Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,071 / Araucaria (24th July)

Posted by Gaufrid on July 31st, 2010


I know that rightback has been having Internet access problems recently so presumably this accounts for his absence. My apologies for not noticing the lack of a post earlier but I have been busy with things other than 15² today (for a change).

An Araucaria alphabetic jigsaw with a theme, I don’t think I’ve seen one of those before! An enjoyable solve, and no great difficulty sorting out the jigsaw, though Chambers was needed to confirm B and the wordplay in E. The clue for O seemed appropriate judging by some of the reports I have read recently.

ASTUTE  AS (when) TUTE (to teach (to coin a word)) – a made-up verb derived from tutor.
BUBALIS  BALI (island resort) in BUS (public transport)
CONTINENTAL  CO (firm) NT (books) IN E (the east) NT (the same {books}) AL (others {as in ‘et al’})
DANISH  AN (article) in DISH (handsome one)
ENGLISH  GLIS (dormouse) in *(HEN) – In Chambers under Glires: “a division of mammals including the typical rodents (eg the genus Glis, Old World dormice), etc”.
FRENCH  d&cd
GERMAN  cd – one of the definitions of ‘german’ is “(obsolete) a full brother or sister; a near relative” hence ‘formerly K’ (kinsman).
HITHERMOST  THERMOS (heat saver) in HIT (strike)
ITALIAN  I (first) TALI[b]AN (hostile group not second)
JOCULAR  OCUL[ists] (some eye specialists) in JAR (drink)
KINSMAN  KIN[g]S MAN (note dropped by royalist)
LOVINGLY  VIN (F {French} drink) in *(GOLLY)
PRISON CELLS  PRIS (F {French} taken) ONCE (formerly) L (left) LS (students)
REQUIRE  RE (about) QUIRE (some paper)
SHEDLOAD  SHED (get rid of) LOAD (burden)
TONGUE  hidden in ‘dependenT ON GUEsswork’
UNFIRM  FIR (tree) in *(NUM) – the second appearance of miners=NUM
VIOL  homophone of ‘vile’ (horrible)
WARNING  A RN (a lot of sailors) in WING (a lot of airmen)
XANTHENE  X (unknown) N (name) in ATHENE (goddess)
YELL  YE (the old) LL (fifty-fifty)
ZEBEDEE  BEDE (venerable character) in ZEE (American letter)

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,071 / Araucaria (24th July)”

  1. Myrvin says:

    For the first time, I did one of A’s A to Zs online. On the paper, I used to write down the answers I could get next to the clues and, after a while, try to fit them in. This time I had to put them in wherever I could or remember them. It worked quite well.
    KINSMAN and ZEBEDEE were entered in several positions before they stuck. I was lucky with YELL and VIOL (do you really pronounce it like that?) Then I got QUADRENNIA and it was obvious where it must go. It was ages before I found CONTINENTAL; and I was getting languages (after spotting TONGUE) before getting ‘European’. After putting ITALIAN where ENGLISH eventually went, I had to remember my own language until ITALIAN was moved.
    I got XANTHENE but didn’t know it was a dye. I thought I remembered some drugs were X derivatives – turns out they are ‘xanthInes’, so I was lucky. HITHERMOST went in last after an OED search – it says it’s obs..
    Z was easy, B & N were searches, I didn’t understand P (except there’s LL in it), J had a v short ‘ocularist’ in it? Quite like S for some reason.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Myrvin
    I certainly wouldn’t like to attemt one of these on-line unless I also had a paper and pencil to make a note of the answer as I solved the each clue.

    An ‘ocularist’ is a person who makes artificial eyes whereas an ‘oculist’ is a specialist in diseases and defects of the eye, also known as an ophthalmologist.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Gaufrid and Araucaria.

    I always enjoy Araubeticals and, although I finished this, I didn’t fully understand how several clues worked until you explained everything.

    I used up a lot of my own brain cells before landing those in PRISON.

    More of the same, please, Araucaria and soon!

  4. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks for standing in, Gaufrid – you don’t report how long you took! I predicted 6′ for rightback – I wonder if I was right?

    I enjoyed this one. I think it may be the first one where at least one answer did not start with the same letter (there are usually clues along the lines of


    ) which often give the orientation of the answers.

    Today’s may be the first Pasquale I have ever completed (I still have doubts about 11d, so will have to wait till next week for confirmation)

  5. Dave Ellison says:

    I meant “at least two answers” of course

  6. muck says:

    Unlike many Araubeticals (my copyright, I believe, and I’m still hoping it gets into the OED) there wasn’t any obvious place to start fitting the answers in. I had YELL amd VIOL in the wrong places at first and had to start again.

    I picked up the language theme fairly early, but thanks Gaufrid for explaining EN(GLIS)H and GERMAN.

  7. Myrvin says:

    Thank Gaufrid
    I wonder why A needed to say “some eye specialistS”. “specialist” would have worked just as well. Maybe he was going to clue it as “half eye specialists” and realized that wouldn’t work as English.
    We had discussions about S at the end of A’s words recently.
    For the online version. It was strange how random clues were produced when you clicked on the grid.

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Dave E
    “….. you don’t report how long you took!”

    I don’t time myself, I prefer to savour (suitable) puzzles as I would a good single malt, something to be enjoyed at leisure whilst appreciating the finer nuances.

    From memory it was about 20 minutes to cold solve the majority of the clues, a further 10 to fit these into the grid (starting with continental and outfield) and then another 5 to solve the remaining clues. A few more minutes were then spent with Chambers on B and E.

  9. Gaufrid says:

    ‘Specialists’ had to be plural to justify the ‘some’ in the surface reading. You can have a few eye specialists but you can’t have a few eye specialist.

  10. Myrvin says:

    Thanks again Gaufrid.
    I don’t really like ‘most of’ clues. Too variable for me. Words with the last or first letter missing are OK.

    As I said, for me the orientation started with ‘quadrennia’. It couldn’t go in the other possible place because that would leave a word ending in Q.

  11. Gaufrid says:

    “It couldn’t go in the other possible place because that would leave a word ending in Q.”

    Not necessarily the case unless you had solved every other clue. There are various words in Chambers that end in Q, including tsaddiq/tzaddiq (now that would be an interesting word for Azed to clue!), not to mention a few proper nouns such as Iraq. 😉

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for stepping into the breach. I assumed that the blogger had gone AWOL when nothing had been posted by 5pm. It’s not your fault for failing to notice that no blog had been posted, it’s the fault of the blogger for not communicating with you or is rightback’s land line / mobile on the blink too. Enough said.

    I thought this was a marvellous jigsaw from Arry and as someone else said, a genuine jigsaw in that each letter had only one answer. Previously, there were often starting points where a down and across clue began with the same letter. The only entry into this puzzle was to solve one of the two 11 letter answers and for me this began with CONTINENTAL followed by OUTFIELD.

    Somebody yesterday commented that Araucaria was a tired setter and I believe this to be very far from the truth. He’s still at the top of his game even though he’s 90 next year. Who else is capable of producing a normal crossword combined with an alphabetical one (see 24,975). Good health to you sir and long may you continue.

  13. Myrvin says:

    I should have said “unlikely to go “

  14. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Myrvin
    I knew what you meant. I was just being pedantic and pulling your chain. Of course an answer ending in Q is most unlikely so this was a good way into the jigsaw.

  15. Biggles A says:

    I agree with Davy, the theme revealed itself at once and CONTINENTAL could only fit vertically. I laboured over GERMAN, ITALIAN and ENGLISH though and had to consult the OED. I didn’t much like ENGLISH; I didn’t know that the Channel had dried up and GLIS I find is Latin for dormouse and pretty obscure. I don’t think it is used in the singular form in English.

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for gallantly stepping in, and thanks to to A.

    I enjoyed this on the whole. Most were fairly straight forward, but quadrennia held me up for a time, as did Bubalis. I thought I knew my antelopes but had to guess and check this one. English as continental also worried me slightly. But that had to be the answer and the problem was to understand why. So glis had to be guessed and checked also. I remembered ‘xanth..’ as yellow so that was OK.

    A, L and W seemed specially amusing clues.

  17. jmac says:

    Hi Gaufrid,

    On the subject of late postings, will there be a blog for last Saturday’s Indie puzzle?

  18. Gaufrid says:

    Hi jmac
    Yes, hopefully later today.

  19. Martin H says:

    I too baulked a little at seeing no common across/down starting letters, but once the central cross was confirmed things fell into place quite readily. A small gripe about the miners surfacing too often, but an enjoyable puzzle, clearly not crafted by a tired setter, and a good, concise analysis from Gaufrid. Thanks to him and Araucaria.

    I don’t think we can complain about some reasonably well-known French words being used in clues in this particular themed puzzle (at least there was no Danish). We already get articles and a few numbers in more than one European language, and in principle I’d have no problem with more (simple) non-English bits and pieces: que, par, por, y, et, und, etc, so long as they are not over-used.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for stepping in, Gaufrid. I was disappointed not to find the blog yesterday, having waited a week to be able to read people’s comments.

    I really enjoyed this, my way in being Q, which I got straight away and more or less dictated the bottom half. I did have pencil and paper handy to jot down the answers as they came to me, but ny about half-way through they were superfluous.

    Like tupu, I balked at English being ‘continental’, considering how snobbish we usually are about being insular ;). I also remembered ‘xanth..’ = yellow from previous alphabeticals.

    Thanks for looking up ‘glis’ – I assumed it must be a dormouse, but didn’t bother to check; and for explaining Italian.

  21. John Dean says:

    “I think it may be the first one where at least one answer did not start with the same letter”

    Dave – This was my thought too. In effect, it’s the first alpha puzzle I remember in which there were exactly 26 clues.

  22. Daniel Miller says:

    I really enjoyed this one. Thanks.

  23. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. Like Tupu and Stella, I wondered at English being a continental language, but then I thought of Gibraltar where English is surely the official language. I am reminded of the famous Telegraph headline: Fog in the Channel – Continent cut off.

  24. Bryan says:

    Surely, English is the Official Language in the Continents of North America and Australasia?

  25. Colin Greenland says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. I finished it without too much difficulty, though with a lot more research than you needed. Mostly, as you say, confirmation, but I was reduced to combing whole herds of wildebeests.

    I should never have understood ITALIAN without your explanation. I struggled briefly to make it somehow out of ANTI or even ALIEN, then decided it must be right and would have to do.

    I’m pleased to accept cholecyst and Bryan’s justifications of ENGLISH, too.

  26. Roger says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, and Araucaria for a fun puzzle.

    My two pennyworth re. ENGLISH, for what it’s worth …
    The clue in this case does seem to specifically equate continental with European and as such (all other considerations notwithstanding) it works ~ English is after all a European tongue.
    And Stella ~ yes I agree, our perception of ‘The Continent’ is probably an island thing !

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Bryan and cholecyst
    Thanks for the suggestions re English. I should have thought a little harder. I suspect that the Gibraltar example is marginally the best of the three as it works without a shift of meaning (though that would be no great harm in itself). Continent is in any case a contested term – I tend to think of North America as a sub-continent, but one could think of Europe in that way in relation to the ‘contained’ Europe-Asia land mass. I had acquiesced in the idea that Britain is part of Europe (as ‘a’ rather than ‘the continent’), but then any language within one of the six/seven continents is ‘continental’ on those grounds and the word becomes redundant. English in North America might also be contested because of Mexico. However, Australia will also do if one accepts the shift to ‘official language of a continent’ from ‘on the continent (of Europe)’ which seems OK.

  28. rrc says:

    Locating the correct area for the answer was considerably easier on this puzzle than many alphabeticals Ive attempted and thus hastened the completion. Very enjoyable and came totally out of the blue. which made a very surprise on opening the paper.

  29. Little Dutch Girl says:

    I usually love Araucaria’s alphabeticals but I found this one really disappointing.
    Having got T and C – it was too easy to guess D, E, F, G and I. Thanks Gaufrid for the explanation of German – we were too lazy to try to look!

    M had us on the wrong track. I’d insisted on Mulberry but it turns out that there are two other options – Mahogany and the correct one of Magnolia.

    To be pedantic, Australasia is more than Australia and in many of the countries within this group English is only one of the official languages eg New Zealand.

  30. rightback says:

    Many thanks to Gaufrid for blogging this, and many apologies to those who were frustrated by the lateness.

  31. Biggles A says:

    29. English is not an official language of New Zealand; there are two, Maori and sign language!

  32. Huw Powell says:

    I love these, as they add another level of solving to the “conventional” cryptic (as do my beloved puzzlecrypt puzzles).

    I missed a few (N, U, H, S, and A – is using made-up words really fair?), but had all my answers locked in place. As a few said, Q was the first to get “inked” in, which forced H’s position, locating F, etc., etc.

    Had I known NUM for “miner” I might have also solved N and U.

    Anyway, thanks for the fun, Araucaria, and to Gaufrid for the explanations!

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

6 + nine =