Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24539/Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on November 6th, 2008


A relatively straightforward Araucaria, thought including a couple of words that were new to me, with a theme based on various kinds of beating,

dd = double definition
* = anagram
< = reverse

1. ABUSED US (=The Guardian) in ABED
5. LATCHETS (THE LAST C)* – Chambers defines LATCHET as “a thong or lace”
9. ANDROPOV AN + “DROP OFF”. Yuri Andropov was a rather sinister character who succeeded Leonid Brezhnev for a brief period at the top of the USSR.
10. SCARED S CARED – reference to “scaring the living daylights” out of someone.
11. BACON BUTTIES BA (degree) CON (=with) BUT (qualification) TIES (restricts)
13. TIME dd – time is known (especially in Araucaria puzzles) as “the enemy”.
14. DRUMFIRE DRUM, FIRE. Chambers defines this as “massed artillery fire with a rolling sound”, hence “big shots”
24. HINDERED HIND + DEER*. Very clever
26. SISLEY ISLE in S(urre)Y. Alfred Sisley was an English-born impressionist painter

2. BAND Sounds like “banned”. I thought the “beat” link was to do with beating time, but apparently “beat the band” is a phrase meaning to do something superlatively. Its possible origins are discussed here.
3. SHRUBBERY RUBBER in SHY. A rubber is a series of games in Bridge
4. DEPICT DE (French for “of”) + PICT
5. LIVING DAYLIGHTS DAYLIGHT in LIVINGS. The playwright is (I guess) Henry Livings
6. TUSCULUM C in TUMULUS* – a town near ancient Rome.
7,18. HEARTBEAT The theme word, which luckily I solved early on. It’s one of those “reverse” clues – “Heart beat” could be a “clue to earth”. Probably I got it so quickly because it’s reminiscent of Taupi’s puzzle last week, which involved various anagrams of HEART, based on the answer HEARTBROKEN.
8. THE RETREAT THERE + TREAT, and armies can “beat the retreat”
15. FIBRELESS FIB RE LESS – rather vague wordplay: I think the idea is the contrast between being “truthful over the more important” and fibbing re (about) the less.
19. BOUNDS dd – refers to the old tradition of “beating the bounds”, i.e. marking out the territory of a town or village
21. SWIFT dd – Jonathan Swift is the satirist
22,23. GENERATION GENE/”JEAN” + RATION (=share) – and a reference to the Beat Generation of the 1950s.

15 Responses to “Guardian 24539/Araucaria”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the great blog, Andrew. Yes, the Taupi puzzle was a great help in getting started.

    I guess there might be some objection to ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ but it’s OK with me.

    I’d never heard of Henry Livings but it was obvious enough, although we more usually talk of light at the end of the tunnel, don’t we?

    22, 23: The name Gene exists [at least in America] as a boy’s or girl’s name – film stars Kelly and Tierney, for example – so no real need for the homophone indicator.

    21dn: I thought there might be a reference to the great satirist, John Bird.

  2. Paul B says:

    I sincerely hope ‘with’ IS okay for CON … anyway, it has its own entry for this meaning in Collins but not Chambers, where only the likes of ‘con amore’ and ‘con brio’ feature with-ness.

    It’s in SOED – the only other source in my current possession – where it’s also a squirrel.

  3. Tom Hutton says:

    Bacon butties are hardly a snack. They are a staple diet.

    A very nice crossword with clues that were a pleasure to solve (except 10ac where I couldn’t get past beat the living daylights so I couldn’t get 6 dn either.)

  4. mhl says:

    Thanks for the very informative blog Andrew. Difficult but enjoyable, I thought. (The chief difficulties for me being LATCHETS, TUSCULUM, “beat the bounds” and ANDROPOV.)

    I spent far too long staring at H___ERED trying to convince myself that HARTERED (a) is a word and (b) means “baffled” :)

  5. mhl says:

    Eileen: I’m sure you’re right about the “John Bird” surface of 21 – it was a very nice clue because of that, I thought.

  6. Eileen says:

    I’ve only ever come across ‘latchet’ in the words of John the Baptist saying of the Messiah, “whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” [John 1,27]. [This was the job of a slave when a guest arrived.]

  7. mhl says:

    [I tried to post this comment before but it disapppeared without trace, and on trying to repost it was detected as a duplicate. I hope it works this time…]

    The phrase “time is the enemy” always interests me when it comes up. The definition of enemy in the online version of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is “Time is the enemy of man, especially of those who are behind time”, but there’s no indication of where it’s from. There are other suggestions on the web that it’s from a 1789 play called “The Dramatist” by Frederick Reynolds, but I wonder if it goes back even further? (Chambers lists “how goes the enemy?” as a synonym for “what’s the time?”, I see, but with no more helpful information.)

  8. Gaufrid says:


    “[I tried to post this comment before but it disappeared without trace, and on trying to repost it was detected as a duplicate. I hope it works this time…]”

    I have had similar problems in the past (that ‘duplicate’ notice is most annoying). Your original comment (and the one that now appears) was treated as spam. I suspect that this happens when a URL or link is included or what appears to be a table.

    Anyway, I have now retrieved your comment from the spam file.

  9. mhl says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. It’s just strange that the first attempt was treated as spam even though I was logged in.

  10. don says:

    Regarding CON = with, my ‘New Edition 1983′ Chambers gives: ‘con-. See com-.’. It then gives ‘con-‘ as a prefix meaning ‘together, with’. Mutations, mutations – Soft, Nasal, Aspirate!

    Can anyone explain 15 Down. People who ‘fibless’ would not necessarily ‘be truthful’, but what has ‘over the more important’ to do with it?

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    15d I can’t quite see it, but my thinking was also along the lines Andrew indicated. I noticed lesser was (almost)in there, the opposite of which (indicated by fib?) is more important; or maybe not.

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    con meaning with has been around for years in the Grauniad Xword. It is also Spanish for with, and I had always assumed that was the origin.

  13. Dave Ellison says:

    My ancient Oxford Concise Dic gives con (Italian) as With, (esp. Mus)

  14. John says:

    If you fib about less, you tell the truth about more. Overlooking the made up word “fibreless”, a better clue might be “Weak in character, but would then be truthful over more”.

  15. beermagnet says:

    A letter from Henry Livings’ widow in Saturday’s paper:
    I was delighted with the “living daylights” crossword solution. “Playwright Henry” and I did the Guardian crossword every day throughout the 60s and 70s, and I continue to this day (and our son continues the addiction). Henry would have been very proud to be in a Guardian crossword clue. Thank you to Araucaria, who was always our favourite compiler.
    Fanny Livings

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