Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,222 – Araucaria/Is there a theme?

Posted by loonapick on October 31st, 2007


A typically challenging puzzle from the master himself.  There are a few mini-themes such as religion (NUNNERY, WHITED SEPULCHRE, LOURDES, EXCOMMUNICATION), the Crusades (GRAIL, BALDWIN), a couple of medical terms (FEMORAL, LUSTRAL) and a couple of Welsh towns (MAESTEG, DOLGELLAU), but I can’t bring it all together, so either I’m looking for something that isn’t there, or it’s gone over my head.

Solving time (18 mins, although I had to look up LUSTRAL and DISILLUDE


1 MAE-(<=GETS) – where MAE refers to Mae West, the actress

5 FE-MORAL – of the femur


10 SOMME(lier)

12 YOUNGSTER – (grey not us)* – clever anagram

14 D-URAL – aka Duralumin, Duraluminum or Duraluminium, an allow of copper, manganese and magnesium, first used in arship frames by the Germans.

16 D(IS-ILL)UDE – had to look this word up, then kicked myself for not working it out.


22 WHITED SEPULCHRE – W(HIT)ED-(cups here)* about L – a person who is inwardly evil, but professes virtue

23 (Trevor)NUNN-E-RY

24 LOURDES – (older US)* – hmmm! an indirect anagram and a dodgy anagrind – an Araucaria special?


2 EX-COMMUNICATION – “bull” in the sense of a procalamation (Papal Bull, eg)

3 TWO-LEGGED – EGG in (old wet)* – I can’t find a dictionary that defines “isosceles” as two-legged, but I suppose I can see what he is getting at.


6 MARC-0

7 RIDING-ROUGHS-HOD – Wasn’t sure about RIDING = Yorkshire at first, but then reconsidered.  If you take it as RIDING ROUGHS = “Yorkshire hooliganes” it works.

8 L-(a)USTRAL(ia) – LUSTRAL is a sedative drug


14 DOLGELLAU – (gold)*-ELL-AU

15 BALD-WIN – referring to Baldwin of Boulogne, one of the leaders of the First Crusade.


9 Responses to “Guardian 24,222 – Araucaria/Is there a theme?”

  1. owenjonesuk says:

    Is 8 down a triple definition? Lustral can be the adjective from lustrum, a purificatory ritual, as well as a drug (‘number’) and being clued by ‘many in australia’.

    Got stuck on the bottom right corner.

  2. muck says:

    21ac: ‘Completely lost voice and note from anaesthetic’ has to be ETHER, but why?

    8dn: I had LUSTRAL as the adjective from lustrum, as Owenj says.

  3. George Foot says:

    15 ac I assume the answer is build but don’t understand what figure has to do with it.

  4. charles arthur says:

    21ac: completely = altogether = (alto)(g)ether

  5. charles arthur says:

    15ac: build = figure as in ‘he has a good build/figure’

    21ac: completely = altogether = (alto)(g)ether

  6. Geoff says:

    8dn: I’m with loonapick on this one:
    L (Roman numeral) + USTRAL (many of the letters in Australia) = LUSTRAL (purificatory)

    3dn: Perhaps Rev Graham is showing his classical education here. ‘Isosceles’ means having two equal sides (of triangles) but it comes from the Greek isoskeles, meaning equal legs. Two-legged creatures are generally better off if their legs are the same length… However, the clue is still definitely Araucarian, because it doesn’t have a definition per se, just an allusion!

  7. ilancaron says:

    How does “Wine waiter’s river” tell us to remove “lier”? (could be just an Araucarianism of course)

  8. beermagnet says:

    For SOMME I too was slightly disquieted by the brevity of the clue. We are not explicitly required to remove a part of a word, but use of the possessive “s” indicates that we must find one word in another. “The river of the sommelier” would be a much simpler clue for Somme. A is expecting us to take that extra step to translate “Wine waiter” to “Sommelier”.

    The clue that I found nice was DOLGELLAU as it was pretty much the centre of the Welsh gold industry I believe.

  9. Paul B says:

    Anathema to some, this is an indirect (hidden) clue. I’ll get off the fence and say I hate it.

    I see from my records (i.e. I think I’m right in saying) Auraracia (sic) often hides words at one end rather than in the middle of other words.

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