Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,937 (Araucaria)

Posted by diagacht on February 18th, 2010


Enjoyable puzzle with some testing clues. 

1 GALATEA: GALA TEA (statue created by Pygmalion)
5,9 TEN PAST EIGHT: a kind of double definition being 20:10 and also many (ten) past eight
11 SATISFIED: SAT IS (day is) IF (reversed, provided) ED (editor)
12 SPLIT: SP (having no children, sine prole) + LIT (touched off)
13 DRIED: DIED (finished) around R (river)
15 VARIOUSLY: anagram of SAVIOUR + LY (first and last letters of LibertY)
18 PIGHEADED: G (leading letter of Guardian) + HEAD (a leader) surrounded by PIED (black in white)
21 RHEUM: homophone of ROOM
23 SPLENETIC: anagram of EPSTEIN and L (left) and C (centre)
25 PYGMALION: MA LION (mother cat) headed by PYG (homophone of PIG)
26,27 KYRIE ELEISON: YR I (first year) in KEELE (university) IS ON (is performing)
28 ELDERLY: ELDER (tree) + LY (each end of LibrarY); perhaps a bit too much like LibertY
3 TITUS: TIT (bird) + US (American); New Testament letter.
4 AGGRIEVED: AG (silver) + GRIEVED (sorry)
5 TIMID: TIM (Timothy) + ID (instincts)
6 NEATS FOOT: NEAT (undiluted) + SF (science fiction) + OOT (TOO elevated); a kind of oil
7 ARIEL: homophone for AERIAL
8 TIMOTHY: THY (solver’s) with OMIT (skip, up, first)
14 DREAM DAYS: anagram of MADE in DRAYS (wagons); a book by Kenneth Grahame
16 REDOLENCE: RE (about) + DOLE (benefit) + oNCE (topped)
18 PORK PIE: a kind of hat, something to eat, a lie
20 HACKERY: ACK (WWI signal letter) in HE (man) + RY (railway line)
22 EAGLE: bEAGLE (not top dog)
23 SCION: homophone for CYAN; I find some homophones more difficult than others!
24,19 NAKED TRUTH: anagram of D (daughter) and TAKEN + RUTH

57 Responses to “Guardian 24,937 (Araucaria)”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Diagacht. Because of the smooth clueing the answers – even novelties like 6 and 14d, and the 1 and 25a link – went straight in. 18a was the favourite. Orlando had the 10a anagram a fortnight ago.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    How come this one got through without being truncated?

  3. Simon G says:

    Thanks for the blog Diagacht. My usual approach with Araucaria – work out some and then guess others and try to work out why they’re right (or not…). I found HACKERY a bit dodgy as an answer related to computer problems as I do not recall ever reading or hearing it used in this context before – hacker, hack, hacking etc. OK but hackery??? Hhhhmmm…

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    I agree with Simon G about Hackery re computing. It does seem to be a word but applied to journalism.

    Thanks diagacht for the blog – needed it for 12a today.

    I had to confirm Galatea’s creator, and 26a 27a in an encyclopedia, but other wise straigthforward today, especially after the last two days.

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    And the pronunciation of Scion

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    Try again: Scion

  7. Mick H says:

    Some puzzling stuff here – I’m not too good on my biblical letters, but as molonglo says, it was all pretty gettable from the wordplay, and generally enjoyable. The only one I wasn’t keen on was 10ac’s use of ‘editor’ as an anagram indicator. I’m a fierce defender of nouns as anagrinds, but they do have to be the right nouns – how does ‘amusing my editor’ mean ‘rearrange the letters of amusing my’?

  8. Gareth Rees says:

    23d seemed fine to me: the OED gives only the pronunciation /saɪən/ for both SCION and CYAN. (In my idiolect, CYAN is [saɪæn], but that’s close enough.)

  9. Ian says:

    Thanks diagacht.

    Like Mick I struggled with the biblical reference. I even toyed with Kylie Minogue for a few minutes at the start!

    ‘Hackery’ is Araucaria being his usual mischievous self.

    5,9 ac and 18dn were gems.

  10. crikey says:

    Agree with Mick at no.7 re “editor”. Wasn’t it Araucaria who used “director” in the same way a while back? Libertarian maybe, but really…

    Thought this was ok today compared to recent efforts from the so-called Master, but I still maintain (despite inevitable onslaught of “what ARE you talking about? Surely not!” etc etc…) that Araucaria is not in the same league as Paul, Shed, Brendan or Crucible.

  11. Grumpy Andrew says:

    Bit of a hangover so grumpier than usual.
    I guessed Kyrie Eleison only because I had the ‘K’ (and was raised a Catholic, so naturally am now an atheist), but using the word university to indicate Keele is hugely unfair. It’s not as if it’s the only university, or even a famous one.
    Galatea. Eh? It’s depressing that the very first clue refers to a second clue, and this in turn refers to a third.
    Agree with those above who say that hackery is not a computer term, and not sure what “ack” is meant to be.
    Also hated Saunterer. No such word. Don’t care if it’s in Collins or whatever, it is a word that is never used, not unless you hear conversations along the lines of “Colin likes a nice gentle walk”, “Yeah, he’s a bit of a saunterer”. In fact, even as I type it the computer underlines it as a likely incorrect spelling.

  12. Gareth Rees says:

    If you believe your own personal prejudices define what is and isn’t a word, then no wonder you’re grumpy! How dare those dictionary writers consult any sources other than you!

    The OED gives these citations for SAUNTERER:

    1688 PETT Happy Future St. Eng. 251 The fantastick Vtopias, Oceanas, and new Atlantis’es that our late Visionaries and idle Santerers to a pretended new Jerusalem troubled England with. 1735 BERKELEY Querist §413 (1750) 46 And quit the Life of an insignificant Saunterer about Town, for that of an useful Country-Gentleman. 1798 EDGEWORTH Pract. Educ. (1822) I. 149 Alcibiades might have been a saunterer at his book. 1832 SCOTT St. Ronan’s Introd. ⁋3 Thither, too, comes the saunterer, anxious to get rid of that wearisome attendant himself.

  13. Bill Taylor says:

    “Hackery” was the first one I got — not in common usage, no, but perfectly acceptable. No problems, either, with “editor” as an indicator, “scion/cyan” or “saunterer.” So what if it’s a word that’s seldom (never say never) used? And I thought “Kyrie Eleison” was very clever.

    Crikey is right — Araucaria is not in the same league as Paul, Shed, Brendan or Crucible. He’s streets ahead of them. This was a lovely way to start the day.

  14. crikey says:

    Can you explain how “editor” works as an anagrind in that case, Bill?

    The point that I perhaps failed to make above is that I thought today’s puzzle was fair, compared to recent Araucarian offerings. You only have to look at previous blogs on this site. There are invariably at least a few quibbles.

    Anyway, you say tomato… etc etc…

  15. Jan Evans says:

    re 11:Grumpy Andrew: my husband who was an air cadet says that ‘ack’ comes from ‘ack emma’ which represented ‘a.m. when instructions were issued!(similarly p.m. was ‘pip emma’.)

  16. Bill Taylor says:

    I’ll freely admit that “editor” is not literal, Crikey, but does everything have to be? Araucaria’s intent was quite obvious and I do feel that in a cryptic crossword a little “wiggle room” is permissible. Interesting, by the way, that “anagrind” is an accepted crossworder’s term but doesn’t appear in any dictionary.

    What would a blog be without quibbles? What always amazes me on this one is the unfailing level of civility — Crypticists (now that might make an interesting clue…) obviously are on a higher plane! And, yes, I do say “tomayto….”

  17. crikey says:

    Good points, Bill, especially the civility one! I just wonder whether if Gordius or Orlando, for example, used “editor’ it would be so freely tolerated. Anyway, let’s leave it at that…

    “Crypticists” – I like it!

  18. Mister Sting says:

    In common use it is, of course, ‘hacking’, not ‘hackery’, but my hackles remain unraised as it was only a bit of japing. Or japenicity or whatever.
    I don’t know about it being exactly a ‘computer problem’, though…

  19. Tom_I says:

    Hackery meaning “computer hacking” is in Chambers in black and white, so it’s not just Araucarian mischievousness!

  20. cholecyst says:

    10 ac. I read it as though Araucaria was gently teasing the crossword editor (and us) by using EDITOR as an anagrind, knowing he shouldn’t. But I’m not over the Galatea with it.

  21. JimboNWUK says:

    Oh well I guess it proves that I have a warped mind as my attempt at 23d was SPAWN (‘s porn) Offshoot being the answer and “said to be” the homophone in brackets. However, when I got Pygmalion then that left the SE corner a bit knackered. As with GrAndy I got Kyrie Eleison for the same reasons (ex-Catholic now atheist). Didn’t get “flower from space” for RHEUM.

    Has anyone read the Grauniad comments list? I think the hippo52 person has a valid point that I missed in that 11a and 18a seem to be a bit of a dig in the ribs to the crozzy editors. Quite right too!

  22. JimboNWUK says:

    oops the SW corner I should have said … and BTW I think “hackery” is a crummy word as well

  23. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, diagacht.

    In programming circles I’ve only heard HACKERY used in a tongue-in-cheek way to refer to “a bit of hacking” – that’s not in any sense “computer problems”, though. I’m afraid I think this is a very common error with the two different meanings of “hack” in a computer context.

  24. TC says:

    Was very excited to think that I had solved my first Araucaria without the aid of on-line solvers etc, or checkers. And in under 2 hours. Alas, alas. For 20dn I put in ‘Hackers’ guessing that ERS may have been an old railway company; this, of course, meant that 28 ac was going to be wrong – ‘Endures’ instead of ‘Elderly’. Just couldn’t get the word play.

    Bugger !

    Thanks for the solutions.

    Next time I’ll get him. (All that excitement over a crossword …)

  25. Gareth Rees says:

    I’m surprised at the complaints about HACKERY. Sure, the word HACKING is overwhelmingly the most common noun derived from HACK (in its computer senses), but surely one of the jobs of a crossword setters is to mislead us with unusual senses of words? There’s also the use of “flower” in the sense “thing that flows” in 21a and “working” in the sense “mixing” in 15a.

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well, I can increase my completed Araucaria count to 5 at last! Ye ha! Some guessing and word listing was needed, mainly for the tricky bits already mentioned.

    I spent 40 years as a very successful and highly paid software engineer with colleaguesand clients in every country from the US to Japan and many points in between. And none of them, not one of them, in all that time ever said HACKERY. Just because it is in Chambers proves nothing, they mindlessly list both usage and abusage without indicating which is which. This is abusage. If it isn’t we might as well give up on English and learn an African click language, LOL.

    In the more general communications world, signalling is done by transmitting numerical codes. In the old days these were just one code/one letter which meant some available codes corresponded to no letter, there being more of them. So to allow confirmation or otherwise to take place, one of these codes was used as ACK for acknowledged and NACK for not acknowledged please retransmit (hence old signaller’s letter). How you know which to send back is done by adding all the numbers over a fixed length of message and transmitting that result, the receiver does the same addition and should therefore get the same result, if so then ACK else NACK. The ACK/NACK idea still gets used today even when packets of data are the units of transmission, one has an ACK packet and a NACK packet.

  27. Derek Lazenby says:

    And just to amuse, given 18 leads to 25 leads to 1, I just had to get them 1-25-18.

  28. Colin Blackburn says:

    I suspect it depends what sort of circles you move in as a software engineer. Hackery seems to have quite widespread in…er…hacking communities. As a software engineer myself I try to develop code properly rather than resorting to hackery but I can find a good number of references on the web (where else?) and plenty of them from reasonable sources such as the Linux Gazette. I’m just waiting for haxxor to make it in to Chmabers.

  29. Gareth Rees says:

    [The Chambers compilers] mindlessly list both usage and abusage without indicating which is which

    Chambers indicates which register a word belongs to (inf, derog, sl), whether it is current (obs), how common it is (rare), which regional dialect it belongs to (E Anglia, Scot, S Eng) or which language it comes from, and which field of study it is used in (hist, geog, maths).

    What they don’t do is indicate which words are in the vocabulary of Derek Lazenby and which are not.

  30. Derek Lazenby says:

    “Chambers indicates which register a word belongs to (inf, derog, sl), whether it is current (obs), how common it is (rare), which regional dialect it belongs to (E Anglia, Scot, S Eng) or which language it comes from, and which field of study it is used in (hist, geog, maths).”

    Precisely, no mention of correct and incorrect usage, slang doesn’t cover the more common mistakes. There are many words in my vocabulary that I really would not want to see in any dictionary, but they appear in Chambers despite the fact that they are merely common mistakes. Common is sufficient for Chambers, they don’t care about correctness. And if you think that is a complaint it isn’t. It is not their job to care, just to catalog usage, therefore that makes them unreliable as a source of correctness. That is all I was saying. Just love the dumb way people read too much into what is said. And that those same people use that dumb analysis to make cheap catty remarks is just sad.

  31. crikey says:

    Re Bill at 16 – hmmm, maybe not such an “unfailing level of civility” after all!

  32. Gareth Rees says:

    You go on about “correct and incorrect usage”, but your only criterion for “correctness” appears to be your own personal judgement and experience. In particular, the only evidence you presented for “hackery” being a mistake is that you have never heard it said.

    Can see how arrogant this position appears?

    Colin Blackburn said above that he is familiar with the word. Are you prepared to revise your opinion on the basis of his evidence?

  33. Derek Lazenby says:

    I am not just going on experience. Tha is your misguided presumption, which admittedly I haven’t discouraged. Lets take a similar word or two

    To Prod, would you allow proddery, or
    To Jab, jabbery and so on

    If not why not? Is that not then the same case as Hack? And if some sub group suddenly started saying proddery (cf hacking circles as suggested for hack) does that suddenly make it ok? If someone at Chambers hears that misuse often enough and puts it in the dictionary, are they reporting correct English?

    BTW there is a word proddery, but that relates to something else, religion, and there is a name Jabbery, before you waste time on Google.

  34. Gareth Rees says:

    I am not just going on experience. That is your misguided presumption

    I can only go on what you write here. Your experience was the only evidence you presented.

    would you allow proddery?

    It’s none of my business to allow or disallow other people’s use of words. If someone wants to use a word I don’t know, or coin an entirely new word, then they can go for it, as far as I’m concerned. They might not succeed in communicating with me, but that’s a risk whatever words they use. If no-one were allowed to coin new words, or use rare words, we’d have a very impoverished language.

    If I were editing a crossword, I’d check to see if the word appeared in dictionaries, for fairness to solvers. If I were writing a dictionary, I’d want to see some evidence that it had wide enough use (relative to some corpus of interest) to justify inclusion.

    Is that not then the same case as Hack?

    Yes, it’s the same case.

    “Hackery” appears in print and online. It’s not as common a form as “hacking”, but it appears often enough that it ought to be a candidate for inclusion in large one-volume dictionaries like Chambers, and it definitely ought to appear in the OED (it doesn’t yet, but they are working on R at the moment, it’ll be a while before they get back around to H).

    “Proddery” is much rarer: I can only find one unambiguous citation for it (see below), so it wouldn’t be appropriate for Chambers, and I think even OED would want a bit more evidence than that. But with a couple more citations, I think you could make a case for it.

    The citation I found was from the Fairplay international shipping journal, Volume 173: “This quite natural feeling (which, incidentally, is part of the system of mutual “proddery” that keeps a democracy alive and kicking) has been given a fillip recently…”

    It seems clear from the quotation marks that the writer is consciously coining the word here, but the meaning seems clear to me.

  35. Tom_I says:

    My personal feeling is that if a word appears in an established reference publication, especially one as widely used as Chambers, then its inclusion in a cryptic puzzle is justifiable. You may not like it, you may not have heard of it, or you may think it is wrong, but it is there for any solver to refer to, if they have the wherewithal to purchase the volume concerned.

    If that is not good enough, all you have to do is compile your own dictionary, and get it accepted as a standard reference work for those compiling (and solving) word puzzles.

    Derek, I can only assume that you don’t attempt Azed puzzles. I can rarely get anywhere with these without the ‘C’ book by my side, as recommended by the compiler, and Mr Crowther ventures into all its darkest recesses. I suspect you would burst a blood vessel before completing an Azed, so best give them a wide berth. I doubt any compiler would want that on their conscience.

  36. Meic says:

    There’s no such thing as correct or incorrect usage. There’s only usage, and what different dialects tend to prefer. “Real” grammarians – Quirke, Greenbaum, etc – realised this decades ago. HACKERY was the last one I got, but it made me grin when I saw it, which is a mark of a good clue to me. I got SCION but until reading this I didn’t understand the clue. I cannot accept the homophone with cyan.

  37. Kate W says:

    Well, I enjoyed it, and finished without having to look anything up, yeh hey. I thought 5ac was brilliant. And I now know how to pronounce scion. Also I thought 20d’s ‘on line’ was referring to the computer problem – you only get hacked when on line. No wonder I got the word but couldn’t work out how.

  38. Davy says:

    Thanks diagacht, all this fuss over HACKERY which was perfectly guessable from the clue. Being a libertarian compiler, I would expect anything from Araucaria and often get it. He certainly has the most distinctive style of any crossword compiler and is always amusing. I thought his surfaces today were just brilliant and 17d / 18d made me laugh out loud. I finished today’s puzzle after a struggle but that’s how I like it. There is no point at all in doing an easy puzzle apart from maybe Rufus but he has his difficult moments too.

    I definitely think that Arry is the master and Paul is the sorcerer’s apprentice although Paul’s smutty clues do amuse me.

    It would be interesting to post a series of clues from different compilers and ask people to identify the compiler of each. I don’t think many would get them all right.

  39. liz says:

    Out all day, so late to the party again. Thanks diagacht for the blog. I managed this in the car — wasn’t driving! I liked the linked clues and the long anagram at 1,2. Also 5,9.

    I did imagine that there might be the fuss over ‘Hackery’, which didn’t really bother me as much as ‘editor’ for an anagram indicator. But there was still lots to enjoy here, I thought.

    Thanks, Derek, for the information on ACK and NACK!

  40. stiofain says:

    I thought this was a big improvement on recent Araucaria puzzles and enjoyed it immensely.As for the mis-use of words ( is that still hyphenated? ) as a solver you have got to accept the rule if it is in Chambers it is fair game, language is constantly evolving and todays slang is tomorrows standard. Tom_I is right about Azed dont go near him Derek that pulsating vein will go into overdrive, personally im always happy to finish half and I only have the 2 vol OED. I think as mentioned it is possible that Araucaria was passing comment on the redesign furore in a few clues.

  41. Rob says:

    Thanks for the blog – some interesting comments.
    One little quibble with explanation of solution regarding 18ac.

    18a. Guardian leader, one in black and white, not about to change (9) = Pigheaded.

    Clearly, ‘in black and white’ = in ‘PI ….. ED’.
    But I think the two words: ‘Guardian leader’ are the clue for ‘G’ and ‘Head’ is not given by ‘leader’ which has already been used for the ‘G’ but is given by ‘one’.
    COED gives one definition of ‘Head’ as ‘individual (£1 per head); individual animal of cattle (1 head of cattle; 20 head of cattle.)’
    Thanks again.

  42. Martin H says:

    ACK is old army signal code for A, as Jan says at #15, so ack ack = anti-aircraft. You can find the whole alphabet(s)at

    Nice crossword – what’s wrong with CYAN/SCION?

  43. Gareth Rees says:

    I think that some people pronounce CYAN [‘sa?æn] and SCION [‘sa?ɔn], meaning that the vowels don’t match.

    Chambers gives [‘sa?æn] and [‘sa?ən] respectively, but OED gives [‘sa?ən] for both.

  44. Gareth Rees says:

    Defeated by WordPress again! Those ‘?’s should be ‘ɪ’s.

  45. Chunter says:

  46. Brian Harris says:

    Enjoyable stuff, and I agree that this was more fun than recent Araucaria efforts, probably because it was – barring a couple of dodgy words – reasonably straightforward, with some nice cluing.

    I’m enjoying this debate about unfamiliar or ‘ugly’ words that are not in common parlance, but do exist in a reference source somewhere. From my point of view, when I’m trying to piece together a solution, sometimes agonisingly slowly by adding small bits of words or letters together based on the bits of the clue, I really don’t expect the answer to be a word that sounds wrong, eg HACKERY – for the simple reason that it makes me think I haven’t got the construction right. So, yes, technically there’s nothing wrong with these, but it does make solving some clues much more difficult. I personally wish setters would avoid them as much as possible.

    However, given the nature of filling in a grid of words, they inevitably arise, so I suppose we have to live with them from time to time.

  47. Colin Blackburn says:

    Chunter: the use of the word in that article is related to journalism rather than computer hacking. The Araucaria clue was defined using the computing version.

    Brian: I thought the HACKERY clue was quite reasonable (for A). Although it is not a common word the pieces are all fairly straightforward and there are no questionable cryptic devices.

  48. Brian Harris says:

    @Colin : Yes, I suppose, in this case, the pieces HE + ACK + RY were all reasonably clear, but I still scratched my head a couple of times wondering if that *really* was the answer. The crossing letters always help, of course.

  49. Chunter says:

    Colin Blackburn: Apologies and thanks for pointing that out. I didn’t do the puzzle: I’m still struggling with the print version.

    Google suggests that the word is fairly widely used in the computing sense.

  50. Mum says:

    Sorry, we’re being stupid – why RHEUM? I see it sounds like “room”. But why flower? Because it flows down your nose???

  51. NealH says:

    See here.

  52. Tom Hutton says:

    I think the flowing down the nose is better. I can’t think of rhubarb as a flower even though it does flower.

  53. Mum says:

    Ah, yes, that famous flower, rhubarb. Really????

  54. Huw Powell says:

    @ Derek #27, so did I!

    It took me a few days on and off, but I actually managed to finish this one. Barely. 26/27 came last, and just sort of popped into my head, dictionary confirmed it was real, but come on, “Keele”? About the only part of the wordplay that “helped” was I was pretty sure I needed a “Y”.

    Very much enjoyed the puzzle for two reasons mentioned above – it provided days of amusement, and I managed to finish it.

    I suspected “hackery” early on (Hmm, but firefox doesn’t like it!), but didn’t get the word play, penciled it in and it survived. I’ve heard/used the word, but then, I do like to muck about with words like that.

    I thought 21 was *great* – How long did I spend trying to think of 5 letter blooms and pore over the map looking for 5 letter rivers, even while thinking I might be looking for a homophone of “room”? Guessed it once I had all the checked letters, looked it up to make sure it meant “flow”(er). Nice trick.

    And once again, a joy to be able to come here and “discuss” the puzzle, and check the wordplays I couldn’t “explain”.

  55. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Because we were a bit behind with solving crosswords, we did this one only this afternoon.
    Certainly a good puzzle, and in our opinion much better than the recent Araubetical.

    We didn’t care about the HACKERY clue (it’s in Chambers – full stop), nor the SCION/CYAN homophone.
    Better surfaces than usual for an Araucaria.
    The only thing with this setter is that he regularly tries to enhance the surface by using words that shouldn’t be there.
    Luckily there were only a few this time.
    In 18ac we had G (for Guardian) + HEAD (leader) inside PIED (in black and white), so what is “one” doing there? Not even necessary for the surface.
    And in 17d: the “come” before “Easter” doesn’t play a role in the clue whatsoever.
    The anagrind of 10ac (“editor”) is another example of Araucaria taking liberties.
    Of course, we’ll understand perfectly well what he means, but it is not right from a linguistic point of view.

    Even so, fine crossword with perhaps 5,9ac and 26,27ac as hightlights (for us).

    A bit late, but nonetheless many thanks for the blog, Diagacht.
    Most useful for understanding the construction of SPLIT (12ac).

  56. russ says:

    Kyrie eleison? Got it but coulden’t work out why. Keele university?Not known in this neck of the woods (Australia)

  57. PeterS says:

    “Hackery” is a perfectly good word – referring to a wooden-wheeled cart drawn by bullocks. (Webster, 1913)
    Gotta keep up-to-date.

    Another slow aussie.

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