Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Easter Prize No 25304 / Araucaria

Posted by bridgesong on April 30th, 2011


I solved most of this puzzle on the train from London to Lyon, and found it an excellent way of making a long journey shorter.  Unfortunately there was no online version available so I have been unable to use PeeDee’s software to incorporate the clues but here is a link to the pdf of the puzzle if you’ve sent yours off.

The theme of the puzzle was Tennessee Williams, or rather six of his plays, which were not fully defined and which I have shown in bold in the solutions.  I couldn’t see any particular reason for featuring Tennessee Williams this Easter weekend; as far as I can see it’s not an anniversary of any significance.

As usual with Araucaria there are flashes of brilliance and a wide variety of cultural references.  One or two clues have defeated me so please feel free to add your suggestions, although of course the annotated solution should be available by the time this blog appears.

1 RESPECT OF PERSONS The political party associated with George Galloway, and * (PROFESS NO). I thought at first that this must be one of the six longer solutions referred to in the preamble, but it’s not: “partiality” is the definition.
13 PRESS Double definition
22 NIACIN CAIN IN (rev).
23,12 GOODS TRAIN GOOD STRAIN. The enumeration given is (5,5) so the answer I have given must be the correct one, but the clue would work just as well the other way round, and would then fit the grid.
25 PLACIDNESS (a)CID in PLAN, ESS(ential). Not the best constructed clue, with ACID appearing in the clue and in the solution.
27 OUTNUMBER OUT, NUMBER. A classic Araucarian charade
29 A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE *(EASTER), T(ime), CARNA(tions), *(EDDIES) in MIRE. Complex wordplay but made easy by the enumeration once you got the theme. Perhaps the best known of Tennessee Williams’s plays.
30 MAINLINER MAIN,LINER. Another charade
31 OUT ON A LIMB (m)OUTON, *(1 LAMB). Monsieur does double duty here, both representing the letter M which has to be removed, and indicating the French word “mouton”.
32,47 SNAP BEAN B in SNAPE (Maltings), AN. Snape Maltings is the name of a distinguished Concert Hall, famous for its association with Benjamin Britten
34 TILSIT Almost a general knowledge question, but I think the wordplay is weak – ‘TIL SIT
35 PRETTIER *(T(he) P(eople) RETIRE)
39 UNSPARINGLY A rare cryptic definition
42 TRAM STOP AMST(erdam) in TROP
48 NIGHT OF THE IGUANA NIGH TO FT HEIG(ht) U ANA. I’m afraid that I can’t explain why Hardwick should mean FT (foot? Financial Times?); I wasted a lot of time trying to think of historic houses near Hardwick Hall. Ana is a word that can mean a collection of stories
2,8 EAT OUT yOUr in EATT? Suggestions please
3 PLANNER P(eregrine), LANNER
4 CONGA Sounds like “conger”
5 ORPHEUS DESCENDING Contrast The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams
6 PLEASANT SURPRISE PLEAS ANTS UR PRISE. I’m not sure quite how “prise” means “rebel”, though
7,10a ROSE-PINK Two flowers making a colour
10 POURING A brilliantly simple clue; “Shall I be mother?” is often said by those pouring tea, and to rain cats and dogs equates to pouring rain
11 NEIGHBOUR FROM HELL *(HOME HORRIBLE FLUNG). A quite brilliant anagram
21,41,9 SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER Another one where I’m not sure about the wordplay but the answer was obvious from the enumeration and the crossing letters
28 BASIL As in basilica and basilisk
33 PULLMAN The author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, and the eponymous rail cars
36 TINAMOU Hidden in “caught in a mousetrap”. It’s a South American partridge-like bird
40 RADII Half of paRADIse, 1

24 Responses to “Guardian Easter Prize No 25304 / Araucaria”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Bridgesong this was very enjoyable.

    The Annotated Solution provides the following:


    48* Night of the Iguana NIGH/TOFT/HEIG(ht)/U/ANA [Toft, near Hardwick in Cambridgeshire


    2,8 eat out EAT/(your heart)/OUT

    21,41,9* Suddenly Last Summer cryptic def [words at start of death notice]

  2. Daniel Miller says:

    I think I missed TILSIT but the rest was mostly plain sailing. Good fun.

  3. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Bridgesong. This was enjoyable and not as difficult as I had feared. As usual I didn’t bother with some of the anagrams for the long thematic answers, but I can help with 6dn. It is RISE which means rebel, the P comes from page.

    My first chance to catch up on the week’s blogs. I have been in Shanghai and fifteensquared doesn’t get through the Great Chinese Firewall. Cannot imagine why.

  4. caretman says:

    Thanks Bridgesong, and thanks Bryan @1 for explaining the 2,8 and 21,41,9 solutions which were obvious answers but whose reasonings were not at all obvious. And having now seen the explanations I’m not overly enamoured of either of them. I finished the puzzle with a half dozen answers where I put question marks next to the clues, but online research found Galloway’s Respect Party, Snape Maltings, and Toft. I had suspected the solution to 28 dn related to basilica and basilisk but knew of a basilisk only as a mythical reptile; I later found online that in the Bible the basilisk is a serpent (I also learned I’ve been mentally mispronouncing it all my life). 29 ac was my first theme answer in so I initially thought the theme would be Marlon Brando movies, but then I got 16 dn and the theme was clear. My last but one in was 34 ac, the last was 10 dn since I was unfamiliar with the mother = pourer equivalence; knowing that now makes the clue much better.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Bridgesong. As often, answers popped up with the rhythm of wordlength in long clues, so 29a, 16 and 19d came with only three crossing letters each – hence the theme. Two cheats (spousehelp with Orpheus, and I forgot whose night 48a was) and one error – I dreamed up nianic for 22a. But dreaming-up helped with the unheard-ofs, like Galloway’s people, Snape and the 3d falcon. All in all, great fun, fair test.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks bridgesong and Araucaria

    A very mixed bag.

    I completed it without too much difficulty but had trouble with the parsing of 21d. My conclusion was as Bryan’s with the addition that the fact that the death was ‘sudden’ and ‘last summer’ seems to add extra meaning to ‘dispatch’ and ‘belated’.

    I got 48a from the word play. Living in the area, I understood the village reference but I thought it was pretty hard on non-locals.

    I was not overimpressed with the wordplay for Tilsit and wonder if there is more there.

    Re 2d. The answer was clear but why? I discovered there is a restaurant called Eatt (if not a chain?) and assumed that was the answer incorporating y]ou[r.

    I enjoyed 27a, 29a, 32a (but a bit specialised), 10d!.

    Quite enjoyable Bank Holiday fare.

  7. tupu says:

    re Eatt see e.g.

  8. bridgesong says:

    Thanks Bryan and Colin for your explanations; I should have seen page in 6 dn, sheer carelessness on my part. I still don’t think much of 2,8 even with the annotated explanation. I’m kicking myself over Toft in 48, as I knew that there was a Hardwick in Cambridgeshire and that Araucaria lived in Cambridgeshire. A final quibble would be to point out that the play’s name was in fact The Night of The Iguana, but I don’t want to detract from what was a splendid challenge.

  9. tupu says:

    Hi Bryan and bridgesong

    I’m afraid I still can’t see how EAT/(your heart)/OUT is supposed to work. Please explain. At the same time reference to a famous Chicago restaurant does seem a bit special.

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, bridgesong.

    21,41,9 was one of my favourite clues: ‘dispatch note’ made me laugh, since the Births, Marriages and Deaths column is known as ‘Hatch, Match and Dispatch’.

    I also liked POURING – and then was amused when the theme of Anax’s Indy puzzle a few days later was ‘Rain cats and dogs’.

    Araucaria used this idea a few months ago in prize crossword 25,179, cluing HOBBEMA with ‘Painter on top of stove to pour out the tea’.

  11. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Bridgesong. Re 2dn. – “Go to restaurant? Your
    heart may intervene” As noted above, it’s surely a reference to the common expression “Eat your heart out” which wiyhout the intervention of “your heart” accords with the definition.

  12. Robi says:

    Impressive puzzle, although it took some time to complete. Once the theme was established, the six clues were easy enough to resolve.

    Thanks bridgesong for a good blog. As cholecyst above, ‘eat your heart out’ is a common enough expression, I think.

    Like Eileen, I particularly enjoyed POURING, which took some time to work out.

  13. Davy says:

    Thanks bridgesong,

    I thought this 441 was great fun and don’t think that a few dodgy clues makes it a mixed bag. Just appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into its construction. Nobody’s perfect, not even Arry and so I allow for small imperfections. Favourite clues were SWEETISH and NEIGHBOUR FROM HELL which is definitely my clue of the puzzle.
    The last clue to go in was TILSIT which took a surprisingly long time to track down. I finished this on Monday morning so it must have been on the easy side but very enjoyable also. Thanks Arry and keep ’em coming.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi robi et al

    Thanks re 2,8. I see the sense, but if that is the parsing, then like bridgesong I am not specially impressed with ‘your heart may intervene’ simply to to make a common phrase. I can see too re Eat-ou-t that it makes double use of restaurant. I suppose I was convinced that it must refer to the Chicago restaurant Eatt after the blatant parochialism of Toft and Hardwick. I just happened to know those two, as I’ve said, but one might almost just as well have had a clue which included Crime Lake and Daisy Nook near Oldham which again are rather specially local!

  15. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Bridgesong.

    I was pleased to finish this in one session, and found most of it easy to parse, though I.m grateful for the explanation of 48ac – as tupu suggests, too local for me – and the second half of 29ac.

    Actually I was quite tickled by 2/8, which I got straight away from the wordplay. ‘Your heart’ may, and often does intervene between ‘eat’ and ‘out’, although the resulting expression has nothing to do with wining and dining :)

  16. blaise says:

    Thanks for clearing up 10 down. I saw “pouring” straight away, but the only way I could equate it to cats and dogs was that it sounds a bit like “pawing”. My blind spot might come from living in France, where it rains ropes: “il pleut des cordes“;

  17. Ian says:

    Well done bridgesong, an excellent summary of a pretty solid piece of work by the setter.

    I had a hunch that there might be a literary theme. Looking at the clues for around 4 minutes, concentrating on the multiple word answers, I looked at the 3,2,1,3,3,4 combination and the TW work came straight away!!!

    The rest quite naturally came quickly (as they would).

    Top clue was the wonderful Neighbour From Hell anagram.

  18. Admin says:

    Tupu / Brian / Ian
    I have moved the off-topic comments to the General Discussion page. You may continue your reminiscing there.

  19. tupu says:

    Hi gaufrid

    I didn’t realise what a hare I’d start with Daisy Nook and Crime Lake as an equally odd local pair to Hardwick and Toft. :) Many thanks for taking the trouble to shift us to Memory Lane!

  20. chas says:

    Thanks to Araucaria and bridgesong.

    I found this one really quite amazingly simple – I suppose because I spotted the theme early on. In fact I finished it on Saturday which is, for me, phenomenally fast for one of Araucaria’s holiday specials.

    The main thing I got from this blog was why I had the correct answers in a couple of places.

    Once again we see here an example in 23,12 of something I have seen in Araucaria but nobody else. I constructed an answer in 4,6 then wrote it in as 5,5. He is amazing!

    My favourite was the anagram at 11d.

  21. MattD says:

    Enjoyed this, but how can 14a go without comment? When gordius does this kind of double usage of words (definition and anagram element) without a ? or similar, he’s been slated. I’ve been involved in discussions about this before.

    Thanks for the blog, could not see 19d parsing at all so am grateful for the explanation. Really should remember censor=Cato as it’s been used before.

  22. bridgesong says:

    MattD@21: I don’t know about criticisms of Gordius, but it seems to me that 14a is in fact a pretty good clue which qualifies as an &lit. Taken as a whole, the clue is the definition and it incorporates the anagram fodder and the anagram indicator. Some might argue that “could be” is a weak anagram indicator, but the brevity of the clue more than compensates.

    Reverting to the “eat your heart out” debate, I can now understand the clue, but I still think it defective. The problem is that “eat your heart out” may be a reasonably common phrase but it can only be deduced from the answer, rather than (as good wordplay should) lead the solver to the answer.

  23. tupu says:

    Hi Bridgesong

    AS noted at 14, I entirely agree re 2,8. You put the matter extremely well.

  24. otter says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Bridgesong. And thanks to Araucaria for this very enjoyable puzzle.

    I surprised myself by completing all of this bar three clues while sunbathing last Saturday afternoon, without looking anything up. Eventually had to look up TILSIT, and then had to admit defeat with 32/47 and 33. Assumed they would probably be pretty simple clues, and it looks as though I was right.

    Guessed 47 had to be BEAN, with the B from ‘born’, and the ‘an’ from the clue, but couldn’t find a five-letter word associated with opera apart from [La] Scala, which didn’t work. Have never heard of Snape Maltings – well, I suspect I have, it rings a very faint bell from my childhood, but it’s something I couldn’t have expected to have recalled. I did even wonder about SNAP BEAN as the answer, but didn’t have the confidence in it to look it up.

    And then PULLMAN, well, yes, I suppose so…

    But a very enjoyable puzzle, and am grateful also to the explanations of EAT [your heart] OUT and SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (‘suddenly, last night…’ – I do like this).

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