Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,366 – Araucaria The Master

Posted by Uncle Yap on July 5th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

I am indeed lucky. Last week, Paul got me off to a hilarious day and today, I am rewarded with a Masterly puzzle from Araucaria with a mini-theme that should become apparent.

1 BERIBERI Sounds like berry berry for a mainly tropical disease caused by lack of thiamine (Vitamin B) which results in nerve inflammation, paralysis, oedema and heart failure.
5 TROPIC Ins of R (R for rook or for Rex, King) in TOPIC (subject) for either Tropic of Cancer or Capricorn over which the sun is overhead on the solstice day
9 CROW’S-NEST dd A rook is a sub-specie of crows and a crow’s nest on a ship is an observation post high in one of the uprights.
11 QUEEN dd a queen is a man (a chess-piece in this mini-themed puzzle) and of course, she’s a lady
15 KING KIN (relation) G (first letter of God)
16 NEWSCASTER NEWS (all the points on a compass) CASTER (suger)
18 JOLLY ROGER JOLLY (slang for a Royal Marine) ROGER (in radio communication, Roger is short for R, received loud and clear) a black flag with white skull and crossbones, flown by pirate ships, first met by most of us when reading RLS’s Treasure Island
19 FOOT What a quaint dd
21 MISREPRESENT MISER (Scrooge in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol) with last two letters interchanged + PRESENT (here)
24 ERICA AMERICA (continent) minus AM (ante meridiem, before noon, ie in the morning)
25 MONOGRAPH M (married) + *(hang poor)
26 SIGNET Rev of TEN GI’S (soldiers)
27 PLATINUM Cha of P (piano or quiet) LATIN (language) UM (hesitation)

1 BACK BAC (short form of baccalaureate) K (King)
2 ROOK Triple def
3 BISHOP BISH (mistake) OP (opus, work)
4 ROENTGENOGRAM *(man or egg or net)
6 REQUITAL Ins of QUIT (leave) in REAL (actually happening)
7 PREDICTION Ins of RED (colour) in PIC (picture) + *(INTO)
8 CONSECRATE *(SCONE) + CRATE (aircraft)
10 TRANSPERSONAL Ins of R (right) ANSWERS with P (piano) replacing W as new heart -> RANSPERS in TONAL (relating to fugue)
13 SKI JUMPERS SKI (part of ESKIMO) JUMPERS Jumpers is a 1972 play by Tom Stoppard. It explores and satirises the field of academic philosophy, likening it to a less-than skilful competitive gymnastics display.
14 UNBLUSHING Ins of BLU (not quite blue) SHIN (bone) in UNG (rev of GNU, large African antelope)
17 TYPEFACE TYPE (sort) FACE (appearance)
20 KNIGHT K (king) + *(thing)
22 PAWN PAW (hand) N (North pole) the last of the chess pieces
23 WHAM Poor West Ham United FC, just relegated from EPL

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

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,366 – Araucaria The Master”

  1. PeterO says:

    The Master indeed! I hope that 13D will put an end to the objections to the ‘Eskimos part’ device; it seems valid to me, and is eminently gettable. That it is not spelled out which part of Eskimo to take seems no more valid than, say, that which relative of the rook should appear in 10A; you choose whatever fits the answer.
    My favourite clue is 15A, with the definition ‘on skeleton staff’.

  2. nusquam says:

    I enjoyed the crossword, and thanks for the blog. But isn’t there as small mismatch between definition and answer in 16ac?

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. This looked hard initially, then 21 and 24a indicated not so. I got the theme with 3d, and so the five ‘men’ clues quickly, and 5a and 9a. The SW corner slowed things down, with 17d last one in. Not sure about the ‘writer’ in 26a.

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Uncle Yap & Araucaria, this was excellent and – apart from BERIBERI – every other clue made me stop and think.

    I particularly liked JOLLY ROGER and WHAM.

  5. Roger says:

    Thanks, UY. Plain sailing today, I thought, but good fun for all that. Especially liked TROPIC as a ‘hot line’ and QUEEN as a ‘lady’s man’. Fell briefly into the bless scone anagram trap at 8d.

    Favourite clue … JOLLY ROGER, of course ! Thanks Araucaria.

  6. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria

    A small typo ‘suger’ re 16a. I too was a little puzzled by this answer. I suppose if you want someone to present the news you need a newscater?

    Re 26a a signet ring is usually inscribed with a person’s initial or other ID and is used with or instead of a signature I think.

    Some very good clues in an accesible but enjoyable puzzle e.g. 5a, 18a, 25a,20d.

  7. tupu says:

    ps for accesible sc. accessible

  8. Orange says:

    This seemed a bit easy- the “men” gave a few quick answers.
    And being a West Ham supporter, the first team that came to mind was of course mine……

  9. Coffee says:

    10D stumped me but the rest was highly entertaining. 4D was helped by having lived in Japan and dealt with Japanese puzzlement about the fact that their loan word for Xray was not from English – it was something like Roentegen…. plenty of other chuckles today, esp. CONSECRATE and JOLLY ROGER.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Uncle Yap. This fell out quite steadily for me, from BERIBERI onwards. Remembering a previous puzzle when all the men were chessmen helped. A slight hold-up at 8dn — like Roger @5, I tried to make something of ‘bless scone’ at first.

    Wonder what Araucaria will choose on Desert Island Discs? Can’t wait to hear the programme!

  11. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap and Araucaria. Great fun. I,too, enjoyed JOLLY ROGER.

    Liz@10, can you tell me when Araucaria is on Desert Island Discs, please?

    Thanks, Giovanna

  12. Dave Ellison says:

    Giovanna – the answer is at the top of this page, just above GUARDIAN 25,366

    Enjoyed this, but easier than usual in my view.

  13. Robi says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria. I think the latter must have taken pity on us after the last Genius puzzle as this seemed very straightforward – especially with the chess theme giving easy answers.

    I particularly liked FOOT (very Paulian) and JOLLY ROGER.

  14. chas says:

    Thanks UY for the blog. There were several cases where you explained the parsing: until I cam here I thought ‘the answer must be xxx but why?’

    I liked 18a, having remembered a bit of naval slang I once heard: a jolly boat is not a fun item, it is the boat for the marines.

    I also tried to make (bless scone)* in 8d but found it would not work.

    9a had a lovely bit if misdirection: having already spotted chess pieces I tried to make 9a also a chess piece!

  15. Giovanna says:

    Dave Ellison@ 12. Thanks. I always go straight to the blog!
    Best Wishes,

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Am I right that Araucaria used Roentgen in a recent puzzle?

  17. RCWhiting says:

    Reference themes: this could have been a traditional Araucarian type with a preamble “Six solutions are of a kind and their clues contain no further definitions”.
    I am ignoring the ‘accidental’ inclusion of man as part of the anagram fodder in 4d.
    I wonder why he has followed the current fashion? Pity because this is a proper themed puzzle, not a random scattering amongst clues and solutions as we seem to get almost every day at present.

  18. tupu says:

    Hi RCWhiting
    Brendan used it last week (29 June).

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thankyou tupu. I remember wondering about the spelling.

  20. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. Sorry I’m very late – a mad busy day.

    The lack of discussion shows that this was the easiest Araucaria in a long time. The obvious theme helped but only a little. I agree that NEWSCASTER was a little suspect but within the A bounds I guess. All in all, not a lot to say!

    I think you are very kind to call him “the master” on the strength of this puzzle which was mediocre, at best.

  21. Stella Heath says:

    Hi NeilW,

    At ninety and still going strong, would you begrudge him an honorary title for one “easy” puzzle?

  22. mike04 says:

    Hi molonglo @3 and tupu @6
    I think ‘with writer’ in 26ac refers to a Writer to the Signet, a specialist solicitor
    here in Scotland (see Chambers).

  23. Wolfie says:

    RC Whiting: like you I was struck by the second appearance of Roentgen in a Guardian cryptic in less than a week – it brought back memories of how impressed I was as a young science student, reading about Roentgen’s research into X-rays. Despite being the inaugural recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics (in 1901) Wilhelm Roentgen’s name appears to be almost unknown in the English-speaking world. Those of us who have had the benefit of diagnostic X-rays owe him a debt of gratitude.

    Thanks Araucaria for an enjoyable, if undemanding, solve and of course to UY for the blog.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Stella @ 21:
    “At ninety and still going strong, would you begrudge him an honorary title for one “easy” puzzle?”
    I am with NeilW that it was what I called a while ago an Araucaria Lite, but nothing negative meant by that (nor does NeilW has an intention to do so, IMO).
    I also agree with him and Roger @5 that 16ac is not a pure clue.
    Moreover, I am / we are with Roger anyway.
    First thought of (bless scone)* – which it wasn’t. This misdirection makes it a good clue.
    And 11ac (‘Lady’s man?’) is such a neat clue.

    Easyish, but more agreeable than many other puzzles that want to make life harder than it is.
    Good Tuesday crossword.

  25. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    I found this most enjoyable even though it was not that difficult. It kept me occupied for a couple of hours anyway. Favourite clues were CONTRARINESS (clever anagram), PREDICTION (liked ‘turned into’) and WHAM.

    I thought this was a good, entertaining puzzle and not at all mediocre. Based on Araucaria’s unsurpassed contribution to crossword compilation, I would most definitely describe him as the master.

    Thanks Arry.

  26. Davy says:

    I meant CONTRARIWISE but you all knew that anyway.

  27. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Sil,

    I think we all know that the Reverend “bends the rules” on occasion, and that sometimes his puzzles are on the light side, but for me that is the mark of a great setter. Where would art be nowadays without a Rembrandt or a Dali?

    ‘I think you are very kind to call him “the master” on the strength of this puzzle which was mediocre, at best.’ sounds pretentious to me. I’m sorry, NeilW.

  28. Martin P says:

    Hi UY:

    Thanks for the drole summary of Stoppard’s play, sounds like one to see.

    I did enjoy this accomplished and craftsmanlike crossword. The setter achieved a number of difficult objectives I think. The clues were more or less equally challenging (rather than exasperating. I know some would say easy) but the solutions quite satisfying and witty. However, I was left with no excuse to adjourn to the pub to complete it. But if only Bunthorne were still here to learn…

  29. NeilW says:


    I’m not sure you will read this: I meant mediocre for A, not setters in general. No intention to sound pretentious at all.

  30. Martin H says:

    Late to this. On this type of theme: it is readily containable, in its entirety, in the puzzle, and its complete content is predictable; so, it doesn’t need a preamble – once you twig the theme you know how many elements it has; and it is structural, in that it provides specific and exhaustible content for the solver to use. In all this it is similar to the unnumbered alphabetical (which takes the same preamble each time, simply because it would look a little odd without it). The inclusion of ‘man’ in an anagram fodder is a nice piece of mischief and takes nothing away from the theme.

    Araucaria is of course a master setter. But why call him ‘The Master’? It is at least mildly contentious, as other aficionados might grant the title, if they felt that doing so wasn’t just spurious, to, say, Rufus or Pasquale. I for one don’t understand the need to do this – particularly as the headline to an otherwise excellent commentary – and find it distasteful.

    Less taxing than many of Araucaria’s, but expertly clued as usual. Favourites CONSECRATE and FOOT.

  31. fearsome says:

    Very enjoyable, I also liked Jolly Roger, it took me a long time to get signet mainly because I had entered typecast not typeface. Am I being selfish worrying about how Araucaria will get his puzzles to us (crosswords in a bottle!) once he is on the desert island.

  32. gm4hqf says:

    I was also late in getting to this puzzle but as usual with Araucaria, very enjoyable.

    Thanks for the blog Uncle Yap

  33. Malc says:

    I must admit I can’t see why the debate about Newscaster, it seems one of the most straightforward clues to me.

  34. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Malc @33:
    First, let me say that it was nusquam @2 (and not Roger @5 – as I wrongly stated in my post above) who first mentioned 16ac.

    The point is this:

    The construction is indeed straightforward (coming from: “Sugar following all points”), but normally the second part of the clue would be the definition, being “to present events”. That would suggest that the answer must be a verb. Not here, though.

    One has to replace “Sugar following all points” with NEWSCASTER, leading to “NEWSCASTER (is one) to present events”. The solution is kind of part of the definition, if you see what I mean.

    But at the end of the day, just like NeilW @20, I can’t be bothered that much.

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