Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24269/Araucaria – count me out

Posted by ilancaron on December 27th, 2007


Christmas songs not being a strong suit, I would never have worked out the song so thanks to Shirley for putting me out of my misery. It’s “Green Grow the Rushes, O” – a “well-known” counting song. I managed to cut and slash my way through the wordplay and definitions with guesses and some dictionary lookups and now that I know what the song is, hopefully everything else will fall into place.  Comments below have resolved some of the open questions…


9 AR(THUR[sday])IAN – King Arthur was a royal and I believe an ARIAN was some sort of Christian heretic and I suppose THUR is much of Thursday…
10 YOU,TH [ink] – “I think therefore I am” in the 2nd person would be: “You think therefore you are” thus “proof that you are” is “You think”… now, remove the “ink” and you have…
13 IRIS[h] – she’s a Greek goddess but it looks like “Hibernian” is serving double duty… providing the H to remove from Irish and the definition of Irish.
14 GO,SPELLERS – ref. our song and “Four for the Gospel makers”.
15 ANG[n]ULAR – not a bad clue once you work it out which took me a bit: basically ANNULAR (ring-shaped) and ANGULAR are opposites: so replace N for nitrogen in ANNULAR with G (“first of gases”) to get ANGULAR.
17 DEC,[l]IBEL
19 S(TRA,TEG)IST – indeed insist means in SIST: namely, rev(get, art) in SIST.
22 LA[r]VA
23 LES(OTH=hot*)O – or is it LESO,THO=hot*? “Sign about its first awfully hot country”. It’s LE(S[ign]O,THO=hot* where LEO is our “sign”.
24 LA(R[a]GE)SS
26 T,WEED – not a stuttering clue after all.
27 TASMANIAN – ref. TASMANIAN devil.


1 CAPTAIN, ABSOLUTE – from Sheridan’s “The Rivals” and ref. our song: “Three, three, the rivals” (there are two rivals presumably in the play, our captain being one of them).
2 ST,RIDING – not sure about the edge of the Lake District ref. STRIDING Edge is in fact a ridge in the Lake District.
3 TU=”two”,TU=”two” – it’s a garment and ref. two and ten (10) in our song: 10A is YOUTH and “Two, two, the lily-white boys, Clothed all in green…”
4 FIRED,OO,R[ange]
5 [fr]ENC[ch],AMP – French “some” is EN and “some” is Roman C (though by convention it’s usually many) and AMP for electrical current. OK “some French” is actually ENC.
6 S(YM,BOL)IC – ref. “Five for the symbols at your door” in the song, and the 2nd half of 4D (DOOR) where the wordplay is: rev(lob=chuck, my=setter’s) in SIC for “so”.
7 SUB=rev(bus),TLE=let* – Nice isn’t always in France you know!
8 THERE’S ALWAYS ONE – well, the song in question is a counting song in which each verse ends in ONE… but as for the “awkward” ref? See Shirley’s comment below.
16 LATITUDE – a rather nice double definition (one cryptic) since LATITUDES are indeed geographic parallels.
18 BE A D,EVIL=rev(live) – BEAD is our “round object” and “be” is live.
20 RUSHES – two meanings: together with 21 is our “hint” as to the theme song which, if you know the song already, makes it dead easy to understand the hint.
21 G,ROWTH=throw*
25 ROAD=”rode”=”rowed” – I suppose it is indeed better to ride a horse when travelling by ROAD rather than by boat (is there anything else going on?). Quite a good clue given the double homophone.

11 Responses to “Guardian 24269/Araucaria – count me out”

  1. Shirley says:

    The song is “Green Grow the Rushes O”
    Hope that helps!

  2. Shirley says:

    2D Striding Edge is a a famous walk from the top of Helvellyn down into the valley in the Lake District.
    8D “There’s always one” is a despairing cry of teachers everywhere for children who won’t follow instructions or does exactly the opposite of what is asked as in “There’s always one who ….
    Also the song is not a Christmas song – it’s an Old English song from the 16th Century according to Wiki with several possible older versions.

  3. John Hooper says:

    Can anyone help me with what should be a simple clue, which I cannot for the life of me make sense of.

    “The catch when fishing tackle’s deployed around December, perhaps” (3,3)

    Needs to fit into R _ D / _ O _

    Possible brain damage from alcohol but all I can think of is RED HOT which does not make sense.

    All help gratefully received.

    The clue is from last Sundays ST crossword.

    John Hooper

  4. beermagnet says:

    23A “Sign about its first” gives LE(S)O where LEO is the Sign and S is the first of Sign.
    I got stuck because I put GROWER instead of Growth, relying on the preamble phrase more than the actual clue for 21D. {Also
    RODE for Road so was completely at a loss for 27A.]

    John, That R_D _O_ looks more like RED COD ROD around (DEC)* if there is such an animal.

  5. Testy says:

    This must be a favourite song of the Reverend’s. I seem to remember a clue from a couple of months ago which referred to April rainers and it had most people stumped that time too so I suspect it’s one of those songs that is only “well-known” providing you know it well.

  6. John Hooper says:

    Thanks for that Beermagnet.

    Obviously your brain was not damaged by festive alcohol consumption (despite the alias !!)

    There does appear to be a RED COD so I guess it must be that.

    I put RODE as well which also stumped me on TASMANIAN.

  7. Comfy Settee says:

    I was once told that Green Grow the Rushes-O was a song much loved by the American soldiers that fought the Mexicans way back when, and it led to the term for white people being ‘gringos’ – never seen any corroborating evidence for this, mind you, but its a lovely tbeory….

  8. Ygor says:

    In 5D, I don’t think “en” in French translates well to “some” in English. My interpretation is that “some French” simply works out to the letters “enc” found in the middle of the word “French”.

  9. David says:

    Agreed, ygor. I worked for a while on de, du, des… etc and got nowhere.

  10. ilancaron says:

    Yeah I think that I have to agree wrt 5D… I guess C for “some” is a bit much even for A.


  11. AlanR says:

    25 across: sounds like ‘rowed’ (by boat) as well as ‘rode’ (by horse).

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