Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,592 – Araucaria

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on January 9th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

An enjoyable Araucaria today, with a completely non-topical theme of the Proms, with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in.

dd = double definition
* = anagram
“” = homophone
… = letters removed
() = inserted


9. TABARD. “Ta, Bard”.
10. IMPRIMIS. IMP(RIM)IS.  Latin for ‘first’. Impis are a group of armed Zulus.
11. PENNY-A-LINER. Old slang for for a hack, i.e. someone paid 1d per line.
15. LATERAN. LATE + RAN.  The Lateran palace is a Catholic palace in Rome (or maybe Vatican City, I’m not sure).
17. DISDAIN. “‘Dis Dane”.
18. PROGRAMMING. PRO(GRA..)MMING.  The promenade concerts are also known as the proms, so ‘promenading’ is a synonym for ‘promming’.
22. UNCLOTHE. UNCL(OTH…)E.  Hamlet’s uncle Claudius is the villain. Othello is the play on which 23A is based.
23. OTELLO.  O + TELL + O.  The archer is William Tell.
24. BIOSCOPE. B(1 + OS + COP)E. An old, bulky, cinema projector.


2. PROMENADER. PRO-ME, NADER.  Ralph Nader is a perennial US presidential candidate.  ‘Pro-me’ is quite cute.
3. BEAR ARMS. dd.
7. GAME. dd.
8. DASH. There is a dash in the middle of a double-barrelled name.
12. LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY. HELPDOFANDANGO* + LORY Played on the last night of the Proms.
13. CARILLON. CAR(ILL)ON. A type of ring in bell-ringing. Lesie Caron was a French dancer and film star.
19. MATURE. MANURE with T replacing N.
20. BULB. What a lovely clue!
21. ECHO. Hidden in thE CHOrus.

43 Responses to “Guardian 24,592 – Araucaria”

  1. Dawn says:

    After my success with yesterday’s puzzle I didn’t get very far with this one. I got tabard really quickly but didn’t spot either of the themes.

  2. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Dawn – Tabard was the first I got too, then 4D and managed to work through the rest of that corner.

    There’s a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary in this one, to be honest – it’s a lot harder if like me you tend to guess the words then work out why they’re correct.

  3. Mick h says:

    Funny, tabard was one of my last. Urbanity was last; I still can’t get used to Araucaria’s use of ‘some’ to mean ‘an ideterminate number of letters of’. Otherwise tough but enjoyable as ever.

  4. Geoff says:

    I had to check IMPRIMIS after guessing it from the wordplay, and PENNY-A-LINER was a new one on me, although self-explanatory.

    Clue for 6ac is particularly clever, using ‘cupidity’ for greed with its echo of Eros, but there are a lot of typically amusing Araucaria clues in this puzzle. Surface readings are as surreal as ever – some people are sniffy about this, but for me it is part of the enormous charm of his crosswords.

    Last in for me was 18ac, but I eventually spotted that ‘without’ was being used in its old sense of ‘outside’ rather than the more current ‘lacking’. Perhaps the good Rev was thinking of Mrs Alexander’s Easter hymn:

    There is a green hill far away
    Without a city wall…

    That always puzzled me as a child – why should a green hill be expected to have a city wall anyway?

  5. agentzero says:

    Many very clever clues. Took me a while to get the wordplay for urbanity, thinking that Urban might have been a king as well as a pope. I liked “one who hugs the huggers” a lot. Re 17a: apparently the Rev has spent time in Brooklyn!

  6. Eileen says:

    Some super clues: 4ac, 5ac, [yes, Geoff, very clever], 15ac, 8dn [particularly], 20dn [though I spent a moment or two thinking about how ‘blub’ meant ‘lit’.]

    I think Araucaria must have a soft spot for Leslie Caron. we had ‘Gigi’, a film in which she starred, in the Christmas quiz.

    I shared Geoff’s childish puzzlement over ‘without’ in the hymn. More modern hymn books have ‘outside’, which doesn’t affect the scansion. [Then again, Scots would say ‘outwith’].

    Devoted Araucaria fan that I am, I think I may have some difficulty in defending 17ac – but it made me laugh. And some may not like BA being ‘some backing’ or 24 BE for ‘live’ [we had objections to the same use of ARE last week in an Araucaria], but I like the surface in both clues. [This is called getting your retaliation in first.]

  7. Eileen says:

    I meant 5ac, of course.

  8. Eileen says:

    No, I didn’t – I meant 6ac!!

  9. Richard says:

    I also had reservations about the BA in 5d but why quibble when it was generally so enjoyable. 4 ac was my favourite, simply because I loved finding an inoffensive preposition as the key to the answer.

    And thanks Ciaran for explaining 8d – dash – which was my last entry but one I couldn’t explain.

  10. Eileen says:

    Richard: NB: those are not reservations or quibbles: I was anticipating others’ comments which might be [see, eg, my defence of ARE in my last Monday’s blog].

  11. Paul G says:

    I can’t say I enjoy Araucaria’s cluing style at all, I’d had a really good week on the crosswords up until today :( I don’t get the “ill” part of 13d, could anyone help?

  12. smutchin says:

    Geoff – I don’t mind when the surface reading of a clue conjures up a bizarre image, especially if it’s funny, but Araucaria is occasionally guilty of clues that on the surface look like nothing more than a jumble of unconnected words.

    However, no such complaints today – it was challenging without being obtuse and all highly enjoyable. I doubt we’ll be seeing 50+ comments today…

  13. Eileen says:

    Paul G: ‘inappropriately’ = ‘ill’ as in ‘ill-timed’.

  14. Paul G says:

    Thanks Eileen. Although I think that’s a bit of a stretch, one could never substitute ‘inappropriately’ for ‘ill’ on its own, surely? Unless your Araucaria :)

  15. John says:

    4 dn, how does “smothering” = CAUGHT?
    And although the answer to 22 ac is obvious, the cluing is clumsy. Should be “part of”, not “part in”, if anything, which of course makes the surface nonsensical. But then I’ve never liked linked clues; they’re invariably forced.

  16. John says:

    I mean 4 ac of course

  17. smutchin says:

    Paul G – it’s ill=inappropriately, such as in the phrase “ill-timed”.

  18. smutchin says:

    Sorry, Eileen, didn’t mean to repeat – you posted while I was typing.

  19. Geoff says:

    John: “CAT” is smothering “UGH” – the definition in the clue for 4ac is simply “out”. Crossword compilers always seem to be disproportionately fond of cricket.

  20. Agentzero says:


    I thought the parsing of 4a was that CAT is being “put” where it is “smothering” UGH, for a word meaning OUT (e.g., in cricket). No?

    Also, in 22a, I think what is meant is that Othello, the role, is a part in the play Othello. So UNCLE is “nearly getting” OTHELLO.

  21. smutchin says:

    Paul G – it’s an old-fashioned adverbial usage. Probably only crops up in set phrases and quotes these days – eg the Powell & Pressburger film “Ill Met By Moonlight” which takes its title from a line in Midsummer Nights Dream.

  22. Susan says:

    I still don’t understand 5d. How does polish = urbanity? Is it polish as in nicely behaved?
    I found this a hard puzzle and filled in some clues (eg 8d, dash) without understanding the reasoning.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    Dang, it would be Araucaria today. I know you lot love him, but I’m far too dumb, so I didn’t bother. Which is annoying because I’ve run out of things to argue about!

    Oh well, pleasant weekend all.

  24. John says:

    Thanks Geoff and Agentzero for the explanation of 4ac. I see it but find it laboured.
    As for 22 ac, I read it as “uncle nearly” rather than “Othello nearly” because in my book “Oth” isn’t enough of “Othello” to make it “nearly” if you see what I mean, whereas it is enough to be “part” of it. So I read UNCL + OTHE rather than UNCL + OTH + E. This gave me my problem with “in”.
    Either way I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I never saw a linked clue again.

  25. JimboNWUK says:

    Most enjoyable puzzle, no moans here for once.

    A few ‘groaners’ the best (worst?) of which was DISDAIN!

  26. Agentzero says:

    John, I take your point. I guess you need to be quite an optimist to see 3/7 of a pint as “nearly” full!

  27. Geoff says:

    John: Like you, I interpret the word play of 22ac as “bad guy in Hamlet nearly” = UNCL(E) plus “part in original of [OTELLO]” = OTHE. The slightly un-Ximenean stretch is to say “part in” rather than “part of”.

  28. Brian Harris says:

    Struggled a bit today. Didn’t get 13 down as never heard of Caron or CARILLON. Ditto 10across- IMPRIMIS and IMPIS both unfamiliar to me.

    1ac eluded me too. “Smothering” for “caught” is not obvious, at least not to me.

    But everything else was good and enjoyed 22ac. Ah, and I now get 8ac, a reference to surnames. Clever.

  29. mhl says:

    I rather liked the DISDAIN clue :) Unfortunately, I gave up before significantly before the end of this one but seeing IMPRIMIS, LATERAN, CARILLON and PENNY-A-LINER in retrospect it might have taken me a very long time to finish it unaided… (Although I should have remembered CARILLON and guessed PENNY-A-LINER.)

  30. Geoff says:

    Looking at today’s comments, including those of Mhl and Derek L (and a good weekend to you too, if you are still there!), I am a little puzzled. Although I would never describe Araucaria’s crosswords as easy, I usually find them less of a struggle than those of, for instance, Pasquale.

    To my mind, being strictly Ximenean does not equate with solvability. Like most people, I suspect, I gradually became (fairly) proficient at cryptic crosswords by trial and error, without ever realising that there were strict ‘rules’ governing what was permissible in clues. It was only when I discovered this site that I became aware of the crossword fraternity’s Spanish Inquisition.

    I acknowledge that adherence to strict principles of clue writing is important in very difficult crosswords, with a lot of very obscure vocabulary. But the Guardian cryptic crossword is generally only moderately difficult, in the scope of these things.

    The Guardian crossword has always been the one I most relish attacking, because of its variety and playfulness. I have always had a particular fondness for Araucaria, and it is probably no coincidence that my other favourites amongst the Guardian setters are ones like Paul and Taupi, who cite Araucaria as their own heroes.

    Perhaps it is something to do with the wiring inside my head.

  31. TwoPies says:

    A few new words in there for me too, though I was able to work them out first then look them up. The only one I struggled to fully understand why I’d got was unclothe as I thought oth was probably the original way of saying of! Thanks for the blog Ciaran.

  32. Dave Ellison says:

    For a long time I thought 3d was BE + A + RA, but couldn’t work out the rest of it. Then I got 11 ac.

    I don’t know how it works for others, but I often get only a few answers on first run through, and they are usually to the end of the down ones (in fact my first run through yields only about 3 on average); today I was despairing I wasn’t going to get any, but luckily 20d saved me. Then 12d fairly quickly followed and most of the rest of the crossword; but the last ones took a while (18a, 23a, 8d and 13d last)

    Enjoyable though.

  33. amritraj says:

    Excellent posts today. Thanks to those who explained 8ac ‘dash’ (between barrels) for me – it had been bothering me all day. I’ve had a good day with my aged mother trying to solve araucuria, which I find a lot easier when I can bounce ideas off her.

    Geoff: Personally I give out a little groan when I see that the good Rev is the setter, as I find some of his clues unnecessarily abstruse. However, I do appreciate the humour (I chortled at 17ac – DISDAIN) and the cleverness of some of his constructions. I consider myself generally a fan of the Ximenean setters but surprisingly my overall favourite is Paul (a Libertarian?) . Lately I have also just discovered (thanks to fifteensquared!) how good Nimrod is in the Indy. Perhaps I’m a closet Lib fan really?

    By the way, we have been wondering here about the identity of Logodaedalus – my mother thought he/she may be a churchy person like Araucaria but I can’t seem to find any info on the Internet. Can anyone help?

  34. Geoff says:

    Amritraj: According to Jonathan Crowther’s book, ‘A-Z of Crosswords’ (highly recommended), Logodaedalus (Donald George Putnam, born 1930) is a retired civil servant.

  35. don says:

    I usually like Auraucaria and enjoyed most of today’s crossword, but it seems unfair to expect solvers to guess which/how many letters are to be extracted from a word or group of words in order to complete an answer. Today we had ‘backing’, ‘ba’ 2/7; ‘othello’, ‘oth’ 3/7, or at best, ‘othe’, 4/7; ‘grace’, 3/5. It seems sloppiness, to be generous, on the part of the setter.

  36. don says:

    Does ‘ring’ = ‘carillon’?

  37. Eileen says:

    Don: to me, as a child, the Loughborough Carillon, [] – the only one I’ve heard of [not surprisingly, since Taylors of Loughborough is the leading bell foundry in the world] – was a well-known local landmark [pronounced locally as ‘carillion’] and I’ve always thought of it as a building containing bells [cf campanile] but I find, in Chambers, that a carillon can be ‘a set of bells for playing tunes, a mechanism for playing them, a melody played on them, an instrument or organ stop imitating a peal of bells’.

  38. TwoPies says:

    Amritraj: I’m with you 100%

  39. Amritraj says:

    TwoPies: Thanks. It makes me feel good to know I’m not the only one who feels like this.

  40. Mr Beaver says:

    Just to add my voice to the appreciation of DISDAIN. To me, this clue typifies Araucaria – if you analyse it coldly, it doesn’t really work, but the moment you click, it’s obviously – and hilariously – right.

    I always remember another of his from a few years back:
    Dis duck or dat ? (5)
    You’ve just got to love this sort of nonsense ! (in my opinion, anyway)

  41. chunter says:


    From the website you mention: “[Carillon] not Carillion (pronounced ‘ca-ri-lon’) A stationary set of bells usually for churches and mounted or suspended in the belfry.”

    I (also from Leicester) vaguely remember the ‘carillion’ pronunciation and thinking that carrill[i]on was the building.

    I rather think I fancy becoming a carillonneur: it sounds very sophisticated.

  42. Eileen says:

    Yes, ‘Chunter the Carillonneur’ does have a certain ring to it. Carry on, Chunter! [Sorry – feeling a bit silly.]

  43. chunter says:

    Eileen me duck: brilliant! I think Carillonneur would make an excellent login name. I wonder whether anyone on Facebook, Flickr or any of those places has already claimed it. (Why not be silly once in a while?)

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