Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,277 (Sat 5 Jan)/Araucaria – Sin city

Posted by rightback on January 13th, 2008


Solving time: Turned to references after 45 mins (in two sessions) with 6 answers missing (asterisked) and one wrong (2dn).

The thematic element of this puzzle was the inclusion of the seven deadly sins, which was straightforward enough provded you could name them all (I couldn’t – see 13ac). The rest of the crossword, though, was packed with difficult words, obscure references and intractable wordplay, and in the end I resorted to reference books to help me out. Not my favourite crossword of the year so far.

If anyone can shed light on 3dn I would be grateful.

Music (13dn): Pride by U2.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

*11 T(W)OBIT’S – ‘two’ was as far as I could get with this. Tobit turns out to be a character in the Apocrypha, while ‘two bits’ is an American term meaning 25 cents (a quarter).
12 W(IT + T)ILY – ‘takes initiation’ for T is awful.
13 PRIDE – this took me a shocking length of time. I just couldn’t name the seventh deadly sin, despite thinking of lions from the clue (“Royal beasts…”).
14 PERFORMED; (rev. of REP) + FOR + ME + D
*19 EQUIP + OISE[aux] – I didn’t know this word but thought of ‘oiseaux’ and ‘poise’ separately, so should really have made the connection.
*22 LA RONDE; ([c]ALDERON)* – La Ronde is a fairly obscure French film from 1964, starring Jane Fonda. ‘La Drone’ and ‘La Norde’ looked just as likely to me, so with two crossing answers missing I left this blank.
23 C(ASS + I)U’S
1 TOO + TH(PAST)E – for ages I thought ‘overly over’ must be ‘rev. of TOO’, so was looking for ‘boot????er’.
2 Z + I + NOV(I.E.)V – not ‘Tinoviev’, which I guessed from supposing that ‘put last’ might mean ‘the last letter of put’. The Zinoviev Letter played a role in the 1924 general election.
*3 INCISE – I assume this is something to do with ‘Inc.’ vs ‘Ltd’ but I don’t know where the final E comes from. Clue: Engrave corollary to “Ltd is US” (6)
5 DRAW + BRIDGE – ‘Game without winner’ is the unsatisfactory wordplay; cf 14dn.
7 BARIUM – refers to barium meal, which can be swallowed to make the alimentary canal visible to X-rays.
8 ENVY; “N V”
14 P + RESIDE + N.C. + Y – as in 5dn, the first bit of wordplay here is in the wrong order (‘Live quietly…’).
*17 [o]NE + PENT + HE – ‘a drink or drug causing sorrow to be forgotten’ (Chambers).
18 [p]INGUIN + A + L (= ‘plate’)
*20 UPROOT; (TO POUR)* – terrible clue.
21 ANS (= ‘articles’) + ELM – Saint Anselm was an Italian monk who was Archbishop of Canterbury, and propsed an argument for the existence of God. I didn’t know the name but guessed it from the (questionable) wordplay.
22 LUST[rum] – a lustrum is a period of five years.
23 COVE[to us ness]

18 Responses to “Guardian 24,277 (Sat 5 Jan)/Araucaria – Sin city”

  1. beermagnet says:

    My paper had the clue to 3D as:
    Engrave corollary to “Ltd is US”
    where I took US to be us, i.e. me and you, i.e. the English, thus E.

    I wouldn’t class “La Ronde” as obscure. Besides the film I would say the play forms part of the theatrical canon. Maybe it hasn’t been performed much of late.

  2. Andrew says:

    3D must be INC IS E(nglish), as a “corollary” of LTD IS US

  3. Andrew says:

    PS – US as in United States, though used as an adjective to correspond to E=English.

  4. rightback says:

    The clue to 3dn is as Beermagnet says – apologies for my typing. The U.S./English suggestion seems feasible, but doesn’t really make sense to me.

  5. petebiddlecombe says:

    I did this on a train a couple of days ago and thought the fun outweighed the cluewriting sins – I ended up with 6 sins found and one clue left (23D), so this most craftily hidden sin made a good ending. But I did cut my cryptic teeth on the Guardian puzzle.

  6. Qaos says:

    From the Guardian Unlimited site, the “annotated” solution gives 3d as INC/I/SE, which I read as INC+I+SE, which is even more confusing! Either the site has a typo, or someone else can work out this other way of putting the answer together. “Inc” instead of “Ltd” therefore “I” instead of “US” maybe? But no idea about the “SE” though …

  7. Andrew says:

    Qaos – did you read my explanation? It’s “INC IS E” as a “corollary” (or counterpart) of “LTD IS US”. It’s a bit like those “frog is to tadpole as butterfly is to ____” puzzles in IQ tests.

  8. Qaos says:

    Hi Andrew. Yes, I read your explanation and it sounds right to me – I struggled with the “E” when I did the crossword myself. But I was simply proposing *another* idea based on that fact the Guardian site has a different annotated solution (INC+I+SE). Hence the part “Either the site has a typo or …” I’m thinking it’s the former, but since no-one is 100%, maybe the GU answer will yield another explanation.

  9. beermagnet says:

    Well, I agree 100% with Andrew’s “Ltd is US” “Inc is E[nglish]” corollary explanation. That the GU annotated solution is wrong is no great surprise – for instance I see they have this crossword misnumbered as 24227 rather than 24277.

  10. Qaos says:

    lol point taken :-)

  11. Al Streatfield says:

    3 down is particularly puzzling.

    What the compiler seems to be saying is that “Limited” is the US way of referring to a particular kind of company, whereas “Incorporated” is the English way of referring to a particular kind of company. Is this right? I always associate “Inc.” with America and “Ltd.” with England.

    Yours baffled,


  12. Al Streatfield says:

    3 down is particularly puzzling.

    What the compiler seems to be saying is that “Limited” is the US way of referring to a particular kind of company, whereas “Incorporated” is the English way of referring to the same kind of company. Is this right? I always associate “Inc.” with America and “Ltd.” with England.

    Yours baffled,


  13. Al Streatfield says:

    Apologies for the same message appearing twice. I got a “duplicate message detected” thingie…

  14. Testy says:

    I think what the compiler is trying to say is:

    If “Ltd is US” was correct then then the corollary would be that “Inc is E”.

    I don’t think he’s necessarily trying to make any literal sense in either statement.

    For example a similar clue could be:

    Shiners’ corollary of “White E no”?

    If “White E no” then the corollary might be “Black E yes”

  15. Al Streatfield says:

    I understand your point, Testy.

    The problem with both clues, it seems to me, is the lack of a decent surface reading. This might be justified (?) if there was some literal sense in them, but there isn’t…

  16. Testy says:

    Well I can’t speak for Araucaria but when Testy Ltd opened its office the men were putting up the sign for it in big black letters but when they checked they found they were missing the E so they immediately telegrammed the supplier, Shiners of London Inc, to request an E posthaste. The supplier replied that they stocked the letters in two colours, black and white, and requested clarification “White E: Yes/No?”. The reply went back to say “White E, no!” which the supplier inferred meant “Black E, yes!” and the correct letter was succussfully despatched and installed. In fact the sign can still be seen to this day outside the venerable institution of Testy Ltd…… in New York!

  17. Al Streatfield says:

    Are you sure your offices aren’t in Erewhon?

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