Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,629 (Sat 21 Feb)/Araucaria – Georgia off my mind

Posted by rightback on February 28th, 2009


Solving time: About 15 mins, with 12ac missing and 5dn wrong.

About medium difficulty this week; I fell down on the artist at 13ac, in part thanks to an error at 5dn. There’s a mini-theme of King Arthur and friends.

A couple of administrative points, if I may. Firstly, I’m having lots of trouble with Internet access at the moment; thanks very much to those who have helped me out in recent times, particuarly Eileen, Andrew and Ciaran who between them have blogged the last four weeks’ puzzles, in some cases at very short notice. Fortunately I think I now have a workable arrangement for the foreseeable future.

Secondly, I gather that there have been some issues recently with ‘off-topic’ comments, particularly relating to Guardian blogs. Being mostly off-line I’ve missed most of the developments, but I think I should say that in all the time I have been blogging the Saturday Guardian I can’t remember an occasion where I have felt that the comments have digressed too far and I would not want to discourage the occasional aside: this is a blog after all, not an answers service. In particular, I’d hate to be deprived of such offerings as Ralph’s fishy comment on this blog a few weeks ago: such etymological gems are absolutely on-topic as far as I’m concerned.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 EXCALIBUR; EX + “CALIBRE” – King Arthur’s sword, which he reputedly pulled out of a stone.
6/20 KIN + GARTH + UR – ‘garth’ is an old word for an enclosure, yard or garden, still seen in place names in e.g. the Lake District.
11 ZAP + AT + I’S + TA – I’ve come across Emiliano Zapata before, but that didn’t stop me putting in ‘Zapatitas’ at first here.
12 IN + P.O.W. + E.R.
13 O’KEEFFE (hidden) – I’d never have got this thanks to an incorrect crossing letter from 5dn (qv) but actually I don’t think I’d have got it anyway, it’s such an unlikely sequence of letters until you see the apostrophe and I didn’t know the name: Georgia O’Keeffe turns out to have been an American artist.
15 CAYENNE + PEPPER – as in Sergeant Pepper.
17 CHEAP AND NASTY; (A + PAND(N)A) in CHESTY – nice wordplay, shame about the surface reading. I struggled on this but have the excuse that I don’t remember panda crossings.
22 MERITED; (RETIMED)* – the ellipsis here refers back to the previous clue, of which this answer is an anagram.
24 HI + LAR + IOUS – a lar was a Roman god of the house.
25 GOB + BO – surname of a couple of characters in The Merchant of Venice.
26 R + O.B.E. – R for ‘recipe’, Latin for ‘take’. [Well, sort of – see comments.]
27 INSINCERE (hidden) – excellent hidden clue.
2 CHUMP (2 defs) – this can mean ‘the end of a lump of mutton’, hence ‘chop’ as in ‘lamb chop’, I suppose. [And see comments.]
3 LADY WINDERMERE – this was a guess for me, but I believe it refers to Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde and to the ‘Lady of the Lake’ in the King Arthur legend. Perhaps some better-read solvers could elaborate?
5 REP + ROVE – not ‘reprise’, which was my entry, and which (I now learn) cannot mean ‘to reproach’ or ‘to punish’, as in ‘reprisal’.
8 GRATER; “GREATER” – I tried to justify ‘graver’ for a while here.
9 UTHER PENDRAGON; [l]UTHER + PEN + DRAG ON – King Arthur’s father, and not a name I am ever likely to forget: not knowing this cost me a place in my first Times Championship final a couple of years ago (it was a (partial?) anagram and I entered ‘Ether Pundragon’).
15 YACHT CLUB; (CLUTCH)* in rev. of BAY
16 SYNDROME; “SINDH” + ROME – Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan.
18 PADRONI; (A DROP-IN)* – nice anagram. This is the plural of ‘padrono’ ‘padrone’, Italian for ’employer’. [See comments for a more accurate translation.]

18 Responses to “Guardian 24,629 (Sat 21 Feb)/Araucaria – Georgia off my mind”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Rightback

    Good to see you back!

    3dn: I think it’s a reference to Lake Windermere. [Several characters in the play [eg Lord Darlington, the Duchess of Berwick] take their names from places in the north of England.]

    8dn: I had ‘graver’, too, and, of course, couldn’t explain ‘in utterance’!

  2. Andrew says:

    Welcome (right)back and thanks for the blog. Apart from Georgia O’Keeffe, who I hadn’t heard of, I found this very easy for a Saturday puzzle and rattled through it in about 10 mins (I think I’m not alone – someone mentioned in a comment on a blog for a puzzle during the week that they’d found this easy.)

    2dn – butchers used to (and probably still do) sell “chump chops”.

    Hoping this will count as an “etymological gem”: 16dn reminds me of a famous general who supposedly sent the one-word telegram “peccavi” (Latin for “I have sinned”) after he had conquered the province of Sindh (Google tells me it was Charles James Napier.)

  3. stiofain_x says:

    A nice Araucaria I thought but more suitable for a weekday than a prize puzzle.
    I just dont get 26ac i had ROB for take and OBE for decoration and ROBE for garment as constituent parts but dont see how they fit together or how recipe comes into it.

  4. Paul B says:

    If you’re having trouble recognising the basic crossword indicators – FF the other day, wasn’t it? – why not treat yourself to Ruth Crisp’s excellent Crosswords and How to Solve Them. In it you’ll find lists of all the most widely-used single-letter indicators, plus a great deal of extra help – including a very long list of anagram indicators.

  5. Geoff says:

    Hi Rightback – good to have you with us again.

    I was the one who commented that I found this one very easy. I immediately spotted ‘Viviane’ as the Lady of the Lake of Arthurian legend – her precise role in the story varies according to the version, as does her name – which gave me the theme, and the rest was plain sailing (to Avalon?). Wilde’s ‘Lady Windermere’ is only cryptically the Lady of the Lake – there is no direct connection with the Arthurian tales.

    24ac: nice to see a Roman household god appear again (but where are the penates, Eileen?)

    18dn: PADRONI is the plural of ‘padrone’ (rather than padrono), which is better translated as ‘master’ – ’employer’ would normally be rendered by something a bit less feudal!

  6. Geoff says:

    … although on reflection, PADRONE could in some circumstances be translated as ‘boss’ – which has a different connotation to ’employer’

  7. smutchin says:

    rightback – it’s the weekday blogs that get the most comments.

    Stiofain – “R” is crosswordese for “recipe”, which is Latin for “take”, so it’s R + OBE. It’s one of those abbreviations that I know but still have trouble spotting however many times it comes up. It comes from the big capital R you (used to?) see at the top of doctors’ prescriptions.

    (By the way, Paul, it was a different Steven who had trouble with FF in Thursday’s puzzle.)

    I find The Chambers Crossword Dictionary very helpful myself. I’m also keen to get hold of a copy of Chambers XWD: A Dictionary Of Crossword Abbreviations.

  8. Ralph G says:

    Thanks rightback for the initial comments and the link; had quite forgotten my piscis/fish post.
    Stiofain, #3 above, 26a R/recipe/take. As Paul B points out this is a standard single-letter indicator but you’re quite right in querying ‘recipe’ for ‘take’. You would expect the verb ‘recipio’ to mean ‘take back’ and so it does, very largely. You don’t get to the simple ‘take’ until someway into the third column of Lewis and Short’s Latin dictionary, where it comes in appositely as used in recipes for medicine, ‘recipe’, ‘take’, being the imperative singular of the verb, (from which we also get ‘reception’, again lacking any sense of ‘back’ and ‘receipt’).

  9. stiofain_x says:

    thanks Smut and Ralph I was aware or the standard R for recipe just didnt know it was latin for take.
    Mea Culpa

  10. Geoff says:

    As Ralph points out, R is a standard, albeit rather archaic, abbreviation for the Latin imperative ‘recipe’, which is customarily translated as ‘take’. The prefix ‘re-‘, implying ‘back’ or ‘again’, is only misleading because ‘take’ is the word that we would use in English in this context – ‘withdraw (from storage)’ is probably a more literal translation.

  11. Eileen says:

    Belatedly, Geoff [comment 5 – I’ve been out all afternoon]: it’s rather like your ‘aries’, isn’t it? ‘Lar[es] fits much more easily into crosswords than Penates [though that would be a good one to clue as a solution.]

    What a lot of Latin scholarship in the comments today!

  12. Paul B says:

    I think I’m trying to say that in actual fact you don’t need any scholarship at all to know the indicator. That’s why I offered up late lamented Ruth’s great book as a starter for those who’d arm themselves without too much effort in the battle of wits.

    Apologies to ‘Stiofain’ and ‘Steven’ if I’ve allowed myself to become confused.

  13. smutchin says:

    Paul – you make a perfectly fair and valid point – after all, a crossword is just a silly word game rather than the intellectual literary endeavour that some would have you believe it is – but speaking for myself, I like to know the significance. I would find it frustrating to go through life knowing that “take” in a crossword clue indicated the letter R without knowing why.

  14. Paul B says:

    I can’t remember anyone else trying to persuade me of either the silliness or the intellectual worth of ‘a crossword’. Could its real value fall somewhere in between?

    I admire the inquisitive nature you advertise, but your point seems slightly adrift of the one I’m making. I was somewhat surprised to see someone asking why C = ‘about’ just the other day, which (apparent) lack of extremely basic understanding is easily remedied – so long as people don’t mind doing just a very little preparatory work.

  15. Ralph G says:

    6a20d : GARTH. Delayed note: off-piste possibly and a bit long.
    It would be nice to link this and the related GARDEN to the HORT in horticulture, Latin for garden. As the basic meaning here is ‘enclosure’ what about YARD, orchARD, and jARDin?
    OK, seriously. There is an IE root GHAR ‘seize, enclose’ which has taken two paths. In the Greco-Latin path we have ?????? and hortus, both with original meanings of ‘enclosure’. The Greek ?????? came to mean ‘food’ in classical Greek and has given way to the unrelated ????? in modern Greek. The Latin ‘hortus’ has given us not only HORTICULTURE but also COHORT, originally an enclosure for a company of soldiers.
    From the Germanic path we have GARTEN of course as in ‘kindergarten’ and English GARDEN. A Frankish form GART is credited with Eng. GARTH and YARD, which has retained the garden connection in American usage eg “When roses last in the door-yard bloomed”. The Frankish form GART gave rise also to GARDIN in Old North French and JARDIN in modern French, in turn the source of It. GIARDINO, Sp. JARDIN, Port. JARDIM.
    There are cognates in all the Germanic/Scandinavian languages plus GARTH in Welsh, GORT in Irish, and GOROD (town) in Russian, eg Novgorod.
    The first element in ORCHARD is variously given as wORT (plant) or the Latin hORTus, but there is a consensus that the second element was GARD with a later substitution of CH for TG.

  16. Ralph G says:

    The two ??? in 15 above (printed OK in Greek in the submission space) are CHORTOS AND KEPOS. Sorry about that.

  17. Colin H says:

    Only took 22 minutes to do this one, which is a personal best for me. I did notice that it was markedly easier than his usual Saturday offerings – d’you think he’s been asked to tone them down after that frankly bonkers offering involving Cassius and Caesar a few weeks ago?

  18. rightback says:

    Toned down? Shouldn’t think so, I’m sure we’ll be back to bedlam before long!

    Thanks for the clarifications on this puzzle, especially ‘chump chops’, ‘padrone’ (mea culpa) and the various classics lessons.

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