Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,679 by Arachne

Posted by PeterO on July 4th, 2012


A masterly (mistressly?) offering from the Spider Lady.

1. Hotly falling out about a sinister call that’s illegal? (5-2)
TALLY-HO An envelope (‘about’) of A L (‘a sinister’) in TLYHO, an anagram (‘falling out’) of ‘hotly’.
5. He endeavours to sit astride horse and set off (7)
TRIGGER An envelope (‘to sit astride’) of GG (‘horse’) in TRIER (‘he endeavours’).
10. Blairite’s lie kept secret (4)
LAIR A hidden answer (‘kept secret’) in ‘bLAIRite’
11. Plum wine, we hear, which flies off the shelves (10)
BESTSELLER A homophone (‘we hear’) of BEST CELLAR (‘plum wine’).
12. May is guarded by detective during transfer (6)
DECANT An envelope (‘is guarded by’) of CAN (‘may’) in DET (‘detective’).
13. County’s top leaders dismissed for making Barnet prettier (8)
COIFFING I think this must be a charade of CO (‘county’) + [sp]IFFING (‘top’) minus its first two letters (‘leaders dismissed’), with a cryptic definition – barnet is a hair style which Chambers thinks is in need of improvement.
14. Quietly monitor old, violent campaign (9)
PROMOTION A charade of P (‘quietly’) + ROMOTION, an anagram (‘violent’) of ‘monitor’ + O (‘old’).
16. Not supposed to take on male domain (5)
REALM A charade of REAL (‘not supposed’) + M (‘male’).
17. Cocaine is, in a manner of speaking, invigorating (5)
CRISP An envelope (‘in’) of ‘is’ in C (‘cocaine’) + RP (received pronunciation, ‘a manner of speaking’)
19. TV show not unknown in part of Ulster (9)
COUNTDOWN COUNT[y] DOWN (‘part of Ulster’) without the Y (‘not unknown’).
23. Spurge purging bishop, producing feeling of bliss (8)
EUPHORIA EUPHOR[b]IA (‘spurge’) without the B (‘purging bishop’). Thank you, Uncle Yap.
24. Separates singular and plural of it (6)
SPLITS A charade of S (‘singular’) + PL (‘plural’) + ITS (‘of it’).
26. Short song set in G minor (transposed) (10)
CHANGELING A charade of CHAN[t] (‘short song’) + GEL (‘set’) + ‘in G’, with a cryptic definition – one meaning of changeling is a child (‘minor’) subltituted for another (‘transposed’).
27. Not many uttered expression of relief (4)
PHEW A homophone (‘uttered’) of FEW (‘not many’).
28. Glib talker replies shiftily (7)
SPIELER An anagram (‘shiftily’) of ‘replies’.
29. You may see her kip on bars or tumble (7)
GYMNAST Cryptic definition: kip (gymnastics) a swinging movement that reverses the relative positions of body and legs.
2. Gold-plated china by Rie that is dismissed as inept (7)
AMATEUR An envelope (‘plated’) of MATE (‘china’) in AU (‘gold’) + ‘R[ie]’ with IE (‘that is’) ‘dismissed’.
3. Muscular vagabond embracing nymph? (5)
LARVA An answer hidden (’embracing’) in ‘muscuLAR VAgabond’.
4. Tabitha Twitchit to find home (7)
HABITAT An anagram (‘Twitchit’!) of ‘Tabitha’. Tabitha Twichit is a mother cat in Beatrix Potter tales.
6. Rough dog covering its back (6)
RUSTIC A reversal (‘back’) of an envelope (‘covering’) of ‘its’ in CUR (‘dog’).
7. Source of metal or pitch (9)
GOLDFIELD A charade of GOLD (‘or’) + FIELD (‘pitch’).
8. Regularly using set theory, nearly discover constant (7)
ETERNAL Alternate letters (‘regularly using’) of ‘sEt ThEoRy NeArLy’.
9. Copy masochist, suffering in mind and body (13)
PSYCHOSOMATIC An anagram (‘suffering’) of ‘copy masochist’.
15. Fluid mechanics causing unfortunate event (9)
MISCHANCE An anagram (‘fluid’) of ‘mechanics’.
18. Attack boy? (5,2)
ROUGH UP Double definition?
20. Posy says no, according to Spooner (7)
NOSEGAY A Spoonerism of GOES NAY (‘says no’).
21. With it — and not so stupid (7)
WITLESS A charade of W (‘with’) + ‘it’ + LESS (‘not so’).
22. Country‘s endless rapacity leads to currency emergency (6)
GREECE A charade of GREE[d] (‘endless rapacity’) + C E (‘leads to Currency Emergency’). What a splendid &lit surface!
25. Clearing borders of blue, spiny plant (5)
LUPIN A charade of ‘[b]LU[e]’ without the outer letters (‘clearing borders’) + PIN (‘spiny’?).

32 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,679 by Arachne”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Your version is probably better but I read 10 as the apostrophe S as the hidden indicator and “lie kept secret” as the def.

    You’ve put a ? in your parsing of 18 – just in case, I would underline that boy reversed is yob = ROUGH UP.

    Also, your ? in 25 – the outer letters are removed from both bLUe and sPINy.

    Usual high quality from Arachne, thank you.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. Not too enthusiastic about this, probably because I failed on COIFFING. I put in 7d with little enthusiasm: does the charade work? Still, GREECE was spiffing.

  3. Miche says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    ROUGH UP for <yob = boy tickled me. I didn't spot the significance of "or" in 7d.

    I'm not an ologist, but isn't a nymph different from a larva (the difference being incomplete versus complete metamorphosis)?

  4. Chris says:

    …and as for “Barnet”, it’s (one of the more common pieces of) Cockney Rhyming Slang: Barnet Fair – hair.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks, PeterO. A really enjoyable puzzle from Arachne! I loved the &lit at 22dn and the neatness of 25dn.

    Didn’t at the time see the wordplay at 18dn, but this is also superb. And I also missed the significance of ‘or’ in 7dn, which was my last one.

    Great stuff!

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeterO, for the blog, and Arachne for another excellent puzzle.

    As usual, almost all the clues deserve a tick – particular favourites 26ac, for the cleverly concealed definition, 21 dn, for the clever construction and brilliant surface, 24dn for both the above, plus the topical &lit.]

    But the one that really tickled my fancy today was 4dn – brilliant!

    [And the oblique reference to Roy Rogers in 5ac. 😉 ]

  7. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Arachne.

    Another good one.

    I failed on 17a – tried ‘fresh’ without seeing why, of course.

    I could not parse ‘iffing’ in 13a but got the hair connection. I also missed boy/yob though the actual answer seemed clear.
    I thought 29d was a cryptic def. and did not know the special meaning of ‘kip’.

    I particularly liked 4d, 7d, and 26a.

  8. rhotician says:

    Chris @4: as for “Barnet”

    I suspect PeterO was thinking of Chambers’ description of the hairstyle “mullet”.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Peter. There were lots of clues to enjoy here, although I found it hard to finish the last half-dozen or so. GREECE was inspired, I thought. Disappointingly, no smut today; Arachne must have been going through one of her white as the driven snow periods when she set this one. Thank you to her as well.

  10. crypticsue says:

    If you read what Eileen said at 6 above it will save me typing any more!

  11. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Arachne and PeterO

    Finished this one a little quicker than normal for Arachne for some reason – same high quality clues all the same. Last one in was 26 with its cleverly hidden definition.

    Didn’t fully parse 13 or 29 – and was a little surprised to see two clues with similar meanings for rough involved.

    Does the china mate seem to be popping up quite regularly over the past week or two?

    Overall, an enjoyable solve.

  12. rhotician says:

    PeterO: Another very thorough blog. A lot of hard work. Much appreciated.

    Arachne: Where to begin? GREECE, CHANGELING, CRISP… I liked everything… except…
    ‘kip’ isn’t in Chambers.

  13. rhotician says:

    Rho @12: Pull yourself together. Third meaning in entry 6.

  14. William says:

    Thank you, PeterO, an excellent blog of another fine puzzle from 8-legged one.

    Sorry to be thick but what’s the ‘illegal’ reference in 1a, please?

    So much to like here (BESTSELLER, GOLDFIELD, GYMNAST etc) and only 2 minor niggles:

    I still don’t quite parse COIFFING although it went in easily enough; and my old English teacher would turn in his grave at the suggestion that MAY & CAN are able to be interchanged in 12a.

    Thank you Arachne, top job.

  15. stanXYZ says:

    The first time that I’ve managed an Arachne unaided! I’m no longer an “Arachnophobe”.

    Strange that Chambers doesn’t list “Arachnophile” – does no-one like spiders?

  16. Eileen says:

    Hi William @14

    Re 1ac: ‘Tally-ho!’ is a hunting cry and fox-hunting is now illegal in Britain.

    [I have just seen your comment @5 on yesterday’s Paul puzzle: I was at Wimbledon all day – Centre Court, fortunately!] I have no special skills: I just use this site’s search facility on the right hand side of the page – not always successfully!]

  17. Monkeypuzzler says:

    William @14: Hunting (foxes) with dogs has been illegal in England since 2005. Tallyho being a typical cry given when a fox is sighted.

  18. stanXYZ says:

    rhotician @ 12: Chambers 12th Edition:

    kip [6] or kipp: (in gymnastics) a swinging movement that reverses the relative positions of body and legs

    Sounds very painful to me!

  19. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Pardon me Eileen, we crossed.

  20. PeterO says:

    William @14

    The call TALLY-HO is associated with foxhunting, which is illegal in the UK. I take it that your remark on MAY & CAN is tongue-in-cheek; there seems to be a horse involved which is as dead as your teacher.

    Thanks to NeilW @1 for picking up so quickly on a couple of points that I missed – and rhotician @8, yes, I should check my references (or make them so obscure that no-one sees through them).

    Can anyone spot a hidden connection between this and the Cinephile – or, at least, one answer in each?

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Here she comes. Mistress of the grid.
    I had to take breaks to start preparing lunch and to do some weeding before this cracker fell.
    Of course there were some clever clues, but clever clues are useless when they become write-ins as soon as you read them. There were none such here.
    I struggled mainly with the SW corner even though I had ‘mischance’, ‘euphoria’ and ‘spieler’ quite quickly. It turned out that ‘changeling’,’rough-up’ and ‘crisp'(last in) were not only brilliant but also very tough.’Crisp’ never came to my mind as a synonym for ‘invigorating’ so I had to grind it out from the superb cryptic.
    The only parse I missed was ‘kip’ as I didn’t check entry 6 in Chambers!

    ‘tally-ho’ is a ‘hunting with dogs’ cry, this degradation of our species is now fortunately illegal.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    There were a lot of words which would fit -r-s- (17ac).
    I wonder if the setter was making a nod to the much lamented Ruth.

  23. William says:

    Thanks to all (Eileen, MonkeyPuzzler, PeterO, and RCW) for the embarrassingly obvious ‘criminal’ reference to hunting. How could I miss that?

    RCW @21/22 exactly my last 3 in also. Nice reference to Crispa – much missed. Your comment prompted me to look her up and I didn’t realise that she was the first compiler to set for all 5 national broadsheets (as they were then). Quite an achievement.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Tough puzzle and with the comments just goes to show how ignorant people are. Tally Ho is not illegal and never will be, and is still used by Drag Hunts and people in general when setting off on some expedition or other. Neither is it of itself sinister, only one particular usage might be considered that by squeamish folk. (Note, what I think of that usage is not stated, before the usual idiots jump to conclusions)

  25. William says:

    Derek @24 Did you possibly miss the meaning of sinister as = left?

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Maybe, but that’s only half of it.

  27. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks PeterO and Arachne

    I never quite manage to complete puzzles by the Spider Lady.

    CHANGELING and CRISP beat me and I wasn’t very happy with COIFFING

    Roll on next time!

  28. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks,how silly of me to forget that.
    To forget that men and women can dress up in fancy dress, jump onto expensive horses (and risk injury to both),chase a pack of dogs (also expensive) and hope to catch a ………piece of rag.
    All the while, quite legally shouting tally-ho, or practically anything they wish as long as it’s not foxist.

  29. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Splendid puzzle, one of two halves for me.
    I found the left hand side much easier than its counterpart, even if I couldn’t explain some of my entries (like Euphoria).

    I particularly liked: 19ac, 24ac, 26ac, 4d, 7d, 21d and 22d.
    Whoa, that’s a lot!
    Not so keen on LAIR (10ac), just a bit too obvious.
    And GYMNAST wasn’t on my radar either, because cryptic definitions are usually not on my radar anyway.

    Kathryn’s Dad @9: “Disappointingly, no smut today; Arachne must have been going through one of her white as the driven snow periods when she set this one”.
    Don’t worry, only last week she told me something [containing the word ‘rude’] that will make you look forward to future puzzles! :)

    Thank you, dear Arachne, for a great puzzle and 27ac in particular! :) :)

    And many thanks to you PeterO for a magnificent blog

  30. Martin P says:

    All jolly good for me except “lair” (odd definition layout but bald) and “coiffing” (ugly latin/germanic and too many possibilities for fairness).

    Anyway, please come again :)

  31. rhotician says:

    Derek Lazenby @24: re tally-ho

    I’ve noticed that ? at the end of a clue sometimes indicates, let’s say, a bit of a joke. This one certainly made me smile.

  32. Paul B says:

    I’m feeling your pain Derek, don’t worry.

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