Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,477 – Araucaria

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on August 26th, 2008

Ciaran McNulty.

A bit later than normal today sorry, I had noticed I was meant to be solving on Tuesday but had internalised this as ‘the second day of the week’, which the Bank Holiday managed to throw into disarray.

Perhaps typically for highly themed clues (esp Araucaria’s), this puzzle only opened itself up to me once I cracked 1 across. I must confess I had to resort to a list of works for most of the connected clues, but most of the rest popped out fairly quickly.

  • * = anagram
  • dd. = double definition
  • cd. = cryptic definition
  • “” = homophone


  • 1. VAUGHAN WILLIAMS. V + AU + GHAN(WILL I)A + MS. Composer, died 50 years ago today. V. as an abbreviation of vidé was new on me, though I was familiar with q.v.
  • 5. KITHARA. KITH + A R.A., a greek instrument.
  • 9. LEMUR. L + EMU + R.
  • 10. LINDEN LEA. ANDNELLIE*. A Vaughan Williams piece.
  • 11. EAST LONDON. dd., I was fairly surprised to find there was a place called this in South Africa.
  • 12. STUD. dd.
  • 14. SEA SYMPHONY. S + EASY + MP + HON + Y. Another V.W. piece.
  • 18. INSTINCTUAL. INST + INACULT*. Inst. is an abbreviation meaning ‘the current month’.
  • 21. LARK ASCENDING. LARK + AS + C + ENDING, another V.W. piece.
  • 22. ANTARCTICA. V.W. wrote Sinfonia Antarctica based on his music for Scott of the Arctic.
  • 25. ARGENTINE. AR(GENT I)NE. Thomas Arne.
  • 26. RAVEL. V.W.’s mentor and the opposite of ‘unravel’
  • 27. SANDBAG. c.d.
  • 28. DESERTS. As in ‘just deserts’. I could have sworn this was ‘just desserts’ but apparently it’s similar etymology to ‘deserve’.


  • 1. VOLLEY. d.d.
  • 2. UTMOST. M in STOUT*
  • 3. HERALDSHIP. A reference to ‘The Herald of Free Enterprise’ that capsized on the Dover-Calais route in ’87.
  • 4. NYLON. viNYL ONce.
  • 5. KIND OF YOU. c.d.
  • 6. THEM. T+HEM
  • 8. AWAYDAYS. A WAY + “DAZE”.
  • 13. APPLE CORES. The lyrics of THE LINDEN LEA refer to an apple tree.
  • 17. ESTRAGON. NOSE backwards around TRAG. A character in Waiting for Godot.
  • 19. SILVER. dd.
  • 20. TALLIS. V.W’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.
  • 23. AMEND. dd. A.M. END
  • 24. KNOB. K + NOB

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,477 – Araucaria”

  1. Andrew says:

    I must say 3dn seemed rather tasteless to me, even though the Zeebrugge disaster was over 20 years ago.

    Ciaran – there’s a typo in the note for 22ac: “Arctic” should of course be “Antarctic”

  2. Berny says:

    Can anyone explain ‘on strike’ in 27 across?

  3. Shirley says:

    27A – Berny – I think to sandbag someone is to strike them

  4. edith says:

    what about 5 across?

  5. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Good point Edith, I missed it when transcribing.

  6. mhl says:

    I’d agree about 3 down.

    Ciaran, there might be a typo in your breakdown of 14a – I think it’s just S + EASY + MP + HON + Y. (HON = “unpaid” was new to me, actually, but I see that it’s come up before here.)

  7. John says:

    In 5 across “kith” is friends as in “kith and kin”, but the clue doesn’t provide the “a”.
    I’ve never before seen “awayday” as one word.
    1 dn, tennis would have been better than netball. I assume he means “net ball” as in a stroke played at the net, but still …..

  8. owenjonesuk says:

    I managed to get most of this despite knowing very little about classical music. Luckily I’d heard of The Lark Ascending and was able to get Linden Lea and Sea Symphony from the clue and some crossing letters. Tallis and antarctica escaped me.

    Amazingly I knew there was an East London in South Africa.

    In 1 dn I thought that netball indicated volley as in volley ball is a game with a net, so could be called netball. But the tennis interpretation seems better.

  9. Geoff Moss says:


    5a The clue didn’t need to provide an extra ‘a’. We are used to having simply RA for artist but there is also the abbreviation ARA for Associate of the Royal Academy.

  10. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Mhl – you’re right, that was a typo.

    John – I agree with your interpretation of 1D, I should have gone into more detail on what an ‘at net ball’ was.

    Geoff – I’ve not come across A.R.A. – thanks for that.

  11. PaulW says:

    A really enjoyable crossword. Ralph Vaughan Williams is composer of the week on Radio 3, so as soon as I saw “anniversary” and I solved 1ac immediately (7,8). Knowing the theme made the rest of the puzzle much easier.

    5ac: The expression “kith and kin”, plus artist(ra) gave kithra . However, given the check letters I had the solution had to be kithAra.

    HERALDSHIP and INSTINCTUAL were the last to go in.

  12. Pricklewedge says:

    I really enjoyed this one. Loved the Vaughan Williams conceits. I wasn’t offended by 3dn. It seemed to me fair historical reference but maybe I’m insensitive?

  13. Al Streatfield says:

    27a: I think Shirley’s suggestion is right for ON STRIKE. The clue puzzled me, because the ON seems to be redundant…

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