Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,921 (Sat 31 Jan)/Araucaria – Urned respect

Posted by rightback on February 6th, 2010


Solving time: 11 mins

Overall, much more accurately-clued than Araucaria’s Saturday crossword two weeks previously. In fact his puzzles vary so much in style from week to week that sometimes I wonder if those published are selected fairly randomly from a portfolio which contains some crosswords he wrote a long time ago. Difficulty-wise it was probably easier than average for this setter.

There was a mini-theme revoving around the Keats poem Ode to a Grecian Urn, whose last couplet is:

     “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
     Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

There was a more obscure reference to this poem by Araucaria in this puzzle back in July; this one was probably fairer because these lines are more famous and the wordplays to the thematic answers were helpful (and in 9ac and 8dn, definitions were also included).

Music of the Day (9ac): U2 reference the lyrics in question (‘Beauty is truth’) in ‘Playboy Mansion’ but I prefer That Is All by George Harrison, even if it wasn’t Keats-inspired.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 TEST TUBE; TEST (= ‘International’) + TUBE (= ‘underground’)
5 PRISON; S in PRION – the word ‘prion’ is a apparently a portmanteau of ‘protein’ and ‘infection'; more here. Perhaps ‘bit of brain’ is a little imprecise, but having read the article I’m not sure what would have been better!
9 THAT IS ALL; THAIS around T[hais], + ALL – see intro.
11 L + OUSE
12 BANTAMWEIGHT; BAN + TAM (= ‘Scots boy’) + WIGHT (= ‘old man’) around E – Chambers gives ‘wight’ as being an old (or dialect) word for a person, hence ‘old man’.
15 HERO; HER + O (= ‘love’)
16 HIT (= ‘success’) + THE SACK (= ‘dismissal’)
18 SECURITIES; SE (= south-east = ‘Direction’), + CITIES around UR (= ‘old one’, i.e. an old city)
19 DEMO[n]
21 BRASS (= ‘Money’) + RUBBING (= ‘massage’) – something I haven’t done since I was at school.
24 AZURE; “AS YOU’RE” – very nice homophone.
25 HOW ARE YOU; (HOOEY)* around WAR, + U (= ‘turn’) – I couldn’t make sense of the surface reading of this clue.
26 D(AN)ISH – nice.
27 GROSCHEN; GROS (= ‘Large French’) + HEN (= ‘female’) around C (= ‘100’) – both the singular and plural for an obsolete coin of several countries, most recently used in Austria (until 2001). I’m not sure whether ‘little’ is part of the definition here or whether it’s a hint to abbreviate ‘100’, but either reading works so it doesn’t really matter.
1 TA-TA; [can]TATA – seems obvious now but I couldn’t understand this when solving (normally when ‘canned’ is used whimsically like this you’d expect the other part to be inside CAN or TIN or something).
2,23 STAR TURN; START (= ‘Set off’) + URN (= ‘such as 14dn’)
3 TAIWAN; TA (= ‘Acknowledgement’) + I (= ‘setter’) + WAN[ts] (= ‘almost demands’) – an Araucarian use of ‘almost’ which threw me here. I spent time trying to justify Tahiti and Tongan (at least) before seeing the answer, which was my last entry.
4 BEAUTY IS TRUTH; (US EAT IT BY)* + RUTH (= ‘compassion’) – the intro explains ‘and vice versa: 9 we 8 [that is all we need to know]’.
6 RELIEVED (2 defs)
7 SOUR GRAPES; SO (= ‘like this’), + URGES (= ‘impels’) around RAP (= ‘knock’) – I liked the definition here (‘Disparagement of the unattainable’). This phrase comes from Aesop’s fable.
8 NEED TO KNOW; (NO DON’T WEEK)* – the anagram amused me but the indication is bizarre (‘organiser of…’).
10 LIME-TREE BOWER; LOWER (= ‘inferior’) around (1 METRE + rev. of B) – excellent wordplay. The reference to the Coleridge poem was lost on me (the full title is This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison).
13 CHESSBOARD; CHE (= ‘Revolutionary’) + S.S. (= ‘ship’) + BOARD (= ‘ship’) – I think this works if you read both ‘board’ and the second ‘ship’ as verbs meaning ‘to embark’.
14 GRECIAN URN; RE in (UNCARING)* – this requires ‘Recovered’ to be broken down to ‘RE covered’.
17 BRUSSELS (2 defs)
20 INGRES (hidden) – the French painter Jean Ingres.
22 MYTH; “MISS” said with a lisp

11 Responses to “Guardian 24,921 (Sat 31 Jan)/Araucaria – Urned respect”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Rightback. I agree the clueing was fine, so good that even with next-to-nil knowledge of Keats and Coleridge the puzzle could be done with no aids. I don’t agree at all with you though on 24a. Azure=as your is plain wrong according to the OED and the Shorter, though strangely not according to Oxford on line. Cambridge’s second phoneme of azure is that of ‘vision’, with next choice z as in ‘zoo.’ In much of the English-speaking world the true sound is not far off Asia.

  2. Tom_I says:

    The homophone in 24a worked perfectly well for me, but it would seem that I have been pronouncing this word wrongly all my life! I suspect I’m not the only one.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not much to the add to your splendid blog, Rightback.
    As you said, very accurately clued (almost unusual for recent Araucarias), hardly any fiendish Araucarian liberties and for the 4th week in a row a rather easy Saturday crossword.
    See what today’s Paul will bring (as part of a double-bill, with Mudd as the other one), because – to be honest – I am ready for a little bit more ‘adventure’.

    [BTW, in 10d you surely meant “+rev.of BE”- just a typo]

  4. Neil says:

    But, molongo, as rightback clearly said, it’s not YOUR but YOU’RE. I pronounce these differently. And, if I understand you correctly, you’ve quoted that Z is OK, even should soft SH be preferred (as I expect it would be by Sean Connery). So, I’m with rightback (thank you) on this one.
    I had to go to the books to firm up faint memories of Keats and Coleridge (though he was born in Ottery St Mary where I was pleased to work for 6 years). I do recall an uncle once remarking that he wouldn’t have put the greybeard loon behind the stumps if he only “stoppeth one of three”.
    Had to seek confirmation for GROSCHEN too, never having had occasion to spend one.

  5. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Rightback. The 14d reference is to the opening lines of the urn ode (NB “on” not “to”):

    Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness!
    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time .

    The puzzle was maybe easier for those who read the hard copy Guardian which recently included a series of booklets on the English Romantic poets.

  6. John Appleton says:

    Thanks, Rightback. I enjoyed doing this one, but could only finish it with the help of the books of Romantic poetry that were given free with the Guardian the week previously. Odd that!

  7. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. Enjoyable and, as you say, rather easy for Araucaria. I didn’t know the Coleridge reference in 10dn but it was easy to get from the wordplay. The one I couldn’t see for ages was MYTH. A real DOH moment!

  8. Jerb says:

    Neil… where I was brung up, YOUR = YOU’RE = YAW (but I’m not so posh that TAR = TOWER = TYRE!).
    I say “Azher”, some others “azYEWer”, and it seems there are a few variations (looks like molonglo pronounces the first vowel “eh” but we all have our cross to bear). I found this out at first hand a few days before I did this puzzle when I phoned up for a spare part for my “shah” (sorry, schauer) – the model: Deva Azure. Had to spell it down the phone a couple of times in case he sent me a toaster by mistake.

    We all pronounce certain words differently, so as long as the homophone is correct for a couple of people in the anglophone world with a quorum of brain cells, I reckon it’s permissible [crawls back into box to avoid chorus of “but, but, BUT, BUUUTTT!!….”].

  9. molonglo says:

    Jerb, you’ve put your finger on the problem. If a slice of anglophones agree tar-tower-tyre (for example) are homophones – and they include setters and core supporters – what hope for the rest of us?

    The OED has only one option to start ‘apricot’ – and that option is the second it gives to start ‘azure.’ But my earlier focus was on what comes after that. Not (for the OED) z as in zoo.

  10. Ian says:

    Thanks for the blog Rightback.

    It took me over 60 minutes to complete!!

  11. Grumpy Andrew says:

    For an Araucaria I found this quite reasonable (unlike this last Saturday’s torture from Paul) although I did need frequent vists to Wiki.
    Main complaint: I did this with a doctor and we both agree that a prion is not a brain part, so 5a does not work.

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