Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,435 / Araucaria

Posted by Gaufrid on September 23rd, 2011


When I agreed to stand in today I was hoping that I would be solving a puzzle that I could get my teeth into and I have not been disappointed. My progress was slow but steady, with regular occurrences of ‘Ah, that must be it!’.

There seemed to be more homophones and double/cryptic definitions than is usual, even for Araucaria, which perhaps accounted for my slower than customary solving rate. However, this did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the puzzle.

1 DUBIOUS DUB (call) IOUS (bills)
5 APOLLO A POLL (an election) O (love)
9 SCAFFOLD def. & cryptic def. – a reference to The Scaffold’s record ‘Thank U Very Much’ which reached No. 4 in the single’s chart in 1967.
10 JESSIE double def.
12 INARTICULATE IN (fashionable) ART (painting) I (one) CU (copper) LATE (departed)
15 OLIVE STONE OLIVE[r] STONE (American film director losing right)
17,19 SEA MEW S + homophone of ‘emu’ (bird)
20 FANNY ADAMS FAN (supporter) *(AS MANDY) – ‘sweet Fanny Adams’ being a term meaning ‘nothing’.
22 CASH REGISTER S (second) HR (hour) EG (say) IS in CATER (provide the food)
26 CREEDS SCREED (a lot of writing) with the first letter moved to the end
27 TOULOUSE homophone of ‘to lose’ (not heard to win)
27 DONKEY part of a homophone of ‘Don Quixote’
29 DROPLET DROP LET (allow tenancy to lapse)
1 DASH def. & cryptic def. – ‘to get on board’ gives ‘dashboard’.
2 BEAT double def.
3 OFFENDER OF FENDER (protection)
4,6 SOLAR PLEXUS SOLAR (type of power) EX (former) in PLUS (also)
7 LES PAYS-BAS PAYS (gives money to) BA (graduate) in LESS
8 OX-EYE DAISY homophone of ‘oxide’ (compound, maybe nitrous) *(I SAY)
11 FINNAN INN(pub) in FAN (cooler) – “a kind of smoked haddock, prob named from Findon, Kincardineshire, not from the Findhorn river” (Chambers).
13 FORMIC ACID FORMICA (table top) CID (sleuths) – ‘Formica’ is “A brand of plastic laminates used to provide hard, heat-resistant, easily-cleaned surfaces” (Chambers).
14 MIDWESTERN DIM (faint) reversed WE STERN (back)
18,21 WATERLOO BRIDGE WATERLOO (final defeat) BRIDGE (game)
23 SCOLD S COLD (reverse of shot other than first)
24,25 FULL PELT double def.


53 Responses to “Guardian 25,435 / Araucaria”

  1. Anthony Warren says:

    23d How does scold mean rate? Berate maybe. A step too far for me.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Anthony
    The second entry in Chambers for ‘rate’ gives “to scold; to chide; to reprove”.

  3. PaulG says:

    Merchant of Venice:
    Many a time and oft
    In the Rialto you have RATED me
    About my moneys and my usances

    What I don’t see is the wordplay in 23d. Anyone help?

  4. Andrew says:

    Paul – I was puzzled by 23ac, but I’ve just seen it: S COLD is the opposite or “reverse” of S HOT.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Araucaria

    Hard in parts but interesting and wittily testing.

    It took me quite a time to get ‘sea mew’ but I enjoyed it when I did. I kept thinking of sea gull (s-eagle) and then misread my own writing (to think it must somehow be sea men)!

    I had to google ‘scaffold’ – did not remember the song – though the answer itself was plain enough.

    Many pleasing clues, perhaps 24, 25d my favourite, but good surfaces in 15a, 29a, plus 3d with nice construction too also amused as did 8d, 13d, and 23d.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi PaulG
    The reverse of hot is cold so ‘shot’ when reversed, ‘other than the first [letter]’, becomes SCOLD.

  7. PaulG says:

    Doh! Thanks Gaufrid.

  8. blaise says:

    In 8d, doesn’t “nitrous” refer to the fact that compounds with nitrogen often begin with “az” = “aisy”.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    I found this one less tortuous than most of the good Rev’s puzzles, and raced through it until I got stumped for a while with 29a and 23d – the latter is the only really devious clue (and what a good one!).

    Favourite clue definitely sweet FA, but many others are enjoyable.

    27a reminded me of the old joke about French trousers being Toulouse and Toulon.

  10. Roger says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. A rather more positive end to a fairly mild week, I thought.
    Wondered whether 28a could be read as ‘Don Qui (e)x ‘ote’ is …’ Just an idea. Did like sweet FANNY ADAMS, though.

  11. tupu says:

    Hi Gervase
    I’m sorry to say it reminded me of another old one about the relative affluence of T-L a la ‘two jags Prescott’.

  12. Robi says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid; I needed your help in parsing SCAFFOLD, SEA-MEW, CASH REGISTER, SCOLD and DONKEY (well, that must have been easy then!)

    I tried ‘dart’ for 1d, which I think could also be a solution. I liked this more than usual for A. as it had few literary/religious/archaic references. I wondered for a moment about Mandy in 20, but was relieved to find it was not some historical reference, and was a great clue. I, of
    course, thought of SOLAR PanelS for 4,6 at the beginning, although it didn’t parse properly – nice clue!

    All-in-all, very enjoyable.

  13. molonglo says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, esp. for the explanation to one of the two that defeated me – 23d I see now was a really good clue, along with 22a and some others. I couldn’t get 10a, and still don’t like it. I remember the Scaffold song, good on you Reverend. Never heard of FINNAN, but it was well clued. Very good test.

  14. Roger says:

    Do tell, tupu (11), you’ve nothing to lose !

  15. William says:

    Thank you, Gaufrid.

    FORMIC ACID was lovely. Formica is one of those words which, to a setter, once seen, simply elbows its way into your next crossword. Loved it.

    OX-EYE DAISY, FANNY ADAMS & SCAFFOLD were also a delight, although quite how we went from the murder of that sweet child to an expression meaning ‘nothing’ eludes me.

    Last in was DONKEY and it’s still a bit of a step too far for me. I see the partial homophone but does anyone understand the word-play?

  16. Gervase says:

    tupu: I thought dear old Henri spent too much time in cabarets and bordellos to need such opulent facilities. But not being very prepossessing he probably had to get his lady friends drunk to get them back to his appartement. Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder, as they used to say in the Belle-Epoque, and all that drink has to go somewhere.

  17. Roger says:

    Hi William (15).

    I offered a possibility @10 where the second part of Quixote is to be ignored [(e)x ‘ote’] giving ‘Don Qui is horse, say’. Alternatively, I guess, the apostrophe ‘s’ could indicate that the homophone belongs to (is part of) Don Quixote (when pronounced Key-o-tee, of course, not Quick-sot !)

  18. William says:

    Roger @17, so sorry, missed your excellent suggestion @10. Nice thought, but I rather think your apostrophe indicating ownership of the homophone to be nearer to the mark.

    Any thoughts on poor Miss Adams?

    Gervase @16, how splendid, thank you.

  19. togo says:

    Rosinante, Don Quixote’s mount in the book, was, despite its rider’s grand illusion, a donkey. Thus, the possessive indicates the answer is in ‘Don Quixote’, and also points to what our gentle knight in fact owned………..

  20. tupu says:

    Hi William

    Sweet Fanny Adams is a euphemism for ‘sweet f**k all’ I believe.

  21. tupu says:

    Hi Gervase
    :) !

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Excellent meat to chew on – as ever from A.
    I failed to parse ‘sea mew’, not helped by the knowledge that ‘sea maw’ was a possibility.
    I thought ‘scold’ was quite brilliant; I imagine that confronted with the word ‘scold’ I would not think of ‘shot’ in a hundred years.
    I think Fanny Adam’s body was, post mortem, disected and scattered so that FA was left to find.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Last sentence should be ‘dissected’ and addressed to William, sorry.

  24. Gervase says:

    The expression FANNY ADAMS was also used by sailors, with macabre humour, to refer to tinned meat or stew.

  25. Will Mc says:

    Surely for the Toulouse clue to work, it should be “heard not to win”, rather than “not heard to win”.

  26. William says:

    Tupu @20,thank you, used it many times myself, but was curious how we got from the poor murdered girl to an expression meaning nothing.

    I think Gervase @24 is close to the mark – I found this; “Served with tins of mutton as the latest shipboard convenience food in 1869, sailors gloomily declared that their butchered contents must surely be ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’. Which became gradually accepted throughout the armed services as a euphemism for ‘sweet nothing’ and passed into common usage.”

    RCWhiting @22, I like yours better, do you have anythig to substantiate it?

  27. Gervase says:

    Will Mc @ 25: I think Araucaria has it right – ‘not heard to win’ = ‘heard to lose’. ‘Heard not to win’ would indicate a homophone of ‘not to lose’.

  28. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Araucaria.

    Just one small quibble. I pondered for a while at 7d thinking the clue was pointing to something Dutch. Surely LES PAYS BAS means the low countries as a whole not just Holland.
    Perhaps I am nit picking.

  29. Roger says:

    Thanks William for your highlighting of Fanny Adams , an expression one uses perhaps too readily without knowing the full story. At least sweet FA leaves one’s options open !

  30. tupu says:

    HI William, RCW, and Gervase

    The following gives a detailed illustrated history of the poor girl.

    My hunch is that the reduction from ‘bad food’ to ‘nothing’ has involved a conflation with the ‘sweet f a’ euphemism rather than a simple derivation of the latter from the food metaphors.

  31. Gervase says:

    Correction to my comment at 27: I should have said ‘heard not to win’ would indicate a homophone of ‘not to win’.

  32. Roger says:

    Sorry, the link @29 is not cooperating, let’s try this

  33. Gervase says:

    gm4hqf @28: Les Pays-Bas is the French name for ‘The Netherlands’, although ‘Pays bas’ (without the second capitalisation) is equivalent to ‘Low Countries’. The inexactitude, such as it is, is to refer to the Netherlands as ‘Holland’, which is strictly only a part of the country, but this is widespread in languages other than English, and can perhaps be excused as an example of synecdoche.

  34. grandpuzzler says:

    Well done Araucaria and Gaufrid. Like Robi @12 I tried to make DART work at 1d. Liked DONKEY and SCOLD. Hadn’t heard of The Scaffolds; maybe I’m the better for it. Did enjoy the rest of the “British invasion” though especially the Dave Clark Five.


  35. chas says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for the blog. Once again I had to come here to find out why I had the right answer e.g. SEA MEW.

    I also found myself doubting the word order in 27a: surely the ‘not’ should be next to ‘win’.

    I did like 12a – it was really just a simple concatenation of several elements – but it took Araucaria’s genius to make it appear to be much more complicated :)

  36. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the explanation Gervase.

  37. Buddy says:

    You don’t know what you’re missing, grandpuzzler.

    One of the Scaffold was Roger McGough, whose poetry probably eclipses that of the Dave Clark Five.

  38. apiarist says:

    My only query is why the “in” at 11 ac ?

  39. apiarist says:

    Sorry………11 down !

  40. RCWhiting says:

    William @26
    I think the link tupu has provided @30 is pretty much what I recollected.
    I think some of the later posts in this thread are entering the realm of super-pedantry.
    To take just one example: 7d ‘gives money’=pays; ‘to a graduate’= BA; ‘with ‘less’ cover = les(paysba)s =”les pays-bas” and the word ‘Holland’ is present.Thus the WHOLE clue is obviously solved by ‘les pays-bas’. If the cryptic led to the solution ‘Austria’ then we would have remaining doubts, but not here!

  41. JohnR says:

    apiarist @39 –


    Smoked fish in [“inn” – it’s got “fan” outside]

  42. apiarist says:

    JohnR, that did cross my mind, but inn is clued by “pub” surely !?

  43. apiarist says:

    And then “cooler outside” the pub.

  44. DavidW says:

    My thanks to all for explaining the ones that beat me! Mostly I admit they were fair do’s, but I must say I am unhappy with the lack of a signal that 7d was to be in French.

  45. Gervase says:

    apiarist: Isn’t the ‘in’ just a linker between the parts of the clue? You can find ‘smoked fish’ (the definition) IN ‘pub it’s cooler outside’ (the cryptic part). There are plenty of other linker words in the puzzle: eg ‘to’ in 15a, ‘gives’ in 7d, ‘bring’ in 13d, ‘making’ in 16d.

  46. apiarist says:

    Gervase, I do see what you mean. I think the thing that irked me was the word “in” is in the clue when the word “inn” is in the answer ! Oh dear, I think I will have to go in and get some beers in at the inn !

  47. RCWhiting says:

    As the young folks say apiarist “You are out of order”.

  48. artoo says:

    I thought the surface of 20ac referred to the Barry Manilow song?

  49. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria and Gaufrid. Enjoyable as ever.

    artoo@48, so did I and another thought was the politician!

    Ox-eye daisy was my first in and my favourite.The flowers are such a cheerful sight on embankments up and down the country.


  50. Scouse Tim says:

    Well done guys – I equated Holland with “low” as first word so completely stuck there. I will finish ione next week! Bed time.

  51. Mr Beaver says:

    We’ve just finished this. I say ‘finished’, but we actually gave up on 23d and 29a but felt as though we’d done the equivalent to climbing to the North Col on Everest…
    The particular talent that A has is that you can find a clue absolutely unfathomable for hours – and when the penny finally drops wonder how on earth you didn’t spot it at once!
    Though I don’t think I’d ever have got sCOLD….

  52. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Apparently nobody so far (and starting from last Friday it is quite far …) seems to be bothered about the fact that LES PAYS BAS is the French name for The Netherlands. The French name. I mean: French.
    Why didn’t Araucaria gave us a hint for that. We didn’t have a real problem to find the solution [even though, like others, we were tempted to enter ‘low’ etc.], but this is an English crossword, isn’t it?

    Apart from that, we thought Araucaria was on Magnificent Form.
    Delightful puzzle – and certainly much more rewarding than the one Eileen had to blog the next day.

  53. Mark says:

    @togo wrote:
    Rosinante, Don Quixote’s mount in the book, was, despite its rider’s grand illusion, a donkey. Thus, the possessive indicates the answer is in ‘Don Quixote’, and also points to what our gentle knight in fact owned…………”

    Sancho Panza rode a donkey, but Quixote himself rode a horse: I checked Google books.

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