Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,505 (Sat 27 Sep)/Araucaria – Breech of the peace

Posted by rightback on October 4th, 2008


Solving time: 33 mins (one mistake, a misspelling of BREECHES)

I found this ‘Araubetical’ (© Muck) very difficult, mostly because of the high number of unchecked initial letters – in fact, after 20 minutes I had almost a blank grid. Then I looked at where X-PARTICLES could fit, quickly placed the answers to clues Y and Z and it all fell into place.

I won’t say too much about the clues this week, partly because I’m extremely time-limited and partly because I didn’t think they were Araucaria’s best, with some very dodgy wordplays and nonsense surface readings. That said, the self-imposed restriction of clues being presented in rhyming pairs must make them very difficult to write, and there were a couple I thought were brilliant, such as MILANESE.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’. Clues are presented in normal grid order.

N NIHILIST; (L,I) in (IN THIS)* – there’s an anagram indicator, at least, missing here.
U U-BOAT; (ABOUT)* – nice anagram which I’m not sure I’ve seen before.
G/L GANG (= ‘mob’) + LING (= ‘fish’); G[ood] + ANGLING – double wordplay plus a definition (‘Ungainly’).
H HERB ROBERT; BRO[ther] in HERBERT – at first I thought ‘cranesbill’ might be a bird, but luckily I’d heard of this phrase, if not the 17th-century poet (George Herbert). This was my penultimate entry, leaving only clue Q.
K KEEPER (double definition) – as in a game-keeper and a goalkeeper.
J JELLY + BY – a character in Bleak House. ‘Jelly’ is slang for ‘gelignite’.
Z ZYGOMATA; (MOZART GAY – R)* – a kind anagram which I was able to work out, and which helped me break into the grid.
F FOSTER FATHER; (FOREST)* + ? – I don’t know why ‘opera singer’ gives FATHER, and the definition needs an implied subject (‘took in kid’). Perhaps I have the second word wrong here?
V [see V down]
E ELMEN (hidden) – a new word to me.
O O + VERV(I)E + W[ith] – ‘go’ for VERVE is pretty tough. One of the best clues in the puzzle, with not a word wasted.
M M1 LANES + [som]E – brilliant clue, I was convinced the definition was ‘Italian road’.
L [see G across]
C CIPHER (triple definition) – this means ‘nothing’, ‘code’ and (unknown to me) a defect in a pipe organ where a note sounds continuously without being played.
Q QUARTILE – my last, unsure, entry. I think this comes from QUAR[ry] TILE (‘unlined’ = ‘remove RY (= ‘railway’)), but I could be wrong.
D DOUBLE FLAT – very nice indeed. A double flat reduces a musical note by two semitones, so a B-double-flat is the same as an A. (Actually, very technically, I don’t think they are exactly the same.)
P PET + ROD + ROME; PETRO[l] + [aero]DROME – a petrodrome is a kind shrew, apparently, so the definition is sandwiched in between the two wordplays.
A A + RABI[d]+ ANS
B BREECHES (rhymes with ‘witch’s’) – two definitions here.
W WALLOON; rev. of LAW, + LOON – an inhabitant of Wallonia in Belgium.
F [see F across]
V VIV + A + VOCE – Bill Voce was one of the famous ‘Bodyline’ bowlers on England’s 1932-3 series in Australia.

4 Responses to “Guardian 24,505 (Sat 27 Sep)/Araucaria – Breech of the peace”

  1. Andrew says:

    F – I think the opera singer is “fat her”, as in “it’s not over till the fat lady sings”.

    I enjoyed this one, despite sharing your misgivings about some of the cluing. As always seems to be the case with this type, I had to solve a large proportion of the clues before I could get anywhere with filling in the grid. Luckily most of them were not too difficult to get – knowing the first letter is a big help.

  2. beermagnet says:

    N NIHILIST I thought “display” was a reasonable anagram indicator.

    F FATHER as Andrew above.

    I couldn’t understand VOCE and CIPHER, so thanks for explaining them; and all the rest.

    I really enjoyed this. I love the jigsaw element of fitting answers together. I started with the two 5-letter answers that fell quite easily and then the problem was getting the correct crossing answers and building out from there. As the grid has no mirror symmetry but only rotational, there was no “which way up” problem this time.
    Last answer in, PETRODROME, was one of those great moments when you deduce an unlikely looking word from the wordplay, look it up in Chambers and find it is what you want.

  3. rightback says:

    N: I had parsed this as LI (left one) in (IN THIS)*, which leaves ‘display’ doing double duty as in anagram and inclusion indicator. Having read your comment I agree that if you read it as a full anagram, (L + I + IN THIS)*, then it makes more sense.

    F: FAT HER – thanks!

  4. muck says:

    Thanks, Rightback, for acknowledging my neologism “Araubetical”. Maybe one day it will appear in the OED!

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