Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,208 Prize Puzzle by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on January 8th, 2011


My first blog for Fifteenquared.  This being the New Year prize puzzle I was expecting an Araucaria special, but we have a plain puzzle instead.  As always with Araucaria I started slowly, but then everything fell into place once the penny had dropped, or in this case once Denny had popped.  I can’t get a satisfactory explanation for 24 across, so any help would be appreciated.  Happy new year!


1 MASSIF MASS (service) and IF (provided)
5 BUSHBABY Double definition
9 LIGATURE LURE around I with GAT gun
10 CHANCE whiCH ANCEstors, ‘chance would be a fine thing’
11 STYE sounds like pig sty, from which squeals are heard
12 POT NOODLES ‘Not Poodles’ the first of the Spoonerisms
13 RENOWN RENO (in Nevada) given West and North
15 AT LENGTH A and Time and LENGTH
17 STUTTERS ST(saint = good guy) and UTTERS
19,22 MASTER PLAN ‘Plaster Man’ Spoonerism
20 MARROWBONE ‘Barrow Moan’ Spoonerism
23 AGOUTI A + GOUT + I, South American rodent
24 NAMESAKE (MAKES AN)* + E. I don’t quite understand what this has to do with 2
25 GRANDEUR GR(George Rex) AND(with) EURope.
26 NUDITY ‘New Ditty’ homophone
2 A LITTLE STRANGER   Double definition
4 FOURPENCE ‘Poor Fence’ Spoonerism.  One third of bob (12 pence)
5 BEEF TEA Spoonerism of “Thief Be” if you adopt a cod Irish accent
6 SICKO SIC (so, thus) and KO (knock-out)
7 BLANDINGS B (second) and LANDINGS. Blandings Castle is the fictional home of Lords Emsworth in the P.G. Wodehouse stories.  The Empress of Blandings was Emsworth’s prize pig living in the sty (but where has the final ‘e’ gone from 11 across?)
8 BUCKED THE MARKET ‘Marked the Bucket’ Spoonerism.  “There is no way in which one can buck the market.” – quotation fom Margaret Thatcher.
14 OTTERBURN hOTTER and BURNBattle of Otterburn 1388
16 LUMBERMAN LUMBER (to burden with) and MAN (Isle of…)
18 SPOONER SOONER (rather) keeping P (piano=quitly).  For those who don’t know already, the  Reverend William Archibald Spooner was infamous for mixing up his words, thus creating the Spoonerism,  delighting/annoying crossword solvers ever since.
21,3 WHITE SLAVE ‘Slight Wave’ Spoonerism

* anagram

23 Responses to “Guardian 25,208 Prize Puzzle by Araucaria”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee and welcome!

    This was enjoyable and relatively easy for a Prize Puzzle.

    Regarding 24a, I assumed that ‘The Little Stranger’ in 2d would be his father’s NAMESAKE.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    A warm welcome to you, PeeDee!
    I just have the same explanation as Bryan for 24ac.
    When you’re added to the family, you will bear the same name.
    Not really spectular, this explanation, is it?

    A Mild Saturday crossword with one or two nice Spoonerisms [like the POT NOODLES], but also a bit of a silly one (BEEF TEA), although very Araucarian.
    This week we had a discussion [in Gordius’ puzzle] on what exactly a Spoonerism is. I’m sure someone will question BUCKED THE MARKET.
    And BTW, this is not the first puzzle with Spoonerisms.
    Paul had one, probably about a year ago.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    SpectACular, of course.

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee and welcome. Didn’t latch on to the theme until the penultimate sex-trafficker clue, and then groans or guffaws as puns came thick and fast: 5d perhaps the wortiest/most thypically Araucarian. A groan for 7d, although presumably the question-mark justifies sty(e). Agree 24a is either forced or obvious: the commonest occurrence of NAMESAKE is new birth.

  5. John Dean says:

    Hi PeeDee – welcome
    (Is PeeDee just for this puzzle and you become DeePee next week?)
    I thought 24 ac was nonsense. “A little stranger” is not automatically a ‘namesake’ unless you deal in surnames only.

  6. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Peedeee and welcome again. I can only endorse previous comments but 5d seemed to me to be decidedly suspect.

  7. paul8hours says:

    Entertaining enough puzzle that didn’t delay me too long but my heart drops when I see more than one spoonerism in one crossword. It feels like a cheap trick, not really cryptic. Does anyone else feel the same ?

  8. Robi says:

    Thanks Peeraucaria and ADee. Took a while to get 18, but then the Spoonerisms came fast and furious.

    Didn’t get the Irish t’ief, and for 13 thought that it was the centre of divorce (o) with E,N,W,N as the points – unfortunately, that left an ‘R’ unaccounted for.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and welcome. Thanks too to Araucaria.

    A relatively easy and at times amusing stroll through Spoonerland though a few too many for my taste.

    I had to check Blandings to get the full implication.

    OED gives stye as an alternative spelling for sty in a quotation from 1864.

    6d was clever but I don’t like the word.

    Marked the Bucket seems a bit forced – though the Thatcher link was good. It works OK as a spoonerism doesn’t it? Simple oral transposition of the first syllable.

    The ‘cod Irish’was scarcely worth it and we seem to be having a bit of trouble with dialect homophones recently. Perhaps we’ll be having variations on ‘I painted the porch as you asked but it’s actually a Mercedes’ next!

  10. tupu says:

    ps Thanks for the explanation of Renown – very nice. I missed that and thought it was ‘or’ (loosely defined) + points. Serves me right for not being demanding enough re clue wording!

  11. Mr Beaver says:

    We thoroughly enjoyed this. Surely Araucaria has a fondness for the Speverent Rooner ? Perhaps Reverends stick together… Anyway, if you like his groan-worthy style, it was great fun.

    I can see Sil’s objection to 8d. Strictly speaking, the Spoonerisation (if that’s a word) of ‘marked the bucket’ would be ‘barked the mucket’, and had it been the only Spoonerish clue in the puzzle, one might feel hard done by. But given the theme, I didn’t feel it was unfair.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Mr Beaver, I didn’t say that I had problems with 8d.
    But a few days ago there was so much discussion on Spoonerisms that I thought someone will surely say that, strickly speaking, it should be “barked the mucket”.
    And, yes, someone stood up :).
    But I fully agree with your the content of your post!

  13. Stella says:

    Thanks Peedee, and welcome. I missed out on this last Saturday, for some reason ( :) ), and I suspect for the same reason we got a reasonably easy Prize this time.

    I found all the spoonerisms acceptable, except that I missed the one in 5d, having got the answer from the wordplay before hitting on the theme. Re 8d, I believe spoonerisms are juxtapositions of sounds, not single letters, and this can involve complete morphemes.

    There is a word for this particular form of dyslalia, though I can’t think of it at the moment, and it’s something I’ve experienced on more than one occasion, especially when I first came down with ME/fibromyalgia.

  14. ofHesselink says:

    Hi, PeeDee. “mixing up his words” isn’t really a description of what the Rev was famous for. Hence, perhaps, some of the slight dissatisfaction (chez moi, at least) with the clues proceeding therefrom. “Transposing the initial letters of two consecutive words in a sentence in order, perhaps unwittingly, to produce plausible and amusing alternatives” is a slightly better stab at it, I think. I welcome disagreement.
    Robi, not surprised you didn’t get the Irish ‘t’ief’. That’s because roughly half the population of Ireland who live north of a line drawn beetween Dublin and Galway don’t pronounce any such word in that way. Even the rest produce an actual aspiration, so I confess to being slightly disappointed with Araucaria this time (though I did get the answer)

  15. tupu says:

    For what it is worth, the 2010 OED defines spoonerism as ‘An accidental transposition of the initial sounds, or other parts, of two or more words’ and COD says much the same.

  16. Robi says:

    Crikey Stella @13 – morphemes and dyslalia; thought I had put away the dictionaries for today.

    I have managed up to now to resist the urge to comment on the Rev.S., but I still think the ‘well-boiled icicle’ doesn’t really fit with the definitions……….. oh, well, I’ll just call it a spoonerism instead!

  17. tupu says:

    Come on Lobi – evelyone knows Dyslalia was a 19th Century Plime Minister whose speech became slurred when he became addicted to morpheme.

  18. Stella says:

    Sorry all, they’re familiar words to me as a linguist, and I tend to assume that crossword buffs have a similar vocabulary range. Anyway, what’s wrong with a new term now and then? That’s the sort of thing we’re here for, isn’t it?

    Re Irishmen, the two I’ve known reasonably well – a uni colleague and my daughter’s boyfriend – both pronounce a sound more similar to ‘t’ than unvoiced ‘th'(or Greek theta). The former is from County Antrim, the latter from Cork.

  19. Robi says:

    Tupu; nice one! Stella, no offence, I’m just an ignorant old scientist strugging to learn how to do crosswords.

  20. Robi says:

    P.S. Should that be struggling or trudging?

  21. Stella says:

    None taken Robi, the boot’s on the other foot when it comes to scientific/IT terms :)

  22. ofHesselink says:

    I personally enjoyed your morphemes immensely, Stella (though I confess, tupu’s I enjoyed even more). Now yer man from Antrim who fails either to vocalise or even slightly aspirate his thieves; he is an interloper and a vicious impostor of the worst sort. Yer Cork fella, well I’ll let him away with it. Either that or it’s your ears, acushla.

  23. Daniel Miller says:

    When it comes to Spoonerisms I take the Town Drain.. and pass :)

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