Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,587 (Sat 3 Jan)/Araucaria – Dammit, I’m mad!

Posted by rightback on January 10th, 2009

rightback.

Solving time: 20:32 (two mistakes: 13ac and 7dn)

There’s a palindromic theme to this puzzle, built around the very long one referred to at 21ac. I found it hard to get going until I realised what was going on.

Music of the day, thanks to my cock-up on 13ac, has to be Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne, which I have to confess I rather like. Radical, dude.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

Across
1 ME + DICK – any of various plants such as this or this.
4 ON WARD – the definition here works by taking both ‘progress’ and the answer as imperatives.
9 ANNA – this used to be a coin of India, hence ‘once tender’, and it’s a palindrome (see next clue).
10 PALIN + DROME – I liked this (‘…famous Alaskan airfield…’), a reference to Sarah Palin, although I think I’ve seen something similar recently, possibly in the Independent.
11 HANNAH – linking the previous two clues.
12 ORGANIST; (ROASTING)*
13 S(KATE)PARK – gaah! I initially thought this ended in ‘port’, with ‘boarders’ referring to e.g. ships or aircraft, so when I saw ‘skate’ I just wrote in ‘skateport’ without really trying to justify ‘sport’ = ‘light’ which is tenuous at best (and anyway ‘skateport’ isn’t a word).
15/16 HALL + MARK
17 SLEAZEBAG; ([geno]ESE ZABAGL[ione])* – normally I might mutter about a vaguely indicated partial anagram, but this one’s so good I could only admire it. This was my last entry.
21 ARE WE NOT – the palindrome referred to in full is: ‘Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era’.
22 NEW ERA; EWER in N/A
24 DEFAMATORY; “DEAF” + AMATORY (= ‘of love’)
25 FISH – as in ‘to drink like a fish’. I think the wordplay is ‘reverse of IF’ (with ‘should they’ = IF and ‘be converted’ indicating reversal) + SH (‘don’t talk’), but I’m not sure about the first bit which seems very loose.
26 UN(KIN)D – ‘German joiner’ = the German word for ‘and’, i.e. a joining word.
27 CREWEL; “CRUEL” – a guess from the wordplay. This is a worsted yarn used in embroidery and tapestry.
Down
1 MAN (= ‘island’) + JACK (= ‘fish’) – as in the phrase ‘every man jack’, meaning ‘everyone regardless (of e.g. status).
2 DRAWN (2 defs)
3 COP SHOP – a slang term for jail.
5 NON-EGO; [i]N ONE GO – this made a nice change from the standard ‘none go’ breakdown.
6 AIR INTAKE; (KATE + IRINA)* – very subtle definition (‘Gill’).
7 D(AMOS)EL – I didn’t know this spelling and guessed ‘demusel’, which fits the wordplay if you accept ‘prophet’ = ‘muse’, which on reflection I probably don’t.
8 BLOOD + RELATION – Google suggests Captain Blood as the pirate in question, but please correct me if this is wrong.
14 THROWBACK – which you would do if you caught a little 25ac (FISH). I’m not quite sure about the relation to ‘8’ (BLOOD RELATION) – I suppose you could say someone was a ‘throwback to a previous generation’ but that doesn’t really convince me.
16 MOR(C)E + AU
18 ANNO + YE[a]R
19 AEROSOL; (EROS + O) in A L[over] – nice clue.
20 IN VAIN; (V + A1) in INN
23 WE FEW; EFE in W,W – terrible cryptic indication if I have parsed this correctly (‘Defective part’ = EFE?!). I think the second half of the clue refers to ‘The Few’ of Fighter Command, but again I could be wrong.

10 Responses to “Guardian 24,587 (Sat 3 Jan)/Araucaria – Dammit, I’m mad!”

  1. Andrew says:

    I agree with your parsing of the wordplay in 23dn, but the definition is a reference to Henry V’s Agincourt speech:

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;

  2. TwoPies says:

    Ah, that explains end of the line. Thanks both. I found this one a bit “crewel” in parts.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Rightback. I found this quite tough going [but very enjoyable, as always], although I did get the palindrome early on. My last to go in were 1ac and 1dn: I didn’t know the plant or that jack was a fish and I didn’t get 25ac until the third last, so the reference to that didn’t help.

    I agree that the wordplay of 23dn is outrageous – but redeemed by the definition, as supplied by Andrew.

    I’ve no problem with 14dn: OED: ‘reversion to an earlier ancestral type or character’.

    I didn’t think a sleazebag was necessarily a crook but it’s a very clever clue, as you say.

  4. Paul B says:

    A brilliant puzzle. Much muttering around the table with d-EFE-ctive in the first two Ws of www, but got the answer before we solved the SI anyway.

    21 and 22 together are ARE/WE/N(OT) NEW/ERA which is worth a ponder for backward readers. So to speak.

  5. Mr Beaver says:

    As Eileen says, tough but good fun. 10a was our first solution – definitely a laugh out loud moment !

    Originally had TOWARD for 4a (matched ‘progress’ better) but eventually settled on INWARD to make the palindrome work – don’t know why we didn’t think of the correct answer as it makes a lot more sense !

  6. Geoff says:

    Well done , Rightback. Very entertaining puzzle. I wasn’t familiar with Carlos Quieres’s palindromic poem, but I worked out the long palindrome from the pieces and then Googled it.

    Quite a lot of charade clues in recent Araucaria crosswords have involved parts of words of unspecified length. 17ac took me a while because not only were the letters of part words not clearly defined, but they had to be anagrammed for the solution. However, although a clue like this is certainly vaguer than usual, it is not actually misleading, so I can’t get too exercised about it. One of the joys of Araucaria’s puzzles is the variety and imagination of his cluing.

  7. Ali says:

    A nice puzzle. And a nice Demetri Martin reference in the title of the blog!

  8. muck says:

    6dn: AIR INTAKE. Strictly speaking a fish’s GILL is an organ to extract dissolved oxygen from the water. I suppose, for a non scientist, oxygen is a type of ‘air’, ie gas.

  9. muck says:

    PS re 6dn: AIR INTAKE. Oxygen is a gaseous element, but was originally described by Priestley as ‘dephlogisticated air’.

  10. Ralph G says:

    Super puzzle, great blog, thankyou for the enlightenment.
    If you’re all done at #9 with the clues, perhaps I can throw in a double cognate, namely FISH (25a) and PISCATORIAL. ‘Fish’ comes from the Teutonic line, with umpteen cognates in the Teutonic languages, from a pre-Teutonic *piskos. [For the p/f shift cf Latin/Gk ‘pater’ and Ger/Eng ‘Vater, father’]. In Latin we have ‘piscis’ (noun} and ‘piscare’ (vb) with ‘piscatorial’ a straight derivative. More interestingly in French we have not only ‘pêcher’, but also the less obvious ‘poisson’ (!) for which the earlier forms of ‘pescion’ and ‘peisson’ are persuasive.
    The Irish and Gaelic ‘iasc’ is an example of the loss of initail ‘p’ in Celtic from a theoretical *peiskos.
    Welsh ‘pysgod’ (pl.) has the ‘p’. I reckon this is cognate with the Latin rather than a derivative although it is listed in “Yr Elfen Ladin yn yr Iaith Gymraeg” (Henry Lewis 1943 o.o.p.). [whereas ‘elfen’ _is_ a derivative of ‘elementum’.]

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