Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,122, Araucaria: Boy oh boy!

Posted by michod on July 6th, 2007


This was without doubt the hardest crossword I’ve had to blog, and almost defeated me. It took about 45 minutes, and I resorted to online aids for a couple of the final clues – I wouldn’t normally go that far for a daily cryptic, but it was in the wider interests of the blogosphere! (Then again, perhaps one should admit defeat in such situations and leave it to the commentariat to finish the job).

All the across answers are boys’ names, but not always ones that come instantly to mind.


8. CLARE (O)NCE. I took ages to get this; now it doesn’t look that hard.

9. N(INI)AN. Probably the most obscure name, with easy wordplay to fit. Still took a while, even though it had to be NAN on the outside.

10. NICK. The answer I’m least sure of, but I think it’s a prison ref: in the nick = doing time. But would that make Nick=possessed by time?

11. VI CT OR HU GO. Nice clue. Knowing CT=carat might have made it quicker.

12. DUN CAN. To dun means to collect rent, but I can’t find it meaning a debt collector. Can was clear, but I could only think of the more unusual Lorcan, for some reason.


15. TERENC E. CENTRE*. Turned made me look for a synonym reversed, rather than an anagram.

17. STEP HEN. A bit more straightforward than the rest.

22. JUST IN. Good clue, a cleaner version of an old joke I remember.

23. MARK ANTONY. The other double clue. Injure = mark. Can anyone help with the philosopher’s stone?

24. NO EL. Would make CO(L)D into COD.

25. W ALTER. Sneaky abbreviations like with=w are common in advanced cryptics, less so in dailies.

26. A LAST AIR. The first boy I got, after reading through the acrosses in mounting despair.


1. AL(TITU(s))DE. Ref Mervyn Peake character Titus Groan, and the River  Alde. I’d guess it runs through Aldeburgh, but I’d never heard of it till I googled Suffolk Rivers.

2. TRE K. Relies on Ktre as abbreviation, rather than Km, which I haven’t come across.

3. UNE VEN. ‘Translation of a female’ = une, and I believe ven. is the form of address for an archdeacon.

4. REDCOAT. CADET OR*. It was obviously an anagram but I was sure it was some ancient Roman edactor or octrade.

5. UNS OUGHT. Sunset for UNS is perhaps the most libertarian moment here. I don’t mind the anagram fodder and indicator being joined, but ‘set’ to me suggests something being fixed, not broken.

7. FANG IO. Argentinian racing driver who dominated the early days of F1 (I didn”t know that till now).

16. COR ON A RY. Not my favourite – ‘conclusion of artery’ has to give two letters, rather than the one you might expect, and really coronary is needed for the definition too.


22. JOY PAD. I think – is that like a joystick but when it’s a pad you use a pen on? I’m no gamer.

24. na(NOTE)chnology. Good hidden.


15 Responses to “Guardian 24,122, Araucaria: Boy oh boy!”

  1. conradcork says:

    Nick does at least have a question mark, suggesting ‘the nick of time’. OTOH originally I confidently took the wordplay as a charade and put ‘Thad’ (‘had’ by ‘t’). :-((

  2. Cracker says:

    23a (I can’t claim credit, it was a colleague): mar = injure, kant = philosopher, stone = onyx, less X = 10

  3. neildubya says:

    JOYPAD – this is a gaming controller where you use your fingers and thumbs to control what’s happen on-screen rather than gripping a stick in your hand and waggling it about (no sniggering at the back, thank you).

  4. Simply_simon says:

    Clearly every one else knows, but I don’t – what is 21 down?

  5. michod says:

    Sorrry Simon, I missed that one, it clearly needs explaining. It’s U JAM AA, which I learnt in the Politics of Developing Countries section of my degree (knew it’d come in useful some time!)was the name for the villagisation policy of Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere in the 60s and 70s. ‘African kibbutz’ as a definition is pretty inaccurate IMHO.

  6. Simply_simon says:

    Of course!!!

  7. AlanR says:

    re 2 down – I don’t think you need ktre as an abbreviation – it’s k for kilometre, with ‘last part’ of kilometre first.

  8. muck says:

    12ac: Chambers has dun ‘to importune for payment’, also one who duns. Maybe a Scotticism.

    21dn: UJAMAA is unfairly obscure IMHO

  9. muck says:

    On reflection, may I offer my apologies to Araucaria. One of his best puzzles, and U*A*A* must have been a tough one. U JAM AA isn’t all that obscure, and is easily confirmed on Google.

  10. ilancaron says:

    16D: mick, you mean “really artery is needed for the definition too”. You could argue that the definition is just “problem” though… (and there’s some def/wordplay overlap).

  11. oracle says:

    I’m pretty sure Captain Grimes in “Decline and Fall” was being pursued by a dun. He owed money to his bookmaker.

  12. beermagnet says:

    I don’t fully understand 20A:
    Boy finds blues queen during dance (8) HUMPHREY
    If HUMP is the blues, and R (regina) is queen then is HEY a dance?

  13. Paul B says:

    Well (consults two dictionaries) of course it is. As any fule kno, HEY or HAY = contra-dance, contradance, contradanse or country dance.

    (As hodmic says, not an easy puzzle for a weekday.)

  14. Simply_simon says:

    Useful to know that a hay is a dance come Saturday…….(20d)

  15. Mick Hodgkin says:

    Why, have you been invited to a hey-down ho-down tonight? (shhh….!)

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