Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,405 / Araucaria

Posted by Stella on August 19th, 2011


Not the best circumstances for my first Araucaria blog, as I’m on holiday in Ireland, and haven’t much time to think things through, so I’m afraid there are two or three blanks which need filling in. Also, I probably won’t be able to look in again today, but I shall read any comments when I can.

A nice theme today, which increased my knowledge of Scottish geography – and railway stations



I knew ‘landau’ as a(n open?) carriage, but not its application to a convertible motor vehicle

10 TAINT The same as “‘t’ain’t”, or “it isn’t” as a Scot might say
12 APPEASE I’m not sure about this one. ‘Without difficulty’ could be read as ‘with EASE’, but APP could be any number of things, according to Wiki. No doubt some blogger will know which applies.
13 See 24
17 SOTTISH S(c)OTTISH, like the answers to 1d and 30ac, minus 100
19 ARMBAND dd., though the second would indicate two words
22 WAR DRUM Sorry, any suggestions?
24,13 ANYHOW A + YH in NOW
25 CLAPHAM CLAP + HAM for the (in)famous London railway junction
26 CALYPSO <SPY in *COAL. I’m not sure why ‘in ballad’
28 NOT SO Hidden reverse in bOSTON
29 GREAT GLEN *GET ANGLER, for a geological fault dividing the Scottish Highlands
30 LOCH NESS MONSTER N in CHESS + MONS, the site of a WWI battle, all in LOT + ER
1 CALEDONIAN CANAL *A CLAN x 2, around <IN ODE. The canal makes use of the Great Glen, so that only a small part of its length is man-made.
2 ERNIE dd. – Mr. Morecambe’s partner, and the premium bond computer

I don’t know the song, but if it’s 4 o’clock in England, it’s 5 in France

5 OUTLAWS So not “in-laws” :)
7 BRIGADIER B, the second letter, +RIGA + *RIDE
8 TATTENHAM CORNER *AT TENTH + AM, but I’m not sure where CORNER comes from, but then I’m no Monopoly fan.

Another railway station, this time a terminus in Surrey


I’d never heard of him but the wordplay is clear

18 See 16
20 ASHDOWN I suppose an ASH DOWN could be a forest of these trees, but I normally associate a ‘down’ with open hilly grassland; hence the ?, no doubt
22 WYCH ELM WhY + CHELMsford
23 RALSTON Who would that be? Another one I need help with
27 PILOT PLOT around I


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

46 Responses to “Guardian 25,405 / Araucaria”

  1. Andrew says:

    Thanks Stella.
    8dn – nothing to do with the game: to corner a market is to monopolise it.
    23dn – Alston is a town in Cumbria, and Aron Ralston famously cut of his own arm with a penknife after is became trapped while he was climbing.

  2. Meic says:

    22, homophone of WARD ROOM if DRUM is pronounced with a sort of northern accent

  3. Rog says:

    Hi Stella
    12 ac: my take on it is that the consequential development of quietening in music is a pianissimo or ‘a pp’. I’ve put this clumsily, and it may not even be right.
    22 ac: a wardroom is an officers’ mess. I guess Araucaria is suggesting that a Northerner would pronounce it ‘wardrum,’ but I have my doubts.
    26 ac: there’s a John Denver song (ballad?) called Calypso – again this may be what A is getting at.
    20 dn: there is an Ashdown Forest in southeast England. It’s where Pooh lived.
    On the other two, I agree with Andrew. 23 dn I would never have got without Google.
    Best wishes

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Stella.

    I’m sure you’re having a lovely holiday but it’s hard luck getting your first Araucaria, which should be a real treat, in those circumstances!

    26ac is a dd – a calypso is a West Indian ballad – and so is 20dn: Ashdown Forest is where Winnie-the-Pooh is set:

    Re 3dn: I think this is the song:

  5. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Stella. Tattenham Corner is the home of Epsom racecourse, hence ‘of course’ in the def.

    I thought the ‘app’ in 12ac could refer to the kind of apps that a produced for iPhones etc — consequential developments of the technology?

    Canova’s Three Graces was the focus of quite a bit of attention when it was bought for the nation.

  6. duncanshiell says:

    8d – Tattenham Corner is adjacent to the Epsom racecourse where the Derby is run. Anagram of (turning) AT TENTH + AM (morning) + corner (monopolise [the market])

    26a – a calypso is a West Indian ballad.

    I am not sure about the parsing of 12 across.

  7. Eileen says:

    Sorry for the cross, Rog!

  8. Rog says:

    Eileen: you are right, of course, re Calypso – how I got hung up on John Denver I simply don’t know, when the explanation is so much more obvious.
    By the way, Stella, thanks for the explanation of 30 ac: I’m afraid I couldn’t be bothered to parse it once I’d worked out the answer from the crossing letters.

  9. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Stella

    I thought this was going to be tricky, but I found it fell out fairly easily. At first I wondered about ‘cabriolet’ for 9a, but a few crossing letters gave me the right answer; I was also familiar with ‘landau’ but not LANDAULET.

    12a – I presume APP is as in ‘application’, an additional piece of software, hence ‘consequential development’, but there may be a better explanation.

    26a – I think ‘in ballad’ refers to the Caribbean song form CALYPSO, giving this clue two defs as well as a charade.

    20d – ASHDOWN Forest is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in East Sussex.

    22a – WARDRUM could be ‘rum’ consumed in a ‘wardroom’ by naval officers, but I don’t see where the North Country comes in.

  10. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Stella & Araucaria – this was great!

    Like you, I didn’t fully understand how some of the clues worked but, as always, I did admire the Setter’s ingenuity.

    3d TEATIME was my last entry. This is also an anagram.

    It was nice to see Paddy ASHDOWN mentioned:

    I’d never heard of RALSTON.


    There’s also a great Crossie in today’s FT by Mudd – otherwise Paul.

  11. Geoff says:

    I’ve crossed with practically everybody here!

    I expected this puzzle to be much harder than it turned out to be, as the first answer that hit me on a quick read through was CANOVA!

    I particularly enjoyed the hidden anagram at 4d, OUTLAWS not being in-laws, the clever clue at 3d, and the LOL CD at 1a.

    Danny Boyle’s film ‘127 Hours’ about Aron RALSTON is excellent, if you have the stomach for it.

  12. Eileen says:

    Re WAR DRUM: I know exactly how a Northerner would say this – the same way a ‘posh’ Southerner would say ‘Ward room’ [OO as in ‘wood’], which is far more bizarre to my ears!

  13. Geoff says:

    Thanks, Eileen – you’ve cracked 22a! I’ve been trying to work out how a Northern pronunciation of ‘wardroom’ could possibly sound like WAR DRUM; in fact the homonym has to be taken the other way round – the Northern version of WAR DRUM sounds like ‘wardroom’ in the best RP. The difficulty with the clue is that no true blood Northerner would ever pronounce ‘wardroom’ that way!

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi Geoff

    Exactly! :-)

  15. Howard says:

    23d Aron Ralston was the guy who fell down a canyon and had to cut his own arm off to survive.

  16. crypticsue says:

    A very nice challenge from Araucaria today, thank you to him. Thanks also to Stella for taking time on her holiday to do battle with sorting out the wordplay of this one.

  17. Mark says:

    For 22 I made it “our drum” in a Geordie accent – “Wor drum”.

  18. Jam Roll says:

    Re: 22a, I read it a little differently. I thought ‘war’ was equivalent to ‘wor’ (Geordie for ‘our’), while ‘oo’ is often used by Southerners to indicate the way that Northerners pronounce the letter ‘u’. As a lapsed Northerner, I can’t decide whether this clue was a good one or not!

  19. Mark says:

    And again, beaten to it (and partially wrong at the same time). Bah!

  20. sidey says:

    Two Geordies in the jungle hear drumming, one says “Are they war drums?” the other replies “No, I think they’re theirs.”.

  21. tupu says:

    Thanks Stella and Araucaria

    Some teasting clues in a generally enjoyable puzzle.
    12a puzzled me – I thought of App re Iphones and found APP = ‘Assessing Pupil’s Progress’ but neither seemed obvious. The first is right I’d guess.

    Re 22a It has to relate to room. The wardroom is used by senior naval officers. So the references to Geordie ‘wor’ won’t do since they ignore the ‘naval’ in the clue’ and they leave us with ‘our drum’.

    I liked 17a, 1d, 2d, and 8d.

    Rather a lott of references to named persons – Ernie, Ralston, and Ashdown and Robin Hood.

  22. Robi says:

    Good puzzle overall. I may be being incredibly thick, but I don’t really get ‘CREATURE’ as semi-automated. Is it supposed to relate to Frankenstein’s creature, say? I thought the last word must have been ‘robot’ when I got the crossing ‘b’ and ‘t.’

    Thanks, Stella for your Irish blog. No trouble with TATTENHAM CORNER (of course!) as I live quite close – and, yes, there is a train station there as well. I used to have an MG LANDAULET, although I think this refers to even earlier times. Not sure about APP. If this refers to application, this could be in the sense of a development application, perhaps (although I don’t really understand the ‘consequential’ bit.)

    BTW, Dennis Ralston was a professional tennis player, but he didn’t cut his arm off, luckily.

  23. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    I think we’re all agreed now that it’s a homophone of ‘ward room': it doesn’t matter whether we take the Northern pronunciation as being Yorkshire / Lancashire or Geordie.

  24. Robi says:

    ………. OK, maybe I get it as a CREATURE OF HABIT might do things in a semi-automated way. Is that right?

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks All
    This was a strange one for me. I found it quite tricky to get going, then I got 17ac (sottish) which led me to the long Scottish ones. I am sure this was intendd to be the other way round.
    I failed completely to parse ‘appease’ so thanks.

  26. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    I agree as you say that there is a homonym of wardroom. But as far as I can see, the Geordie suggestions have it as a homonym of war (our) drum.

  27. Eileen says:

    Sorry, tupu: I see what you mean now.

  28. Geoff says:

    I agree with tupu that the Geordie suggestion for 22a, fun though it is, won’t wash because it doesn’t bring in the naval officer strand of the clue.

    We have all had so much trouble with this clue because it is written the wrong way round: the martial instrument (WARDRUM) doesn’t sound like a Northern pronunciation of ‘ward room’, as the clue implies. Instead, a U pronunciation of ‘ward room’ (with the short vowel) sounds like a Northern pronunciation of WARDRUM. However, ‘Northern martial instrument used by naval officers?’ would work perfectly well as a clue for WARDROOM!

    Robi: I agree with your point at #24 – a CREATURE OF HABIT behaves in a semi-automated way.

  29. harhop says:

    8d – Did anyone else spend time distracted by ‘Monopoly’ with cap M attached to a location that belongs to the world of Totopoly?

  30. chas says:

    Thanks to Stella for taking time from your hols to do the blog. You explained several things which I had been unable to parse. Also 30a where I did not bother to parse once I had the answer.

    I also was bothered trying to fit ‘semi-automated’ with a nun.

    I saw 26a as a triple (1) name of a nymph (2) type of ballad and (3) invert SPY into *COAL

  31. scchua says:

    Thanks Stella and Araucaria for an excellent puzzle as usual.

    My favourite wa TATTENHAM CORNER. Once I got corner = Monopoly, the rest was easy, reminding myself of when I lived foe a while within walking diatance of the same and the racecourse. Thanks for the memory, Araucaria.

    I’m with chas@30 on the hat trick at 26A.

  32. Derek Lazenby says:

    Far too clever for me.

    8d, I’m not sure why people keep mentioning the railway station as that is merely named after the turn on the racecourse and it is the latter to which the clue refers “Turning point of course”. The station is an irrelevancy.

  33. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks to all for filling in the blanks.

    Sorry if I confused the issue, Derek, I’m not familiar with racecourses, or Greater London stations south of the Thames, many of which seem to have gained importance in the last 30-odd years I’ve been living in Spain.

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    Given that no-one else mentioned it, I would guess most people are more familiar with the station name, it’s not just you.

  35. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks, Stella, for taking the time during your holiday to do this blog – rather a short straw for you to have drawn, I’m afraid, as this excellent puzzle was pretty tricky in my view.

    Having read both your blog and the comments above there is still one solution which I don’t fully understand – this is 3d. I’ve no problem at all with the anagram “meet at 1″ = TEA TIME, nor with the idea that whatever happens at 4 in the UK will take place at 5 in France – what I don’t understand, however, is the reference to “4 “in song” “. Normally, I would have looked to Bryan to explain this part of the clue, but he simply referred to the anagram in his posting today. As a result I’ve had to endure not just what I remember of the lyrics of songs like “Tea for Two” and “I’m a little teapot” but also those of “Funky Town” (ref this morning’s “Today” programme) running around my poor head for much of the afternoon. Maybe the intended reference here is to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (“anytime is teatime” as I recall) but I really would appreciate it if someone could please explain the full parsing of this clue.

    And on the subject of Araucaria’s “posers”, did anyone else get stuck with 13d in last Saturday’s Prize Crossword – I thought it was a great puzzle, not just enjoyable but largely achievable, yet this one solution completely evaded me, notwithstanding all the crossing letters. Ah well, at least all will be revealed on that score in the next couple of hours (no doubt, that will mean a “D’oh moment” for me!)

  36. Eileen says:

    Hi superkiwigirl

    If you follow my link at comment 4, you’ll find the song and the answer in verse two.

    And yes, the answer to 13dn last Saturday went in long before the full explanation dawned! :-)

  37. caretman says:

    Hi Eileen.

    Great, 13d puzzled me as well. I can figure out the wordplay but the definition eluded me entirely. I’m looking forward to seeing what I missed.

  38. DavidL says:

    I came onto 225 to check answers. Intrigued by discussions re 22ac: ‘war drum': surely Geordie naval officers would drink their ration?…..

    Also- a nun IS a ‘creature of habit’ – she wears one!!

  39. caretman says:

    Oh! And now, having just responded, I looked back on 13d and I suddenly see it. Blind spot indeed!

  40. Eileen says:

    PS superkiwigirl: here’s the all-singing version:

    Hi caretman

    I think you perhaps have only the first part of half the wordplay sussed – and it’s not fair for me to reveal it. Not long to wait now!

    I think you’ll kick yourself: I did – hard! :-)

  41. Eileen says:

    Hi caretman

    We crossed!

    It’s amazing but it’s worked so many times for me – as soon as you articulate a problem [and it’s been a week for you!] the penny drops! There ought to be a word for this. Good, wasn’t it? 😉

  42. Mr DNA says:


    “surely Geordie naval officers would drink their ration?…”

    Wor dram, perhaps?

  43. superkiwigirl says:

    Hi Eileen and caretman,

    Firstly, Eileen, thanks so much for the Jack Buchanan link which I hadn’t picked up on earlier – I really enjoyed looking at this video: what a great song; what clever lyrics; & what a super style of delivery (all in all, a hard act for Noel Coward to have followed, I imagine). And, at the risk of exposing my ignorance, I’m surprised that the “teatime” reference here isn’t better known in popular culture – to “stop all the clocks” might suit the (rare, but sadly) most dramatic times in a life, but who in the UK etc. doesn’t pause for a “cuppa” each afternoon?

    As for 13d, well, I’m just about to see what I missed …

  44. mike04 says:

    Hi Eileen

    Your interesting comment @41 is discussed as a problem-solving technique here:

    I agree, there ought to be a word for this. How about ARTICULUTION?

  45. mike04 says:

    I meant to add this earlier: Do you remember the old TV game show ‘Catchphrase’?
    When contestants were struggling, the host Roy Walker would nudge them along gently with his own catchphrase “SAY WHAT YOU SEE”.
    Maybe that would help with parsing too!

  46. deborahf says:

    Re: what song 3 down derived from, I think it is more simple – Row row row the boat, gently down the shore. Merrily merrily merrily merrily, back for tea at Four?

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