Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,189 (Sat 22 Sep)/Araucaria – Mirror, mirror

Posted by rightback on September 29th, 2007


Solving time: 15:23

Not for the first time, a puzzle based on the works of Lewis Carroll, specifically Through the Looking-Glass (TTLG) and its chess ‘match’ between the White and Red pieces. About average difficulty overall, provided you knew a little about the book.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 FIGHTER (= FREIGHT*) + COMMAND – strictly something like ‘once’ is needed here.
8 E VITA – which very plausibly means ‘is life’ in Italian.

9 NO SLOUCH; OSLO in [N for S]UCH – a hard answer phrase. Luckily short capitals are few and far between; Lima springs to mind, but not many others.
11 CELESTE (double definition) – refers to the Mary Celeste.
12 ERNES + TO – a very innocent looking ‘to’ in the clue proves crucial. Clever, but less so coming from Araucaria as his clues contain so many superfluous words.
13 W(HIT)E – the first of many references to TTLG in this puzzle, though I don’t fully understand the definition (“…came from much reflection”).
17 NOVE[mber] + LETTE[r]
1 FRENCH WIN (= ‘Victoire’) + DOW – the best I can offer for the last bit of the wordplay is that ‘door opens’ might indicate DO[or].
3 T (= ‘model’) + EAR’S + HE’LL – a shell that dispenses tear gas. I hate ‘model’ for T (as in the Ford Model T).
4 RENDELL – refers to Ruth Rendell. The ellispes in this and the previous clue are crucial; take TEAR SHELL, remove SH (‘abandon silence’) and change ‘tear’ to ‘rend’.
5 OYSTERS – cryptic definition, referring to the scene with the Walrus and the Carpenter in TTLG.
6 MY OWN INVENTION – again the ellipses matter, and again a Carrollian reference; this clue refers to the phrase ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and to the White Knight in TTLG who claimed that his upside-down box was his “own invention… so that the rain can’t get in”.
10 LOO + KIN + GG + LASS
16 RED KNIGHT; (KEND)* in RIGHT – another reference to TTLG.
18 T(EST)ACT – I should really be wise to things like ‘intact’ in the Guardian by now, but this took me a couple of looks.
19 E(ASTER)N – refers to the Great Eastern, built by Brunel.
22 [go]BLIN + I – I didn’t understand this while solving.
24 BRUCE[llosis] – my last entry, by a good couple of minutes. I was initially sure that the answer was B[atman] + (word for cattle) = (word for disease), but when I finally looked for something else I remembered that Batman’s alter ego was Bruce Wayne, and the cattle disease ‘brucellosis’ which I think I made a hash of in a Times Jumbo recently. Perhaps not the fairest wordplay.

4 Responses to “Guardian 24,189 (Sat 22 Sep)/Araucaria – Mirror, mirror”

  1. Comfy Settee says:

    I think WHITE is the answer to 13ac (”…came from much reflection”) because an object appears white when all colours of light are reflected from its surface, as opposed to some being reflected and some absorbed. Tricky one, that.

  2. rightback says:

    Thanks, that makes sense – not a TTLG reference after all, then.

    I’ve also realised I forgot to nominate any music. Given the theme I’ll go for Thru The Glass by Thirteen Senses which made it into the UK Top 20 a couple of years ago.

  3. John H says:

    “Batman” was “Spiderman” (ref. Robert the Bruce) in Araucaria’s original version!

  4. rightback says:

    I’d never have solved that – good job it got changed!

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