Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,141 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on October 14th, 2010


After four days in the wilderness of no internet access -it’s very lonely out there – it’s great to be back in the nick of time to post my scheduled blog – especially since it’s a particularly entertaining Araucaria puzzle.


1   HAREBELL: hidden in churcH A REBELLious choirboy – nice surface.
5   JOSEPH: JOSH [joke] around EP [record]: reference to Joseph and his coat of many colours in the Old Testament [Genesis Chapter 37]
VIDELICET: VICE [something wrong] around DELI [good food shop] + T[ime]: definition ‘to wit’, more commonly seen in its abbreviated form, ‘viz’. [Deli was defined as ‘good food shop’ a few weeks ago and I wondered then about the need for ‘good’.]
11  FORUM: reversal of OF + RUM [spirit]
12  HYPOCRITICAL: homophone of HIPPO [pachyderm] + CRITICAL [seriously ill]: typical Araucarian whimsy :-)
15  OAST: [t]OAST – a little naughty, since an oast is not really a cooker and bread is not necessarily toast.
16  AT LONG LAST: LONG [desire] in ATLAS [strong man] + T[he]: the strong man must be Charles Atlas, the body-builder, since the one who held up the heavens was a Titan.
18  TRANSVERSE: reversal of RT [right] + ANS[wer] + VERSE [poetry]
19 ZINC: Z [last letter] + IN + C [100]: zinc is number 30 in the periodic table.
21  MALNOURISHED: MA [parent] + anagram of OIL RUN + SHED [abandoned]
25,27,14,26  WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE: anagram of HER PEN A PANORAMA – SHE WILL WALLOW IN MUD: an Araucaria classic – and they don’t come much better: Joseph this time is not he of Technicolor dreamcoat fame but Jenny Joseph, whose poem ‘Warning’, of which this is the first line, was voted the Nations’s Favourite Poem in a BBC poll in 1996. Wallowing in mud is not actually one of her ‘disgraceful projects’ but going out in her slippers in the rain is, so it’s almost an &lit.
You can read the whole poem here: – Edit – but please see Comment 4!


!   HOVE: In sailing, heaving to (to heave to and to be hove to) is a way of slowing a sail boat’s forward progress, fixing the helm and sail positions so that the boat does not actively have to be steered, thereby allowing the crew to attend other tasks: Hove is a town in Sussex.
2   RUDE: homophone of rued
BOLEYN: BON [good] around LEY [field]: Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII, mother of Elizabeth I.
4   LUCK OF THE DRAW: UCK [‘field in Sussex’] + OFT [frequently] + HE [male] in LAW [regulation]: Uckfield is another town in Sussex: [I think I hear cries of ‘parochialism’ but the expression is common enough and the rest of the wordplay is very straightforward.]
6   OFF-STAGE: double / cryptic definition
7   EUROCRATIC: homophone of [b]ureaucratic [‘topped’]: a lovely surface, since the topped word is also often applied to Brussels.
8   HOMILETICS: HO[use] + MILE [a long way] + TICS [homophone of ‘ticks’ – marks of approval]
10  TORTOISESHELL: TORT [wrong] + OISE’S [French river’s] + HELL [very bad place]: this is clever, since ‘French’ can also be applied to ‘tort’, but it’s not doing double duty because a tort in English is a civil wrong.
13  BOTTOM STEP: reversal of PETS + MOTTO [slogan] + B [second class
17  ESPOUSAL: double definition [as in to espouse a cause]
20  REVIEW: RE [about] + VIE [struggle + W[est]
22  IMAM: I’M A M[uslim]: not the first [or second!] time I’ve seen this!
23  ANON: double definition; [nor this!!]

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,141 / Araucaria”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen, and welcome back! As you say, this was good fun. I knew the quotation, though I would have been hard pushed to name the poet. I agree with you about the familiarity of the last two clues.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. The quotation and poet was new to me, but I worked it out having cracked the SE corner. Not difficult guesswork, too, needed for HOMILETICS. Chuckled over 12a’s crook hippo, frowned a lot over why espousal should do for championship in 17d and forgave the liberty with a choirboy in 1a. Always enjoy Araucaria.

  3. Frank says:

    This puzzle has a bit of everything: some erudite references involving geography, history, languages, science and current affairs, and some clever word-play – but as I was familiar with the very long poetic quotation, everything else fitted in relatively quickly (for an Araucaria).

  4. Eileen says:

    Horrors! – I’ve just noticed there’s a spelling mistake in the version of the poem that I gave you. Here’s a lovely reading I’ve just found by Jenny Joseph herself, to make up for it.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    Wondered about your absence. A very good blog to a very good puzzle.

    After all the recent comments on pangrams I kept thinking this must also be one but x and q only appear in the clues. Partly because of this, Boleyn and harebell were last to go in.

    I meant to check the author of the quote – without her the link to 5 is puzzling.

    A nifty point about Atlas (Charles and the bearer of the world on his shoulders)! I have a vague memory of Toynbee taking the latter as symbolic of the human condition – he gets the world up on his back and then is stuck and can’t do anything else!

    Also fair comment re forgivable oast.

    I liked 9, 12 (boom boom), 21, 25etc., 10, and 13.

  6. cholecyst says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Before had the 1st letter, I was trying to fit in MORLEY for 3dn. Remember Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman?

    The Unique Friendship Between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill

    Read more at Suite101: Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman: The Unique Friendship Between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill

  7. NeilW says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    In 3dn do you think “Queen Anne’s good” indicates “good in French”, given her education in France and fluency in the language?

  8. Geoff Chapman says:

    A return to sanity after the last couple of days (i.e I managed to complete this one). Loved the anagram (anagran?) and learned that the creators of ‘Viz’ might be more erudite than is more cool for them to admit.

    Still don’t really get 1D though.

    And I’m sure people could come up with a better clue for TREWS.

    But…very enjoyable.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Neil

    That’s an interesting idea, which hadn’t occurred to me. I did check that it was in Chambers, because I thought there might be objections to a ‘foreign’ word. My SOED also gives it, as having been adopted in the Middle Ages. It isn’t in my Collins, though.

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Geoff

    Re 1dn: I don’t think this is a very good clue. To make proper sense, it ought to read ‘if to follows’, i.e. if ‘to’ follows ‘hove’ it means ‘stopped’

  11. Geoff Chapman says:

    Thanks Eileen. And I agree. Makes sense now. I love this site.

  12. Derek Lazenby says:

    Welcome back to the living. You seem so surprised to be here that 1D is listed as !

    Don’t know what to say about this one, on the one hand I finished it, but on the other that was more down to luck than judgement and more gadgetry than I’d want. I was only entertained in places.

    Never heard of…. well several actually.

    For the benefit of our silent readers who struggle with these things, here is how to crack something you’ve never heard of that fills a chunck of space, viz that quotation. First be on-line. Then put in A for the one letter words, press Check. Those disappear, so figure I as most likely and try that with Check. OK thats a start. Look at it for a minute and think WHEN goes before I quite often, so stick that in and have a guess at GO TO THE. Press Check. Hmm, the WHEN stays but the rest doesn’t. Try FOR instead of THE and press Check. Nope, it vanishes. WHEN I xx xx? WHEN I AM OLD AND GREY drifts across the mind but is obviously not appropriate, but it puts AM into the frame, and OLD, so let’s try AM AN OLD and press Check. Ooh! That worked. Now I am stuck. Come back later after reading the rest of the clues. Now I have the crossing letters M and N in the next word. WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN makes sense and fits, press Check. Yippee! I’ve connected up with the second I now, so what next? SHALL sounds like something that would come next. Try it with Check and ye ha! Now I’m stuck again, but I’ve got a continuous set of words with no gaps. So put that lot in Bing (Google isn’t the default in Win7) and lo, out pops a link to the poem! Job done.

    That doesn’t provide the same buzz as the literary folk get from recognising an old friend, nor the one the that “no gadget” purists get, but the process was fun in it’s own way.

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi Derek

    That was very entertaining – thank you! :-) and thanks, too, for the alert about 1dn [no need to explain how that happens, is there?] – I’ll leave it in, so that your comment doesn’t lose its point.

    This poem is well worth a look, if you haven’t already. My students some years ago really enjoyed it – and went on to write their own versions of things they’d like to do but couldn’t because of age, convention, etc.

  14. IanH says:

    I am a long-standing ‘lurker’ who loves this blog and completes the Guardian every day. This is my first post. Having just read Derek @12 I have to say my approach is quite different in that I frequently ‘intuit’ answers direct from clues or more often from just looking at the pattern that partially filled clues form on the grid. For 25ac etc I had some letters, looked at the pattern (not the clue) and the answer swam into view dredged from some distant memory. Then I unpicked the clue to see if it fitted. This approach infuriates my more logically minded friends. Some compilers are easier to intuit than others eg Araucaria and Paul, others, eg the recent Prize puzzle by Puck, I can’t tune into in that way.

  15. liz says:

    Thanks, Eileen, and welcome back. You were missed! Enjoyed this v much, especially 12ac.

    I got the quotation fairly early, which helped — my daughter came across the poem in school, loved it and introduced me to it. When I don’t know the quote my method is not far off Derek’s @12!

    Tripped up in the end by 9ac — VIDELICET caught me out before and unfortunately did not stick in my head!

    Welcome to IanH. Like you, I often find it easier to intuit an Araucaria clue than those by other setters — I think it’s because I’ve solved more of his puzzles over the years.

  16. Eileen says:

    Welcome to the site, IanH – and thanks for your comment.

    Sharing these different approaches is one of the things that make this site so good!

  17. Eileen says:

    Hi liz – it’s lovely when youngsters enthuse about poetry, isn’t it?

  18. Garry says:

    Hi Eileen, I’d just sent the same link to the poem to a colleague. “practice” – oh! dear. I’d noticed your absence too!

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria, and welcome IanH.

    I enjoyed this, but didn’t know the poem, so followed a method very similar to Derek’s, though not so long-winded since, having precluded the single ‘a’s, I waited till I had a number of crossing letters before trying to guess. I went to Google for the last word, and spent a while reading the poem before returning to the puzzle :)

    BTW, Derek, Google may not be the default in Windows7, but it is if you install Firefox.

    Regarding ‘deli’, it comes from German Delikatessen, meaning ‘delicacies’, so I think the use of the adjective ‘good’ is legitimate.

  20. sidey says:

    Small point, to heave to is to stop a sailing boat or the boat stopping.

  21. sidey says:

    Second small point, you can set whatever you like as the default search in Internet Explorer, click the arrow by the magnifying glass and select Manage Search Providers. Similarly in Firefox, the down arrow is to the right of the icon of the current search provider.

  22. walruss says:

    I would say the strong man is the mythical man, carrying the world on his shoulders. If that’s what he actually did, I am not quite sure. Great puzzle from Araucaria.

  23. Eileen says:

    sidey @20

    Isn’t that what I said in the blog and comment 10?

    walruss @22

    As I said, the mythical Atlas was a Titan, not a man – and, also as I said, it was the heavens he was condemned by Zeus to support on his shoulders.

  24. liz says:

    Eileen — yes, it is nice when the young discover poems they like. My daughter is in her mid-20s now and still very much a poetry enthusiast.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Stella, it isn’t usually that long winded an approach, which is why I posted it this time as an object lesson in not giving up.

    What baffles me now is why I did the last bit via a web search. I knew from the outset that it was that long anagram, so why didn’t I use the Anagram tool when I got that close? Must the the geek in me.

    One knows how to change all the defaults, and many other things most people don’t even know about, but nowadays all the alternatives are getting too similar for me to care any more, so I just take the defaults.

    Yes I did read the poem. I wasn’t going to waste all that work! Very droll.

  26. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    Great puzzle from the great man and also the first that I’ve managed to finish this week. I couldn’t even finish Rufus but there again I’m not fond of his shorter clues. I seem to be more attuned to Arry’s way of thinking although there are still two clues from last Saturday’s puzzle that I haven’t got. I got the big quote after completing about half the puzzle but did not know who the author was and so made an internet excursion to find JOSEPH which I wouldn’t have got from the clue. This was however, my only aid in completing this puzzle.

    As you say Eileen, a marvellous anagram for the main clue that I don’t think anyone else in the world would have come up with. The man is just a one-off.

    Among many great clues, I liked 1a, 12a, 21a and 13d which took a while to work out. Many thanks Araucaria and thanks again Eileen for your precise explanations.

  27. don says:

    “After four days in the wilderness of no internet access – it’s very lonely out there … ”

    Better than being trapped for 69 days in a Chilean pit, Eileen :-)

  28. Dave Ellison says:

    Well, I was on the bus so had no tools available. I managed (almost at the end) to solve the long one by checking the letters, the first time I have ever had to do this with such a clue (I usually can’t be bothered). It didn’t help writing IMAN instead of IMAN!

    I don’t often do Xwords on line, partly because it is so tempting to use the CHECK tool, and I always feel I have cheated myself if I do. Contrariwise, I sometimes do Killer Sudoku on line, and that also has a CHECK button which tells how many incorrect entries you have. I don’t regard this as a cheat, as, if you get something wrong, it is possible to drift way off the solution half an hour later.

  29. Dave Ellison says:

    I’ve done it again: IMAN instead of IMAM, I meant.

  30. Carrots says:

    Where on earth have you been Auntie Eileen….Beaconsfield?? XX

  31. Eileen says:

    don @27

    That’s very salutary: I’ve been absolutely riveted to the news over the last few days – at least I still had television! – but it’s also been very sobering to realise how dependent I am on the internet. [I’ve missed you folk, for instance!]

    Davy, Dave Ellison et al

    It’s been hard to judge the difficulty of this puzzle because I’ve been so familiar with the poem for such a long time, having, as I said, first encountered it when teaching, and remember being quite surprised to find that it was well enough known to be the nation’s favourite poem. I can see that not knowing it would make quite a difference.

    It may be giving a hostage to Fortune but there seems to have been something of a détente in the attitude to Araucaria’s puzzles. I’m used to being defensive of Araucaria and was expecting rather more reaction to some of the clues. :-)

    [Where’s Beaconsfield, Carrots? :-) ]

  32. Frances says:

    Thanks so much for the link to the poetry reading, Eileen. I thought I knew the poem well, although I had to cheat a little to solve the clue.
    Hearing it read by the author, I realise I hadn’t understood it at all. I’d assumed that the “you” in the second verse meant “one” (and I didn’t much like the change in “person”) but now see that it’s her husband she’s talking to.

    Thanks also for the much needed blog!

  33. Dave Ellison says:

    Eileen at #32. I liked this Auracaria on the whole, and, the recent ones by him too. There was a time about a year ago I thought some of them were less than Auracarian.

    Not getting the quote immediately didn’t make the Xword any more difficult. When I had solved it I realised I did know the quote, but couldn’t possibly say what it was from – I suspect I have half heard it on Poetry Please.

  34. Dave Ellison says:


  35. Pat O'Brien says:

    Hi Eileen
    Afraid I don’t get to do the puzzles on line any more – not enough time – but I still get to read, and enjoy, the blogs, after I have completed the puzzle in each days’ paper. This puzzle was published in Brisbane today.
    I was intrigued by Carrots’ reference to Beaconsfield. With the rescue of the Chilean miners being in the news at the time this puzzle was published in the UK, I suspect he was referring to Beaconsfield, Tasmania. That is where a mine collapsed on April 25, 2006 trapping two miners who were finally freed on May 9, 2006.

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