Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,535 (Sat 1 Nov)/Araucaria – The Neville you know

Posted by rightback on November 8th, 2008


Solving time: Gave up on 14dn after 20 mins, and wished I’d done so earlier!

Most of this I managed to rattle through, but then I got stuck for ages on the final few clues: the top right, 24ac, 21/22dn and finally 14dn which I couldn’t solve. There’s a theme which is neatly included here symmetrically in the second, fourth and sixth ‘main’ rows.

Please could someone assist with 6dn?

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

10 VI(L,L)A – should have been much faster with this.
11/12 PEACE IN OUR TIME; PEA + (ON ICE)* + URTI[ca] + ME – ‘some nettles’ here means ‘most of the letters of a word for nettles’, a usage Araucaria often employs.
13 PIG + MY – I didn’t know this could be an adjective.
14 P(HEN + O + MEN)A
16 MUNICH AGREEMENT; (REACH E.G.)* in MUNIMENT – good job I knew the phrase because I’d never heard of a ‘muniment’, meaning a title deed.
19 YORKSHIRE; (SHIRK)* in YORE – I nearly rushed into ‘yardstick’ from the crossing letters here.
21 CYNIC (hidden)
22,23,4 NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN; NEVILLE + CH AM + BERL(A)IN – had anyone reading this heard of the village of Neville? ‘PM’ and ‘German capital’ were as far as I got with this clue when solving.
24 VENUS (double definition) – my favourite clue of the puzzle.
25 EMPTINESS; (PINTS SEEM)* – another excellent clue.
1 RUMPY-PUMPY, from RUMMY PUPPY – slightly surreal surface, but probably worth it for the wordplay.
5 [buy one and] GET ONE FREE
6 OVER TON + E ? – I don’t understand this one, and may well have the wrong answer: I can’t really see a definition and don’t understand ‘worthy fellows’ or ‘say we shall’.
7,8 SLUICEGATE; (GUILT CEASE)* – very surprised to learn that this is all one word.
14 PRAXI(TELE)S – a Greek sculptor. I think I might have seen this name before, because something made me want to put an ‘X’ in fourth place, but I couldn’t bring it to mind or work it out from the wordplay (I’d never have come up with ‘praxis’).
15 ANTICHRIST; ANTIC + (SHIRT)* – Chambers doesn’t quite support ‘antic’ as an old word for ‘antique’ meaning ‘old’, but perhaps some other dictionary does.
21 COATIS; (SCOTIA)* – I eventually saw the answer from the crossing letters but was baffled by the wordplay…
22 NOVA; rev. of AVON – …until I solved this one. Halifax is a place in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The word ‘following’ in this clue implies that ‘Scotia’ follows ‘Nova’.
23 CAPE (double definition)

18 Responses to “Guardian 24,535 (Sat 1 Nov)/Araucaria – The Neville you know”

  1. David says:

    Rightback,22,23,4: From your blog,I’m not sure if you saw the wordplay, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t, as it’s straightforward: surely Neville comes from NE and French for town (ville).
    Forgive me if I’m missing something in your blog – which I enjoyed, and which clarified a couple I couldn’t see the wordplay for!

  2. Geoff Moss says:

    6d OVERCOME – OVER (more than) C (a hundred) OM (worthy fellows) E (energy).

    ‘We shall overcome’ – protest song of the civil rights movement, recorded by Pete Seeger amongst others.

    ‘Om’ – a sacred syllable typifying the three Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva.

  3. Mr Beaver says:

    13a Pigmy is used as an adjective in eg ‘pigmy hippopotamus’.
    14d I had heard of Praxiteles, but couldn’t bring the name to mind – fortunately my pocket ‘Bradford’ had him under Artists.
    As usual with setter, very enjoyable.

  4. Eileen says:

    Re 6dn: I had exactly the same parsing as Geoff – but didn’t think too much about it and took OM as Order of Merit!

    I searched my dictionaries [SOED and Collins], too,and found no support for ‘antic’ as old, although it does come from the Italian ‘antico – ancient’. I have an idea that I have at some time come across it with this meaning, though.

    [I held myself up slightly with 1dn because, having got only the P of pigmy and Y of Yorkshire from my first whizz through the across clues, I immediately put in HANKY PANKY]

  5. Geoff Moss says:

    15d Under ‘antic’ in Chambers it states ‘see also antique’ and under ‘antique’ it has ‘see also antic’ so it would seem to me that the two are interchangeable.

  6. Ian Stark says:

    Kicking myself over 13a and 2d. I couldn’t see past sprayCAN which gave me a C rather than a G. I even had MY from I am surprised but I have apparently never heard of a pig. Some sort of animal, I assume? I stared at that one all week. Sigh . . .

    24a was wonderful.

    Re 21a, I didn’t see the Scotia reference from 22d. Instead I worked from covering = coat and islands = is. I couldn’t see what formed from land meant and thought it must have been unnecessary embellishment to make the run on into 22d read better.

    Enjoyed the opportunity to trawl through the knowledge of 20th century history imparted by Mr Edmonds at Isleworth Grammar School ’74 – ’79. Thanks Mr Edmonds, couldn’t have done it without you.

  7. Andrew says:

    6dn – I also thought OM=Order of Merit in this.
    21dn – I thought this was COAT=covering + IS=islands, as well as SCOTIA*

  8. Eileen says:

    I’ve only just discovered that a coati is an animal – I’ve been baffled by your explanations. What a super clue.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    22d Halifax is not just a “place” in Nova Scotia – it is the provincial capital.

    13 ac Pigmy: I am afraid I didn’t get this on my “whizz” through, Eileen – it was the last one I got!

  10. rightback says:

    Thanks for the corrections and clarifications. Having not had chance to solve this puzzle until Friday, I had to blog it extremely rapidly so I could get it ‘pre-published’ before going away for the weekend, so apologies for the errors. I did think ‘Neville’ was a bit obscure, even for Araucaria!

  11. Eileen says:

    N E VILLE for ‘a town in northeast France’?

    I think Araucaria can be a bit more ‘obscure’ than that!

  12. rightback says:

    I meant my original, flawed, explanation! (But perhaps you knew that – it’s Monday morning and any form of irony is likely to go over my head until at least Wednesday.)

  13. Ralph G says:

    15d ANTIC and comment 5: it never occurred to me before that “see also” in Chambers might point to a synonym, as you would expect that relationship to be dealt with in the entry. Could Geoffrey Moss or another come up with a more convincing example of ‘see also’ indicating a synonym? ‘Antique’ is not used as a synonym for ANTIC in its well-established meaning of ‘grotesque’ (see Shorter OED). The most likely encounter with ANTIC for most people would be Aldous Huxley’s ‘Antic Hay’ (a quote from Marlowe: “my men … shall with their goat-feet dance the antic hay”); Hamlet I v 172 ‘to put an antic disposition on'; or Richard II III 2 162 ‘and there the antic(k) sits’.
    In Chambers “See” on its own seems to be used to draw attention to an entry where omitted derivation details can be found, or to an entry (of different meaning) sharing the same derivation. Does the Chambers editor explain the use of ‘see, see also’ anywhere?

  14. Geoff Moss says:


    Only my late mother has ever called me by my full name! :-)

    Normally, Chambers indicates alternative spellings by using ‘or’ in the headword. However this is not always the case, for example in the 11th Ed. it has “antique (and sometimes written antick, now obs.)”.

    The entry for ‘antic’ in Chambers 1998 has the statement “obsolete forms of antick, anticke and sometimes antique”

    Webster’s Dictionary also supported antic = antique, see:

  15. Ralph G says:

    Sorry for the unintended formality; a transcription error, copying up notes made off-line.
    The Chambers 1998 reference is interesting. Perhaps the ‘of’ is a typographical error corrected in later printings. My copy (using capitals to represent bold print) reads:
    “Obsolete forms ANTIC, ANTICKE and sometimes ANTIQUE” which makes better sense but only tells us that ANTIQUE was occasionally used as a spelling of ANTIC meaning ‘grotesque’.
    With all respect to Webster’s, and thank you for the link, very useful to have, the somewhat obscure citation there is not very convincing,
    What we do not have AS YET is any evidence from an English source reasonably accessible to Guardian solvers that ANTIC is an obsolete spelling for ANTIQUE, which is what the clue requires, unless I’m missing something (standard hazard on this site).

  16. rightback says:

    Thanks to you both for the antic/antique research, especially the quotations! It’s my strong suspicion that the reason for Araucaria equating ‘old’ with ‘antic’ is the large amount of overlap between ‘antic’ and ‘antique’ (especially, to quote Chambers, “ANTIC, also (obs) … ANTIQUE” and the instructions to “see also ANTIQUE” and “see also ANTIC”), which could quite easily lead even an experienced wordsmith to think that ‘antic’ can mean ‘antique’ in any sense. It took me several reads to convince myself otherwise. So I agree with Ralph’s final sentence that this is a (very subtle) mistake, but a forgivable one.

  17. Ralph G says:

    17. Yes, thankyou, Araucaria’s my favourite setter and ..(for Eileen)
    aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus – at times even the excellent Homer nods.
    I hope ANTIC survives as a distinct word with a distinct meaning and a distinct etymology (from the Italian at a time when ANTICO bore the meaning ‘grotesque’).
    Other words I might spring to the defence of would be DISINTERESTED (understandably) and INCHOATE (idiosyncratically).

  18. Ralph G says:

    PS: “bore the meaning ‘grotesque'” (above) is a bit strong. Fuller story: in about 1550 excavations of ancient Rome unearthed bizarre artefacts which were termed ‘grottesche’ (for sure; semble neologism from ‘grotta, cave’) and ‘antiche’,, (I surmise). English collectors/traders adopted the latter term in the forms ANTIKE, ANTICKE and (later?) ANTIC, using the term to mean ‘bizarre’. ‘Grotesque’ is recorded in 1643 but the Italian term ‘grottesche’ was current in objets d’art circles earlier.
    Further quotation from Robinson Crusoe: [MAN Friday] “coming towards me … making ANTIC gestures”.
    Do we now need to watch out for ANTIC as an anagram indicator?

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