Posted by Eileen on January 22nd, 2011
This is one of those puzzles that make your [or, at least my] heart sink when you see a long quotation that covers what seems about half of the grid and, when it’s Araucaria, there’s often devilish wordplay involved. This time, fortunately, or not, depending on your preferences, it was one of his anagrams and, for all I know [knowing nothing about the [mis]fortunes of Swindon Town or Gerard Houlier’s possible involvement – where are you, Rightback?] it could well be on a par with his classic virtual &lits:
“O hark the herald angels sing the boy’s descent which lifted up the world”, an anagram clue for “While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground”
and, “Poetical scene has surprisingly chaste Lord Archer vegetating”, for “The Old Vicarage, Grantchester”.
The quotation here is a comparatively less well-known [to me, anyway] one from Sir Walter Scott and / or Thomas Osbert Mordaunt [see: http://hubpages.com/hub/Mordaunt] ONE CROWDED HOUR OF GLORIOUS LIFE IS WORTH AN AGE WITHOUT A NAME, anagram of O SWINDON TOWN OUTED FROM HIGHEST LEAGUE A FAIR COW OR A HOULIER – indicator ‘needed’?? The problem with this type of puzzle is that if you know the quotation, it goes in almost immediately, leaving a rather depleted puzzle, or, if you don’t know it at all, without any wordplay it’s practically impenetrable – and / or you lose interest. Once I’d got something that could be ‘crowded / clouded’ and ‘glorious’, I resorted to Google and did then dimly remember it.
As well as the mistake of the Guardian publishing an old Paul puzzle in the paper, which I started solving without realising that I’d blogged it only a month ago – oh dear! – there was also confusion as to which ’22’ formed part of the quotation – not helped at all by clicking on ’23ac’ in the online version, since it highlighted 22dn! This was irritating, as I spent some time trying to find a quotation containing ‘lady of’, which seemed very feasible. These Guardian errors really are getting beyond a joke.
Apart from the quotation, there were some nice clues, my favourite being 5dn.
9 AGREED: A GREED
12 SPOOKY: O [love] + OK [authorised] in SPY [agent
17 ENDORSE: ENDOR [witch's home] + S[outh] E[ast]: the witch of Endor was a woman who called up the ghost of the recently deceased prophet Samuel, at the demand of King Saul in the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28:3–25.
20 SWEET PEA: WEE [small] in STPEA [anagram of TAPES]
22,14 LIFE IS TOO SHORT – e.g. to stuff a mushroom? [Shirley Conran in 'Superwoman']: the second part of the clue refers to the Latin translation of a saying of Hippocrates: Ars longa, vita brevis – ‘[the] art is long, life is short’, used by several Roman authors and orators and by Chaucer, and variously translated. Such is the succinctness of Latin that it is usually interpreted as something along the lines of ‘Art lasts forever, but artists die and are forgotten’, but Hippocrates was talking about the art of medicine and therefore meant something like ‘it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one’s expertise (in, say, medicine) and one has but a short time in which to do it’. [Just four words in Latin!]
24 NICE: triple definition and the first of two clues which might be tough for non-UK residents. NICE is a [now not exact] acronym for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which used to be the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.
1 BIG APPLE: double definition: a large cooking apple and a nickname for New York City
2,24 SHOE NAIL: anagram of HE’S A LION
3 RUNWAY: RUN[a]WAY
4 CASH DOWN: ‘settle there and then'; C[arbon] + ASHDOWN [forest]: originally a deer hunting forest in Norman times, Ashdown Forest in East Sussex is known as the ‘home’ of Winnie-the-Pooh.
5 FRENCH LOAF: être fainéant is French for [to] be lazy, or ‘loaf’, and ‘French stick’ is another name for a baguette. Lovely clue!
6 BEGGAR: ‘one wanting': EGG [food] in BAR [pub]
8 AERATE: ERA [time] in anagram of TEA
13 OYSTER CARD: OYSTER [shellfish] + CARD [comic character]: the second of the ‘parochial’ clues – less familiar to those living outside London but, at least, the wordplay was absolutely straightforward: the Oyster card is a form of electronic ticketing used on public transport services within the Greater London area.
16 REPROOFS: REP [the agent this time] + ROOFS [anagram of SO FOR]. I’m not happy with ‘organiser’ as the indicator.
18 STITCH-UP: TITCH [little guy] in SUP [drink]
19 LAPDOG: P DO [quiet party] in LAG [convict]
21 WINDOW: WIN [get prize of] + DOW [a make of vintage port
22,15 LADY OF LEISURE: LAD [boy] + YO [call] + FLEI [anagram of FILE] + SURE [reliable]