Fifteensquared

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Guardian 24351/Araucaria – April Fools!

Posted by linxit on April 1st, 2008

linxit.

I wondered if there might be a thematic puzzle today, and when I saw it was by Araucaria I pretty much knew I was right. The preamble stated that any E’s in the answers should be replaced by one of the characters in APRIL FOOLS DAY to make a valid word or phrase, but the joke is that there aren’t any E’s in any of the answers (see 21D, 12A)! I wonder if the 2nd column of unches is a representation of Araucaria laughing his head off at us: AUAOAHAA.

Across
5 JUMBLY – One of Edward Lear’s creatures who went to sea in a sieve.
9 C,ANON,IC
11 NATIONAL BUS PASS (an aunt OAPs bliss)* – a scheme which goes live today, enabling pensioners and the disabled to get free bus travel anywhere in England, not just their local area.
13 VI,C,TO,RIANA = “an air” rev.
18 (h)ITCH
20 CHAINS OF COMMAND – fair enough for “Order transmissions”, but mayors wear chains of office.
23 SARDANA – SARDINIA with INI replaced by AN. A Catalan dance in a ring formation.
25 ALALIA – hidden in “traditionAL ALIAs”
26 SWANNY – sounds like Swanee, the river mentioned in the song by Stephen Foster, Old Folks at Home.

Down
2 STRATFORD – TARTS rev, above FOR,D. Strange clue – I suppose the underline is supposed to represent the AMN of DAMN in the surface reading. The poet is Shakespeare, of course.
4 AC,T(UA)RIAL – the UA coming from the middle of square.
5 JA,COB – the only breed of sheep to be found in Crosswordland!
10 C(A,STASH,AD)OW
14 TURNCOATS – how one might cryptically indicate “Ascot”. I looked for an anagram of “renegades” briefly, while I still thought there might be E’s lurking somewhere.
15 A,ST(RA)KHAN – A + RA in thanks*. The A at the front must mean “first”, which is justified in Chambers by the definition “something or someone of first class or order…” I think Araucaria’s used it before, but I can’t remember anyone else having done so.
16 CORN,WALL – I can’t see any likely correlation between the meanings of snout and wall, but wall is listed under snout in Bradford’s. [ Snout plays the Wall in the mechanicals' play in MND - thanks John. ]
19 UM,BRIA(n) – these last two ref 11A, national being defined as from Cornwall to Northumbria (well, North Umbria actually, but that’s close enough for Araucaria!)
21,12 A,P(RIL F)OOL – FLIRT rev minus T (model), “in A POOL”, i.e. among bathers.
22 OBAMA – O + A MAB rev. Queen Mab is a fairy described by Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet.

10 Responses to “Guardian 24351/Araucaria – April Fools!”

  1. John Ridge says:

    15 surely the A at the front is indicated by “After first”

    16 Snout plays the Wall in the mechanicals’ play (Midsummer Night’s Dream)

  2. linxit says:

    15: Yes, but what I meant (and didn’t explain very well) was that the rest of the answer comes after “first”, as “after first” can’t indicate A as the first letter of after AND instruct you to put the letter at the front.

    16: Thanks, I didn’t know that.

  3. Berny says:

    Another delightful puzzle for April 1st. Well done once again, Araucaria.

  4. conradcork says:

    5 down. Jacob’s is not the only sheep you get in crosswords. Merino turns up from time to time, as does Leicester.

  5. Shirley says:

    Linxit – Surely there were some “E’s” in the original answers to 5 and 26A?

  6. linxit says:

    Shirley – that’s not how I saw them.

    5 is JUMBLY – “anagrammatical one” being a slightly whimsical description of the Edward Lear creation.

    26 is SWANNY, i.e. bird-like, sounding like Swanee (river). I checked – SWANNY really is listed in Chambers under swan, meaning swan-like.

  7. AlanR says:

    Simply brilliant. I loved National bus pass!

  8. radchenko says:

    I made it only 5ac that you had to change the E to something else.

    Was that the 21 12? It would have been better if you hadn’t ever had to do it and the instruction had still been there. Hence…

    Still very clever, coming hard on yesterday’s. I guess George Perec would have been impressed.

  9. Stuart says:

    Nobody has explained why Araucaria left out O,L, and A from “A,P,R,I,L,F,O,S,D,or Y” in the heading of this splendid Crossword. Can anyone ?

  10. Owen Jones says:

    Stuart: he is listing all the letters in “april fool’s day”, so he doesn’t need to mention any of the letters more than once. O, L and A are just the letters that appear twice.

    5ac: When I did this I thought that the answer was “jumble” and the e had to be changed. Now I think about it I see that JUMBLY is the answer, the two definitions being “anagrammatical” and “one that had a navigational riddle.”

    Overall a good crosswod. I loved the Lear reference. I got ALALIA because I recalled something called echolalia. I got SARDANA from the wordplay. I didn’t get SWANNY because I didn’t know the river or the song.

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