Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24382/Araucaria – running true to form

Posted by ilancaron on May 7th, 2008


Somehow I was on an Araucarian wavelength today which is unusual for me. But nonetheless I was very grateful in a couple of places for wordplay since the definition was beyond me, e.g. 20A. Edits from comments below…


1 ALL SOULS – this required a bit of research: I somehow associated ALL SOULS with “graduates” — turns out its an Oxford college in which all members are already fellows (i.e. graduates) and with some more research ALL SOULS Day is observed on November 2, i.e. 2/11. Tough clue.
5 S(TUP)ID – SID’s our boy. And a thematic word.
9 TIME-LIFE – ref. the US magazine publisher and rev(life,time).
10 B(ASS)ET – ASS as in stupid (5A).
12 RUN INTO FORM – working out the wordplay out as we speak: I see why RUN INTO FORM (class) indicates eagerness at school, but I don’t see why running into form indicates a collision with the bench. What am I missing? According to Eileen, bench is form as well.
15 HO(R)SE – ref. you can lead a HORSE to water, but…
17 CATA(T,[l])ONIA – ref. Catalonia in Spain.
18 COP,ART,NER[o] – Nero is our fiddler.
20 GERM,AN(BIG)HT – BIG in than*. Without the wordplay I would never have worked this out — it’s a part of the North Sea adjacent to Holland and Germany (and Denmark) which apparently has some weather forecast relationship to Fisher but I can’t work it out. Anyone?
25 T(HE B)ENCH – Nice misdirection: judges has nothing to do with the book of the Bible.
27 DROP DEAD – ref. DROP DEAD gorgeous and a way to turn down an offer from someone you don’t totally admire…


1 AFTERS,HOCK – very nice clue: ref. POST-TRAUMATIC.
2 LEMON D[e],ROPS – so “the world” is the LE MONDE (not in English and without an E). And I guess somehow “bits” of “EuROPe’S” is sufficient to indicate ROPS? Am I reading this wrong?
4 LEFT OF CENTRE – nice double (or triple?) definition.
7 POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS – I saw the answer from the enumeration and crossing letters and definition: but I didn’t have the patience to crack the wordplay: “Disorder for order, crackling with tension about most of 20’s dream”. See Andrew’s explanation below.
8 DATE – another simple but elegant double definition.
11 FOSTER FATHER – (that’s for free)*
14 FAR-FETCHED – (r, h, affected)* — is it FAR-FETCHED for H to be an abbreviation of “hand”? Eileen is quite right to say that RH is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation of “right hand” though…
16 EG,REGI(O)US – without checking, REGIUS must be “royal”. In, oh let me guess, Latin.
21 BE,B,OP – I think this is it but not sure how “not hard” contributes in: “Not hard work following live music”. HB indicates a type of pencil, so “not hard” leaves just a B. I would have expected some ref to pencils though to make this fair. Am I still missing something?
22 ISIS – two meanings (ref. The Thames near Oxford).
23 THO’,R – “even if” for THO’.

12 Responses to “Guardian 24382/Araucaria – running true to form”

  1. Eileen says:

    12ac: ‘form’ is another word for bench
    20ac: Fisher is the adjacent shipping area to German Bight
    21dn: in pencils, h is hard and b is soft

  2. Andrew says:

    Wordplay for 7dn is:
    “order” = PO (postal order)
    crackling = STATIC
    tension = STRESS (rather weak – same meaning as in the answer)
    “most of 20’s dream” = the dream of (most of 20) = German for dream = TRAUM

  3. Eileen says:

    14dn: by itself, h for hand would not do but rh is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation for right hand.

  4. Eileen says:

    Ilancaron: you sound sceptical about ‘form’! That’s what we always called them when I was at primary school in Leicestershire. I thought perhaps it might be regional but OED has ‘ a long seat without a back’.

    Re pencils: they range from 9H [very hard] to 9B [very soft] via HB [medium] the most commonly used one. B therefore stands alone as an abbreviation [for black] and in this context, does mean ‘not hard’. I haven’t seen this use in crosswords before but I thought it was fair enough.

  5. ilancaron says:

    eileen: re form/bench: my skepticism only indicates my ignorance. I haven’t looked it up. I’m sure you’re right!

    re pencils: I’m still confused how “not hard” alone indicates B via removal of H from HB for pencil. What hints at a pencil contextually in: “Not hard work following live music”? (work==OP, live=BE, music=BEBOP and ‘following” indicates concatenation in the cryptic grammar — we’re only left with “not hard” — why should I be thinking of pencils?)

  6. Andrew says:

    Ilancaron, I think you’re trying to read too much into it: it’s just B = soft (in relation to pencils) = not hard. No need to remove the H from HB: B on its own means soft.

  7. ilancaron says:

    Yes makes sense to me now: B is in Chambers as “black (on lead pencils to indicate softness)”. I should be more trusting…

  8. Michod says:

    So ‘soft’ can be P or B, but not S. Beautiful.
    I did wonder how accessible GERMAN BIGHT would be for non-seafarers or Radio 4 listeners. For your enlightenment, Ilan, there’s a shipping forecast on the radio at ten to six every evening, listing the different regions in order “Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight…” (see it at
    Does anyone else remember a Guardian crossword a few years ago with various of these names in it?

  9. Eileen says:

    Sheer poetry isn’t it? [I often hear it at 12.45 am!] Yes. I think I remember that one.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Definitely not on A’s wavelength today. Really struggled with this, crawled through it after about four attempts, and didn’t finish top left corner, because I had “Hit good form” for 12ac.

    27 ac Another stupid creature is a donkey, so a reference to Drop the Dead Donkey, too?

  11. radchenko says:

    As always agreeable but somehow more accessible than usual Araucaria, even though (tho) I had LASSIE instead of BASSET, ie LIE for speculation, so could not get 8dn.

    4dn is very good, although why is it “heart to heart” and not just “heart”? What am I missing?

    I got GERMAN BIGHT from Kes. There is a boy in Billy’s class called Fisher who is absent, so when the teacher calls his name at registration, Billy says “German Bight”, which he explains he got from the shipping forecast, just as Michod says.

    It’s worth reading Kes for the description of the football match alone.

  12. Michael says:

    Re 4dn: “as heart to heart” refers to the position of the organ relative to the middle (of the chest) — left of centre.

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