Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24007/Araucaria – beaten by clubs, shield didn’t help

Posted by ilancaron on February 22nd, 2007


Solving time: 55’

Humbling. Stared at this for 5 minutes before DRESDEN dropped. The football “club” theme came to mind after another 5 minutes of frustration. At first I thought Premier League but couldn’t think of anything ending in a 3-letter word… until PRESTON NORTH END occurred to me (dredged up probably from some dimly remembered broadcast at age 9). Time for a map, realizing that geography played a role. SHEFFIELD ???E?D stopped me cold because I only knew of United and Wednesday. Then I realized that a “club” wasn’t involved here and totally guessed at SHIELD (OK, “protective plate” helped) to be rewarded by wikipedia and… my fav crossword sport… cricket.

Oh, forgot to mention — some very Araucarian wordplay which I sometimes admire for its sheer inventiveness while kicking myself for being churlish about the infractions – and other times, the converse. In this case, some surfaces make sense. Many don’t. Not going to remark on them further. In any event, hard to find a clue not to make a comment about.


1 CE’S,SPIT – Hopefully not the setter’s point of view of the church. SPIT as in spitting “image” I guess.
5 F(U)C,HSI,A – FC is Football “Club” (apropos our theme), U’s our “turn”, followed by his* and A[wful]. And it’s a “bloomer”.
9 BLACKBURN R,OVERS – Football club in NW England. Only working out the wordplay as we speak: (club bank, r)* followed by OVERS for “bowling”. Oh, yay, cricket.
10 RUFUS=”roofers” – for non-rhotics only. William II was also called RUFUS.
11 POCKETFUL – (Kelt, cup of)* as in “a POCKETFUL of rye”.
12 TAR B,A,RRE,L – not a bad def: “pitch-black object” since TAR is “pitch” as well. But the wordplay had me struggling: rev(l, err, a brat).
14 PIECE=”peace” – my last clue. And probably the easiest.
16 SURRENDER – “yield”. But the wordplay mystifies me: I think it’s [in]SUR(R,END)ER with “insurer” beiing “in surer”.
18 INN,OCEN,CE – Wow! “disturbance of 101” is (C, ONE)* followed by CE (“Common Era”) for AD.
21 EG,HAM– Another wow! EG=”egg” with HAM are canonic breakfast items. Oh… EGHAM is near Staines=”stains” (I had the map out already). The homophone indicator applying to both sides of: “Bits of breakfast told by stains?” Almost a sensible &lit.
22 PRESTO,N N,OR,TH EN,D – Football “club” near Blackburn. Time to work out the wordplay: looks like there’s a missing homophone indicator: I think PREST ON=”pressed on” for “getting rapid”… the rest is straightforward :). Corrected based on PB’s notes below. PRESTO is “rapid” and NN is “news”.
23 RUSH,DIE – OK, our writer’s Salman RUSHDIE. But is he really in a RUSH to DIE himself (“too”)? I know that others were thus interested given the fatwa. Some other way to parse this?
24 DRESDEN – (reddens)*. Nice clue. Simple, elegant and meaningful. And my way in. As in DRESDEN (Meissen) china.


2 ST(AFFORD) RANGERS – A very obscure football club. I guessed RANGERS quickly, and saw STRANGERS, hoping Glasgow would fit. Then scoured the map.
4 TRUMP – “winner”. What about the homophone: “… audibly at last?”  See PB’s notes again: not a homophone but another musical allusion.
5 FU,NIC,UL,A.R. – Super-homophone of the week: FU=”few”, NIC=”nick”, UL=”yule” followed by A R[eport] with the quotes indicating the homophone. And a FUNICULAR is a cable car (“climber”).
7 SHEFFIELD SHIELD – see the preamble for comments (by the way it’s now called the Pura Cup).
8 AB,SOL,’VE – leaders of the alphabet are AB.
13 ROSIN,ANTE – Don Quixote’s horse. Don’t quite see the wordplay: “Assistant to bow before knight’s horse”. Pasquale, or should I say Quixote, tells us that it’s a violinist’s ROSIN followed by ANTE (“before”).
15 SKIPPER – a SKIPPER is the “boss” of a ship and needs “rope” to skip.
17 R,AMADA,N – the “fast” is the annual Muslim fast of RAMADAN. “Fleet” is armada and its leading letters have been swapped.
20 EWO,OD – rev(do owe). Well, I had the wikipedia article on Blackburn open which mentioned where they played. “Actually in debt” is do owe and reversal in a down clue is “promoted”.

6 Responses to “Guardian 24007/Araucaria – beaten by clubs, shield didn’t help”

  1. says:

    ROSIN is what a violinist uses for his bow

  2. says:

    Re 4d – I wondered if it had anything to do with a trumpet or sound of a trumpet (audibly at last) but I’m not convinced by this; otherwise I still don’t see the homophone that would seem to be indicated – does the ‘at last’ relate to the ‘rump’ bit?

    Re 22a, got the club easily enough (I think I’m right in saying Preston are the only club in the football league that ends in a three-letter word) but could not see why it worked. After reading the solution above, I can’t see any other explanation other than the one outlined above that there would seem to be a missing homophone indicator.

  3. says:

    4D “Audible at last” is not a homophone, but a reference to the “Last Trump” – the “Tuba Mirum” of Latin Requiem mass settings. All a bit confusing when it’s the Mozart Req and the tuba mirum = “last trumpet” has a trombone solo.

    22A: Rapid = presto (more music), NN = “news” via N=new – the sort of Araucarian outrageousness I like. Then(!) Ilan has the right stuff for the rest.

    5D I think “a report” is a non-rhotic “AR”, with “report” as the sounds-like indicator.

    10 Rufus = “roofers” doesn’t work for me as one has voiced S and one unvoiced. Only seems to work with a “Zummerzet” accent. But I don’t think Araucaria is alone in taking liberties with S/Z that I doubt he would take with T/D or P/B.

  4. says:

    Thanks for the explanations of TRUMP and INNOCENCE. This was a tough one, with few clues whose wordplay was instantly clear. Some very nice puns, though I agree with Peter about RUFUS/roofers.
    As for Rushdie, I’ve heard reference to a taboo against living people as answers, but perhaps the Guardian doesn’t observe that. Certainly, you couldn’t break it much more comprehensively than by attributing a death wish to a living person best known as the object of a death threat!

  5. says:

    There are certainly living people as answers in Guardian crosswords. Sometimes people who many would regard as obscure.
    For instance, I can remember Fi Glover and (Annie) Proulx, and Stephen Fry has appeared more than once I reckon.

  6. says:

    Surely Salman is not in RUSH to DIE. A look at the previous clue, 22a, should sort out a clue that I agree is pushing the boundaries of taste a little.

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