Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,041 (Sat 19 Jun)/Araucaria – Suit you Sir

Posted by rightback on June 26th, 2010


Solving time: 12 mins

Another themed puzzle from Araucaria with lots of references to playing cards, both in clue answers and wordplay. I found this a pleasant enough puzzle with few significant quibbles but nothing really standing out either.

Many thanks to Gaufrid for having deputised for me last week owing to a ‘computer error’ at my end (i.e. it wouldn’t switch on). As it happens I wasn’t drowning my sorrows because of the football, although I could have been – the performance against Algeria was the worst I’ve seen (in a meaningful match) in 20 years of watching England. Even less forgivable, though, was the way they killed the game by the corner flag instead of looking for a second goal against Slovenia – a USA winner was inevitable and as a result the route to the semi-final is ten times harder. Still, at least we’re not as bad as France.

Music of the day: House of Cards by Radiohead. If that’s too mellow for you, try Ace of Spades by Motorhead instead.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

8 ETERNITY; (ENTIRETY)* – this doesn’t really make sense as there’s no anagram indicator, but it’s a nice anagram.
10 [j]EMMY
11 QUEEN’S CLUB; QUEEN‘S + CLUB – where tennis is played, hence the homophone reference to 22ac (“TENACE”).
15 BROCADE; BRO (= ‘Comrade’) + CADE (= ‘rebel’) – is the definition here just ‘stuff’ (which even for Araucaria is astonishingly loose) or is there some meaning of ‘doing’ of which I’m unaware? I hope there is, and that it rhymes with ‘boing’ rather than ‘going’.
20 SKIPJACK; SKIP + JACK – solved by scanning for somewhere to put JACK in the grid.
22 TENACE; TEN,ACE; &lit – which means a pair of cards separated by one (e.g. 5 and 7). A lovely clue, although a clich&233;d treatment of this word.
23 PARANORMAL; PAL around (R.A. + NORMA)
24,12 CALL A SPADE A SPADE – ‘bid’ = CALL as in bridge.
1 ATOMISER; A MISER (= ‘skinflint’) around TO – nice clue.
2 TREY; TR[ick] + rev. of YE (= ‘solvers’) – clever use of the phrase ‘3 card trick’ whereas in fact the definition is just ‘3 card’, i.e. another name for the three of a suit, equivalent to ‘deuce’ for the two.
3 BISQUE; BIS (= ‘repeat’, used in musical notation and to mean ‘encore!’) + QUE[stion]
4 BY HEART; BY (= ‘past’) + HEART
6 BLACKTHORN; LACK THOR in BN (= ‘billion’)
7 VOLUME (2 defs)
13 ACCEPTANCE; “SEP TAN” in ACE – but I can’t quite make this work; the wordplay seems to be short of one instance of the letter C (although ‘Septic tank mostly’ = CEPTAN is dubious anyway). I think the definition (‘no regrets then?’) is an allusion to writing to accept/decline an invitation.
16 DIAMONDS – another I solved by scanning the grid to see where it would fit, and I’d never have solved this from the second definition (‘intimate with young female?’) without the checking letters.
18 NECK + LINE – as in ‘plunging neckline’, Chambers suggests.
19 SKIMMIA; SKIM + M1 + A – made up from the wordplay, but the alternatives ‘skimaia’, ‘skimrda’ and ‘skimsta’ looked unlikely, although I rather like the last – a type of gangsta, maybe?
21 KNAVES – I think ‘refained’ is supposed to suggest ‘refined’ with a preposterous accent which is then mirrored in the wordplay, hence ‘knives’ pronounced ‘knaves’. Surreal.
22 TALENT (2 defs) – luckily I knew the second meaning here (an old coin) so solved this and then ‘tenace’ quickly which got me going after a slow start.
24 CARD (2 defs) – spent too long here on the wrong types of pack (lies? wolves? fags?) and even once I’d thought of cards I nearly wrote in ‘suit’ (having already solved BY HEART at 4dn).

18 Responses to “Guardian 25,041 (Sat 19 Jun)/Araucaria – Suit you Sir”

  1. molonglo says:

    Or Italy, rightback. Thanks for the extra light you shed. I loved the surreal 21d, and also 16d which fell straight into place with the aha only coming later – they’re a girl’s best friend. Araucaria naturally has a penchant for South American trees – he had 14a also in February (puzzle 24924). Full marks to him again for another good one.

  2. Biggles A says:

    I dallied with SUIT for 24d too, for the same reason. I guess the mention of mentioned in 13 means CEP TAN in ‘acceptance’ sounds like SEP TAN but I agree it’s dubious. REFAINED is in the OED with the meaning given by Rightback.

  3. Biggles A says:

    Sorry, I haven’t accounted for the extra C in 13 – unless TANC sounds like TANK, but then it isn’t pronounced that way in “acceptance’.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, Rightback, I hope that all your woes are now behind you and that England surprise us all by lifting the World Cup.

    Personally, I found this puzzle a real joy and I said to myself, ‘I defy anyone to criticise this.’

    I loved the misdirection with 3d and, even though I’d heard of TREY, I had no idea of its spelling. This was the last one I got after struggling trying to make something with BISQUE.

  5. Bryan says:

    Re 13d, the Annotated Solution shows:

    acceptance ACE [sep tank (hom)]

  6. Bryan says:

    I never realised that BISQUE was also a card game!

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Rightback.

    I don’t see your problem with 15ac: ‘cloth’ is one of the definitions of ‘stuff’.

  8. Martin H says:

    Great puzzle. Nice commentary from rb.
    13 seems clear: ‘mentioned’ gives the homophone SEP TAN (although no native English speaker would make that last syllable rhyme with ‘dance’) in ACE, so no need for another C. The definition again is straightforward: an attitude of acceptance implies no regrets.
    I didn’t even notice the lack of an indicator in 1 ac – it was the first one I got. Didn’t click with diamonds/intimate though.

  9. MarcoPolo says:

    This is Guardian 25,041 not 25,035

    Martin @8 re 13d: the ‘C’ in ACE has to go either second or second-last, leaving CEPTANC or CCEPTAN respectively. Obviously it was meant to be the former.

    Missed 19d, 21d and 20ac (I had SPADES for 21d which threw that corner out completely), and only guessed DIAMONDS and BROCADE from the checks.

    Loved 23a and the &lit 22a

    Thanks to Auracaria and RB for the blog

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks MP, I have corrected the title.

  11. Stella Heath says:

    I usually find Araucaria enjoyable and doable, if occasionally a struggle to get into. On this occasion, however I gave up trying to decide between the two alternative themes – perhaps because both bridge and dogs have played important roles in my life – and decided to wait till I could cheat on 24d.

    So this morning things fell nicely into place, but unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy the puzzle all I’d have like to, as I had a medical appointment :-(

    Thanks, anyway, Araucaria and RB

  12. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Rightback. I’ve only just realised that 3dn is a DD. Soup and unglazed porcelain. Bryan: I don’t believe BISQUE is a card game (see Annotated Solution TREY) it’s surely another Grauniadism.

  13. Bryan says:

    Cholecyst @ 12

    I suspect that you are probably right about BISQUE but maybe it’s a card game that’s only played by the clergy when they’re not compiling Crossword Puzzles?

  14. Daniel Miller says:

    Particularly enjoyable fair – more so for a Bridge player like myself.

  15. Martin H says:

    MP@9 – right ….

  16. Bryan says:

    Did anyone hear the result of the England-German game?

    I fell asleep watching it.

  17. Malcolm P says:

    # Martin H says:
    June 26th, 2010 at 10:22 am

    ” ..the homophone SEP TAN (although no native English speaker would make that last syllable rhyme with ‘dance’)..”

    I think most native English speakers would make that rhyme – everyone in Britain north of a line between the Wash and the Severn, pretty well all everyone in NZ, Australia, Canada, USA …

  18. Malcolm P says:

    Sorry Martin, just reread and realise I misunderstood your comment. CEP TANC in ACE it had to be

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