Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,796 / Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on September 4th, 2009


A devilish theme from Araucaria today, and a puzzle of mixed difficulty, I found, with some rather obscure references.

* = anagram
dd = double definition
< = reverse

8. ON A ROLL dd
9. UNEARTH Hidden in “yoU NEAR THe”
11. TREVISO “TRE VISO” is “three seen” in Italian, and TREVISO is a city (that also happens to be Italian)
13. SATAN SAT + AN. AN =”if” is an archaism often seen in Azed and other “advanced cryptics”, but a bit obscure for a daily.
14. ADVANTAGE VAN T in ADAGE, and a reference to tennis.
16. INTERCEDE INTER (bury) + “seed”
19. SADHU (HAD US)*. A sadhu is a Hindu mystic.
21. LUCIFER “Loose” + IF + ER
24. SLAVERY REV< in SLAY (“put an end to”)
25. ANTBEAR (BANTER A)* Another name for the aardvark.
1. I TAKE IT En prise is a chess term meaning “able to be taken”
2. RHODIAN RHOD(es)IAN. The island is Rhodes.
3. MELIORATE ELI (old priest) + OR in MATE. I’m saying nothing..
4. DEUCE dd – nothing to do with the answer at 2dn
6. LORETTA (TO ALTER)*, and the actress Loretta Young.
7. SOUTH SHIELDS UT in SOH + SHIELDS (gives protection to). UT is an alternative form of DOH (in fact it predates it), and UT and SOH are the tonic and dominant notes of a major scale. As a musician I’ve known this for ever, but it’s perhaps a bit obscure. It took me a long time to spot the wordplay and so decide against NORTH SHIELDS, which also fits the grid.
15. VIENTIANE (NAIVETE IN)*. The capital of Laos.
17. TOCCATA CAT (“one with fur”) in COAT*
18. REFLECT dd
22. RHYME Homophone of “rime”; and “checked” is a rhyme for “reflect” (18dn)

21 Responses to “Guardian 24,796 / Araucaria”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Andrew.

    Re 4d – Isn’t Deuce another name for the Devil?

    I missed out on four: the three foreign places and 14a which now seems obvious but I had the Devil in mind and so I overlooked the tennis allusion.

    And if ALENÇON is correct why not EXÇITED?

    I opted for SOUTH SHIELDS without knowing why.

    And then there’s the lovely LORETTA YOUNG!

    Araucaria really has an eye for actresses of yesteryear (Remember Marlene?). I suspect that he might have some serious explaining to do when he finally meets his Maker.

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for a great blog, Andrew.

    I made rather heavy heavy weather of this by putting in DEVIL for 4dn [with no justification for the 2, of course] after getting 21ac, which then gave me SATAN [I remembered ‘an’ from Shakespeare].
    Even after getting ADVANTAGE, I couldn’t see what it had to do with ‘devil’, so couldn’t unearth UNEARTH and didn’t get EXCITED!

    I remember learning ‘ut’ from a crossword not so long ago – and I remember blogging a puzzle where the answer could be equally North or South Downs – but no ambiguity here.

  3. Andrew says:

    Bryan: yes, I meant to say that “deuce” was a name for the devil. I think it counts as a “minced oath”, as in “what the deuce” (similarly “what the Dickens”).

  4. dialrib says:

    Why is Advantage = after 4? (I could understand ‘after 40′). Thanks.

  5. The trafites says:

    Tough indeed, took me ages – another word charade – ‘inmate’ grrrrr.

    14ac was clever, and still took me ages to associate ‘ADVANTAGE’ with deuce, as I was still thinking devilish thoughts.

    I got 22dn from ‘frost’ but didn’t understand the ‘checked’ part, so thanks for that.

    Also 11ac I got the ‘tre = three in Italian, but where does ‘viso = seen’?


  6. The trafites says:

    dialrib, think tennis – ‘advantage’ comes after a point is won from ‘deuce’.


  7. dialrib says:


  8. Eileen says:


    Re 11ac: I took this as I gather Andrew did: TRE VISO = ‘three seen’ in Italian. My knowledge of Italian is less good than I would like and I just assumed, without checking, that ‘viso’ meant ‘seen’ [from Latin ‘visus’]. I’ve since discovered that ‘viso’ means ‘face’ and seen is ‘visto’, so I can’t now see how the clue works!

  9. Andrew says:

    Eileen, you’re right, VISO=”seen” was just an educated guess on my part; perhaps Araucaria made the same mistake, unless someone has a better explanation.

  10. Chunter says:

    1dn: one of several chess-related clues that we’ve had recently. Not that I’m complainiing: this one gave me a quick start.

    11ac: Eileen – snap! I know Treviso mainly because of their rugby team (Benetton Treviso), a regular but very unsuccessful participant in the Heineken Cup.

  11. The trafites says:

    Ah, I see! When I checked my Italian English dictionary, viso = face as Eileen stated. But now checking my Latin English dictionary we have (excuse missing accents):

    viso, si, sum,v go and look (at), look, view; visit.

    So I guess 11ac is Italian ‘three’ + Latin ‘seen’.


  12. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Nick, that doesn’t work. Your ‘viso’ comes from a different verb and means ‘*I* go to see, etc.’ I was referring to the past participle [visus-a-um] of video, videre, ‘to see’, of which ‘viso’ would be the dative or ablative case and therefore wouldn’t make a lot of sense. I’m being very presumptuous here but I’m daring to think, with Andrew, that Araucaria, as a Classicist, possibly made the same assumption as we did.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I found this pretty hard-going and wouldn’t have finished if I hadn’t hit the check button a few times. Even so, a lot of the wordplay eluded me. I didn’t know ‘ut’ or the meaning of ‘an’ in this sense. DEUCE was the last one I got. I spent ages trying think of something that might link to 2dn.

  14. The trafites says:

    Thanks Eileen, I feel like Brian :D


  15. Eileen says:

    Wonderful, Nick! Thanks for that. :-)

  16. Bryan says:


    I feel much more like Bryan.

  17. cholecyst says:

    trevisto/treveduto/treviso…at least Araucaria got the correct number of c’s and t’s in TOCCATA (Remember FETTUCINI or however it was misspelt?

  18. Ian says:

    Only 4 clues were immediately solved, viz:- 8a, 15d, 19a and 19d.

    I found this very hard going – really tough.

  19. Brian Harris says:

    Pretty tough today. Got about two-thirds in the end, but some I didn’t fill in because they were just guesses I wasn’t entirely sure about – like LORETTA and ANTBEAR and DEUCE and TREVISO. All guessed but not entered. I like to be sure that my answer is right before filling it in the grid.

    I guess that’s the problem I have sometimes with Araucaria – too much “Hmm, is that right?” and not enough “Oh yes! Of course that’s the answer.”

  20. Dave Ellison says:

    Unusually, I didn’t start this till mid afternoon, and did not find it so difficult except for my last three clues. I have noticed this before, starting late seems to be an advantage.

    11a, 26a and 5d I didn’t get. I babel fished SEEN (English to Italian) and this gave VEDUTO, which didn’t help at all. Translating from Italian VISO gives ACE – can that be right?

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Sorry, we were a bit late (again).
    Started yesterday, but got stuck, then tried to finish it this afternoon. And got stuck again, in the NE part of the grid.
    But luckily with a little help from our digital friends …

    Only one minor thing (apart from the major TREVISO thing).
    The more we look at the 6ac clue, the stranger it looks.
    At first we thought ‘alter’ is the anagrind, which it wasn’t.
    But if you read the clue (with that funny ‘s in it) correctly, ‘plays’ is – we think – a noun. We know ‘playing’ is a well-known anagrind, but the noun ‘plays’ as the indicator, feels odd (apart from the fact that ‘plays’ doesn’t really feel good as an anagrind anyway). And if you read ‘plays’ as present tense (which would be better) that ‘s is completely out of place.

    What a very well hidden clue was 9ac (UNEARTH).
    When eventually brought to the surface, we had a slighty different explanation:
    U (text message language) + NEAR + TH (the majority of the word ‘the’).
    Defendable, but the ‘real explanation’ is of course better.

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=""> <strike> <strong>

3 × = twelve