Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24652 – Araucaria

Posted by manehi on March 20th, 2009


Really struggled with this at first, but almost got there in the end – couldn’t get 7dn without cheating. Not sure I have time now to do all of the clues justice, but I liked a lot of them.

1 DISAVOW DOW (Jones’s partner), holding IS A V=five
5 JUPITER PIT=hell, “injure (badly)” -> in (jure)*
9 SOCCER MOM (commerce so)* losing just one of its e’s, so not really “devoid of ecstasy”
11 YALE [Universit]Y + ALE
12 UNINSPIRED UNI[o]NS = “loveless marriages” + PI for pious + RED for danger
14 ARMANI “Top”, as in take the top off of [b]ARMAN + I = first
15 JEEPERS double def
16 DUKAKIS Lost to Bush snr. DUKAS the composer around K[ing] and I.
20 ENTHUSIASM E + (humanists)*. Put this in without really seeing an anagram indicator, and can’t see it now.
21, 23dn STOW AWAY TOW A inside SWAY
24 SHEEN HE inside SEN[iors]
25 ULLSWATER [g]ULLS + WAR around T[h]E=”edges of the”
26 RESERVE double def.
27 MAYNARD Keynes, the economist, or (and army)*
1 DISHY SH in DIY. I liked “homework” for DIY.
2 SECULAR (clues)* + A R[eligious]
22, 3 WORLD VIEW WOW=”great success” in a “well done!” sense, around R[ex] for “king”+ LD for “lord briefly” + VIE=”struggle”
4 WOMEN’S INSTITUTE WE around OMENS=”signs” + IN SITU=”in place” around T[heir] + T[ime]. The WI are “teasingly famous for…”
5 JAM AND JERUSALEM JEM=”small boy around” A MAN=”a chap” + DJ=”record player” + [p]ERUSAL=”not quietly reading” i.e. no p[iano]=quiet
6 PERIPHERAL P[age] + HERA, the greek goddess, in PERIL
7 TIPTREE TIP + TREE. Not heard of the village, or the actor.
8 REREDOS RE RE DOS, from the solfege. A screen behind the altar in a church.
13 BACK-BURNER something put on the back-burner can be said to be in limbo, but not sure of the rest.
16 DRESSER cryptic double def
19 LETITIA Girl’s name meaning joy. rev(IT+IT) in LEA

25 Responses to “Guardian 24652 – Araucaria”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    13d BURN (go to hell) in BACKER (angel)

  2. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    20a: “displayed by” is the anagrind. The anag. fodder is E + humanists as you have already indicated.

  3. C.G. Rishikesh says:

    Clue 9ac raises a question. We have to delete a letter (E) from “commerce so” but what happens if we delete both Es? Are such clues okay without any indication that deletion involves only one instance of the letter?

    As I often face this dilemma while writing clues, I would be grateful for any opinion on the issue.

  4. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. This one took me a while to get into. I only got 4dn and 5dn when I had enough checking letters to realise that the last word of 5dn had to be Jerusalem.

    Tree is Beerbohm Tree, 19th century actor manager.

  5. Shirley says:

    Tree only appeared last Thursday “In which government plans men to be gathered by actor Tree after polling” – The answer was THE Queen’s SPeech.

  6. Geoff says:

    Bravo manehi.

    i was a bit slow to get started on this one but built up speed towards the end. Araucaria always reminds me of Abe Lincoln’s comment when asked for his opinion of a new book – ‘Those that like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like’. (I do, as it happens).

    7dn: ‘Old actor’ is not infrequently (litotes) TREE. I couldn’t get Braintree out of my head, until 5ac gave me the initial letter and saved a trip to the road atlas.

    I don’t believe that Rishi’s question about deletion clues has a definitive answer, in general, because the case can be argued either way. Therefore, setters could be more careful to disambiguate their clues. ‘All [word for letter} removed’ or ‘some [..] removed’ would help. In this clue, Araucaria hasn’t said ‘lacking ecstasy’ – which could be taken to mean either ‘without e’ or ‘without “e”s’ – but has used ‘devoid of ecstasy’, which rather suggests there are no ‘e’s at all.

    Favourite clue: 12ac by a large margin

  7. Sidey says:

    I normally persevere with Araucaria, but ‘soccer mom’? I won’t bother again.

    Tiptree is possibly known for jam

  8. Paul G says:

    For deletion clues, one could take the hint from the length of answer required for how many letters to delete.

    Doing this crossword with some work colleagues over lunch, I suggested that “Tree” would probably be some old actor that we hadn’t heard of :)

  9. John says:

    Typical Araucaria these days, with some nice stuff but also some rambling clues. The surface of 5 ac is very clumsy for me. Why “It takes a god…”?
    Is STATE OF ANXIETY a valid definition for “kittens”? Having kittens = being anxious, but if I’m in a state of anxiety am I “kittens”?
    Not convinced by “passenger out of line” = STOWAWAY either.
    I’m not a big fan of linked clues, but although I get the WI/Jam & Jerusalem connection, I don’t get “teasingly”. Maybe someone else does?
    Liked 18 ac & 2dn though.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Pleased to have finished this rather tough Araucaria without help.

    Actor Tree was one of the first things I met in doing the Guardian Crossword in 1964, and there’s been a steady use of it ever since.

    The middle sections took me a while. I found it tough, and only got restarted when I got 19d and then 25a. I couldn’t see 9 ac, but if I had got that earlier, I think finishing would have been much quicker. The reason I didn’t get it earlier was precisely because of the “devoid of”, which meant take out both es to me, so I couldn’t find the fodder. What is the purpose of “Finding”?

    Wasn’t too happy with 27 ac. I was sure it was an anagram, but couldn’t see why “Name of” was there. Better would be “One name of”, perhaps?

  11. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Manehi. I didn’t quite finish this without external help, but found it fairly fast up to that point.

    Generally very enjoyable, but I wasn’t happy about 5 across – I don’t mind “in jure badly”, but not having the definition at the front or end of the clue (except for an &lit or compound anagram) is a bit much, I think.

  12. James G says:

    Re #9. I think “it takes a god” might be referring to the planet that takes its name after a god.
    This was a tough one today, I thought. And after yesterday’s, it seems we’re in for some stick!

  13. SteveP says:

    “Teasingly” because it’s a common jibe against the WI that they concern themselves with Jam (making) and Jerusalem (singing Blake’s anthem).

    Excellent puzzle, I thought, though I needed a couple of guesses (I hadn’t heard of Dukas). “Enthusiasm” was a superb anagram, and I take no issue with “Soccer Mom”. Still struggling with a couple of Araucaria’s clues from last Saturday, mind.

  14. Paul B says:

    Thanks for the ‘litotes indicator’ Geoff, which I should not be displeased (litotes) to adopt.

    On the point about letter deletion where there be more than one instance of the letter indicated, I think (and it’s 100% opinion rather than some claim based in fact, or even convention) compilers should strive for absolute accuracy and say which one. ‘One of the (letter)s’ is good too.

    It’s not that difficult to do, and presents an opportunity to improve rather than encumber the surface, in my experience at least.

    Not that I could possibly advise Mr Puzzletree, who is possessed of by no means the worst (litotes) crossword brain yet grown.

  15. Art says:

    Took ages to get going, but once I was off it seemed to fill itself in, even when I couldn’t get the exact wordplay before looking on here.

    As others have mentioned I’m not sure about 5ac (a dodgy clue and a nonsensical surface reading) – why was it left like that? Surely that’s why they have a crossword editor.

    I found the puzzle easier than my slog through Paul yesterday – perhaps the solution words were easier even if the clues themselves were more complex.

  16. Mr Beaver says:

    I’m heartened that others found this tough, when Mrs B and I managed to finish it, which happens by no means all the time!
    I thought 9a stood out almost immediately as (commerc so)* – if both ‘e’s were removed, the letter count would be wrong – it just took ages to work out the anag. I did think ‘soccer mom’ a somewhat unlikely phrase: mom is American, but thet don’t play football there much, though I believe they do call it Soccer.

    I like 8d, even though it was the last to go in.

  17. Geoff says:

    What we Brits call ‘football’ and the Americans call ‘soccer’ is an extremely popular sport in the US amongst schoolchildren (the boys tend to graduate to American football as they get bigger, but the girls stay with soccer, which is why the USA women’s football team is so good). Hence SOCCER MOM is not in the least unlikely.

  18. Sidey says:

    Geoff, soccer is fine, it’s been around for years. However, I doubt there are any ‘Moms’ in the UK. Horrible septic invention.

  19. Fletch says:

    For heaven’s sake Sidey, how can you possibly decide never to bother with a particular setter again on the basis of one answer you didn’t like. Get a sense of perspective!

  20. Sidey says:

    I like over reacting Fletch 😉

  21. KG says:

    Soccer mom – I became aware of the ‘hockey mom’ during the VP candidacy of Sarah Palin during the last US election and extrapolated this to ‘soccer’ – the idea of a school run (6,3) type mother made sense. The definition ‘I ferry the kids’ has a wonderful air of defeated resignation about it.

    ‘The King and I’ getting mixed up with a French composer was intriguing and suggested other possibilities, but the Democratic candidate (husband of Olivia I believe) was a good answer.

    Paul Dukas might only be remembered for one work – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – but given the Disney treatment of the piece I think his name counts in the ranks of general knowledge.

  22. liz says:

    Olympia Dukakis, Dukakis’s sister, is an actress and was in Steel Magnolias and Moonstruck.

    Sidey, do you think a crossword published in a British paper should not include American terms or references?

    ‘Soccer mom’ predates ‘hockey mom’ by many years. I’m an American who has lived here a long time and gradually learned enough about cricket to do these crosswords. When my son was younger and cricket-mad, I used to call myself a ‘cricket mom/mum’. Similar amount of driving and sitting on the sidelines…I draw the line at being called ‘septic’ though.

  23. Ian says:

    For 13D: I had “Back Ruiner” as “limbo”, which fits the pattern and the clue, if I’m allowed to “ruin” as a synonym for to “go to hell” – in a rather old-fashioned onanistic context. Ho hum.

    I’m with Araucaria on “Soccer Mom”. Perfectly legitimate as it’s an entirely American phrase, and they really don’t say “mum” – not even Niles Crane.

    But “Jupiter” is shudderingly bad.

  24. KG says:

    Liz – sorry about confusing her with Miss De Haviland and marrying her off to her brother.

  25. liz says:

    KG – Don’t worry. The name of Dukakis’s sister must surely rank as obscure knowledge. I thought Dukakis as an answer would generate more complaints. I have to say Olympia is a much better actress than her brother was a politician…

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