Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23,964/Araucaria – Monkeys and ponies?

Posted by loonapick on January 3rd, 2007


Araucaria, love him or loathe him, rarely fails to produce an enjoyable puzzle to solve and you always learn something new to boot.

This is typical fare – there aren’t many examples that I could see which were “unfair” (possibly 19dn), and the more diffcult words were guessable via the wordplay.  But I think 1dn is simply wrong.

You do need to know a bit about English geography and history, as some of the clues are linked to 21ac and 27dn.


8 – EDWIN – ED(W)IN – Edin referring to Edinburgh; alhough I haven’t ever seen Edin on it’s own, I think the clue is probably fair.

11 – LINGUAL – (a gull in)*; a nounal anagram indicator, which some solvers don’t like.  Personally, I think it’s acceptable.

12 – WEDMORE – scene of a treaty in 878 between Alfred the Great and Guthrum, where Guthrum became Alfred’s adopted son.

13 – NASIK – hidden in “religioN AS I Know”; Nasik, aka Nashik, is a city in India.

17 – PETER PAUL – (perpetual)*; great clue which threw me at first, because I quickly put in STILL LIFE.

25 – ACTIVATE – ACT IV + (tea)*; not sure what “Shakespearean” brings to the party.

26 – DENEB – DENE(=valley) + B(born); the brightest star in the Cygnus constellation.

27 – ALFRED THE GREAT – (Father Ted regal)* the culinary reference relates to the story that he burnt a batch of cakes while hiding out on a peasant’s home.


1 – SHETLAND PONY – SHE-T-L-AND-PONY where T=”model”.  I think the setter has got a bit mixed up with his slang terms for money.  As far as I know there are 20 ponies in a monkey, not the other way round, as the clue would indicate (pony = £25, monkey = £500).

2 – ROWAN – RO(W)AN; see 19dn

3 – TENDULKAR – TEND-U(L)K-A-R; refers to Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar.


14 – SATIRICAL – SAT 1-RI-CAL where RI=Rhode Island and CAL=California

19 – LAMBETH – I can see the links to walk, Rowan and Canterbury, since Lambeth Palace is the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Rowan Williams, and The Lambeth Walk is a song, but there’s no wordplay, just a series of links (am I being too pedantic?)

22 – OSIER – ‘osier indicating “hosier”.  When you see ‘e in a clue, that often indicates that you need a word from which you can drop the letter “h”.

8 Responses to “Guardian 23,964/Araucaria – Monkeys and ponies?”

  1. says:

    I see what you mean about 25a, but I think Shakespearean was supposed to indicate the use of roman numerals for the act numbers (and who else still has four act plays regularly performed?!?).

  2. says:

    I think the Shakespearean ref in 25A refers to the fact that his plays always had 5 acts (probably so did the other Elizabetheans) otherwise ACT or for that matter ACT I might have been indicated… so ACT IV is v. much a Shak. thing.

  3. says:

    COED has a pony as £25 and a monkey as £500. As do the online Collins and Chambers.

  4. says:

    Yes, I’m afraid the great Araucaria got his animals mixed up for 1d unless there’s something I’ve missed. Wonder if he watches ‘Only Fools And Horses’ – I never knew what a ‘pony’ was until I heard the title song…

  5. says:

    Can anyone explain 23 across (Obsession about house plant, (7))? I’ve got m_h_t_a from the crossing clues. The only thing that looks like it will fit is Mahatma. But that makes no sense to me… Am I missing something, or have I just gone wrong somewhere? It’s driving me to distraction…

  6. says:

    MA(HO)NIA (so you should take a look at 24D again). It’s a shrub — which I didn’t know but the wordplay was pretty straighforward.

  7. says:

    Victoria: If stuck on one last clue, it can be worth trying it with each checking letter ignored in turn – in this case, ??H?T?A, M???T?A, M?H???A and M?H?T??. If one checking letter is wrong this may get you to the right answer, in this case from M?H???A. If in a “mahatma situation” (the only thing that seems to fit makes no sense), you have to choose between trying to find something else that fits or identifying a mistake somewhere else in the puzzle. There are of course times when the reason for “mahatma” being the right answer is some bit of knowledge that you don’t have (e.g. a literary ref.), but you can usually recognise that kind of clue.

    If you see “plant” as a possible def., the -IA ending is worth considering, like -ITE for rocks.

  8. says:

    The Guardian has published a correction to 1 down (the pony/monkey clue), and published a new clue.

    Female model left with £25 for a horse (8,4),,1983145,00.html

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

2 × one =