Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,010 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on May 14th, 2010


I’m sorry to say I didn’t know the quotation in 2/4/3dn, but I guessed the source, looked it up and quickly found the relevant part. Once that was in there wasn’t a huge amount left to do, and this grid with its four long downs has fewer entries than usual anyway. None of the other clues struck me particularly, though there’s nothing wrong with them. In general the puzzle was a bit uninspired for Araucaria I thought: others may disagree.

8. DETHRONE THE* in DRONE (unmanned aircraft)
9. SPOT ON POT (drug) in SON (issue)
10. OOMPAH (HAP MOO) reversed
11. DROP KICK DROP (forgo) KICK (excitement) and a drop goal is worth three points in rugby union and one point in rugby league.
12,21. HUNT BALL What a bad golfer might have to do, and a social event
13. GLUTTONOUS L (-plate) in GUT + TO + NOUS (sense)
16. AIRMAIL A IRMA I L. The sweet French girl is Irma la Douce (douce = sweet).
18. UNAFFECTED Double definition
19. JEEP The name “jeep” is said to be from GP = General Purpose [vehicle], or similar, but there seems to be some dispute about this.
20. DRILL BIT DRILL (monkey, closed related to the mandrill) + BIT (used teeth), and a drill bit goues round and in (to wood etc).
22. ORRERY RE (Royal Engineer) in [L]ORRY. An orrery is a clockwork model of the Solar System.
23. PETREL PET + REL[ation], the “following” being the next answer.
24. RELATION Double definition
2,4,3. THE PATHS OF GLORY LEAD BUT TO THE GRAVE (HEPAT[itis] + H + GOLFS*) in TORY, + LEAD (heavy stuff) + BUTT (laughing stock) + G in OTHER + AVE (greeting). Lines from Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (commonly known as Gray’s Elegy). Ingenious wordplay, though the surface reading is pretty nonsensical, but is it really worth the trouble?
5. ASBO Hidden in smorgASBOrd
6. WORKING MAJORITY If less than 50% are unemployed then a majority are working (and, yes, I prefer “less” in that sentence to “fewer”, which seems over-pedantic – see discussion a few days ago)
14. THIRD WORLD THIRD (bronze, as in medals) + WORLD (sphere)
17. STATURE R in STATURE. A rather clichéd clue to end.

49 Responses to “Guardian 25,010 – Araucaria”

  1. Rishi says:

    17a: Of course, you mean R in STATUE.

  2. Rishi says:

    Of course, I meant 17d!

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, mhl, but – like you – I hadn’t the foggiest idea about the quote.

    However, I couldn’t bother to look.

    I can only conclude that Araucaria was desperate when he resurrected a poem written some 260 years ago.

    I rate this -100 out of 10.

  4. Bryan says:

    Sorry, Andrew, it was you that I should have thanked.

  5. Rishi says:

    Gray’s Elegy, sombre though it may be, is a popular poem in India from the time of our rude forefathers and is often anthologised wholly or in part in school textbooks. The quote that is used in the grid and others such as “Full many a flower etc” are well-known.

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. I did the right half of the puzzle and then, like you, Googled the Elegy and soon found the line numbered as per 2,4,3: I can recite the first verse and I’d heard of this (a Kubrick movie, a J. Archer book etc) quote. But it spoils the puzzle to have so much on a plate. I quite liked 10a but there wasn’t much else. 5d was used by Shed in January.

  7. Ian says:

    Andrew thanks.

    Either I’m improving my ability to finish off Paul and Araucaria puzzles or they are getting noticeably easier over recent months.

    The large clue I recall from ‘Elegy’. As mentioned above, once that’s in the rest is a relatively straightforword, especially a string of across clues, “Gluttonous”, “Drop Kick”, “Unaffected” and “Airmail”.

    Not up to his usual standard I’m afraid.


  8. Robert says:

    An excellent puzzle. The long quote in particular I enjoyed solving, even though I’d never encountered it before.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks andrew, especially for the parsing of 23 which puzzled me long after I got the answer. I eventually, and a bit ‘thickly’, accepted a Chambers reading of ‘relative’ as referring to an antecedent in grammar as rather unsatisfactorily sufficient. Before that I got bogged down in ‘rel = nofollow’ in html coding! I enjoyed this on the whole – there’s something flattering in getting clues that aren’t immediately obvious but yet are gettable. In this regard I particularly enjoyed 16a. and 7d. An orrery by the way need not be clockwork, as far as I’m aware, though I’m not sure whether the original made for the duke of that name was.

  10. Bill Taylor says:

    It’s a very famous quotation and I was pleased to see such a classic piece of Araucariana. I absolutely thought it was worth the trouble. The rest was pretty routine and a quick solve but very enjoyable, apart from 23d which was a real stretch. I liked 12a/21d and 13a and also the nod, in WORKING MAJORITY, to that which the Conservative party does not have.

    “General Purpose” has been pretty much discredited as the origin of Jeep. One school of thought has it named after Eugene the Jeep, a character in the old Popeye cartoon strip who could do the seemingly impossible. But American servicemen used to call anything new and unfamiliar a “jeep,” which is why the word is still sometimes applied today, lower-case, to any small 4×4 vehicle.

  11. Mark H says:

    Some obscure solutions and wordplay for me. Hadn’t heard of “orrery”, drill as in a monkey or irma. Had to look up the quotation and eventually worked backwards to fathom the gobbledygook that led to it – ingenious? I’m not so sure, yesterday’s Paul was a much more satisfying solve imho

  12. tupu says:

    As Bill Taylor says, the quotation and the poem are well known, perhaps especially to my own older generation. It is full of ‘quotes’ – a very old noun by the way, despite some complaints of its being a neologism – and is well worth reading. Nothing else of Gray’s that I have read comes anywhere near it. It may well appear outdated and too sentimental to younger minds, but its respect for the unrecognised potential of unlettered villagers is still highly relevant in a 14d context if not so much here at home.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks, Andrew. This was a quick solve for me after I looked up the quote. Easier than the usual Araucaria, but still good fun.

    I can recommend this month’s Genius for anyone who wants a harder Araucaria challenge.

  14. Mike says:

    Pretty good on the whole, but I dont really like the very long answers such as included here (from Gray’s Elegy).

    Reason being that I, like most people I suspect, used google or a reference book to get the answer based on the number of letters – and then couldn’t be bothered to degomble the rest of the clue. (Why bother?)

    In fact, Araucaria may as well just have written the clue as “Quote from Gray” and omitted all the other stuff, for all the pleasure it gave me.

  15. Dave H says:

    Resisted the temptation to google the quote so subsequently completed the rest and still couldn’t get it, and none the wiser until expalained, thankyou.

    Re 19a I took this to be a homophone of GP ie Jee P hence the noise indicator and question mark.

    Enjoyed the puzzle and a nice way to finish off a good week I think

  16. MadLogician says:

    I knew the Gray quote and got it almost immediately from the number of letters – I almost never bother with the wordplay on Araucaria’s long clues. When he manages to produce a sensible surface meaning they’re wonderful but too often they’re gibberish.

  17. Tokyo Colin says:

    I agree with Mike. These massive anagram clues may be great fun for the setter but rarely worth the trouble to “degomble”. I remember a Saturday puzzle a while ago with a theme of Hardy novels and once one was discovered, the rest were just a matter of comparing word lengths.

    I enjoyed several clues today esp. 14d. Very familiar with Orrery, but what is an Asbo? (OK I googled it but new to me.)

  18. Richard says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    I agree with many of the earlier comments.

    In 10ac Chance = HAP is not one I’m familiar with.
    In 16ac I’ve never heard of Irma la douce! Very obscure!
    In 20ac I didn’t know that a drill is a monkey.
    In 22ac I’ve never heard of an ORRERY.
    In 2,4,3 I wonder if anyone who didn’t know the lines could possibly have worked this out from scratch?
    In 14d – Is the ‘third world’ synonymous with the ‘developing world’?

    Not one for a 50 minute lunchbreak on a busy Friday in the office.

  19. Bill Taylor says:

    “Developing World” is being used more and more and I believe most nations who fall into that category prefer it to “Third World.”

    An orrery is a wonderful thing to behold. Take a look at

    Hap is the operative part of mayhap, mishap, perhaps, happen, hapless….

  20. Bill Taylor says:

    P.S. Happy….

  21. cholecyst says:

    I thought this was good stuff – enjoyable but not overly time-consuming to complete. Araucaria obviously likes Gray’s Elegy. We had a puzzle themed on it last November (24863). Not surprising, given his (Araucaria’s) former job!

  22. tupu says:

    Thanks Bill @ 19. Although I referred to the term above, Third World makes less sense these days than it used to. It meant an additional, poorer and to some degree unaligned world in the context of a first and second world (the West and the communist bloc). Developing World is not universally popular, and there are those who prefer ‘the South’ though this must obviously have its opponents. However, ‘Fourth World’ (of depressed minorities e.g Native Americans, urban poor etc. in the ‘developed world’) is has also been coined fairly recently. All these seem a lot better than the name of a course I took – ‘Colonial Economics’ – in what now seems like the ‘stone age’.

  23. tupu says:

    sorry re ‘is has’ and sorry for so many entries today.

  24. Bill Taylor says:

    The “stone age,” tupu — that would be when Irma la Douce was popular!

    Sorry for my excessive presence here, too.

  25. Another Andrew says:

    If you just re-read molonglo’s post (@6) then that’s pretty much exactly how I solved it and what I felt about it.

  26. Daniel Miller says:

    Enjoyable enough. Some pleasant clues (Airmail being my favourite)

    We could discuss the Gray clue – I too recognised the origin and saved myself the trouble by working round it. Yes, it does work out (unwieldy though it may be) so perhaps:

    ‘Andy Gray’s final road, perhaps? or some such wordplay that (using Andy) might suggest football but completely throw you and send you down the wrong PATH!

    Kubrick’s masterpiece (Paths of Glory) is ahead (i.e. (in) “the lead”)…of the party (the rave)..
    yet (but) got “lost” (anagram) along the way…….

  27. Martin H says:

    I found this one quite tough but enjoyable, although some of the long solutions (1d for instance) came without any need to go into the detail of the clue.

    19 was an odd one – GP with the first letter a homophone (noise of G) and the second a given letter. Economical, combining two views of the secondary content; a sort of Cubist clue.

    Thanks Andrew for explaining -rel in 23. A nicely sneaky one which had me foxed.

  28. scarpia says:

    I loved this and for a change didn’t look up the quote but worked it out, once a few check letters were in place.It takes a lot longer but is more satisfying this way.
    Particularly liked 10 and 16 across and 7 down.
    Another delight from the Master!

  29. Gerry says:

    I had to look up the verse too. I liked quite a few of the clues, though as ‘drill’ is an abbreviation for mandrill, shouldn’t that be noted?

    Nearly didn’t finish because of 15ac, but very happy when I got it.

  30. Bill Taylor says:

    Drill isn’t an abbreviation. The drill is closely related to the mandrill but is a separate and distinct species.

  31. Sil van den Hoek says:

    “Thát was fun, at the end of the week” were my PinC’s Famous Last Words.
    [well, she’s still alive :)]
    I think she was right.

    We had a flying start with (near) giveaways like 5d (ASBO) – not very well hidden -, 9ac (SPOT ON), UNAFFECTED (18ac), 17d’s STATURE – which must be a chestnut tree by now – and 1d (REVOLUTIONARIES).

    And when you know the quotation from Gray’s Elegy, this puzzle is indeed an easy solve – hence, maybe somewhat unsatisfying.
    But if you’re not familiar with these words (like us), then there are two possibilities.
    Either you look it up somewhere or you try to unravel it using the clever thing between your ears [which is not the nose].
    To be honest, I am surprised how many people did cheat to find Gray’s words.
    Why not put your teeth in it and try to solve 2,4,3 bit by bit like a jigsaw puzzle.
    It is exactly like scarpia says in #28, very satisfying then.
    [even if, I admit, the clue itself is a bit nonsense – but one has also to admit, at least we do, that Araucaria is undoubtedly a true master in these kind of clues – not convinced? try yourself!]

    This crossword was, like an Araucaria some weeks ago, almost free from cross-references and a real theme.
    Just like on that occasion, most posts seem(ed) to call that (in-between the lines) not ‘inspiring’ enough.
    Araucaria is all about clever construction [more important than the surface readings] and he’s done a great job today, we thought.
    Plus a little smile every now and then (like the ‘moo’ in 10ac).
    And a clue like 20ac is rather clever. It turns out to be a simple charade (DRILL+BIT), but the clue contains words like ‘to go round’ and ‘in’ which suggest that there could be ‘insertions’.
    BTW, like a minority of you all we saw JEEP as a homophone of G + P, which is unusual but very nice.
    And the use of ‘part of following’ in 23ac is quite original, isn’t it?

    For us [but we are all different, aren’t we?] it was like scarpia [yes, again] said ‘another delight from the Master!’.

    Two days ago, I said, Arachne is hard to beat this week.
    Araucaria came close, but you can’t compare the two completely different styles of clueing. I do like them both, but [surprise, surprise] Arachne won!!

  32. Will Mc says:

    “Conservative holds with liver disease it is off to hospital — playing golf’s heavy stuff — laughing stock good in different greeting, wrote Gray”
    If Thomas Gray had written anything like that no-one would ever have heard of him.

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Will Mc, you’re right, but this is Crosswordland in which clues sometimes are like little jigsaw puzzles.
    Putting the pieces together cán be very satisfying even if the surface is nonsensical.
    It’s very easy to criticise clues like this, but I challenge you to come up with an alternative, in which surface and construction are equally important.

  34. rrc says:

    With Paul and Araucaria used this week I wonder who we’ll have tomorrow. Im not sure Im looking forward for tomorrow.

  35. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Why not, rrc?
    What about a Boatman?

  36. scarpia says:

    Or an Enigmatist?

  37. Carrots says:

    I got the feeling that Araucaria`s heart wasn`t really in this. (A “One Pinta” solution at lunchtime). I do hope that he is OK and that (our) anticipations and expectations of him as a setter do not go beyond those of civilised fans with a love of the “Beautiful Game”….a description far more worthy of crosswords than ghastly football.

  38. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Sorry, Carrots, I respect your opinions on both Araucaria and football, but I don’t agree.
    I genuinely think this was vintage Araucaria.
    And if you think it’s not, could you please tell me what was missing or how this crossword should have been to be a typical Araucaria?
    [and let’s not talk about football – which has nothing to do with this puzzle anyway]

  39. molonglo says:

    tupu@12 – Gray is a bit cursed by his elegy, mild and now cliche’d. But I totally recall at least the ferocious first verse of the curse that he wrote about (Edward II’s) which begins ‘Weave the warp, and weave the woof’

  40. snigger says:

    “And when you know the quotation from Gray’s Elegy, this puzzle is indeed an easy solve – hence, maybe somewhat unsatisfying.
    But if you’re not familiar with these words (like us), then there are two possibilities.
    Either you look it up somewhere or you try to unravel it using the clever thing between your ears [which is not the nose].
    To be honest, I am surprised how many people did cheat to find Gray’s words.
    Why not put your teeth in it and try to solve 2,4,3 bit by bit like a jigsaw puzzle.”

    And if you do not know the quotation, is this puzzle still an easy solve ? But will doff my cap to anyone who made sense of the garbled nonsense and solved it cryptically.

    ps detest jigsaw puzzles, much prefer football. (perhaps less football in my youth, more swotting english lit homework ??)

  41. tupu says:

    molonglo @39. Many thanks for that! I just dredged the Edward II poem out of google – though it is also in OBEV. I must confess it is an extremely powerful piece with extraordinary use of language and possibly superior to the Elegy as pure poetry. My opinion of the Elegy is that the sentiments, though cliche’d – not Gray’s fault of course – are admirable and beautifully expressed. I suppose I may be still influenced by schoolboy impressions – though that’s not a wholly badly thing I hope – and the message is still relevant today I feel.
    Thanks once again.

  42. Brian Harris says:

    Amazingly, as neither of us knew the Gray quotation, we did construct the answer piece by piece… It took a while, and I’m not sure if it was fun or painful, but we got there in the end.

  43. Sil van den Hoek says:

    See, thát’s what I meant.

  44. vin says:

    I wasn’t familiar with the Gray quote but preferred not to look it up and enjoy the challenge of solving it through check letters, guesswork and the nonsense of the clue. I was slightly held up by initially entering TITBIT at 23ac (almost works!), and 16ac AIRMAIL was my last answer to go in – well and truly misdirected! I am amazed that someone can solve something like this in just 27 minutes (is ” not seconds, Ian @7?) My trouble is that my tired brain cannot produce synonyms the way it used to. It took me several hours, on and off, but very satisfying to get there eventually, and thanks for the blog, Andrew, in particular the parsing of REVOLUTIONARIES.

  45. Carrots says:

    For Sil van den Hoek. I don`t crack a classic Araucaria in 20 minutes! A quintessential Araucaria takes one on a magical mystery tour through Byzantium, punctuated with red herrings, pitfalls, seductive traps and, above all, wit. He is one of the few setters who can cause a shriek of self criticism one minute and a wry smile the next. The longest I have spent on one (on and off) was an Easter Special which took two days. A bit like I suppose it must feel landing a 20kg Marlin on a trout line!

  46. Coffee says:

    Re. THIRD WORLD – I edited a book or two for a well known charity -sorry, aid organisation- and their house style guide stated that we MUST use “developing world/countries” rather than “third world” – and avoid all references to “the poor” and “peasants”…. and not call the org. a “charity”…

  47. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Carrots (#45), if that’s what a classic Araucaria is to you, well, then we all know what you mean. Don’t get me wrong, in that respect I fully agree with you.
    But this crossword was just a weekday one.
    The fact that it didn’t offer all these red herrings and seductive traps, doesn’t necessarily mean that Mr Graham didn’t put his heart into it.

    One can find this crossword too easy or too ordinary or whatever, but that is also because people have such high expectations [which is, in my opinion, not always fair towards this setter].
    Though indeed nonsensical, that long clue was typical Araucaria, one of his trademarks, as was the clueing style of most of the rest. Araucaria is unique, as simple as that.
    This week, I especially liked Arachne’s crossword [with its smooth surfaces and intelligent constructions], but in no way comparable with Araucaria who’s style is completely different.
    Even if the Guardian wouldn’t have put a name to this puzzle, it would have been very clear who the setter was.
    There were times [not so very long ago] that Araucaria became very sloppy [which annoyed me enormously], but you can’t say that of his recent crosswords and this one in particular [btw, I am not saying that you did].

    The other thing is that for some people Araucaria is more Araucaria when there is a theme and when there are all these cross-references [which makes the puzzle harder and more challenging, which is true].
    Today, for example, in the blog of last Saturday’s underground puzzle, Bryan talked about ‘a huge improvement on yesterday’s crossword’ – although I don’t agree, I wonder whether his words might have something to do with the presence of a theme and the lack of some definitions there, which makes it all more exciting for some [but the puzzle was not even that much harder, and for me there wasn’t that much value added compared to this Friday one]. But as I said before on several other occasions “but then we are all different, aren’t we?”. Funny that we always seem to agree on Brendan, Rufus or Paul [well, more or less], to name a few, but hardly ever on Araucaria.

    I enjoy a well-written weekday Araucaria without theme etc just as much, and therefore found this puzzle a delight to solve [but an essential part of the fun was to decrypt the long one without aides].

    Carrots, it seems to me that for you an ‘average’ Araucaria is not enough – and if so, honestly, I see where you come from. No problem with that.
    For me, though, an Araucaria Lite can be just as satisfying.
    And so it was today.

    [gosh, what a long story on a recurring theme – not sure whether I should have done this or not :) ]

  48. Carrots says:

    For S.V.D.H. I`m truly flattered that you took the time and patience for such a well-honed response. I do know what you mean and wholeheartedly agree with most of it. Yesterday, for some inexplicable reason, I waltzed through the puzzle with an alacrity that astonished myself, blitzing the answers in without scarcely a glance at the clues (indeed, correctly guessing the Gray quotation with only a handful of operatives in). As this has never happened before I automatically thought Araucaria must be a bit off-colour….I clearly had not changed into a maestro-cryptanalyst overnight, as Brummie has well demonstrated today! Thanks for “Araucaria Lite”: I shall cherish it incase one crops up again.

    By the way, I suppose you already know that “The Beautiful Game” is a synonym for football. Never have I come across a least appropriate one. The truly beautiful game is a well crafted puzzle, preferably devised by Auracaria and/or his acolytes. Bon Chance, Mike C.

  49. scarpia says:

    Football – the beautiful game?

    Um – laughable offbeat toilet

    Fateful boot time – laughable

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