Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,258, Araucaria: Blues and Royals

Posted by michod on December 12th, 2007


A pretty tough one this, took a good half hour and left me in doubt about the wordplay of two clues, including the main theme-word. But I think I’m there now. I thought at first that there was a historical theme, then was surprised to discover it was football. In the end, of course, it’s classic Araucaria, linking diverse themes through Chelsea/Stamford Bridge.


1. HAR (RAH<) OLD. Got this after I saw the historical theme.

2. LONGWAYS. Not quite sure about this – going the long way may involve a lot of turnings, in my experience.

9. SIN EW Y. I think the definition – ‘using muscle’ is justified in a poetic, if not a biological sense. I couldn’t get the wordplay for agges, but it’s wrong = SIN, (bridge) partners = E and W, yard = Y.

10. MO(UR) IN HO. Former Chelsea manager, not now to be England’s.

17. (Win)CHELSEA. Not sure where Winchelsea is (Kent?), but I guess it’s no longer a port. I guessed this from C_E_S__, and then saw 10ac, but it took a while to work out why.   

18. PRIESTCRAFT. A difficult anagram incorporating two abbreviations (FR RC APTEST I).  I think this kind of thing’s generally regarded as OK if the abbreviation is obvious, making the anagram direct and not indirect. This applies to RC, but not FR, which could be PA, DA. Of course, it didn’t help that the paper version had the word length as (10).

22. HAUNTING. Double def.

23. SENLAC (LANCES*). Scene of the Battle of Hastings (4dn), which followed that of..

24. STAMFORD BRIDGE. The theme-linker – Chelsea’s ground, and scene of 1066 victory for Harold that preceded his defeat at Hastings.


1. FLOWER SHOW (SHOWER FLOW). Another Chelsea event.


4. HAS TIN GS. Tin is old slang for money, so I suppose ‘HAS TIN’ means ‘can afford’, although pedantically speaking, what you can afford depends on how much tin you have.

7. AUNT. Is an anagram ‘of’ 21, and a part ‘of’ 22. 

12. P(ENS)IONE(e)RS. Yet another Chelsea link. All that’s missing is a reference to Elvis Costello’s “I don’t want to go to Chelsea’.

16. TIP STAFF. I’m sure it’s been done before, but it’s neat.

19. C(HER)RY. Nice definition – ‘with heart of stone’?

20. THUS. I’m not sure who the poetical goddess is, but added to THUS, I’m sure she’ll make a flower – ACANTHUS, AGAPANTHUS or some such.

21. TUNA (A NUT<).

18 Responses to “Guardian 24,258, Araucaria: Blues and Royals”

  1. ilancaron says:

    I didn’t understand the wordplay for HASTINGS while solving — and to be honest even after having read the blog: I’m OK with “HAS TIN” but GS? how’s is that defined by ‘selective education’?

  2. conradcork says:

    GS is Grammar School.

  3. Jon says:

    GS = Grammar School?

  4. Jon says:

    Just beat me to it!

  5. ilancaron says:

    Good Stuff!

  6. Stan says:

    Acan is the Mayan god of wine, but definitely male. Should be a law against horticultural references – discriminates against city boys whose only exposure to plants is scraping them off their burgers.

  7. Barbara says:

    Re: 20d. Thus
    Could the missing poetical goddess be (Dian)thus ?

  8. Barbara says:

    RE Longways 6D.
    It’s true that taking the long way to something might involve some turns; but longways really means lengthwise.

  9. bracoman says:

    Re 2 Across. I think it refers to the proverb “It’s a long road that has no turning”

  10. ilancaron says:

    doesn’t that contradict that hymn by St. Paul: “The Long and Winding Road”?

  11. Kieron says:

    20D, think Barbara is right. My dictionary says that “Dian” is a poetic form for the goddess Diana. And a Dianthus is, of course, a carnation. Done.

    Personally, I don’t understand where the ENS in PENSIONERS comes from or what it signifies (likewise the ICLE of PARTICLE). That would put me out of my misery. As would the Reverend doing more crosswords like this. Does anyone know how old he is? He must be pushing 90 now…

  12. Barbara says:

    re particle:
    a little one is the def,
    p = page
    piece written = article
    hence: P + article

  13. Barbara says:

    re: p(ens)ioners
    ens: (from Chmbers dict.)
    noun: being or existence (metaphysics)

  14. Kieron says:

    Thanks very much. Yes, I’d found Ens in the dictionary in the meantime. Won’t forget that again. As for 14, was far too fixated on “Piece” = “PART-” to see the more straightforward explanation! Thanks a bundle.

  15. Geoff says:

    Tougher than most recent Araucaria crosswords; the central theme clue is really 24, 25: STAMFORD BRIDGE, which gives links to both Chelsea FC and King Harold.

    Thanks for explanation to 12D – I hadn’t spotted the rationale for ENS, although the solution was fairly obvious from the rest of the crossword.

    18A: FR as abbreviation for Father fits well with the Roman Catholic element of the clue – which is altogether a rather clever &lit

  16. davey b says:

    could someone please explain 11 accross intersperse

  17. Geoff says:

    11A: ‘Performs burials’ = INTERS; ‘by oneself’ = PER SE (ie the Latin expression which is commonly used to mean ‘in itself’ but literally does mean ‘by oneself’). Definition is ‘to fit them in between other things’.

  18. davey b says:

    Thanks Geoff
    My Latin is somewhat lacking.

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