Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 23995/Araucaria — Oh yes it is!

Posted by Colin Blackburn on February 8th, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

I don’t think I’ve blogged an Araucaria before so seeing the puzzle this morning worried me a bit. I like Araucaria, in fact my only published Listener puzzle was a tribute to him. However, my clues were strictly Ximenean (I hope) and I have over the years wrestled with his cluing. Some of his clues are brilliant and some of his techniques novel but I still have problems with the liberties he takes. That said I found this puzzle a (relative) breeze with the theme—coinciding in one entry with the recent Virgilius—helping.

Across
1 DOG-EAT-DOG — DOGE+(GOD TA)< — a doge is a magistrate. God appears openly in the clue as do parts of the wordplay in several clues in this puzzle.
9 BRAVO — double def— a bravo is a thug in the sense of a hired killer.
10,11 LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD — (GIRL INHERITED ODD LOT)* — nice anagram with odd being used for effect twice, once as the anagrind and once as part of the fodder. This is the first thematic entry, all are pantomimes.
12 USER — US+ER — ref to user-friendly.
14 BOOKMAN — BO(OK+MA)N — a bookman is a scholar.
15 ALADDIN — A+LAD+DIN
17 ALMANAC — AL(MAN)AC(k) — alack is an expression of regret.
19 ASKANCE — ASK+AN+CE — the Church of England is the established body.
20,6 SNOW WHITE — (WHOSE TWIN)* — “is shown” doesn’t cut it for me as an anagram indicator.
22 UNECONOMIC — UNE+C(ON)OMIC — une = a foreign female.
25 ARCHITECT — CHIT in (CRATE)*
26 TOTED — TO TED— groan!
27 KYRIE — KYLIE with R for L — I’m not sure if Araucaria was aware of the current exhibition of Kylie Minogue’s clothes at the V&A, including gold lame hotpants with worn crotch! For those of you still baffled, Kylie was in an Australian TV soap, Neighbours, before venturing into the world of pop.
28 SUCCESSOR — SUCCESS+OR — or = gold, a regular crossword cliche.
Down
1 DEBAR — (al)DEBAR(an) — Aldebaran is the brightest star in Taurus, a red giant many times the size of our Sun.
2 GUARDROOM — (MOOR+DR(A)UG)< — drug appearing openly in the clue confused me for a while.
3 ANOINTMENT — AN+OINTMENT
4 DOLPHIN — (Ran)DOLPH+IN — Randolph Churchill was the father of Winston Churchill, British PM.
5 GATOOMA — GA(TOO)MA — Vasco de Gama was, I guess, from Gama. Gatooma would be better described as a Rhodesian place as it is now called Kodoma.
6,24 WILDFIRE — WILD(FIR)E — Oscar Wilde and wildfire spreads.
8 ENDURANCE — END+U+RANCE — the Rance is a French river ermerging into the English Channel, or rather emerging into La Manche, near Dinard. I once spent a very enjoyable new year’s eve on Dinard beach watching and listening to a very confusing son et lumiere. It took the form of a rocket crashing on the beach. Jules Verne emerged and proceeded to be interviewed my the mayor of Dinard. I didn’t follow a word but Jules was accompanied by some scantily clad space maidens. The cider was very good.
13,14 JACK AND THE BEANSTALK — JACK+AND+THEBE(AN)S+TALK — if it isn’t Ur it’ll be Thebes.
16 DYNAMITES — (TEN+DISMAY)* — 10 confused me for a while as I tried to link that clue in.
18 CINDERS — double def — Cinders being short for Cinderella.
19 ASCETIC — A+(SECT)*+IC
21 OSCAR — OS CAR — another groan moment. The allusion is to 4x4s being outsize cars. Try telling that to the owners of the Fiat Panda 4×4.
23,7 CADER IDRIS — CADE+RID(e)R+IS — once I had I-R– the answer was obvious. Cader Idris is a mountain in Wales. I believe cade was discussed recently in one of the crossword blogs.

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