Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,749 (Sat 11 Jul)/Araucaria – Pompey the grate

Posted by rightback on July 18th, 2009


Solving time: Gave up on 3dn and 6dn after 15 mins.

Maybe I should have spent longer on the two I couldn’t solve before turning to references, but the problem was that there were several crossing letters of which I was unsure. This was especially frustrating as the first three quarters of this puzzle fell out very quickly, and I might have been on course for an Araucaria ‘PB’ before getting stuck at the top. Best clue: 20/21dn (TENANT FARMER).

Music of the Day: It has to be some 1dn (DANCE MUSIC) in 4/8dn (SLOW TIME) so here’s Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon, described by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke as the ‘sexiest song ever written’ which is good enough for me. If you don’t like that, here’s Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 25 Slow Dance Songs Ever, or alternatively I’m sure there’s some classical saraband or something which might be suitable, but someone else will have to nominate one.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

10 ENNUI; EN + NUI[t], the French words for ‘in’ and ‘night’
11 CAT’S-PAW – I guessed this but wasn’t confident as I didn’t know the meaning, which apparently is ‘a person who is used by another’, from a story of a monkey using a cat to take chestnuts from a fire, hence the definition ‘Tool for handling’. I also lost time from a confident ‘saw’ for the second part, having a possible crossing ‘W’ from guessing that 4dn might be ‘slow’.
12 TITMICE; anag. of C (= ‘about’) + (TIME IT) – I got there eventually but only having dallied over ‘tomtits’ for a while, seeing a possible ‘tomcat’ connection with the (connected) previous clue.
13 MARRY (2 defs) – another where I nearly fell for a wrong answer, this time ‘match’, which seemed to fit both ‘Tie’ (as in a cup-tie) and ‘Tie [the] knot’. ‘Marry’ is an old word for ‘indeed’.
14 FIRST MATE; (ST MAT[thew]) in FIRE – this clue requires ‘Inflame’ to be split into two words, giving ‘In flame’, i.e. ‘In FIRE’. The word ‘oddly’ is there because a ‘first mate’ might be ‘second in command’.
16 SECOND IN COMMAND; SECOND (= ‘moment’), + COMMA (= ‘stop’) in (INN + D). I spotted this from the crossing letters and enumeration rather than the clue.
19 CAT + ARR + HAL – ‘Prince’ for ‘Hal’ (Henry V before his coronation in; ‘Shakespeare’s plays) is classic crosswordese.
21 FEOFF; E in F OFF – an old word for a subject’s land. ‘Rude dismissal’ amused me!
22 LONG HOP – when solving I thought ‘part of 1 [DANCE MUSIC]’ indicated [hip]HOP, but on looking again I think it’s actually ‘DANCE [music]’ = HOP. A long hop is an easily-dispatched ball in cricket, also known as a ‘four-ball’, ‘lollipop’ or (my favourite) ‘pie’, as ably demonstrated by most of England’s “attack” in the first Ashes Test last week.
23 BARRETT; rev. of (TERRA in T.B.) – the birth-name of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
24 ERNIE; I in ERNE – Lough Erne is an Irish lake; Ernie was the Premium Bond computer.
1 DANCE MUSIC; (I’M FALSELY)* around N – good surface reading.
2 TAR + TAR + I/C
3 POMPEY (3 defs) – the Roman leader Pompey, slang for ‘Portsmouth’ and a barman in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t know the last reference here and thought it might be a reference to a place in Hampshire which wouldn’t give me much chance either, so didn’t spend too long wrestling with this (especially as I was doubtful over the crossing ‘P’), although I did try putting something in TOY (= ‘play’) for a while.
4/8 SLOW TIME – this baffled me when solving, although I guessed the answer from ‘Lento’. After some Googling I discovered that Keats’s Ode to a Grecian Urn begins “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time”.
6 TEETOTUM; TEETOT[al] + UM – I should really have got this, despite not knowing the word, but I forgot that in Araucarian ‘nearly’ just means ‘more than 50% of the word’ and was looking for a 7-letter word fitting -E-T-T- meaning ‘dry'; ‘testate’ didn’t quite cut it, although curiously ‘testatum’ is a word.
7 ANGINA (hidden)
14 FLIGHT PATH (cryptic definition)
15 END OF STORY; “Y” = “WHY” – the online version had some white space in the middle of the clue, which might have caused confusion in a harder clue.
17 NORTH SEA; (HARETON’S)* – Hareton rang a bell although I couldn’t place him. Fortunately this stuck out as an anagram.
18 ABOVE PAR; rev. of PEV[sner] in A BOAR – another name I didn’t know, architecture guru Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, although again it didn’t matter.
20/21 TENANT FARMER; (RAFT ENTER MAN)* – fantastic clue, especially the definition (‘Tiller for another’).
23/22 BEAU + LIE + U – a curiously-pronouned village down south.

10 Responses to “Guardian 24,749 (Sat 11 Jul)/Araucaria – Pompey the grate”

  1. Crypticnut says:

    Thanks rightback. A great puzzle I thought.
    Like you I had trouble with 6d – caused an “a-ha” moment when the penny finally dropped.
    I guessed 3d from the crossing letters and the roman part of the clue and found out later that it is also a place in Hampshire.
    Got 13a from “tie knot” but couldn’t see the connection to “indeed” until now. Thank you for adding to my education.
    Rude dismissal caused much mirth also.

    Now to tackle this week’s Paul.

  2. Bryan says:

    I thought that this was GREAT and I managed most of the puzzle fairly quickly but then I got stuck with 23a and 23/22d.

    What really threw me was my assumption that ‘for everyone’ in 23/22d would mean ‘ALL’ but eventually I remembered BEAULIEU – which I had once visited many years ago – and that was it!

    I do enjoy discovering new words from their clues, like 21a.

    Many thanks Araucaria (should you drop by) and Rightback.

  3. The trafites says:

    Being from/living in Pompey, I thought this was great – and Beaulieu is commonly known ‘dain’ here, so I had no problems with that.

    4/8 was my last entry (it had to be SLOW TIME, but why?), and again google came to the rescue… what a clue that was.


  4. Chunter says:

    22ac: Long hops are rare in top-level cricket. (

    23ac: Oddly enough there’s a Barrett’s disease (of the oesophogus).

  5. Chunter says:

    23ac: I meant ‘oesophagus’ of course!

  6. enitharmon says:

    Hareton is a character – two characters actually I think – in Wuthering Heights, a fact which slowed me down considerably here.

  7. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. I also was misled at 11ac, thinking it must be some kind of ‘saw’, but eventually got it, along with POMPEY. The other one I struggled with for quite a time was BEAULIEU, although I do know the place. I liked 15dn a lot and 20, 21dn. TEETOTUM was a new word for me and only got by googling.

  8. Neil says:

    “Gave up on 3dn and 6dn after 15 mins.” says ‘rightback’.
    Persevere, young man!
    It might have taken me much of the day, and some of the next (given interruptions for feeding and such), but I did get it all done without giving up; even if I did need to seek some corroboration from reference sources now and again.
    15 minutes! It would take me that carefully to inscribe the answers, from the given solutions, into a blank grid. I’ll grant you that 6dn required some working out (as none of us remembered having heard of the word before), but 3dn was gettatable, given some lateral thinking, instinct and leaps of faith.
    Thank you for your detailed and comprehensive post (I still don’t know which is a ‘post’ or which is a ‘blog’). I enjoyed very much that we appeared to be in agreement; except, of course in regard to 3dn and 6dn. [smiley grin].

  9. enitharmon says:

    I suppose nobody reads Through the Looking Glass much these days, which is a shame. “Are you a child or a teetotum?” demands the sheep/shopkeeper of Alice.

  10. rightback says:

    Neil is quite right, of course. The problem is that solving and blogging these puzzles takes a while, so when I get a window in which to do it I like to get it all done in one go, which sometimes means I have to give up sooner than I’d like.

    Thanks for the Alice quote, enitharmon!

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