Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24914 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on January 22nd, 2010

mhl.

A mostly very enjoyable puzzle, with a nicely done theme.

Across
1. CALIFORNIUM Two subsidiary indicators here: (a) A Latinist might say Californium is the singular of California (“state”) (b) CALIF = “leader [...] to Muslim” + I = “first” in NUM = “book” (standard abbreviation for Numbers, a book of the Old Testament)
9. BARGAIN I don’t get this one, I’m afraid
10. SHIMMER HIM = “man” in S = “South” + MER = “sea (in France)”
11. COURTYARD COURT = “Make love” in the old sense + YARD = “measure”; refers to the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre
12. CARAT Sounds like “carrot”. I suppose that’s “red” as in “red hair”, i.e. orange :)
13. SWAN S = “Pole” + WAN = “pale”; one of these Swan Rivers, I suppose
14. OTHER PLACE OE = “old English” around (CHAPTER L)* the definition is “Lords to Commons” – in the House of Commons the House of Lords is referred to as “the other place”
16. BELLY LAUGH BELL = “Phone call” + (LAY)* = “layabout” + UGH = “I’m disgusted”
19. STAB BATS = “crazy” reversed
21. RATIO HORATIO = “Philosopher in [Shakespeare]” without HO = “house”; HORATIO is sometimes indicated just by “philosopher” alone, from the line in Hamlet: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philsophy”
22. CROSSKEYS Difficult, I think: CROSS = “Go over” + KEYS = “piano” (e.g. in jazz terminology); Crosskeys is a town in Gwent, and pubs called “The Cross Keys” apparently often have an indirect association with St. Peter. (The keys to the gate of heaven are the symbol associated with him in paintings.)
24. EMERALD [h]ERALD = “Topless announcer” around ME = “setter”
25. STRETCH (T THE RSC)*
26. SHAKESPEARE Lovely – a Spoonerism of “spake sheer” (“uttered: Utter”)
Down
1. CIRCULAR LETTERS An entertaining cryptic definition
2. LEAST A = “article” in LEST = “in case”
3. FONDANT FOND = “loving” + ANT = “social worker”
4. REDIDUE RESIDE = “Have house” around U = “university”
5. IRISCOPE I = “one” + RISE = “get up” around COP = “policeman”; nice misdirection with “get up” – an IRISCOPE is “an instrument for exhibiting the prismatic colours”, i.e. it shows the spectrum
6. MEMORIAL THEATRE MORI = “Death” in MEAL = “dinner” followed by THEATRE = “operational centre” (i.e. where you would have an operation); another RSC theatre currently being refurbished
7. ABACUS Sounds like “Abba” = “group” + “cuss” = “swear word”
8. WRITHE WRIT = “Summons” + HE = “man”
15. MYXOMATA MY + (OM A TAX)*; fortunately Gladstone came up recently – he was known as a GOM or Grand Old Man, so OM for the anagram fodder comes from “old man (if grand)”; myxomata are the lumps caused by Myxomatosis, and unpleasant disease sometimes introduced to rabbit populations to control their numbers
16. BARRED Sounds like “bard”
17. ACCIDIE A tough clue to a word I didn’t know: “A CC” (“a cubic centimetre”) = “A small amount” + I DIE = “I’m on my way out”
18. GLOSSOP GO + P = “quietly” around LOSS = “bereavement”
20. BYSSHE Very difficult: this is Shelley‘s middle name, so BY + S[helley] = “his first” + SHE = “lady”
23. SYRIA SYRI[nx] = “Some Pan-pipes” + A

58 Responses to “Guardian 24914 / Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl.
    The best I could do for 9ac was return = GAIN barred, thus BARGAIN, with the definition being cheap at the price. Not wholly convincing, I know!

  2. molonglo says:

    Yesterday some like Cholecyst disliked having to use aids, some were glad to, educationally. I’m agin them, including the help of a pencil, and managed this under an hour. Loved 1d and 7d. Got 9a but also couldn’t parse it. Then to the Net, which showed this setter in 2007 had Bysshe in Prize 24261 (“name used by S-Shelley”) causing Rightback to cite Araucaria’s proneness to inadequate hidden indicators. The master is still doing it, he’s still heaps of fun.

  3. sidey says:

    9a The ‘return’ (profit) from a bar (pub) is the bar-gain.

  4. Andrew says:

    Strange (though enjoyable) one this – I got nowhere for a while, then got the bottom half quickly, then got stuck again, and then suddenly got inspired and polished off the top (note how the two halves are almost isolated from each other in this grid). BARGAIN is still a mystery to me – I was thinking maybe it was derived from AGAIN, but I can’t really make that work.

  5. Andrew says:

    Ah, well done sidey :)

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks mhl. I liked this theme!

    Re the clue to 11ac: the Courtyard is a temporary theatre, ‘in place of’ the MEMORIAL THEATRE, the SWAN and the OTHER PLACE.

  7. liz says:

    Thanks, mhl. I enjoyed this, though it was tough in places! I got the theme quite quickly, which was a help. I’m another one who couldn’t see the wordplay in 9ac, though we have had similar constructions before..

    ACCIDIE was new to me — and I expect there might be complaints about it!

    I had to check to confirm SYRIA — have never heard of ‘syrinx’ before.

    I liked 21ac very much and 1dn.

  8. Ian says:

    For me this proved difficult from the get go. Infact it took me around 10′ to get my first two on (Belly Laugh and Glossop).

    45′ before 1dn dawned on me and then others fell into place, but at a painfully funereal pace, i’m afraid.

    Perhaps the hardest I’ve tackled for about 2 months.

    Accidie and Californium were new words to me.

  9. Tom Hutton says:

    This was surprisingly easy, perhaps becuase the theme became apparent early on. I can’t see 9ac because the suggested parsing by Sidey doesn’t account for the red in barred as far as I can see.

    Some of the clues seem overcomplicated for the relative simplicity of the answer; 22ac being an example. Horatio as a philosopher is another.

  10. Tom_I says:

    Re 23d, in Greek mythology Syrinx was a water nymph pursued by the god Pan. To maintain her chastity she was transformed into a reed. Pan cut the reed into pieces of different lengths, and made a musical instrument out of them. For obvious reasons this was called a syrinx, or more commonly the Pan-pipes.

  11. Tom_I says:

    Like the other Tom @9 I also don’t see the parsing of 9ac.

    I wonder if “barred” is intended as the past participle of bar (verb) meaning “to furnish or mark with a bar” (Chambers), as in a medal having a bar added to show that it has been won twice. Then GAIN (“return”) with BAR added could give BARGAIN. I’m not sure, though.

  12. liz says:

    Tom_I — thanks for the explanation of Syrinx!

  13. JimboNWUK says:

    I took BARGAIN as “returning from being blackballed” (the origin of BARRED from the clue) especially if the society voting was related to Law (‘the Bar’) so if you didn’t get blackballed it would be a “Bar Gain” (of a new member) — or am I being too convoluted (too convoluted for ol’ Monkeypuzzle, that a larf).

    Utterly unimpressed by the grossly unfair and un-Ximenean 1 Down. Where’s the clue to the full answer? What next? B for Bottletop or HIJKLMNO for water? Not good, ChilePine dog, not good at all.

  14. sandra says:

    Tom_I

    thank you for that. i got bargain quite quickly thanks ti the definition and “gain”. but i couldn’t see why we apparently had only half the word for barred. that makes sense now.
    could have done without myxomata, having seen many rabbits suffering from this horrendous condition, but that’s just me personally, i am sure.

    otherwise found this enjoyable although very difficult , but i didn’t get circular letters until last. then i kicked myself.

  15. sandra says:

    jimbo nwuk
    sorry – we crossed. still going with tom_i though. makes sense to me. so does yours but too tricky for me to have got it that way, i think.

  16. Gaufrid says:

    My take on 9a. The wordplay is ‘return 16 down’ or ‘return barred’. To get ‘bargain’ there has to be an indicator that ‘bar’ comes before ‘gain’.

    Chambers gives ‘bar’ as “to shut (out or in) with a bar or bars” so whereas we would normally associate ‘barred’ with ‘behind bars’ it could also be ‘behind bar’.

    We therefore get ‘return behind bar’ or, as return=profit=gain, ‘gain behind bar’ which gives ‘bargain’

  17. George Foot says:

    Thank goodness Araucaria and other Guardian setters don’t take notice of people like JimboNWUK. If all setters stuck rigidly to Ximinean rules crosswords might remain intellectual exercises but they’d become very dull and wouldn’t be half so much fun. I didn’t find 1d easy but when I got it I thought it wonderfully inventive and very entertaining. I do occasionally agree with one or two of the criticisms but I hope all the Guardian setters continue to be as creative and inventive as they are able to be.

  18. norm says:

    Wow, what a tough one.

    Had to use all my ‘cheating’ tools:
    thesaurus.reference.com
    http://www.oneacross.com
    en.wikipedia.org
    http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/advanced.html

    …but I learned lots, which is why I like this crazy pastime.

    I used to work in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and never heard of the Memorial Theatre. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre hasn’t been called that for nearly eighty years. Perhaps Araucaria went there in his youth.

  19. Steve says:

    What a toughie! This is the first one I haven’t been able to complete in quite a while. I love Marmite but I just can’t stomach Araucaria. If only I could have fitted in Othello for 16d!

  20. dialrib says:

    HIJKLMO was my favourite clue for years.
    But Oo! didn’t do it for me. All the exclamation mark seemed to say was ‘aren’t I clever’ (why would ‘circular letters’ be exclaimed?) so I felt unfairly misled and would have been much more impressed if there was a question mark or no punctuation instead.

  21. dialrib says:

    Sorry – HIJKLMNO – must learn my alphabet.

  22. Eileen says:

    norm

    The present theatre was opened nearly eighty years ago, in 1932, as the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, and was renamed Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1961, after Peter Hall became Director – still a long time ago, admittedly!

  23. JimboNWUK says:

    So Mr Foot, you cock a snook at rules hmmm?

    I’ll take a punt that you may be one of the fans of 22 numpties running around a field trying to hoof a bladder into an onion sack and ask whether you think that, if one of said numpties took it upon himself to add some “inventiveness” to the game by picking up aforementioned bladder and over-arming it into the onion sack whether he would applaud this as “adding a certain creative piquance to the game” or sit in his armchair screaming “get some glasses ref!” at the telly whilst simultaneously penning his “My Angry from Tunbridge Wells” letter to the sports editor?

    If, on the other hand, you veer more towards Scrabble I suggest you play it with the letter-sides face down and have your opponents take it on faith that you placed “ZAPTICH” on a triple-word score with the Z on a triple-letter and a 50-point bonus for playing all your letters and should therefore automatically win the game outright.

  24. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Managed only sevev answers. Accidie? Californium? Syrinx? Myxomata?
    I must try doing English language crosswords, might have more luck.

  25. Brian Harris says:

    Pretty tough, but mostly enjoyable, with only a few gripes.

    Like most people, still don’t get the definition for 9ac. I just don’t think it works, sorry.

    Didn’t get Crosskeys or Syria. Otherwise, some nice clues.

    1 down was a pretty rubbish in my opinion. O can mean so many things in crosswords, that it’s just a stab in the dark, until you get some crossing letters.

    Still, for an Araucaria, not quite as annoying as usual. Mixture of good, average, and “what the…?” clues..

  26. Brian Harris says:

    Oh, and I liked the theme, but really… a reference to a theatre that changed its name FORTY NINE years ago? Please.

  27. cholecyst says:

    JimboNWUK and George Foot, and everyone else out there. Re#23. I fervently beg you not to open another futile discussion on whether or not there is an agreed set of rules for solving cryptics.

  28. Alan Eames-Jones says:

    The COURTYARD, the SWAN, the OTHER PLACE and the MEMORIAL THEATRE are all SHAKESPEARE theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon, so more thematic than you might have thought.

  29. Dave Ellison says:

    Dare I point out that the capital O is acually not round but oval in the paper edition in 1d? I knew this clue was going to be a “clever” one, and it took me ages to get the first word, but I was underwhelmed when I did – I thought it was quite disappointing.

    7d made me chuckle.

  30. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As I said before on an earlier occasion, solving an Araucaria is sometimes more satisfying because of the challenge than of the crossword itself.
    The theme was rather obvious today (starting off with 25ac), but then we looked at each other – not, not Shakespeare again. Many good clues though. I must say, I prefer the ‘lighter’ ones, like 4d (with the double use of ‘rest’), 5d or 24d. And 1ac was surely a fine clue, although we thought Araucaria could (or maybe should) have stopped after the word ‘Latinist’ – even though the solution is named after the state.

    This week our favourite topic was Imprecision.
    And The Master made his contributions, too, we thought.

    10ac: Why write Southsea, when probably South Sea is even better (and not misleading)?
    13ac: We didn’t think of Swan River. The clue reads ‘on river’ with the word ‘on’, so we were thinking of swans. But then, ‘on river’ as the definition for something to be found on a river? So, probably it is the Swan River here, but then what’s ‘on’ doing here?
    Similarly in 14ac: What’s ‘by’ doing there?

    And now it’s Definition Time!
    22ac: If the solution (CROSSKEYS) is the town (of which I have never heard, although I’ve seen quite a lot of Britain, and Wales in particular) then the definition is surely not there. Of course, I understand the way one can (or should) read it, but if the definition is the pub, well, then, the solution should have been The Cross Keys. [let’s call it quits]
    18d: ‘in Derbyshire’ for whatever may live or grow in that part of Britain – well, defendable.
    More or less the same thing in 11ac. The definition being ‘in place of 6, etc’? Don’t like that.

    And finally, 1d: CIRCULAR LETTERS for “Oo!”.
    We had a short discussion on these kind of clues not so long ago at this site, but I can only repeat what I said then: this is for me completely unacceptable.
    There is no definition whatsoever, and ‘Oo’ is in no way related to the solution other than in a (dubious) visual way. I understand people who think “Wow, this is great fun”, but I think this is not on, totally ridiculous.

    Conclusion: this was rubbish? No.
    There were too many good things, which made us moderately positive.

    But how I long to see a less complicated, unthemed (yes, please) Shed or Puck. Maybe tomorrow?
    Or – that would be a treat – the Guardian editor gives Crucible the honour to present his first Saturday Marvel.

  31. benington says:

    Very unfair to say Aracauria has no rules – he does. You just have to work out what they are!

  32. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    Araucaria fan as I am, I have to concede some of your points.

    However, in 11ac, ‘in place of’ is not analagous to ‘in Gwent or ‘in Derbyshire’ i.e. ‘in Stratford’. As I said in Comment 6 [and as Alan echoed in Comment 28], here, ‘in place of’ refers to the fact that the COURTYARD is a temporary theatre, for now ‘taking the place of’ the SWAN, the OTHER PLACE and the ‘MEMORIAL THEATRE’.

    RE ‘OO': I think we agreed earlier that this kind of clue was just about OK for a one-off. All I’ll say is that I don’t actually remember Araucaria having done it, so perhaps [by now!] he deserves his turn. No doubt others will prove me wrong. :-)

    [Yes, it will be interesting to see who we get tomorrow, as we've already had Paul and Araucaria ths week. You may be in luck!]

  33. Rob says:

    Sil – #30
    I sympathise with your problems re: 22ac & 18down!
    In both cases the definition is “in …..”
    Crosskeys is a very nice town in the county of Gwent (as was! – see Wikipedia ‘Gwent(county)’)
    Glossop is a town in the county of Derbyshire (again very nice I’m sure, but I haven’t actually been there.)

    Dave – #29
    Sorry – have to disagree that the capital ‘O’ in 1down looks oval not round; I think it’s the font/typeface being used (looks something like Times Roman to me!!) but if you look at the ‘Skiwatch’ article immediately above the crossword the same or similar font is used and the upper case ‘O’ is used – takes all sorts but I thought 1down was brilliant!! I accept I didn’t ‘get it’ directly from the clue, but with enough crossing letters I could see how ‘clever’ it was.

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    Struggled at Grumpy Andrew’s level and gave it to clever clogs to finish.

    I got 15, but as is clear from the blog, you don’t, as suggested by the clue, give those to rabbits, you give the disease, which then causes the symptoms.

    A ratio is not strictly speaking a relationship, see lengthy discussion of PI a year ago. (Please look it up, repeating would be tedious, but one sample: a/b=c; a/b is a ratio; = is a relationship)

    The clue for 26 was unnecessary! I read 25, saw the position of 26 in it and put in the answer to 26, then read 26 just to double check.

  35. IanN14 says:

    Steady on, Dave Ellison @ 29.
    You’ll have the likes of “LongTimeReadingNonContributor” from the other day complaining that you’re overly critical…
    Anyone explained “bargain” properly yet?
    (Sorry, Gaufrid, but I can’t believe “gain, behind bar”).
    Is it something to do with “gain” being opposite to (in the) “red”?
    Well, I don’t know.
    And even though I think there are errors here and in Saturday’s prize (blogged tomorrow?) from what I remember, I see it as a challenge, and certainly don’t think he deserves the sort of kicking De Niro and Coldplay got yesterday…

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Eileen, #32, you have totally convinced re 11ac.
    “In place of” is another “in place of” as I thought it was.

    But still think, 1d is ridiculous.
    And still wondering about how 13ac works.

  37. Sil van den Hoek says:

    And re#31, was there anyone who said Araucaria has no rules??

  38. Rob says:

    Sil – #36

    13ac works so:
    Pole – well usually ‘N’ or ‘S’ – in this case ‘S’
    Wan = faint/pale
    So – S with wan on = Swan – the name of the river that flows through Perth in Western Australia.

  39. Dave Ellison says:

    I was just egging you on – I am ovally critical, IanN14.

    Gordius is surely imminent, and Puck soon, too; however, does Gordius do Saturdays? I expect a Puck tomorrow.

  40. Rob says:

    Sil – In addition to my post #38 re the Swan River.

    Just checked with Wikipedia!

    The river was named Swarte Swaene-Revier by Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh in 1697 , after the famous black swans of the area.

    Thought that might be of ‘interest’.

  41. Sil van den Hoek says:

    OK, Rob #38, I’m with you re SWAN: ‘… with… on (it)’.
    Not much wrong with that.

    BTW, rather funny that Araucaria describes ‘carrot’ as a red plant – why did he do this?

    And even more funny that nobody, I said, nobody (including myself) has come up with a satisfying explanation of BARGAIN.
    Maybe Araucaria IS God …

  42. sidey says:

    Okay, my 9a explanation wasn’t clear enough.

    A return (profit) is what a bar’d (would, homophone ‘barred’) gain. And ‘cheap at the price’ is bargain.

    Look, I’m not a fan, but it’s pretty straight forward. Anyone still calling him ‘The Master’?

  43. john goldthorpe says:

    Yes, to judge by this puzzle, the God of the Gaps.

  44. Mr Beaver says:

    Re 13a, I simply read ‘on river’ as the definition of a SWAN, ie something found on a river – no need to invoke obscure (to me!) rivers…
    Sil – surely several people have explained BARGAIN, you might not like the explanation, and it certainly eluded me. But it seems fairly typical for Araucaria’s devious mind – the return (GAIN) is ‘BARred’ – it has a BAR stuck on.
    I thought CROSSKEYS was fair (at least for those in the UK where Cross Keys is a common pub name) as it has 3 indications – if one escapes you, you’ve a chance with the others.

  45. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #42.
    Pretty staightforward?
    Dear sidey, of course, I have seen your explanation (#3).
    Return (profit), I do understand.
    But “bar’d ” as a homophone?? No thx.
    Of course, the definition is totally clear.
    For me, the clue as a whole, is a complete mystery.

  46. Andrew Powell Eddy says:

    At last, Mr. Beaver, exactly the explanation of “barred” that I had. I must say that I greatly enjoyed 1 down. Reminded me of the famous Araucaria clue: ” gegs (9,4) “. Accidie was once (God knows when) in use as an English term for the sin of sloth: as one afflicted by said sin I needed the internet for that one! Thank you Rev. Graham .

  47. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Mr Beaver (#44),
    I completely miss your point on 9ac (BARGAIN, BARred & Bar Stuck ON) – but
    maybe that’s my problem.
    And on CROSSKEYS:
    1- cluing it as (8) means the town is the definition
    2- the construction stops after ‘piano’
    3- ‘in St Peter’s pub in Gwent’ is not a good definition (for me)
    4- ‘in Gwent’ isn’t either
    It’s not about ‘yes I know what you mean’, it’s about precise cluing.

  48. IanN14 says:

    Nice one Dave @ 39.
    (or two, even).
    So glad it’s not a Gord’elpus (please keep him away from the prize…).
    It’s a Shed.

  49. Rob says:

    Mr Beaver – #44 I can see where you’re coming from: Pole with pale = SWAN, but then ‘on river’ as the definition? Could be but very vague IMHO! Prefer S with ‘wan on’ where the definition is just “river.” It might be obscure to you as are many of Araucaria’s clues to many of us, but The Swan river is well known to beer drinkers because The Swan Brewery, one of if not the oldest in Oz, was established on the bank of said river, hence its name.
    According to my latest info:
    The Cross Keys is the 22nd most popular pub name in the UK; interestingly(?) The Swan is the 7th most popular!!
    The Red Lion is still No. 1 – for which we can thank King James I (VI of Scotland.)

  50. Jerb says:

    Mr Beaver is right re SWAN and BARRED.

    Don’t understand why people here are obsessed by so-called “rules” for these crosswords. If you don’t like the playfulness, imprecision and lightness of the graun, stick to the Times!

  51. Alex says:

    As ever, whether some of these clues were seen as fair, obscure or otherwise depends on your prespective. I was attempting this one with the help of my partner who is a welsh medieval historian – so crosskeys and accidie (which features in chaucer) were relatively straightforward and went in early, whereas we struggled with some that others no doubt found easy. Overall I thought this was tough but enjoyable.

  52. Mr DNA says:

    Rob (#33),

    Just as an aside: I think it’s safe to say that the Guardian’s typeface wouldn’t be Times Roman!

  53. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re #44 (Mr Beaver) & #50 (Jerb): it took a while, but I got it now. You are right about BARGAIN – this is just it.

    And Jerb, I do like playfulness and lightness and naughtiness (therefore I will stick to The Guardian, if you don’t mind), but I am not very keen on avoidable imprecision and the use of superfluous words that could be misleading.
    People might say, this is Crosswordland where these things happen.
    I am surely not one of those who, as you call it, “are obsessed by so-called rules”, and I can stretch things quite far, but when “Oo!” comes along I think that’s beyond the limit. It is common rule that clues should contain a (kind of) definition, but in this situation there’s nothing (even Oo! is nothing). Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why so many people enjoy the fun of it, but I don’t think Araucaria should have done this.
    When in my posts I ask questions about solutions (like BARGAIN) or the presence of certain words (like ‘on’ or ‘by’), it is because I want to understand why they there.
    Maybe that’s basically it, I am not just interested in crosswords as a pastime (BTW, I love solving and the challenge going with it) but also in how things work from a setter’s point of view.

  54. Jerb says:

    Sil, I’ve always taken it to be the case that the odd bit of “connective tissue” (as they say in the sausage-making trade) might crop up. The occasional “to”, “with”, or “on” between definition and wordplay I can happily ignore. In my mind this doesn’t make the clue inaccurate but adds to the fun of misdirection.

    I think a clue such as “Oo” or “Gegs” will normally be signposted by a ! or ? to indicate that there’s no definition. I personally love this type of clue because in my experience they give you more of a “Eureka moment” buzz that the regular round of charades, anags and dds.

    I’ll always remember the warm glow I got when working out my first of these (from Paul) a few years ago: “Foot/ball? (1, 4, 2, 3, 6)”

    As Alex at #51 points out, it’s all down to your perspective.

    Sil, I think CROSSKEYS is one of those tripartite clues which are a trademark of Araucaria’s.
    1. Charade of CROSS + KEYS (go over + piano)
    2. St Peter’s pub (the symbolism, and the fact that he often appears on the sign)
    3. The town.

  55. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Jerb (#54), let’s put it this way:
    I think we are indeed looking at crosswords from a slightly different perspective
    (as in the case of Oo!, which is even nothing, um, twice … :) ).
    But we both enjoy crosswords, and that’s by far the most important thing.

    And let me think about that Paul clue for a while (the solution probably contains the words “A”, “of” and “the” – am I right?).

  56. Rob says:

    Hi Sil Re: #55

    If you’re still thinking about the clue from Jerb then I think the solution is more likely to include – ‘A’, ‘of’ & ‘two’ – hope this helps!!

  57. Monica M says:

    Re: 9ac … for what it’s worth … perhaps there is an allusion to another saying “cheap at half the price” 1/2 BARRED is Bar

  58. Sylvia says:

    Really struggled with this one although by my favourite compiler. Completed the top half and then got stuck for ages before deciding to give up. As soon as I got to that point the remainder suddenly started to make sense – it would have helped if I had solved ‘Shakespeare’ earlier, of course. It’s strange how conceding defeat suddenly produces a way of completing the grid, as has happened to me several times before. Anyone else had this experience?

    And Araucaria is still The Master for me.

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