Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25312 – Araucaria

Posted by Uncle Yap on May 3rd, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a superbly entertaining puzzle from The Master today with a side-theme presented with great humour and fun.

7 TROUSERS T (time) ROUSERS (alarm clocks) worn by the dominant partner in a marriage viz SWMBO (answer to 21,22,9)
11,15 TROUBLE AND STRIFE TROU (half of TROUsers, answer to 7) ins of A, one in BLEND (mixture) ST (street) RIFE (current) What a fine composite clue alluding to the current turmoil on the streets of Syria and Libya and a very original use of Mrs as wife, of which the trouble and strife is the most appropriate Cockney rhyming slang.
12 MOTHER Lepidoptera is the order of insects, with four wings covered with fine scales such as the butterflies and moths. A tichy way of saying a producer of moths.
14 SCRUTINY SCRU (sounds like screw, slang for salary) TINY (very little)
17,26 MY DEAR OLD DUTCH *(DREAMY) OLD (ancient) DUTCH (ancient language) for an old music-hall song sung in honour of the wife
20 AS ONE MAN A STONEMASON minus T S O (dropping pieces)
23 REJOINDERS Ins of JO (sweetheart like the beloved little woman ala Louisa May Alcott) in REINDEERS minus R E (well spotted, NeilW)
24 MATE dd for spouse (answer to 8Down) and final move in chess
25 PHAROS Ins of HA (short laugh) in PRO’S (professionals or experts) The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria  (a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt) was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

1 TREASONS T (last letter of losT) REASONS (causes)
“The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not mov’d with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.”
The Merchant of Venice (V, i, 83-85)
2 PUFF dd
3,10 BETTER HALF This tichy clue cracked me up. My COD
4 DOGBERRY DOG (pet) BERRY (fruit) for Dogberry, a clownish officer of the watch in Much Ado About Nothing.
6 PENNON PENN (Friend of old) + ON (continuing to) William Penn (1644 – 1718) was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder and “absolute proprietor” of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) The Society of Friends are also known as the Quakers of which William Penn was a member.
8 SPOUSE Ins of P (first letter of pickle) in SOUSE (pickle)
13 HER INDOORS Ins of ERIN (Ireland) DO (party) in HORSE (beast) minus E, indicated by tailless
16 FEMINIST Ins of Tracey Karima EMIN (English artist) in FIST (hand)
18 ROBOTICS Ins of BOT (maggot of a botfly) I (first letter of inside or I, one, first) in ROCS (enormous birds described in Arabian legend, strong enough to carry off an elephant)
19 ANGELO AN GEL (rev of LEG, member) O (love) for either the Duke’s randy deputy in Measure for Measure or a goldsmith in The Comedy of Errors
21,22,9 SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED *(by the web’s dome house) for the title given by Rumpole of The Bailey (by John Mortimer) to his dominant wife
22 MASADA MA (mother, answer to 12) SAD (not happy) + A for the name  of an isolated rock plateau, or horst, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. After the First Jewish-Roman War a siege of the fortress by troops of the Roman Empire led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels.
24 MOUE Sounds like MOO (low as in bovine noise). A new word to me meaning grimace of discontent or pout.

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

43 Responses to “Guardian 25312 – Araucaria”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Uncle Yap. Enjoyed this puzzle. HER INDOORS and MY DEAR OLD DUTCH were new to me. Thanks for the education.


  2. caretman says:

    Thanks to Auracaria for an outstanding puzzle and to Uncle Yap for his comments. A couple of synonyms for wife I hadn’t met before (the same ones as grandpuzzler @1) but both could be solved from the wordplay. Thanks, UY, for explaining 8 and 18 which I entered based on the definition but couldn’t suss out the wordplay. A very entertaining puzzle.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks UY

    That Tracey EMIN seems to get around nearly as much as Princess Di in the Guardian crosswords!

    I read MOTHER as a hunter rather than producer of moths but you may well be right! Well done for BOT – I’d never heard of it.

    A tiny correction to 23 – It’s without E rather than R.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap. This was superb!

    Several clues bewildered me but I got there in the end through good guesswork, despite Lorenzo and Penn. MASADA and ANGELO were also guesses.

    All puzzles should be this good!

    Many thanks Araucaria.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap, notably for elucidating for me SOUSE and BOT. I agree with Neil W on 12a as a hunter. 23a – I thought of Burns’s John Anderson my jo.

  6. malc95 says:

    Thanks UY for explaining 6d; I had PEN (as in pen friend) but couldn’t explain the extra N.

    Am I missing something? Can’t fully parse:
    17,26 – is Dutch an ancient language?
    21,22,9 – why “with title in a word”?

  7. Dad'sLad says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap.

    This was very entertaining. Like Neil W I thought a MOTHER was someone ‘after’ moths. And like molonglo, I thought of Burns for JO. “51%” as HALF is not in the same league as those who profess to give “110%” and is entirely forgivable given the excellent humour.

  8. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks UY and an excellent A. Needed the BOT explanation.

    My take on 12a MOTHER was AFTER = AFT ER, so ER is AFT of MOTH.

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Dad’Lad @ 7. I don’t see any problem with the HALF. Surely the phrase is “the better half of”, and 51% is that.

  10. Dave Ellison says:

    Having thought about it some more, I think I prefer the hunter of moths, as lepidoptera is plural

  11. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very ingenious and enjoyable.
    My only complaint was that I was able to solve a few too many by using only the definition and letter-count.
    Is the ill-defined “dropping pieces” a new device or are we all missing something significant about TSO?
    I played with ORTS for a while but it doesn’t work.

  12. Ian says:

    Thanks for the summary UY.

    Whilst it was an mildly entertaining theme, I was disappointed that once I had solved 21,22,9 (a uncharacteristic and particularly ugly anagram)the rest of the themed clues were effectively just a matter of inserting the answers and parsing afterwards for confirmation.

    The clue at 12ac I failed to join all the dots and am grateful for being put out of my misery..

    Highlights were 18 and 19 dn.

  13. Mick H says:

    Very enjoyable puzzle.
    I think ‘dropping pieces’ for losing T, S and O in 20, and ‘most of’ to get REINDERS from REINDEERS are both very Araucarian devices. Yes, they’re loose, as RCWhiting observes, but very gettable, since in both cases we were given the original word, rather than just a synonym.
    But I don’t get ‘title in a word’ in 21,22,9 (is ‘uttered’ the anagram indicator?) and I’m not sure why there are two ‘ancients’ in 17,26 either.
    Incidentally, ‘My old Dutch’ is another Cockney term, thought to be a shortening of ‘duchess’. I wonder whether this puzzle was originally aimed at last week’s topical duchess/wife-related event (nuff said about that though!)

  14. Tokyo Colin says:

    A great puzzle. I think ‘title in a word’ is a reference to the title of the novel ‘She’ by Rider Haggard from whence the phrase originated.

  15. Roger says:

    Thanks UY … and A for a very entertaining puzzle.
    I wonder if 21etc refers rather to H Rider Haggard’s novel She (‘title in a word’ ?), who was also known as She-who-must-be-obeyed, another a one word (albeit hyphenated) title which was then later uttered by Rumpole in connection with his wife ?

  16. Roger says:

    Hi TC … crossed again !

  17. Tokyo Colin says:

    Indeed Roger. Thanks for the reinforcement.

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Araucaria

    An enjoyable puzzle with all the usual suspects of ‘married deadlock’.

    Some excellent clues inc 7a, 24a, 3d,10, 16d, 24d (it took some time again for the ‘low’ to sink in) to pick a few.

    As Stiofain said at the end of yesterday’s blog, Carrots seems to have had a premonition of this one.

  19. walruss says:

    My only complaint is that there’s not enough of this great puzzle! Really super stuff from The Master, showing how much better he is than the other Guardian compilers once again IMO. Agree with Yap that BETTER HALF is COD. Many thanks to compiler and bloggr.

  20. Roger says:

    Perhaps sweetheart = Jo = little woman somewhat tenuously adds another name to tupu’s ‘list of suspects’ !

  21. Geoff says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria

    I enjoyed this a lot – the theme was fun. Three Shakespearian references in a puzzle with an entirely different focus is good going. Like others, I am a bit mystified by the double ‘ancient’ in 17,26.

    Re MickH’s comment @13, the ‘Dutch’ in ‘my old Dutch’ may be a contraction of ‘duchess’, but an alternative etymology is that it is an abbreviated form of the rhyming slang ‘Dutch plate’ (= ‘mate’).

  22. crypticsue says:

    A great start to a Tuesday morning – thanks to Araucaria for the wonderful themed fun and to Uncle Yap for the explanations.

  23. Robi says:

    Clever puzzle with a good theme, which needed quite a lot of computer assistance.

    Thanks UY for a good blog. I thought 20 had stonemason with the stones (pieces) removed but couldn’t parse the remaining letters. MOUE was new to me and provided a delightful clue.

    As Ian@12, I thought the anagram was rather clunky, but I guess it was difficult to find a better alternative.

  24. Roger says:

    Agree MickH & Geoff that 17/26 would seem to work ok without the second ‘ancient’ … but as UY says, Dutch is an ‘ancient language’ (originated ~AD450 … pretty old then) so maybe Araucaria threw it in just to slow us down a bit !

  25. malc95 says:

    TC & Roger –

    I’m sure you are right about “She” – it makes 21,22,9 a very fine clue indeed. Still not convinced about the second “ancient” though, unless we’ve all missed something.

  26. chas says:

    Thanks to Araucaria and UY.

    I had got Dogberry as a Shakespearian but Lorenzo beat me. The clue was so well written that I could solve it without knowing who Lorenzo was.

    I loved 3,10 – marvellous.

  27. Stella says:

    Thanks UY for explaining all those I got without fully parsing, which was almost all the theme clues and a few others (18d vg.)

    I came to this late and tired, so didn’t fully appreciate it, but enjoyed it none the less – now for a short siesta :)

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Roger

    Nice idea re Jo!

    I found the following re Dutch:

    ‘To sum up: Dutch is derived from Franconian and Saxonian, languages that were not affected by the High German consonant shift and the North Sea Germanic nasal spirant law. Seen from this point of view, Dutch retains some archaic traits’.

    Araucaria usually does his homework well and I imagine he has done so here – I remember an amazing performance last year re creatures no longer classed as edentates!

  29. Carrots says:

    I hadn`t a clue what Stiofain was on about yesterday re: premonitions. I do now though!

    A jolly good puzzle from The Master, well blogged by Uncle Yap. Thank you both.

    I must get myself a shed or something to sneak off to when `Er Indoors gets hell bent on finding things for me to do…..other than crosswords of course!

  30. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. A hugely enjoyable puzzle from Araucaria, which gave me lots of smiles. Didn’t see the wordplay at 8dn, but I parsed the rest OK. Like others, I understood 12ac to be someone after moths in the hunting sense.

  31. Wolfie says:

    I came to this at the end of the day and solved it pretty rapidly. I share the sentiments expressed by other posters about the cleverness of the clueing, but am I really the only one to be disturbed by the rampant sexism of the theme? I was neither impressed nor amused by Araucaria’s attempts to fit as many demeaning and paternalistic terms for a married woman as possible into a cryptic crossword. Not what I expect to find in The Guardian.

  32. Dad'sLad says:

    Hi Wolfie,

    Ok, as no one else seems disposed to respond….

    I appreciate that unthinking repetition of stereotypes is generally unhelpful. The Grauniad has – mostly – addressed its spelling problems, leaving interest to be maintained elsewhere. For me Araucaria’s often singular take on the world is an integral part of the Grauniad’s diverse appeal. And this a cryptic crossword and not an editorial. That said, your entirely valid post adds a lot of value to the thread and raises an important issue with which others will, I hope, engage.

  33. Ron says:

    Re 31:
    To use a topical phrase – ‘Calm Down Dear! – it’s only a crossword’
    Anyway, I’m not sure any of these terms really are derogatory.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Maybe it was because we were a bit tired (like Stella), but I can’t say that for us it all fell very quickly in place today.
    Surely not in the way it did for Ian @12 – 21,22,9 contains only 3 six-letter ‘words’, and after that it was a matter of just inserting the answers?
    In fact, we couldn’t get 21,22,9 (at all :(). One reason for that was that 21d could be SEE THE, SEE THY (after all it’s Araucaria), SEE WHY – we didn’t think of SHE WHO. Moreover we made a mistake in 6d, entering the non-existent ‘signon’ [which I thought would be perhaps be a cross between ‘mignon’ and ‘signor’ :)] leading to O?E?I? for 9ac. Well, what can you do when there are no resources around?
    Nobody seems to be bothered (except MickH @13) by ‘uttered’ as the very unusual anagram indicator (if any at all; we thought of a homophone indicator).

    Thanks to UY for the blog and NeilW @3 in particular for explaining MOTHER (12ac) – quite witty, eventually.

    A lot has already been said about ‘(old) Dutch’ and the two ‘ancient’s. I am on MickH’s, Geoff’s, Robi’s and malc95’s side who think that one ‘ancient’ would have been enough.
    And even if the language goes back to 450 AD, Dutch is not the first language you think of when seeing ‘ancient language’ (Greek, Latin etc are more appropriate). BTW, Dutch people use the expression ‘old Dutch’ in the same way as, I guess, Brits talk about ‘old English': the language as it was in the Middle Ages.

    Liz @30 didn’t see the wordplay in 8d (SPOUSE). We did see it, but were not very happy with it.
    “Mr and Mrs with its top in pickle”: how can ‘its’ point at ‘pickle’? It points at eg ‘Mrs’ (although that’s not an ‘it’, of course), at something that’s been said earlier, not at something that still has to come (‘pickle’). “.. with pickle around its top” would have been OK, although that doesn’t make sense for the surface.

    Even so, a fine crossword.
    Despite our slow start and pace in general (which was almost putting us off because of all these cross-references), we were rather proud that we got that far in the end (with, as I said before, no resources at hand).

    Finally, Wolfie @31, we’ve had this discussion before.
    And while you might be right, I am not sure whether one should make such a point of it here.

  35. Carrots says:

    Get a life Wolfie!!

    ….or a wife, assuming you can find one who does`t keep your balls in her handbag.

    For those of us who bewail cutting the grass, trimming hedges or painting the walls Springtime Puce (absolutely indistinguishable from Autumn Purple), the alternative to married bliss is inconceivable. The most joyous sport in late middle age is thwarting the attempts of `Er Indoors` to make oneself useful.
    As laziness is the one thing at which I excell, the Old Gal hasn`t an icicle in hell`s chance of ever prevailing.

    But, after nearly fifty years, she still tries, bless her, she still tries.

  36. Daniel Miller says:

    great stuff… great clues

  37. Daniel Miller says:

    My old dutch – surely Duchess..

  38. Wolfie says:

    Carrots @35

    I could not have produced a better illustration of the prevalence of casual sexism in our society if I had stayed up all night trying to invent one myself. Surely vulgar abuse has no place on this site.

  39. Davy says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap,

    I’ve just finished this today and it turned out to be great fun and not that difficult eithor. I got nowhere with it yesterday because I had put PLUG instead of PUFF for 2d and didn’t even bother to check. My wife said it was PUFF but I just ignored her and went my own way (sorry Wolfie). Once PUFF was in place, everything fell together quite quickly.

    I certainly don’t think that Arry was meaning to be sexist but these are all common expressions mainly from the past. I could be wrong but I think that HER INDOORS came from Arthur Daly in Minder.

  40. Val says:

    Wolfie @31, yes, I found it disturbing as well and would have preferred it if the editor had overruled on the theme. Starting reading through the comments I was very surprised that no one said anything earlier on but then realised that the early commentators all seemed to be male. Is this perhaps something that’s easier to overlook if you’re not the usual target? The reference back to Cameron’s use of Winner’s catchphrase is an offensive, IMHO, here as it was then. It really isn’t funny.

    I do tend to make allowances for people of another generation because norms have changed. That does to some extent excuse Araucaria (but not Cameron!).

  41. Wolfie says:

    Thank you Val – it is good to know that mine is not a lone voice here!

  42. Robi says:

    Val & Wolfie; I think the Reverend might be mortified if he thought that he had caused any offence. TROUBLE AND STRIFE is a well-known Cockney phrase; MY DEAR OLD DUTCH is a song (like ‘my old man said follow the van….’); SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED is referenced in the Rider Haggard story – ‘according to Haggard’s daughter Lilias, the phrase “She-who-must-be-obeyed” originated from his childhood and “the particularly hideous aspect” of one rag-doll;’ HER INDOORS might be seen as mildly offensive but was used by Arthur Daley in ‘Minder.’

    So, I don’t think any offence intended, so perhaps none should be taken.

  43. Wolfie says:

    Robi – I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that Araucaria intended to cause offence – I am certain he didn’t. My problem is with the thoughtless use of expressions which, though they may be have once been regarded as acceptable, are now rightly seen as patronising and offensive to women.

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