Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,725 (Sat 13 Jun)/Araucaria – Vegged out

Posted by rightback on June 20th, 2009


Solving time: 20:43

Another impressive ‘Araubetical’ with answers beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Most of the difficulty for me came from getting started on the grid rather than the clues per se, and also from mis-solving a couple of clues, but I was badly held up at the end by the first four clues (A, B and two Cs). These were linked with ellipses which I foolishly assumed was not relevant to the cryptic readings, but in fact all four answers were vegetables or homonyms thereof. There were a couple of references to ‘kitchen’ as well.

Does anyone know the correct past tense of ‘to veg out’, by the way? The title of this blog looks quite wrong, on reflection.

Music of the day: I don’t know if ‘paternal rhythm’ in the top line was a deliberate reminder that tomorrow is Father’s Day, but let’s have Son Of My Father by Chicory Tip, apparently the first electronica record to reach number one anywhere in the world. I’m not sure it has really stood the test of time, though.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’. Clues are given in normal grid order.

P P(A TERN)AL – a good clue which I misparsed, assuming that ‘Father’s’ would give ‘PA’S’ with the definition being ‘bird’ and being distracted by the likes of ‘passerine‘.
R RHYTHM; HYTH[e] in R.M. – a ‘jolly’ is a Royal Marine.
Q QUID (2 defs) – I didn’t know the second definition (‘plug’ and ‘cake’ can both mean ‘a chunk of tobacco’) but couldn’t see any viable alternative.
A ARTICHOKES; CHOKE in (ART IS) – the first of the four vegetable-related clues.
F FLOWER (2 defs) – the old chestnut of ‘flower’ = ‘something that flows’, but used as the answer in this case.
N NOONTIDE – ‘noon’ was the ninth hour of the Roman and ecclesisatical days. I’m not sure if that’s all there is to this clue or whether ‘tide’ in some way can mean ‘to do’.
K K(ITCH)EN – not quite sure what ‘the other’ is doing in this clue; possibly just a nod to clue F?
D DISKETTE; DIS + KETT[l]E – not sure about the definition here (‘a record’); I think a ‘diskette’ just refers to floppy disks for computers rather than e.g. CDs, but perhaps the intention is ‘record’ in the sense of a record of information.
C COLLIE; “CAULI” – which with ‘F’ makes “CAULI”-FLOWER.
H HELLRAISER – I think this is a semi-cryptic definition with the idea being that if you ‘raise hell’ it is no longer the underworld. Possibly ‘long’ in this clue was supposed to read ‘longer’?
Z Z + END – an Iranian language related to Sanskrit. This wasn’t a word I knew; I remembered that Araucaria uses ‘last’ = ‘Z’ and tried ‘zees’ and ‘zeds’ before seeing the answer.
U UNFAIR (2 defs)
B BROCCOLI; BROC[k] + COLI – ‘as is’ links to the previous answer which is also a vegetable, with the wordplay being ‘brock’ (a badger) ‘detailed’ (i.e. having the tail, or last letter, removed) + ‘coli’ meaning ‘of the intestine’ in a bacterial sensem as in ‘E. coli’.
S SYNOPTICAL; (POLICY + ANTS)* – this held me up a lot because I hazarded ‘syntopical’ early on and then (when crossing letters appeared to confirm it) forgot it was potentially wrong, and so it proved.
T THREAD; TH[eology] + READ
L L.A. TENT – the wordplay made me smile but I think a question mark might have been warranted.
W WEEDKILLER; (I + K + E.R.)* in WELLER – Sam Weller is a character from Dickens’ Pickwick Papers.
J JERSEY (2 defs) – I rushed into ‘jumper’ here, possibly subliminally affected by the cow that jumped (over the moon), which held me up no end.
I ICECAP; rev. of (PACE + C + I) – difficult wordplay which I couldn’t fathom when solving, partly because I thought ‘one’s back’ must give the reverse of ‘ace’ in the middle. ‘Pace’, from the Latin ‘pax’ (‘peace’), means ‘with all due respect to’ when disagreeing with someone, hence ‘never mind’ in the sense of ‘never mind [what] so-and-so [thinks]’.
C CAR + ROT – this was my last entry thanks to my slowness over the first four connected clues.
V VEAL (hidden)

19 Responses to “Guardian 24,725 (Sat 13 Jun)/Araucaria – Vegged out”

  1. Biggles A says:

    N I guess is just an anagram of ‘nine to do’.

  2. Mr Beaver says:

    I think you’re right about H (‘long’ should have been ‘longer’) – I read it as the latter and hadn’t realised that wasn’t what it actually said til you pointed it out!
    We also had A, B and C left til the end – in spite of having got COLLIE early on – could have kicked myself for not having got the vegetal connection earlier.

  3. Andy W says:

    That’s how I’d spell Vegged Out too. It looks strange, but VEGED looks even worse!

    WEEDKILLER is ED K 1 (1st King Edward!) inside WELLER. Only Araucaria could get away with that.

  4. Neil says:

    ‘Kitchen garden’ as opposed to ‘flower garden’?

    At ‘W’ Araucaria hepfully gives us “variety” to encourage us to reorder 1 K ED

    Slowish getting started with the double V answers and the double C answers being the same length, then putting QUID and ZEND the wrong way round as they shared the D. Got it sorted in the end but had to print out another grid to make a fair copy!

  5. sidey says:

    “but had to print out another grid to make a fair copy!”

    Pencil rules Neil ;)

    I often complain about Araucaria’s libertarianism, but for some reason find his jigsaws much more reasonable. This was an excellent example. Spotting the vegetable link early helped I must admit.

  6. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog, rightback.
    As usual, the clues were a little easier to solve than a ‘normal’ Araucaria.

    My entry to getting the answers to fit correctly was from the two 7-light across clues, X & K. The former fitted M in the left of the puzzle but not in the right. Even though I had other unsolved clues at that point, I went with it and other answers (eg E, B, Y) all fitted. The araubetical isn’t an exact science.

    By the way, I believe I coined ‘araubetical’ on 15sqd.

  7. Neil says:

    I, quite unreasonably, tend to think pencil is a bit wimpish, indicating a lack of confidence. I feel similarly about crossing out clue numbers as they’re solved. Yet I sometimes daintily ‘whisper’ in possibilities with my ballpoint and also sometimes resort to crossing out numbers as I get increasingly confused, then forget to cross some out, leading to more confusion. Anyone? They do say it’s significant when you find yourself on a staircase and can’t remember whether you’re going up or down. Fortunately, our dwelling is all on one floor.
    Vegetable link? What vegetable link?

    Yeah, I found the two 7-light answers handy too … eventually.

    Darn good puzzle though, eh?

  8. sidey says:

    IIRC this grid can be filled in two ways, carrot/collie could go either way. Occasionally there have been messages (Jessica’s?) in the perimeter which mean you have a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong. Real geeks use fountain pen, of course. [not smiley goes here]

  9. The trafites says:

    I too got stuck on A B C too. I use a pencil also (but I DO have a pen).

    QUID/ZEND got me in the grid plus with the VEND/VETO combination also, but for me was extremely hard work.

    How you can do this type of puzzle in 20 minutes baffles us (3 hours plus beer breaks).

    Nick & Lorraine

  10. Mr Beaver says:

    Sidey – the grid was almost, but not quite symmetrical, so there was no need to include ‘one-way’ answers like NORTH. As Muck and Neil point out, it’s the 7-letter lights that provide a lever to turn the thing the right way round, though we found we needed about three-quarters of the answers before we were able to put any in with any confidence.

  11. Mr Beaver says:

    Oh, Neil – I can (sort of) understand your reluctance to use the pencil, instead of a manly, confident biro – but why on earth the prejudice against crossing out clues you’ve solved ?
    Don’t you find it irritating to be puzzling for ages over a clue you find you’ve already entered ?

  12. Neil says:

    Mr. Beaver:


  13. Dave Ellison says:

    I always start these by writing a list of clue lengths, followed by clue letters, which I cross out as I put them in the grid. I never use pencil, and I do cross out the clue – this and As Christmas, Easter specials are the only ones where I do this.

    I though this was easier than the usual aurabetical, finishing it probably under an hour

  14. Neil says:

    Thank you all. It’s disappointing, but comforting too, to discover one is not alone in one’s little oddities. Might it be that those who seek to solve Cryptic Crossword Puzzles and then wish to discuss what they have achieved, or have not, might be a little odd? If so, perhaps we should be proud to celebrate that. “All the world is strange ‘cept thee and me, and even you are a bit of a funny bugger”. (Someone will correct my mis-remembered mis-quotation, with chapter and verse … I hope). Night night all. I’m going back to watching the rather good remake of “The Browning Version” on TV.

  15. Chunter says:

    The OED has “To ‘vegetate’; to pass the time in mindless or vacuous inactivity, esp. by watching television.” and mentions ‘vegged’ and ‘vegged-out’.

  16. Tim says:

    As usual thanks very much for the insomnia-reducing answers and explanations. I could kick myself for not seeing the alphabetical pattern – if I had I might have advanced into double figures. I just have a couple of questions – firstly do many setters do these two clues in one things (like C and V)? If so, how did they fit in – do they have to be kept together? Also, what does Collie have to do with rust? Finally is there a blog/site somewhere that lists Araucaria’s favourite words/abbreviations? Thanks.

  17. Qaos says:

    Hi Tim,

    The “alphabetical” crosswords are a speciality of Araucaria’s and it’s only the construction of the grid that has forced two clues to begin from the same starting square. In effect, one clue is down and one is across, although you don’t know which to begin with. So CARROT is the answer that goes with the “rust” clue, instead of COLLIE.

    You’re not likely to find a list for a specific setter, but there are several sites that list common abbreviations:

    Crossword Abbreviations on Wikipedia

    EJ’s Reverse List of Abbreviations

    Hope that helps!

  18. Tim says:

    Thanks Qaos. Most helpful indeed!

  19. Simon says:

    “Noontide” is an anagram of “9 (nine) to do”.

    (Yeah, I know, just a few years behind the rest of the comments, but surprised no-one ever pointed this out.)

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