Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,262 by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on March 12th, 2011


A very enjoyable alphabet jigsaw crossword from Araucaria, the J and B double clues giving a staightforward fit into the grid.  This format has become  something of a trademark for Araucaria, though I notice his his other trademark  feature of cross-referenced  clues is entirely absent.  I thought the clues were generally pretty tight, only two one clues do I have any quibbles about.  This sort of thing  clearly doesn’t bother Araucaria, so should it bother us?  Plenty of drug use in this crossword too, showing a familiarity with illegal substances unbefitting of a clergyman perhaps.

guardian 25,262 solution grid


A ALCOPOP A LOP around COP (adjectival use of slang cop = police UK slang for ‘police officer’ rather than ‘police’ ?)
B BOWEN BON (good) around WE (The Guardian) – author Elizabeth Bowen
C CAPE VERDE P EVER inside Jack CADE (Kentish rebel) and cape = head, verde = green (cryptic reference to the island archipelago? Martian topographical feature?) – this clue seems to lack a definition to me.
D DIVULGE IV (4 in Roman numerals) in DULGE (indulge)
F FRAGRANTNESS FRA (brother) GRANT (allowance) NESS (head)
G GONER waGONER (one who drives a cart, leading letters missing)
H HUSH PUPPY Definition and cryptic definition
I ICE ANCHOR sounds like “I sank her”
J JOURNAL UR (ancient city) inside JONAh and Left
J JUMPING JACKS MP (politician) IN (at home) inside JUG (slang for prison) JACKS (lifts) – regrettably, these exciting little fireworks are now banned for health and safety reasons
K KNITS UP reversing ‘knits’ gives ‘stink’, so ‘knits up’ is a possible clue for nasty smell – and Shakespeare “sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care”
L LEIBNIZ (IN BELIZe)* without e = ecstacy
M MEACHER ACH (German expression) inside MEER (German for sea) – Michael Meacher
N NACRITE CRIT (review) inside NAE (Scots ‘no’)
O ORLEANS OR (gold colour) LEANS (isn’t vertical)
P PAINTER IN (fashionable) inside PATER (father)
Q QUIXOTICALLY anagram of TAXI and CO (company) inside QUILL (writer) and Y (x and y are commonly used for ‘unknowns’ in mathematical equations)
R RIPOSTE RIP (rest in peace) and TOES*
S SPEED BOAT SPEED (amphetamine) and B (second class) OAT (type of grass)
T TYLER Ford model T and RELY reversed – Watt Tyler leader of the Peasants Revolt
U ULULATE zULU (African tribesman) and LATE (deceased)
V VENDING V (versus – opposed) ENDING (closure)
W WILD ASS SIDLAWS* – (Hills in Scotland)
X XANTHIN (THANX IN)* – alternative spelling of xanthine
Y YTTRIUM YeT (without top of earth) and TRIUMph
Z ZOMBA ZOMBI (alternate spelling of zombie) with I replaced by A – city in Malawi


Hold mouse over clue number to see clue, click a solution to see its definition.

31 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,262 by Araucaria”

  1. matt says:

    Yup. Good, clean, family fun. Not as tricky as some others like this.

    The grid construction is formidable as ever, but the Q, X and Z clues are often ‘gimmes’ because of the comparatively limited options.

    Particularly liked ICE ANCHOR.

  2. Biggles A says:

    Another enjoyable araubetical. I was just hung up for a while at the southeast corner, having placed WILDASS where ORLEANS belongs. I liked MEACHER – after resorting to the German dictionary.

  3. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Love the jigsaw puzzles – especially when I complete them. Agree with Matt about ICE ANCHOR. Learned about ALCOPOP while doing this puzzle.


  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee for your usual superb analysis.

    I was unable to finish this because of the Grauniad error for A – which appeared as 7, 5. Consequently, I missed out on N and K.

    I always print out the puzzles and do them off-line – so I missed out on the correction. I looked in vain for the other half of clue A, suspecting that it could be the first half of N. Well that’s my excuse anyway.

    This is the trouble with Araucaria, he is so clever that I believed this mistake was deliberate!

    Otherwise, very enjoyable. Many thanks A!

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Fine puzzle. Got half on the first pass and could see where they mostly went (the J at the top and the Q down the left side aided here) but it still took an hour + overall. Not helped by the typo on A and zombie-trouble with Z. Still, marvellous clues for ALCOPOP and KNITS UP. Cheated only on Y, totally forgetting that Orlando had it as a clue last month (puzzle 25,237).

  6. Catriona says:

    Usually avoid these unnumbered grid puzzles – but now am all agog for the next! Very pleased I finished it all in a relatively short time.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog, PeeDee.

    Araucaria made a lot of people happy last Saturday. It seems everyone loves an Araubetical and I’m no exception.

    I was a bit concerned initially, seeing so many seven-letter words, but the friendly structure of the grid made them easier to fit in than is often the case – a good introduction for anyone who hadn’t done one before.

    Favourite clues: ICE ANCHOR, ALCOPOP and ULULATE [one of my favourite words].

    Thinking of Araucaria’s classic anagram, ‘Chaste Lord Archer vegetating’, for ‘The Old Vicarage, Grantchester’, I wondered if there might possibly be a connection between the clue for J in the top row [‘Politician at home in prison’] and the solution [FRAGRANTNESS] at the bottom?

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDeee and Araucaria

    Thanks to the ‘health’ warning, I got and enjoyed ‘alcopop’. Like molongolo I forgot Yttrium, and found it while looking up something else – a shame because it is well-clued.

    As others have said, it was pretty clear where everything went. Liked ‘bivalve’, ‘divulge’, ‘ice anchor’, and ‘quixotically’.

  9. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    I struggled a bit with this until I figured there was no 5-letter part of A. Good fun throughout. Like Eileen I was wondering if there was an Archer connection. Fragrantness looked inelegant when I solved it late on and reminded me that I had thought of Archer and Aitken when solving Jumping Jacks at the beginning. Of course they will soon be joined by Devine et al with the potential for further confusion.

  10. Robi says:

    My first Araubetical and very enjoyable. Thanks PeeDee for an excellent blog. I hesitate to parade my stupidity in public, but at the beginning I thought that the clues were just listed with alphabetic nomenclature because of the lack of numeration, without realising that the answers began with the indicated letter! This gave me an interesting 15 minutes when I wrestled with the first few solutions.

    What a fantastic clue for ICE ANCHOR, which made me chuckle a lot. I realise that FRAGRANTNESS is a legitimate word but can’t see me using it anytime soon. Couldn’t parse the GONER as I failed to see waGONER=CARTER, but I spent some time Googling many Carters without much of a result.

    I hadn’t realised that hush puppies were still going strong. An interesting snippet here: ‘Initially, the company’s advertising agency recommended naming the product “Lasers”. Then, on a selling trip to the southeastern United States, Muir dined with one of his regional salesmen and the meal included hush puppies, traditional fried southern cornballs,’ with more here.

    It seems that the modern meaning of JUMPING JACKS is: ‘a small stick like a firecracker, only emitting jumping balls of light while spinning at high speed.’ The originals were also known as squibs – ‘a damp squib was literally one that failed to perform because it got wet. Often misheard as “damp squid” the phrase damp squib has since come into general use to mean anything that fails to meet expectations.’ For those into nostalgia here is an old box of fireworks

  11. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    Nice to see the completed grid at the top too. I just love these puzzles and this was very entertaining although maybe Arry was too generous in giving us two starting letters. JUMPING JACKS sprang out immediately and that gave five starting letters which helped enormously. I nearly completed the puzzle on the Saturday which is a rarity for me and that left just two clues A and N which took as long as the rest of the puzzle to solve. Favourite clue was TYLER which had a good surface and construction. So keep ‘em coming Arry and let’s have more of them. How about a double jigsaw as a special !.

  12. Chas says:

    Eileen@7: some years ago, during a court case, the judge referred to Dr Mary Archer as “the fragrant Dr Archer”. What a lovely adjective to have attached to a person.

  13. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks PeeDee for an excellent blog. As you say, not too challenging, but very enjoyable. I finally got A once I realised that the second word was non-existent, but was unable to find any word to fit N. It had to be something in ‘nae’, but ‘crit’ didn’t occur to me – I’m not fond of this modern habit of shortening words until they’re unrecognisable – and I’ve never heard of ‘nacrite’. Chambers’ Word Wizard offered no suggestions either :(

  14. Roger says:

    I wonder if there’s an intended extra layer of subtlety in X where thanx is but thanks “in (an) outlandish style”.
    So ‘thanx’ PeeDee … and Araucaria for a great 28-piece. A double, as Davy suggests, would certainly gee up the little grey cells but then with crosswords we are in the land of Why Not …

  15. Geoff says:

    Great fun, as usual for one of Araucaria’s alphabetical jigsaw puzzles, but easier than most because of the grid – as peedee points out the J and B clues could only fit in one way. Also, I guessed very early on that the enumeration for A was wrong simply by counting the number of lights; there wasn’t space for another 5-letter word.

    Consequently, for the first time I was able to complete the puzzle by putting the solutions directly into the grid. Usually I write A-Z on a piece of A4 and list the clues as I solve them, transferring them to the grid only when I’m certain of their correct placing

    As a chemist, I am always happy to see YTTRIUM turn up – the setters’ favourite ‘rare earth’. But oh, for a puzzle with dysprosium or praseodymium!

  16. RCWhiting says:

    The doubles (J&B) certainly made this is much easier alphabetical than usual. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.

  17. duncan says:

    45 minutes, very enjoyable…. last one in was the marvellous “alcopop” which I left because I just couldn’t see it; having left it ’til last, it was obvious that there was either no second word or that it was a five letter word that was already in the grid…. I think I remember this double-cluing of a solution from a few years ago.
    anyway. on with pasquale….


  18. rrc says:

    H has kept a smile on my face for most of the week

  19. muck says:

    Thanks PeeDee & Araucaria
    As usual with araubeticals, the clues weren’t too difficult to solve
    Fitting them in was easier this time: JUMPING JACKS got me off to a good start

  20. Tokyo Colin says:

    To Robi @10, I am glad you went first. For years I skipped these “jigsaw” style puzzles because I couldn’t see where to begin. But a year ago I made a new effort and was surprised at the “coincidence” of the first letters of the first 3-4 solutions matching the clue designator letter. Then it dawned on me, and I now look forward to them.

    We can’t be the only stupid people out there. I wonder why instructions are often included with themed puzzles, but not these.

  21. Paul (not Paul) says:

    Re Alcopop. If you think of cop as an adjective, eg cop car, then is can be interchanged with police, e.g. police car. But it is a bit american for my taste.

    However, the only quibble in a great puzzle.

  22. PeeDee says:

    Paul @21 – indeed, ‘police’ is also an adjective, thank you Paul, I have updated the blog. I didn’t see this as particularly american usage though.

    Eileen@7 – ULULATE is a lovely word, my favourite word is USUFRUCT, there must be something about the repeated U sound that makes them so pleasing.

    I was disappointed when the letter count for A turned out to be a mistake, I was hoping for some ingenious device where the solution(s) fitted into the grid twice.

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi PeeDee

    It’s long enough after the publication of the blog for a little off-topic comment, I think. :-)

    It’s the onomatopoeia of ‘ululate’ that I particularly like. [‘Usufruct’ is lovely, too, for the reason you mention].

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in English [except in crosswords]. I first came across it in its Latin root, ‘ululare’, which Virgil uses several times, eg in Aeneid II 487-8:

    ‘ … penitusque cavae plangoribus aedes
    femineis ululant; ferit aurea sidera clamor’

    describing the lamentation of the women of Troy at its fall

    and in Aeneid VI 257

    ‘siluarum, uisaeque canes ululare per umbram
    aduentante dea.’

    describing the howling of dogs.

  24. Eileen says:

    Chas @12

    In reply to your comment on today’s Rufus puzzle:

    My question was rhetorical, or ‘tongue-in-cheek': the Guardian link I gave refers, in paragraph 9] to the Archer libel case.

  25. PeeDee says:

    Given the suspicion attached to her evidence in the perjury trial, I wonder what the judge thought she smelled of?

  26. Eileen says:

    Quite. :-)

  27. Robi says:

    Too late by far, but if Eileen is still there re. 23:
    He had often dreamed of his grieving family visiting his grave, ululating as only the relatives of martyrs may.
    — Edward Shirley, Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran
    She wanted to be on the tarmac, to ululate and raise her hands to the heavens.
    — Deborah Sontag, “Palestinian Airport Opens to Jubilation”, New York Times , November 25, 1998
    She used harrowing, penetrating nasal tones and a rasp that approached Janis Joplin’s double-stops; she made notes break and ululate .
    — Jon Pareles, “On the Third Day There Was Whooping and There Was Moshing”, New York Times , August 18, 1998

  28. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Robi. :-)

  29. Vin says:

    Eileen: re “ululate”, I first encountered it in “War of the Worlds” and never forgot it. Chapter 15: “The shells flashed all round him, and he was seen to advance a few paces, stagger, and go down. Everybody yelled together, and the guns were reloaded in frantic haste. The overthrown Martian set up a prolonged ululation, and immediately a second glittering giant, answering him, appeared over the trees to the south. It would seem that a leg of the tripod had been smashed by one of the shells. The whole of the second volley flew wide of the Martian on the ground, and, simultaneously, both his companions brought their Heat- Rays to bear on the battery. The ammunition blew up, the pine trees all about the guns flashed into fire, and only one or two of the men who were already running over the crest of the hill escaped.”

  30. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Vin.

    It seems my English reading is rather lacking!

    I talked about the onomatopoeia. This doesn’t really apply in English where the pronunciation of the Us appears to be as in ‘tune’, which does not have the same effect as the Latin: ‘oo loo lant’.

  31. Huw Powell says:

    Another nice gift to beginners I think. And still plenty of fun for the older hands. I had printed this on Sat., but was probably still wrestling with something from earlier in the week, so I “noticed” it was an Araubetical and thought “well, that will keep me busy all week”.

    Then Sun. I sat down and took a glance and realized there were two “double letters” or “top left corners” and that they were four different word counts. Having JUMPING JACKS fall into place made for a steady pace.

    Usually with these I make a separate list by word length – so many 4s, 5s, 7s, etc., and fill them in there as I get them. That way I can look for “a 7 with third letter E” etc. easily. While solving this puzzle by the time I was half done, filling in that list was actually slowing me down, since everything kept fitting into place.

    Certainly not as hard as the one or two of these I have done in the past, but still the extra dimension the jigsaw brings is so pleasing.

    Someone mentioned Q,W, and X often being gimmes, I’d swear the last alphasaw I did used Yttrium as well. How can a rare earth beginning with Y be anything but a gimme? You just have to cue up a copy of the Element Song and listen for the one beginning with Y!

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

− five = 3