Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,455/Araucaria – Toil and Trouble

Posted by manehi on July 31st, 2008


Raced through a few easier clues, and then struggled a bit with this. Eventually got the four longer references to 22 (RHYME) around the edges of the grid, which helped a little. Had to check a few things after – 1, 24 and 26 ac and 7dn were all new words to me. Didn’t get 12ac.

1 HUBBLE BUBBLE HUBBUB = ROW. BLE = alien (French) word for corn, and goes in the middle of HUBBUB and once more after it. HUBBLE BUBBLE is another name for the hookah.
8 UNMANLY (my N Alun)*
11 GIRONDE (eroding)*. Hmm. As far as I know, Gironde is a department of France, and not a river. Edit: Wiki says that it’s the name of an estuary – but still not a river. In any case, I don’t get the “of moderate import” bit. See comment by Stan?
12 ? “Driver’s warning keeps away problem with cattle (7)” Thanks, Stan: HOOT around FRO (away) gives HOOFROT.
13 REMUS brother of Romulus – Uncle Remus was a character of Joel Chandler Harris’.
14 SNAIL MAIL “Householder” is a nice way of clueing SNAIL, and MAIL as in chainmail.
15 UNSTRINGS UN strings = “international attachments”, but not sure about UNSTRINGS = “weakens”.
21 GRANDER R[ight] in GANDER.
23 HOT SPOT S[auce] in HOTPOT
24 REPLEVY REP = theatre, LEVY = tax. REPLEVY is something to do with regaining possession of property..
25 SHIFNAL (in flash)*
26 FIDDLE FADDLE FIDDLE = cheat, F[oreign] ADDLE = bad? FIDDLE FADDLE means nonsense, or a type of popcorn, according to some Googling.
1 HUMDRUM humour – our (the Guardian’s), D[emon], RUM
4 BIRCH Can be silver, and birch rods were used for corporal punishment.
5 BARN OWL BAWL around R[oyal] N[avy], O=nothing
6 LIBERIA Denoting liberty, as the country was founded by free African-Americans. Edit thanks to James: L[ake], and then Iberia is the peninsula
7 HUGGER MUGGER Bear=HUGGER, as in bear hugs or teddies, I suppose, and MUGGER is a type of crocodile. Together they make a term meaning secret.
10 TITTLE TATTLE T[ime] in TITLE, T[able], ATTLE[e]
15 AESTHESIA ESTHE[r] in ASIA (incontinent).
17 SHAR PEI Chinese breed of dog. SHARP, E[aster] I[sland]. Clue, at least online, gives “…peak of Easter Island” – maybe should have been “peaks”?
19 CATBIRD Type of bird – suspect the def is “prey”, and the “(predator and) prey” is more wordplay suggesting CAT BIRD. Rest of clue leads to (bit)* inside CARD = pack member.
20 EXPENSE The EXE is our “flower”, around PENS=writers.
22 RHYME Sounds like “rime”

17 Responses to “Guardian 24,455/Araucaria – Toil and Trouble”

  1. James says:

    LIBERIA is ‘nominally’ free, as in it’s named after liberty. L=lake, IBERIA is a peninsula.

  2. manehi says:

    James: I was aware of the “nominally” part, but I guess I could have phrased it better. Will add the other part in.

  3. Stan says:

    Girondists opposed the worst excesses of the revolution in France – something to do with that ?

    12 HOO(FRO)T

  4. ejh says:

    6d: isn’t it L(ake) Iberia(n peninsula)?

  5. ejh says:

    Sorry – comment 1 must have appeared whilst I was (slowly) typing.

  6. mark says:

    I’d also love to know why 11A needed “of moderate import”.

    And agree with you about peakS for 17D

  7. Geoff Moss says:

    17d is fine with peak (singular) indicating the leading letter of ‘Easter’ since ‘I’ is an abbreviation for ‘Island’ in its own right.

  8. Andrew says:

    Gironde can be “A moderate republican political party of Revolutionary France (1791–93).”
    – according to

  9. Eileen says:

    I wasn’t sure of ‘unstrings’, either, but OED gives the third meaning of the verb as ‘to render lax or weak’.

    The Gironde is the estuary of the Dordogne and GARONNE, which, of course, would also fit, were it not for the anagram of ‘eroding’! [I remember coming across this double possibility in an Araucaria puzzle before.]
    Stan and Andrew’s explanation seems feasible to me, together with perhaps the fact that the area doesn’t import much!

    ADDLE is interesting: it can be a noun – ‘stinking urine or liquid filth’, an adjective – ‘rotten or putrid’, or a verb – ‘to confuse or make abortive’, hence the Addled Parliament of James I and VI in 1614, so called because it achieved nothing [the only context in which I’d met it before].

  10. John says:

    Not at all sure that “addle” can be used as an adjective. Smelly eggs are “addled” not “addle”.
    And has anyone ever come across “replevy” anywhere?

  11. Eileen says:


    The above definition is from OED – more fully:
    adj. as in Addle-egg [Romeo and Juliet III i 25
    ‘as addle as an egg for quarrelling'; Dryden; ‘his brains grow addle’, etc.

    I’d never heard of ‘replevy’, either!

  12. John says:

    Thanks for that Eileen, but come on!
    Do our setters need to go back to Elizabethan times to find answers? There are surely enough modern words to provide testing clues. Smacks a bit of “I’m cleverer than you”.
    There I am on my hobby horse again.

  13. muck says:

    24ac REPLEVY: I never heard of this either, but various on-line dictionaries define it as to restore property in a legal sense. Once you know that, the wordplay is REP=theatre + LEVY=tax

  14. muck says:

    24ac REPLEVY: apologies to ‘manehi’ for not reading your explanation!

  15. Eileen says:

    Thanks, John, for the lovely reference to the song my children used to sing to me in 1982!

    Oh dear: I was only doing a bit of research re Manehi’s query re ‘addle’ meaning ‘bad’. I didn’t know it as an adjective before and was therefore interested to find it could be. [I personally don’t even use ‘addled’ overmuch these days!] ;-)

    I think I’ve said before that I’d forgive Arausaria anything – and I defy anyone to come up with an alternative clue for ‘fiddle-faddle’ -but I guess even the solution’s archaic for some!

    I thought this was a charming puzzle!

  16. Eileen says:

    PS: Apologies to ArauCaria!

  17. John says:

    Hi Eileen:
    I too love Araucaria, particularly his complex cross-referential circular constructions. Sometimes though I think he backs himself into a corner and resorts to whatever words he can find, archaic or not, which, after his illustrious career, he’s entitled to do. I can usually manage to work them out even if I don’t know them. And then I’ve learned something, which is a plus.
    Toora loora yay (or words to that effect).

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

4 × = twelve