Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,831 – Araucaria

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on October 15th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

An interesting theme today, I quite like having unclued elements when it’s clear which clues they apply to!  The old crossword staple of flower=river is used to good effect too.


1. SIDESHOW. S + IDES + HOW.  The Ides of a month fall on either the 13th or 15th.
5. THAMES.  (wi)THA MES(sage).  Weller is a character from the Pickwick Papers, presumably he’d have pronounced ‘visage’ as ‘wisage’?
11. RABBITER. RABBI + TER(ritory).
22. YELLOW. YELL + OW. Didn’t know this was a river.
24. ORANGE. ORANG + E. Guess it’s an orange flower?
25. FITZALAN. FIT + Z + A LAN(guage).


2. DANUBE. DAN + U + BE.
4. ON THE CHEAP. (e)ON + THE + C + HEAP.
15. ARMY WORM. MARRYWOM(an)*. Some sort of crop parasite.
19. AMAZON. Double def but ‘bookseller’ would be better.
20. DAHLIA. (AIL + HAD)<

27 Responses to “Guardian 24,831 – Araucaria”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Ciaran, I found this pretty hard, even though none of the “flowers” were too obscure.

    I read 4dn as (m)ONTH EC HEAP

  2. Andrew says:

    .. and (24ac) the Orange River is the longest river in South Africa. (Same etymology as the Orange Free State I presume.)

  3. IanN14 says:

    Agreed about Amazon. How could it be clued as a verb?
    Also didn’t like 25 ac. “Z” = “last” AND “alan” = “part of a language”…

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Ciaran, I thoroughly enjoyed this even though I was beaten by 14a and 13d. I’ve never heard of Scillonian.

    Re 22a the YELLOW River is in China.

    Re 24a the ORANGE River is in South Africa.

    I thought that The Master was very tricky in mixing floral and watery flowers. I got a couple of rivers and I then had my mind fixed on them all being rivers.

  5. Andrew says:

    Oldies like me may also remember “Yellow River” as a chart-topper in 1970.

  6. liz says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. I got a few rivers early on, then CROCUS made me realise that the theme was going to be flowers in both senses. Failed to spot some of the wordplay, didn’t get 25ac at all and only managed 13dn and 15dn by hitting the check button.

    Incidentally, the Scillonian is also the name of the ferry that links Penzance to the Scillies — a notoriously bumpy ride.

    I agree that ‘bookseller’ would have been better in 19dn. I liked the neatness of 20dn very much. Plenty to enjoy.

  7. IanN14 says:

    …also, 23ac. could use an anagram indicator.
    Oh, and 27ac. Religious boy = “nun dan”?..

  8. mike says:

    An oddly uneven xword for me veering from the sublime to the ridiculous.

  9. Andrew says:

    Ian – “religious” can be a noun meaning a nun.

  10. Phil says:

    I dont get the Sam Weller reference in 5 across – what’s visage or wisage got to do with it? Neither did I know that that Fitzalan-Howards are/were the Dukes of Norfolk – 25 across – I clearly move in the wrong circles!

  11. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Andrew, didn’t know that.
    Also, I think I may have been a bit hasty about 23ac.
    I suppose “giving” (as in yielding) could indicate an anagram…

  12. muck says:

    Tough one: finished about half

  13. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Phil – I seem to remember Sam Weller had some sort of odd form of speech, so ‘Sam Weller’s face’ could be ‘wisage’.

  14. rob lewis says:

    Sam Weller is Pickwick Papers is always being characterised by using the Cockney ‘v’ instead of the traditonal W sound – so without the Wellerism ‘wi-th a mes-sage’ becomes Thames as wisage is removed. Sam Weller also pronounces ‘v’ as ‘w’ as ‘wery’ for ‘very’ – so the face aspect ‘hasn’t appeared’. persoannly I spotted Thames in the clue and didn’t really worry after that :-)

  15. Dave Ellison says:

    Enjoyed this much more than yesterday’s, though I still found it fairly tough going. Had to cheat on 13d and also didn’t get 25a.

  16. rightback says:

    This was enjoyable but _hard_. I had to leave it with SALVIA and MEKONG unsolved (both unknown to me, but should have been gettable from the wordplay – I liked ‘King’s follower’ = KONG when I saw the answer).

    On the downside, the definition for AMAZON is awful & like IanN14 I don’t like ‘part of a language’ = ALAN[guage] or ‘last’ = ‘Z’, though (like ‘first’ = ‘A’) this latter is an Araucarian staple. I agree with the original view that 23ac would have benefited from an anagram indicator – ‘giving’ is really no different to ‘is’ or ‘equals’. ‘Administration’ in 13dn isn’t much better.

  17. Ian says:

    Typical mischievousness from Araucaria. Normally when I see the word flower inserted in a clue I always think of a river. Now comes along a puzzle using both rivers and bloomers!! Damn!

    I took me over two hours. Even the hidden clues were harder than usual.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not only did we miss out 4 words, we even had one completely wrong (1ac).
    We found YELLOW unacceptable, nobody talks about the Yellow as a river. ORANGE is slightly different because people sometimes call it just the Orange.

    In this crossword with several boys, two of them were identical: Dan in DANUBE and Dan in INUNDANT. Not very elegant.

    Why is ‘Boy out of hospital’ KENNET, when we have to take the H out of the boy?

    In 8dn the solution should be SOS+A+YIN+G, we think.
    (But , of course, thank you for the blog, Ciaran)

  19. Radler says:

    Sil – I read “out of hospital” as using “out” in the sense of depleted / all gone /run out of etc.

  20. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    I’d be interested to know what you had for your ‘completely wrong’ 1ac. I had no problem with the first part of the clue but it seemed to lead to SIDESWAY [no one seems to have challenged HOW = ‘method’], which I didn’t find in any dictionary but googling told me it was ‘the lateral movement of a structure under the action of lateral loads’ – not very satisfactory but equally convincing – I don’t really think of a sdeshow as an ‘action’ [activity, perhaps?].

    I didn’t mind Yellow river but I do share your doubts about KENNET. [However, I’ve just read Radler’s suggestion and that makes sense to me.]

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Radler, I can see that.
    But what about the “of” then?
    If it’s the “running out” of H, “out” must be seen as a noun.
    And that is probably possible.
    But then the clue is something like “Boy” with the “outgoing” of H.
    I fear, Araucaria used this construction for great surface reading, meanwhile assuming that the solver’s intuition would overrule the correct use of language.
    I know (and I agree) that this is Cryptic Land.
    But I don’t want IN to be the same as OUT.
    (by the way, initially we thought that the Boy probably would be positioned
    outside the H)

  22. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #20:
    Hi Eileen,
    We had “sedition” for 1ac.
    We thought, maybe 13th or 15th method had something to do with a book or The Book, therefore edition.
    Anyway, a bit of pity that I have to tell you this.
    Because, there was potential for another Crypticlue (‘second edition’) …..
    Never mind.
    (by the way, still not totally convinced by 21dn)

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    Re 1ac: yes, I see what you mean – and I’ll forget that you mentioned it! [My classical background led me immediately to IDES!]

    Re 21dn:the ‘of’ goes with the ‘out’. A shopkeeper might say, ‘We’re out of bananas’, as in the words of the song, ‘Yes, we have no …’.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dear Eileen,

    I am completely convinced re 21dn now.
    Your example did the trick.

    Re IDES, I did Greek and Latin when I was at secondary school in the sixties, but forgot a lot of it since, like 13th/15th = IDES.
    But then you’re a real classicist (as is Mr Graham).

    Don’t mind about the Crypticlue.
    I have lots of other ideas for this competition (in which sometimes my clues (annoyingly so) have been edited, like the Desperate Romantics one, which is just not right as it is presented now on the Cryptica site).

    By the way (#2), today again ‘economising’ (like in yesterday’s Cinephile – but apparently no-one was interested in that one (which I find a bit strange) apart from Gaufrid, you & me – because after all it is still The Rev)

  25. Davy says:

    I was not at all happy with 1ac although I’m a great fan of Araucaria. SIDESWAY would have been a much better answer but I’m not sure if it’s a proper word ie second(s), ides of March and ‘way’ for method.
    Also a different explanation for 4dn. It’s month (head off) = onth and EC for City with heap for pile.

  26. liz says:

    Eileen, how nice to hear from you! At the risk of going off topic, where have you been? Missed your wise words and commentary.

  27. Uncle Yap says:
    The Yellow River or Huang He / Hwang Ho (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Huáng Hé; Mongolian: Hatan Gol, Queen river[1][2]) is the second-longest river in China

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