acronym, but when an acronym is very well known, and particularly if it is standard crosswordese, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

    So those two I have no problem with.

    Is it not time to ditch the “in Chambers so fair – not in Chambers so unfair” idea?

  9. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. I knocked off the bottom half quickly but the top was much more testing. I didn’t like “shunned by” meaning omit in 4a: in fact ‘shunning’ would work pretty well. Why the ‘female’ in 25a? Not wild about ND=no date in 16a or flower=pick in 1a, the last one in for me. Thanks in particular for parsing that one.

  10. NeilW says:

    Hi molonglo. With apologies to JS, Chambers: suitor 3. A man seeking the love of a woman or her hand in marriage. (Although it adds a little later suitress (rare) a female suitor. My point is that I think even today most people would think of the SUIT as principally a male pursuit. Arachne seems to think so! It makes for a better surface as well.

  11. Kayoz says:

    Thanks to Arachne and UY

    It is much easier now that I am doing the online daily crossword, rather than waiting for it to appear in my local paper a month later. Now I get the topic on the right day.

    I still had a bit of trouble with this one. First in was 19dn and I don’t even have kids. I didn’t get the parsing of 27ac until I read this blog, and I still think it is a bit of a stretch. I also didn’t like 14dn as I felt that the Spooner reference should have been at the end of the clue not at the beginning. To my mind the answer should have been BUNNY HAIR.

    I liked 3dn,15ac and particularly 18dn. I also liked the big bunch of flowers (inc roses) that my partner got me :)

  12. Eileen says:

    Thanks, UY, for the blog.

    What a treat! Huge thanks to Arachne for the usual wit and ingenuity in a puzzle which was over too soon [but that’s no bad thing, I suppose, on a weekday] but left me with a big smile on my face and [almost ;-)] made up for having no Valentine!

    Lots of lovely clues, with great story-telling surfaces – some poignant [11, 13, 16, 24ac and 20dn] and others amusing [9, 12, 17/16ac and 1dn]. The one that made me laugh most, I think, was NAPPIES: a real gem – so simple that it makes you wonder why you haven’t seen it before, but I’m sure I haven’t.

  13. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, UY. (BTW, I like your blogging style)

    I must be very foolish as I seem to be the only one to whom kinkajou was a new word. It deserves more frequent outings!

    And congratulations to Tupu for a last minute score before no-side (see yesterday’s blog @42).

  14. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY – no-frills blogs are fine by me, too.

    And thanks also to the Spider Woman for another puzzle with a lot of smiles.

    I didn’t have a problem with E for Elizabeth and H for hand; they may not be in the dictionaries ‘au nature’ but are very familiar nevertheless. My only quibble was with 3d, which I didn’t put in until I had filled all the crossing lights because it seemed too obvious. The cryptic element is only supplied by ‘propositioning’, which can be read as a participle (i.e. the females are doing the propositioning) or a gerund (i.e. the females are being propositioned). I was with NeilW et al on the parsing of 2d as CAM+PO. Couldn’t parse 16a, so thanks for that.

    There are many good and amusing clues with smooth surfaces. Favourites were 10a, 17,16 (great anagram and surface), 24a (ditto), 27a, and (like Eileen) my COD was 19d for its simple perfection. Brava!

  15. mike04 says:

    NeilW @5 and JollySwagman @6

    I’d agree with your parsing in 23dn. Arachne’s definition “pink cheeks” for ROSES is fair I think. One dictionary (pace JS @8!) gives this example:
    “the fresh air will soon put the roses back in her cheeks.”

  16. Arachne says:

    Morning, everyone, and huge thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog, which is indeed stellar (as ever). Many thanks, too, for all the comments. I’m popping in a bit early today in the hope that I may possibly be whisked off for a romantic, champagne lunch instead of my usual cheese butty and cuppa…

    As today is a Tuesday I tried to make the puzzle a little easier than usual, and am grateful to my Dear Leader HS for encouraging me to stick with one or two clues which I had worried were *too* easy. As he pointed out to me, even Bunthorne used to do “easy” occasionally.

    As ever, your doubts and disagreements have been read, marked, learnt and inwardly digested :) Regarding E=Elizabeth and H=hand, I do take the point that they might not be considered “stand-alone” abbreviations. They are both in the Chambers Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations, which means that they are sort of sanctioned by previous cruciverbal use,but I promise that I will only use them – and others such -sparingly!
    At 13ac I intended *Mary in Lachl(an). At 2dn Cam and Po are, I’m afraid, standard crossword flowers.
    23dn is a DD: as a little girl with a fondness for running around (and usually getting into mischief) in even the coldest weather I would often be told that I had “roses”, meaning glowing pink cheeks. Perhaps it’s a local northern expression?

    Special thanks to Eileen for noticing the “pictures” I was trying to draw in some of the clues. The “vignette” approach doesn’t please everyone, but I hope it doesn’t annoy anyone either!

    Bigger hugs, and more than usual amounts of love, especially for anyone without a Valentine,
    Arachne xx

  17. Gervase says:

    PS Apologies for the mistaken attribution – it was sidey who first pointed out CAM+PO. And I agreed with the pink cheeks of the English ROSES.

  18. Arachne says:

    PS to Gervase re 3dn: indeed, the only cryptic element in the clue is the two different ways of taking “propositioning”. This is one of the easy clues I was dubious about, and I was hoping that most people would read “propositioning” automatically as a transitive verb, object “females”, otherwise it’s obviously not cryptic at all!!!

  19. Gervase says:

    Arachne: Your deliberate inclusion of some clues that were ‘too’ easy worked splendidly as a double bluff! Thanks a lot for brightening the day – have a nice one yourself.

  20. William says:

    Many thanks, Uncle. Please don’t change your blog style; it’s one of the easiest to read at a glance. The fuller ‘cut & paste’ brigade are all very well but don’t make life easy for those of us with very limited time to do a quick parse check.

    Thank you, Spider Lady, for dropping in. The vignette style of clue is often trickier to spot but is also a delight.

    I particularly like SUIT – very neat.

    Not wild about single letter abbreviations but E for ELIZABETH and H for HAND are both in the book and therefore lore. They only pop up sparingly and one could derive both clues without them really.

    Chambers gives ‘the best of anything’ under FLOWER and if that’s not PICK, I don’t know what is.

    Many thanks again.

  21. scchua says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, and Arachne for the puzzle, and for dropping by to input.

    Enjoyable puzzle, easy in parts to give a head start, and lots of nice stories. Last one in was PICKLE, whose connotations with vinegar I was trying to reconcile with “Conserve”, which connotes jam/sugar; but I justified it through the intermediate, ie. Pickle=Preserve=Conserve.

    To wander off a bit, I’m quite happy with your blogging style; I’m the first to accept the spectrum of bloggers. But I’d just like to say that it isn’t a question of spoonfeeding to give the clues. I say this not because I do it, but, being objective about it, it’s a question of being both blogger- and reader-friendly: I presume you have the crossword with you when you draft your blog, and that you have to shift your glance and attention to and fro between draft and crossword. Whereas, with the clues already in the draft, when you want to refer to them, they’re right there in front of you. And the same goes with readers.

    stiofan@3 links to the software that allows you to do this with no extra effort, the same software that I suggested to another blogger. If you need help (which I’m almost certain you don’t with that site), please feel free to e-mail me. And please don’t bite my head off for making these suggestions :-)

  22. Kayoz says:

    Thanks Arachne for dropping by. Now I feel like shit for bagging a couple of clues. My apologies.

    I love your crosswords, I was just looking for things to discuss. And I didn’t think it was too easy. The last few were quite hard, but that is your trademark, isn’t it!

  23. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Arachne for a super Valentine crossword and Uncle Yap for his usual fine blog.

    Particular favourites were 12a and I can’t see Young Man without hearing the song YMCA!!

    23d also has echoes of rosy cheeks and fine child-bearing hips as being desirable in a prospective wife!!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Giovanna xx

  24. Kayoz says:

    UY, your blog is fine.

    cholecyst @13 KINKAJOU, ie cute honey bear, is indeed a very fine word. I am making it my ‘word of the week’. That means I have to use it in a sentence, at some stage this week. Does anyone have any ideas how?

  25. David W says:

    Many thanks for the blog Uncle Yap, and in particular for explaining 1A, 8D, 21A, and 27A. I did get the answers, by guessing from the crossing letters, but the wordplay was a bit too clever. Perhaps I’m getting old.

  26. Mr. Jim says:

    Thanks to Arachne and Uncle Yap. Does 14 HONEY BEAR actually work? Both sides of the clue seem to point to the answer actually being BUNNY HAIR. In any case, the defn would have to be in the middle of the clue.

    That said, I got it with no trouble so perhaps I should stop quibbling.

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A fine Luv & Hugs crossword in which I could not explain 16ac (FOND) and in which LEAP DAY (3d) was my last entry.

    Please don’t start rolling all over the floor now, but I had never heard of that tradition on February 29th. Now I know, it will perhaps open up a whole new world to me :).
    Unfamiliar with it, I thought there must be another explanation for the solution (apart from de date itself), so I took Mrs Chambers at hand to find that “to leap” can mean of male animals, to mate with, cover” …….

    And I made one clear mistake: 4ac, in which I entered TALLIS.
    MENTAL (foolish) minus MEN (people, shunned) + LIS (who knows whether that might be seen as Elizabeth, most certainly not, but still). Thomas Tallis lived during the reign of Elizabeth I, and perhaps there was room for an affair?

    Always nice to share some silliness with others :).
    Happy Valentine!

  28. MikeC says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne. Enjoyed this one – I thought “mushy sentimentality” and “reproductive hips” were excellent surface elements, countering some of today’s usual excesses.

    How was the cheese butty, btw?

  29. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. (I’m glad BTW that there isn’t a standardised way of blogging. Each blogger has his or her own voice and that’s part of the enjoyment for me.)

    Very fine puzzle from Arachne and v glad that she dropped by! I liked the bittersweet nature of some of the clues and the stories in the surfaces. Agree with Eileen that 19dn is a great clue. 17,16dn made me smile too!

    Didn’t see all the wordplay, so thanks UY for your explanations. 4ac was my last one in.

  30. CJP says:

    Surely ‘h’ is the standard abbreviation for the hand (four inches) used in measuring horses?

  31. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. You managed to penetrate the rather obscure construction of 27: I had the crossing letters and Poetry from the clue so it had to be VERSES :(

    On 22a my experience has been that ‘starting’ in a clue indicates the first letter of the next word only. If several words are to contribute their initial letters then the clue contains starts or similar word in the plural.

  32. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Thanks to Uncle Yap for the the blog (but I’m with scchua on the layout question, for exactly the reasons he gives) and to Arachne for her appearances. I do like it when we get unequivocal feedback from the setter. (I was going to say from the horse’s mouth, but that didn’t sound very romantic given the date!)

    I also have to admit disappointment at 3d. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a mix of clues’ difficulty – they can’t all be hard/cunning/inspired – but to me it was a non-cryptic single defintion with no clue. I accept that you can twist a second meaning out of it as Arachne @18 suggests, but we should be twisting answers from the clues, not clues from the answers!

  33. Jan says:

    “Love me, love my blog.”

    Love you, UY, and love your blogs as I do other blogs; whether they have bells, whistles, picture quizzes or dancing girls with twirly pasties.

    I’m sure that all 15 squared readers appreciate the bloggers’ efforts on our behalf. Don’t let an odd, seeemingly negative, comment influence you.

    That bit over, I love Arachne’s puzzles and her lovely surfaces but I couldn’t parse 27, so thank you for that.

  34. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks UY. Always suspected the scary Spiderwoman had a soft centre, and so it proved today. Like her last puzzle, I did find this hard, especially the last half dozen, and there were a couple I couldn’t parse.

    Those of us who are Valentine’s Day babies tend to get less excited about the whole affair, since it gets in the way of our special day, but it was a fun theme with some witty clueing. My favourites today were PETUNIA for its nice surface, and SUIT (which in fact was my last in). Thank you to Arachne.

    (On the subject of blogging styles, I enjoy seeing the different way that folk do it. I think it’d be boring if everyone followed the same template.)

  35. Jan says:

    Happy birthday, KD!

    And an e-kiss for St Valentine’s Day.

  36. Geoff Chapman says:

    You bloggers honestly. It’s Valentine’s, kiss and make-up. Besides, none of you are anywhere near as good as Duncan Shiell.


  37. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Jan, but steady on … there’s probably something in the site policy prohibiting that kind of stuff. We’ll blame Arachne’s theme if we get into trouble.

  38. Paul B says:

    Re single-letter indication, I’m afraid I do not think that E = Elizabeth could possibly be fair. E is ONLY Elizabeth when it appears in ER, an abbreviation for Elizabeth Regina, so to separate the E from the R seems unnatural, and a bit of a cheat really. Plus, others might say, well, lets use Eduardus from Eduardus Rex as well – that’s ER innit? And before you know it, you’ve endless excuses trotted out to accommodate some lazy bugger’s surface.

    (Not any of Arachne’s, of course.)

  39. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I was initially surprised at how easily I was solving clues by Arachne. Thankfully and as usual from this setter there came a crunch point with still half a dozen to go.
    Eventually I cracked them all but could not enter ‘pickle’ since I did not see the parsing (thanks blogger).
    Favourites were 4ac, 25 ac and 23d.
    H is common in LHS and RHS or do you not allow those?
    If we allow ER (and we do, too regularly) then surely E=Elizabeth is OK.

  40. Posterntoo says:

    Uncle Yap, I usually use this site a a reference and don’t add a comment, but I want to point out something you might not have thought of. I do the crossword on my iPad, so it’s not possible for me to look at both the grid and your blog at the same time. Though I usually have no trouble checking the clues I’m questioning, I do appreciate the bloggers that reproduce the clues.

    Thanks to you and all the other bloggers!

  41. Matt says:

    Hi Paul B,

    Another fairly standard Ebbreviation of Elizabeth is QE2, the oceangoing cruise liner.

    This obviously doesn’t disprove your line of argument that abbreviations should not be treated separately from their parent acronyms. Although, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen E = empire used before as in CBE, OBE etc.

    Another one to ponder.

    On balance, it’s not a usage that irks me in this case, as I’m not necessarily one for hard and fast rules. I think your point about floodgates opening is a valid one, though.

  42. Derek Lazenby says:

    Yeah, mainly good. 2 was a complete mystery, thank you gadgets. Guesed at at 8, never heard of beamy either, everything other variation on the word yes, but that one hasn’t come my way until today. A few answers came from the definition because the word play was too much for a very little brain.

  43. stiofain says:

    Just to clarify my post was in no way a criticism of UYs or any other bloggers style ( I normally do the xword at night and know I can always depend on my favourite Uncle to have the blog up post haste ).
    I was just pointing out that using the blog software in its current incarnation entails less copy/pasting rather than more as UY suggested in his preamble.

  44. NeilW says:

    Hi Posterntoo

    A lot of us don’t live in the UK so have to do the puzzle online and most don’t bother to print it out, I’m sure. (Uncle Yap is in Malaysia.) I don’t find this a problem though – except that horrible bug in the iPad software that means that you have to painstakingly enter the solution letter by letter! Still, that’s your choice. I normally solve on my computer. Either way, what I do is just open the puzzle in one tab and this blog in another – problem solved.

  45. Paul B says:

    Hi Matt & RCW

    Elizabeth isn’t really a single-letter indicator: but QUEEN is standard (as in boring, I’m afraid) crosswordese for ER. Eduardus doesn’t signify E either, and George can’t cope with G (while Golf can, so long as you’re not solving a Times puzzle).

    On that score, I’m sure The Times limits the number of single-letter inds to a reasonably short list so that (a) solvers will get to know them quickly as part of the solving metalanguage, and so that compilers will be forced, in order to avoid them, to be more creative. So, really, we ought to be pleased to see your floodgates kept well and truly shut.

    That’s my take on it anyway – let’s stick to what’s actually there in Collins and Chambers (and there are thousands, so compilers ought to be able to find *something* that can help the surface along), and work with/ around it.

  46. Trebor says:

    This was a belter. I agree with various people above – some terrific story-telling clues. Nappies, Telephoned and Rushdie being cracking examples.

  47. RCWhiting says:

    “Elizabeth isn’t really a single-letter indicator:”
    …..and the Lord, having spoken, Arachne was taken away and banished from the realm.

  48. amulk says:

    A very enjoyable puzzle from Arachne and the usual thorough blog from UY, so thanks to both. And the Kiss of the Spider Woman thrown in for free. Can’t complain.

  49. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne

    A good blog of a good puzzle eventually finished after a late morning session with the dentist and an afternoon and evening with extraordinarily energetic grandchildren.

    My last clue in was Wallis. I tried soemthing with Taylor (t(/) + *royal and then Carlos (and Elizabth de Valois in Verdi) and only then did the penny drop.

    I failed to parse pickle though the answer was clear enough.

    re ‘roses’ Chambers gives under rose plural: (in white-skinned peoples) the pink glow of the cheeks in health, erisypelas (!!).

    I ticked 10a, 11a, 12a, 16a, 25a, 27a, 8d, 14d, 20d, 23d as I staggered along.

    and thanks Cholecyst (@13) – I wondered if anyone might notice.

  50. Pandean says:

    Paul B @ 45

    I’m not wild about abbreviating George on its own as G either. Oddly enough though, that very device cropped up in the clue for 5dn in yesterday’s i puzzle by yourself as Tees. The clue reads ‘Move George into Cornish town’ giving BUD(G)E. Unless I have the wrong end of the stick, of course, and have the parsing wrong.

    Presumably that puzzle has previously appeared in the Independent and you have changed your tune on acceptable abbreviations since it was first published?

  51. Posterntoo says:

    Thanks, NeilW. I didn’t make myself clear. I do have them both opened, but I hate going from one to the other. Not that I much like scrolling up and down to read the comments on the official Guardian site, either! It’s amazing how fast I’ve become with the one-letter entry, though. ;-)

  52. Matt says:


    Good find!

  53. Paul B says:

    Yes indeed. Pilloried and deservedly so.

    But Pandean, as well as argus-eyed, is extremely kind in allowing that I might have changed my views since the original publication of this, ooh, ancient piece. G from George, I mean, pshaw.

  54. DROPO says:

    I agree with Kayoz in #11: since “rabbit fur” is at the end of the clue, then the answer should be BUNNY HAIR; “kinkajou” is in the middle of the clue, oddly for a definition. But I was able to figure out what was going on once I figured out LACHRYMAL. Lots of other good things, though – I laughed when I saw NAPPIES, I don’t know why, just silly fun.

  55. pangapilot says:

    Very late to be commenting on yesterday’s puzzle, I know, but why were Kayoz@11, Mr Jim@26 and DROPO@54 the only people to query the structure of 14? Spooner’s kinkajou is BUNNY HAIR. Since when has it been OK to have the definition in the middle? Kinkajou is Spooner’s rabbit fur would have been kosher.

  56. RCWhiting says:

    Quite recently I raised the same issue but was rapidly told by the crossword gods that there was no such rule.
    It is surely true that almost all setters follow, and have followed for decades, such a rule. It must be just a coincidence.

  57. Matt says:


    I’ve never seen a ruling that it’s not ok to have a definition in the middle. I’ve seen a number of solver’s guides that suggest it’s best to look at one end of the clue or the other for the definition, as that’s where 99% of them are to be found, but you don’t have to look too far to find exceptions to this rule. In the 2 years that I’ve been doing crosswords I’ve come across several instances where a clue is constructed “X results in D, when Y is added / subtracted”, where D is the definition.

  58. Eileen says:

    Hi Matt

    There’s an example in today’s Anax:

    11ac: A Latin word for “separate” is one of several [9]

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