Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,343 (Sat 22 Mar)/Araucaria – Lies, Damned Lies and Counterchecks Quarrelsome

Posted by rightback on March 30th, 2008


Solving time: About 40 minutes (interrupted); two wrong (30ac and 44dn), one missing (42dn)

If you’ve read or seen As You Like It (specifically Act V, Scene IV), you probably found this easier than I did. After finishing the grid, ODQ came to my rescue: the theme was ‘the degrees of a lie’, which are the retort courteous, the quip modest, the reply churlish, the reproof valiant, the countercheck quarrelsome, the lie circumstantial and the lie direct.

I have no idea what the answer to 42dn is, nor can I explain 20ac or 44dn. I also can’t satisfactorily explain the ‘partial’ clueing of some of the thematic words; was there some method to the letters omitted in the wordplay (e.g. T in 37dn, HUR in 45ac)? [All now explained in the comments.]

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 HACKING + COUGH (= ‘Inform’) – not a phrase I knew, but it’s in the Compact OED.
12 CRITIQUE; CUE (= ‘invitation to speak’) around RIT[artando] + I.Q. – my last solve (42dn apart), once I’d finally sorted 8dn, and a very hard wordplay which I took a while to see.
13 ATRO[city] + PINE (= ‘deal’)
18 RETORT (double definition) – I didn’t know that this could mean a flask used in distillation.
20 SHAVINGS – why is this ‘intoxicated investors’? It could be VIN in SHAGS, but I can’t find any support for ‘investor’ = SHAG. [See comments.]
25 POLYCHROME; “POLLY” + CHROME [Actually “POLLY” + “CROME” – see comments.]
27 CABIN BOY; (BABY IN CO)* – excellent clue.
29 GRANULAR; (RA + RA + LUNG)* – awkward indirect anagram; I spotted this answer from the definition (‘Particulate’).
30 DREAD LOCKS – not ‘breaklocks’, obviously, but I stupidly wrote this in and forgot to come back to it. I’ve really got to stop doing that.
33 INSTITUTIONS; INST + TUITIONS (with T and U swapped) [Actually the ‘I’ moves – see comments.]
34 AM(MON + IF)Y – hartshorn is a solution of ammonia.
36 BEAMER (double definition) – a beamer is a ball bowled at head height in cricket, so ‘Highball’ is a bit naughty, despite the question mark, as it’s the first word in the clue. Why not ‘Big smile produced by highball?’ instead?
41 S + PUD
43 H(A + LB)ERD
45 CHURLISH; LIS in CH, with ‘HUR’ unclued [No – see comments.]
47 UN + CHAP + ER + ONE + D
1 BATTLESHIP; (THIS TABLE)* + P – ‘provide initiation’ is typical of why Araucaria isn’t my favourite compiler.
2 EKE + OUT – I only vaguely knew the archaic ‘eke’ = ‘in addition’.
3 UNBIDDEN; U (= ‘turn’) + N.B. (= ‘note’) + I.D. (= ‘who you are’) + DEN (= ‘retreat’)
4 SCREEN (double definition)
6 W(HIP + PER[il])IN – ‘an assistant to a huntsman, who controls the hounds’, apparently.
8 DIFFERENTIAL, with IF for E in DEFERENTIAL – though the wordplay really asks for the opposite (i.e. E for IF). I struggled to justify ‘preferential’ for a good while.
10 [e]QUIP
17 TO + Pb (= ‘lead’) + A NANA (the dog in ‘Peter Pan’) – really good clue, probably the best of the puzzle.
18 REPL[a]Y – though sadly these days ‘penlty shootout’ would be a better fit for the wordplay.
21 VALI[um] + ANT
22 S(ARC + ASTI)C – another good clue. SC stands for Special Constable.
24 RUB + ICON – as in ‘crossing the Rubicon’, with a hackneyed pun on ‘flower’.
26 COUNTER + CHECK – a pun on ‘check’ =’square’, I think.
28 IRIS + MU(R + DO)CH – ‘do’ is short for ‘ditto’, as if that wasn’t short enough!
29 GEN(I)E – I had no idea what a thaumaturge was, but the wordplay was fairly obvious.
32 COURTEOUS; (TRUE)* in COO, + U.S.
37 MODES (= ‘ways’) + T (unclued) [No – see comments.]
39 SOCIAL [Democrats]
40 TALL + OW
42 P?A? – the clue here is ‘The thing before the game’. PLAN or PLAY look most likely, but I can’t justify either (and this isn’t a thematic ‘partial’ clue). [It’s PLAY – see comments.]
44 LIES – I actually thought this was ‘lees’, which can mean the dregs (i.e. the ‘rest’), and thought Lee Fitzgerald sounded plausible, but no. Obviously ‘rests’ = LIES but why ‘Fitzgerald’s rest’? [See comments.]

7 Responses to “Guardian 24,343 (Sat 22 Mar)/Araucaria – Lies, Damned Lies and Counterchecks Quarrelsome”

  1. Eileen says:

    20A SHAVINGS=’savings’ for the intoxicated!
    37D MODE+ST for two kinds of way?
    42D I could only think of ‘The play’s the thing’ [Hamlet]

  2. Andrew says:

    I had the same problems as you with some of these. The online solution says:

    20A: SHAVINGS – savings pronounced when intoxicated
    45A: CHUR(c)H
    (so maybe that’s one bit of “partial” clueing?)
    42D: PLAY “The play’s the thing”, Hamlet, II, 2 + what umpire says to start the bowling”

    44D: LIES “One thing is certain and the rest is Lies”, Omar Khayyam
    (OK was translated by Fitzgerald)

    All pretty obscure and/or Auraucarian!

  3. rightback says:

    I’ll buy all those, including MODE + ST = ‘ways’ (which works) and CHURLISH = CHUR(C => LIS)H = ‘about leaving flower in church’ (which doesn’t, really) – all the other thematic clues had complete wordplay and possible missing definitions, so this all makes far more sense now. “Shavings” I should have seen, but the quotations were both new to me. Many thanks to both commenters.

  4. beermagnet says:

    I thought this was all wonderful , but it was a bit annoying the the preamble missed out 14/21 as one of the 7 removes of lie (both in the paper and online) – I see that these are asterisked as thematic in the online annotated solution.

    33A Just to be picky – to get from TUITIONS to ITUTIONS it’s the first “I” that moves to the front. I think the Rev’s “slightly twisted” covers it well.

    38A I still don’t understand how the partial clue “Detailed (14)” leads to CIRCUMSTANTIAL. I see the annotated solution says [as with ‘evidence’] but surely “detailed evidence” is not the same as “circumstantial evidence”.

  5. Paul Pridmore says:

    A well-worn, tedious quotation. Of course we all remember its use in Listener 890 “Touchstone” by Afrit, 17/04/1947. I wonder how often it has been used since, and what its appeal is?

  6. muck says:

    25ac POLYCHROME: I believe this should be pol(-l)y+c(+h)rome.

    (Crome was an English Romantic painter, sounds like chrome)

  7. rightback says:

    I believe you’re right – I don’t think I read this clue properly. 33ac also corrected – thanks to Beermagnet, and for highlighting the absence of “14 21″ from the preamble which I forgot to mention.

    I think Araucaria has derived ‘detailed’ = CIRCUMSTANTIAL from ‘details’ = ‘circumstances'; Chambers does give ‘relating to details’ under ‘circumstantial’.

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