Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25205 by Araucaria How the Monkey Puzzle….

Posted by PeterO on December 29th, 2010


{This is just to hide the spoiler}

….got his prickles. Vintage Araucaria – highly allusive, a wide range of references, numerous liberties, a delight as well as a struggle to solve.


7 FISHGUARD FISH (‘drinkers’) + GUARD (‘protect’). This Welsh port.

8,13 PAINT-STRIPPER I in PANTS (‘one wearing trousers’) + TRIPPER ([one] ‘going on jaunt’).

9,10 ELEPHANTS CHILD The first reference to the Just So Stories; The Elephant’s Child is the title of one of the stories. >PELE (‘footballer backing’)+ HANTS (Hampshire, England, ‘county’) + L (‘student’) in CHID (‘scolded’).

12 POLICE Definition: ‘force’. Say it quickly and it might come out as something like ‘Please’…

16 ABIGAIL A (‘one’) + BIG (2 down ‘whopping’) + AIL (as a noun, ‘problem’).  The Biblical character Abigail describes herself as David’s handmaid (1 Samuel 25:24 ff), and hence the word became at one time a general term for a waiting-woman.

19 SHORT OF SORT OF (‘more or lesh’, likewise shlurred).

22 TENEMENT Envelope of MEN (‘people’) in TENET (‘what’s believed’).

25 JAGUAR The Painted Jaguar is another character in the Just So Stories.

28 BRASS NECK BRAS (‘supports’) + SNECK (‘catch on door’). Brass neck is effrontery (‘sauce’).

29 SMART Double definition.

30 SENSELESS Double definition: ‘out’ as unconscious, and a reference to the five senses.


1 RIALTO RIAL (‘Arabian money'; the more common spelling for the Saudi-Arabian currency is riyal) + ‘TO’. The whole is an island district of Venice; Venice’s market moved there in 1097.

2 WHOPPING Definition: ‘huge’. I read the rest as a reference to the Wapping dispute, with ‘row’ doing double duty by suggesting the homophone.

3 CURATE Very allusive: the reference is to the George du Maurier cartoon published in Punch magazine in 1895, which gave rise to the expression “The Curate’s Egg”.

Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones”

Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”

4,24 BRITISH EMPIRE Envelope of RITISH EMPIR, an anagram (‘revival’?) of ‘Irish permit’ in BE (‘live’).

5 MAYHAP Envelope of YHA (Youth Hostel Association, ‘provider of hostels’) in MAP (‘plan’). Definition ‘possibly’.

6 IN BLUE Anagram of ‘nubile’,  with reference to the Police (’12’ across) as “The Boys in Blue”.

11,27 ARCHETYPE ARCH (‘spanner’) + E-TYPE (’25 across’, JAGUAR, the car).

14,15,16,17 PUTREFACTION PUT (‘place’) + REF (‘umpire’) + ACT I (act one, ‘start of play’. What about the prologue?) + ON (‘to deal with’).

18 IVES There seems to be at least three saints of this name, although, reading behind an apparent lapsus calami in Wikipedia, there is the suggestion that the patrons of St Ives, Cornwall and St Ives, Cambridgeshire could be the same, even though the former is female and the latter male. The ‘polygamous inhabitant’ refers to the nursery rhyme:
As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives
Each wife had seven sacks
Each sack had seven cats
Each cat had seven kits
Kits, cats, sacks, wives
How many were going to St Ives?

If the answer ‘could follow 11′, you would get ARCHIVES,  a word, even if not defined.

20 REGINALD an envelope of GINA L (‘Lollobrigida’) in RED (‘embarrassed’). For once the boy’s name is not an abbreviation.

23 ENTOMB ENTOM[ologists] (‘some bug-hunters’) + B (‘top of it’  i.e. Bury).

25,21 JUST SO STORIES As I read it: JUST SO (‘neat’) + STORIES (‘floors’); and also an envelope of ST (‘sanctified’) + SOS (‘appeal’) + ‘TO’ in JURIES (“the good and true’, by the dozen). The lack of a true definition might be justified by the cross-references in 9,10 and 25 across.

26 ACCOST Clue courtesy of Shakespeare; a quote from Twelfth Night, Act 1, scene 3:

Sir Toby Belch You mistake, knight: ‘accost’ is, front her, board her, woo her, assail her.

and a  homophone of  A COST.

19 Responses to “Guardian 25205 by Araucaria How the Monkey Puzzle….”

  1. mikel says:

    Thanks PeterO. Kipling seems to have been popular recently.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeterO. Sailed serenely down to the SE corner, getting the theme via the NE: 10a’s -H-L- leading to Kipling. In the end had to look up the 26d quote, and guess the last, 28a, with its obscure British slang. A laugh for neat 27a, a groan for convoluted 18d (ARCH-IVES/SEVEN WIVES).

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeterO.

    The puzzle was very enjoyable and your analysis positively brilliant!

    We had the first part of the ELEPHANT clue quite recently when I searched in vain for ‘Great Brazilian dynasty before time’ – or some such – but, on this occasion, PELE jumped out at me.

    Interestingly, The Grauniad has given us yet another puzzle today.

  4. malc95 says:

    Thanks PeterO for a “nice” post.

    Molongo re. 28a – With respect, I think this is a genuine northern dialect word and not slang. Jennings Brewery produces “Sneck Lifter”, an excellent bitter.

  5. Robii says:

    Thanks Arucaria and PeterO. Had to cheat ‘mayhap’ as it wasn’t in my vocabulary.

    Thanks for the explanations of ‘entomb’ and ‘accost,’ which were beyond me.

    There are brass neck bolt fittings for doors, but I don’t know whether that was intended in the clus:

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO for an excellent analysis and Araucaria for a fine puzzle

    A jolt, though a very entertaining one, to the old grey cells after the easier fare earlier this week.

    Some excellent fun-clueing inc 8,13, 30, 5, 6, 11,27, 14etc, 18 and 25,21 (I agree with your double parsing here.

    jaguar came from the ‘j’ in just-so – I remebered a leopard getting its spots but not its SA cousin.

    ‘Brass neck’ was OK but I had to check sneck which I don’t remember coming across before.

    St Ives (as well as KIpling) is also back again. I remembered the rhyme. As noted last week, Araucaria lives quite near the Cambridgeshire town and I (mis?)remember an old article which said he lived in it at that time. :) Of course the rhyme doesn’t actually state that the man with seven wives lived there, even if he wasn’t going there.

  7. Rob says:

    There’s another Toby Belch allusion in 28ac as he tells a scolding Malvolio (act 2, scene 3) to ‘sneck up’ which was considered by my editor to be obscure but linked to the shutting of a latch on a door = ‘shut up’ I must get out more – btw the bitter is truly excellent :-)

  8. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks PeterO. I enjoyed this, the Kipling mini-theme in particular, but needed help with the Twelfth Night reference and with Sneck and Wapping, both new to me.

  9. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks PeterO & Araucaria.

    As usual with Araucaria it took me some time to solve this one. 28a was easy for me because we have always had snecks on doors up here in Scotland. Mind you its usage is getting a bit outdated now.

  10. Swukker says:

    About 50 minutes to solve a quarter of it then I got 27A and the rest fell into place in about 10 minutes.
    As with all Araucaria crosswords, clues to applaud (I liked 14,15,16,17), clues to wince over (I guessed 26D and the explanation a mystery to us non-Shakepeare lovers) and always a range of subject matter to marvel at. Alkl in all, good fun.

  11. Eileen says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I think there is a bit of wordplay, too, in 3dn: CUR ATE [dog had]

  12. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks PeterO for the blog and also to Eileen @11 for “dog had” which is how I came to the answer for 3D. I have seen Uncle Yap use the expression “curate’s egg” and now I know the source.


  13. Mr Beaver says:

    Had to give up on 30a and 26d, but an excellent puzzle.
    I particularly liked 28a (a clue that exemplifies itself ?) – ‘sneck’ is still current in Yorkshire, but I did wonder how widely it would be known – and 11,27.
    And 14,15,16,17 was an inspired way of dealing with the 3-letter words in this grid at a stroke – how many 12-letter words are there which neatly split into 4 x 3 ?

  14. Alex says:

    Great blog, for a challenging puzzle. We fell four or five clues short of completing it. But a real workout to get that far. Great fun.

  15. Carrots says:

    I was still staring at a virgin grid 20 minutes into it, then a term from my childhood let me in. “Sneck” is a catch on a door and a “Snecklifter” was a nosey-parker who wished to be privy to conversation, without being invited to participate.

    I wouldn`t say I roared on hereafter but at least I finished (but for two).

    What a relief to have a crossword well worthy of its name.

  16. Scarpia says:

    Thanks PeterO.
    Excellent puzzle,I thought,which proved slightly less difficult than I thought on first run through,when I managed only 2 answers.
    Inventive wordplay,a few liberties and a very wide range of references – vintage Araucaria!

  17. Coffee says:

    Some excellent clues, though shame on me for forgetting my O-level English Lit & Twelfth Night- well, it was long time ago but I loved the play even at age 16. And yes, sneck is still common enough up north, though I didn’t spot that till I came here to see how it was parsed, so thanks for that!
    Happy New Year all.

  18. maarvarq says:

    As for the “five” senses, accepted without comment, can we please move past Aristotle on this point?

  19. maarvarq says:

    Link which didn’t work in my previous post –

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