Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,266 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on March 10th, 2011


An excellent crossword from Araucaria, although one that I found very hard. A complete explanation of 1d and ideas about 22d would be very welcome :)

My favourite clue is the lovely 21d. The anagram in 17,20,25,26 is great, but personally I always think people (well, the press) put too much emphasis on Araucaria’s long anagrams, when so many of his simple and elegant clues are just fantastic…

8. WET NURSE (TURNS)* in WEE = “little”; Definition: “helper for suckers”
11. FOUNDATION Double definition: “Cosmetic base” (as in “to apply foundation”) and “trust in the NHS” referring to NHS foundation trusts
12. HUBBUB HUB = “the nave” + BUB = “American boy”; Definition: “Uproar”
14. NONE LEFT “[ALL RIGHT]” implies NONE LEFT; Definition: “result of search in cupboard for bone” (referring to the nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard”
15. FLAT CAP A spoonerism of CAT FLAP = “pet’s entry”; Definition: “working-class symbol”
17,20,25,26. CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH AND DRAMA An excellent long anagram: (DAME DENCH A CLASS ACT HOPE FORLORN)*; Definition: “Hence came Dame Dench” (or the whole clue)
22. SEDATE (SEATED)*; Definition: “not inclined to move”
23. INFINITIVE (IN IN FIVE IT)* – the two “IN”s being from “two inches”, I think; Definition: “it may be split”
24,2. WANTONLY WAN = “Pale” + TONY = “award for acting” around L = “student”; Definition: “without restraint”
1. BELL PULL I’m not at all sure of this, due to little knowledge of either cricket or campanology, but I’d guess: BELL = “Batsman” (Ian Bell?) + PULL = “shot” (in cricket); Definition: “that manifests his calling” ? Thanks to Gaufrid for being the first to explain that the definition refers to pulling on a bell pull at the front door to announce that you’re calling on someone – nothing to do with campanology (except in the broadest sense) in the end :)
3. PREFAB FER = “Foreign metal” in BAP = “roll” all reversed: Definition: “iconic building”
4. SEQUENT (QUEEN ST)*; Definition: “coming one after another”
5. EVIDENCE Cryptic definition: one might turn Queen’s Evidence
6. POSTULATED PO = (Postal) “Order” + STUD = “breeder” around LATE = “after time”; Definition: “assumed”
7. GET OFF GEOFF = “Small boy” around T = “model”; Definition: “to be acquitted”
13. BATH OLIVER BAT = “Flier” + HOLIER = “increasingly religious” around V = “very”; Definition: “posh biscuit”
16. ALL RIGHT ALIGHT = “[GET OFF]” around LR = “both sides”; Definition: “No problem”
18. AUTONOMY (MY AUNT)* around O and O = “ducks”; Definition: “Freedom” – I’m not sure about “encourages” as an anagram indicator…
19,9. AFRICAN VIOLET AFRIT = “Demon” around (CLIVE ON A)*; Definition: “indoor plant” (As well as being a demon, “Afrit” was the pseudonym of the famous crossword setter Alistair Ferguson Ritchie, so it’s always nice when the word turns up in crosswords…)
21. CANAPE If you have the right to copy something (“copyright?”) you CAN APE it; Definition: “Snack”
22. STEADY Sorry, I’ve no idea how this one works: “Go it to date — not so fast!” Update: thanks to Eileen for being the first to point this one out: “to go steady” is “to date”, so the first part is “Go it [steady] [=] to date” and the second part is just “Steady!” being something you might say to mean “not so fast!”
24,10. WORDPLAY [s]WORDPLAY = “Fencing topped”; Definition: “verbal trickery”

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,266 / Araucaria”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. Lovely puzzle, as you say.

    I got no further than you with 1dn, I’m afraid, but in 22dn: to ‘go steady’ is to date and ‘Steady!’ means ‘Not so fast’.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    I think your parsing for 1dn is correct but the definition has nothing to do with campanology. Nowadays we have a bell push next to the front door to announce someone’s arrival but in days of yore, when mechanical systems were used to activate a bell, it was a bell pull that would ‘manifest his calling’.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks mhl

    I don’t think you’ve missed anything with 1dn – when he calls for someone he might use the BELL PULL, at least in an old house, either at the front door or in the house to call the servants…

  4. NeilW says:

    Sorry, Gaufrid, we crossed.

  5. Martin H says:

    Hi mhl – yes, a tough one. ‘Calling’ in Id could be the sound of the bell which is made ‘manifest’ when the bell-pull is pulled. I think that could apply to campanology as well as Gaufrid’s front door bell.

    Plenty of nice tricky clueing here – but do they still do postal orders? I thought 6d felt bit awkward altogether. 24,2 was nice.

  6. Mitch says:


    If you are going steady, you have a regular date. Saying ‘steady’ to a (say) horse means slow down.

  7. Mitch says:

    Sorry, Eileen – didn’t read your post properly :-(

  8. Geoff says:

    Well done, mhl.

    As you say, more of a challenge than recent Araucaria offerings. On the first pass I had only a few solutions, but 18d, 22d and 24d gave crossing letters for 26a and I spotted AND DRAMA, hence the long anagram, and the rest, if not exactly ‘fell out’, came steadily.

    My last entry was 6d, but I couldn’t (or rather had lost the enthusiasm to) parse it. Thanks for that.

    My favourite clue is 18d – not particularly difficult, but it raised a smile. I was amused to see I made an appearance at 7d – the first time I have ever been the ‘small boy’ in a crossword!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl for a good blog and Araucaria for a most enjoyable puzzle.

    Very clever stuff I thought with lots of the old ‘aha’ moments. Ticked many clues as I went along – 8a, 15a, 24,2, 3d, 6d, 7d, 24,10.

    Favourites were much better than average spoonerism in 15, 24,2, and prefab but hard to choose.

    I tried in vain to think why 21 might be crisps but got there after a time. Lots of memories of another age came to mind with ‘going steady’ – :) and Wilfred Pickles asking ‘Are you courting?’ on the wireless (sic).

  10. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl, I really enjoyed this but, even though I postulated that 6d was POSTULATED, I couldn’t figure out why.

    Otherwise, I found it very easy.

  11. Roger says:

    Thanks mhl. This certainly took a bit of getting into but was worth it. One ‘in’ in 23a could also come from the first two letters of ‘inches’ I think, with the other one from the clue. Loved the surface in 18d and the mechanics in 5d. Not sure that Bath Olivers are particularly posh, are they ? Bub is a new one on me. (Oh, and your answer to 14a needs an ‘e’, non ?).

  12. Neil says:

    The batsman is Ian Bell
    A particular cricket stroke is known as a pull.
    And so the bell pull is rung when the caller is announced ‘mainfests’.

    Am I close to the reasoning?

  13. SteveTheWhistle says:

    Re 1d:

    Could it be “calling” = “ringing”?

  14. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl, including for the ape=copy in 21d which I somehow overlooked. Did this under an hour without aids, but failed to resolve to my own satisfaction exactly what the foundation/NHS connection was in 14a, the reason for two inches in the split infinitive (23a) when one would do, and the “his” in 1d.

  15. Ian says:

    Thanks mhl

    Quite tough for me. it took a while to get get going. Once underway with 12a and 7dn it all seemed to come together.

    Several very cleverly constructed clues not least the totally excellent 18dn and 8ac.

    Only 21dn jarred using ‘an ape’ in the context of copyright.

  16. Geoff says:

    Re 24,2 – an excellent clue, BTW. Strictly speaking, ‘wan’ does not mean ‘pale’ although, on the rare occasions this good old Germanic word gets an outing, that is the implied connotation. The original meaning of ‘wan’ was ‘lacking a distinct hue’ – so it could be used for anything on the grey scale between black and white! It is usually used to describe a skin tone, where it denotes a lack of (healthy) redness. Hence the expression ‘pale AND wan’ – which would otherwise be tautologous.

  17. Jack Aubrey says:

    Excellent blog and what a terrific puzzle! One that really puts the cor! into Araucaria.

    First read through produced nothing more than a confused look and the second wasn’t much more productive. Then I nibbled tentatively on a biscuit and it built steadily from there.

    From “norraclue” to “loadsafun” in the length of a leisurely latte. Doesn’t come much better!

  18. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for their corrections and help! I’ve updated the post now.

    I think my problem with 22d was parsing “Go it to date” in the surface reading at all…

  19. Jake says:

    I found this one rather simple to solve. I did need to look up a couple – to confirm – that I was correct. 13d was a new one to me.

    I much preferred how Araucaria set his 17,20,25,26 read down the grid layout than Paul’s read up the grid version. It makes for a more clean layout.

    Nice one!

  20. Scarpia says:

    Thanks mhl.
    Fantastic puzzle from the Rev.How does he keep on doing it?
    Favourite clues for me were 8,24/2,13 and 18.
    Had most problems with 7 and 22 trying to make LET OFF and SPEEDY fit the wordplay.
    Great fun!

  21. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. I found this really enjoyable and not as difficult to get into as others have. As is often the case with Araucaria, occasionally I got the answer and had to work backwards to find out why it was right. The long anagram was great and 15ac made me smile, as did 24,10 — where I did see the wordplay :-)

  22. Keithbuch says:

    If an indication of a good puzzle is where it looks as though you are not going to start, but then you gradually chip away at it, then this was a good example. Struggled to see the easy anagram in 22ac one of the downsides of working without pen and paper.I do not usually like Spoonerisms but I liked 15 ac

  23. Chas says:

    Thanks to mhl.

    I’m fascinated by the split: some people say it was easy and others say it was hard. I’m in the second school!

    My biggest aha came with spotting All Right/None Left.

    MartinH@5: before I retired I was in the Post Office support team and I can tell you that Postal Orders are going strong. They used to be pre-printed but now they are printed as required.

  24. Dave Ellison says:

    I am in the medium hard camp for this one, due largely to the long anagram. I surmised SCHOOL early on, but this was no help in 21d CANAPE at this stage.

    Am I the only one to tentatively enter EIFFEL for 3d (he RAISED AN ICONIC BUILDING)? It contains FE for iron, but, of course, I couldn’t explain the rest of the clue. Luckily, I suspected something was wrong and found PREFAB soon after.

  25. Thomas99 says:

    Dave Ellison @24
    You are certainly not alone! See the comments on the Guardian site. Although I was the only one to essay a full parsing though, I think. The parsing was:

    “Foreign metal” = F (FX=Foreign Exchange) + FE (iron), then “roll” = lie (an admittedly dodgy golfing ref. – if you get a good “roll” on the ball you get a good “lie” – not very convincing in the cold light of day…) , “raised” to make EIL, giving EI-FFE-L, with the definition either “Raised iconic building”, or “iconic building” or possibly the whole clue.

    “Hubbub” and the brilliant 8a finally made me see sense.

  26. Carrots says:

    Luvverly Jubbly! The GOM on top form. But just when I thought I had a legitimate query about 1 Dn., mhl/Gaufrid teach me the error of my ways. Here`s how it goes (or, rather, went):

    Although Ian Bell is a top order batsman, he is also a very handy all-rounder, with a strong, medium pace bowling arm. “cricketer” might be a tad more appropriate than “batsman”.

    A PULL in clay-pigeon shooting is not a shot in itself, but a command to the trap loader to release the clay(s) so that a shot may be taken. (I`d completely missed the PULL batting terminology…I`m really good at this).

    Whereas I can imagine a BELL PULL being extensively used in the 19th or early 20th century, it is hard to imagine Ian Bell finding one to announce his presence anywhere in the 21st. (Mmmm…dunno though: he probably gets invited to many more Mayfair gentlemen`s clubs than I do.)

    So there we have it. The Wizard waves his wand and my trousers fall down.

  27. Cosafina says:

    Great puzzle, and am amazed it took me so long to get Central School considering I work next door to it! Favourites for me where 24,2 and 8a – both made me chuckle!

  28. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the blog mhl. Another cracker from Araucaria.

    As usual with Araucaria it takes me ages to get started. So many clues given as See some other clue.

    Particularly liked WET NURSE and BATH OLIVER.

  29. FranTom Menace says:

    Odd that there’s a such a split in how difficult people found today’s puzzle!

    Normally we struggle to get half way in Araucaria’s, but today we whizzed through half in five minutes. True to form we still didn’t complete it though, 21d had us groaning at ourselves and 8a I’d never hear of. 5d and 6d we got but couldn’t parse.

    Perhaps it’s more Ximenean than is normal for Auraucaria, and that’s why people like us did so well?

  30. Chris U says:

    Hi MHL. Good blog. I came on here to see how you guys did with 22d, which I couldn’t get yesterday. But ‘steady'; I’m kicking myself now but repsect due to Eileen for sussing that out.
    While I’m here, I’ll confess to a mistake that might have you chortling: ‘returns’ for 4d. My fallacious logic proceeded
    queen = er which turns ( ie re + turns) which is where Street characters come in one after another. I suppose Corrie fans call it the Rover’s though…..I’ll get me coat

  31. Robi says:

    Bit late in the day, but I was fairly busy yesterday – thanks to Araucaria and mhl for a nice blog, which explained a thing or two. I found this fairly hard as I couldn’t seem to get the long anagram for ages.

    I fell into the Eiffel trap like an elephant. Forgot my Mother Hubbard and couldn’t parse ALL RIGHT, although it seems obvious now.

    Amazing cerebral activity for a ninety-year old.

  32. Robi says:

    BTW, in case anyone hasn’t seen it, there is an Araucaria tribute by Hugh Stephenson on the at Guardian site,including an apology about the numeration of the Saturday prize puzzle!

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