Posted by Eileen on July 4th, 2009
Something of a treat for me today, to blog an Araucaria prize puzzle [entertaining, as ever] in Rightback’s absence. I can’t even dream of approaching his prodigious solving time – but then I like to savour my solves, or, at least, that’s what I tell myself. When we see a composite clue like the first one, the first thought is that it’s going to be one of the good Rev’s famous long anagrams but this time it’s a paraphrase. I was held up in getting started on that one because, on the first run through, I was trying to see some connection [1dn] between James Bond and fiddlesticks. I had heard of the song but didn’t know much of its background, before googling. The music for today seems to be obvious.
1,8,9,25 SEE WHAT THE BOYS IN THE BACK ROOM WILL HAVE
[And tell them I'm having the same.
Go see what the boys in the back room will have
And give them the poison they name.]
The beginning of a song sung by Marlene Dietrich as Frenchy in ‘Destry rides again’. According to Nigel Rees, Lord Beaverbrook was so infatuated with Marlene Dietrich that he said that her singing of this song was a greater work of art than the Mona Lisa and, apparently, it was he who first referred to the boffins as ‘backroom boys’.
11 ZINGARO: ZING [life] A RO[many]. I was rather concerned by this to begin with because the definition ‘Romany’ seemed to be [very unusually] in the middle but then I realised that the definition is actually ‘him’
12 NULLIFY: NU ['UN' changed!] + FILL [complete] reversed + Y [unknown]
13 ETHIC: hidden in gET HICcups. I wasn’t entirely happy with ‘for’
15 DRYSALTER: DRY [formal] + homophone of psalter [religious book] A drysalter is ‘a dealer in gums, dyes, etc or [obs] in salted or dry meats, pickles, etc’ [Chambers] hence ['former] preserver’
17 TUMMY ACHE: UM [hesitation + MY +AC[count] inside THE
20 GENET: [planta] GENET – the royal family which reigned in England from 1184 to 1485. The GENET is a cat-like mammal of Africa and S Europe
21 CASHIER: double definition
23 ECLIPSE: CLIPS [film extracts] in EE [orientals]
26 CONGA: CON [prisoner] + GA [Georgia - state]
27 THIRD TIME LUCKY: anagram of MILK CURD IT THEY. I really liked this one
1 SWIZZLE STICK: SWIZZLES [cheats] on [followed by] TICK [credit] James Bond famously asked for his Martinis to be ‘shaken, not stirred’
2 EATEN: homophone of Eton
3 HIERARCHY: HIER ['yesterday' in French] + ARCHY [Don Marquis's cockroach - a new one on me, I'm afraid - in the New York Evening Sun early last century] I still can’t do links, so I’ll have to ask you to google, if necessary.
4 TABLOID: anagram of BAD LOT I
5 HOCKNEY: substitute O for A in ‘hackney’, which I knew as a carriage but hadn’t realised it was a horse. With the reference to the Plantagenets earlier, ‘My kingdom for a horse!’ sprang immediately to mind.
6 BERYL: BE [live] + RY + L
7 YEOVILTON: anagram of TO LIVE ['dangerously' made a lovely anagram indicator here] inside YON [that]
10 HYDROTHERAPY: [Philip] ROTH in HYDE [Earl of Clarendon, father-in-law of James II] + anagram of PRAY
14 HEMISTICH: HEM I STI[t]CH: the picture this conjured up – of Araucaria doing embroidery – certainly had me in stitches! I think perhaps ‘needlework’ would have been preferable, because hems don’t really feature in embroidery but I don’t want to delve too deeply and ruin the image. A hemistich is a half-line of poetry.
1 8 CURRANT: CUR [dog] RAN] T[ime] Initially I was unhappy about ‘against’ introducing ‘time’ but then very dimly remembered that I think we said in primary school, ‘I’ll run you to that lamp-post’, making ‘run’ a transitive verb [= 'race'] but I may be misremembering and it may be dialect. I resorted to Chambers and found ‘chase’, hidden very deep.
19 EYE-BEAM: this was not what I expected: I thought that EYE was going to mean ‘glance’ and that an eye-beam was something at the side of a joist and I’d somehow got to equate ‘beam’ with ‘detective’. But it turns out that EYE-BEAM is a glance, so it’s EYE [detective, as in private eye] + BEAM [joist] which leaves me rather unhappy with ‘on side of ‘in a down clue. Edit – please see comment 7, which makes perfect sense – thanks, Neil
22 IDLER: ID [Identity: 'who's who'] + LE ['the' French] + R[ight]
24 PANIC: [his] PANIC: I can’t believe this was one of my last ones to parse!