Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,422 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on September 8th, 2011


The instruction “FH has the same meaning throughout” is the sort of thing that is common in Araucaria’s puzzles in the Financial Times ( as Cinephile), but less often seen in the Guardian. Perhaps surprisingly, there are only four clues (highlighted below) that have FH in them, but in compensation there are several other references to the theme in other clues. Overall I found this quite easy going, and with hardly any liberties to object to.

5. WHISKER Double definition – one who whisks egg-whites to make meringues, and a kind of Facial Hair
9. RAMPART RAM (beast) + PART (leave)
10. ATHIRST A + [model] T + [Damian] Hirst
11. ARCHDUCHY CHURCHYARD* less R. Austria was an Archduchy between 1156 and 1918.
12. BRUIN Homophone of brewin’
13. TILTH TILT (lean) + H (= heroin = horse)
15. MOUSTACHE CHAT* in MOUSE (used to “operate” a computer)
17. SIDEBURNS SIDE (conceit) + [Robert] BURNS. I wondered whether sideburns (of which I had a fine pair in the 1970s) really count as facial hair, but Chambers says the face includes the cheeks, so I suppose it’s OK.
19. DIVES Double definition – Dives (Latin for “Rich”) is the rich man in the parable in Luke 16.
22. LASER Hidden in cathedraL A SERvice, and a laser is “concentrated light”.
23. HOMEOWNER (O NEW)* in HOMER. I suppose “mortgage company” refers to the idea the the bank or building society is the real owner of your home.
25. INITIAL Anagram of II (2 in Roman numerals) + LATIN.
26. JELLYBY JELLY (shaker) + BY (near to). Mrs Jellyby is a character in Bleak House who “pursues distant projects at the expense of her duty to her own family”.
27. REGENCY Cryptic defintion
28. REDHEAD Double definition – R is the first letter of RED, and Rebekah Brooks (née Wade), who has been much in the news lately over the phone-hacking scandal, is a redhead.
1. DORMANT DOR (an earth-boring dung beetle – a new word for me) +M + ANT
2. COMICAL Not Rufus the setter, but King William II, aka William Rufus. He died in August 1100, so his “final full year” was 1099, or MIC, which goes into COAL
3. BEARD BEAR (bruin) + D
4. LATECOMER TE[s]CO om LA MER (song by Charles Trenet)
5. WEARY WE + A RY (railway = line)
6. INHIBITED IN (at home) + BITE (hurt) in HID (didn’t show)
7. KEROUAC (A CURE OK)* – a partially indirect anagram, but fairly clear. Jack Kerouac was part of the Beat Generation.
8. RETINUE UNITE in ER, reversed
14. HIBERNIAN HIBERN[ate] (to hibernate is to winter) + IAN (Scot)
16. URSA MAJOR (J AS ARMOUR)* The constellation Ursa Major is the Great Bear – I don’t think it’s ever called the Great Bruin..
17. SOLDIER SOL + DIE (depart) + R, and soldiers are traditionally clean-shaven. Wikipedia says “Reportedly, Alexander [the Great] ordered his soldiers to be clean shaven, fearing that their beards would serve as handles for their enemies to grab and to hold the soldier as he was killed.”
18. DASHING SHIN in reverse of GAD
20. VANDYKE VAN + DYKE, and two meanings – the painter (usually van Dyck, but also spelt van Dyke), and a style of facial hair named after him.
21. STRAYED YE (solvers) in STRAD (violin, fiddle)

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,422 – Araucaria”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    Pretty straightforward and lighthearted, enjoyable puzzle. 5a nicely gave the theme away. I liked that one and also11a, 12a, 13a, 2d, 4d, 18d. I had to check Jellyby though i was clear enough from the clue.

  2. tupu says:

    ps for ‘i’ read ‘it’

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for a great blog of an enjoyable puzzle, with, as you say, perhaps fewer liberties than usual for people to object to.

    Nothing to add, really, except that I’ve just enjoyed listening to this again:

    and the pictures are nice. :-)

  4. Roger says:

    Thanks Andrew. 28a seems to have gone AWOL … REDHEAD (which is what R is to Rebekah) …a reference to Ms. Brooks, maybe ?

  5. Andrew says:

    Thanks Roger, I’m not sure how that happened – now restored.

  6. James G says:

    Thanks for the blog. I would never have parsed 2 (comical) without it! A fun puzzle

  7. Alexlotl says:

    Still learning my art, but enjoyed this one – got everything apart from WEARY – didn’t know RY was an accepted abbreviation for Railway. I’d never heard of TILTH before, but my wife fortunately had. The Biblical meaning of DIVES is new to me too. The Beard reference for the otherwise easy VANDYKE clue bewildered me – thanks for the Wikipedia link above!

    Had to make use of Google for things like JELLYBY (Dickens has never grabbed me) and to find out who on earth Trenet was and what his hits were, as well as confirm what year William Rufus died. Incidentally, on a pedantry basis, 1099 should be MXCIX, not MIC.

    Question – why is “solvers” YE? Is it because you (ye), as the person doing the crossword, are a solver?

  8. Andrew says:

    Alexlotl – yes, the usual convention is that the setter is “I” or “me” (and “setter’s” can be “my” or “mine” or “I’m”), and the solver is “you” or “ye”, and so on.

    You’re right of course about MIC vs MXCIC, but I think it’s forgiveable (and there aren’t many words containing the sequence MXCIC..).

  9. cholecyst says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria. Did anyone guess the meaning of FH before completing the puzzle? I certainly didn’t. It seems a pretty unlikely theme, but one that rapidly became clear after getting BRUIN.

  10. scchua says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria.

    Enjoyable puzzle, and, not complaining, but always a little disconcerting when able to complete an Araucaria without stalling. First FH was BEARD from the checked letters giving one of my favourites today 12A BRUIN. Others were 4D LATECOMER and 14D HIBERNIAN.

    Thanks Eileen for the link, to return the favour, here’s one from another crooner

    and another from the Beat Generation–BVDfQ&feature=related

  11. Eileen says:

    Thanks, scchua, but no thanks – it has to be the man himself!

    I remember the Bobby Darin one but I’d no idea Bing had recorded it. I don’t know why he did!

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    As an owner of both a 15 & 3, I did interpret FH quite quickly (cholecyst @9).

  13. jackkt says:

    As possibly suggested in the blog the idea that the lender (mortgagee – building society, bank or whatever) actually owns the property is a common misconception. They have a charge on it but the owner is the mortgagor. At one time it accounted for quite a number of houses in the UK being named “OBAN” as the acronym “Owned By Abbey National”.

  14. RCWhiting says:

    In the sixties, on our first date, my future wife took me to see Jules et Jim. Oh, was I impressed.
    Did you overwhelm gauche young men with your naughty Frenchified ways?

  15. jvh says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    In 23A I took a homeowner to be someone who had paid of his or her mortgage, and the dash to be a minus sign.

  16. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    Definitely one of the easier Araucaria puzzles,but very enjoyable nevertheless.Good range of cultural references.
    Thanks to all for the YouTube links – I agree with Eileen,it has to be Trenet!
    On the subject of youTube links,jazz fans might like this one-

    It comes from a c.d. called ‘Legends of the 20th Century -jack Kerauac’ released by E.M.I. which sadly seems to be deleted.If anyone can find a reasonably priced second hand copy,I can highly recommend it.

  17. chas says:

    Andrew thanks for the blog. I failed to understand why 2d had that answer because I had totally forgotten William Rufus :(

    It took me a while to understand FH – even though I also have 15a and 3d. Once I had solved 15a then the meaning was obvious and I got 17a at once.

    Thanks to jackkt for the clarification: I had forgotten who owns my house.

    I liked 11a.

  18. crypticsue says:

    Superb stuff just right for a very grey damp morning. I really enjoyed sorting out the theme and am always a fan of a cryptic that leaves you with a big smile on your face. Thanks to Araucaria and Andrew too.

  19. Gervase (formerly known as Geoff) says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Very much plain sailing – I raced through this puzzle, perhaps because I left it until later in the day when the little grey cells were properly warmed up. Theme came very quickly, with BEARD.

    Nevertheless, I failed to parse COMICAL – thanks for that. Nice misleading reference to a fellow setter here. Haven’t we had an erroneous IC for 99, or something similar, in another fairly recent crossword? And, for some reason I cannot explain, I had never come across Charles Trenet. But the answer was obviously LATECOMER, as there wasn’t room for SAIN(S)BURY in the space.

    ‘Bleak House’ characters and dor beetles hold no such terrors…

  20. Stella Heath says:

    IMO, MIC is perfectly good for 1099. As is stated in Wiki, there is no standardization, although it does go on to enumerate some generally accepted norms, which would rule it out. Still, the numeration is perfectly clear, and prompted me to look up William Rufus to find out when he died – my COD.

    My way in to both crossword and theme was 5ac, to the extent that the only across clues I got first time round were the themed ones. Then the clue to 3d led me to the other mini-theme, and both together remind me of the Spanish saying, “el hombre y el oso, cuanto más feo, más hermoso” (Man and bear, the uglier the handsomer) :)

  21. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria. Nice to get back to sensible clues after the contortions of the last couple of days.

    Admitted this was not one of the most difficult puzzles but the DOR in DORMANT was a new one to me.

    COMICAL was obvious but thanks for explaining the MIC part.

  22. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria. Didn’t get the mini-theme until I was 3/4 through the puzzle. Embarassing since I had a goatee in the 60’s, mutton chops in the 70’s and a handlebar moustache for the last 30 years. Learned a lot in this puzzle: DIVES, JELLYBY, RUFUS, and SIDE meaning conceit. Thanks for the education.


  23. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew. An enjoyable Araucaria, which I completed fairly quickly, but didn’t manage to parse completely. Thanks for explaining MIC in 2dn, DIVES and the Trenet reference (knew the song but not the singer…).

    My way into the FH theme was BEARD.

  24. Robi says:

    Not my cup of tea; too many references to things I know little about.

    Thanks, Andrew; I don’t think ‘requires concentration’ is an adequate description of LASER, although I missed the ha anyway. I quite like COMICAL now that it has been explained, even if MIC isn’t exactly right (should have used minimum inhibitory concentration instead!) Didn’t know DIVES even though I did ‘O’-level Latin; the biblical reference didn’t help.

    All in all this put me in a grumpy mood, so I’ll have to go and find some solace with Bacchus later.

  25. Derek Lazenby says:

    Sorry late, ISP died whilst I was solving.

    Gosh! Actually finished my second special instructions puzzle. Most times I find them impenetrable :(

    I’d go further than Robi. I think concentration is wrong. There is no way the word can be validly used to refer to the laser process. You can get get away with concentrated as loose description of a laser beam though. The beam is created as a concentrated beam, but no “un-concentrated” (sorry) light undergoes concentration. If you wanted to refer to the strength of the beam that would be it’s intensity, not it’s concentration.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Of course it could be the juice of the laserwort,that needs concentrating,it’s very weak.

  27. Mr Beaver says:

    Robi and Derek – I think a LASER being a ‘concentration’ of light, while not being scientifically accurate, is close enough to make it obvious that was the required answer. You can’t expect these humanities types to grasp the finer points of technology, after all ;)
    Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed this – several answers made us laugh (LOL, if not ROFL). I particularly enjoyed TECO as ‘heartless supermarket’ after learning yesterday that Harrogate is to lose its cherished status as the only mainland postcode without a Tesco superstore :(

  28. g larsen says:

    Thanks Andrew.

    Very satisfying puzzle, even if fairly straightforward by Araucaria’s standard.

    I got the theme quickly – I don’t think my own FH helped in the process.

    Many thanks to jackkt@13 for enlightening me about ‘Oban': a house near me is so named, and I had innocently assumed it was the home of an exiled Highlander!

  29. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    This was much easier than yesterday’s Arachne which I failed to complete by seven white spaces. The first FH I got was BEARD which led easily to all of the others. My last clue in was JELLYBY which I guessed….eventually and checked it on Google.

    This was quite an enjoyable puzzle but not one of Arry’s best.

  30. FlutterBy says:

    Probably rather late to post this comment, but I need to get it off my chest!!!

    I feel my favourite setter has let himself down with REDHEAD. It’s just TOO topical. Anyone trying this crossword in a year’s time (or later still) will struggle to work out the Rebekah reference. For me, crosswords should be timeless, especially now we have online archives of them. References to famous artists, prime ministers and whatnot are fine. But Rebekah Brooks is a flash in the pan who will soon disappear into obscurity – I sincerely hope.

    Other than that, a very enjoyable puzzle. HOMEOWNER made my laugh out loud.

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>

× 7 = fifty six