Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,331 (Sat 8 Mar)/Araucaria – Quight X-rated

Posted by rightback on March 15th, 2008


Solving time: 18:05

Lots of difficult words in this puzzle, though that’s understandable as alphabetical jigsaws must be tough to construct. I struggled on the right-hand side and was surprised to discover that all my guesses were correct, for once.

Addendum – Berny has just pointed out below that the clues are presented in rhyming couplets. I’m sorry to say I didn’t notice this, but it certainly enhances the puzzle considerably, as the rhymings and clues are not overly contrived despite this restriction.

Music: Grieg’s “Morning Mood” from his setting of Peer Gynt by 22dn.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 (Q) QUIGHT; (THUG IQ)* – the English poet Spenser used this to mean ‘quite’, in the sense of ‘just so’, and ‘quit’, meaning ‘to leave’, but not, according to Chambers, as the past tense of ‘quit’ meaning ‘left’, so I’m not sure this clue is correct.
5 (W) WONDER WOMAN; rev. of (RED + NOW) + W[ith] + OMAN – apparently Diana Prince was Wonder Woman’s alter ego – see here.
8 (C) CHAP + AT + I – I know it literally means ‘eastern’ or ‘from the east’, but is India really ‘oriental’?
9 (M) MINT + OFF – Dom Mintoff turns out to have been the former Prime Minister of Malta. The wordplay was pretty unambiguous or I would have had grave doubts about this answer.
11 (O) OLD AGE PENSIONERS; (GLADE)* in OPEN, + (SENIOR)* – I think ‘himself’, referring back to ‘senior’, is supposed to be the definition here.
12 (H) HIVE[s] – hives being a slang term for nettle-rash and laryngitis.
17 (S) SERVICEMEN; (EVEN CRIMES)* – a good place to start: a fairly obvious anagram, easy to solve, and immediately placeable in the grid (it couldn’t go at 13ac because then the answer to clue V would have to be 9 letters).
20 (R) REVOLVING CREDIT; (DIRECT)* – wordplay in the answer. Not a term I knew but it looked more likely than ‘revolting credit’.
23 (P) PARLOU[r] + S – probably the worst of the surface readings.
24 (A) AN + T(BE)AR – very easy if you know the word ‘edentate’, which seems to crop up regularly in Guardian crosswords.
26 (D) DEDANS; (SAD END)* – another guess for me. This is a French word meaning ‘an open gallery at the end a court in real tennis’.
2 (U) U + P + ANDOVER
3 (G) G + RANGE
4 (T) TAILPLANE; “TALE” + PLANE – ‘kite’ being obsolete slang for ‘aeroplane’.
6 (N) NUN + DI(N)AL – ‘relating to a fair or market’.
7 (E) E + LOIN – I knew this word from barred puzzles, but it’s very difficult for a blocked puzzle, even a prize one.
8 (C) CLOTHES PROP; (LO + THESP[ians]) + CROP – ‘See actors mostly’ for THESP[ians] is something only Araucaria would get away with.
10 (F) FIRST (= ‘premier’) + FOOTER (= ‘league game’) – this was the one I spent longest on at the end, but eventually decided I couldn’t come up with anything better. It turns out to be a Scottish word meaning the first person to set foot in a house in a new year.
15 (B) BROAD + BEAN – another one I couldn’t really explain, especially since I was doubtful of DEDANS at 26ac. I think it’s BROAD for ‘lake’ (which is questionable) and BEAN for ‘fellow’, as in ‘old bean’.
16 (Z) ZILLIONS; rev. of LIZ, + LIONS
19 (X) X-RATED; (TAXED + R)*
21 (V) VERGE (double definition)
22 (I) IBSEN; (BINES)* – the wordplay here is ‘woodbines’, with ‘wood’ in the Shakesperean sense of ‘mad’ or ‘furious’. Hmm.

6 Responses to “Guardian 24,331 (Sat 8 Mar)/Araucaria – Quight X-rated”

  1. Comfy Settee says:

    BROAD = lake is okay no? In the Norfolkian sense?

    WOODBINES, hmmm indeed. A fun puzzle overall, but clues like this don’t help…

  2. rightback says:

    As I understand it, a broad in this sense isn’t really a lake – it’s a widening or expansion of a river. But this is probably being unreasonably picky.

  3. Berny says:

    Delightful puzzle – his re-adoption of rhyming couplets for his jigsaws make these even more clever constructions – an occasional lapse in the wordplay is to be expected given this restriction – one rarely finds these lapses however. Well done Araucaria.

  4. Andrew says:

    I really enjoyed this one too: I’m usually quite picky about loose clueing, but the cleverness of the rhyming couplets compensated for the lapses. I found it easier than usual with jigsaws to start filling in the grid, probably because of the uneven distribution of word-lengths, but it took me ages to work out what was happening with the repeated initial letters, until I got WONDER WOMAN.

    Dom MINTOFF was easy for us slightly older solvers: he was a well-known political character in his day.

  5. rightback says:

    Thanks very much for pointing out the rhyming couplets, which I’m afraid went over my head. This is not my first offence of this kind, and it’s this sort of remissness that must make setters wonder whether it’s worth all the trouble. Yet ironically I spent the whole of yesterday evening writing a full set of thematic clues!

  6. Jill and Tamzin says:

    Great Araucaria! We loved this one, even the wood-bines! That was a little bit difficult to get, but it was one of those, after you solve it, that make you laugh a lot. We like the Indie and The Guardian, but this one is less strict.

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