Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,756 – Arachne

Posted by Uncle Yap on October 2nd, 2012

Uncle Yap.

It is always a delight and pleasure to unveil the Spider Woman. Today, she was in her elements with many creative devices to entertain and bemuse. Thank you, Ms Hayes for a most pleasant morning.

Place cursor over clue number to read the clue

1 BATTEN BAT (club) TEN (10, number)
4 PALAVER Ins of LAV (short for lavatory) in rev of REAP (cut)
9 LIBERTINE Ins of BERTIe Wooster (character in the Jeeves novels of British author P. G. Wodehouse) in LINE (family)
11 ABYSS Half of ABYSSINIAN (a breed of cat)
12 POISON IVY POISON (tipple, alcoholic drink as in the barman’s question “What’s your poison?”) IVY (woman)
13 DAB HAND DAB (fish) HAND (where fingers are found) Very tichy
15 EDIBLE HE’D BIB ALE (deletion of first letter indicated by not primarily)
17 MISSUS MISS US (beauty queen) and of course we know Dutch is wife from rhyming slang, Duchess of Fife.
19 MODICUM Ins of OD (overdraft) + IC (in charge or responsible) in MUM (tight-lipped)
22 OPERATION O (no, nothing) *(ATROPINE)
24 CUPID CUP (prize) I (setter) D (500 or many) for the Roman god of love (Eros being the Greek counterpart)
26 DUOMI *(ODIUM) Cathedral in Italian is duomo and the plural form is duomi
28 GREYHEN GREY (dull) H (hard) EN (faceless men)
29 OYSTER ha
1 BOLLARD Ins of MOLL (Flanders, a novel written by Daniel Defoe in 1721) in BARD (poet) for a short post on a wharf or ship, etc, round which ropes are secured
2 TUBBY Thank you, Alan@1 for fhat exflammation :-)
4 PREMISE *(EMPIRES) Byzantine is a perfectly valid anagram indicator as Chambers defines it, inter alia, as intricate, tortuous.
5 LASSO I allowed myself a wry smile at the imagery of a girl sitting over an egg; yes, that is called brooding. My COD
6 VITRIOLIC Ins of *(RIOT) in *(CIVIL)
7 RED-EYE dd – red-eye n the rudd; poor-quality whisky; a drink of beer and tomato juice; a common fault in amateur flash photography which causes the pupils of the subject’s eyes to appear red; an overnight aeroplane journey
8 HISPID HIS (man’s) PI (pious, sanctimonious) D (daughter) meaning hairy
14 BRIDE-TO-BE B (first letter of belatedly) + ins of *(DIET) in ROBE (dress) Beautiful surface
16 INDECENCY IN DECember (around Christmas) EN (enrolled nurse) chaotiC partY
18 SMITTEN Ins of MITT (Willard Mitt Romney, nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States in the 2012 election) in SEN (senate)
19 MENACE Ins of bEiNg in MACE (tear gas)
20 MEDDLER Sounds like MEDLAR (fruit) to meddle in other people’s business is to butt in; hence meddler is butter in just like a river is a flower in crossword slanguage
21 HOT DOG HOT (furious) DOG (traitor, rat)
23 AMISH HAMISH (common Scottish name) minus H
25 PICOT PIC (picture) OT (Old Testament, books)

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 25,756 – Arachne”

  1. Alan says:

    2d: Tubby means bulging; and it’s how you might say tummy if your nose is blocked.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY, especially for the explanation of Dutch, which had quite eluded me.

    TUBBY – sounds like “tummy” when your nose is blocked up with a cold.

  3. Miche says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Yes, great stuff, and 5d tickled especially.

    As for 2d, it’s TUMMY as spoken by someone with a severe cold – “with blocked tubes.”

  4. flashling says:

    Great stuff, enjoyed it a lot, thanks Arachne, you are a star.


  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. MISSUS was splendid. Dogs do get a bad press: I suppose dog=rat is fair. Not sure that gobbling in 29a should be active; gobbled better?

  6. KeithW says:

    Thanks to all. A very, very slight quibble with 17ac only because there isn’t actually a Miss US. There used to be Miss America and there is now Miss USA.

  7. blaise says:

    hence meddler is butter just like a river is a flower in crossword slanguage

    Surely Arachne’s been more elegant than that: I read the definition part as explicitly “Butter in”

  8. yvains says:

    I thought this was a stunningly good crossword, beautifully clued. Agree with Blaise about butter(-)in. My favourite was LASSO – as you say, Uncle Yap, a wonderful image. Thanks to Arachne and UY!

  9. Arachne says:

    Greetings from Spider Towers!

    Popping in has to be done early and briefly today as I must take my dear old dad for his long-awaited cataract op and don’t know when I’ll be back (wish us luck), but couldn’t leave without thanking Uncle Yap for his sterling work with the blog. Thanks, too, to everyone for kindly commenting and commenting kindly.

    @20dn ‘meddler’ does indeed = ‘butter in’

    Love & hugs,
    Arachne x

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, UY.

    Great stuff, as ever, from Arachne and lots of fun, eg TUBBY, LASSO, DAB HAND and MISSUS. I laughed, too, when the penny dropped with BUTTER-IN, after a fruitless [whoops, sorry, that was unintentional!] search for the usual ram / tup / goat et al.

    Huge thanks, Arachne, and all the best for the 22ac.

  11. yvains says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed for your Dad, Arachne :)

  12. Eileen says:

    [Apologies for the erroneous capitalisation of ‘butter-in’ @10.]

  13. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Another splendid one from the Spider Woman. The SE corner held me up for a while, but it was all right in the end.

    Forest of ticks (danger of Lyme disease?) with so many excellent clues. A lot of ingenious definitions and anagrinds. Particular favourites were the combination of great surface and clever construction in 19a, 6d, 14d, 16d.

    Bravissima! Hope pa’s procedure proceeds perfectly. And may all your medlars be well bletted!

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Arachne

    Clever cluing with lots of misleading wordplay. Many ticks – 1a, 17a, 19a, 29a, 1d (kept looking for Stephanie or her dad after seeing her on the box last night), 5d, 20d.

    I ‘cheated’ on 7d when I tried to check if rudd meant more than the fish and unfortunately saw the answer.

    Best of luck re the op. After mine, I wondered if I’d ever seen blue and white properly before.

  15. muffin says:

    Thanks arachne and Uncle Yap
    Found this one more difficult than a typical Guardian – had to enlist reinforcements in the shape of my better half – but very enjoyable.

    Only quibble – I don’t like “no” meaning “o” in 22 ac

  16. SeanDimly says:

    Terrific crossword – really good fun. Thank you Arachne. Hope your dad’s op went well.
    Hard to pick a favourite clue, but I’ll go for 9a. Always an extra point for a Wodehouse reference.
    To KeithW @ comment 6: doesn’t the question mark make it fine?
    And thank you Uncle Yap for an excellent blog. S

  17. crypticsue says:

    A superb Arachne which definitely shouldn’t have been solved (sneakily) in a shared office as I had trouble not laughing out loud, especially at the splendid 5a. Thanks to UY and our lovely setter – I too add my best wishes for your dad’s operation. My late mother-in-laws classic when she returned from her cataract op and looked in the mirror was to wonder why no-one had told her she had got old (she was 91 at the time!)

  18. Robi says:

    Lovely crossword with no need of Mrs Google. Thanks for popping in Arachne and hope all goes well.

    Thanks UY; I wondered where the extra ‘n’ had disappeared from OPERATION. LASSO outrageously good and I also particularly liked TUBBY once it was explained, MEDDLER, DAB HAND and more.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. I had totally forgotten ‘my old dutch’ so I was scratching my head over 17.

    On 1d I was held up for a while thinking of Flanders in the geographical sense!

    Muffin @15: I read ‘no’ as zero so LASSO was fine for me.

  20. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Like many of you I usually admire puzzles from this compiler.
    I found this one quite difficult to assess. There was an overlarge smattering of write-ins (10,15 and 29ac; 3, 4, 14 and 18d).
    Nevertheless, it kept me gussing to the end since I was reluctant to write in ‘tubby’ and ‘hot dog’ until I could parse them satisfactorily.
    I spotted ‘abyss’ early but took (pu)ss as the end but could not see where ‘aby’ came from.
    I was also intrigued that two of the first in were ‘hispid’ and ‘picot’,both words new to me.
    My favourite was ‘missus’ (no pedantry about the ‘A’.) There aint a lady livin’ in the land………

  21. Robi says:

    P.S. I would have thought most people would be more familiar with a bollard on the road, rather than at sea [despite the order in Chambers.]

  22. Robi says:

    chas @19; I think you’ve got your LASSO mixed up with your OPERATION.

  23. liz says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and thanks to Arachne for a delightful puzzle!

    Really engaging combination of surface and wordplay in many clues.

    Failed to get ‘hispid’ though it was eminently gettable :-(

  24. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Excellent as always from Arachne, with some original clueing and a good range of devices and subject matter.

    I did struggle in the NW corner, with HISPID, TUBBY and ABYSS holding me up. I was also fixated with putting NED Flanders from the Simpsons into 1dn, which didn’t help. LASSO also my favourite today (reminded me of BOING a couple of Arachnes ago).

    Thanks to UY for blogging.

  25. otter says:

    Thanks for the explanations, particularly of CUPID and MISSUS. I found this quite a tough puzzle, although very enjoyable as always for Arachne.

    DAB HAND made me laugh.

    Does double Dutch mean bigamy, then?

  26. Dave Ellison says:

    Yes, a great Xword, thanks UY and Arachne. No spurious words today.

    I had a wobbly on 11a as I was convinced it was Tabby’s (Minus T) and this stupidly threw me on the spelling of ABYSS for a while.

    Picot I knew from indulging in tatting in my youth.

  27. Dave Ellison says:

    That would have made an excellent clue, otter@25, and would have made me chortle!

  28. J and C ( Bartlett) says:

    (Please use ‘Jandc’ instead of full names)

    Just one quibble in a very enjoyable puzzle: Are ‘technical’ and ‘industrial’ interchangeable? The blog does not help on this.

  29. Gervase says:

    Slight correction to Uncle Yap’s comments: Although ‘Dutch’, meaning ‘wife’, is often suggested to be from a rhyming slang expression ‘Duchess of Fife’, this is not the case. The usage predates the creation of the dukedom of Fife in 1889, before which there was obviously no duchess with this title. Unusually for a characteristically Cockney term, it is probably just a contraction of ‘duchess’, with no rhyming component.

    HISPID is a lovely word, used most often in biology. Although ‘hairy’ is a reasonable definition for crossword purposes, ‘hispid’ strictly means ‘covered with stiff hairs’. ‘Bristly’ would be a more accurate synonym.

  30. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Jandc @28
    Definition #2 under ‘technical’ in Chambers (12th Ed) is ‘industrial’.

  31. Tramp says:

    Marvellous puzzle. Too many clues to mention but I thought BATTEN, CUPID, SMITTEN, MISSUS and LASSO were genius.

  32. Tramp says:


  33. tupu says:

    Hi Gaufrid @30

    Great to see you back!!!!

  34. Gaufrid says:

    Hi tupu
    Sorry for going off topic, I will have to put myself under moderation, but thanks for your greeting. After a total of eleven weeks in hospital, and three operations, I am still very weak but improving. I hope all has gone (reasonably) well at 15² during my enforced absence. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

  35. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Arachne and UY

    Typical Arachne for me … starts off with a few very easy clues … and once you are in the web … out come the doozies! Was stuck with the Dutch missus for a couple of days until I starting looking up each word individually – still did not twig the clever Miss US beauty queen until coming here – had assumed that the wife was everyone’s own beauty queen!!

  36. Huw Powell says:

    What a lovely puzzle. Not a quibble over a single letter anywhere. I love it when after ages I finally solve a clue and it all makes perfect (Ximenian!) sense. LASSO was easy to pencil in, and lovely to convert to ink!

    The ones I didn’t quite “get” on my own were equally pleasing – the parsing of TUBBY is excellent; MISSUS I had thought of in brucew @ 35’s sense, sort of, didn’t know the slang and Miss US wouldn’t have occurred to me; and at 20 I tried every vowel, I thought, in the second light… only to overlook “E”!

    Had to look up DUOMI, HISPID, and PICOT, but not until they were at various levels of “convincing”.

    Again, cheers for LASSO, TUBBY and several others, at 23 it’s nice to know not all Scotsmen are named Ian…

    Though I was off to an easy “Tuesday” puzzle this morning when SATED popped right in, but for me it was much as Bruce described.

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap and the rest of you lot, and for the excellent puzzle and for dropping in, Arachne!

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