Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,665 (Sat 4 Apr)/Araucaria – Price tags

Posted by rightback on April 11th, 2009


Solving time: 13:50

This week a mini-theme of prices, of admiralty, liberty and blood, as quoted by various literary sources, as well as several biblical references (e.g. 8/7dn, 18dn, 19dn) possibly giving a nod to Easter. I enjoyed this more than usual for Araucaria, there are some good clues with decent surface readings. I didn’t fully understand ALICIA, ARRIVAL, EYELET, LIBERTY or SARGENT until after solving.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 SILVER (2 defs)
4 AIRSHIP; A + (IRISH)* + P[resident] – ‘new’ so often indicates ‘N’ that it usually catches me out when used as an anagram indicator.
9 RADICCHIO; (CHOIR + ACID)* – this is an Italian variety of chicory which I had to work out from the checking letters; presumably it’s cognate with ‘radish’ (from the Latin radix, radicis meaning ‘root’).
10 PRICE; RICE (= ‘food’) after P (= ‘top of plate’)
11 VENIN (hidden) – tacking ‘wolves’ on the end of the clue is a bit unfair.
13 LIBERTY – from the phrase ‘Liberty Hall’, defined by Chambers as ‘a place where everyone may do as they please’. It’s also the name of the tallest storeyed building in Dublin.
15 ETALON (hidden) – a word I knew from barred cryptics.
17 [g]ALICIA – my last entry, and just a guess from the checking letters as I had no idea what ‘Santiago de Compostela’ was. It’s actually the capital of Galicia, the north-westernmost region of Spain, from where hail both Deportivo La Coruña and Celta Vigo, both luminaries of Spanish football.
19 [c]OSMOS + IS
22 TRIERARCH; R.C. in (HARRIET)* – the commander of a trireme. I tried both ‘terriarch’ and ‘tierrarch’ in the grid before finally getting this.
24 R + OVER
26 BLOOD – from Kipling’s The Song of the Dead: “If blood be the price of admiralty, Lord God, we ha’ paid in full.”
27 VIGILANCE; GILA in VINCE – ‘Cable’ refers to the deputy leader of the Lib Dems, Vince Cable.
28 ETERNAL; (TERN + A (= ‘first’)) in EL (= ‘elevated railroad’, hence ‘line’) – “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” (abolitionist Wendell Phillips).
29 EYELET; “ISLET” – because ‘islet’ is another word for ‘ait’ which sounds like ‘eight’.
1 SHRIVEL; SH (= ‘Make no comment’) + RIVE[r] + L
2 LADEN (2 defs) – referring to Obama Osama of that name.
3 ECCENTRIC; ERIC around ‘C CENT’ (= 100 cents, i.e. one dollar) – nice.
5 REPEL; rev. of LEPER
8,7 THIRTY PIECES – the “price of blood” (Matthew 27:6) paid to Judas Iscariot.
14 BALTI MORE – this amused me.
16 ADMIRALTY; (MIR + ALT) in (DAY)* – ‘key on board’ is the ALT key; Mir is a Russian space station. The lack of definition here threw me until I realised it was cross-referenced in 26ac. [Actually there is a definition – see comments 1 and 2.]
18 ARRIVAL; “A RIVAL” – Google helped me out here after solving: this is a reference to the song Green Grow the Rushes, O, which works along the lines of The Twelve Days of Christmas: there are two lily-white boys, three rivals, four Gospel makers etc.
19 ON HIGH; O, + H in NIGH
20 SARGENT; S + ARGENT (= silver, i.e. 1 across) – refers to portrait painter John Singer Sargent, hence ‘Painter and singer’ – very clever if you happened to know the name, which I didn’t!
21 STABLE (2 defs)
25 VINYL; N.Y. in VIL[lage]

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,665 (Sat 4 Apr)/Araucaria – Price tags”

  1. Biggles says:

    16 down. The clue is ‘to board’ and I think the reference is to the Board of Admiralty.

  2. rightback says:

    Yes, you must be right – thanks. I misread this clue as ‘…key on board’ which I thought indicated ALT, but in fact ALT must be given by ‘key’ alone.

  3. Mr Beaver says:

    Enjoyed this, but I am in the pro-Araucaria party, as Rightback is perhaps not. There were the usual number of obscure references – some of which I half-knew, others didn’t at all (15a, 22a) but they were well clued and it’s nice to add to one’s store of useless information!

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Rightback – an enjoyavle puzzle.

    Yes, Mr Beaver, ETALON was nasty if, like me, you’d never heard of it, especially since all the checked letters were vowels, but a pretty obvious ‘hidden’ word, which makes it fair. I did know TRIERARCH – and what a lovely surface! [I hope you’re having as much fun with today’s offering!]

    For a while, all I could think of for 24ac was RECUR [about dog], even though it made no sense as a definition.

    I thought 29 ac was clever. [I only know ‘ait’ through doing crosswords!]

  5. Eileen says:

    ‘Enjoyable’, of course :-)

  6. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog.

    Rightback — I went through the same process as you with 22ac, misled by the surface into looking for a religious leader! ‘Trireme’ has caught me out lots of times!

    ETALON is a word I only know through crosswords. Haven’t heard of AIT, so didn’t see the wordplay for 29ac.

    I liked BALTIMORE (which was where I was born!) and also 6dn. I’m an Araucaria fan, so found this v enjoyable. Have to tear myself away from today’s offering to get some shopping done…

  7. muck says:

    Two puzzles from Araucaria last week, and two this, getting progressively harder. In fact, THIS puzzle wasn’t too hard, with just a few unusual words (ETALON, TRIERARCH, Ait). Very enjoyable.

  8. Stiofain says:

    I thought this was a great one but couldnt parse EYELET I seem to remember that “green grow the rushes” was used as a theme, I think by Araucaria a few years ago.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    13a To take a liberty is also a presumption, I think

  10. don says:

    Enjoyed the puzzle (Baltimore and Eyelet made me smile), but in 19 across, does ‘the world’ = ‘cosmos’? Surely, ‘cosmos’ = ‘universe’, of which ‘the world’ is an infinitely small part. And ‘dyne’ (4 down) doesn’t equate to ‘power’ by any stretch of the imagination. ‘power’ (or the laws of physics).

  11. don says:

    Sorry, “And ‘dyne’ (4 down) doesn’t equate to ‘power’ by any stretch of the imagination (or the laws of physics)”.

  12. Phaedrus says:

    Baltimore was fun, but too many bitty, disjointed clues for my liking – lacking the elegance of certain other setters. (I will now be burned at the stake for heresy by the pro-A lobby!)

    Dyne is a non-SI unit of force, isn’t it?

  13. Paul B says:

    I doubt whether anyone in the current economic climate would waste the wood, especially as ‘elegant’ appears to mean so many different things to different people.

    Personally I prefer ‘entertaining’ to either the ‘Ximenean’ (the allegedly elegant school to which you may be referring) or ‘Libertarian’ (grammatically-challenged knuckle-draggers) tags.

  14. Mr Beaver says:

    Eileen- since you asked (about 30h ago now!), this Saturday’s is summat of a challenge. Just 4 to get now….

  15. Peleus says:

    I enjoyed it. But while we’re quibbling, doesn’t one full chess set (8/7dn) comprise 32 pieces, 16 black and 16 white? Two sets would be 64, and nearly two sets would be somewhere closer to, say, 60. Nearly two sides might be 30.


  16. Eileen says:

    Keep going, Mr Beaver – it’s worth it!

  17. rightback says:

    Peleus (8/7dn): In chess the term ‘pieces’ usually excludes the pawns, so a chess set contains 16 pieces and 16 pawns.

  18. Ralph G says:

    Thanks, rightback and others for the explanations to several clues.
    Re 9a RADICCHIO, rightback, the derivations from Latin radix are the majority view but the on-line Italian etymological dictionary offers an alternative derivation from the Greek ‘radix’ (branch) “because the stems are thick with branches”. I don’t know how convincing that is botanically.

  19. Ralph G says:

    15a ÉTALON . Off-piste in spades possibly as the English derivations here are tangential but this is an interesting example of a Frankish origin for French vocabulary (cf ‘jardin’ at 24,629 #15) which tells us quite a lot about lexical development in Northern Europe. There is a Frankish root *stal(l)o with two meanings, one of which was ’stake/fence post’.. This passes via Picardy into A.Fr as ‘estal, estel’, later estalon, and acquires the meaning of ‘legal standard of measure’ by 1322 and its modern spelling of ‘étalon’ by 1605. . The special meaning of ‘interferometer’ is cited in 1902 in French and in 1905 in English (in the OED).
    The other meaning of *stal(l)o was ‘place’. In the special meaning ‘stable’ the word follows the same route and changes of spelling as the other meaning, leading to Mod French ’étalon’ (stallion), container for the thing contained, English having borrowed this word at the ‘estalon’ stage. ‘Stall’ is a cognate via Scandinavia..
    In the special meaning ‘place for the display of goods’, ‘estal’ gave way to the Mod French ‘étal’ and ‘étalage’.
    The better-known verb ‘étaler’ develops the general meaning of ‘place’ extensively, two thirds of a column in the Petit Robert.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

6 × = eighteen