Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,437/Araucaria – Pure Gold

Posted by Andrew on July 10th, 2008


After yesterday’s walk in the park with Logodaedalus I was braced for a tough challenge today, and it was a delight to get this celebration of Araucaria’s 50th anniversary (even though I didn’t even notice the rubric until after solving a few clues). Obviously getting 12ac/19dn is essential to solving the puzzle, and Araucaria kindly provides an easy clue for the thematic answer. But there were still plenty of other meaty clues to enjoy, though there were a couple where I couldn’t see the wordplay – suggestions welcome.

Happy “birthday” Araucaria, and many happy returns.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1 DOCTOR ZHIVAGO DOCTOR (=treat) Z (last) HIV AGO The book was first published in Russia in 1957, but in the West in 1958, so it’s a 50-year-old “(here)”.
10 ARAUCARIA A R ??? A R for ‘A right’, presumably, but otherwise I don’t get it. Thanks to Eileen for explanation – see comments
11 CHAFE CHA FE Tee (say) = tea = CHA, plus the familiar chemical symbol for iron, ‘Use a rubber’ = rub = chafe.
12,19 FIFTY-YEAR-OLD (OF TIE A DRY FLY)* Araucaria (as a Guardian setter) is one, and there are several others in the puzzle.
14 EQUITES (r)EQUITES Equites (hidden away under ‘Equestrian’ in Chambers) were originally Roman cavalry, but later a political grouping.
20 SINE DIE SIN E DIE A Latin legal expression, literally ‘without a day’, used when an event is postponed with no alternative date being set.
21 REFLEX ARC REF LEX A RC The Romans are hard at work in this puzzle. REF = Judge, LEX = Latin for law, A RC = A Roman (Catholic)
23 GRANT dd Not Homer’s hero, nor Joyce’s novel, but Ulysses S Grant, Amercian Civil War General (where the S stands for nothing at all, as with Harry S Truman)
24 AYNHO ANY* + HO A town familiar to me on road signs on the way to Oxford. It’s actually in Northants and near the border with Oxfordshire (again, according to Wikipedia), so the definition seems slightly off, unless perhaps the boundaries have changed since 1958,.
25 ONE IN FOUR ??? 25% must be the definition, but otherwise I have no idea how this works.
26 BIRTHDAY PARTY crytpic def Harold Pinter’s play, appropriate to the occasion.
2 OPAL FRUIT OP + AL FR(esco) + U + IT ‘Made to make your mouth water’, but now outrageously renamed ‘Starburst’.
4 REREDOS RE RED OS RED = left(-wing)
5 HEADSET HEAD SET A simple charade that was nevertheless the last one I got.
6,20 VICTORIAN SOCIETY (OCEAN IT IS)* in VICTORY A society funded in 1958 by John Betjeman and Nikolaus Pevsner, among others.
8 HALF-CENTURIAN HALF CENT + (A RUN I)* An appropriate made-up word, as the clue suggests.A dime is ten cents, so a 20th of a dime is half a cent.
9 WEST SIDE STORY WESTS IDES TORY Reference to Timothy and Samuel West (not to mention wife/mother Prunella Scales). IDES, as in Julius Caesar’s fateful day is a good old crossword standby.
15 TALKED OUT (DUKE TOTAL)* Filibustering is a parliamentary ruse of preventing a bill being passed by discussing it until time runs out.
17 ODD MAN OUT ODD (=not even) + (Isle of) MAN + OUT
22 FUNGI “Fun guy” A familiar pun.

27 Responses to “Guardian 24,437/Araucaria – Pure Gold”

  1. Eileen says:

    Yes indeed – Many Happy Returns, Araucaria!!

    I’ve just seen 10ac, which had me stumped, too, along with 25ac.

    A R AUC [old way of dating: the Romans calculated dates Ab Urbe Condita, ‘from the founding of the city’ in 753BC; ARIA, ‘a number’

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for that Eileen – I did know about AUC but it had temporarily gone missing from my brain. And I should really have seen ARIA, but I got side-tracked trying to think of something for number = “thing that numbs” (as in ether, etc).

  3. Matt Livermore says:

    An absolutely wonderful puzzle today – a delight to solve, but I too have no clue how the wordplay for 25ac works. The only thing I could think of was Onegin (with the g taken out giving ONE IN) for Russian hero but can\’t think how the rest works.

  4. Cruciverbophile says:

    I don’t understand 25 across either but am working on the assumption that “one in four” leads to a construction like IONEV, which could possibly be the name of a Russian ecclesiastical hero. Perhaps historians visiting here may know more? Google is no help.

  5. Duggie says:

    For those with no access to the Guardian, can someone spell out 25A please?

  6. Andrew says:

    Duggie, the clue is:

    25% here signifying Russian hero depicted in church (3,2,4)

    Good ideas from both Matt and Cruciverbophile – the I……V route looks a promising source of Russian heroes.

  7. Eileen says:

    I know I’m a sad case but like-minded souls will sympathise: I shall enjoy my holiday that much more if someone can explain this one before I go away tomorrow morning – please!!

  8. Duggie says:

    Ta Andrew. Any crossing lights to help please? And what does Cruciverbophile’s “one on four” refer to? Is it his interpretation of 25%?

  9. Duggie says:

    Sorry, meant “one in four”

  10. Paul says:

    In the answer to 10ac, ‘one’ and ‘four’ refer to other answers in the puzzle. 1 being a Russian hero and 4 a decorative screen in church.

  11. Andrew says:

    The crossing letters give O_E _N _O_R, from which I guessed ONE IN FOUR (=25%)

  12. Duggie says:

    After all that, Paul’s got it. Eileen can enjoy her holiday!

  13. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Paul – 25ac had to be ONE IN FOUR (25%) but precisely why eluded most of us.

    Great puzzle from one of the greats. Lots of splendid clues – 1ac is my favourite, but all the linked ones are clever. 1958 was the date of the first production of Pinter’s ‘Birthday Party’, which gives a lot of linked layers in the clue to 26ac.

  14. Pat says:

    Paul has hit the nail on the head.

    25% is one in four. And in this case, the clues one (1ac) in four (4d) signify Doctor Zhivago, a Russian hero, depicted in reredos, a decorative screen in church.


  15. Andrew says:

    Phew! Thanks, Paul.

  16. Eileen says:

    Wow! I’d just got round to thinking that the ‘here’ in the clue perhaps meant we should be putting ‘a’ or ‘i’ into reredos but hadn’t got as far as linking it to 1 ac.

    Many thanks, Paul!

  17. Rich says:

    Well done Paul!

  18. Mick h says:

    Great stuff. But is Araucaria really 50 if his first puzzle was anonymous? When did the Guardian start using psuedonyms?

  19. bridgesong says:

    24 ac: the wordplay is “not quite” = no(t), and it is in Northants, but very close to the Oxfordshire border, so the definition is fair, if a little wordy.

    Also 26 ac, the play The Birthday Party had its world premiere in 1958. I thought Opal Fruits might also date from the same year, but it seems that they are a couple of years younger.

  20. muck says:

    24ac AYNHO and 25ac ONE IN FOUR were the answers puzzling me. So I am pleased that they stimulated so much discussion. Happy 26ac 8dn 10ac.

  21. Richard says:

    Enormously satisfying – especially to read Paul’s explanation of 25 ac! A monkey puzzle indeed – many thanks, Araucaria.

  22. Andrew says:

    Bridgesong – thanks for pointing out that The Birthday Party had its premiere in 1958: I had noticed that but forgot to mention it in the blog. Likewise West Side Story (9dn) had its UK premiere in 1958 (1957 on Broadway, hence another “here” in the clue).

  23. dave brown says:

    Re 25ac ONE IN FOUR. Where is Dr Zhivago depicted on a reredos? And why would he be?

  24. petebiddlecombe says:

    Answering Mick H: the pseudonyms started in December 1970. If you find the wikipedia about Araucaria it states this and links to a Guardian article confirming it. (I tried to post this a few days ago but suffered some kind of glitch.)

  25. beermagnet says:

    Pete, Re: Your glitch. Did you try to put a link in the comment?
    I’ve found that comments I try to post with links all vanish so I have given up trying. I suspect the system is now consigning any comments with links to the spam bucket.

  26. Shed says:

    Dave Brown: Dr Zhivago isn’t depicted on a reredos anywhere, but the point is that if he were he would be a Russian hero depicted in church. Though I admit I couldn’t see how this worked until reading Paul’s comment. A classic bit of Araucarian deviousness.

  27. petebiddlecombe says:

    Beermagnet: You’ve hit the nail on the head.

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