Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,611 – Araucaria

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on February 7th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

My first Saturday crossword and it was an Araucaria so I was a bit intimidated, but managed ok.  It took just over an hour to fill out most of the grid, then the remaining 4-5 slotted in the next day after a break, and I couldn’t see how I hadn’t got them the day before (always the way).

“” = homophone
* = anagram
dd = double definition


9. ADULTERER. “A dull terror” with the stress in the wrong place.
10. TRAIN. dd.
11. ECTOPIC.  EC + TOPIC. Literally means ‘out of place’ but the most common usage is as an ‘ectopic pregnancy’, one which takes place in an ovarian tube.
12. GRAMPUS. G + RAM + PUS(s).  Common name for the Orca / Killer Whale.
13. DAMN. DAM + N.
15. SERVICE.  Sort of a triple-def I think.  A service is an act of worship, there’s a service tree, and a train can be referred to as a ‘service’.
17. TERMINI. ERMIN(e) in IT*.
19. UNAFFECTED. DUET* around NAFF + EC.  Second time city is used to clue EC in this grid.
22. ZERO.  Z + ERO(s).
23. STATION STOP. S(TATI)ONS + TOP.  Tati directed ‘Parade’, a celebration of pantomime.
24. LAID LOW. (Or possibly Lain Low).  Slang for killed, and ‘Brer Fox, he lay low’.
26. ORANG. OR + ANG(el).


4. TRICYCLE. T. R. + ICY + CLE(ar).
5. BROGUE. dd.
7. CARPEL. CARP + EL.  Part of the female organ in a plant.
16. INFRINGE. IN FRINGE.  The Fringe of a festival is the edges, esp. where applied to the Edinburgh Festival.
17. TREELESS.  T(REEL)ESS.  Pampas is more that just the absence of trees, one could argue.
20. AVATAR. A + VAT + A + R.
25. ITEM.  “‘IT ‘EM!”.

12 Responses to “Guardian 24,611 – Araucaria”

  1. TwoPies says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog Ciaran. I enjoyed this immensely particular the railway theme and the gentle dig at the unnecessary flowery language now employed by them e.g. train service, station stop and customers.

  2. TwoPies says:

    PS. On the Pampas clue I thought the same as you but the definition is a vast treeless plain. Why other areas without trees are not defined as treeless I don’t know?

  3. Ralph G says:

    Thanks for the explanations at 24a and 25d (!), Ciaran. Not such a tour de force as recent efforts, but a very enjoyable puzzle to do.
    Re TREELESS 17d, I read it as ‘Pampas is …..’ and TREELESS filled the bill. re#2 above, TwoPies, not my field, but I looked up ‘steppe’ and that is defined as ‘generally treeless’. Similar areas in Central and Southern Africa are not treeless because they have small stunted trees, ‘brachystygia’ (only know that because I lived there).
    GRAMPUS 11a is an interesting word and I’ll post a note when the serious business is over.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    A train theme? Dang! I just saw “Araucaria” which to me = hard AND Prize which to me = hard and figured I stood no chance of finishing as that was going to be hard squared, so I never started. So now it’ll be ages before they allow another train theme. Doh!

    So I look at today’s and see those self same words. I look at 11,23 ac. No doubt that will make sense after struggling to get all the others, but I really can’t be bothered. OK, I’m an idle git, I prefer “not wierd enough”, whatever.

    So, this is why I always leave the Monday Quiptic till Saturday, on to that one then…..

    Is the Quiptic on-line only? I was just wondering why we never get the solutions on here. Or is it just too trivial for experts?

  5. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Derek, the Guardian’s Quiptic and Genius crosswords are online-only.

    I don’t know if the Quiptic isn’t blogged because of lack of interest, or because of a lack of willing bloggers. I suspect we’d only want to blog it if we could do it daily, which would entail 5-6 people willing to commit a day per week. In comparison it only takes one willing person to revive the blogging of a weekly puzzle (e.g. Simon Harris has just started blogging the Indy’s Beelzebub).

    If you’re interested in blogging the Quiptic then contact blogging {at} fifteensquared {dot} net, but like I said it’s hard to get a weekly puzzle off the ground.

  6. Geoff says:

    Well done, Ciaran.

    I found this one very straightforward for a Saturday Araucaria – that’s not to say I solved it in a few minutes, but I did manage it at a sitting.

    11ac: ECTOPIC pregnancies are implantations anywhere other than the uterus. The Fallopian tubes are simply the most common ‘wrong’ site. But Araucaria covers this imprecision with his question mark, and the clue nicely misleads by following another connotation of ‘tube’.

  7. Derek Lazenby says:

    Ciaran, maybe I’ll do that one day, but not this week, the puzzle isn’t loading! I’ve sent them an e-mail.

    Oh well, best laid plans and all that, I’ll have to try a different site for my daily fix.

  8. stiofain_x says:

    I thought this was a good one though the theme was a bit weak, and there were a few weak clues such as laid low.
    I loved the inclusion of avatar, an ancient word enjoying a renaissance and right up to the minute because of its use in online gaming and virtual worlds such as Second Life to refer to your virtual self.
    I have no problem with “Pampas is ” referring to treeless.
    Derek dont be so araucariaist jump in there are some great clues in todays prize offering.

  9. Derek Lazenby says:

    Was busy doing other things so only just seen the enthusiasm Stiofan, and it’s late now. But the thing is, I already know I will get nowhwere near completeing that. Whilst I have had occasional sorties into crosswords, it’s only these last few months that they have become a full time hobby (yeah that leg thing I mentioned before). So, maybe when I have got my eye in a bit more I’ll give it a whirl. Right now it would be too depressing just when I’m getting the confidence to expect to finish most puzzles by some of the regular setters and certain other online sites. I’ve come a long way since November and ya never know I might get better still, in which case I will try it again. But I suspect I’m not wierd enough (in a nice way of course).

  10. Ralph G says:

    12a GRAMPUS. Not immediately obvious that this is derived from the Latin ‘crassus piscis’ – fat fish. Medieval Latin had various forms of the word inc. grassus piscis and graspesius. Old French had ‘graspeys’ , found in English in 1267 as ‘grapays’ and in 1325 as ‘grapays’. However, the OED cites Skelton 1529 “With porpose and _graundepose_ he may feed him fatte”, an etymologysing alteration which gave rise to the modern form ‘grampus’ which is cited from 1624 onwards with occasional throwbacks in the 18c such as ‘grandpisces’, ‘grampisces’ and ‘grampois’.
    Interestingly, the French ‘graspeys’ underwent a similar change to ‘grampais’ but this did not survive into Modern French, being displaced around the 16c by ‘épaulard’ (itself an etymologising alteration based on épaule, of an earlier form,)and ‘orque’.

  11. Paul B says:

    Not forgetting Toyota Motor FC.

    ‘Treeless’ uses a common ploy, allowed pretty much exclusively in Grauniad, where for some peculiar reason the wrong part of speech defines the answer. ‘As pampas is’ would have been correct (and wouldn’t have spoilt the sense), but there we are.

    An’ Brer Fox was mo’ careful.

  12. Ralph G says:

    17d, #11 above, re the solution being a different part of speech to the definition in the clue, this would apply for sure if the clue were “Pampas Tess about to dance”. Then you would have “Pampas” (noun) defining “treeless” (adjective).
    Isn’t it rather different when you have ” Pampas is …” followed by the subsidiary indications? The solver can then read the clue as requiring an adjective describing ‘pampas’. Perhaps I’m missing something.

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