Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,695 / Araucaria (9/5/2009)

Posted by Gaufrid on May 17th, 2009


I don’t know what has happened to Rightback this weekend but something seems to have prevented him from posting a blog so here is a somewhat belated substitute.

This ‘alphabetical’ was made a little easier than normal because there were two pairs of words beginning with the same letter that could only go in one position in the grid. This immediately led to the position of seven other answers. Some typically Araucarian cluing in places and a most enjoyable solve.

The answers are given in the usual order of grid entry.

RAJPUT  A JP (a magistrate) in RUT (groove)
SPOT CASH  ACT (do) OPS (works) reversed SH (keep it dark)
COLUMBIA  UMBI[licus] (belly button partly) in COLA (drink)
QUARTZ PORPHYRY  PROP (supporter) Z (last) reversed in THY (solver) in QUARRY (excavation)
WASHINGTON  dd – Washington DC and Washington Irving (*(VIRGIN[s])) with a link via Irving Berlin (I think!)
YALU  homophone (mispronounced) of ‘yellow’
KAVA  homophone of ‘carver’ (one with meat)
FERROPRUSSIATE  RR (runs) O (round) PRUSSIA (part of Germany once) in FETE
XANTHE  ANTHEm (song) with ‘m’ changed to X (wrong number) and moved to the front (in wrong place) – a girl’s name meaning ‘golden’ hence the link to the following clue
DISTRICT  DI (police officer) STRICT (keeping tight control of)
BERLIN  BE (live) RL (hands) IN (at home)

ROLE  d&cd
JACQUES  J (judge) AC (bill) QUES[tion] (some interrogation)
UNAFRAID  *(A FUN) RAID (attack)
PHOTOCOPIES  HOT (heated) in POCO (little) PIES (food) – ‘musical’ appears to be superfluous, Chambers does not indicate that ‘poco’ is a musical term
TRUMPS  dd as in ‘last trump’ and ‘come up trumps’
AMBOYNA  BOY (his past) in *(A MAN)
WAKEFIELD  WAKE (rouse) FIELD (rest of the people)
NAVIGATE  VAN (front) reversed I (one) GATE (way in)
VIRGINS  V (opposed to) IR (Irish) GINS (spirits)
MOHAIR  MO (modus operandi, how to work) HAIR (thatch)
GEAN  hidden in ‘oranGE ANd’

12 Responses to “Guardian 24,695 / Araucaria (9/5/2009)”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. “Some typically Araucarian cluing” is putting it mildly for this one, I would say, with YALU being a prime example, and WASHINGTON, where I had the same explanation as yours.

    “Poco” is often used in musical directions – I’m surprised Chambers doesn’t mention this, as it does for a few other Italian musical terms that I checked.

  2. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog Gaufrid. I agree that “This ‘alphabetical’ was made a little easier than normal because there were two pairs of words beginning with the same letter that could only go in one position in the grid.”

    There were some obscure words, mostly soluble and confirmed by Chambers. My problem was with YALU. I recognised the yellow origin of XANTHE, but wasn’t sure whether it should be Y+ a river called A?U or that YA?U is a river. I suppose it’s obvious once you have the answer, but not a nice clue!

  3. muck says:

    More about YALU. Once I knew this was the answer, I was able to find this on Google/Wiki. But, having only YA?U, it wasn’t do easy.

    “The Yalu River (Chinese) or the Amnok River (Korean) is a river on the border between China and North Korea. The Chinese name comes from a Manchu word meaning “the boundary between two countries”. The Korean name is the Korean pronunciation of the same Chinese characters.”

  4. Ralph G says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid, for stepping into the breach and the explanation of Q… which I got and YALU which I didn’t. Having enjoyed the puzzle I was quite happy to leave those two over for the blog. In the latter case, glad I did.
    Re POCO, further to Andrew’s note above, it’s not in the SOED either, but the admirable Collins gives the musical connotation as the main usage with the illustration poco meno mosso, and the phrase poco a poco.

  5. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this v much and found it much easier to get started because of the double Rs and Ws. I got YALU after googling but didn’t like the clue v much.

    I agree that the link in W must be WASHINGTON-IRVING-BERLIN.

  6. rightback says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid – what happened was that my dongle broke on Friday and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to get any Internet access since. Serves me right for not uploading the blog earlier in the week, but here’s what I was going to say (less any clues where I had nothing more than what Gaufrid has said above):

    This took me 24 minutes with one mistake (clue F at 21ac) – I found it tough to finish off, with clues Q, T, A in the top right and F and M in the bottom left causing the most trouble.

    1 (R)RAJPUT; (A J.P.) in RUT – Chambers defines this as ‘a member of a race or class claiming descent from the original Hindu military and ruling caste’, which I think gives rise to the definition here (‘classed as a fighter’).
    4 (S)SPOT CASH; rev. of (ACT + OPS), + SH – ‘to do’ makes the surface reading of this clue very awkward.
    9 (L)LUCIAN; (UNCIAL) – the painter Lucian Freud.
    10COLUMBIA; UMBI[licus] in COLA – classic Araucaria (‘belly button partly’ = UMBI[licus]). Again, not sure what the surface reading is supposed to mean.
    11 (Q)QUARTZ-PORPHYRY; rev. of (PROP + Z), in THY (= ‘Solver’s’), all in QUARRY (= ‘excavation’) – I spent absolutely ages trying to unravel this monster (not knowing the word). Luckily I considered the Guardianism ‘last’ = Z or I’d never have got there. The second part of this is from the Greek porphyros meaning ‘purple’, which as far as I know has no common English cognates (though Chambers does also list ‘porphyrogenite’, meaning ‘a Byzantine emperor’s son born in the purple or porphyry room assigned to empresses’).
    13 (W)WASHINGTON – I agree with Gaufrid’s explanation, which is more feasible than anything I could come up with!
    14 (Y)YALU; “YELLOW” mispronounced – a Korean river not known to me, but I couldn’t see what else the clue could mean so guessed this correctly.
    18 (O)OMNIPARITY; “I MAY NOT RIP” – very nice anagram.
    21 (F)FERROPRUSSIATE; (R,R + O + PRUSSIA) in FETE – from Italian football knowledge I guessed ‘Ferrobresciate’ so almost there!
    23 (E)EPITAPHS; (HAPPIEST)* – excellent anagram which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

    1 (R)ROLE (2 defs) – as in ‘role model’.
    5 (P)PHOTOCOPIES; HOT in POCO, + PIES – nice breakdown. In Italian musical notation ‘poco’ means ‘a little’.
    7 (A)AMBOYNA; A + (MAN)* around BOY – I didn’t know this and took ages to think of ‘boy’ for ‘[a man’s] past’.
    12 (Z)ZYGOMORPHIC; (M + GOZO + CHIRPY)* – a truly bizarre surface reading.
    13 (W)WAKE + FIELD – the Vicar of Wakefield was a novel by Oliver Goldsmith.
    17 (V)V + IR + GINS – ‘v’ = ‘versus’, hence ‘opposed to’.
    20 (M)MOHAIR – I don’t get this. Thatch can mean ‘hair’ and mohair is a type of wool, but I’m not sure how to interpret ‘MO’. Thanks to Gaufrid for the explanation here.
    22 (G)GEAN – a cherry tree.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks all for the comments.

    My “Some typically Araucarian cluing” was intended to be an understatement.

    Regarding Washington, there could be another link between Washington DC and Berlin, that is via Virgin Airlines :-)

  8. KG says:

    Washington etc – Isaiah Berlin, 20C British philosopher. Lovely Araucarian links.

    Poco – quite shocked to find it neither in my Chambers (inc. Musical terms, signs and abbreviations appendix) nor the later CD version. I’m not that familiar with music scores, but ‘poco rit’ does mean ‘slow down a bit’ doesn’t it?

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    All this referring to Chambers, Collins & Whatever, my God !
    In classical music ‘poco’ is just a well-known term, very common.
    And furthermore,
    I am almost 60, but I remember them well: Poco, country-rock band – they were the inspiration for The Eagles.
    My God, that was a long time ago.
    I really don’t understand why people discuss this word.

  10. tilsit says:

    I have Rose of Cimarron by Poco on my I-Pod. Seven minutes of bliss.

  11. Shirley says:

    The trouble about ‘Alphabeticals’ is that the appearance of some obscure words is probably unavoidable! But didn’t Araucaria invent these?

    I don’t know how others go about it, but for me the device makes for harder work, as most of the solving has to be done withouit the help of the crossing letters.

    I’m drawn to Araucaria’s wacky ways in any case, if I’m honest. A lovely puzzle.

  12. KG says:

    Shirley – love the alphabetas myself – the rhyming couplet versions should be framed and on the wall. Carol and I do the crossword together when we can, but when its one of these she sends me away to give it some structure and she is then happy to mop up the stragglers. She’s a top chemist and I’m a lowly sociologist, but it works in the end.

    Sil – poco – the point is that it is surprising that Chambers has somehow overlooked this, as you say, common usage. Here in Spain, I use it con frecuencia. As for The Eagles’ inspiration, I think we are into Gram Parsons territory here.

    Tilsit – I was told that Rose of Cimarron was a wild west outlaw, but I never understood the lyrics. Good record all the same.

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