Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,029 (Sat 5 Jun)/Araucaria – Teething trouble

Posted by rightback on June 12th, 2010


Solving time: 16 mins (23ac wrong and another possible mistake at 10/27ac)

Similarly to last week’s puzzle, this was very hard until I spotted the theme (a class of creatures like anteaters) and then it was fairly straightforward.

Some of this I found very strange, the first three across clues in particular, none of which I fully understand, and I also can’t explain 12ac or 18dn. There was a handful of good clues, such as 14ac, 16ac, 4dn, 22dn, all of which are simple and elegant, but I thought many were poor, especially with regard to their surface readings.

Music of the day was going to be At The Zoo by Simon and Garfunkel, but with England opening their World Cup campaign tonight it really has to be Three Lions, even though they aren’t technically edentate (which is more than can be said for Emile Heskey).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 ODONTIC – am I missing something here?
5 ANTBEAR; ANT (?) + ‘BEAR [it]’ – does ‘one dentally challenged’ give ANT? The bit in brackets alludes to the phrase ‘bear it’ but as part of a cryptic clue makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
10/27 EDENTATA? – ‘Paradise’ must be EDEN but I can’t see why ‘Lost’ should give TATA, which to my knowledge only means ‘goodbye’. Can you say something has ‘gone ta-ta’? An alternative (and what I actually entered here) might be ‘edentate’, but I can’t justify that either. Anyway, these creatures have no front teeth and seem to feed mostly on ants.
11 RE-ENTRANCE; rev. of NE’ER, + TRANCE (= ‘unconsciousness’)
12 SLEEVE – this is obviously ‘record protection’ in the sense of a musical record sleeve, but why ‘maybe for heart’? Perhaps it’s a reference to the phrase ‘wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve’ but that doesn’t really seem sufficient.
13 AARDVARK; A + ([h]ARVARD)* + K (= ‘£1000′) – not the easiest of words to clue, perhaps, but I think ‘Harvard’ might have been clued more explicitly given that it is an indirect anagram (i.e. a clue to a word to be anagrammed).
14 ARMADILLO; A + R + MAD + ILL + O – good wordplay.
16 ASIDE; (IDEAS)* – an ‘aside’ at the theatre being something intended to be heard by the audience but not the other characters.
17 SLOTH (2 defs) – one of the seven deadly sins.
19 IMPLODING; 1 MP, + DIN (= ‘sound’) in LOG (= ‘record’)
23 PANGOLIN; ANGOL[a] in PIN – my last entry, looking for a ‘number’ to fit ??N I guessed ‘ten’ and shoved in ‘tangolen’ which didn’t look very likely. Should probably have looked further, especially as I knew this word, but I regret I had long since bored of this puzzle.
24 NUANCE; [conti]NUANCE – obvious answer (‘Subtle point’ being the definition) and intractable wordplay, for me anyway, having never heard of Scottish actor Tom Conti.
26,29 ENDANGERED SPECIES; END (= ‘last’) + ANGER (= ‘sin’), + EDS (= ‘journalists’) around SPECIE (= ‘money’) – could someone explain how the word ‘specie’ might be used? This may or may not be intended as a thematic answer.
28 ORPHANS; rev. of PRO (= ‘in favour of’), + HANS – of course, not all Germans are called Hans; others are called Fritz and Otto, but all take better penalties than John, Frank and Peter.
2 DIDDLER; RIDDLED with first and last letters exchanged
3 NON-C.E. – as in ‘nonce word’.
4 IS + R.A. + ELI
6 NOTARY; NO TRY around A – arguably ‘no try’ is only an adverse decision for 50% of the players, but that’s a nitpick.
8 ASCARID; A + SID[e] around CAR – ‘sidecar’ needs to be split into two words for this clue to work.
9 LEGAL LUMINARY; LEG (= ‘part of course’) + ALL + (MAY RUIN)*
15 AUTOGRAPH; A + (TOUGH)* around RAP (= ‘responsibility’)
18 LEARNER – this is presumably something to do with ‘One making some money’ = EARNER and ‘plate’ = L, as in L-plate, but I can’t really make sense of it. Perhaps the cryptic reading is ‘L earner’ where ‘L’ refers to monetary pounds, but there’s more wrong with that than there’s room here to write.
20 LINED UP; LIP around (NUDE)* – ‘Speaker’ = LIP? Just about, I suppose.
21 NECK ( = ‘isthmus’) + TIE (= ‘link’) – another disjointed surface reading.
25 AZTEC; TEC (= detective = ‘sleuth’) after A,Z (= ‘extremes’)

38 Responses to “Guardian 25,029 (Sat 5 Jun)/Araucaria – Teething trouble”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, but – unlike you – I found this puzzle a real delight and I had no problems with any of the clues where you had issues.

    PIN in 23a is a Personal Identification Number.

    I also considered EDENTATA and AARDVARK excellent!

    For a time, I looked for ANTEATER but in vain.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks rightback.

    I put EDENTATE for the answer to 10/27 and couldn’t see why – now I understand: “Bye bye, Paradise” is Paradise Lost.

    What really slowed me down was putting Worried for 1ac which makes a lot more cryptic sense than ODONTIC – eventually I had to admit this was the answer from the crossing letters but I still don’t like it!

  3. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks rightback. I enjoyed this more than you did. For 5ac I think the ‘appeal to refrain from the intolerable’ is ‘can’t bear it’ with the c coming from ‘formerly classed’. Not the most elegant construction.

    Like Bryan, I thought ‘EDEN TATA’ was quite clever for ‘Paradise Lost’.

    For 12ac, I think ‘maybe for heart’ is adequate given that we already have the primary definition.

  4. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Rightback. I couldn’t see anything cryptic about 1 either. I did think 12 and 18 were OK, and I’m sure your reasons are sufficient. 5 was my last and I still don’t follow it – I wanted to put ANDBEAR in (grin and bear it) but couldn’t find a dictionary to oblige.

  5. NeilW says:

    I think 5ac has something to do with the phrase “grin and bear it” but I can’t really put it together… any ideas?

  6. NeilW says:

    Sorry, Biggles. I only saw your comment after submitting.

  7. NeilW says:

    Just gone to the annotated solution: read all the top line: “O DONT I CANT BEAR” (it)!!

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, NeilW @7

    I had missed the wider implications of 1a 5a.

    How clever!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl
    Like Bryan @1, I found this extremely entertaining pretty well all through, and was left with a good feeling after solving it.

    Re 1,5 I thought that this particular joined-up use of ellipses made ‘odontic’ OK since it did not stand alone. I have not googled antbear but it is I think a creature of the same broad kind as pangolin etc (anteaters) and I assumed it was once classed in ‘edentata’ but is no longer. (?)
    Like NeilW, I kept wanting to try edentate ( I was reminded of edentata when hunting around for ‘why?’ it might be) . I think this set of clues is quite brilliant.

    Re specie in 29. It is clearly a pretty old term for money. All the quotations in OD use it with ‘in’ rather than self-standing – lit. ‘in kind’ (L) i.e. in actual money.

    Of the other clues, I particularly liked ‘aztec’.

    18d ‘learner’ is not totally clear but I thought the double use of ‘put up’ – on one’s car and on top of earner was sufficient.

    Thanks Araucaria for a really enjoyable and often very witty puzzle.

  10. tupu says:

    Rightback – abject apologies for misnaming @9!

  11. Dad's Lad says:

    Thanks Rightback and Neil W. Didn’t like 1a and 5a but now seeing the link it makes more sense. 26, 29 presumably a red herring associated with, but concealing, the main theme of toothless creatures. “Actor Tom” usually leads to Cruise, but Conti is fair for those of us from a certain generation…..

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks rightback,

    A nearly excellent puzzle from Arry with some slight reservations. I missed out on NOTARY and ANTBEAR, but mainly because I’d put OUTCRY for 6d without understanding where the laywer came in…stupid boy.

    Now I’ve seen the answer to 5a, the clue still makes little apparent sense and I’d neglected to notice that it was dotted to 10,27.

    However, there were some great clues with NUANCE and ORPHANS being my particular favourites. EDENTATA was brilliant and gave me the best laugh of the week although I’d got most of the answers before solving this one.

    I did think initially that 10,27 was an anagram of paradise which gave me SPARIDAE which is defined below :-

    The Sparidae is a family of fish, included in the order Perciformes. The fish of the family are commonly called breams and porgies (North America). The sheepshead, scup, and red sea bream are species in this family. They are found in shallow temperate and tropical waters and are bottom-dwelling carnivores. Most species possess grinding, molar-like teeth.

    Ah well, maybe that’s another crossword.

  13. liz says:

    Thanks, Rightback. I got EDENTATA by working backwards after I got 13c and 14ac and twigged it would be their order. Messed up 1ac though and would never have seen the wordplay.

    tupu @ 9 From what I can tell ‘antbear’ is an old name for ‘anteater’, hence the ‘formerly’ in the clue.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Liz

    Many thanks. Your comment stimulated me to look further. You are right that antbear = anteater (and also aardvark) etc. but I’ve just dug the following out of ‘’

    “In the past, these families (sc. anteaters, pangolins etc) were classified together … as the order Edentata…. It was subsequently realized that Edentata … contained unrelated families and was thus invalid by cladistic standards. Aardvarks and pangolins are now placed in individual orders, and the new order Xenarthra was erected to group the remaining families (which are all related).”

    One lives and learns as bloggers often say. Araucaria certainly did his homework!!
    I wouldn’t like to meeet ‘cladistic’ (clandestine + sadistic?) on a dark night or in a crossword, but I probably will I suppose.

  15. Bill Taylor says:

    Lovely puzzle — very clever indeed, though a lot of hard work. Still, as the old saying goes, “aardvark never hurt anyone…” AARDVARK and PANGOLIN were my way into the theme and led me to EDENTATA (which I also had as edentate at first until the “aha” dropped).

    I can’t understand how rightback could become bored with this puzzle, especially in the16 minutes he says it took him to solve it — though he’s unclear as to whether his “finished” puzzle had mistakes at 23a and 10/27a.

    I don’t how many people have looked in the Chat Room at the general crossword discussion lately but mhl put up a fascinating post yesterday (#314) with a link to Mark Goodliffe’s very compelling step-by-step explanation of how he won the 2008 Times crossword championship by solving three cryptics in less than 18 minutes. It’s riveting stuff:

    I think it would be equally interesting if rightback could be prevailed upon to give us a blow-by-blow rundown of one of his superfast solves, which often appear to be under 10 minutes.

  16. liz says:

    Tupu — Thanks for the further clarification! You’re right — Araucaria really did do his homework!

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Just like Rightback we found this a somewhat ‘strange’ crossword.
    Although we had all the solutions, we couldn’t make sense of 1,5ac nor 10,27ac (where we thought it had to be EDENTATE, just like some others). On top of that we couldn’t explain NUANCE and LEARNER either – meaning for the latter: we didn’t see a definition because we put the L (plate) on top of the EARNER, not thinking of L=pound.
    All this has become clear now thanks to the above posts.
    Quite clever, indeed [but of no use when solving, and therefore we were not completely happy with this crossword].

    In this place I like to take the opportunity to point out that two weeks ago there was a quite remarkable crossword of Araucaria’s alter ego Cinephile in the FT.
    Just in case you missed it.
    Yesterday, anax wrote [I am sure he won’t mind me being supportive]:

    anax says:
    June 11th, 2010 at 1:55 pm
    It’s a shame more solvers haven’t commented on this fantastic puzzle. I know it’s a bit late in the day now, but for those who haven’t had the pleasure I strongly recommend grabbing the crossword while you can:

    [There are only four days left, and please download anax’s own Loroso puzzle as well (FT 13,403) which I thought was marvellous]

  18. tupu says:

    Re Bill @ 16
    I am nothing like as fast as rightback, but I have noticed that if I try to solve a puzzle quickly (for me that is), I tend to miss the subtlety of some of the clues even if I get the right answers. With respect, I wonder if this hasn’t happened in this case. I suspect this puzzle needed a lot more ruminating over things than most of those we’ve had recently. As I note in 14, Araucaria had clearly taken an immense amount of trouble in the construction of the puzzle and especially 1, 25, and 10,27. I got edentata partly by accident, but as soon as I saw it I realised that it must be right because edentate is a singular noun (and only a possible plural adj.) and other clues suggested a plural noun was needed. It then took further time to see the ‘goodbye’ meaning.

    As with Rover’s clever (albeit very different) exchequer clue yesterday, most people seem unlikely to see what’s going on there at first sight even if they get the answer. Of course, as Fumblefingers in General Discussion 317 seems to suggest, it is not always clear where ‘subtle’ starts to = ‘too contrived’. For myself, I feel that boundary was not crossed here.

    I am still a bit puzzled by ‘learner’ and am not much taken by ‘pound’ earner even if it is possibly right or by my own half-heartedly suggested ‘take’ on the clue @ 9. Any more ideas on this?

  19. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu [just to show I can get it right – apologies for yesterday!]

    I’m still rather doubtful about LEARNER, too. I think your explanation @ 9 is probably as near as we’re gpong to get – it is Araucaria, after all!

    [I just wanted an excuse to come here and second Sil’s exhortation to download those two puzzles. The Cinephile is beautifully crafted and the Loroso wonderfully satisfying to complete, although – or perhaps because – it’s pretty tough going, loaded with cracking clues and aha moments.]

  20. Eileen says:

    gpong = going!

  21. Bill Taylor says:

    tupu: I wonder sometimes if rightback is as fast as rightback! He was clearly out of his depth with this one. Thanks, Sil and Eileen: I just printed out Cinephile and am going to tackle it over lunch and between World Cup games.

  22. tupu says:

    Many thanks Eileen.
    :) I can scarcely grumble (and in any case would not) when I earlier managed to misidentify rightback totally! And in any case Sil has more or less confessed that it was his fault!

    You give no source for gpong = going, but my trusty dictionary of lesser known West African languages reveals that it means ‘going’ in several remote areas of Cameroon. The sister volume of ‘non-existent West African languages’ is due out next year weather permitting. :)

    it’s a slight shame if that’s it with ‘learner’.

    I too will download the puzzles, though I’ve not even looked at todays Paul.

  23. Bill Taylor says:

    Paul is quite good, tupu. And Cinephile is excellent so far.

  24. sidey says:

    Bill Taylor, I can’t help noticing that you persistently express surprise at Rightback’s claimed solving times. Unless you have evidence to dispute them I suggest that it would be polite to stop it. I took only marginally longer than Rightback to fill in the grid. I then spent longer trying to unravel some of the clues.

    This is a fundamental problem with ‘libertarian’ setters, the grid can often be filled using the often obvious definitions, the subsidiary parts of the clues being worked out later.

    Specific incidences of this are ‘nuance’ and ‘learner’ in this puzzle and the spectacularly unexplainable ‘Valerie’ in Genius 83, even Hugh Stephenson seems unable to explain that coherently, see comment 32 in the relevant blog.

    I don’t usually comment on Araucaria puzzles any more as the “he can’t do anything wrong” attitude of some fans is a trifle wearing.

    Sorry for the rant, I shall now go and play with The Listener where things often make more sense. :)

  25. Bill Taylor says:

    I’m not a polite person, sidey. I am, both genetically and by training, a cynic — schooled from an early age to believe nothing that I hear and only half of what I see. Perhaps I should go and play somewhere else, too.

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Er … tupu (#22), do I see my name there?
    [I can scarcely grumble (and in any case would not) when I earlier managed to misidentify rightback totally! And in any case Sil has more or less confessed that it was his fault!]

    Did I have a confession to make?
    What is this about?

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oh I see, yesterday’s blog …
    [Gaufrid, maybe you should delete #26 and this one – it’s getting off topic now]

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    No, it wasn’t / isn’t about you!

    Yesterday evening, tupu [sic!] and I commented simultaneously, some time later, on a comment of [coincidentally] yours. I got tupu’s name wrong.

    See comments 39 – 41.

  29. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Sil – another crossing!

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Sil/Eileen
    :) Thanks both of you. I was just coming back to say the same thing, when…..! Sorry Sil that you were troubled.
    Eileen, how you were able to explain so succinctly is a mystery – I got all bogged down and so you got there first – to my relief!

  31. Eileen says:

    Seriously off-topic now…

    That’s twice in twenty four hours I’ve been credited with concision / succinctness – and, like many of you, I’m sure, I can’t quite believe it! :-)

  32. rrc says:

    I thought 3d was brilliant although I did need the check the answer in a dictionary Very enjoyable

  33. Carrots says:

    Now, let me tell you all a true story. Some decades ago I found myself commuting to London from Nottingam and started to struggle with the DT crossword to help pass the time. A fellow passenger in my usual compartment (that`s how long ago it was!), a dapper gentleman and obvious maestro of crossword puzzles, usually (and ostentatiously) finished the DT before breakfast service started at Loughborough, where he would remain for the rest of the journey. The discarded puzzle was tucked down by the side of his seat and I once stole a glimpse of it to hopefully find the answer to yet another vexing clue. He had written, in all the available lights, “Three Blind Mice See How They Run, They All Ran After The Farmer`s Wife….etc.”

    Now, can anyone suggest why he did that?

    More poignantly, in terms of “fifteen squared”, why is speed of solution seemingly an important indicator of a setter`s worth…or of the solver`s skill?

  34. Davy says:

    Carrots (Vegetables rot in cars)

    I would suggest that the gentleman filled in the crossword as he did, for two possible reasons :-

    1. To make himself appear clever by completing it so quickly.

    2. Just for a laugh for anyone who found his paper as you did.

  35. Carrots says:

    Dave (Front handle comes off deep sea chest)

    So: vanity and/or pranky…I suppose we`ll never know!

    ….But, if the former, his “superiority” was inevitably pyrrhic and, if the latter, he was denied the pleasure of witnessing the results of his artifice.

    Why leave the evidence of his fraud lying around? Who was the dupe…me?

    I was hoping that he might just conceivably see this and come clean!

  36. Buddy says:

    I can appreciate the frustration of those, like rightback, who didn’t understand 1ac/5ac. However, for those of us who solve very slowly, the joy when the penny dropped and the brilliant Odontic Antbear (it) emerged was unconfined. (Incidentally “Paradise Lost” as gryptic for Edentata is another hoot.)

    Didn’t realise it was a race, by the way.

  37. tupu says:

    Hi Buddy

    Glad you agree (cf.18 where I misleadingly mistyped 5 as 25).

    I do still admire faster solvers though.

  38. FumbleFingers says:

    Sticking doggedly to the designated subject matter here…

    In a typical context such as “Stop making that awful noise” (or whatever really irritating people do in your neck of the woods), surely “I can’t bear it” is one of the MOST standard appeals to “refrain from the intolerable”?

    Having recently posted about ellipses in Crossword Chat, I certainly don’t object to Araucaria using them here to “borrow” and “double-use” the last 2 letters from preceding ODONTIC answer in his ANTBEAR clue. Very clever, fair, and witty, in my opinion.

    btw – I don’t admire a fast solver any more than I admire someone who eats fast. It’s a snippet of information that mostly only matters if you’re solving a puzzle (or having a meal) WITH a friend, where it helps if you’re both about the same speed.

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