Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,180/Araucaria – One for the bibliophiles

Posted by loonapick on September 12th, 2007


A literary romp from Araucaria – five of the down answers are the names of books and there’s at least two more literary reference among the clues.  Great fun, just a shame that once I’d got the four long down answers, the rest of the puzzle fell into place a bit too quickly.

Every clue hear is worthy of a mention, but I’m not allowed to blog them all, so here are the most obscure or noteworthy.


8 ASHPLANT – PLAN in (hats)* – An ashplant is a type of walking stick, presumably made from ash?

10 RUS(S(om)E)T – both RUST and RUSSET being shades of red

12 LYRA – a constellation and the principle character in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy.

13 GOLDEN WEST – OR=golden and W=west – the reference is to the Puccini opera, La fianculla del West (The Girl of the Golden West)

15 KNEES-UP – (keep sun)*

16 P.T.O.-LE-MY

18 S(eptembe)(C(H)OOL)(YEA)R – this clue doesn’t work for us Scots, since our school year starts in August.

22 A-V-A-TAR

23 MEDICI – relating to the Italian family, and to Browne’s most famous work, Religio Medici (The Religian of a Physician)


1 A STUDY IN SCARLET – (Cindy us)* in A STARLET – the first story to feature Sherlock Holmes

2 (n)A(PASS-AGE)TO-IN-(<=AID) – by EM Forster

3 PAN-TAG-(c)RUEL – by Rabelais

5 (g)OD-IN – not Ximenean, but typically Araucarian

6 A FAREWLL TO ARMS – disappointingly obvious

7 (b)ACH-(b)RIST(MASCAR(a))OL – much better

14 EXTIRPABLE – (tip be relax)*

17 HEAL-THY – brilliant – “Physician, heal thy self”

14 Responses to “Guardian 24,180/Araucaria – One for the bibliophiles”

  1. ilancaron says:

    yeah good puzzle but the wordplay for HALF-MOON? “Semicircular object of prince and senior soldier in the nude?”

  2. Morph says:

    I think it’s Prince HAL, followed by FM with 0 ON – i.e. a field-marshal in the nude!
    Some classic Araucaria here – I didn’t spot A FAREWELL TO ARMS instantly, so laughed out loud when I did, and I agree that HEALTHY was a beaut.

  3. ilancaron says:

    thanks — dare I say, hardly obvious!

  4. Simply_simon says:

    A Farewell to Arms made me laugh too. Thanks for the Half Moon explanation – I got the answer but couldn’t work it back.

  5. jetdoc says:

    I agree that there were some lovely clues in this — Araucaria at his best. I got A FAREWELL TO ARMS immediately from the clue (even with ‘the the’, a typo I am frequently picked up on by the spell-checker). For the other three 15-letter answers, I recognised/guessed the novels and worked back to the clues; but then that’s what I often do with Araucaria.

    I’m not completely sure about 21d/19a, FAINTEST. Definition: as in ‘haven’t the faintest idea’. TEST = match. How does ‘of wanting a’ give FAIN?

  6. AlanR says:

    fain means willing or gladly, as in “I would fain” play this test.

  7. roland says:

    The man is, very simply, one of a kind: long may he continue. Particularly nice to see the wonderful Sir Thomas Browne namechecked in this puzzle. I must admit AVATAR defeated me entirely. I don’t know why, but 17D seemed typical of Araucaria- only just more satisfying than it was annoying!

  8. Stan says:

    Don’t know about it falling into place too quickly – I sweated blood, but got there in the end. Best puzzle of the year to date ?

  9. mark says:

    Far too hard for me and the usual quota of clues I had no chance with BUT also the usual couple that still irritate with answer.

    18a – How does this work. In order to get a nice surface he’s surely blown the logical build up of the cryptic parts. Please show me I’m wrong.

    3d – How does labelled = TAG. Surely it would be tagged. Again please shout if I’m missing something.


  10. mark says:

    Oh and what were 4d and 11a please.

  11. loonapick says:

    18 ac – The French (LE) setter’s (MY) on Please Turn Over (a bit of stretch for next page, I’ll grant you, but on websites, you could argue that a “next page” link would have the same effect as PTO on a letter?
    3d – typical Araucaria, I’m afraid – you have to make the leap from “labelled” to “with tag”
    4dn – STICKLE(back) as in “be a stickler for proper crossword convention”
    11ac – CONTRARY – T in (carry on)*

  12. mark says:

    Thanks Loonapick, but you’ve explained 16a not 18a I think. 16a was one of the few I got!

    I see the 3d now thanks. It’s bending the rules to breaking point in my novice book but there is a bit of logic in there I suppose.

    4d I knew stickler as a noun but not a verb!
    11d – yep, should have got that.


  13. Al Streatfield says:

    I’m slightly mystified by loonapick’s comment “I’m not allowed to blog them all”. Can someone please explain?

    On another point, it is rather difficult to discuss a clue when one hasn’t seen the puzzle- I only get the Independent normally.

    Would it be possible for bloggers to write out in full some of the clues they are analysing?


  14. ilancaron says:

    The “not allowed…” comment is explained in Neil’s exhaustive FAQ ( — the gist is that the papers run a pay-for-answers service and we don’t want to completely obviate the need for such a service.

    I try to provide the full clue when there’s something about it that completely bamboozles me or when it’s worth repeating aesthetically. But this is selective, since again we don’t want to become a crossword publication replacement service (thus depriving the papers of income…).

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