Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian, 24471/Araucaria

Posted by mhl on August 19th, 2008

mhl.

This was a difficult puzzle today, I thought, although I tend to find Araucaria’s crosswords harder than the other Guardian setters. As usual, there are some really satisfying clues here and great surface readings. There are two clues nicely linked to 10 down, but otherwise I didn’t spot a particular theme. Can someone explain 16,19?

Across
1 DECIMAL POINT: D = “number”, and then it’s PO IN (“[postal] order” “at home”) in (CLIMATE)*. The defintion (which utterly misled me) is “period look”, as in “the appearance of a period (full stop)”.
8 HOMERIC: HOME + RIC(H). I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of HOMERIC for “imposing”, but Chambers gives as two of its definitions “worthy of Homer” and “in the heroic or epic manner”
9 ANT LION: (N(A)TIONAL)* The fly is an ant lion, one of those animals that I only know about through crosswords. (Araucaria also clued it in a puzzle published last October.)
11 MISFORM: A really fun clue: “A is for Apple, so M___” – to complete that phrase with anything, it must contain the letters “M is for M” or MISFORM
12 Omitted according to the site’s policy
13 ENEMY: 67.5° is East North East, and “of setter” is MY. The definition is a reference to the phrase “time is the enemy”, although I’m not sure where that’s originally from…
14 TYPEWRITE: “unknown seat” is Y PEW in TRITE (“well worn”)
16,19 SHERBORNE ABBEY: I don’t quite get the Spoonerism here – presumably “down-at-heel” is “shabby”, but what is “citified”? Update: thanks to everyone in the comments who pointed out that it’s “urban”
21 ANGELUS: (GUN SALE)* and a prayer.
23 TOPARCH: A nice triple definition, the second two being TOP ARCH and TO PARCH
24 KHEDIVE: A new word to me, meaning a viceroy; the subsidiary is K + HE + DIVE
25 FOREARM: EAR (“listener”) in FORM; a cubit was supposed to be the length of your forearm.
26 HORN OF PLENTY: LEN (“small boy”) in (FOR PYTHON)* gives mythical wealth
 
Down
1 DEMESNE: Another new word for me, meaning the land around a manor; the subsidiary is “setter’s” = ME S in DENE
2 CURSORY: A nice use of 10d; it rhymes with nursery.
3 MACHMETER: “the sound of bells: I go” is CH(I)ME, kept by MATER. The definition is a bit odd here; a machmeter measures the Mach number of an aircraft, which is the ratio of its air speed to the speed of sound. I’m not convinced this is something you’d use to find when the sound of bells would reach you, unless the clue’s narrator is in motion. :) Have I missed something?
4 LEACH: I’m not familiar with the potter, but I guess it’s Bernard Leach
5 OUTGROW: An anagram of TUG O WAR, but with “O for a”. The definition is “dwarf”, as in “to outgrow/dwarf something”…
6 NAIROBI: It turns out that OBI is a type of witchcraft, which comes after N (“North”) and AIR (“to expose”).
7 CHIMNEY STACK: A rather sad image: (MAY NEST)* in CHICK
10 NURSERY RHYME: The definition is “Lavender’s blue, say”. Where lavender’s protected might be a NURSERY, followed by a homophone of rime (an excellent word).
15 PLENTIFUL: LENT IF = “fast, if”, in PUL(L) = “unfinished draw”.
17 EL GRECO: The painter with very crossword-friendly orthography; like “Zorba the Greek” here.
18 BULLION: A fun clue: BULL and LION (Taurus and Leo) telescoped together, a nice image for sliding one word over the other to remove the extra letter
19 Omitted according to the site’s policy
20 BURSARY: the other rhyme for nursery
22 SHEAF: The two females are SHE and F, keeping A. The definition (“contribution to stack”) refers to sheaves of hay making up a hay stack.

22 Responses to “Guardian, 24471/Araucaria”

  1. Peter says:

    16,19: Urban Shabby?

  2. Chris says:

    I thought this was rather tough as well

    16 19 spoonerism is urban shabby/ sherborne abbey

    Chris

  3. Pricklewedge says:

    “Urban Shabby” was great fun for a lad from South Somerset. Really liked the surface reading; ‘down at heel’ being the very last phrase applicable to that particular church…

  4. Eileen says:

    Some outrageously audacious [even for Araucaria] clues today – ‘urban’ rhyming with ‘Sherborne’ and ‘mes’ for ‘setter’s’ – but a wonderfully entertaining puzzle, especially 1ac, 9ac, 11ac, 13ac, etc.. I really enjoyed it.

  5. Pricklewedge says:

    The 15d reference to 26a was a stumper for me “it can’t be that obvious…” Really enjoyed this one.

  6. mhl says:

    Ah, of course! Thanks for pointing out that it’s “urban” – I’ve updated the post.

  7. Andrew says:

    3dn – it’s just occurred to me that “when I hear them” might homophonically refer to Bels (units related to sound),and the Machmeter would somehow tell you when you would hear the sound. In a vague, Araucarian sort of way, that is. Quite a few liberties in this puzzle, I thought, but it was good fun and, as others have said, a fairly tough one.

  8. Gerry Boyle says:

    I remember the bull-lion contraction from a long time ago, together with libra-aries and aquariu[m]s, in an astrology themed puzzle. I wonder if Araucaria does.

  9. Geoff Moss says:

    3d Could the link be ‘peal’? A peal is ‘a set of bells’ and is also defined in Chambers as ‘a loud noise’ which could equate with the sonic boom one gets when reaching Mach 1.

  10. mhl says:

    Geoff – good idea…

    So the plane in which Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier was the Bell X-1, and they made a series of other supersonic vehicles. So the sound of Bells might be sonic booms, and the machmeter in the cockpit would tell you when you’d here them. Does that sound convincing?

  11. mhl says:

    Arrgh, sorry, “when you’d hear them”, of course…

  12. Tom Hutton says:

    I had billion for 18dn because I thought a bill could be a sign. I’m not into astrology, otherwise I would have noticed the obvious.

  13. muck says:

    11ac MISFORM: I had “A is for Apple, so M [IS FOR MicroSoft]”
    3dn MACHMETER: I like the various attempts to explain this!

  14. Peter Owen says:

    3d – Chambers also defines “Mach number” as the speed of sound. With this definition a machmeter becomes an instrument for measuring the speed of sound. Once you know this speed you can calculate how long the sound of the bells will take to each you.

  15. Peter Owen says:

    Sorry, that should be “reach you”.

  16. muck says:

    3dn MACHMETER: I’m enjoying this

    MHL’s blog said: The definition is a bit odd here; a machmeter measures the Mach number of an aircraft, which is the ratio of its air speed to the speed of sound. I’m not convinced this is something you’d use to find when the sound of bells would reach you, unless the clue’s narrator is in motion. :) Have I missed something?

    Andrew said: “when I hear them” might homophonically refer to Bels (units related to sound),and the Machmeter would somehow tell you when you would hear the sound.

    Geoff Moss said: Could the link be ‘peal’? A peal is ‘a set of bells’ and is also defined in Chambers as ‘a loud noise’ which could equate with the sonic boom one gets when reaching Mach 1

    MHL again: So the plane in which Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier was the Bell X-1, and they made a series of other supersonic vehicles. So the sound of Bells might be sonic booms, and the machmeter in the cockpit would tell you when you’d here them. Does that sound convincing?

    Peter Owen: Chambers also defines “Mach number” as the speed of sound. With this definition a machmeter becomes an instrument for measuring the speed of sound. Once you know this speed you can calculate how long the sound of the bells will take to each you.

  17. Geoff Moss says:

    Peter

    I think your explanation is the most plausible. It fits the clue perfectly!

  18. harry says:

    it hadn’t occured to me until I wiki-ed it that ant lions actually grew into anything. I was only vaguely aware of them as a real creature, rather than as a character in Moomintroll.
    I thought the machmeter/Bell X-1 connection was likely – a bit obscure even for Araucaria though, I feel.

  19. Al Streatfield says:

    SHERBORNE/URBAN

    I think claiming that URBAN rhymes with SHERBORNE is just duff cluing.

  20. Pricklewedge says:

    A quick suggestion… with a local accent Sherborne tends not to be Sher-born but more like sher-buurne… closer to “urban”? Maybe I’m defending the indefensible?

  21. Kamintone says:

    Not indefensible at all, Pricklewedge. I’m sure that Araucaria pronounces Sherborne as “Sherbun”, the second syllable being a schwah. It’s only younger people who insist on giving the full, long-drawn-out value to unaccented syllables such as this.

  22. Pricklewedge says:

    Sorry for the long delay in replying, Kamintone. Thanks for the vote of confidence. (As a semi-local lad I’d be mortified to get that one wrong!)

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