Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle No 25,358 by Araucaria

Posted by bridgesong on July 2nd, 2011


Another entertaining outing from the Master, although I do take exception to a couple of his definitions.  I took this puzzle with me to the Sloggers and Betters meeting in Birmingham last Saturday, hoping to be able to solve it on the train on the way (a 40 minute journey).  I failed to do so, but had a little help from Eileen (who had finished it) and was able to finish it myself on the way home.  It was good to meet Eileen, Sil, and others and many thanks to Anax for organising the event.  I look forward to seeing Jetdoc’s photos once they’re ready for publication.


Hold mouse over clue number to see clue.

1 ONE ACROSS OCEAN* , ROSS (as in Ross Sea in Antarctica). “Here” is the definition
6 See 3
10,15 ROOK’S PAWN ROOK SPAWN. “Found on sideboard” is the definition, referring to the fact that in chess the rooks (and their pawns) start the game in the extreme left and right hand columns of the board. Witty, but so indirect as to be unfair, I thought
11 ENGAGING ENG, AGING. Very subtle this, and the last clue I solved. English, when aging, will soon be old
14 POTPOURRI sounds like “POPERY”. I have to thank Eileen for this, as this clue was one of several still unsolved when I arrived at last Saturday’s Sloggers and Betters event in Birmingham.
15 See 10
16 See 23
18 PULLULATE PULL, U, LATE. An elegant charade for an unfamiliar word
20 TUTORAGE OUT* in TRAGE(DY). Took me a while to work out why it had to be this and not (say) TUTORIAL, or even TUTORING.

21,1down TALL ORDER Definition and cryptic definition

26 ERNIE 1 in ERNE. I think that “Bond boy” is the definition, and the history given on the NS&I website just about supports the anthropomorphism

1 See 21
3,6across CORNCRAKE CO, RN, R in CAKE. R may need some explanation; it’s an abbreviation of the Latin word recipe, meaning “take”. Doctors used to use it on prescriptions.
4 See 24
5 SEVEN DIALS V, END 1 in SEALS. Another Latin abbreviation, perhaps more familiar: v(ide) = see
6 COLLAR STUD Definition and cryptic definition. The question mark in the clue is justified, as the mere presence of a collar stud in no way implies the presence of a tie in the collar
12 FOOTBRIDGE (Michael) FOOT, BRIDGE. Another loose definition; although a footbridge is something which you might use to cross the line, “to cross the line” must, it seems to me, refer to a verb.
13 PROPAGANDA sounds like “Proper gander”
14 PALATABLE PAL, A TABLE. A very simple charade
17 GET DOWN Double definition, and of course you get down from a duck.
19 ALADDIN A LAD DIN. Another simple charade
23,16 STARLIGHT TAR in SLIGHT. I like “space traveller” as a definition


12 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle No 25,358 by Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks bridgesong,

    Like you 11 was my last and I never properly understood 14a. Usually I find I can fill in about a third of the grid easily enough and the have to work on ther rest. This time I flew through about two thirds of it and then came to a grinding halt. I’m not sure of your comment on 12, it seemed all right to me. A footbridge crosses a railway line.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, bridgesong.

    This was the first time for ages that I failed to finish – SEVEN DIALS completely eluded me as I’d never heard of the place. In retrospect, the word play is quite straightforward but there you go…

    Unlike you, my absolute favourite was ROOK’S PAWN; I didn’t mind the cryptic definition and loved the device. I LOL’d when I saw the solution to 1ac!

    I like very much your additional allusion to GET DOWN although I’m not sure it was intended by the setter.

  3. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Bridgesong & Araucaria, this was very enjoyable.

    I’d never heard of DESERTED VILLAGE so thanks to Google I was able to finish this at a gallop.

    We have a SEVEN DIALS here in Brighton which, for me, is more famous than the one in Covent Garden although, funnily enough, I often go to the Royal Opera House – thanks to a good friend of mine who lets me use his box. I have discovered that watching a ballet for free adds to the enjoyment.

  4. tupu says:

    Thanks bridgesong and Araucaria

    A very enjoyable puzzle.

    I too liked ‘Rook’s pawn’ and ‘Starlight’.

    ‘Corncrake’, ‘Potpourri’ and ‘Hung over’ also amused. I noticed the extra idea in 17d but treated it as simply a little bonus.

    I managed to work out ‘Amanita’, ‘Seven Dials’ and ‘Pullulate’ though not familiar with them.

  5. Davy says:

    Thanks bridgesong,

    I found this very enjoyable…eventually as it took me a long time to get into. I failed on SEVEN DIALS which I considered as an answer but couldn’t see the wordplay. I don’t think I’ve ever seen V for ‘see’ before and the answer meant absolutely nothing to me anyway. I also failed on ROOK SPAWN which I think was further complicated by the 4,5 split. I should have thought of spawn but I was obsessed with ‘oo’ being the eggs. Just excuses I suppose. My favourite clue was definitely ONE ACROSS which was very clever. Thanks Arry.

  6. Wolfie says:

    I too failed on ‘Seven Dials’ but found much to enjoy in this crossword. I was highly amused by 14ac. My only quibble was with 9ac. The title of the Goldsmith poem is ‘THE Deserted Village’, so the clueing here is unfair and inaccurate – even though it was the first one in for me. Thank you to Bridgesong for the blog, and for elucidating 5d.

  7. rrc says:

    I took this on a trip to Lands End and managed to complete except for 5d and 7d. Never heard of 5d (is this another example of London bias) even the word play on this was not obvious.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Bridgesong.

    There were some rather cryptic definitions here, which added to the enjoyment once the answer was found.

    I had no problem with SEVEN DIALS, which sprung to mind immediately I had a few crossing letters, though I only knew it from the song quoted in your Wiki link. There was a time I knew Iolanthe by heart.

    I liked 1 and 10,15ac, and 14d.

    Thank you Araucaria.

  9. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very enjoyable as always.
    My only quibble would be that just “area” seems a bit vague for non-Londoners. A friend persisted with ‘seven hills’ for some time so even a hint that it was a GB area would have helped. To be fair,I did get it quite soon through ‘facet’ although it is only barely known to me.

  10. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks bridgesong. There seem to be two camps for this one. I belong in the one which enjoyed Rook’s Pawn (and many others of course) but had to resort to googling random combinations to stumble across Seven Dials. Not even a hint of recognition for me.

    In fact Rook’s Pawn was one of my first in. The mismatch between the (5,4) in the clue and the (4,5) had me thinking about a possessive ‘s’. Eggs starting with S – spawn. Pawn and sideboard – Rook’s pawn. Easy when the guesses work.

    I think my COD was 13dn. A big chuckle on that one.

  11. EB says:

    Thanks bridgesong and, of course, Araucaria.

    Thoroughly enjoyable as usual from Araucaria – lots of good stuff, Seven Dials no problem for me as someone I know owns a restaurant there; for anyone who is in London and likes their steak (other dishes are available) it is highly recommended:

    As for the crossword I thought 1ac was superb and reminded me of another clue (again Araucaria I think) from a long time ago:

    1ac Medal winner here (8,5)

  12. molonglo says:

    Thanks bridgesong. Nothing too hard here, except the last in, the guessable AMANITA. The 5,4 ROOK SPAWN numbering of 10a was really distracting, really good. I got 14a, missing the ghastly pun; and 5d without seeing how the ‘see’ worked. I suppose one could win the prize for this puzzle even lacking these insights.

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