Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25067 – Araucaria

Posted by Uncle Yap on July 20th, 2010

Uncle Yap.

Once again, I have been royally entertained and tantalised by The Master. He has woven such a rich tapestry of literary references that blogging this puzzle took many times what it took to solve. Thank you, Reverend John Graham, MBE for the many years of pleasure you have given us. May you live for ever.

1 BLEEPER Ins of General Robert E LEE in BP (British Petroleum of the Gulf of Mexico fiasco) + ER (Elizabeth Regina, the Queen)
5 EXHIBIT Ins of HIB (Hibernian, Edinburgh footballer) in EXIT (departure)
9 QUEEN OF THE NIGHT I wonder how I should categorise this clue with its gay allusion of falsetto pretension. Queen of the Night: Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess is also a book by Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha
10 ENTER dd
11 TOM KITTEN TO + ins of K (king) in MITTEN (glove; sorry, Michael Jackson is not involved in this clue) The Tale of Tom Kitten is a children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and first published in September 1907
12 TAIL-ENDER TA (acknowledgment) I (one) LENDER (one offering mortgage)
14 SHEBA Tichy way to write SHE (girl) BA (Bachelor of Arts) Another Queen involved with King Solomon of Old Testament fame
15 PLAID dd long piece of woollen cloth, worn over the shoulder, usu in tartan as part of Highland dress,
Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Nationalist party.[Plaid party; Cymru Wales]
18 LIFE-BLOOD Cha of LIFE (long sentence) BLOOD (I’m not too sure about this but The Urban Dictionary gives old buck as slang for someone who knows how to party or the blood of the party)
21 TASSO Ins of ASS (fool) in TO for Torquato Tasso (1544–1595), an Italian poet, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata
22 MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB Cha of MO (Medical Officer or doctor) UN (French for a) TAINT (infection) OC (Officer Commanding or person in charge) LIMB (member)
23 CATTERY Ins of *(Tate) in CRY (call) Residence of Tom Kitten
24 ROSINGS *(in gross)  the estate of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, character in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

1 BEQUEST BE (insect BEE minus E) QUEST (search)
2 ELECTRICAL FAULT ELECT (choose) + ins of CALF (young animal) in *(RITUAL)
3 PENFRIEND Cha of PEN (female swan) FRIEND (a dog is supposedly a man’s best friend)
4 REFIT REF (referee or whistleblower) + IT
5 EPHEMERAL Ins of EMERA (ins of ME in ERA, period) in *(HELP) existing only for a day; short-lived; fleeting.
6 HINDI HIND (the female of the red deer) + I (Araucaria, the setter)
7 BEGS THE QUESTION Ins of *(Sh Get) in BEQUEST (answer to 1Down) + LION (King of the Jungle) minus L
8 TITANIA This is probably a brilliant dd
Titania is the largest of the Moons of Uranus and the eighth largest moon in the Solar System. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787
Titania is the name of a character in William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in

13 DUBIOSITY Ins of IOSIT (ins of O, love in IS IT) in DUBYA (ex-President George Bush, the junior) minus A. I read somewhere that when his staff came to take over the White House, they found every W key missing from all the keyboards, presumably removed as a joke by Clinton’s staff
14 SPARTACUS Ins of CU (copper) in rev of SATRAP’S (Persian ruler’s) Spartacus (c. 109–71 BC) a gladiator was the most notable leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic.
15 POLEMIC POLE (European) MICE (creatures) minus E
17 RHOMBUS Ins of OM (Order of Merit) in *(BRUSH)
19 BATHE BAT (creature of the air) + HE (male)
20 DETER DETERMINE (resolve) minus MINE (setter’s)

Key to abbreviations

dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

48 Responses to “Guardian 25067 – Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for a perfect blog and for explaining 8dn – the first part was obvious but the second part needed your elucidation and it now makes perfect sense.

  2. NeilW says:

    What did you think of “Modern” as an anagram indicator, by the way?

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap and Araucaria.

    This was so enjoyable that I have pleasure in awarding Araucaria a Golden Star – making him the first Setter ever to receive this award.

    Also, I recommend that Queenie should now upgrade his MBE to a Garter.

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap: your blogs, especially of this setter, are always enjoyable. Because Araucaria is so with it, 1a turned out to be easy, a good start. It got tougher, especially at the end with 24a, where Google was needed to verify. Ditto for the coloratura reference – Moazart’s Magic Flute – and the Beatrix Potter book, gettable via the Tate Modern cattery clue. All good fun.

  5. Myrvin says:

    Quickest Araucaria I think.
    Zoomed through until getting bogged down in the bottom left. Took a stupidly long time to get the second part of 2d. Not seen 13d before – Looks like something invented by Carrol or Lear. Guessed 24a, but it had to be – I remembered the lit ref but not her home. Last in was 23, even though I had 11 ages before. Didn’t get the gay allusion in 9 – just needed the moon and coloratura. Isn’t it a dd, or a double cd? For 18: Chambers has BLOOD as “a swaggering dandy about town” i.e. a buck or “a dandy”.

  6. Dave Ellison says:

    I found this very easy to complete today – 25′.

    Thanks Uncle Yap for the blog. I still don’t fully understand 8d: Shakespearean queen who sleeps on a bank is clear, but “some time of the night” I don’t follow (or does “rest of 9″ refer to something else?. Why invoke Saturn’s moon?

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    NeilW @2. I didn’t like “Modern” as an indicator – I don’t see it as an indicator at all. I was trying to fit TM for a while into something or other.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Of course I meant Uranus not Saturn at #6 (Titan is a moon of Saturn and I had just been following this Titan connection in Keats’ Hyperion, without ellucidation)

  9. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.
    I found this easier than some of Arauceria’s puzzles but wonderfully enjoyable.
    A good variety of cultural references and some brilliant clueing – 13 down in particular.
    I suppose purists could grumble about “modern” as an anagram indicator,but I think, in this clue it was o.k.
    I remember someone in one of yesterdays blogs saying that they always fall asleep watching opera,I defy anyone to fall asleep watching Ms.Damrau singing Der Hölle Rache.

  10. Myrvin says:

    DE: The first part of 9 is ‘queen’, the rest of 9 is ‘of the night’. So Queen Titania sleeps on a bank some time “of the night”. I only vaguely remembered the bank reference.

  11. Andrew says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria. I was glad to see the “correct” definition of “begs the question” in 7dn: defending this is becoming something of a lost cause these days. Re 23ac, I wouldn’t normally approve of “modern” as an anagram indicator, but the connection with Tate is so nice that I think it’s fine here. Incidentally, “modernisation” is a good example of what Fowler (or possibly Gowers) describes as a single word used in a question-begging way – politicians tend to use it to mean “changes that I approve of”.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Araucaria (as ever)

    Pretty enjoyable. I had to check the Titania verses to get 8d clear, and also Rosings. 11 and 23 were nice (so many Potters to choose from) but ‘modern’ is stretching it a bit.

    Re coloratura, I suspect the gay reference is in the mind of teh reader but may be wrong of course. There is a famous colorature aria (rememberd from my parents’ 78 collection) known as Io son Titania from Thomas’s Mignon and spectacularly sung by an Italian soprano, Luisa Tetrazzini. Nice to be reminded of this.

    1, 5, 16 raised the usual ‘ahas’. I stuck on 4 for a time.

  13. Martin H says:

    8d: Myrvin’s analysis (@10) is surely right, and the night in question is midsummer night. No reference needed to more distant parts of the solar system.

  14. Scarpia says:

    Thanks tupu.
    I am not familiar with Ambroise Thomas’ “Mignon” – it seems to have fallen out of the repetoire these days.
    Anyone interested can hear Luisa Tetrazzini singing Io son Titania here .
    A wonderful voice singing a very nice coloratura aria.

  15. tupu says:

    Hi Scarpia (plus Myrvyn and Martin H.)
    Thanks. The references are more complicated than I realised. Myrvyn’s reference to Magic Flute seems to be correct (Der Holle Rache is a famous coloratura aria of the Queen of the Night in that opera) for 9, and I suspect Martin H. is right that there is a subsidiary reference ahead there to Midsummer N’s Dream, though that is not necessary for 8. There Titania is simply Shakespearean queen and ‘of the night’ is a direct quotation following ‘on a bank some time’ in Oberon’s lines from the play. Here again a ref. back to Night in Midsummer N’s Dream may be present but not strictly necessary. My own ref. to Mignon seems really, if anything, to be only a very distant ripple from the two clues. Still it has brought back nice memories for me and pleasure I hope to those pursuing the Youtube link!

  16. Barbara says:

    1ac. Bleeper
    The wordplay for this is excellent, but I question the definition.
    Is it possible the setter had ‘beeper’ in mind as a communication device
    (means of contacting)?
    I thought a bleeper was something that blots out (bleeps) offensive words.

  17. John Appleton says:

    A lovely crossword – I particularly liked the BP reference.

  18. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Barbara
    According to Chambers the definition is fine:
    bleeper – a device that bleeps on receiving a certain radio or other signal; such a device, carried by eg a doctor, police officer, etc, by which he or she can be contacted.

  19. Myrvin says:

    Barbara: Chambers has “bleeper: a device that bleeps on receiving a certain radio or other signal; such a device, carried by eg a doctor, policeman, etc, by which he or she can be contacted.” Also “beep: the sound made by the horn of a car, etc, or by a pager or other electronic device.” So both are acceptable I think. I didn’t question it myself. Maybe it’s another north-south divide thing.

  20. Myrvin says:

    For 5: HIB isn’t in my Chambers CD, nor in my paper copy, nor in the OED. Is this a Scottish only thing? Hibernian refers to Ireland.

  21. tupu says:

    Hi Myrvyn
    Hibernian is a well known ‘Edinburgh’ football team, based at Leith. The name is colloquially shortened to Hibs and I assume Hib is a singular form of this.

  22. Scarpia says:

    Hibernians,commonly known as Hibs are a Scottish soccer team,whose home ground is in Edinburgh.

  23. Myrvin says:

    So it’s Proper noun. But is a member of the Hibernians a hib? I don’t think a member of the Wolves is a wolf.

  24. otter says:

    Morning, all. Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap, and thanks to Araucaria, who’s back to his charming best, seemingly.

    I surprised myself by getting about a third of the clues straight away, another third without too much difficulty or with a bit of inspiration and working them out later, and then became increasingly stuck on the rest. I eventually got them all bar 13d (wracked my brains about presidents, but never thought of using a nickname – very nice) and 21a (never heard of him).

    In fact I was mainly let down by my lack of literary knowledge in this one:
    6d: I got TITANIA when letters were in place, but didn’t understand the clue at all, so thanks to Uncle Yap for the relevant passage from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    11a: Just didn’t think of Beatrix for Potter, even though I had guessed TOM KITTEN from the link in 23a. The penny did eventually drop. (Mind you, I don’t feel so bad forgetting a book I haven’t read for over 30 years…)
    21a: completely stumped.
    24a: eventually got this as an anagram and guessed it was a house in literature, but a reference lost on me.

    6a: I got this quickly as I had the initial letter from 1d. I was actually thinking of Purcell’s beautiful aria So When the Glitt’ring Queen of Night, which I imagine counts as coloratura, rather than Mozart. I don’t understand the ref in the blog to a ‘gay allusion of falsetto pretension’, however. I think it’s simply that the Moon is known, mythologically, as The Queen of the Night, and that there is a famous coloratura aria of the same name. Am I missing something?

    14d: I spent ages fitting in caliph, sultan, Suleman, etc, before I finally thought of satrap, and everything fell into place. I was trying to remember the names of different categories of gladiator (eg the one with trident and net), and failing. Didn’t think of an individual.

    Anyway, a lot of lovely clueing, lots of fun solving them, and lots of fun getting stuck on them. And thanks for all the explanations.

  25. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks all for your explanations. My literary education being more complete than the musical, I got the Titania from the reference to the bank – I’ve known the verses by heart since childhood, from a song we did at a recital when I was about eight or ten – and worked back from that to 9a, with not the slightest idea of what ‘coloratura’ is. I shall now have to go to that link.

    Also, with all this talk of satellites, I first read ‘Io son Titania’ as some mythological reference to her having had a son (?), till I realised it was Italian 😀

    My mum was no fan of Beatrix Potter, but I was able to guess the character, though the use of ‘Modern’ had me floundering for a time, like Dave Ellison @7.

    I’d never heard of ‘blood’ in that sense, and I certainly didn’t remember the Lady Catherine in question – read the book off my own bat in a night or two, at the romanticising age of fifteen -, but the clues were nevertheless gettable.

    All in all, a very enjoyable, and instructive, birthday morning for me :)

  26. rrc says:

    I found this difficult, my first read through put one answer in 22a and then gradually I managed to work roound the grid, though this was definitely a bit of a slog.

  27. liz says:

    Thanks for a wonderful blog, Uncle Yap, and thanks to Araucaria for a great puzzle! Got through this fairly quickly and like many others enjoyed both the BP ref in 1ac and the Dubya ref in 13dn. TASSO was new to me, but gettable from the wordplay.

    Stella — Many happy returns! You share a birthday with my son who is 21 today :-)

  28. MarkB says:

    Myrvin @ 23

    “Hibee” is the more usual colloquialism for a player at Hibernian FC.

  29. tupu says:

    Hi Myrvin

    :)Good if grumpy sounding question re wolf etc! Answer: I don’t know whether they say two hibs and one hib. The team name is Hibernian FC (no s) and the abbreviation for the team is Hibs. The name is thus originally adjectival, and its origins (as you anticipated) are connected with the development of an Irish (catholic) community in Edinburgh. You will not be surprised that I did not know much of this before your Q tempted me to look further, so thanks.

  30. Will Mc says:

    Hibees is used either for the team or their fans. A Hibernian player would be described as… a Hibernian player or a Hibs player, not a Hib.

  31. Derek Lazenby says:

    I should have been stopped by the literary bias as Otter was, but, strangely I actually knew some of them and was then saved by gadgets for the rest apart from two of the long ones which were lucky spots from very few crossing letters.

    Thanks for explaining those.

  32. FumbleFingers says:

    Many thanks, Uncle Yap – great blog, and another brilliant puzzle from The Master.

    A few of the cultural references went over my head, but as usual Araucaria’s scrupulous clueing was enough for me to tease out the answers anyway.

    I wonder how much longer Enter will be recognised as a “command to do some computing”? I find increasingly nowadays I mouse-click an OK or Continue button for this functionality.

  33. Carrots says:

    As good as it gets. Thank you Araucaria and Uncle Yap for explanations. I did finish it (after an hour!) but there were so many amendments that my puzzle ended up looking like a Colonel Cathcart bombing pattern. Long may Araucaria delight us with his wit and ingenuity!

  34. stiofain says:

    Great blog UY and a lovely crossword from the king back on form after a few sketchy ones. I notice the debate re crux / crooks has made it into todays Guardian letters page.

  35. otter says:

    FumbleFingers #32: I think the ENTER clue breaks down as ‘Welcome command (‘Enter!’) / To do some computing (in the sense, I assumed, of data entry).

  36. FumbleFingers says:

    I see what you’re getting at, and I suppose one could parse the word “command” as being associated left and/or right. But for me “data entry” of some form is really just a necessary precursor to the actual number crunching or whatever computing actually takes place after the do it keystroke or button press.

  37. Myrvin says:

    Ah! Good old data entry. They probably call it something like input logistics nowadays.
    Tupu: I wasn’t feeling grumpy. I’m on the lookout for a Spur now.

  38. Headteacher says:

    A great puzzle from the undisputed master. Modern is pure genius.

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    See, that’s (#38) what it is.
    ‘Modern’ is not a standard anagrind (if at all), but when I saw ‘Tate Modern’ I knew immediately: anagram of Tate.
    Sometimes the feeling’s right, and when a setter (well, mainly Araucaria) creates his own device referring to something that is a kind of unity (Tate & Modern), then I’m perfectly happy with it. It is as scarpia says in #9: “in this clue it was OK”.

    Headteacher, I wouldn’t say, Araucaria is undisputed, but today’s crossword was indeed a great one!
    With for me [although I don’t like violence to animals at all] 2d as a highlight: from a construction POV fantastic to find CALF inside the ‘slaughter’ of RITUAL.
    Sublime clu(e)ing.

    PS, Happy Birthday, Stella!!

  40. FumbleFingers says:

    Re the novel use of “modern” – someone has to push the envelope, if only so our crosswords move with the times. And Araucaria certainly has the position, the skill, and the authority to tackle the job.

    Whilst I don’t object to the existence of “standard” anagrinds, I see no reason why a competent compiler should be restricted to only the familiar forms. And as others have acknowledged, this particular one was masterly (also 2d, as Sil says).

  41. Geoff Anderson says:

    The term ‘modern’ implies *changed* ways, forms, styles, even liturgies! Ergo, it is a perfectly standard anagrind – but only Araucaria would have noticed it. I hope we see more of it in future.

    Oh, and a brilliant crossword. The kind that prompts a sigh of satisfaction, similar to that which follows a good meal or a glass of something. Aaah!

  42. tupu says:

    Thanks Sil, FumbleFingers et al
    Re Modern

    In the light of argument I would modify my earlier mildly critical comment that ‘modern’ is stretching it a bit. It is, but cleverly! The clue makes clear that such stretching may be justified contextually by the word and setting to which the anagrind belongs. Clearly there are many other contexts where it would be unacceptable, and this is a key part of its amusing wit here. More generally, modern means not so much ‘changed’ as ‘of the present’ ‘a la mode’ and ‘up to date’. I might add that it has also become almost a term of abuse for so-called post-modernist and post-structuralist thinkers for whom it seems to mark a kind of conservative authority.

  43. Tom Hutton says:

    A Hibs player or supporter would be a Hibee as everyone knows.

    This was a very bizarre crossword indeed.

  44. easy peasy not says:

    Was staring into the abyss last night with just 3 solutions after 30 minutes, but had a few beers which seemed to set the creative juices going. Great puzzle as usual from Araucaria.. Lovely casual topicality with the BP reference.

  45. Scarpia says:

    Hi Tupu.
    Don’t suppose you will look back here 2 days down the line but I thought you may be interested to know that Mignon has been revived,with the original French libretto. There have been performances at L’Opera Comique in Paris this year with Marie Lenormand singing the title role.

  46. tupu says:




  47. Huw Powell says:

    Wow… I’ve had this sitting around with nothing written in except a few of the multi-word answer separator bars. Last night after, amazingly, finishing 25076 by the same esteemed setter on the day I printed it (I often don’t start these til days later), I glanced at it somehow QUEEN OF THE NIGHT popped into my head. Got the top half, roughly (the only letters I had below the waist were due to 2 and 7 down), done and then hit a brick wall.

    Got up today and finally beat 12 into submission, and one by one struggled through the rest. Apart from the incredibly slow start, that’s what I like in a puzzle – difficulty, but eventual (for me) solvability. Thanks for the blog, Uncle, and for the great puzzle, Araucaria!

  48. maarvarq says:

    So 8dn is no kind of dd at all, merely a cd. I say “merely” because most cryptic definitions come across as the compiler just being too lazy to write a whole clue.

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