Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,129 / Araucaria

Posted by Handel on September 30th, 2010


We’re both rather bleary-eyed today, so apologies for any typos. This was about as easy as Araucaria gets, but had lots of nice touches which made for a light, enjoyable solve. A few nitpicks on reflection, but generally these applied to clues with very gettable definitions (e.g. 23dn) so they didn’t cause any major delays.


1. T  RUM  PETER Blower being trumpeter

6. FAIR dd A slightly overused one, perhaps

10. RE  BUS Ian Rankin’s creation

11. ORGAN STOP enjoyable definition, but not sure we’ve fully understood it. We got this from ‘Cardiac arrest’, and know that you pull them out, but why ‘pull out every one like this’?

12. LANCING dd, Lancing College is a major independent school in West Sussex; we hadn’t heard of it.

13. LIE  OVER enjoyable dd

14. SUBJECT  MATTER ‘subject’ as a verb, meaning expose, ‘matter’ being more matte, and therefore ‘less glossy’

17. CAMBRIDGE  BLUE ‘the lighter one’, as both Cambridge and Oxford representatives in sport are called ‘blues’, but Cambridge is light blue, and Oxford dark. Hence Oxford = the dark side.

21. BLANKET sounds like ‘blank it’

22. FRANTIC (craft in)*

24. OCEAN WAVE anagram of ‘once a’ then ‘wave’ is ‘greeting’. Referencing ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’, a song by Henry Russell.

25. MINIM dd, as well as being a note, a minim is a small amount

26. GARB <

27. ENTERTAIN dd, as in ‘entertain the notion’


1. TIRELESS ‘Tess’ is the novel, with ‘irel’, which is Ireland but ‘and leaves’. We thought this was a smart clue

2. UR  BAN

3. PASSIVE  SMOKING ‘pass’ is ‘I don’t know’, ‘Ives’ is a saint, ‘mo’ is a short time, and a king is ‘the throne’

4. THOUGH  T(o) Last one in, and quite oddly worded we think. ‘Though’ would be the word used to start a concession, and ‘t’ is ‘to’ but limited, at least that is our reading of it.

5. REGALIA a.1. lager reversed, good surface on this one

7. ANTIVIRAL ‘vanit’ (‘interminable vanity), anagramised with ‘liar’

8. REPORT dd, our Chambers tells us  it can mean ‘an explosive noise’

9. UNDER  THE  HAMMER (three M unharmed)* ‘to be knocked’ is the anagram indicator, and ‘down’ is the definition. Very hard not to read ‘knocked down’ as one phrase, so we liked this.

15. BUC<  CANE  E.R.


18. R.A.  TRACE


20. O  BLO(N)G ‘o’ is round, ‘online remarks’ are a ‘blog’, ‘pole’ is N for north

23. siT ON GAte Also known as ‘The Friendly Islands’, but no indication that it should be hidden in there, so we felt it was a bit unsatisfactory in the final analysis Thanks to longmac for this: ‘no location’ indicates remove SITE (location) from SIt on gaTE, to get TONGA

41 Responses to “Guardian 25,129 / Araucaria”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Handel this was very enjoyable although I’ve never heard of either Rebus (in this context) or Ian Rankin. I doubt if I’ve missed much.

    I loved the clue for PASSIVE SMOKING and I had to ponder LANCING even though it’s very close to where I live.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Handel. Disappointing to have an Araucaria doable at rightback speed. Some very weak clues, like 17a, and the challenging ones like 4d easily gettable with the cross letters.

  3. Matt says:

    Hi Handel

    Re 23d

    The clue would make more sense without the word “no”, then the indicator that the answer is hidden would be “location”.

    Agree with you about 4d – i didn’t get that one at all!

  4. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Handel. Agree about 4d, not the neatest in a pretty good puzzle. I think there is an allusion to the phrase ‘pull out all the stops’ in 11a. Lancing is a rather exclusive answer, but as Bryan indicates about Rankin – there will always be answers that appear well-known to some and obscure to others.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Handel.

    Rev John seems to be softening rather this week. Yesterday’s FT puzzle was very straightforward [for him] too – no less enjoyable, though.

    I don’t have a problem with 23dn: ‘location for’ seems a reasonable ‘hidden’ indicator to me

    One very small niggle: we’re very familiar with the hardy /novel girl Tess in crosswords but the novel itself is ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. The film was ‘Tess’. I loved the clue, though!

  6. Longmac says:

    Thanks for this, Handel

    23dn I think “no location” indicates remove SITE (location) from SIt on gaTE, to get TONGA.

  7. Martin H says:

    An odd one for Araucaria, at least in parts. 10, 17, 27, and particularly 6 could well have been Rufus.

    Thanks for the full parsing of 1d Handel – I wondered what the leaves were doing in there. Now that is typical Araucaria, as is 23d. I enjoyed TRUMPETER, BLANKET, REGALIA as well.

  8. Handel says:

    Eileen, I agree, though I think enough people know it affectionately as ‘Tess’ for it to be a reasonable clue. I guess if someone was talking about a TV programme called ‘Buffy’, one would reasonably assume they were talking about ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, to make an unlikely connection!

    Bryan, I’ve not read any Rebus books. Calling him ‘Inspector Rebus’ seemed like calling him ‘Inspector Puzzle’, not very subtle.

    Dad’sLad We could see the reference to ‘pull out all the stops’ but didn’t know that this referred to organs – is it how you make the loudest sound?

  9. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Handel. Having an organ stop in prevents air from getting to one of the pipes in a pipe organ. I think the design is more probably concerned with the timbre of sounds rather than the overall volume. However with all the stops out and chords played,a pipe organ will give a very full, swelling sound in a church or concert hall.

    A good recent application of the effect is on ‘Intervention’ by Arcade Fire.

    But I’m no expert so others will be better placed to say.

  10. don says:

    Re 2 down How does ‘ur’ = ‘of original’?

  11. Gaufrid says:

    ur- is a prefix meaning primitive or original.

  12. don says:

    Thanks – Lladin I assume?

  13. Gaufrid says:

    No, it comes from the German ‘Ursprache’ according to Collins.

  14. liz says:

    Thanks, Handel. A surprisingly easy Araucaria, with many answers going straight in.

  15. don says:

    Thanks again Gaufrid. I just dug out my ‘New Edition’ Chambers [1983] and, as you say, it gives ur- as a “pfx. primitive, original [Ger.]”, but I couldn’t find a word that used that prefix, not even ‘urban’.

  16. Handel says:

    The word I’ve seen that uses the prefix is ‘urtext': ‘an original or the earliest version of a text, to which later versions can be compared’.

  17. Martin H says:

    Kurt Schwitters, Ursonate

  18. Mark O says:

    Pull out all the stops is what I think 11a refers to.

  19. tupu says:

    Thanks Handel and Araucaria

    I found this a pretty enjoyable solve with many pleasing clues inc. 1a, 11a, 24a, 27a, 1d, and 18d. I had a Goldilocks attitude towards it – not too hard etc.

    27a reminds me of a recently deceased old friend respondeding to a question once about whether one had to be religious in order to understand religion. He said ‘I don’t think so but you should be willing to entertain religious ideas – so that you might, so to speak, be willing to invite them to dinner without necessarily wanting them to marry your daughter’. I had not thought of the two meanings together before that.

    re 25 I gather that minim is not just a small amount but an apothecary’s liquid measure – 1/60th of a drachm ‘about a drop’ (CED).

    1d reminded me of Truss’s ‘Eats shoots and leaves’ though the parsing is of course different.

    For a regular visitor here, I found myself oddly slow to understand the logic behind 20d!

    24a I remember the song from childhood days ‘Life on the ocean waves, there isn’t a girl. I have never been a sailor, however, and I associate it vaguely with Popeye cartoons.

    Re 23d. I am sure longmac (and then Handel) is right.

  20. Stella Heath says:

    I agree this was reasonably easy, but I don’t understand the criticism that some of the clues were gettable straight away, since this is usually the case with Araucaria, and possibly one of the reasons why he is so appreciated, as it allows the solver to get a handle-hold on what might otherwise be a very complicated puzzle.

    I particularly liked the 1’s here, even though the NW corner was my last

  21. tupu says:

    Re ur-

    This seems to come from a Middle German form meaning ‘out of’. In my own mind other ideas connected with the ancient Babylonian city of Ur are tied up with it. The connection is nice, though possibly/probably erroneous, but I am not alone with it (see below). It is most clearly seen in the linguistic notion of ‘ursprache’ – the original human language from which others are said to be descended.

    “The term Ursprache is German for the speech of Ur, Ur being an ancient city of Babylonia (modern day Iraq). The home of the fabled Tower of Babel. God is said to have confused human language to prevent us from attaining god-like powers. So the term Ursprache means the Lost Language of Paradise.”

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Hi tupu,

    I too have my doubts about the explanation you cite – as far as I know, Ur is the village from which Abraham set out to fulfil God’s calling, and the tower of Babel was built in – er – Babel! :D

    ‘ur’ is a German prefix indicating original or primitive, and I’ll have to check on this one, but phonetically it seems to me it may be related to ‘origin’

  23. Daniel Miller says:

    I find Araucaria’s puzzles entertaining, whether hard or not, as his Use of English is spot on. It is hard to criticise such perfectly hidden well constructed clues such as 1d .. suggesting as it does ‘and leaves’ – whilst you are being asked to omit And from Ireland – so well constructed and throwing you a little.

    With regard to Thought (Concession) – I am of the opinion that Thought is also the beginning of Concession – in that you first consider something before you (concede) doing it! Oblong and Henchman were similarly amusing and the Tonga clue was rather neat – since it was sat nicely (hidden answer)for all to see and the removal of Site gives you 2 ways to solve the clue with a lovely surface to boot.

  24. tupu says:

    Hi Stella
    There was an ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia and that is sometimes used in crosswords with ‘old city’ in the clue. There was a large ziggurat tower built near there and some scholars believe that this was the model for the so called tower of Babel.
    Of course this does not mean that the more general link between the city of Ur and the idea of ‘ur = original’ is correct.

  25. Fraggatelli says:

    I think it comes from the expression “pull out all the stops” – related to organ playing.

  26. George says:

    Quick vent – while easy to solve, 7 down is an all-round stinker of a terrible clue. Not only is the answer incorrect (antivirals are a treatment for controlling HIV viral loads, not for Immune Deficiency), the online version has only the first letter of AIDS capitalized, rendering the surface nonsensical if Araucaria was going for a pun.

  27. John says:

    I don’t get “dash” = BLANK. They’re not the same. If it’s the fact that they can both stand for omissions, it’s pretty weak.
    Anybody got a better idea?

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    John, I think it is mostly OK: in B-A-K-T, the dashes stand for blank letters, and when asking my wife for help I would read “B blank A blank” etc. My only reservation is I would write it as B_A_K_T ie using underlines

  29. otter says:

    I think it’s ‘blank it’ for ‘dash it’ because ‘blank’ stands for a censored expletive, as in ‘ “Oh ____ it,” he said.’

    Yes, ‘pull out all the stops’ refers to organ playing.

    I enjoyed this, and was grateful that it wasn’t one of Araucaria’s harder puzzles, as my brain isn’t working at full speed at the moment. Was left with 23d, which I just couldn’t get. Countries beginning with T, 5 letters….drew a blank for ages until finally it dawned on me. Dur.

  30. otter says:

    Oh, sorry, ‘dash’ not being used as a blank, but as in the old expression, ‘dash it all’ (which I think of as in dashing against rocks).

    If that makes sense. Told you my brain wasn’t up to par.

  31. Sil van den Hoek says:

    So, boys and girls, an Araucaria Lite.

    But enjoyable as ever.

    We had only one little quibble: the use of ‘one’ in 22ac.
    Coincidentally, it’s the same kind of thing as in yesterday’s Pasquale [‘Strong drink makes one jeer, losing head’ for [b]ARRACK].
    And today ‘Craft in trouble makes one distraught’ suggests that the answer should be a noun (which it isn’t).
    One might argue that it is for a better surface, but we think that you have to be very careful with the use of ‘one’.

  32. Roger says:

    Hi Sil @31 ~
    I read 22a to imply that he definition was ‘one distraught’ and someone who is distraught is ‘frantic’, with the ‘makes’ simply indicating ‘and the answer is’.

  33. PS says:

    An Arucaria Lite ( No 31) for some but normal for me with others being very heavy.

    Please don’t complain as this had happened before and, I think, it pushed Rev JG into top gear resulting in me gazing at some blank spaces.

    This wesbiste has vastly improved my solving and now, at least, I can understand some of the answers instead of puzzling over them at breakfast the next day and filling in the blanks. Also,this is much more enjoyable and educational learning from such sources as the erudite Eileen; an excellent example of the power of Web 2.0

    Sil van den Hoek comments in no 31 and elswhere on the use of one as in “one is not amused”. The use of one in ‘Craft in trouble makes one distraught’ suggests an adjective to me as a description on a person who is, in this case, frantic.
    This caused me to refer to such books as Fowler’s Modern English Usage on the subject.
    If you have any spare time you might consider visiting For a good account of the use of “one”.
    Reading some of the material here would certainly lead to me to think that an adjective is expected. Would not one agree?

  34. Roger says:

    Indeed one would, PS. See my comment @ 32 !

  35. Hertsgnome says:

    As a “PPS” to PS’s closing question: One would! (Paradoxically, making at least two of us.)

  36. Squeakle says:

    How can Bryan’s comment (@1) go uncensored? (“I’ve never heard of either Rebus (in this context) or Ian Rankin. I doubt if I’ve missed much.”) Whether one appreciates Ian Rankin’s books or not, I think it’s arrogant to be so dismissive – an unfounded opinion such as this contributes little to one’s understanding/appreciation of the crossword.

  37. Gerry says:

    I enjoyed it. ‘Ur’ is a pretty common element of clues.

  38. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dear PS (#33), the (my?) qualification Araucaria Lite is not necessarily referring to the quality of the crossword, nor is it meant to indicate that it is an easy puzzle on the Scale of Araucaria – well, easier, perhaps.
    For me, an Araucaria Lite is a crossword with hardly any cross-references [so mostly stand-alone clues], no particular theme and not to much digging into the History & Culture of the World (and Great Britain, in particular).

    As to the ‘one’ discussion, I do not want to turn this into a major thing – however, I still think there’s some truth in what I said [although, I must say, ‘what we said’, because my famous PinC (a teacher in English) had just as many reservations as I had].
    [in the Pasquale blog it wasn’t me who started it, but Martin H]

    Let there be no misunderstanding: intuitively, we did understand that we had to look for a word [an adjective] meaning ‘distraught’.
    The ‘feel’ of the surface is clear to us, and sorry PS, the Internet link you gave us is not particularly related to what we wanted to say.

    One [ :) ] can look at this clue (ánd Pasquale’s) in two ways.
    Let’s call ‘Craft in trouble': X.
    The X makes one distraught.
    X is the ‘thing’ that leads to a situation of being ‘distraught’.
    So, one might say, ‘distraught’ is the result of that.
    And therefore: FRANTIC.
    We are not sure, though, whether the “situation of being ‘distraught'” justifies an adjective, but our intuition says: well, all right then.
    From a grammatical point of view, the clue can be read as:
    X makes [meaning indeed, Roger, ‘and the answer is’] ‘one distraught’ [which would suggest a person, so a noun – something that you say too, Roger, but then you call that an adjective ??].

    I know, it’s not proper English, but “Craft in trouble makes distraught”, thát would be something suggesting an adjective from a grammatical POV.
    See our point?

    But all you out there, we don’t want to make too much of a fuss.
    When two of the most seasoned (and admired) setters go for it, well, then they must be right.

    Frantic – wasn’t that an album by Bryan Ferry?
    Yep – let’s put that one in the cd-player and forget about all this :).

    BTW, it wás a pretty good crossword.

  39. Huw Powell says:

    Regarding the usage of “ur”, one common one is in the nickname of the original Audi turbo quattro coupe. It’s model name was simply “Quattro”, making for much confusion as the system became available in many more models. Fans of the car/brand took to calling it the “ur-Quattro”, or “urQ” for short.

    Considering that Audi continued the model for 3 years in RHD-only for export to Britain, this German word is almost a Britishism!

    I missed “M” for thousand and “to be knocked” as an anagrind so missed 9D, and know nothing of this “tennis” so missed 16D. Perhaps getting anywhere near MINIM might have helped with both of those.

    Thanks Handel and Araucaria!

  40. Dynamic says:

    Late to the party, but Re 22 across how about this reading:

    If you make me a cup of tea, you make for me a cup of tea.

    Taking ‘one’ as the third person pronoun, as in ‘taking one’s time’ then…

    Rearranging the letters of ‘craft in’ makes one a word meaning distraught, i.e. it makes a word meaning distraught for one.

    The prefix ur- was new to me, as was the minim = drop meaning, and this was a very entertaining puzzle.

  41. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dynamic, thát makes sense to me! Finally.

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