Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23942/Araucaria – Celery! Apples! Walnuts! Grapes!

Posted by rightback on December 6th, 2006


Solving time: 20 mins (1 missing)

I found the bottom left half harder than the top right, but had almost finished after 10 mins. I then spent another 10 trying unsuccessfully to make something of 7dn. This puzzle requires a switch into ‘Guardian mode’, which means expecting spurious link words (e.g. ‘of’ in 13ac and 16ac, ‘put down’ in 21ac), incomplete definitions (e.g. ‘on the Tyne’ for ‘town on the Tyne’ at 1ac, ‘in Italy’ for ‘city in Italy’ at 20ac, ‘on bicycle’ for ‘thing on bicycle’ at 10ac, ‘Chaucer’ for ‘work by Chaucer’ at 7d) and tense anomalies (‘didn’t’ in the clue to 20ac, ‘LIED OWN’ for ‘admit to fiction’ at 23ac), and accepting clues with no plausible surface meaning (e.g. 9/14ac, 16ac, 23ac, 25ac, 5dn, 8dn).

* = anagram.

1 HALTWHISTLE – a town on the Tyne. I don’t think this clue makes sense – a referee could let play continue by not blowing his whistle, but not by ‘halting’ it once he’d started. Luckily this place name rang a vague bell or I would probably have entered ‘Holdwhistle’, which would at least satisfy the wordplay.
9,14 AD + MIR (= station in space) + ALOFT + HE + FLEET (= Fleet Prison) – appointments to this rank, equivalent to Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, have now ceased. Fleet Prison was new to me but I solved this from the enumeration and ‘officer’.
11 DES + DEMON + A – Desdemona was murdered by Othello.
16 ULT[imo] (last month) around A (the first), all inside REGION – but what on earth does the surface (“Last month, about the first, in area of law” (10)) mean?
20 TURIN – Alan Turing is probably the most famous of the Bletchley codebreakers during World War II and helped to break the codes used by the German Enigma machines.
21 T + ROUSSEAU – I think this refers to Jean-Jacques the philosopher and Thèodore the painter.
23 LIED + OWN (admit) (?) – the clue to this is “Admit to fiction one won’t when dead?” (3, 4). I can’t satisfactorily explain the definition or wordplay – surely you would lie down if dead?
24 DERONDA (hidden) – this must refer to Daniel Deronda, a novel by George Eliot (new to me), but as far as I can see there is nothing in the clue (“Name for one to embroider on Daniel’s shirt” (7)) to indicate that the answer is hidden.
25 S(E + ARCH)LIGHT – but how could a ‘spanner… seek discoveries’?
1 HARDENS around (DOME SNAG)* – this week’s guest publication. A good clue, alluding to the Millennium Dome (though perhaps ‘dome’ in the clue should have a capital?).
2 LARGE[sse]
3 WALD (German for ‘wood’) + OR + F – the famous hotel in New York City, home of the salad of the same name. The bracketing in the clue is another Guardianism: for the cryptic reading to work properly, they should close after ‘German’.
5 TEN (number) + E + RIFE (in numbers) – ‘Canary’ meaning ‘Canary Island’.
6 (HAZLITT BEEN BEEN)* – Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice.
7 I think the answer to this must be ‘Pardoner’s Tale‘, which is not the title of Chaucer’s ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’. The clue is “Chaucer’s friend discussing Queen’s old hat” (9, 4). With ‘-A-D-N-R- T-L-‘, I tried to find a seven-letter word -A-DING meaning ‘discussing’ to which I could add R (Queen) + O (old) + TILE (hat), but to no avail. The best explanation I can come up with is PARD (= ‘pardner’ = friend?) + ON (discussing) + ER (Queen) + STALE (old hat), with ‘Chaucer(‘s)’ (unsatisfactorily) meaning ‘a work by Chaucer’.
8 ARCH + HIT + EC (city) + T (the first) + URAL
15 COR inside (ANGEL)* – I didn’t know this name but guessed it correctly: Lady Glencora appears in Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels.
18 O + VOID + A + L
22 SH (silence) + RUG (warmer)

10 Responses to “Guardian 23942/Araucaria – Celery! Apples! Walnuts! Grapes!”

  1. says:

    23A – I saw it differently – “Admit to” as a definition for “lie down” and “one won’t (lie down) when dead” is a fiction, as that’s exactly what one would do!

  2. says:

    PARD = PARDner, as you suspect, and it is both in Collins and valid for use in Scrabble. Your parsing PARD/ ON/ ER/ S TALE is spot on.

  3. says:

    With lots of slang terms for prison, and some interesting names themselves, old London prisons are worth knowing about. Instant list to go with Fleet: Clink, Newgate, Bridewell, Marshalsea, Millbank.

  4. says:

    I’d also like respectfully to suggest that

    (a) not all Guardian crosswords are ‘Araucarian’ – there’s plenty for the MacNutt fan from compilers such as Pasquale


    (b) an obsession, delight in, or long-standing preference for ‘sensible-sounding’ surfaces would or could possibly render a solver vulnerable to attacks of outrage when attempting the North face of the most notoriously un-Ximenean compiler known. Nonetheless, this doesn’t necessarily rule out fairness (or at least a kind of fairness with which droves of solvers are comfortable) in Araucaria’s, or Araucarian, clues and cluing


    (c) some critics assume that the bad crosswords in Grauniad are ‘Araucarian’ – they’re not.

  5. says:

    I had a brief bash at this one online and got about half way through before work became more important. I hadn’t got TENERIFE by the time I moved on to work, the work being code I have to take out to Tenerife on Saturday (I’m travelling via Tenerife to La Palma to test some observatory software.)

  6. says:

    I decided to take tea with Araucaria this lunchtime. I expect a longer meeting than normal (18 mins 19 sec to be precise, largely due to putting HOUSE AND GARDENS carelessly) some weirdness, a little unfathomability (LIE DOWN?), obscurity (GLENCORA), anti-Ximenean crime (DERONDA), outrageous wordplay (PARD ON ER STALE, AD MIR ALOFT HE FLEET) and all sorts of other little “gems”.
    With Araucaria you don’t necessarily inspect the ingredients too carefully, just enjoy the cake. I must say I enjoyed this. Long may he continue!

  7. says:

    As usual, Araucaria stretched the bounds of reasonableness to twanging point on numerous occasions (Canary=one of the Canaries… well, I suppose it could be). As for ‘lie down’, it’s the kind of clue that’s more susceptible to being intuited than deduced. By and large, the puzzle worked and I enjoyed it, but it is certainly true that a) a number of clues lack definition and b) some of the surfaces could do with wiping down, if not scouring with an abrasive cleaning product! Thanks to thgir (which I assume to be rightback’s real name) for a rigorous dissection.

  8. says:

    Re: 24A – I can’t see a “hidden” indicator either. Also, what’s the word “shirt” doing in this clue, not to mention everything between “name” and “embroider”?

  9. says:

    I enjoy Aracauria hugely but today’s one left me a little dissastisfied for the reasons already pointed out above. He does take liberties and I watch out for them but there were a few too many for my taste this time.

    Also, can anyone confirm if “ROCHE” in Hoffman la Roche is pronounced “ROACH” or “ROSH” as I have heard the latter more than once on television and radio (that’s my excuse for not getting 12 ac!).

  10. says:

    I agree – normal English pronunciation should be ‘rosh’, whihc is closer to the French ‘rroash’ (phon)

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