Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,003/Auracaria (sic) (Sat Feb 10) – G whizz

Posted by rightback on February 24th, 2007


Solving time: about 14 mins + a bit of guesswork on 1dn, which I got wrong.

The three starred clues, of which two were fairly straightforward despite being clued without definition, led to words or phrases that can be represented by the letter G; 15dn also contained a thematic reference.

A few clues have strange surface readings but many are very good, though a lot of clues contain superfluous words which are there purely to assist the surfaces. This is normal Guardian (and especially Araucarian) practice, but I particularly dislike ‘for’ stuck in the middle of the wordplay in 14ac and 25ac and the link phrase ‘having to do’ in 6dn.

* = anagram, ” ” = ‘sounds like’.

*1/10 ACCELERATION DUE TO GRAVITY; (LACE RE-)* in ACTION (suit) + DUET + O + GRAV(IT)Y – quite a good surface but a very complex wordplay; hats off to anyone who ‘cold solved’ this, especially given the liberal treatment of the hyphen in ‘re-worked’.
8 A + N(TON)OV – I saw ‘Russian plane’ and ‘speed’ and almost wrote in ‘migrate’ immediately. The Antonov An-225 is the world’s largest aircraft.
9 WORSTED (double definition)
*13 GRAND[ad]
14 CIGARILLO; CI (Channel Islands) + GORILLA with A and O swapped
16 TENNESSEE; ‘inversion’ of “SE 10″, Greenwich’s post code – nearly fell for ‘Minnesota’ here, and took me a while after solving to fathom the wordplay.
19 COVER; C (100) + OVER (6 balls) – to make this wordplay work you have to split ’106′ into ‘a hundred and six’.
23 TO + PAL + OV[a]; “TOPPLE OFF” – a double wordplay clue. Veselin Topalov is currently rated world number one by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, just ahead of Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik.
24 NORWICH; rev. of WRON[g] + ICH (German for ‘I’) – the definition bemused me but Google came to my rescue:
The man in the moon
Came tumbling down
And asked his way to Norwich;
He went by the South
And burned his mouth
With supping cold pease porridge.
1 ACTINIA; AC + “TINEA” – one of these. I failed on this, guessing ‘actenia’ because of the possible connection to ‘ctene’, another sea creature; I knew ‘tinea’ could mean a moth but not a skin disease (of the ‘athlete’s foot’ variety).
2 CENTRED; inversion of RED CENT
3 LOVELOCKS; VELOC[ity] inside rev. of SKOL – I could make nothing of this clue until I had all the crossing letters. It turns out that ‘Mud in your eye’ is a toast, as is ‘Skol’.
4 ROWAN (double definition) – refers to Rowan Williams.
5 THROWER; ROW inside THE R[ight]
15 GEE-STRING – ‘might be partly starred’ is a thematic reference because of the ‘gee’ (see introduction above). Took me a while to twig to this one.
18 ER + RHINE – ‘to do with sneezing’.
19 CAP STAN – a somewhat clichéd wordplay which I would happily forgive if the surface made any sense.
20 VULTURE; rev. of LUV + (TRUE)*
22 E(THY)L

5 Responses to “Guardian 24,003/Auracaria (sic) (Sat Feb 10) – G whizz”

  1. says:

    14 minutes… wow. Took me about 45′ I think. Anyway, on Saturday he had 106 as (C, OVER) and Thursday 101 as (C, ONE) — I’m sure now that we’ve understood this he’ll switch to something else equally inventive.

  2. says:

    It’s Araucaria rather than Auracaria, chaps.

    However, you are not the first to have made the error: a fairly recent Guardian crossword carried the header, ‘Set by Auracaria’.

    ‘Blimey! New setter?’, we all shouted.

  3. says:

    That’s why rightback added (sic).

  4. says:

    Interestingly this error has been corrected since I downloaded the puzzle little more than 24 hours ago. I wonder if someone at the Guardian website reads this blog?

  5. says:

    Bet they do – sorry I missed your ‘sic’.

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