Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,201 (Sat 6 Oct)/Araucaria – Blind man’s pluff

Posted by rightback on October 15th, 2007


Solving time: 17:17, one mistake (4dn/P)

The clues for this puzzle were presented in order of their first letters (specified), with each letter used once (and D and J twice). Probably quite a difficult grid to construct, although impressively there were few obscure words.

I can’t explain XANTHUS (20dn) – any help appreciated.

Music: I’m not familiar with the Mendelssohn work referred to in 26ac, so I’ll go for what seems to be one of the more famous movements, the Spinning Song. Please feel free to call me a philistine and point me in the direction of a better bit.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 (J) JI[m] + G(SAW + P)UZZLE – an appropriate starter.
8 (O) O’LD + WOLF (= ‘flow back’ = ‘ebb’) – I don’t like indirectness like this without a question mark or a ‘might one say’ or something, but it’s standard for Araucaria.
11 (S) SKI(M-M)ED
12 (F) F + IF + TIES
14 (V) VERY LIGHT – I liked this one.
19 (D) DI(XI)E
21 (T) TORT + ON + I[t’s] – a rich ice cream flavoured with wine.
23 (M) MAR(I)NER – George Eliot wrote Silas Marner.
25 (N) NEIGHED; Gre-“NAD”-a
26 (W) WORDLESSNESS – refers to Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words.
1 (J) JU[ju] + DAIS + E – very difficult wordplay, requiring the solver to ‘lift and separate’ (© Mark Goodliffe, I think) the words ‘magic area’.
2 (G) G + ROMME[l] + T – wasted time here looking for something like ‘gutters’ from ‘Good German’ = ‘gut’.
4 (P) P + LUFF – sailing doesn’t appear on my list of watersports, I’m afraid, despite it being our most successful Olympic discipline over the last decade, but apparently ‘luff’ means ‘to turn a ship towards the wind’. I guessed ‘phuff’, with ‘pruff’ a close second.
5 (Z) ZESTFUL; rev. of LUFT + SEZ (= ‘talks…vulgarly’)
6 (L) LA(U.D.I.)NG – ‘lang’ is a Scottish word for ‘long'; UDI normally refers to Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 under Ian Smith, which allowed white majority rule to continue until the creation of Zimbabwe in 1979, but I only know that because michod told me last time this was used in a Saturday Guardian (thanks Mick!).
7 (C) CONSEQUENTLY; ((QUEEN’S)* + NT) in COLY – but according to Chambers, ‘coly‘ is a bird while the fish is spelt ‘coley‘. Perhaps someone with Collins or the OED could give a second opinion?
10 (K) KISS THE BRIDE; (KERB THIS SIDE)* – very nice definition (“Instruction at junction”).
17 (H) HO + RATIO – I think this refers to Horatio from Hamlet, but I’m not sure.
19 (D) DORMI(C)E – my last entry (apart from 4dn); ‘needing only half’ is brilliant for DORMIE (a golfing term: if a player is ‘dormie n‘ in matchplay then he is n up with n to play, i.e. opponent must win all remaining holes to halve the match). Unfortunately the surface reading is nonsense so I don’t think it’s a good clue.
20 (X) XANTHUS – the river of Troy. I suppose ‘unknown’ is X, but that’s as far as I can get with the wordplay.

4 Responses to “Guardian 24,201 (Sat 6 Oct)/Araucaria – Blind man’s pluff”

  1. stilt says:

    I don’t know about Collins, but the OED doesn’t give “coly” as a spelling for the fish (I admit that I didn’t realise anything was amiss when solving it). I’m sure you must be right about HORATIO: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” and all that. I think the idea at X is that “anthus” is the Greek for flower (I entered XANTHOS myself, thinking “anthos” would be a more normal transliteration, but I see there’s a U in the published solution).

    This is only the second of these jigsaws that I’ve done, and like the first I found it considerably easier than I expected and entirely enjoyable. I avoided tackling them for a long time because I didn’t realise that the letter by each clue indicated the initial of the answer, so assumed they’d be impossibly difficult. I don’t know why the Guardian doesn’t provide this bit of info by the grid; I’m sure other people must be scared off these puzzles for the same reason.

  2. Shirley says:

    26 (W) “Quality of “Songs of Silence”. Rightback – I think you are looking for something that doesn’t exist here. Surely the quality of Mendelsohnn’s work is that it is silent i.e. Wordless. I don’t think you need to know the name of any specific song.

  3. rightback says:

    Needing to know the Greek for ‘flower’ is pretty tough! I assumed from the clue lettering system that these were the initial letters of the answers (especially given the double clues at D and J) but it wouldn’t hurt to state this explicitly in the preamble.

    Shirley – I agree the puzzle doesn’t require any knowledge of Mendelssohn’s work beyond the title; I was just inviting anyone more familiar with it to pick a better ‘Music of the day’ (see previous Saturday posts), as I chose fairly arbitrarily from what appeared to be the more famous bits.

  4. Jim says:

    Xanthus is the river (“flower”) of Troy.

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