Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,909 (Sat 16 Jan)/Araucaria – Last chance saloon

Posted by rightback on January 23rd, 2010


Solving time: 10 mins

Not too difficult this week but there were several dubious clues in this (e.g. 11ac, 20ac, 1dn, 3dn, 16dn); not Araucaria’s finest, I thought.

Music of the day (5dn): City of Blinding Lights by U2.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1,7 QUEEN’S SPEECH – a reference to ‘the Queen’s English’ and to the Queen’s address when Parliament is opened.
4 ABACUSES; A,B + AC[c]USES – ‘their opening’ meaning ‘the opening of [the word] charges’, i.e. the letter C.
10 THIRTIETH; (HITTER HIT)* – nice anagram. ‘Maybe the last day’ refers to some months having 30 days.
11 MATCHWOOD; MATCH (= ‘Marriage’) + “WOULD” (= ‘to the listener would’) – the ‘be’ in this clue doesn’t fit.
12 LO + CUM – CUM is Latin for ‘with’, which I think is where the expression cross-cum-shot comes from.
13,17 STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT – ‘Say’ gives STATE and the rest of the wordplay is in the answer: ‘P’ is the opening (first letter) of ‘parliament’.
20 RELIC (hidden) – marred by the redundant ‘when’.
21 R + EGRET + FUL[mar]
23 FLATULENT; (FAULT) + LENT (= ‘fast’)
24 C + OR + G.I. – ‘or’ is the gold tincture is heraldry.
25 TIRELESS (2 defs) – ‘tyre’ being spelt ‘tire’ in America. This was one of my last entries.
26 CLUE + IN
1 QUALMISH; QUASH around (L + M1) – difficult, but the initial ‘Q’ helped. The clue doesn’t really make sense, though, because of the containment indicator (‘acceptance of’) which really needs to be something like ‘accepts’, ‘accepting’ or ‘having accepted’.
2 EVENTUAL; (NUT)* in (E[nglish] VEAL)
3 NOTCH; C in [a]NOTH[er] – ‘another part’ = NOTH? Enough said.
5 BLINDING LIGHT – ‘dip’ referring to a car’s headlights.
8 SCHEME; SC + HE,ME – ‘he’ and ‘me’ are pronouns and I think SC here stands for ‘scilicet’, meaning ‘namely’, although that doesn’t seem quiter the same as ‘[to] understand’. Perhaps I’ve missed something here.
14 EFFECTUAL; EVENTUAL with VEN (= ‘archbishop’) replaced by FF (= fortissimo = ‘very noisy’) + EC (= ‘City’, as in the London postal district) – I initially had ‘effective’ in here.
16 STALLION; (LAST)* + LION – ‘last chance’ meaning ‘anagram of LAST’?
18 PROF + IT
19 ALTAIR; [m]ALTA + IR[ish] – a star in Aquila (the eagle).
22 EXCEL; “X L” – because 40 is XL in Roman numerals. When solving I wasn’t sure about ‘excel’ being used transitively (i.e. meaning ‘to be greater than’) but a dictionary has put me straight.

18 Responses to “Guardian 24,909 (Sat 16 Jan)/Araucaria – Last chance saloon”

  1. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As always, great blog – so thanks, Leftback.
    We thought a gentle Araucaria.

    Just like you we were puzzled by the anagrind in 16d (‘chance’?).
    Not convinced by the anagrind in 10ac either (‘to get the’?).

    And why has the clue of 15d the word ‘in’ in it?
    We thought ‘make holes mostly’ (=PERFOR)+ ‘church'(=CE) is just enough.

    Fine choice of the Music of the Day.
    Could also have been “Blinded by the Light” or something by Catatonia.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Re my own post (#1):
    Of course, ‘make holes mostly’+’church’ is nót enough to make it proper English.
    ‘Perfor’ could have been ” ‘make holes in’ mostly ” , but that’s not what the clue says, so still: what’s the word ‘in’ doing there?

  3. NeilW says:

    Sil, you’re right. “Mostly make holes in church” would work, which I guess is what was intended.

  4. Biggles A says:

    8. Scilicet is short for sc?re licet “it is permitted to know” so I don’t think it is too much of a leap to “understand”.

    15. I agree with NeilW; the transposition of “mostly” would have been better but, as it stands, the surface reading needs “in” to make sense.

  5. Duggie says:

    Re strange anagrind in 16D: could ‘chance’ be a misprint for ‘change’?

  6. rrc says:

    Vintage Araucaria I thought I particular liked 1d 3d 10a 20a and saw nothing dubious about make up of clue. There were others I enjoyed 20a 25a. The only clue I didnt like was 26a which is a strange expression.

  7. Stella says:

    I enjoyed this one, though I didn’t know “scire licet” – thanks, Rightback and Biggles -. My only quibble would be the equating of “catatonia”, which, as I understand, is a state resembling death, to “schizophrenia” or dual/multiple personality?

  8. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. Quite an easy Araucaria, I thought, and I managed to finish it in less than half an hour, which is very unusual for me.

    I thought 13, 17 was a much better clue than the similar ‘Oo!’ yesterday. But I share your reservations about 1dn and 3dn.

    ‘Chance’ is a strange anagram indicator — at a stretch I suppose it could mean ‘accident’, which sort of works.

    Stella –re catatonia. It’s a type of schizophrenia, where sufferers become rigid and unresponsive, so I think the clue is fair. Schizophrenia isn’t defined in terms of dual or multiple personality any more, but as the inability to distinguish reality from delusions.

  9. sandra says:

    found this very easy for an araucaria and finished it in 25 minutes. i am not usually up to that standard. rarely, in fact for araucaria. however, i got scheme, in 8d, without understanding where the sc came from. i looked in chambers which told me it meant “namely” from scilicet, among other things.
    was a bit disappointed, but suggested it to a friend, who doesn’t even attempt araucaria – too hard, he says, being quite new to cryptics – and he was delighted to finish it.

  10. CGK says:

    Best to say this after an easy one, to avoid the charge of sour grapes: Araucaria’s pre-eminent reputation is surely not well served by editing that allows the likes of 15d and 16d. How do you explain his greatness to a novice who has to solve those?

  11. Neil says:

    Thank you rightback, but I can’t agree with any of your reservations about the clueing. Maybe taking a little more time would help to make things clearer?

    This was a perfectly fair and accurately clued crossword puzzle. I don’t get it how so many of you can pick so many trivial and irrelevant nits, whilst so often missing the point. If you don’t enjoy doing crossword puzzles except to (mis)identify tiny inconsistencies (which is part of their joy) why not just apply for jobs as crossword editor on your local parish magazine and leave proper crosswords to grown ups?

    Eileen, where were you with your far more diplomatic way of expressing such thoughts. Goodbye all. This has stopped being fun.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Neil, you shouldn’t overdramatise all this.
    I think all of us (at least in the above posts, and surely I myself) enjoyed solving this crossword, which was not too hard and contained many good clues. As I enjoy solving crosswords anyway. But if there is something that looks like a mistake (as in 15d, my only real reservation), then there’s nothing wrong in expressing that. I don’t see myself as a nitpicker, as you call it, and it is certainly not the same as ‘not enjoying crosswords’, or even worse, ‘burning down the setter’.
    This site is indeed about sharing the love for cryptics, but also about trying to understand why clues are as they are – that is, at least, for me the value added.
    Therefore I would say: welcome back, Neil!

  13. Eileen says:

    Ian, to answer your question quite literally, I’ve been out all day. Please stick with us – I value your comments! :-)

  14. sidey says:

    Gosh, just gosh.

  15. gdh says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle but as a Whitehall-wonk there was disappointment that Araucaria placed “State Opening of Parliament” after a recess. State Opening follows either a prorogation (end of a Parliamentary session) or dissolution (General Election) but not a recess.

    Goes back to solitary pedantry.

  16. Neil says:

    Thank you gdh! That’s gone a long way towards restoring a fellow pedant’s appreciation of truly informed pedantry rather than irritation at mere fussiness. So maybe I’ll stay in touch to enjoy such gems; albeit lagging my day or two behind.

    Sorry to all about the rant. I must have been feeling far more irritable than my usual sunny self. And thanks to Sil and Eileen for words of encouragement.

    (I take it, Eileen that, for Ian I should read Neil? It’s a common error, strangely, and I’ve never worked out why).

  17. Eileen says:

    Profuse apologies, Neil. I don’t know where that came from. Of course I meant you. Glad you’re still there!

  18. Ian says:

    Thanks rightback.

    Arguably the easiest Araucaria for years and I’m not complaining!!

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