Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,815 (Sat 26 Sep)/Araucaria – The avians have landed

Posted by rightback on October 3rd, 2009


Solving time: 14 mins

The bottom left here took me as long as the rest of the puzzle. There was a birdy theme alluded to by 1ac (ORNITHOLOGIST), with MACAW and SWIFT appearing as answers and nine other answers containing a bird; thematic answers, or part answers, are highlighted below in red.

Music of the day: The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan-Williams.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 ORNITHOLOGIST; OR (= ‘gold’) + NIT (= ‘ass’), + (LOG IS) in HOT (= ‘passionate’) – excellent wordplay.
10 OR BISON – the singer Roy Orbison.
11 GLORIES; (LORE around I) in G.S.
12 DUN + C.E. – I think I’ve only ever come across ‘dun’ meaning ‘to try to get money from’ in crosswords.
13 AUTHENTIC; (U + THE) in (ANTI + C) – not sure ‘class’ for U is quite right.
14 [h]OBOES
16 TWENTY-TWO – the answer to clue 22dn is EIGHT, hence the ‘8’ in this clue. I didn’t pick up on this when solving.
18 ENDEAVOUR; (AN OVERDUE)* – very smooth clue.
19 PUT-IN – I liked this one. (In rugby a scrum-half does the ‘put-in’ to the scrum, which according to the laws must be straight and according to convention must be anything but.)
20 DEMARCATE; AT in DEMARC[h]E – I couldn’t get ‘delineate’ out of my head here, nor could I solve the crossing clues that would have helped me. Thinking ‘Diplomatic’ gave the initial ‘D’, as on car number plates, was another red herring.
23 STEAL (hidden)
24 COCKEYE, from SOCKEYE – my salmon knowledge let me down here, although ‘cock’ (from the theme) was a help.
25 G + ALLOWS – not convinced by ‘God’ = G; is there any dictionary support for it?
26 SWALLOW-TAILED; TAIL in SWALLOWED – ‘Entertaining X, Y’ here means ‘Y, holding X’.
3 IS + SUE
4 HENNA; rev. of ANNE H[athaway], Shakespeare’s wife
6 GOOSE-STEP; (GO OP) around SESTE[rce] – to walk like this, in a clip from quite possibly the funniest half-hour of television ever made.
7 SWIFT; W[hite] in SIFT – Jonathan Swift, who wrote Gulliver’s Travels.
15 ST + A + IRWELL – somehow I was ignorant of the River Irwell, which flows between Manchester and Salford. This is especially disappointing since I must have walked over it earlier this year when I visited the (excellent) Lowry Museum.
16 TROCADERO; T + (CADE in RORO) – the rebel is Jack Cade of the 15th century.
17 TITLE ROLE; “TIGHT’LL ROLL” – nice homophone.
21 MACAW; MA (= ‘hen’) + CAW – I just couldn’t think of anything for ‘hen’ here.
22 EIGHT – pieces of eight, and an ‘eight’ as a rowing boat.
23 SOL + TI – number one crossword conductor George Solti.

26 Responses to “Guardian 24,815 (Sat 26 Sep)/Araucaria – The avians have landed”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks once again Rightback. Was it twice as hard as last week’s? At the risk of stating the obvious, there are 22 players in a game of football.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, I romped through this which I found particularly easy for a Prize Puzzle set by The Master.

    Even so, it took me much longer than 14 minutes. I suspect that you have a team of stenographers labouring away doing the mundane work of entering the soluions as you dictate. Or maybe it’s just your cleaning lady? If I am right this makes you The Great Dictator.

  3. Bryan says:

    Time-wise, I’ve just recalled that I did this on the train from Portslade to Clapham Junction which takes about 60 minutes and even after chatting to my fellow passengers I still had lots of time to spare.

    I’m doing the same journey again today and this time I will check the time.

  4. Mr Beaver says:

    Actually 9d is PSYCHOANALYST,as I’m sure you knew.

    Started well with this one, but 16d and 25a eluded us, and I’m afraid I still don’t get the derivation of 20a !

  5. Chunter says:

    Mr Beaver,

    ‘Diplomatic move’ is ‘démarche’, or DEMARCE ‘without aspiration’.

    19ac: rightback, I share your dislike of crooked feeds!

  6. Eileen says:

    Re 25ac: I couldn’t find G as an abbreviation for ‘god’ in any of my dictionaries, either, but I’ve just done some googling and found ‘OMG: Oh my God, in electronic text messaging’ and – I loved this one – in a list of medical abbreviations, ‘GOK: God only knows’!

  7. Chunter says:

    Hi Eileen,

    There’s also the old joke about CMG standing for ‘Call Me God’, KCMG for ‘Kindly Call Me God’ and GCMG for ‘God Calls Me God’.

  8. Elspeth says:

    The solving times quoted on this site are impressive, but do the solvers have any fun? Our normal pattern is to start after Saturday lunch, when we usually get a few clues but occasionally get no further than putting in the dividing lines. With our Sunday morning cup of tea in bed (the best bit!) we usually spot a few more. We have a look at it throughout the week, usually finishing it by Thursday but sometimes early enough to send it off. There was one occasion when we finished an Araucaria jig-saw type puzzle in one half-hour sitting and it spoiled our fun for the rest of the week.

  9. Chunter says:

    26ac is a reference to the swallow-tailed kite, a species new to me.

  10. Mick H says:

    Aren’t all kites swallow-tailed? The red kites you see over the M40 certainly are.
    Re comment 4, is that an example of a Freudian slip?

  11. don says:

    Elspeth, I couldn’t agree more.

    It seems a waste of ten minutes or so to solve a crossword so quickly – why bother? ‘Solving times’, justified by claims of ‘only letting you know how hard I found it’ (although I fail to see how that applies to ‘me and thee’), portray an air of smugness usually only found on ‘another ‘ blog.

  12. Chunter says:

    Mick H,

    Not really, to judge from and But I haven’t been lucky enough to see the former ones in flight!

  13. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. I enjoyed this. TITLE ROLE was one of the last ones I got — those homophones again! Pleased to able to be able to finish without looking anything up — was on holiday!

  14. Mick H says:

    OK Chunter, I see your point – the red kite’s a mere house-martin next to your swallow-tailed kite.

  15. Henry says:

    Don and Elspeth, i completely agree. Although i do find it amusing. Surely if you’re that bright, the need to let other people know is completely inconsequential!

  16. Petero says:

    I too was dubious about the G in 25A; the possibility that occurred to me at the time was the use of G (or, at least, G–) as a euphemism in the likes of Tristram Shandy. However, I do like the medical GOK – thanks for that one, Eileen!

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi Petero

    Yes, I thought it was wonderful. This is the context:

    GM-CSF Granulocyte-Monocyte – Colony Stimulating Factor
    GMP Guanosine monophosphate
    GN Glomerulonephritis
    GNRH Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone
    GOAT Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test
    GOD Glucose Oxidase
    GOK God only knows
    GOMER Get Outta My E.R. i.e. patient who frequently presents at the ER near death but manages to pull through each and every time.
    GORD Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    GOT Glutamic-oxalacetic transaminase
    GP General practitioner
    GPT Glutamic-pyruvic transaminase
    Gr Grain
    GRAV I Indicating woman during first pregnancy

    Seriously, though, if this is the ‘justification’, it doesn’t really wash, does it [cf P = ‘please’ from PTO?]?

    But – if we’re happy to allow the abbreviation, I think it was a great clue!

  18. rightback says:

    Sorry about the “Freudian slip” – I had to stop myself writing in ‘psychologist’ or ‘psychiatrist’ when I solved this, then made precisely that error when I blogged it.

    Yes, I very much enjoyed solving this, thanks Elspeth! I’m afraid I don’t get Sunday lie-ins or weekend free time very often. Don, why on earth should this have been a waste of ten minutes? As well as enjoying it, I also learnt two or three new words/names.

    Thanks also for the birdy links, Chunter – very educational – and the attempts to justify ‘God’ = G, but I think Eileen’s right that it doesn’t wash.

  19. Qaos says:

    I’m not sure linking solving times and enjoyment is particularly fair. For those that like their Sat xword to last several days, completing it in an hour would surely feel like one had been robbed. A bit like going to the cinema only to find the film was 15 mins long.

    However, quick solvers are surely enjoying xwords in other ways. Just because they’re making the connections faster, doesn’t mean it’s less fun. They just have more time to spend on other more advanced xwords which might tax them further. No-one accuses Usain Bolt of not enjoying running the 100m in 9.58s just because your average person would take 15s+ :-).

    So I think people should applaud Rightback’s times. It’s not like he’s posting them during other people’s posts or sites – we are reading a specific crossword solving blog here.

  20. Qaos says:

    Also, as a bit of fun, try and work out your “Rightback-number” – the number you have to multiply Rightback’s time by to get your own solving time. It’s not quite a Bacon number, but when Rightback goes from 7 mins to 14 mins and you’ve gone from 2 hrs/days to 3 hrs/days, you know you’ve had a good week :-).

  21. Bryan says:

    Amid several interruptions, I spent 30 minutes yesterday on the Prize Puzzle when I lost interest with 2 clues unsolved.

    Usually, I do the Cryptics over breakfast but I realise that there’s always the possibilty of encountering a word (especially a name or a place) that’s new to me but that’s part of the pleasure.

    The other part is in discovering from this site what and why I missed out. I get absolutely no pleasure from doing the all too easy puzzles.

    Please, everyone, Keep Up the Good Work!

  22. rrc says:

    16a trocadero beat me completely even when you google the word no such restaurant appears its not in Bradfords, neither is it in Chambers, research failed to get me anywhere near the clue. Shame really because the rest I thoroughly enjoyed dpoing.

  23. Qaos says:

    Hi rcc,

    Sometimes Wikipedia is better for this type of word than Google or Chambers. If you look at Trocadero, it shows what else Trocadero can be that you might not be aware of.

  24. MR says:

    Amid several interruptions, I spent 30 minutes yesterday on the Prize Puzzle when I lost interest with 2 clues unsolved.

    Usually, I do the Cryptics over breakfast but I realise that there’s always the possibilty of encountering a word (especially a name or a place) that’s new to me but that’s part of the pleasure.

    The other part is in discovering from this site what and why I missed out. I get absolutely no pleasure from doing the all too easy puzzles.

    Please, everyone, Keep Up the Good Work!

  25. maarvarq says:

    I was fixed on “stairhead” for 15dn. A stairwell by definition goes the entire length of a flight of stairs, not just the end, surely?

  26. Nick Levi says:

    Hello all, have just returned from long trip to check this which I completed before going. Look up Masonic Lodges. As well as the square and compasses they have a large G which represents God. Perhaps the good cleric is also a Mason.

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