Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian – 24303(Araucaria) By George!

Posted by neildubya on February 5th, 2008


My first blog and — as luck would have it — it’s the monkey-puzzle man himself. At first, I was regretting that third tequila last night but once the triple espresso kicked in, things started falling rapidly into place. Once you have the plays of George Bernard Shaw theme, the puzzle was fairly straightforward, though it included the usual Araucaria gems and literary references.

1ac SELF-ABASEMENT (FLEAS)* + basement. Uriah Heep was known for grovelling.
10ac INAUGURAL “opening” is the definition in+aug (month) + russian (river: see 11 across). Clever!
11a RIVER (flower is often a river in crosswords plus one who rives). So-so clue.
12ac, 23 SWEETHEART (S + wee + the + art)
13ac ANDROCLES (number in and roles and part of 21 (lion). The first of the GBS plays. Classic Araucaria.
16ac STEPHEN (step + hen)
18ac HARDTOP (saloon as in car, hard as in the hard stuff, top as in summit)
20ac CULPRIT (PRI in CULT meaning one who’s to blame)
21ac PYGMALION (MO+playing)* the GBS play
23ac HOUSE Doctor in the house. (Heartbreak House, another GBS play)
24ac omitted (too easy)
25ac PRIMAVERA (P+Rim+Ave+RA, Boticelli painting)
26ac BLYTH SPARTANS (blast shan’t pry)*. Memo to self: Bone up on Conference North football teams.

2dn ENAMELLER (I put a gloss on is the definition. ELLER (piece of jewellery) outside NAME (identification)
3dn FIGHT (Fig — a picture + ht — height)
4dn BARBARA (could have been where lawyers with a or where to drink with a but Araucaria makes it both and adds the question mark. Nice! Major Barbara, another GBS play
5dn SOLIDUS (sous outside lid) is an old coin. Memo to self: bone up on old Roman coins.
6dn MARMOREAL Put MORE inside M (mountain) and ARAL (sea) and you get marmoreal: “resembling marble” or stony. A bit obscure, IMHO.
7dn NOVEL Put V (opposing) in NOEL (Christmas). A bit too easy.
8dn MISSED THE POST CD with double meaning
9dn ARMS AND THE MAN (members + d inside anthem + an). Another GBS play
15dn MUTUALIST (nautilus without n or s)* inside MT (mean time, as in GMT).”Mutualists believe that a natural economic consequence of a truly free labor market is income to individuals being received proportionally to the amount of labor they exert” (Wikipedia). Hence their opposition to “conversion to bank”, i.e. money. That was a tough one!
17dn HERCULEAN He + (nuclear)* gives a type of task that requires very hard work
19dn PRIAPUS put PAIR inside SUP upwards and you get the Greek fertility god
20dn CANDIDA Can + Did + a. Another GBS play
22dn Omitted. Too easy. Think holy.
23dn HEART Hear + t. Also too easy.

11 Responses to “Guardian – 24303(Araucaria) By George!”

  1. Jamie Carpenter says:

    The definition of 15dn isn’t quite so obscure. The process of building societies becoming banks is demutualisation. Hence, somebody opposed to that process would be a mutualist. OK, fairly obscure…

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    Congratulations on your first blog.

    I thought the only one I did not get was 6 down; but now I am still working on Response 2!

  3. Stan says:

    Great work – I probably should try Tequila and Espresso next time because I only got half of this puzzle stone-cold sober.

    Didn’t help that I was determined to make some version of barista/barrister fit for 4d

  4. beermagnet says:

    For 23A I thought of Dr House as seen recently on TV being excellently portrayed by Hugh Laurie, rather than Dr “in the” House as played by Dirk Bogarde many eons ago. I suppose either suffices.
    Nice blog, but you skipped 14A which was another reference to a GBS play “Doctor’s Dilemma”.
    Too hard for me though – didn’t get 6D or 26A (not helped by writing in Candide rather than Candida for 20D)

  5. owenjonesuk says:

    Good first blog, though you should put it in the Guardian category. My comrades and I got them all apart from 6d, though we were completely oblivious to the GBS references and hence spent a long time bickering about when some of the definitions worked.

  6. Geoff says:

    Good blog, good crossword – nice to have a thematic where the theme (GBS) is implied and not explicitly amongst the solutions.

    MARMOREAL was certainly one of the trickier words, but BLYTH SPARTANS hit me immediately and was my first entry!

    5dn: SOLIDUS gives the abbreviation “S” as in LSD (British pre-decimal money, the others being LIBRA and DENARIUS). Hence the sign used to separate shillings and pence, as in 10/6 for ten shillings and sixpence, now more usually called a “(forward) slash” was originally termed a ‘solidus’.

  7. adamzapple says:

    Thanks all for your support and insightful input. I apologize for skipping “dilemma” which, of course, as beermagnet states, is from GBS’s Doctor’s Dilemma. Yes, Doctor House is probably the reference rather than Doctor in the House. I guess I’m showing my age! Will make sure to put future blogs in the Guardian category. Thanks again to all who responded.


  8. GaryHowe says:

    Marmoreal has to be the most ridiculous clue and answer so far this year.

    I expect better than this sort of desperation from Araucaria

  9. Shed says:

    I thought ‘marmoreal’ was rather smart. Very testing puzzle, I thought, but a bit heavy on general knowledge – I’m very impressed that owenjonesuk managed to complete it without spotting the GBS theme. I’d thought it would be impossible if you didn’t at least know his titles.

  10. David R says:

    Excellent blog
    Another gem by the master himself!
    Disappointed he couldn’t work in St Joan and Man and Superman though1

  11. tees says:

    As others have said, great first blog for adamzapple.

    Trying to cook and eat pancakes makes crossword solving a lot harder than t’would otherwise be IMHO, and this Araucaria was no trifling matter for a Tuesday.

    After resorting to Kriek beer (and after prefixing that brand name appropriately to indicate the kind of trouble we were in with the solving), we were able to complete the pancakes.

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