Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,291 / Araucaria

Posted by duncanshiell on April 8th, 2011


This was quite a struggle from start to finish, but there were, as usual, a few ‘doh!’ and ‘how clever!’ moments as I battled my way through it.  

I think therefore that this was a typical Araucaria puzzle, with some brilliant bits, but also with some fairly obscure bits and some downright frustrating bits.  Araucaria puzzles seems to generate strong opinions and I expect this one will do so as well.  The links between 20 across, 25/26 across, 5 down and 17 down work well.  There is some splendid misdirection – e.g. ‘shower’ at 13 across.  The wordplay at 1 across is clever.  On the other hand there seemed, to me, to be some obscure references – e.g. ‘scout’ meaning ‘reject’ and some loose definitions which mix adjectives and nouns and tenses.  Many solvers, I’m sure, will disagree with my comments as there are usually widely differing opinions on many Araucaria crosswords.

Araucaria is obviously a keen student of Shakespeare and today we have two references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 24 across and 4 down.  The Tempest also gets a look in at 1 across.

There are a couple of clues where I haven’t yet sorted out the full parsing – 18 across where I can’t see the relationship to Cockney and 24 across where I really can’t get the wordplay at all.  For 24 across, you will see below that  I have waffled a bit about Titania being ‘at rest’, but really I just don’t know how the clue works.  I look forward to someone explaining it all to me. Thanks to the commenters at #1 and #2 for explaining 24 across to me – blog updated below’

As ever, The Guardian has given us a crossword worthy of debate.

Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Result of www, perhaps? Bird in the third ‘w’ backed by the first (5,3,5) (WEB [third ‘w’ of world wide web {www}] reversed [backed] containing RAVEN [bird]) + WORLD (first ‘w’ of world wide web [www]) B(RAVE N)EW WORLD BRAVE NEW WORLD (desirable or perfect future society, first referred to by Shakespeare in The Tempest, but perhaps better known from Aldous Huxley’s novel of the same name published in 1932.  I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the world wide web has created a desirable or perfect society)
10 Warning: take care of card (7) CAUTION (a warning to take care) CAUTION (refererence [yellow] card in football. used to caution a player)
11 Dancing years shown in tree (7) LINE  (reference line dancing) + AGE (years)  Both of these definitions seem a little bit loose to me, but in each case I recognise that the the association with the definition is strong. LINEAGE (ancestry, reference ancestral tree)
12 Too much not owed? (5) UN (prefix: not) + DUE (owed) UNDUE (too much)
13 Second shower from worker on chimney (5,4) SWEEP (reference chimney sweep) + HAND (worker) SWEEP HAND (another name for the ‘second hand’ on a watch, i.e. a hand that shows the seconds; a second shower)
14 Fungal pattern (5) MOULD (fungal) –  Chambers and Collins tell me that ‘fungal ‘ is an adjective and ‘mould ‘ is a noun, but again the association is very strong. The Shorter Oxford does, however, offer ‘fungal’ as a rare or obsolete noun. MOULD (template; pattern)
16 Backing pieces (new trio is included) played with fire (9) (OPS [works, pieces] reversed [backing]) containing an anagram of (new) TRIO IS SPIRITOSO (musical term meaning played with spirit; played with fire)
18 It is in heart when little flow is uttered by cockney (9) VEN (?) + TRICLE (sounds like [uttered]) TRICKLE [little flow])  I can’t relate VEN to cockney. VENTRICLE (either of the two lower chambers of the heart)
19 Timeless things that happen by chance (5) EVENTS (things that happen) excluding (less) T (time) EVENS (reference to ‘even chance’, equal probability)
20 I would be hurt if nuts accepted left-wing greeting (9) MAST (fruit of the oak, beech, chestnut and other forest trees; nuts) containing (SOC [socialist; left-winger] + HI [greeting]) MASOCHIST (one who generates pleasure from suffering pain; I would be hurt)


Roisin’s reported radiance (5) SHEEN (Roisin is a girl’s name pronounced [reported] Rosheen in its anglicised form) so I guess that we are just taking the SHEEN part of the pronunciation SHEEN (radiance)
24 A bank where blows wild thyme etc and Titania some night initially (7) ‘I know a bank where the wild thyme grows……..there sleeps Titania’ is a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Titania is therefore AT REST.  Taking some NIGHT initally gives us an N at the beginning.  I am not sure how we get from AT REST to AT WEST, although there is some reference a bit earlier in the same scene where Oberon does use the word ‘west’.  You will detect that I am clutching at straws here. As explained at comments #1 and #2 below the worplay is formed from an anagram (blows) from the first letters (initially) of Wild Thyme Etc And Titania Some Nght. NATWEST (reference National Westminster Bank)
25,26 Extreme 20 wildly flung net in Portsmouth (7,3,10) Anagram of (wildly) FLUNG NET IN PORTSMOUTH GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT (someone who seems overly eager to perform strenuous or unpleasant work.  A ‘masochist’ [entry at 20 across] is without doubt a ‘glutton for punishment’ in the strict sense of the phrase.)


Clue Wordplay Entry
2 Inverse of reverse in knots (5,4) TURN ROUND (reverse) with the two words swapped round (inverse) to give ROUND TURN ROUND TURN (reference ’round turn a two half hitches’, a knot I used to be able to tie in my Scouting days)
3 What’s gripping about love is the sound (5) VICE (tool for gripping) containing (about) O (love) VOICE (sound)
4 Sunni reformer with tomb in dream (5) Anagram of (reformer) SUNNI NINUS (reference to Greek history [myth perhaps] and King Ninus whose wife Queen Semiramis erected a very impressive tomb for him. The play within a play in A Midsummer Nights Dream also refers to Ninny’s [Ninus’s] tomb, hence the use of ‘dream’ in the clue)
5 25 lover drunk in drink (9) Anagram of (drunk) LOVER contained in (in) WINE (drink) WOLVERINE (carniverous mammal; glutton [entry at 25 down])
6 Lover of drink from fifty-one, I hope 99) Anagram of (from) L (fifty) and ONE I HOPE OENOPHILE (connoisseur of wine; lover of drink)
7 Beast putting up a place to shop (5) A + MALL (place to shop) all reversed (putting up) LLAMA (animal; beast)
8 Reject motion that’s more than 100 years old (5,8) SCOUT (reject [obsolete usage]) + MOVEMENT (motion)  I wonder how many of use ‘scout’ in the sense of ‘reject’ given that Chambers describes it as archaic.  This seems more like a barred crossword clue. SCOUT MOVEMENT (founded 1907 – so just over 100 years old)
9 Do without peas in predilection for plumbism (4,9) (DO containing [without; outwith] POIS [French for peas, Birds Eye will sell you ‘petit pois’ rather than just peas]) all contained in (in) LEANING (predilection).  For a long time I tried to parse this with LIKING for predilection, but, not surprisingly, got nowhere.) LEAD POISONING (plumbism)
15 Not much filthy lucre needed – carpet hid result (4,5) Anagram of (result [?]) CARPET HID DIRT CHEAP (not much filthy lucre)
16 Church officer is missing – emergency: devil about! (9)

(SATAN (devil) containing (about) CRISIS [emergency] excluding [missing] IS)

SACRISTAN (church officer; in a cathedral, someone who copied music for the choir and looked after the books)
17 What 25 has done before a time in cooker (9) (ERE [before) + A + T [time]) contained in (in) OVEN (cooker) OVEREATEN (what a glutton [entry at 25 across] has done)
21 Fight between words and music? (3-2) SET TO (A reference, I think, to the phrase ….words, set to music by ….. where SET TO is placed between ‘words’ and ‘music’) SET-TO (fight)
22 European river labelled American (5) TAG (labelled – is the tense right here?) + US (American) TAGUS (longest waterway of the Iberian peninsula; river)
23 Quiet inside with sergeant major outside (5) SM (Sergeant Major) containing (outside) TUM (stomach; inside [?])   Bradfords give TUM as a synonym for ‘inside’ STUMM (quiet)

53 Responses to “Guardian 25,291 / Araucaria”

  1. canalonly says:

    thanks for this – 24a is initial letters of wild thyme etc and Titania some night anagrammised. i think

  2. Roger Hill says:

    Re 24 ac. Natwest is an anagram of the initial letters of ‘wild thyme etc and Titania some night’

  3. Judy says:

    Thanks for explanations – I think 18ac is a reference to supposed cockney pronunciation of W as V in “when”. Dickens uses it a lot

  4. Duncan Shiell says:

    Thanks to canalonly, Roger Hill and Judy for the comments and the explanations. I should have got all the initial letters rather than just the initial letter of Night. I did toy with VEN as a Cockney pronunciation of WHEN but I couldn’t find any supporting evidence, so thanks for the Dickens reference.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Duncan, for the excellent blog.

    As you say, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but for me, as usual, Araucaria gets away with things [Roisin?!] that other setters might not.

    Having said that, although I initially had the same reservations as you, I think 22dn works if you think of it as being [a] tag ‘on’ US and thus ‘labelled’.

    I took 10ac as a double definition, as in, ‘You are a caution': [Chambers: ‘caution: an alarming, amusing or astonishing person or thing’ and ‘card: a comical or eccentric person’] but I’m sure you’re right that there’s a reference to the yellow card, too.

    I loved the subtle ‘Dream’ references but I think there may well be some objections to the solution of 24ac.

  6. Ian says:

    Lovely blog Duncan.

    The great man at his impish best. Though there were several easy solutions, pace “STUMM”, “MOULD”, “EVENS”, “VOICE”, the rest was a relatively complex workout that gave much pleasure.

    Clever use of the word ‘shower’ in 13ac to put me temporarily off the scent. Infact that NE corner took almost 20′ to resolve.

    Splendid link twixt 20ac and 25/26.

    Only 24ac was a disappointment as a construct.

  7. Eileen says:

    Ian, I presume you mean the construction of the solution of 24ac, which could be objected to for two or three reasons. The wordplay, though, is superb:

    ‘I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
    Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
    Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
    There sleeps Titania sometime of the night …’

    It’s all there!

  8. Ian says:

    Exactly Eileen.

    There’s no quibble with the Shakespearean reference from MND,

  9. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ian – that’s what I thought you meant. :-)

  10. Mick H says:

    The Cockney V reference does seem strange. I think W as V was current in 19th century Cockney pronunciation (perhaps from German Jewish immigration to the East End?) as in the old song “Villikins and his Dinah”. But it seems very arcane now – why not just say German? Or is it OK to mimic regional accents but not national characteristics?

  11. Median says:

    I agree with duncanshiell that “This was quite a struggle from start to finish.” In fact, I didn’t finish – my patience ran out before I had completed the NW corner. ‘Scout’ = ‘reject’? I know it’s in Chambers, but snot fair!

  12. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, duncanshiell. This was classic Araucaria, I thought. It took me quite a time to finish, with heavy use of the check button. I liked 24ac very much!

    Re the Cockney pronunciation — as Judy says, it crops up quite a bit in Dickens. But it’s not ‘V’ for ‘W’ as it would be in a German accent, it’s the other way round — ‘W’ for ‘V’.

    Perhaps the most famous example is Sam Weller in Pickwick Papers, who is always pronouncing ‘very’ as ‘wery’.

  13. Geoff says:

    Well done, Duncan.

    Unlike some others, I found this one a breeze, and it is my favourite Araucaria puzzle from the past few months. There are a few liberties, as we might expect, but 18a and 23a are the only egregious ones. SCOUT = ‘reject’ is obscure, but that’s not the same as unfair. As usual, Araucaria’s anagrinds are rather wayward.

    I agree with Eileen’s explanation that 22d is ‘American’ (US) that has been ‘labelled’ by the addition of a ‘TAG’ – this may be a bit cheeky, but is not ungrammatical. And the initial letter anagram for 24a seems perfectly fair to me, as well as cleverly misleading.

    There are several subtle links between the clues and words in the puzzle: NINUS and the clue for 24a with the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ link (BRAVE NEW WORLD is a quotation from ‘The Tempest’, which gives another Shakespearian element), SCOUT MOVEMENT and ROUND TURN, and of course the ‘glutton’ set.

    This puzzle reminds me of the remark Abraham Lincoln reputedly made when asked to comment on a recently published book: ‘Those that like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like’. I did.

  14. mark says:

    Yes, typical Araucaria. In other words I should have ripped the back page off the paper and spared myself an infuriating hour.
    It’s all be said before by those of us who dislike his puzzles.
    Note to self – do not attempt again.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A lovely relaxing entertainment (Roisin, indeed).
    I took 10 ac as a triple definition.

  16. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Duncan

    Eventually finished this one in double my time for an Araucaria puzzle. Stuck for quite a while with the top right corner until I remembered that the WOLVERINE was a Glutton.

    Not a breeze for me Geoff, quite a slog in fact.

    My new word for today, Plumbism

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks Duncan for a very good blog and commentary (with which I am largely in sympathy)and Araucaria for a real teaser but a very enjoyable one. I had to stop this morning and ‘get a life’ for a few hours, leaving 10a (clearly ‘caution’ but why?) and 11a not completed.

    After returning home, I decided 10a was a warning + a ‘character’. 11a then came – a less satisfactory clue but clear enough once seen.

    Clever stuff in 13a (I first read this as s = second + weep = shower (?) + hand = worker, but quickly saw the light).

    Liked 1a, 10a, 20a, 24a, 25,26a, 9d.

  18. chas says:

    Thanks for the blog Duncan.

    I normally find that Araucaria puzzles take time to get started, then flow reasonably smoothly then take an age to fill in the last few. This one started in the normal fashion then the NW corner beat me.
    Despite that I am one of those who think that Araucaria is the best.

    I also failed to spot NATWEST but it was a fair clue: I simply failed to read it properly.

    I liked SWEEP HAND.
    I loved SACRISTAN with its mixture of Church officer and devil!

  19. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Duncan.

    Much guess-work and checking, but I got there in the end. I liked 24ac because it reminded me of a choral version I learned at primary school, which varies slightly from the quote given by Eileen.

    I know the Tagus as ‘el Tajo’, which flows west through central Spain, passing through Toledo, among others, to join the Atlantic in Lisbon.

    I agree with Liz@12 re Dickens’ supposed Cockney pronunciation, although I think I remember it from Great Expectations, right at the beginning where one character asks Pip for money to buy ‘wittles’ (victuals). A vague schoolday memory – I may well be mistaken :)

    So quite an enjoyable challenge today, thanks as ever, Araucaria. I wonder who’s offering the Prize tomorrow.

  20. tupu says:

    ps I had to check ‘ninus’ and pronunciation of Roisin.

    I have a couple of old C19 London-life prints. One shows a cunning looking house-keeper who announces:

    ‘I has ten pounds a year and finds myself in tea, sugar and candles – ven missus leaves her keys at home!’

    The other shows a mother, with a howling baby in her arms, and two young daughters all apparently singing for money in the street.

    The caption is :
    ‘I vish I vas a little fly.
    Rosa my luv you’re a little too ‘igh
    Belinda, yer young faggit, vy don’t yer sing out.

  21. tupu says:

    Wikipedia’s article on typical features of cockney – – tells us intriguingly

    ‘Some of the features may derive from the upper-class pronunciation of late 18th century London, such as the use of “ain’t” for “isn’t” and the now lost reversal of “v” and “w” (as noted by Dickens regarding Sam Weller/Veller)’.

    I myself had wondered about Jewish-German influence but most east-end Jews arrived rather later in the C19.

  22. Dave lebon says:

    22d if you split labelled you get label led american, ie tag led us, tagus

  23. liz says:


    I just found that on Wiki, too :-) It would seem that the two letter sounds were swapped over. After Googling a little further I found a Wellerism that shows this:

    ‘I think he’s the wictim of connubiality, as Blue Beard’s domestic chaplain said, with a tear of pity, ven he buried him.’

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well! Despite it being a hard A, I did finish, eventually. But it took far too much gadget usage to be fun. I’m also glad various objections have already been lodged as it saves me from getting shouted at!

  25. Tony says:

    In the courtroom scene in chapter 34 of Pickwick Papers, Sam Weller is asked by the judge whether his name is spelt with a W or a V. Weller says that it depends on the person spelling it but that he prefers a V.

  26. otter says:

    Blimey, that was a struggle. An enjoyable one, however. I gave up with 23d unsolved; my first thought was ‘SHTUM’ but I couldn’t get the wordplay to work. I was right in the word, as it turns out, but have never come across the spelling ‘STUMM’.

    I wonder whether ‘ven’ in VENTRICLE might be for ‘then’, if ‘then’ and ‘when’ can be synonyms in some instance. (Can’t think of that instance off the top of my head.)

    Some answers went in without my understanding the wordplay, eg SCOUT in 8d, so I appreciate the clear answers in the blog. Thanks, Duncan.

    I think ‘labelled’ might be allowable for ‘tag’ because the TAG has been put ‘on’ US, ie US has been labelled.

    Thanks, Araucaria. I need a drink after that one, and will raise a glass to you.

  27. otter says:

    Oh, as usual, I now see that others have beaten me with explanations for the above.

  28. Peter says:

    An uneven one — I love Araucaria at his best, but today’s puzzle was not it. “Scout” and “ven”, when I saw the explanations, left me not kicking myself but feeling cheated.

    On the other hand, still a few gems. The surface of the “Natwest” clue was really beautiful, and “wolverine” came nicely out of left field.  Since it hasn’t been mentioned yet: not only is glutton an old name for the wolverine, but it’s retained in translation in the Latin name, Gulo gulo.

  29. bogeyman says:

    Enjoyed this very much. Challenging but satisfying.

    I think 10ac is possibly a triple definition: “warning”, “take care”, and “card” are all synonyms for “caution”.

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Peter
    Yes but I’m not sure what ‘retained in translation’ means here since Gulo is the Latin for glutton and clearly the older word.

    There is a good wiki site on wolverines. Another well-known name is carcajou (French Canadian from Native American – Northern Algonquian), and I remember having a book of that name at one time.

  31. Uncleada says:

    I see that the front page of has ‘todays word is plumbism’. Click on the words ‘today’s word’ and there they all are – ninus, roisin….. Cheat, moi?

  32. Eileen says:

    Re 24ac: I’m sorry if I’m labouring a point but I’ve been delighting in this one all day.

    I think the wordplay is some of the most exquisite I have ever come across [‘blows’ as the anagram indicator, for instance – the line is often misquoted as ‘where the wild thyme grows’ – and ‘etc’ to include:

    Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
    Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:

    I waxed less lyrical earlier @ 7 than I might have done, because I expected the solution [fine by me!] to raise objections because it’s a. ‘parochial'; b. not a proper word; c. a ‘brand name’. I know it’s still early days and I may well be giving a hostage to Fortune but I’ll certainly be adding this to my list of Araucaria classics.

  33. Mal P says:

    I can accept the Wellerism of When/Ven, but ‘When trickle’ would surely be stressed on the second syllable: doesn’t sound in the least like ‘ventricle’ to me

  34. Gary says:

    ‘More than a hundred years old’ is a ridiculous definition. It covers almost every single thing in the known universe. So coupled with ‘scout’ for reject it just makes it an absurdly unfair clue. When Araucaria is brilliant he is brilliant, but when he’s downright daft he should be called up for it.

  35. Eileen says:

    Hi Gary

    Absolutely right, of course!

    [But if he were ‘called up for it’ and I were on the jury … ]

  36. Robi says:

    Thanks Arauacaria and duncanshiell for an excellent blog. Note to self: don’t attempt an Araucaria late in the evening when you are tired.

    Eventually got most of it but needing duncan’s help to parse one or two. Didn’t get near to NATWEST, although I spent some time reading the MND quotes – to no avail!

    I’ll need some sleep before attempting the prize one.

  37. Wolfie says:

    Gary, I agree totally. While we are at it, I bet nobody solved 1ac from the wordplay. I guessed ‘Brave New World’ and then (with difficulty) managed to parse it. At the risk of being boring, I maintain that this type of clueing is outside the spirit and conventions of cryptic puzzles. There is simply no point in a clue that one can parse only after guessing the solution.

  38. tupu says:

    Hi Wolfie

    Sorry, but I don’t think it is that simple. From the wordplay, I realised that the last word was likely to be ‘world’. I also realised there would be a bird in an anagram of ‘web’ preceding it. Then when some of the other down clues went in, the actual answer became clear and the parsing was already done and dusted beforehand. This then was far from simple guessing and it is perfectly legitimate to use crossing letters in a crossword to arrive at the answer.

  39. Sil van den Hoek says:

    After lurking in the background for a while – meanwhile enjoying nice offerings by Paul and Brendan, amongst others – I feel the need to say something about this either-you-love-him-or-you-hate-him Araucaria.

    Ian @6, ‘the great man at his impish best’?
    Well, that’s one way to look at it.

    We all know Araucaria isn’t Ximenean, nor – in my opinion – Libertarian.
    There’s only one appropriate qualification: Araucarian.
    However today, at times, he went too far to be really enjoyable.

    Wolfie, we got 1ac from the construction!
    But just like Duncan we thought, “Result of www, perhaps?” as the definition was very loose. Defendable when the surface would ask for it, but what does “Bird in the third ‘w’ backed by the first” mean?

    In 11ac “Dancing” for “line”? Thank you very much.
    Another loose definition for EVENS (19ac): “by chance”.
    Like others we thought “[something] more than 100 years old” for SCOUT MOVEMENT is a bit of a stretch.
    Then 16d: “is missing – emergency” = CRIS[is]? Very clumsy clueing, we thought.
    The same for SET-TO. Extremely loose.
    Like others not convinced by “labelled” in 22d, neither by Dave lebon (#22) who went for “label/led”.
    And “peas” is “pois” (9d)? Brrr.
    And “tum” for “inside”, ah well.

    A lot has already been said about 23ac (SHEEN), but is it just a homophone of the second part of “Roisin”? If so, then it’s hardly an acceptable clue.
    4d is probably a nice clue, but as a non-Shakespearean there were two options: NUNIS or NINUS, which are equally likely.
    Many raved about the Shakespearean surface of 24ac – probably rightly so.
    But having NATWEST as a solution is – at least, for me – not acceptable.
    We shouldn’t have brand names as a solution [part of the construction, fine by me] and having a bank here makes it even worse (for me).
    I admit, Araucaria didn’t have many alternatives, but he could have turned the weak 21d into SHAKO, while going for NEAREST in 24ac.

    Best clues today: 16ac (SPIRITOSO), 1ac (SWEEP HAND) and 25,26 (GLUTTON etc).

    Thank you Duncan, for a great blog.
    Of a not-so-great Araucaria.

  40. Phil says:

    I’m obviously much thicker than Wolfie. I doubt I have ever completed a crossword when I haven’t guessed some first and parsed afterwards, Today for example ventricle, masochist, lead poisoning, llama, brave new world, scaristan and perhaps more were “guessed” first and parsed later. Tagus and wolverine was parsed without knowing about the solution to 25 or the river – and even then wolverine was no help in my getting glutton.

    Natwest was “guessed” and only parsed when I looked here!

    Much of the pleasure in an Araucaria or Paul is the post guess parse resolution!

    Should I give up crosswords for tiddlywinks?

  41. Sylvia says:

    Wolfie- I did solve 1a from the wordplay, as I imagine most of us did!

  42. Eileen says:

    Hi Phil

    a.”Much of the pleasure in an Araucaria or Paul is the post guess parse resolution!

    b.Should I give up crosswords for tiddlywinks?”

    a: of course: that’s what this site is all about.

    b: certainly not – unless you really want to! :-)

  43. Wolfie says:

    Apologies to all those who did work out 1ac from the wordplay! I would like to reassure Phil#40 that, like him, I often guess the solutions (with the aid of crossing letters) and work out the wordplay afterwards. But usually I then kick myself for not having understood the wordplay at an earlier stage, if the clueing has been fair. I accept in view of some of the above comments that perhaps I could (and should) have done so today for 1ac. Nevertheless I do believe that there have been a number of puzzles recently (Araucaria’s Cole Porter number for example) in which my complaint is valid and I hope that such clues will not occur too frequently in future.

  44. snigger says:

    @41 – who are the “most” ??

    regular contributors to this blog possibly. but given that from the wordplay the third word was world, how many of the “most” arrived at “brave new world” before the name of a bird to fit in the reversed “web” ?? not exactly or purely solving it from the wordplay.

    hey ho – all in all another marmite offering. but reasons to be cheerful ??? this horror will not mess up my saturday as a prize crossword.

  45. Coffee says:

    Yes, I also guessed NATWEST when I had a few letters in & parsed it after. My Irish friend Roisin tells me when she first went to England they called her Rose-sheen, so that one was easy. Over all, thoroughly enjoyed this one & thanks for the detailed blog.

  46. Mr R. Slyker says:

    Oh Mr Lebon! (blog no. 22),

    What a wonderful parser you are, you are, what a wonderful parser you are.

    And what a crying shame it is that none of your fellow bloggers seem to appreciate the genius that is surely you!

    Yours forever,

    A. Whelan.

    P.S. Have you got one down Dave? (Welsh Mick)

  47. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not sure whether post #46 is a serious one, but on hindsight I find Dave Lebon’s explanation of ‘labelled’ @22 the most plausible one so far [and probably the only one that might fully convince me].

    That said, I still don’t have warm feelings for this crossword, as it contained too many examples of loose clueing (like in 1ac, 11ac, 19ac, 23ac, 16d, 21d). When the name to this puzzle wouldn’t have been Araucaria, the oven might have already been preheated to 200 degrees ….

    Moreover, I was and am quite surprised that hardly anyone (except perhaps Eileen @5 who at least mentions it) objected against the use of NATWEST as a solution [the clue as such was nice, even though I wasn’t sure about the way the anagrind was used] as there was an alternative.
    I really think we shouldn’t want this.

    Of course, Araucaria is a great setter, but this one wasn’t one of his best (as I like to see more precision).

    Never a dull moment, though. :)

  48. Huw Powell says:

    Most of the NW corner left empty, NATWEST unsolvable to foreigners. Most of the rest was fun though. Using “reject” for “scout” pretty much killed that clue for me. Overall, some fun and teasing clues, but, I rarely find this – the ones I missed, when I read the parsing here, don’t make me go “Doh!”, they made me go “Wha? That’s ridiculous”. Oh well, life isn’t perfect either!

    I also was very uncomfortable with the grammar at TAG = “labelled”.

    Thanks for the puzzle, A., and duncanshiell for the meticulous blog!

  49. Bannsider says:

    I don’t do Araucaria puzzles very often, but when I do I always make sure that I am sat in the garden in the sunshine with a drink :-)
    You know with the great man you are going to be teased, amazed, infuriated etc in the course of the solving process, and if that were not the case one would feel let down.
    I am somewhat astounded at the objections to the appearance of NATWEST in the grid. It may be difficult (surely not impossible) for a foreigner, but then so I think would many of the other answers also.

    Long may he reign :-)

  50. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Dear Bannsider, I only object because I do not like to see brand names (and certainly not banks, but that’s a personal thing – even though it’s my bank) as the SOLUTION to a clue. Using them as part of the construction can make crosswords perhaps more ‘lively’, so fine by me. But seeing NATWEST in the grid where there was an alternative, well, you know how I think about it.
    For me, it has nothing to do with foreigners not being familar to the name.
    Perhaps, I am inconsequent in my way of thinking, making a difference between solution and clue – but that’s how I feel.
    BTW, there were hardly objections against it by others.

    Bannsider, long may you solve Araucarias with a drink at hand!
    [this is no cynical remark – just a wish from the heart :)]

  51. Dave Kennerley says:

    Disappointed with 5 Down – where Wolverine is an error, I think.
    Wolverine – “of or pertaining to the wolf species…”
    But what’s required in the clue is the word for glutton, and that’s wolverene – with 2 e’s.
    Threw me for a long time.

    I still wouldn’t miss an Araucaria though.

  52. Katherine says:

    I think gaufrid should remove number 46 above, as the person clearly used a made up name to show contempt. R Slyker is clearly a crude homophone – think about it [treat the y as an i].

  53. rfb says:

    Another very enjoyable puzzle from Araucaria. Despite not having lived in the UK for 40 years, I had no problems with NATWEST. Strange that none of the people complaining about it made the same complaint about SPAB which appeared as a solution to a Guardian crossword a month or so ago. I’m still fuming over that.

    I always attempt the crosswords without artificial aids at first. In the end, the only one I had to look up was NINUS (obvious anagram, I just didn’t know the reference). I am still puzzled by WOLVERINE meaning a glutton, though. It’s not thus in Chambers 10th (2006).

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