Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,875 (Sat 5 Dec)/Araucaria – Berlin waul

Posted by rightback on December 12th, 2009


Solving time: 13 mins

When I first looked at this I saw the long multi-word phrases and groaned. In fact one of them (LITTLE BO-PEEP) was obvious and the rest of the clues seemed easier than normal. The one sticking point was 7dn (SEEK) on which I spent at least 5 minutes at the end looking for a better answer, not knowing the idiom to which the wordplay referred.

There are several clues referring to songwriter Irving Berlin, including my favourite clue of this puzzle at 15/17/24ac.

Music of the day: You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun by Irving Berlin.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

6,10, 22,10 THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS; THERES[a] (= ‘Saint’s detailed’, i.e. with the tail (last letter) removed), + NOS (= numbers) around BUSINESS-LIKE (= ‘practical’), + HOW (= ‘method’), + BUS (= ‘transport’) around SINES (= ‘curves’) – a very complicated wordplay which was entirely wasted on me, and I imagine the majority of solvers, especially given the reference at 9ac. I think the saint is Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, co-patron of France.
9 BERLIN (2 defs)
11 BUFFALO BILL; BUFF (= ‘polish’) + [h]ALO (= ‘ring around ‘ead’)+ BILL (= ‘beak’)
15/17/24 YOU CAN’T GET A MAN WITH A GUN; ([in]GENUITY + GUANTANAMO + WATCH) – a quite brilliant anagram. The song is from the musical Annie Get Your Gun.
18 TOFFY APPLES – ‘toffy’ as in ‘like a toff’ and ‘pupils’ as in ‘apples of the eye’. I had no idea you could spell ‘toffee’ like this, but it’s in Chambers.
23 BRECHT; BRE[a]CH + T (= ‘model’) – I wish they would retire ‘model’ = T (as in the Ford Model T).
25/4 LITTLE BO-PEEP; LITT. (= Litterarum = [of] letters, as in LittB) + (BE POLE)* + EP[istle] – another wasted wordplay, ‘Shepherdess’ with this enumneration stuck out a mile.
1 RETINA; [c]RETIN + A – not keen on the partial definition ‘in the eye’.
4 BABY BOYS; (ASBO + BY + BY)* – I want to label this ‘brilliant’, but in truth the anagram indication (‘Candidates for…’) is a bit of a stretch and the definition isn’t quite tight enough to make up for it.
5 PART FOUR; PAR (= ‘standard’) + TOUR (= ’round of journeys’) around F – because Shakespeare’s Henry VI is in three parts.
7 SEEK; SEE K[ing] – this is the one that stumped me because I didn’t know the idiom ‘A cat may look at a king‘.
8 OAST, which can replace the gap to form ‘toast’ in the clue – I liked this.
12 OUT OF FOCUS; O.U. + TOFF + O + CUS – not sure I like the pluralisation of the chemical symbol for ‘copper’.
13 I + M.P. + LICIT
14 ANISETTE; “ANNIE + SET” – referring again to Berlin’s musical.
19 PARK + IN
20 BLOW (2 defs)
21 S + KIT

13 Responses to “Guardian 24,875 (Sat 5 Dec)/Araucaria – Berlin waul”

  1. Biggles A says:

    18a was the last one I got and I still don’t like it. OED does recognise the alternative spelling (and gives taffy, tuffy and toughy as variations of toffee) but I think it’s too obscure.

  2. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, this was almost too easy! Having soon latched on to the theme, completion quickly followed.

    Buffalo Bill is, of course, one of the characters in the musical.

    Incidentally, the marvellous Jane Horrocks (a Lancashire Lass) is now starring in a revival of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’.

    Like you, I was unsure about TOFFY APPLES but, not having Chambers, I popped it in as my last entry and hoped for the best.

    However, I cannot agree with your selection for the Music of the Day. Surely, it just has to be ‘Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better’.

    No, you can’t!

    Yes, I can!

  3. Davy says:

    Thanks rightbask. Just a couples of niggles on this one although I love Araucaria’s puzzles.

    1. 6,10 etc. This was all wordplay as far as I could see and no definition. I don’t see how anyone
    could get this clue without having letters from other clues. No doubt I will be contradicted here.
    I can think of a name.

    2. 8d How often does anyone fall into an oast (kiln) ?. I think this was just Arau being silly.

    SEEK stumped me also. It’s always the short clues that cause problems.

  4. rightback says:

    It makes a change on a Saturday morning to be around to reply to comments, so I’ll make the most of it! Thanks to Bryan for pointing out that Buffalo Bill was also thematic (I checked a few answers, including ‘toffy apples’, but missed that one).

    Davy, the definition in 6/10/22/10 is ‘Number’, i.e. a song. I agree this isn’t massively satisfactory, but at least there’s a hint as to who wrote the song with the linking to 9ac (BERLIN). 8dn is a bit silly, I suppose, but it amused me.

  5. BrendanPG says:

    Thanks, Rightback. Glad to see you thought 4d was a bit of a stretch what with “candidates for…” indicating an anagram and being part of the definition, near as I can make out. I got it almost immediately, but left it blank for a long time until I was sure nothing else would fit/make sense. Does the use of a question mark mean liberties are being taken?

  6. Radler says:

    I have to say I thought 4d was an excellent clue for the humour alone!

    BrendanPG – A question mark usually indicates something unorthodox, particularly where the definition (as here) is more of a pun than literal.
    This type of clue is an &lit. The entire clue can form the cryptic wordplay (anagram indicator plus anagram fodder), or alternatively can be read as the definition.

  7. BrendanPG says:

    Thanks Radler! That makes it extra tricky, but not unreasonable as I got there in the end. On the whole, I thought it was a very enjoyable puzzle, and I like it when the Saturday prize puzzles are do-able without recourse to the internet or dictionaries since at the weekend they’re most likely to be done over a coffee or a pint!

  8. rrc says:

    Enjoyed this puzzle particlarly as I had been to the Young Vic during the week. The only quibbile I have is the use of the word Toff in two clues 12 and 18 which sort of spoiled a very good puzzle

  9. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. Really enjoyable puzzle and I agree that 15/17/24 was quite brilliant. I missed OAST. Put OUSE instead, although I knew it must be wrong.

  10. Squeakle says:

    I don’t know how to make the above a clickable link but – should you be interested – you can copy and paste into the address bar (no doubt there’s a more technical term for that) for the history of the phrase “A cat may look at a king”.

  11. stiofain says:

    i agree rrc about the double use of toff and think it was made worse because they intersected.
    i missed seek and the wordplay for theres no etc but thought it a good puzzle overall.

  12. Squeakle says:

    Well, stone the crows (, it’s become a clickable link all on its own – that’s so clever! Please forgive me for trying it again …

  13. Sylvia says:

    4d: I initially had ‘baby yobs’ which also made sense!

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