‘Nino’, mignotte, melds, Les Six and an SI derived unit

I wasn’t going to write about the Saturday crossword this week… but it is staring at me smugly… it knows that some of the answers are things I know but can’t remember, and also there are clues which elude and baffle me…

I’m going to persevere with it and not give up just yet, although I am pretty sure that I won’t ‘get’ most of them…

1A – artist nicknamed ‘Nino’ noted for his paintings inspired by literature, mythology and Arthurian legend such as The Lady of Shallott, Ophelia, The Soul of the Rose and Windflowers… W_T_R_O_ _ _

19A – Latin genus name of fragrant flowering plant mignotte; or a pale-green Pantone colour… _ _ _ S_D_

5D – another name for sets or runs of playing cards used to form melds… _ _ R_Q_E_E_N

19D –  name by which the artist who painted the Sistine Madonna is known… _ _ P_A_ _

21D – Member of Les Six who wrote the scores for the 1950’s films The Lavender Hill Mob and Moulin Rouge… C_ _ _C

41D – SI derived unit of electric charge… C_U_O_B

47D – Greek word literally meaning ‘soul’ used to describe the totality of the human mind, consciousness and spirit… _S_C_E

I should know 1 across, but I’m blowed if I can recall it!!


Most newspapers, and many magazines have crossword puzzles in  them; quite often there are two puzzles, a cryptic and a general knowledge one. I’m quite good at general knowledge, but I find the cryptic ones almost impossible – although one an answer is explained I do understand how it was arrived at.

I though maybe crosswords had been around for a long time, knowing how people like to have word puzzles and teasers going back to Saxon times and their riddles. However, I was surprised to discover crosswords are actually not that old – what we would think of as very basic word puzzles started appearing in the 1800’s, and at first just being for children. All changed when a crossword puzzle was published in 1913 by Arthur Wynne; his puzzle was just white squares but within the next ten or so years, the black squares were introduced. These puzzles, at first in American newspapers and magazines, and then crossing the Atlantic to Britain, were for adults as well as children. Soon, in Britain, the cryptic clues began to appear, and crosswords began to get more and more fiendish!

I’m no good at the cryptic, but as I mentioned I’m not bad at the general knowledge. The Saturday crossword in our paper is quite large, and some of the questions are very obscure… in fact we never manage to finish it. We never ‘cheat’ and look up the answers; only when we admit defeat do we then do some research and track down the mysterious solutions.

Here are some of the clues which defeated me today:

  • also called a gate-keeper,a mainly orange coloured butterfly feeding on brambles, ragwort, wild marjoram and wood sage (5,5)
  • Swiss —–; the national anthem of a country with no capital (5)
  • item used in the game of taw (6)
  • capital of the Correze department in south-west France (5)
  • item worn as an amulet or charm (7)
  • monetary unit of Indonesia (7)
  • author of The Destructive Element; or a 1990’s drama starring Jimmy Nail (7)

Do any of the answers spring out at you? Did you manage to get them all right? or were you totally baffled, like me?

Here are the answers:

  • hedge brown
  • psalm
  • marble
  • Tulle
  • periapt
  • rupiah
  • Spender

Well, now I know, but I can’t imagine I’ll use any of them very often – although knowing the butterfly might be useful when we’re out in the country!