Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,331 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on May 25th, 2011


I was surprised to find that I haven’t blogged an Araucaria puzzle for just over six months (since when I have met the man himself for the first time), but this makes up for it with some cleverly intertwined clues based around the theme of a quotation that is probably best known because of a film that takes its title from it. There are quite a few liberties taken in this one that I’m not keen on, such as a rather loose interpretation of what “a lot of” can mean, and a couple of rather obscure answers at 3dn and 14dn, but on the whole it was a typically enjoyable challenge. Any typos or other errors below can be blamed on the after-effects of an enjoyable Sloggers and Betters evening – thanks for Jane & John (and maybe others) for the organisation of that.

4. COWARD The playwright is Noel Coward, and if you turn COWARD “inside out” by moving WAR then you get COD WAR. At least I think that’s how it’s supposed to work..
6. TRANSMIT T (“leader” of THE) + RAN (fled) + SMIT (old form of “smitten”)
9. REVAMP REV (parson), A MP (someone in parliament)
10. TERRARIA TERRO[or] + ARIA. Plants are grown in a terrarium, but I don’t think they’re exactly “globes”.
11. NORMAN BLOOD NORMA (opera by Bellini) + BLO[gs] in NOD – meaning something similar to “blue blood”, but it doesn’t seem to be a common phrase other than in the Tennyson poem (see below)
16. TENISON Homophone of Tennyson, and an archbishop who gave his name to a school
18. SIMPLE FAITH (PISA THE FILM)* – forming part of the quotation “.. and simple faith than Norman blood” from Tennyson’s Lady Clara Vere de Vere
22. GUINNESS [d]ENNIS* in GUS. Alec Guinness famously played eight parts in the wonderful film Kind Hearts and Coronets, which tackes its name from the Tennyson poem.
23. DENNIS SINNED reversed… and Dennis Price played the anti-hero of the film.
24. RED-FACED Spoonerism of FED (broke fast) + RACED (went fast)
1. CRIMEA “First offence” = CRIME A
2. FREE FOR ALL REEF (vein) + OR (gold) in FALL (season)
3. INTRADOS TRAIN* + DOS (plural of “do”, as in “do re mi”). Intrados is “the soffit or undersurface of an arch or vault”.
4. CORONETS O in CORNETS. There’s no definition, but the word referenced from a couple of other clues.
5. WAVERING WAVE (farewell) + RING (opera), though the Ring [Cycle] is four operas.
7,8. MORE THAN Part of the quotation “Kind hearts are MORE THAN coronets”, and also of “A little MORE THAN kin, and less than kind”, as Hamlet describes his uncle Claudius.
12. BANDMASTER DAMS* in BANTER, with reference to the songs “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “Macnamara’s Band”
13. MALIGNER Two definitions: more malign and one who maligns, and MALINGER with a “small change” in the order of the letters
14. ANCHISES FRANCHISES less FR. Anchises was, I learn, the mythological father of Aeneas.
16. SUSANNAH ANNA (old coin) in SUSH[i]. The story of Susanna (sic) is an apocryphal addition to the book of Daniel.
19. FEEDER FEED (i.e. paid a fee, salaried) + ER (the Queen)
20. IGOR RIGOR (stiffness) less its first R. Prince Igor is an opera by Borodin.
21,25. KIND HEARTS KIND (sort) + HEARTS (suit)

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,331 – Araucaria”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for the blog. As it seems with all of Araucaria’s puzzles, at first it looked to me that I’d never figure it out, and then some pieces came together and the whole thing fell into place. After a couple of pretty unproductive tours through the clues, while concentrating on 21/25 and having the N in 21 I suddenly got KIND HEARTS and things fell out from there. Still, I needed to use wikepedia to get some of the answers since I knew only the film (and knew only of Alec Guinness’s roles in it) and not all of the relevant lines from the poem. Still, I had a definite feeling of accomplishment when I completed it.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew, and for explaining (saving me the research) 18 and 22a. Just one crib: keying 21,25 into Google at once produced the 7,8 quote. Otherwise it flowed free and fair from the clueing. Some nice ones like CODWAR which jumped out at once, 17a and 14d which took a bit longer.

  3. Uncle Yap says:

    Thank you Andrew, fastest gun in the West and the Reverend for a most enjoyable puzzle.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew – quite a feat to get this done after a night out and before bed!

    10 – understandably, you have a little typo. Need to take the O out of TERRO. Chambers says a terrarium is normally a glass bottle so I would think “globes” is OK.

    17 – I thought “don’t have” was a bit vague as the definition.

    1 – I read as the Araucarian “first” being the letter A with the offence on top but your parsing has more charm, something rather lacking in the puzzle for me. Just a few too many obscurities.

  5. TokyoColin says:

    Thanks Andrew for another early and excellent blog. A boon to someone in?my timezone.

    I feel like I have just returned from a trip to another planet in which everything encountered was alien, but fortunately a wise old man named Google offered to show me around and explain things.

    My way in was through 23a. “Was wrong returned” gave me DENNIS and I realised the “Price” in the clue was probably a surname, and Google then kindly led me through from there.

    I suppose I solved the non-linked clues unaided but my feeling on completion was less satisfaction and more relief that this was not one I had taken to a desert island.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew this sure was a toughie and I soon came to the conclusion that Araucaria was in his most Enigmatistic mood.

    Maybe The Master had heard of the shindig last night and, for a wheeze, decided to present a tribute puzzle for the host?

    Yes, I had heard of the film but all the allusions went way over my head. After all, it did appear in 1949.

    My only hope that Mudd in today’s FT is much more accessible.

  7. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Andrew – lucky you!

    I started this crossword while listening to the news about the ash cloud, so my first entry, 4ac, made me smile for two reasons – what a lovely clue!

    When I saw the number of multiple clues, I thought this was going to be the theme but no, I had to get as far as DENNIS before the penny dropped.

    I realised early on that this was not going to be everybody’s cup of tea but, of course, it was right up my street! The only obscurity for me was the Archbishop.

    I was delighted to see ANCHISES – I remember being struck and amused years ago by the possibility of a clue along those lines.

    And so clever to get the Hamlet quotation in as well. Vintage Araucaria – I loved it!

  8. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew

    This Araucaria beat me all ends up. I didn’t suss out Kind Hearts & Coronets, one of my favourite films as it happens, and that made this puzzle virtually unsolvable for me.

    Didn’t like the clue to TERRARIA and who has heard of INTRADOS and ANCHISES? Not me, so I am a bit peeved. Honestly this was much more difficult than a prize crossword. Still, there is always the next one!

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    As for Caretman, bedazzlement at first followed by a surge once the film etc became clear.

    I remembered Anchises but had to check he was in fact Aeneas’s Dad whose fling with a WAG (Willing Attractive Goddess) called Juno once hit the headlines. I don’t remember if he tried to get a super-i.

    I also checked Tenison and terraria to confirm my conclusions.

    LIke Eileen, I found ‘codwar’/coward nicely surprising after the banks and the ash.

    My favourite clue was that plus 16d – another scandal, this time involving Dirty Old Men.

  10. tupu says:

    Should add – got 7 and 8d from the clues.

    Overall a pretty enjoyable puzzle!

  11. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Andrew and A. I found this reasonably straightforward, failing on just 14d.

    It isn’t often I get the answer to the first clue straightaway, but did today and what a gem. And the spoonerisms usually come late in the day, but this was my second in. Then nothing, until second time through I got CORONETS, and most of the rest followed, with just a bit of Googling for MORE THAN.

    Bryan @ 6: “Araucaria was in his most Enigmatistic mood”. Not compared to last Saturday’s prize with which I struggled for ages and still haven’t finished.

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Sorry to be schoolmarmy but Anchises’ fling was with Aphrodite / Venus – unless he successfully concealed another with a super-i. :-)

  13. Mystogre says:

    The colonies do not have the same classical education ethos, so I found a good deal of this hard going.

    But, thank you Andrew for letting the light shine in when I could not see it. I enjoyed the word play but my Internet connection ran hot all evening. An excellent workout, but I still do not like 10ac.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen
    Thanks. You are quite right and not schoolmarmy at all! Careless of me! And since Venus is a goddess (albeit probably retired), I can’t even say ‘but that was in another country; And besides, the wench is dead’. It may also be a costly error – I’ll expect a call from Junos’s lawyers or even one of her heavies’ thunderbolts any time now.

  15. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    I hadn’t heard of the film or the poem, and initially thought it must be a quote from Hamlet, but was soon corrected by Google. I then had recourse to Wiki, which revealed both, including the poem itself – quite caustic!

    My way into this was the spoonerism, followed much later by 14d, who I’d never heard of; I just took the beginning off ‘franchises’ and checked before going to Google.

    I eventually managed to sort the whole thing out, though it helped that I actually knew 3d, even if I needed a couple of crossing letters to see it.

    When I finally cracked 16d, one of my last, I was surprised to see her described as ‘apocryphal’ – but then, I am a Catholic :)

  16. Robi says:

    Well thoughtout crossword, but as usual with A. my lack of literary/ecclesiastical/classical knowledge held me back. Google came to my rescue….

    Thanks Andrew for a good blog. I knew the film but not the poem!

    With my beginner’s hat on, I thought that ‘on’ in down clues meant above, but in 3 it is the opposite. I guess this is in the sense of ‘[added] on.’ Is that right?

    I thought 11 must have been venous BLOOD, although VENO is probably not an opera (but I didn’t know NORMA either.)

  17. Matt says:

    Mystogre@13 It’s not just the colonies. Was educated slap bang in the centre of England and have never studied any of the classics (the GCSE English play we studied was “An Inspector Calls” and poetry was a compilation of the War Poets).

    Can’t complain (although I usually moan each time there is yet another Shakespeare reference) after yesterday’s more pseudo-scientific theme. Wish there were more themes from outside of literature (loved the “OIL slick” theme a while back for example).

    Really struggled until I had the breakthrough of working out 25a must be “Hearts” (although I didn’t have “Kind” at that point), getting “More Than” from the crossing letters and googling “hearts are more than” and voila, there it was.

    Genuinely cannot believe I finished this.

  18. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    I managed, eventually, to solve most of it but needed this blog to explain why I had the right answers in a couple of places.

    I was like Caretman @1: a very slow start until I spotted 21,25 then things went much quicker – with a little help from Google.

    I had heard of the film but do not remember anything about it (perhaps I have never seen it) but had never heard of the poem.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Pretty straightforward although 13d kept me hanging on at the end.
    The cryptic gave me 11ac but I was reluctant to accept it for blue fluid. Is there any historical link between ‘blue blood’and the Normans? Was their banner blue or did they suffer from the British cold?

  20. Shirley says:

    Eileen – thought you might get Archbishop Tenison as the name of the school is always shown in cricket matches from the Oval as the school buildings form a perimeter round part of the ground although in reality there is a road in between!

  21. PeterO says:

    First thoughts: on 14D, that the father to classical hero would be Zeus, on probability grounds, but I managed to carry off Anchises in short order. Also that the theme would be operas, which turned out to be just minor. Like caretman, my real entry was the repeated “21 25 and 4 down” in the clues, which, with its variant in 7/8 , was enough for the penny to drop. Again like caretman, I found this a satisfying solve; we must share some of Araucaria’s range of reference.
    tupu @14 – be careful: didn’t you know about the gag order?

  22. Eileen says:

    Hi Shirley @20

    Whatever made you think I watch cricket matches?

  23. DougHug says:

    Attempted this at 8pm-ish, at which time a Google search for “kind hearts Hamlet already offered this blog as the ninth link! Guessed and then confirmed both 3 and 14 down. I always think the setter has done a great job if I learn a new word or two as a fairly unambiguous consequence of cryptic definition and crossing letters.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    When I checked your excellent blog, Andrew, I discovered that we didn’t make any mistakes today. Using no resources whatsoever, that is. Wow.
    But as Eileen said, “…. this was not going to be everybody’s cup of tea”, and to be honest, it left us rather cold.

    In fact, one of the key clues (7,8) was one of our last. And we found it not really cryptic.
    And having no definition in 4d is rather odd, isn’t it?

    We enjoyed the challenge (as ever with Araucaria), but had more – than + points.
    4ac was extremely wordy. It felt that something was superfluous. And ‘inside out’ would normally lead CO(WAR)D into eg WA(COD)R. I know what Araucaria means, but still, it’s not really ‘clean’.
    In 22ac it reads ‘most of 23′ – deleting the FIRST letter?
    In 2d there is a word ‘of’ linking ‘vein’ and ‘gold’ – ??
    And in 19d’s FEEDER, there is the word ‘on’ that is just not right.
    I know where Araucaria’s coming from, but isn’t SUSANNAH just a girl? Apocryphal? I talked to Dave Davies and she’s still alive … (he, too) :)

    Sorry, boys and girls, mixed feelings.

  25. Brian Harris says:

    Overly complicated, but after a slow start, we did eventually finish. Not wholly bad for an Araucaria.

  26. Carrots says:

    Although a clearly accomplished puzzle (as one would expect from The Master), it was curiously unfulfilling. I had to wait until getting access to my magic box before completing it…and even so, it was an atritional solve. It shouldn`t have been: “Kind Hearts & Coronets” is one of my cinematic masterpieces, but NORMAN BLOOD defeated me.

  27. sheffield hatter says:

    Hi Sil @ 24

    The veins in which gold appears are called reefs, so the “of” is appropriate, with “gold” doing double duty.

    I think your reference to an old Kinks song would probably be more obscure to most people than Arry’s to the Apocrypha. :D

    Like you I was pleased to finish this resourceless, though I did look up Anchises, after solving the clue, just out of curiosity as to whose father he had been.

    Unlike you, I enjoyed this one – it had that pleasing progression from fiendishly difficult to suddenly completed which gives a great deal of satisfaction, even if some of the cluing might look a bit ropey in retrospect.

  28. Mick says:

    Love the blogs and comments here – always come here for a look after I get the puzzle out or have a sneak view – much more fun seeing the parse than hitting cheat or going to Google etc when stuck.
    But didn’t like this Araucaria puzzle at all in spite of agreeing he is usually the master. For me Paul is hard on his heels if not overtaking him these days.

  29. PeeDee says:

    Many thanks Andrew.

    I thought this was a great puzzle. I loved the convoluted interweaving of the clues, just up my street. Not very Ximean though, had to put my pedant’s hat away in the drawer to enjoy this one to the full.

    I had a heads up on the theme though, as I had spotted ‘Lady Clara Vere de Vere’ as a frequently accessed link while viewing the fifteensquared stats page earlier in the day.

  30. Alan Reed says:

    Eton is so often clued as ‘school’, it’s a change to see a good old south London grammar school (as it was in my day) enter the crossword world. The VIth form room had a marvellous view of the Oval in Surrey’s heyday of the late forties and fifties.

  31. Coffee says:

    Have to agree with NeilW 4 about 17… thoroughly enjoyed the rest with a little help from, though I never got 14D.

  32. Daniel Miller says:

    Sorry couldn’t even get off the starting blocks with this one :)

  33. Huw Powell says:

    Thanks to Andrew and the Rev.

    Favorite clue: MALIGNER. Least favorite: RED-FACED. Fed raced just makes no sense, I think good sponerisms in puzzles should sort of make sense both ways. Or at least be funny.

    Relied entirely on internet research for all the themed clues, completely lacking knowledge of the topic. Gave up without getting ABSTAIN (should have!) and ANCHISES (probably never would have).

  34. maarvarq says:

    I’m glad I gave up half way through this thicket of obscurity.

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>

8 × one =