Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,848 – Araucaria

Posted by Ciaran McNulty on November 4th, 2009

Ciaran McNulty.

A cracking effort from Araucaria, that left me scratching my head for most of my lunchtime today.

There’s often debate about what sort of knowledge is acceptable to assume on the part of the solver – I’m not sure how kosher it is to expect us to know about wartime cabinet members, but for me it was still a fun crossword with a bit of  research.

1. HERBERT MORRISON. HERB + TERM* + ORRIS + ON.  ‘On’ as ‘added’ just about works.
2. LARAMIE. L(A RAM)IE.  Never heard of the place but apparently it’s in Wyoming.
10. MAIN FORCE. Double def, I guess?
12. VISA. (ad)VISA(ble).
21. TRIP. Prelapsarian normally means ‘in Eden’, but literally means ‘Before the fall’.
22. NOT WHILE I’M ALIVE HE AIN’T. HOMEWHENALLINITIATIVE*. Famous quote, apparently! Took a look on google to confirm for me.
25. CHURCHILL. C(HUR)C + HILL.  Ben is re-used to mean Ben-Hur and ‘hill’. As well as being PM, Churchill wrote and painted (and founded my Alma Mater).
27. PENTARTH. PEN + ART + H(is). Town in Wales.
29. SCEPTRE. SPECTRE with P and C swapped.


1. HIS OWN WORST ENEMY. HI + SOWN + ROW< + STEN + E(ast) + MY. Excellent!
5. LEITMOTIV. “LIGHT” + M.o.T. + IV. Hadn’t seen the -iv spelling before.
6. RIFT.  Not sure about this, there’s a saying ‘the rift in the lute’ but it seems weak.
13. BRAND IMAGE. BRAN + DIM(AG)E.  A dime is 2 nickels.  Not sure the def quite fits.
15. UNBOOKISH. U.N. + ? + SH.  Not sure about this, ‘his body’ is the UN, and most of the letters from BOOKI are in his name…
16. DEATH CAP. double def.
20. AMPERE. AM + PERE. Bilingual refers to the fact the answer switches language midway.
23. WALES. W(h)ALES. Not my fatherland, but it is some people’s (“Land of my fathers”, etc).
24. SCAR. Presumably a reference to Scarborough.

43 Responses to “Guardian 24,848 – Araucaria”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks, Ciaran.
    I liked the little theme; not too difficult to find out about.
    15ac. I think has to be “B” “OO” and “KI” are all “pieces” of Ban Ki-Moon, but not necessarily in the right order.
    (Anyone got any better ideas?).
    If it is, it’s absolutely outrageous, but you have to laugh.
    As “libertarian as they come…
    (Almost as odd as the “an omelette” clue from a few months ago).
    Also “BEV” for “some drinks”?

  2. IanN14 says:

    Oh, and also…
    Bevin’s constituency was Penarth, in Wales.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Ciaran, I thought this was truly wonderful. An absolute delight with Arry at his very best.

    It took me longer than usual but I enjoyed every minute.

    Of course, I fell headlong into every trick that Arry had set up: I entered LEITMOTIF (5d) BLACK CAP (16d) and ELASTICATE (3d) before the pennies finally dropped.

    I’d never heard the Ernie Bevan quote before but I thought it marvellous. It was the last one that I got.

    All puzzles should be this good.

  4. Ciaran McNulty says:

    Bryan – I put BLACK CAP too, I didn’t check if it’s a real toadstool or not. I also put LEITMOTIF but it’s a good example of why you should only write clues in properly if you have a convincing explanation – I use pencil for guesses.

  5. Gazza says:

    8d. Should be in the plural. Confrontational features is presumably a reference to “eyeball to eyeball”.

  6. Andrew says:

    I agree with Ian’s interpretation of the “pieces of Ban Ki-Moon”, and that it’s so outrageous as to be somehow ok. This was good fun – I knew the gist of the Bevin quote, so getting 25ac and 18ac (in that order) led me to filling most of the grid pretty quickly.

    BEV is presumably “short” for BEVY, as in “let’s go out for a few bevies”.

  7. Rob says:

    2a ‘The Man From Laramie’ is a fairly well-known
    Western (starring James Stewart).

  8. Andrew says:

    10ac is more of a charade than a dd – MAIN = “what supplies water”, FORCE = “waterfall” (e.g. High Force in the Tees Valley),

  9. Bryan says:

    Oh dear, I’ve only just realised that I should have entered BEVIN instead of BEVAN.

    But I got everything else right,

  10. BarryW says:

    Anyone who can remember the wartime cabinet will remember “The Man from Laramie” – the theme music was a hit song.
    The rift/lute is from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King: “It is a little rift within the lute, that by and by will make the music mute”

  11. IanN14 says:

    …please forget comment @2.
    Simply isn’t true.
    Don’t know where I got that from…
    Also, Andrew @ 6, yes, except I think it’s spelled “bevvies” (A bevy is a collection of beautiful ladies, apparently) presumably short for beverages?
    Even so, it’s a bit of a stretch to define “some drinks”.

  12. NeilW says:

    IanN14, in the hotel trade, “Food and Beverage” I have heard abbreviated as both “F & B” and “Food and Bev”

    Anyone else not like 24dn?

  13. rrc says:

    Another great crossword but even with the check facility 22 beat me

  14. Andrew says:

    Sorry but I hated this. Tried it over lunch with a colleague and both agreed that it wasn’t worth the effort. From now on I’m checking the Guardian before buying and if Araucaria has set the crossword I’ll get the Times or Telegraph. I’ll be happy never to see a clue such as 6d, 13d, 15d, and 24d again. And how does 10a work? The main (sea) does not supply water to waterfalls, the water comes from inland and flows towards the sea. Dreadful.

  15. liz says:

    Thanks, Ciaran. I was another one who was held up for a time by putting BLACK CAP for 16dn.

    Really lovely puzzle, I thought. The only wordplay that eluded me was the clue for RIFT, so thanks BarryW for the explanation.

    Like Andrew, I thought ‘pieces of Ban Ki-Moon’ was so funny that you could forgive Araucaria for taking quite so much liberty! Especially given the sheer brilliance of 1,11.

  16. ray says:

    IanN14, Andrew
    isn’t it that drinks are bevvies; so some drinks is part of bevvies, hence BEV ?

  17. Paul (not Paul) says:

    I enjoyed filling in todays answers but what did the clues have to do with it?

  18. Andrew says:

    To my alter ego – as I tried to explain in #8, the “main” is “what supplies water” (as in water main – not main=sea), and “force” is a name for a waterfall.

    Ray – yes, “bev” is “some bevvies”. Rather loose, but Araucaria uses this trick a lot.

  19. Ralph G says:

    I thought this was a bit hard on solvers who were not readig the “Manchester Guardian” in the 1940s but the Bevin quote does give you the flavour of politics in that era. Should be in the Penguin “Dictionary of Modern Quotations” but isn’t.
    Bevin sat for Central Wandsworth, it says here. Does that mean there were MPs for North and South Wandsworth etc? Aneurin Bevan sat for Ebbw Vale, of course.

  20. IanN14 says:

    ray @16, yes, that’s what I thought, but I don’t think it’s very satisfactory. It’s asking you to think of a synonym for a word in the clue, and then to use only “some” of it? (That way lies madness, I tell you).

    Neal @12, sorry, never heard of “Food & Bev” and it’s not in any (non-catering) dictionary…

  21. cholecyst says:

    Coincidentally BBC TV broadcast “Into the Storm” last night – a programme about Churchill as serving and defeated PM. Did anyone spot Herbie Morrison or Ernie Bevin?

  22. cholecyst says:

    Or was it the night before last?

  23. Brian Harris says:

    Pretty tough going today, but a brilliant puzzle, given the inclusion of an exchange between two politicians, plus their names. For once, I do bow to the genius of the master. Annoyingly, couldn’t get the final clue (6 down) because I had MAIN SURGE rather than MAIN FORCE. I thought it was MAINS (as in the water mains) + URGE.

    Anyway, very enjoyable, albeit difficult today. Hats off to the Rev.

  24. Phil says:

    This was fun but I would have struggled to get this on the bus without access to google etc to find the quotes and to be able to correct black cap.

  25. IanN14 says:

    ..and what’s even more remarkable about 15d. is that the surface reading is such enjoyably daft nonsense.
    You have to admire the man’s chutzpah…
    (I hope none of you other setters will try and get away with it?).

  26. Ian says:

    Two relatively straighforward Araucaria puzzles on the bounce!

    Here’s a link to the Bevin quote about Morrison which contextualizes the remark:-

    Robert Boothby, Boothby: Recollections of a Rebel (1978)

    Of the Labour leaders, Arthur Greenwood was the nicest, but apt to be tight. Ernest Bevin and Herbert Morrison loathed each other. The story that when someone remarked that Morrison was his own worst enemy, Bevin said, “Not while I’m alive he ain’t”, is true.

  27. Richard - Strasbourg says:

    A bit late as I did it after my return from work, French time. For those of us who know the background a superb puzzle but chapeau (as we say here) to those who are not familiar with that period of history and the great Ernie Bevin – one of my political heroes – and still completed it. It’s why I like both the Guardian and the Times – both offer their own challenges. Thanks Araucaria and congratulations to all our lead bloggers, Ciaran, Uncle Yap, Eileen and all the others. A very satisfied customer (I took ages to remember that two nickels did not mean that it appeared twice, merely that it meant one dime – I’m so glad that this site does not make a fuss about solving time).

  28. mhl says:

    Thanks, Ciaran.

    I enjoyed this one, although (as with many, it seems) I needed some research to get several of the answers – worth it to hear the NOT WHILE I’M ALIVE HE AINT story, though :)

  29. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree, a great A. today. It wasn’t doable on the way in nor the way back. I was determined to get 22a without recourse to cheats, and did eventually get it. There were clearly two double letters, which helped (ie in 19d the E and the I).

  30. Davy says:

    Good crossword from Arau but I thought that referring to whales as monsters in 23d was inaccurate.

  31. Median says:

    I agree with the majority view, that this was a really good puzzle. It was satisfying in that, after a slow start, I managed to do it all in about an hour on the train, without access to any resources. It was probably an advantage that I’m a bit of a politics junkie and ‘of a certain age’. Was it fair? Yes, given that it’s common practice to require knowledge of literature and the other arts, and that some compilers include really obscure words.

    I thought “Not while I’m alive, he ain’t” was brilliant. I worked it out the hard way, but it rang a bell when I’d got it. I’m prepared to give a setter quite a bit of leeway with some of the clues when they’re offset by gems such as this.

  32. Eileen says:

    I’m unusually late to the party but just had to add my appreciation of this cracker of a puzzle. Araucaria at his best.

    I knew the quotation, which helped, but wasn’t sure of who’d said it, of whom.

    [I initially had BLACK CAP, too.]

    Davy: ‘Monster':

    SOED: an animal of huge size;
    Collins: a very large person, animal or thing;
    Chambers: anything gigantic or abnormally large

    … sounds to me like a whale :-)

  33. stiofain says:

    I thought it was a great puzzle and perhaps the rev was being self-deprecating with the “his own worst enemy” considering comments here at times.
    re whale
    cetacean = sea monster from the Greek

  34. ACP says:

    Re: 15dn
    How can a clue be ‘so outrageous it’s okay’ ? It seems the ‘allowable’ limits for Araucaria are far too blurry.
    I enjoyed the answers but the clues are painful sometimes.

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    I am late as well.
    Unlike most of you, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about this crossword.
    Of course, it was challenging, and technically speaking there wasn’t much wrong, but the more I get into English crosswords the more I appreciate good surfaces, and here they are not always to my taste. Although LEITMOTIV had a beautiful construction, the clue itself was pure nonsense, just like 13dn (silver and nickel have nothing to do with health food).
    Moreover, I still don’t like these cross references (“1 across 7 is 1 down 11″ – brrr).
    As a non-Brit the “theme” is also too heavy for me.
    I have never heard of Ernest Bevin or Herbert Morrison (but luckily my PinC had), let alone the famous quotation.
    Probably it is part of the history of Britain, and although I am willing to learn new things, I am just not keen on crosswords that feature cultural or political terms and names from the days of our grandfathers and -mothers.
    I admit, Araucaria has great knowledge of this world and I respect that immensely, but at the same time some of his crosswords (like this one) are in my opinion rather anachronistic.

    As to the crossword itself, I agree with Andrew (#14).
    24dn is horrible, as are 21ac and 8dn.
    Defining Churchill as “writer and painter” is unfair, I think.
    I didn’t like the am/père thing in 20dn either – nobody says “am père” , when you’re the father you will say “I am père”.
    Most of the posts above rave or laugh about Ban Ki-Moon.
    But just B as a part of that name, and then messing up the order of the three parts?
    Why does Araucaria get away with it, unlike other setters?
    Giving Viv Richards as the definition of ANTIGUAN is something that Paul would never have done. He would have written “Viv Richards, perhaps,”, and rightly so.

    Of course, there are many good clues as well – I particularly liked the double use of Ben in 27ac, and the clever 4dn, but there is something inside my head that wants to know why almost everyone thinks this a brilliant puzzle, better than … yes, than whát?

    Sorry to be a bit negative, but after Araucaria was my first overwhelming encounter with English crosswords (I have all his books), he is going down my ladder.
    I am just wondering why that is.

  36. Mike Laws says:

    I’ve met Araucaria several times, but on only one occasion with the chance to chat at any length. His attitude to “surface reading” is that it’s less important than the cryptic working. Personally, I think they’re equally important, but that’s a matter of taste. Even though I thoroughly disapprove of many of his clues, I know what to expect after all these years, and always thoroughly enjoy tackling them.

    5 across: Al Martino (US original) reached 19 in the UK charts, and Jimmy Young (UK cover) topped them with “The Man from Laramie” in 1955.

    22,26,19: A couple of pub regulars (a handy reference source on occasion) helped with this. They dredged up some tentative memories which helped to work out the rather “over-self-checking” anagram.

    15 down: Still at a loss to understand why “his body” = UN. Please enlighten/remind!

  37. molonglo says:

    Was readily doable without aids (like Median @31) in 90 mins: but with a pen I would not have struggled with main surge (like Brian Harris), since Morrison was there at 7d. The only clue I disliked was 13d, I agree with Ciaran and Andrew on its faint image.

  38. Bryan says:

    Mike Lewis

    Ban Ki-Moon is the Secretary General of the UN:

  39. Trench Adviser says:

    I failed on RIFT, thought MAIN FORCE was MAIN SURGE and didn’t get AMPERE. However, I will say that this was an exhilarating crossword. I really enjoyed working out the linked clues even though I hadn’t heard the quote, nor heard of Herbert. A treat.

  40. Colin Blackburn says:

    I did much of this puzzle last night but didn’t finish it and didn’t enjoy it.

    I feel similar to Mike Laws about Araucaria. While I do enjoy Araucaria’s puzzles from time to time, I really like a clue to have a good surface and I like fairness. Some of these clues where nonsense in their surface readings. And selecting 5 letters from a Ban Ki-Moon (and then using them scrambled) and using “some” to indirectly get BEV from bevvies or beverages simply aren’t fair. I don’t agree with the slightly odd view that it’s so outrageous it’s acceptable.

    I really appreciate Araucaria giving the world the Alphabetical Jigsaw, I marvel at some of his clues and I even accept his “playfulness” when it gives a good surface or a clever, funny clue, but I find myself increasingly choosing to tackle puzzles by other setters when I only have time for one puzzle.

  41. PaulG says:

    Excellent puzzle! I had to guess RIFT before resorting to googling lute/rift. Otherwise, entertaining and satisfying, as always from the Master!

  42. MarkO says:

    Drinks – Beverages

  43. maarvarq says:

    Whilst this one had a few “maybe it fits” clues like 6dn and 24dn, and Wikipedia came to my rescue for Churchill’s cabinet members and the quote, this still wasn’t as viciously obscure as the Paul the other day.

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