Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize 25,244 by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on February 19th, 2011


A themed puzzle from Araucaria this week.  The themed answers are all obvious once the theme is spotted, but some of the other clues are not nearly so easy.

The theme is a celebration of the recent Ashes Test Series in Australia, which – as Araucaria gleefully points out – England won.  For any visitors not familiar with cricket, all you need to know is: there are 11 players in a team, international matches are called tests,  there are five tests in a series, the Ashes is a trophy and fielders try to catch the ball.

Click a solution to see its definition, hold mouse over clue number to see the clue.

9   See 22
10 ERATO lecturER AT Oxford – the muse of poetry
11 COLITIS COmpany (company=firm) LIT IS
12 NOBLEST BON (good) reversed and LEST (in case) – in Shakespear’s Julius Caesar Brutus was “the noblest Roman of them all”
13 AXIS A XI’S (XI = 11 players in a team)
14 BABY JUMPER Cryptic double definition – reference to those ‘baby bouncer’ things that babies think are so great.
16 COELOME Sebastian COE LO (lo=behold) and ME (the setter, Araucaria) -
17 GANDALF FLAG (standard) reversed around AND (with)
19 TEA GARDENS A DRAG reversed inside TEENS
22,9 HALE AND HEARTY (HEAT HAD NEARLY)* I guess ‘killed me’ is an anagram indicator, though I can’t see it myself.
24 HEATHER (HalE and HEARTY)* with ‘lay and’ missing
25 CULPRIT CULT around PRIced
26 ASHES AS HES (men=more than one he) – reference to England winning the Ashes series (‘we’ assumes an English perspective of course!)
27 INDICATOR IN Christian DIOR keeping CAT
1 CATCH-AS-CATCH-CAN Definition and cryptic definition
2 ADELAIDE DEAL* AIDE – venue for 2nd test
3 PERTH PERTHorse – venue of 3rd test
4 BRISBANE ABS (AB=able seaman, aka ‘salt’) in BRINE – venue of 1st test
5 SYDNEY Sir Phillip Sidney poet and soldier, alternative spelling Sydney (thanks to Gaufrid) – venue of the 5th test
6 MELBOURNE River ELBe inside MOURNE (Mountains of Mourne, Northern Ireland) – venue of 4th test
7 WAKE-UP Western Australia and PUKE*
8 DOCTOR OF LETTERS COD reversed TORO (bull in Spanish) Keith FLETT and ER’S (belonging to Elizabeth Regina)
15 MONACHISM MONArCHISM (without r=Royal)
17 GENOCIDE NO CID (Criminal Investigations Division) inside GEE (horse)
18 ALACRITY ALA (à la = in the style of) CITY around Readhead (first letter of)
20 APACHE Pronounced ah-pat-chee meaning Native American, or a-pash meaning Parisian hooligan
21 DARWIN Charles Darwin and Australian town that is sometimes the venue for test matches
23 ALICE Alice Springs, another Australian town, below Darwin on the map


42 Responses to “Guardian Prize 25,244 by Araucaria”

  1. Tokyocolin says:

    OK, so you won the Ashes. But don’t add insult to injury by misspelling Sydney.

  2. Biggles A says:

    23 had to be Alice of course but unless it is because Alice Springs is south of Darwin I’m not sure about ‘coming under the foregoing’.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. As gets often noted here, spotting a theme early can turn an otherwise tricky puzzle into a cakewalk. This one wrapped up in under half an hour thanks to 21d – a scientist in six letters beginning with D, and so to all our state capitals bar Hobart. I don’t begrudge the setter’s good gloat with 26a.

  4. Coffee says:

    Yes, Colin’s right, it’s SYDNEY, from HALE AND HEARTY. Or from NSW, depending how you look at it. @ Biggles A, according to the annotated solution on the web site, ALICE is indeed there because it’s south of Darwin- by quite a long way though – rather tenuous, I think. Never did get 16A.

  5. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Coffee, rather tenuous indeed. The distance is about 930 miles. Would anyone describe London as coming under Newcastle or New York under Montreal? Apart from residents of the foregoing.

    Your abode missed out too Molonglo.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee

    I soon landed ADELAIDE and the others in the theme then followed. I saw the theme as a glowing tribute to Australia because, even though Ponting was found wanting, they still kept turning up.

    My last was 16a COELOME which I’d never heard of before. My first guess was CREVICE which almost worked.

    I love the way you present the clues and your links. Well done!

    Also, many thanks to Araucaria who has almost single-handedly restored the reputation of Cambridge after the activities of The Famous Five.

  7. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    Struggled a bit until I got the theme after which it was straightforward. But like Coffee I also never got 16a though it’s pretty obvious once you get the Seb Coe reference.

  8. Geoff Chapman says:

    What’s going on with ‘Sidney/Sydney’?

    And Darwin, host to just 2 Tests, deserves it’s question mark.

    Late happy birthday Araucaria. Thank you for years of pleasure.

  9. PeeDee says:

    My apologies for missplelling Sydney. I got confused about this while writing the blog. I still am confused actually… I’ll go away and think about this then update the blog.

  10. PeeDee says:

    Biggles@5 etc I thought ALICE was OK as, though it is a long way south of Darwin, there is bugger all else in between, so what else could it be?

    (still stuck on Sydney/Sidney, any help?)

  11. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    Another enjoyable crossword form the birthday boy. Just one point, you have put BRUTUS as the answer to 12a when it’s actually NOBLEST. You obviously know this but it needs correcting anyway.

  12. PeeDee says:

    Many thanks, Davy. Brutus is corrected now. I am appaling at proof reading my own work. I just read what I think is right regardless of what is actually there. Quite embarrassing really.

  13. Robi says:

    At 90 and still banging them out – very impressive, although a little less satisfying than some once the theme was obvious and the test venues could just be slapped in with little thought.

    Thanks PeeDee; very clever having the clues there to see as well! I thought I should have known COELOME but it was new to me. I wasn’t totally confident about ALICE but couldn’t see what else it could be. Re. Coffee @4 and Biggles @5, I suppose if you look at a map of Australia it is under Darwin, despite the miles.

    I originally spelt GANDALF as GandOlf, which made 18 more difficult to solve until I corrected 17a. I also started with MASTER of Letters for 8d as I couldn’t parse it at the beginning. Of course, the ‘Christian’ in 27 was nicely misleading.

  14. PeeDee says:

    For some reason idea of Christan Dior’s cat really got stuck in my mind. Was it a Perisan with a diamond collar? A sleek Siamese? I searched the net for ages but was sadly unable to come up with a picture.

  15. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Araucaria

    Solving this presented no great difficulty but understanding some of the clues was more of a problem, as has been said.

    I am equally puzzled by Sidney/Sydney. It is often misspelled on Google but as far as I can tell the soldier/poet is correctly Sidney. The clue seems to need a homophone indicator. Could the idea of ‘rhyming’ be meant to be implied by ‘poet’ or has the clue lost an indicator?

    I was also puzzled by Alice. I eventually read this as a reference to ‘A town like Alice’ with ‘coming under’ meaning ‘belonging to the category of towns’ and ‘the foregoing’ referring to ‘towns’ listed by clue and letter in 21.

    I had to work out and then check ‘coelome’ and ‘baby-jumper’ (I knew baby-bouncer’).

    Like PeeDee I had to assume that ‘killed me’ was an anagram indicator. I was almost equally puzzled by Orlando’s use of ‘buggy’ yesterday.

  16. PeeDee says:

    tupu@15 Buggy refers to software bugs I think, indicating it’s not correct.

  17. tupu says:

    Many thanks Peedee. I missed that. I had thought of it as involving ‘moving around’. I am of course, like you, still puzzled with parts of the present puzzle.

  18. Gaufrid says:

    Regarding 5dn, Chambers Biographical Dictionary only has Sidney but Webster’s gives “Sidney, Sir Philip, 1554-86, English soldier, courtier, poet and writer: also spelled Sydney“.

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeeDee, I like the device of holding the mouse over the clue number, which actually worked with my little notepad this time, unlike the previous occasion it was introduced – by you?

    The only cricket news I get over here is via the Guardian Weekly, so always late; or 225, so necessarily sketchy. It took me ages to see 26ac., after 1d. had finally clicked – I started this on Saturday, but didn’t really get into it till Wednesday :(

    I didn’t know the venues, and certainly not their order in this test series, but I really should have realised sooner that I was looking for Australian towns!

    All that aside, I enjoyed this puzzle. It’s actually the first Prize I’ve completed before the following Saturday for over a month. Now to see how I get on with this week’s.

  20. tupu says:

    Hi gaufrid
    Thanks. quotes inter alia Columbia Encyclopedia which gives the two as alternatives, and it also mentions Sir P’s great nephew as Algernon Sydney. There was clearly such variation in Algernon’s case, but Sidney seems more firmly set for Sir Phillip.

    Araucaria seems to be quite ‘cavalier’ here even though Algernon at least was a Republican and, as such, more like a Roundhead.

  21. Robi says:

    Hi tupu; the annotated solution for ALICE gives: Alice double def [Alice Springs, south of Darwin] :)

  22. tupu says:

    Hi robi
    Thanks. It is an ‘iffy’ clue in any case. Does anyone know who provides the ‘annotated solution’?

  23. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Never a dull moment with Araucaria.

    I don’t know anything about cricket (nor does my PinC), but that wasn’t a drawback in this puzzle. After we had ?D?L?I?E in 2d, I thought ADELAIDE might fit – and it did, confirmed by its clue. Subsequently 4d had to BRISBANE, and well, after that we just entered all the other Australian cities without looking at the clues. Easy as that.
    So, is this what some called a ‘secondary theme’ last week? :) [please, no discussion]

    The ASHES (26ac) followed quickly. It is an amusing clue, but very libertarian from a cryptic point of view. There’s not really a proper definition, not even the clue as a whole – but very Araucarian.

    No Araucaria without some iffy things.
    For example, 8d (DOCTOR OF LETTERS) is a great clue, but what is the word “when” exactly doing there other than for the surface?
    And “killed (me)” as the anagram indicator in 22,9 is extremely odd.
    We raised our eyebrows when seeing ‘Cult’ defined as religion, but it is more or less in Chambers. And is ‘brine’ in 4d really synonymous to ‘salt’?

    Weirdest Clue of the Day without doubt 20d (APACHE).
    Bisyllabic, trisyllabic? It just a case of pronouncing the same word (the French Apaches took their name from the American) in a different way, as the French and the English usually do. Ugly clue.

    Most of the crossword was very enjoyable though.
    The Paulian WAKE-UP (7d), 18d’s ALACRITY (with its ‘a la City’ effect), the use of ‘Christian’ in 27ac (INDICATOR) and the aforementioned 8d – all contenders for Clue of the Day.

    Thank you PeeDee for a splendid blog.

    As I said, never a dull moment with Araucaria.

  24. PeeDee says:

    Hi Sil,

    According to my Chambers Dictionary, apache does indeed have a different pronunciations for each meaning.

  25. muck says:

    Thanks for the blog PD

    No one commented on 8dn DOCTOR OF LETTERS which was wonderful in so many ways.

  26. Eileen says:

    Hi Muck

    I agree with your admiration of 8dn. I didn’t comment because I was ashamed to say that, as a Guardian reader, I was totally unaware of Keith Flett other than an as an inveterate writer to our paper and, therefore, I expected complaints of ‘parochialism’! My apologies, Keith.

    Keith gets his recognition in The Guardian leader which I cited on The Day

  27. Sil van den Hoek says:

    PeeDee, @24:
    I know that both Apaches are pronounced differently, but the clue as such doesn’t need this elaborate wording. Araucaria could have just said “French hooligan meets American”, for example. I found it just a clumsy clue, in which the emphasis on pronunciation is superfluous, at least for me.

    One is the French pronunciation and the other the English for in fact ‘two’ words that are basically the same as the Parisian Apaches took their name from the American Indians.
    One is just the French version of the other.

    In the meantime, I admit that there’s technically speaking probably nothing wrong with the clue – it’s just so unnecessarily inelegant (to look at).

  28. PeeDee says:

    Sorry Sil, I misunderstood you.

    I liked the clue, but then that’s just personal taste I suppose!

  29. Roger says:

    Hi tupu @22. In this Editor’s Update, Hugh Stephenson mentions that he provided the annotated solution for puzzle 25197 so I guess there’s a good chance he does the others as well.

  30. tupu says:

    Thanks Roger. It would be useful if it was the setter. Even with a ?, ‘coming under’ seems an unnecessarily odd expression for ‘to the south of’ and it isn’t even due south. ‘Lying under’ might be better. Nor is it clear what ‘the foregoing’ refers to – Darwin or the other towns, and it is north of all of these latter.
    A further thought that crosses my mind is that we call Australia as a whole ‘down under’ but I don’t quite see how that might help either.

  31. Roger says:

    Indeed, tupu, the setter’s viewpoint would certainly be handy on occasions when a clue is just plain weird (and to be fair some do drop in …) but on the other hand, what a lot of fun is had on this site by throwing ideas about.

    PeeDee @14 ~ strange that with all those catwalks there don’t seem to be any Dior moggies forthcoming !

  32. Andy B says:

    Rather liked 19a (not least because it’s a lovely phrase, and a nice one in particular for that time in Feb when we have all had a bit too much of winter). And I positively liked 20d: yes, it could have been sparer but one of the rare cases where sparer wouldn’t I think have been better. Sometimes good to have a thicket to negotiate.

    But possibly a bit too easy for a Sat. The theme was fun, but the cities were then a bit mechanical. Not vintage….

    (…is it permitted to note that this weekend’s Paul does indeed have a clue that really may be one of the all-time greats…)

  33. Robi says:

    tupu @30; I took ‘the foregoing’ as a reference to the previous clue i.e. to DARWIN. :)

  34. PeeDee says:

    Re 23dn ALICE, having re-read all the comments I still can’t see what’s so wrong with this clue. A bit easy maybe, but other than than seems just fine to me!

    AndyB@32 – I know just what you mean about the phrase ‘Tea Gardens’, brings an air of peace and contentment – a place where nothing realy bad could ever happen. I immediately thought of John Betjemin on solving this one.

  35. tupu says:

    Hi Robi and Peedee

    Robi, thanks. That seems to be the consensus, and I agree it is probably the most convincing answer.

    Peedee. I suppose we just must disagree. The clue was not difficult to solve because Alice (Springs) is well known from the novel and film as an Australian town. But it is, I think, extremely vague. My disquiet relates to the following combined points:
    1. ‘Coming under’ at least implies motion which is not the best sort of idiom for describing a geographical location.
    2. As I said ‘the foregoing’ might in theory refer to Darwin or Darwin plus the other towns or even just the other towns.
    3. The clue seems to be an extreme case of one where the answer is obvious but how it relates to the surface is a real conundrum. Orlando’s clue for ‘rheas’ on Friday was superficially a bit like this but made very exact sense when scrutinised closely.

  36. Robi says:

    PeeDee @14; was this cat what you were looking for?

  37. PeeDee says:

    Apparently, Dior liked dogs :(. I found out he had a dog called Bobby that the ‘bobby dress’ is named after. Oh well.

  38. Roger says:

    Hi tupu. Administratively speaking, Alice would indeed come under Darwin, the state capital, so maybe that’s another way of looking at it ?

  39. Dan says:

    Hurrah! After 2.5 years of regular trying (before which I lived in a certain antipodean nation, which may have helped with this particular one), this has finally become the first Araucaria crossword I’ve finished – long time coming, but a great satisfaction. Thanks to the Rev. for years of fun and frustration!

  40. tupu says:

    Hi Roger

    Very many thanks. Now we are getting somewhere! I am sure that is the solution and ‘south’ has nothing to do with it. I did not realise that Alice was in the NT.

  41. tupu says:

    ps With that point sorted, the clue is much more in line with Araucaria’s usual interest in detail.

  42. PeeDee says:

    Well done Dan!

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