Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,442 / Araucaria – Proboscis Puzzler

Posted by manehi on July 16th, 2008


Phew! Struggled through this very slowly, including a good five minute stare at 1dn before giving up on it until almost the end. Really enjoyed this.

9 LAURIE LEE LAUREL around I, EE cummings – Laurie Lee wrote…
10, 27 CIDER WITH ROSIE (hisweirderotic)*
11,22,24 BARRACK ROOM BALLADS BARACK Obama, holding R(ight), and ROADS around OM = Order of Merit and BALL = dance. The Barrack Room Ballads were a collection of Kipling’s poetry.
12 PROVERB PUB dropping the U and taking in ROVER
13 EXIT I have this down as a double def, but there may be more to this.
16 TIN TRAY ? Last one I put in – TINT RAY looks like the wordplay, but I don’t understand the definition – clue is: “Coloured light for final cargo item”
19 GRANDE DAME “GRADED A” = ranked first, by ME, taking in N(ame)
25 SPARTAN PART in SAN(E) (insane, but not quite). Loved this.
26 EQUAL QUA is Latin, and means “as”, more or less, in EL, which can apparently mean an elevated railroad.
1 FLIBBERTIGIBBET F(inds), homophone of “liberty”, and GIBBET is, thankfully, pretty much the only synonym of “gallows” I can think of.
3 VICAR V(ehicle), I CAR – vicars have taken holy orders
4 BLAKENEY BLAKE is a painter and poet, NEY was a commander under Napoleon, and Sir Percy Blakeney was the Scarlet Pimpernel, who rescued French aristocrats from execution under the Terror. I suspect this is also a clever &lit, but can’t remember if Blakeney was also a poet/painter/soldier.
5 DELPHI Site of the temple to Apollo, and also ADELPHI, Greek for brothers, topped/beheaded.
6 ACCORDING (ccargo)* around DIN. Not too sure about “according”=”agreeable” – “agreeing” would be closer in meaning.
8 PROBOSCIS MONKEY (boycomposerskin)*
15 GRADUALLY GRAY is the poet, DUAL must be some kind of control, and L for learner.
17 BOMB SITE BOMB=fail, SITE sounds like SIGHT
20 ALL BUT ABUT about L,L = 50-50 in Roman numerals. I suppose 49-49 is “all but” 50-50?
21 DISOWN “This way”, referring to the clue’s direction means DOWN, around IS.
23 MARRY An old fashioned way of saying “indeed”, I assume.

15 Responses to “Guardian 24,442 / Araucaria – Proboscis Puzzler”

  1. Octofem says:

    Marry, it is.
    The tin tray in 16a refers to ‘Cargoes’, the poem by Masefield which I had to learn at school. It lists the various kinds of cargo and for ‘Dirty British Coaster’ it ends up ,as I remember:- Firewood, ironware, and cheap tin trays. Funnily enough 1d came to me immediately because of the gallows part of the clue. 17a took me longer because I had spelt proboscis with a ‘u’ instead of an ‘i’!

  2. Andrew says:

    15dn – Driving instructors use dual-controls so they can work the brake and clutch in case the pupil forgets..

    4dn – Sir Percy BLAKENEY is the Scarlet Pimpernel, who (fictionally) rescued les aristos during the “terror” of the French Revolution

  3. Andrew says:

    …also I agree with you that 13ac is just a double def – death=exit, and there are exit polls during elections.

  4. Andrew says:

    Sorry, I misread (or rather failed to read fully) your comment for 4dn. NEY is both a painter (Alexander) and a soldier (Michel, French Marshal), so it’s

    Poet = BLAKE
    and (painter and soldier) = NEY
    (rescuer from terror) = BLAKENEY

    (It was Wikipedia to the rescue for the 2 NEYs, I should say.)

  5. JimboNWUK says:

    23dn – I’d assumed that “to tie the knot” was an old-fashioned term for “marry”

    15dn – very clever ‘dual’ usage of clueing… as stated above, dual controls are used by learner drivers.

  6. Speckled Jim says:

    Another frustrating Araucaria puzzle, full of references to (obscure) poets, latin, greek and writers. Not fun for those with degrees in science!

  7. teesween says:

    But good fun for me with no degrees at all!

  8. dave says:

    23d. Marry = by Mary, a very mild oath (indeed!) I thought.
    16a. was my last, but I woke very early and had this finished inside 10 minutes before 6.30 this morning.
    Clearly solving with a residual degree of alcohol is beneficial to me.
    This benefit failed to last through the days other commitments, alas.

  9. Speckled Jim says:

    Teesween and Dave, I’m so pleased for you. I must devote my time to learning the works of Laurie Lee (who I’ve never heard of, for better or worse), Kipling, Blake, Ney (ditto previous bracket), Masefield (and again), as well as learning ancient Greek and Latin in case words like ‘brothers’ and ‘as (more or less)’ come up. Dare I ask what a younger generation of crossword solvers is supposed to do?

  10. Qaos says:

    Speckled Jim: As a science person too, I totally sympathise. I thought this xword was very tough – more so without reference books. The younger generation will have to get hold of yesterday’s xword by Rover to compensate :-).

  11. dave says:

    I guess every younger generation of solvers has the same problem – I’m a scientist, never studied any classics / literature, but picked up knowledge of Greek / Latin through doing cryptic crosswords. You have to start somewhere…. and it doesn’t happen overnight.

  12. Chris and Jean says:

    We had no problem with anything but 17ac, which no-one mentions. Bali is not a Pacific resort, and we had much trouble trying Bondi. Also “eng” is a strange way of describing “some UK folk”.

    This clue is what we call “not very Araucaria”, on whose logic and precision one can normally rely.

  13. manehi says:

    As a youngish and sciency solver myself, I often struggle with references, but I don’t think this puzzle was too bad – while the references may have been relatively obscure, I don’t think not knowing Greek/Latin would have stopped me from putting in DELPHI or EQUAL (QUA, incidentally, seems to be a favourite word among economics scholars), and I managed TIN TRAY without knowing the Masefield poem. While it may be frustrating and detract from the enjoyment of individual clues, part of the reason I do crosswords is that I do, as Dave says, pick up little bits of knowledge here and there. I shudder to think of how much botanical etc. study I would have had to have done to have systematically learned every plant/bird/fish/river and so on that come up in these puzzles…

    Chris and Jean: while geography is one of my bugbears, I do believe that Bali lies in the South of the Pacific. I agree that ENG is slightly odd as an abbreviation for the English people, if you accept that UK roughly equals English, I suppose “some” could be read in the crossword meaning of “some of the letters of X”.. which still isn’t very satisfactory, I know. I did find it difficult to decide which clues to leave out in this blog, as almost all seemed to need some explanation.

  14. Speckled Jim says:

    Yes, fair enough. I shouldn’t moan. My main beef was with the Laurie Lee / Cider With Rosie combination that I had to cheat on to get started. I guess I just prefer (have a better chance with) puzzles that don’t stray into general knowledge like that.

    (ps – Qaos – you mean the Rover puzzle labelled “not exciting”, “boring” and “at the easier end of the scale” by the resident intelligentsia?!)

  15. Mr Beaver says:

    As another with a sciency background, I didn’t find the references here too obscure (though adelphi=brothers was certainly beyond me).
    I quite like the way Auraucaria (and others) sends us scuttling to the reference books or Wikipedia to verify some arcane titbit; one or two stick to pile of random knowledge that is my mind !

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