Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,261 (Sat 15 Dec)/Araucaria – Da Vinci Code

Posted by rightback on December 23rd, 2007


Solving time: 18 mins, one mistake (20dn)

This Mona Lisa-themed puzzle might have been straightforward for any art scholars who knew the ten-word phrase at 24ac (anyone?), but I had to work it out painstakingly from the anagram. The rest of the clues were probably a bit easier than usual for Araucaria.

Music: The only song I can think of that mentions the Mona Lisa is ‘Aire and Calder’ by Ultrasound, but sadly I can’t find a recording anywhere online, so here’s I’ll Show You Mine instead.

* = anagram.

1 SUP + [h]ERB
9 BELT (double definition)
11 VI + KRAM (rev. of MARK) – I think I read somewhere that Vikram Seth is a crossword fan.
12 G + IO (= ’10’) + CONDA (= ‘Rice’, as in Condoleeza) – not sure what ‘portions’ is doing in this clue. La Gioconda is the Mona Lisa. I believe the spelling of this answer caught a few people out once in the final of a Times Crossword Championship.
16 M(ON)ALI’S + A
21 WOLF NOTE; rev. of ETON FLOW – a noise that occurs when an instrument resonates – see here.
22 D + URBAN (= ‘of city’)
24/29/23 10/1dn SHE IS OLDER THAN THE ROCKS AMONG WHICH SHE SITS; (LEONARDO’S WORK – HIS HIGHEST – MATCHES HITCHENS’S)* – a comment on the Mona Lisa by the essayist Walter Pater (see 2dn). Three quarters of a very good anagram; a pity that ‘Hitchens’ spoils it somewhat, unless I have missed a reference. [And perhaps I have – see comments.]
25 [saga]CITY
26 NELSON (triple definition) – referring to Horatio Nelson, the wrestling hold (named after him) and Nelson Mandela.
27 BYSSHE (hidden) – good job I knew Shelley’s middle name name. Totally inadequate hidden indicators, as here, is one of the things I dislike most about Araucaria’s puzzles.
2 PATE + R (= ‘for tail’)
3 RO(AD)MA + P
14 ANNA FRIEL; (N + rev. of FAN) in ARIEL
16 MOO + RHE (= HER*) + N
18 [b]EL(DER)LY
20 K.O. + SOV + O – ‘end fight’ is ‘K.O.’ (‘knock out’), ‘pound’ is SOV[ereign] and ‘love’ is O. I rushed into ‘Komodo‘ here, which of course isn’t a country – but then, I don’t think Kosovo is, either.

5 Responses to “Guardian 24,261 (Sat 15 Dec)/Araucaria – Da Vinci Code”

  1. Stan says:

    I actually though the reference to Hitchens was spot-on : could be either Peter Hitchens or more likely his brother, the bomb-throwing Atheist, Christopher Hitchens who wrote “God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything “. Bet that’s on the Reverend Graham’s bookcase.

    Kosovo is a country – the U.N say so !

  2. nmsindy says:

    I did not do this crossword but those of certain age will remember music related to it associated esp with Nat King Cole. Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have named you etc etc. No idea whether that is the musical reference rightback is referring to of course.

  3. rightback says:

    24ac: I’d actually misread this clue, and looked up ‘Hitchen’ rather than ‘Hitchens’, so perhaps the anagram does make perfect sense after all. I’ll have to take someone else’s word for it, though – art and theology aren’t exactly my specialist subjects.

    I’d never heard of Nat King Cole’s song, but here he is singing it – thanks nmsindy. I don’t think Ultrasound would cite Mr Cole as an influence, somehow, but they were very good nonetheless.

  4. kornblow says:

    Ivon Hitchens was an English painter (1893-1979)who was influenced to some degree by Cubism,yet painted fairly naturalistic landscapes. So I think the the painter reference works well with Leonardo.

  5. Ian says:

    Horatio is also Walter Pater’s middle name.

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