Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,791 (Sat 29 Aug)/Araucaria Bank Holiday Special – Honey-trap

Posted by rightback on September 5th, 2009


Solving time: 70 mins, 4 wrong/missing (45dn, 52ac, 33dn, 1ac)

After 5 minutes I had solved two clues so was quite pleased to get most of this cracked in an hour, especially since I was unfamiliar with several of the thematic names (all artists). Unfortunately I then got stuck in the bottom left corner. and although I eventually spotted ALLEMANDE and RUDOLPH, a remarkably-plausible incorrect entry at 52ac (‘honey-woman’ for HONEY-CHILE) meant that I had an error at 33dn (INTERREGAL) and couldn’t see anything to fit T?E?O at 45dn (TEETH). I also discovered when blogging that my guess at 1ac was nonsense.

The grid contains the full names of no fewer than eleven people who fall into some category of modern art. Given that the grid is both symmetrical and sound (well-connected and with every answer having at least half of its letters checked by a crossing answer), this is an impressive construction, which is perhaps more than can be said for the works of some of the artists in question.

Thank you very much to Andrew and Ciaran who stood in for me for the last two Saturdays.

Music of the Day: I’ve had a listen to Verdi’s 21ac but wasn’t really taken, so instead here’s If Looks Could Kill by 25ac, complete with Warhol-style promo video.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 HAPSBURG – once I’d got the crossing letters I entered ‘Hopebury’ (‘hope’ =’ fortune’, ‘Town’ = ‘Bury’) fairly confidently here; the actual (difficult) wordplay is ‘HAP’S BURG’, with ‘fortune’ = HAP and ‘town’ = BURG (in Chambers as ‘US informal’, but presumably cognate with ‘borough’ and German ‘Burg’, a castle). The Hapsburg family supplied a lot of Holy Roman Emperors.
5 SIEGEWORKS; (I + WEEK + GROSS)* – ‘invest’ means ‘surround, besiege’ in a military sense, which I’d forgotten, so wasn’t confident of this entry at first.
13 ROLLCOLLARS; CO (= ‘firm’) in LL,LL (= ‘student groups’), all in ROARS – I was sidetracked by ‘claps’ and a possible -LLAPS ending here.
14 BARRA + CU + DA – I knew this was going to be a tricky puzzle when I couldn’t even think of the right Scottish island here. In fairness, Barra (in the southern Outer Hebrides) probably wouldn’t be in most people’s top ten.
15 THORNEY; THOR + rev. of YEN – Thorney Abbey in eastern England.
16 HIGH NOON (cryptic definition) – a pun on ‘western’, i.e. a western film.
19 JOKED; O.K. in JED[burgh] – Jedburgh is near this distinctive monument, I think.
21 FALSTAFF; “FALSE TAFF” – Falstaff was an opera by Verdi.
* 23,48 LUCIAN FREUD; LUCIFER (with last two letters swapped) around AN, + U.D.[I.] – using ‘mutiny’ for UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) is hard enough without needing to remove a letter off as well!
25 CAMERA OBSCURA; CAMER[on], + AURA around (OB + SC) – possibly the best artists in the puzzle, although I’m slightly surprised that Araucaria is a fan. With one parochial reference (to the Bullingdon Club at 18dn), two difficult abbreviations (‘ob.’ for ‘obiit’, meaning ‘(he) died’, and sc[ilicet], meaning ‘namely’) and a Latin answer (which is also a type of camera), this clue is classic Araucaria!
32 SCAVENGING; CAVE (= ‘beware’, as in cave canem) for I (= ‘setter’) in SINGING
34 NOODLES (2 defs)
35 MANY-SIDEDNESS; (SIDNEY)* in MADNESS – I originally had ‘many-fieldness’ (a variant of ‘manifoldness’?) and ‘many-lifedness’ in here, thanks to an error at 42dn.
36 GERUND; GER[man] ‘UND’ (= German for ‘and’) – a gerund is a verbal noun, such as ‘replacing’ as used in the clue to 32ac.
38 INVESTOR; IN VESTR[y] around O – nice clue.
40 NO(B)BS – the Pratchett character was new to me, but the wordplay was clear enough.
* 43,8 ANDY WARHOL; AND (= ‘with’) + HOLY WAR with HOL[iday] (= ‘break’) moved to the end – I knew this had to be something to do with ‘holy war’ but couldn’t see the answer until I knew the connection between the thematic answers.
44 VICTORIA; 1 CT (= ‘carat’) + OR, all in VIA (= ‘through’) lovely wordplay.
50 ALLEMANDE; MA in ALLENDE – I had a mistake at 52ac so the wordplay confused me here, but I knew the author Isabel Allende and thought it must be a literary reference I didn’t know. In fact, she is the cousin of Salvador Allende to whom the clue refers, the former president of Chile.
51 GREAT PLAGUE; (PUT A REAL EGG ON)* – a partial definition to the events of 1665, the year before the Great Fire of London.
52 HO + NEY + CHILE – HO for ‘house’ and Marshal Ney are standard crosswordese, but I interpreted ‘with country’ as W (= ‘with’) + OMAN, giving the likely-looking ‘honey-woman’. Even when I couldn’t quite explain my answer to 33dn I didn’t question this one, but this mistake meant that 45dn remained unsolved.
53 STAN’S + TED – as in the airport.
6 INSIGHTFUL; (FLUSHING IT)* – good anagram.
7 GAB ON – I presume this is a reference to the capital Libreville (meaning ‘free town’ in French), but with the intermediate steps missing.
10 S(CUT)ARI – Florence Nightingale worked in Scutari Barracks during the Crimean War.
* 11,29,9 RACHEL WHITEREAD; ACHE in R,L + WHIT + ERE + AD – the first thematic clue I solved (purely from the wordplay), and it meant nothing to me. Having had a look at some of her “art”, I am happy for this to remain the case.
* 12,1 DAMIEN HIRST; (IN HARD TIMES)* – ‘Darien Smith’? ‘Martin Hides’? I kicked myself when I finally got this. Cracking anagram, though.
18 BULLINGDON; N,G,D (initial letters) in BULLION – some club or other at Oxford.
* 22,3 FRANCIS BACON; IS (= ‘lives’) inside FRANC + BACON – a painter as well as a philosopher (presumably the fact that this answer had a definition was the reason for the word ‘may’ in the preamble).
* 24,17 SALVADOR DALI; SAL + VAD (= ‘Voluntary Aid Detachment’) + OR + rev. of LAD, + I (= ‘first’)
26 METRO[polis]
27 SANDMAN; S + AND[a]MAN – refers to the Andaman Islands.
33 INTERREGAL; IN TERRE GA[u]L – I had ‘interregna’ here to fit with ‘honey-woman’ at 52ac, but knew it wasn’t quite right. I knew the phrase Field of the Cloth of Gold but had no idea of the meaning (I thought it was biblical but apparently it was a meeting in France where Henry VIII and his French counterpart tried to impress each other).
* 36,31 GRAHAM SUTHERLAND; GRAND around (HAMS + UTHER + L.A.) – I didn’t know this artist, some of whose work is viewable here, but ‘Uther Pendragon’ is not a name I will ever forget, given that it (or rather my lack of knowledge of it) cost me a place in the final of the Times Crossword Championship a couple of years ago.
37 RUDOLPH; RU[in] + DOLPH[in] – using ‘in short’ like this isn’t really cricket (2 letters of a 4-letter word?!), although I kicked myself when I saw the answer (I’d been toying with ‘ruddish’ and something using the fish ‘rudd’ for ages until I got the crossing ‘L’ from ALLEMANDE). Edit: I take this back. Eileen has fully explained this clue at comment #2 below.
* 39,49 TRACEY EMIN; EYE in C[enti]M[etre], all in TRAIN (= ‘followers’) – I misunderstood the wordplay here when solving, thinking ‘detective’ gave [Dick] ‘Tracey’ (with ‘measure’ = ‘en’), but in fact his name’s spelt ‘Tracy’.
* 41,4 BRIDGET RILEY; BRIDGE, + (LIE)* in TRY – another artist not known to me. Some of her work can be seen here; do not adjust your sets.
* 42,47 SIDNEY NOLAN; (L IN YES AND NO)* – a bit of shuffling of the letters of ‘left in yes’ and ‘no’ yielded ‘Finley Stone’ which went straight in, and was only corrected when I saw the right answer for 35ac which used ‘Sidney’ in its anagram.
45 TEETH (2 defs) – I was left with T?E?O here which looked unlikely but I was convinced the three crossing answers were correct. I went through the alphabet a couple of times and even thought it might be an anagram of ‘Set of’ before eventually resorting to a dictionary and realising the mess I’d made at 52ac and 33dn.
46 PET IT – as in ‘petit fours’ and ‘petit pain’.

20 Responses to “Guardian 24,791 (Sat 29 Aug)/Araucaria Bank Holiday Special – Honey-trap”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback.

    It took me longer than 70 minutes but I got there in the end.

    The one that troubled me most was 13a ROLLCOLLARS which I am still convinced should be two words.

    For a time, I had RACHEL WHITEHEAD which caused me to struggle before I eventually landed 5a SIEGEWORKS.

    I consider this one of the best ever and I now forgive Araucaria for omitting the cedilla in ALENÇON on yesterday’s puzzle.

    Certainly, the names of people and places provide some of the greater challenges but, happily, none of the names in this one were new to me.

    I was so pleased at finishing that, for the first time, I submitted my entry for a prize. I then did the same with the Genius Puzzle so Fingers Crossed.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Rightback – a real tour de force – of a great puzzle.

    I spent a long time getting into this but, once I’d seen DAMIEN HIRST [a cracking anagram, as you say] and got into the theme, I was able to start enjoying it. Fortunately, I’d at least heard of all the artists and knew Graham Sutherland from his tapestry in Coventry Cathedral particularly.

    I loved 37dn! Like you, I would object to two out of four letters being ‘in short’ but, in this case, both RUIN and DOLPHIN were “‘IN’-short” – so that made it a great clue for me.

    [Hope you get at least the dictionary, Bryan! :-) ]

  3. C & J says:

    Rightback in his comments shows himself to be artistically illiterate. What’s more he seems proud of it.

    This was a great puzzle.

  4. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Gosh, that was an excellent blog!

    The last word we got was GERUND (36ac), but only because it had to be it.
    I see the connection between Eng.”and” & Ger.”und”, but haven’t got a clue why I should do this (by the way, I know what GERUND means).
    And why is 32 mentioned in the clue?
    So, please, can someone fully explain 36ac?

  5. Cathy says:

    Another great learning experience! It took me until early Monday morning, but I was thrilled to complete a big Araucaria and discover some new knowledge along the way. I am apparently also artistically illiterate, not having known all of the artists in this puzzle (Salvador Dali was the one that led me to the rest): but I know of them all now (thanks mostly to the Wikipedia page on surrealists!). I admit I had to look up some history on Florence Nightingale to get Scutari and to check meanings on “Hap” and spelling on Hapsburg (I thought it was Habsburg and apparently still can be), not to mention gerund was a new word to me. However I think that’s part of the fun of it: not ashamed to admit my ignorance if it is now a little less great! (After all I’m only a scientist, not literary or classically trained).
    Thanks for the blog Rightback: nice to know the bloggers sometimes scratch their heads at the puzzles too! Cheers :)

  6. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    After the Latin lesson yesterday, I wasn’t going to mention 36ac. but, since you ask …

    As rightback says, the word ‘replacing’, in 32ac, is a gerund, so the definition is “‘Replacing’ in 32′s clue is one”. My problem is that I think that, though ‘replacing’ could in some cases be a gerund, in 32ac’s clue, it’s actually a present participle!

  7. Andrew says:

    Sil, the way I read 36ac is:
    Def: “Replacing in 32′s clue is one” – the word “replacing” is a gerund in the clue to 32ac (actually I’m not sure it is a gerund there: more like a present participle).
    Wordplay: “Ger. und” corresponds to “Eng. and”

    Thanks for the blog, Rightback – this was hard work but very satisfying to finish. I got Tracey Emin and Rachel Whiteread early on and was expecting a list of Turner Prize winners until Salvador Dali turned up.

  8. Eileen says:

    Andrew, that’s two days running we’ve ventured to suggest Araucaria’s wrong!

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Eileen & Andrew.

    I do see the ‘wordplay’, but I am still not convinced why I should switch from English to German in particular (there’s no indication at all to do a thing like that).

    I agree with you both that ‘replacing’ in 32ac is NOT a gerund – it is, in my opinion, not a noun here. So, there’s no point in referring to 32ac.

    Poor clue, I think.
    (but the crossword as a whole was, of course, as enjoyable as ever)

  10. Andrew says:

    Looking up “gerund” in Wikpedia led me to “The Private life of the Gerund“, which some of us may remember from one of the Molesworth books.

  11. Radler says:

    I tried to persuade myself that 32′s clue could be read as “replacing [of]” rather than “[is] replacing”, thus making it a gerund – but it’s a little forced. It would have been better (I think) to have used an example gerund directly in the clue for 36ac. E.g. “Corresponding is one corresponding to…” or maybe “Translating” could have formed a nice surface (and provided a hint to Sil)
    Nevertheless, the Eng. ‘and’ wordplay elicited an appreciative groan from me.

    A very enjoyable solve. “Petit” and “Stansted” were my last two. Not the hardest ones in hindsight, but that’s often the way.

  12. John Pidgeon says:

    If you enjoyed the theme of this puzzle, try this:
    When completed, a relevant image will appear in the centre square. There’s a prize for the first solver who e-mails its name to [email protected]

  13. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Rightback. I found this a really enjoyable puzzle. Had an idea early on that theme would feature names and got SALVADOR DALI quite quickly, which helped. It also helped that I had heard of all the artists. (I happen to love Rachel Whiteread’s work — you might not like it, Rightback, but I don’t think it’s really fair to be so dismissive.) Of the themed clues, my favourite was 19,2. 12,1 was a fiendish anagram!

    52ac – I was thinking HONEY-BUNCH but realised it couldn’t be BUNCH and after checking in the dictionary the penny dropped. (It should have dropped a whole lot sooner, since where I was born that endearment is common.)

    I got the rest of it out except for 5ac. Then finally later in the week I remembered the ‘siege’ sense of ‘invest’ from a previous crossword.

    I was expecting David Hockney to crop up, but there may be an allusion to him in CAMERA OBSCURA, since it is one of Hockney’s contentious theories that many of the old masters used such devices in their work. Anyone who’s interested, here is a link:

  14. Chunter says:

    Thanks, Liz, for reminding me about Hockney. Two more links: (website of Charles Falco, Hockney’s scientific collaborator) and, for something completely different, (scroll down for ‘Articles Refuting David Hockney’).

  15. CLaim says:

    My solving time was two minutes (58 wrong/missing)

    “this is an impressive construction, which is perhaps more than can be said for the works of some of the artists in question.”

    What a smug comment, especially from someone who apparently likes the blandness linked to in “Music” of the Day.

  16. mhl says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog, rightback, and particularly for explaining where the mysterious UD in LUCIAN FREUD came from – a bit much, I agree. Although this wasn’t a bank holiday in Scotland, we fortunately didn’t need more than a couple of sittings to finish it off – the biggest hold-up was from wrongly assuming (as others, it seems, did) that the theme would be Turner Prize winners.

    Andrew: thanks for reminding me of the wonderful gerunds in Molesworth…

    I really like Camera Obscura, but was very disappointed when I saw them live – I’ve rarely seen such an unengaged band. Maybe it would be different seeing them in front of a home crowd :/

  17. liz says:

    Thanks for the links, Chunter! I was quite beguiled by Hockney’s theories when he first published them…but the counter-arguments are also persuasive!

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    There’s always a lot of music in my head.
    After we thought in 52ac HONEY must be the first part of the solution, I got the remaining bit soon after – thinking of music.
    Honey Chile was a hit for Martha & The Vandellas in the Sixties, and ‘Chile’ is also in the title of Jimi Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile.
    Then seeing that Chile was a country as well (in case you wonder, I knew that!), the decision was made.
    So, I thought of music, but did Araucaria?

  19. rightback says:

    Bryan – Chambers gives ‘rollcollars’ as one (unhyphenated) word, which surprised me too.

    Eileen – thanks for explaining 37dn, it’s a much better clue than I thought now I fully understand it.

    Sil – I agree the choice of German in 36ac seems a little arbitrary and might have merited an indicator. Thanks for the music trivia – there’s a vinyl version of Honey Chile by Martha and the Vandellas here.

    Like Andrew and mhl I was expecting Turner Prize winners only for a while (which worried me somewhat!) but Salvador saved the day.

    Radler – PETIT and STANSTED gave me more trouble than I probably indicated in the blog, so it’s good to hear someone else solved that pair late on!

    Sorry if I offended any art connoisseurs with what were meant to be light-hearted comments. I wasn’t referring to the artists in general (Dali, for example, is just amazing) and appreciate that much of this is just a matter of taste but honestly, some of the stuff that is put forward for, say, the Turner Prize is indefensible. (And I’m not a massive fan of Camera Obscura, to be honest, but the name and that video in particular seemed too apt not to choose!)

  20. Dave Ellison says:

    I seem to have had a spate of mispronouncing solutions recently. It was only after listening to your link that I realised it (52a) wasn’t pronounced “Chilly”! I got the letters for SATAN on Friday (from SAT and AN), thought it was pronounced that way and thought I would have to google it. Luckily the penny dropped a second later. Doh, again! It’s a bit like the phenomenon of people not noticing a colour change in hats from one scene to the next, I guess.

    Bridget Riley was my first then Rachel, so I also thought it was some sort of list of prize winners.

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