Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,334 by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on June 4th, 2011


A nice enough crossword from Araucaria, but not one that really grabbed my attention.  I got the feeling that Arucaria could have produced something much cleverer with this theme if he had really put his mind to it.

I spotted Craven Arms straight away and guessed the theme at 22 across from there.  However, the derivation for 22 across was not at all obvious and was the last part of the puzzle to be solved.

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

5 EARWIG EAR (body part) WIG (cover for a larger body part – the head)
6 PUTRID DIRT (rubbish) UP (raised) all reversed (retrospectively)
9,11 CRAVEN ARMS CRAVEN (cowardly, yellow) ARMS (body parts)
10 LEGALIST LEG (body part) A LIST (a table)
11 See 9
12 MACHINE GUN MA‘s (mother has) CHIN (body part) EG (say) UN (a in French)
13 TENNIS ELBOW TEN (a number) LINES* BOW (front, of a ship)
21 See 18
22 BODY PART BT (British Telecom, communicators) containing PARODY (burlesque) with top moved to the bottom (inverted) – this clue is a bit strained I think
23 LIPOMA LIP (body part) O (love = zero, tennis score) and MA (mother)
24 RANKLE Right ANKLE (body part)
25 EYELET EYE (body part) LET (permitted)
1 CREVASSE REV (reversed) inside CASSE – a ‘casse noisette’ is a nut cracker in France
2 LIGNUM GNU (wild beast) inside LIMits (some of)
3 DUNGHILL Spoonerism of “hung dill” – apparently the phrase ‘the cock will crow on his dungill‘ goes all the way back to ancient Roman times.  Initially I rather naievely searched Google for ‘cock’ and ‘dung’, oh my goodness…
4 GRILLE GRILL (cook) and cheesE (last letter of) – grilles are found in front of car radiators
5 ERRORS (River River ROSE)* – Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors
7 DISCUS DISCUSs (talk endlessly) – a discus is an object that is thrown
15 OAK APPLE OK (authorised) around A with APPLE (name for the central appeture of the eye)
16 COLOUR COL (pass) and OUR (belonging to The Guardian) – standard, colour as in ‘flag’
17 HELMET HELM (direction) and ET (1982 film)
19 SAYING A Year inside SING-sing (half of a prison) – an observation is a remark or a saying
20 SELSYN SELWYN (university college) with West replaced by South – a Selsyn is a Self Synchronising generator transformer


21 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,334 by Araucaria”

  1. Mystogre says:

    Thanks Peedee.
    I could not get the SELSYN bit. Never heard of it, so left Selwyn there. The rest was OK but I was unsure of the derivation of 17d until after I had put it in and had a decent look.
    Overall, I enjoyed the crossword and was pleased he used common terms in the themed clues as I had to hunt for 9/11ac seeing I am not familiar with many of the British towns.
    Took a few sessions to get it all finished.

  2. Coffee says:

    I was left with 17D undone. Shame, as the rest of it was fairly straightforward for a Saturday. Don’t like the look of today’s.

  3. Biggles A says:

    Thanks PeeDee. I agree; good enough but nothing special.

    4. There can be a grille in front of an electric radiator too.

    20. I did know this one, I seem to remember it in the workings of a fluxgate compass.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks PeeDee and Araucaria I did enjoy this!

    BLACKSHIRTS was very obvious to me and, if you look at my website, you’ll see why.

    MACHINE-GUN was my breakthrough into the theme which gradually unfolded from there.

    SELSYN was a new word.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Peedee and Araucaria

    A well constructed puzzle with a relatively low key theme treated in a generally literal way. A bit lacklustre compared with some of the fare earlier this week.

    I found two clues more difficult than the rest, 1d and 20d. The answer to 1d was pretty obvious but the parsing took some time to see. I suppose Tchaikovsky is the main source of acquaintance.

    The answer to 20d was unknown to me, and hard to guess because there are four direction letters in Selwyn. I eventually found it on the net. I am not sure that it is literally a ‘transformer’ in the sense of a voltage transformer but I dare say there are other kinds.

    9, 11a was my favourite clue and I also quite liked 22 itself and 17d.

  6. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog.

    I agree with others about 20d – I had never heard of a selsyn so I left selwyn in place.

    My favourite was 12a.

  7. rrc says:

    An enjoyable solve – the sign of a good crossword!

  8. PeeDee says:

    I thought I knew 20dn ‘selsyn’, but reading the Wikipedia article its turns out I don’t. It means a self-synchronising transformer, not a self-synchronising generator as I thought.

  9. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. The 18a anagram gave the lead-in to the theme, and the matching 13a helped. Not too difficult. Never heard of the tumour or the transformer but checking confirmed the right assumptions.

  10. Robi says:

    Good puzzle with an unusual theme for A.

    Thanks PeeDee for a good blog; unlike you I didn’t know Craven Arms. SELSYN was gettable from the wordplay, although I didn’t know it. MACHINE GUN had a good clue, I thought.

  11. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks PeeDee. I concur with the majority opinion above – good, but not great. I think Tupu’s “lacklustre” captures it best. But more importantly for me, I finished it unaided last Saturday. I hadn’t missed solving a Saturday Prize for some time (years?) but the Enigmatist the week before brought that to an end. Even more, as I sat slogging away at figuring out “stops” that meant nothing to me, I began questioning the time I spend on this fruitless pastime and gave up in frustration and disillusionment and vowed to take a break from cruciverbalism. But like an addict of a different type I craved a fix soon after and the next Saturday settled down with this which came together OK. And today’s Prize is now also complete and filed away. My family are not as pleased at that outcome as I am.

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    I seem to have enjoyed this puzzle more than most commenters and like molonglo, HOUSMAIDS KNEE provided the key to the theme. LIGNUM was the last in and like others I put SELWYN without understanding where the transformer came in. Generally though, the puzzle was accessible and contained few obscurities. I particularly liked MACHINE GUN which misled me for quite a while. Thanks Arry.

  13. Elspeth says:

    For 22 across, I don’t think it means that BT are the head of communicators. I think the definition is “maybe head”, for which the solution is “body part”.

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Indeed, not the most challenging of Saturday Prizes.
    Still enjoyable, though.

    I agree with Elspeth @13 about ‘Maybe head’ as the definition by example in 22ac. In that clue we weren’t very happy with just ‘inverted’ to make clear that both halves of ‘parody’ should be swapped. Enigmatist did it much better in his recent Prize by using ‘when other halves remarry’ (even though we mildly citicised the use of ‘other’).

    Thanks, PeeDee for your clear blog.
    You say: “I got the feeling that Arucaria could have produced something much cleverer with this theme if he had really put his mind to it”.
    Well, on January 19th of this year Cinephile had a puzzle in the FT, which you yourself blogged! Theme: body parts … which were, just like here, part of the solution, but to make it more challenging omitted from the subsidiary parts of the clues.
    Your verdict then: “A super crossword from Cinephile, though a couple of words had me reaching for the dictionary”.
    So, indeed, he had already produced something much cleverer.

    Unfortunately, that FT puzzle was always haunting me like a ghost last Saturday.
    Nonetheless, enjoyable enough.

  15. Carrots says:

    You`ve said it all kids…I`ve nothing to add esxcept thanks Auri. and PeeDee.

  16. Biggles A says:

    Looking at 15 a bit more carefully 25 is EYELET not EYE so if APPLE is part of an eye then a further step is necessary. Or 22 should be substituted for 25 in the clue.

  17. PeeDee says:

    Elspeth @13 – you are quite right, ‘maybe’ should be attached to head not BT, I will fix the blog.

    Sil @14, thanks for the reminder, I had completely forgotten that one!

  18. PeeDee says:

    Biggles @15 – correct, apple would be part of ‘part of eyelet’. The clue as it stands does not make sense, thanks for pointing this out.

  19. tupu says:

    Hi BigglesA and Peedee

    Well spotted. It may well not be worth defending the clue, but A is usually very careful, and OED does note 1. that ‘apple’ has been used for the ‘whole eyeball’ and 2. that ‘eyelet’ can literally mean a small eye or something shaped like one (esp. such a marking on a butterly wing). It would have been simpler, if clumsier, if the clue had read ‘part of part of 25′.

  20. Biggles A says:

    Thanks tupu,

    Yes, I had seen the OED entry but the ‘historical’ and ‘occsaional’ notations led me to think it was just too abstruse.

  21. Sil van den Hoek says:

    So let’s face it: Araucaria just made a mistake, didn’t he?
    We’re all human.
    But the editor should have seen it.
    Ah well, he’s human too.


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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

2 + four =