Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize 25,430 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on September 24th, 2011


If I hadn’t seen the name on this puzzle, I think I’d have been rather hard put to it to guess that it was an Araucaria, let alone a Prize [though the appearance of the long clue at 22 etc might have been a give-away – but see later on that].  Many of the clues, such as 10, 13, 14, 21, 28ac and 1, 2 and 19dn, would not have been out of place in a Monday Rufus crossword. Not that there’s anything wrong with Rufus puzzles on a Monday morning, as I’ve said many times before, but this was not what I call a Saturday challenge. It’s rather like biting into a chocolate that you think is a hard centre only to find that it’s soft – not nasty but not what you’re expecting, therefore not really satisfying.

I solved this puzzle, as always, as soon as it was published but the blog has taken me all week to compose. Regular readers will know that I’m up there with the most ardent of Araucaria fans but I was disappointed in this one [and I can’t remember ever feeling that way before] which is unfortunate, since I’m blogging it! However, I realise that there will be many solvers who will be really pleased at, perhaps for the first time, solving a prize puzzle – and an Araucaria at that – and I don’t want to spoil things for them.

I realise that I may well be out on a limb here and I’ll be very interested to hear others’ reactions. I’m ready to be shot down in flames – please be as frank as you like [as I know you will be!].

[Fortunately, today’s [Friday’s] puzzle has completely restored Araucaria to his life-long high place in my estimation. :-) ]


9  Original pots blended with rye [9]
Anagram of POT POT and RYE

10  Withdraw permission [5]
Double definition: [Coincidentally, I’d earlier in the week blogged Orlando’s double definition of this word: ‘Don’t take what’s taken on departure’ – which would make  [almost] a quadruple definition, I think.]

11  African country with king called 19 [5]
MALI [African country] + K[ing]
There’s no definition here for the fine actor called ART [19ac]  The clue would make sense if he were African – but he isn’t!

13  Tense having nothing wrong with it [7]
Double definition

14  It takes religious folk to be be spicy [7]
PI [religious] MEN [folk] TO: there’s often a query about ‘pi’ when it occurs, as it often does. It’s an abbreviation of ‘pious’, now used as a word in its own right. A rather dodgy definition, though.

17  Object of throw-in at last pull on line [5]
TOW [pull] EL [US elevated railroad]

19,8  Redcoat’s movement between wars [3.4]
Anagram [movement] of REDCOAT: ‘movement’ is doing double duty here.

20,6  Shade of debauchee exposed by all within [5,4]
Anagram [exposed?] of BY ALL in ROUÉ [debauchee]

21  In due course getting a pound on the side [7]
LATER [in due course] A L [pound]

22 New posh doctor with home note prescribing anaesthetic [7]
N[ew] U [posh] MB [doctor] IN [home] G [note] – a slight variation on ‘number’, the well-known crossword anaesthetic

24  Nelson writing for paper? [9]
Cryptic definition: another slight variation on a favourite device: I think ‘Nelson’ is usually the solution.

26  Scouts something to do with colour? [5]
Cryptic [?] definition, referring to the ceremony of Trooping the Colour

28  Beheading priest is a crime [5]
[p]ARSON: yet another old favourite device: in fact, just the day before, the FT puzzle had ‘Fire-raising by quiet man of the church [6]’

29  More haste to produce stable food [9]
Anagram of MORE HASTE


  Plans to subvert unwanted mail [4]
Reversal of MAPS [plans]

It’s not so hot in clink [6]
Double definition

Reserves magazine on river Amazon, perhaps [10]
BOOKS [reserves] ELLE [magazine] R[iver]

4  Bully for you! – first took part in races
Y [you first] RAN [took part] in TT [races]
This is more like it!

It’s exactly like a slow [not quick] cooker [4,4]
DEAD [not quick as in ‘the quick and the dead’ in the Creed]:  SPIT [slow cooker]: an unusual device, to put the ‘not quick’ inside the ‘slow cooker’

Nothing but desire without consideration [9]
WANT ONLY [nothing but desire]: [coincidentally, this word appeared in Bannsider’s Prize puzzle in the Indy, on the same day, clued  ‘Just after pasty, finish off dessert with abandon’.

13  Suffixedly seeking endearment [5]
At last, an Araucarian clue!
Double definition: the suffix  ‘-petal’ is not in Chambers but it is in Collins as ‘seeking': I knew this from centrifugal / centripetal force and remember being fascinated at school how my Latin [fugere – flee / petere – seek] helped me to remember my Physics.

According to some google entries, PETAL is a North East term of endearment but I don’t know that that’s strictly true: it’s  familiar here in the Midlands, I think.

15,18 Hamlet’s mother’s request to 19ac [4,6,4,4]
A [not very cryptic?] reference to Gertrude’s reply to Polonius’ – he has earlier said that brevity is the soul of wit! –
‘Your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it, for to define true madness,
What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.’

16  Regulator for prisoner in camp? [5]
Cryptic definition, analogous to the regulatory bodies  Ofsted, Ofwat, etc.

19  None left, which is good [3,5]

22,23,12,22,19across For a poet’s epitaph – Tarantino volunteer undertaxed at source [6,1,5,3,4,2,6,3]
NATURE I LOVED, AND, AFTER NATURE, ART Thanks, Tokyo Colin, for pointing out the stupid misquotation: it’s, of course., NATURE I LOVED AND, NEXT TO NATURE, ART
This wrote itself in, from the definition and enumeration – and ART already there: I would swear that I have seen this quotation used in a crossword before – and an Araucaria at that – but I’ve searched the archives in vain. It’s from Walter Savage Landor’s poem, ‘Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher':
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife:
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
I warm’d both hands before the fire of Life;
It sinks; and I am ready to depart.

[It was used in the title of a novel [‘Next to Nature, Art’ by one of my favourite novelists, Penelope Lively.]

24,25 Pit company against drink, keeping little time [4,4]
CO[mpany] + ALE [drink] around MIN[ute] [little time]: I can see that ‘against’ is necessary for the surface, after ‘pit’ but it doesn’t work for the wordplay in a down clue, does it?.

27  Way to follow Psycho?


What do I call this? As in 11ac, where’s the definition?



19 Responses to “Guardian Prize 25,430 / Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Eileen, you have said it all. I guess my time in Latin classes wasn’t wasted either; I didn’t much like it then but it has certainly been useful since, not least in crosswords. I’m still not very happy about EL = railway but I’m getting used to it.

  2. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen. I was also disappointed that this was all over so quicikly. Rather than being Rufus-like, I would describe it as an Araucaria Lite. I have become used to the liberties he takes with clues and not being a purist, I don’t mind these as long as it leads me to the answer somehow (and in a way that I can see.)

    In 27dn, I think the definition is clear, “way”. At 11ac I assumed Art Malik was African and am surprised to hear that he is not.

    There seem to be two variants of that quotation by Walter Savage Landor. You have the correct one in your commentary but the other, which doesn’t fit, as the answer. That is the one I knew and was most confused when it didn’t fit the grid. I went back to the anagram material to sort it out.

  3. PeterO says:

    Eileen, thank you for an exemplary blog of, as you say, an easy crossword by Araucarian standards. I wondered about 5D – dead ringer, certainly, or spitting image, but I had not come across this combination before. I think that 27D has, in ‘way’, more of a definition than 11A. By the way, you have a slip in your Landor – the quote from the poem is right, but the answer does not match. Homer nods (or should I say Marge?).

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. No trouble (even with the unheard-of poet’s epitaph) except for putting Dead Heat for 5d and so failing totally on 14a. That meant having to look up and check the unheard-of 15,18 quote, but no enlightenment came. 7d was a tricky one, in that NE corner, too, and 20,6 was not a shoo-in either.

  5. crosser says:

    Thank you, Eileen, for a very clear blog. I agree with you about the NE term of endearment.”Pet” is certainly very common in the NE, but that is surely totally different, semantically, from “petal”?

  6. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog. I found most of this easy but failed to finish after putting in “dead heat” at 5d. Never heard of “dead spit” before :(

    Also pondered gulag for a long time having never heard oflag either. Now you explain it, I think that would have been my favourite.

  7. chas says:

    Thanks Eileen for the blog. You explained 20a where I had the right answer but could not explain why.

    On the whole I found this one comparatively easy, for an Araucaria. The comment ‘Araucaria lite’ fits it perfectly – thanks to Tokyo Colin.

    Nelson as COLUMNIST reminded me of an Araucaria clue from some years ago. The definition was ‘needlewoman’ and the answer was CLEOPATRA :)

  8. Robi says:

    Thanks Eileen for a good blog; I agree it was not one of Arry’s finest, but a bit more difficult for me because I didn’t know the quotations.

    I’m not sure why you didn’t like MALIK. It seemed to me that ‘called Art’ was OK as a definition, given that there aren’t many famous ones around (Garfunkel etc.) After all, ‘African country’ gives plenty of choices, but maybe I’m missing the point.

    I liked the clues for PROTOTYPE and TYRANT.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    Mostly pretty straight forward as you say. I regret I had to guess the Hamlet quotation and found myself hesitant because of the ‘request to’ which misled me.

    Some very easy clues, but some were newer to me than to you and quite enjoyable e.g. 24a. I was amused by ‘art deco’, 9a, 7d, 13d, and 27d. The result of the characteristic long anagram would have been a surprise without the clear definition.

    Re ‘petal’, I seem to remember a Bradford comedian, Charlie Williams, on TV using it regularly, though he also used ‘my old flower’.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    Is this the same Eileen? There are some really weird criticisms here! What difference would it make if Art Malik were African? It’s part of the wordplay, not the definition! The definition’s “called Art” (and no, it isn’t literally a definition…) What is it, compulsory &lit day? And how on earth could you not notice the definition in 27d? And the new rule that you can’t have “against” in a down clue (24,25)??? I do agree that there were some easy clues thrown in, but it wasn’t a bad puzzle. I liked the suggestive way he used the two balancing quotations, with Art in the centre – that really could only have been Araucaria.

    By the way, on the Guardian site the clue that came in for most stick was, incredibly, PETAL.

    Not one of his best, but I don’t see why the boot has to be put in so much, and on such eccentric grounds.

  11. Elspeth says:

    I agree with Thomas 99 that the criticism was harsh. We often manage to solve Araucaria puzzles (including the recent double August Bank Holiday one) but we got stuck with this. We missed Oflag, Dead Spit and the Hamlet quotation, plus one or two others. We didn’t have any problem with the definitions for ‘art’ and ‘path’. But I suppose it just goes to show that what’s easy for one is difficult for another.

    Incidentally, tupu, Charlie Williams was from Barnsley, not Bradford.

  12. Coffee says:

    I’m with Robi and Thomas99, thought the clues were fine. Thank you Elspeth, I was about to google Charlie Williams, as I know he’s not a Bradford lad- I was thinking Sheffield way…
    Dead Spit is quite common, I thought, (up north anyway) surprised some hadn’t heard of it- or is it a northern version of “spitting image” ?
    Anyway, Araucaria Lite indeed but quit fun.

  13. Coffee says:

    I’m with Robi and Thomas99, thought the clues were fine. Thank you Elspeth, I was about to google Charlie Williams, as I know he’s not a Bradford lad- I was thinking Sheffield way…
    Dead Spit is quite common, I thought, (up north anyway) surprised some hadn’t heard of it- or is it a northern version of “spitting image” ?
    Anyway, Araucaria Lite indeed but quite fun.

  14. Coffee says:

    Oops, sorry about the double post!

  15. Davy says:

    Thanks Eileen,

    I thought this was quite enjoyable although I didn’t know the quotations. I guessed certain words which was enough to find the applicable quotes using my friend Google.

    The term of endearment ‘petal’ is quite common in the north. When I go into the chemist in Whitby, one of the ladies often says “What can I do for you, petal ?”.

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks Elspeth and Coffee for the correction. :) As a Lancastrian originally, I should know better than to stick my nose into ‘tyke’ affairs.

  17. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I agree that this was easier than yesterday’s offering, for example. It didn’t bother me too much at the time, but I do remember thinking it was a bit patchy, with many more easy (and familiar) clues than you might expect. TYRANT I thought was the toughest.

    Thanks for explaining PETAL, which I got but didn’t understand…

    (Incidentally, due to pressures of work, I have been lurking more than contributing lately. Thanks to all the bloggers…)

  18. Eileen says:

    Thank you, everyone.

    I’ve been keeping my head down today, rather than weighing in after the first comment or two, as I usually do.

    I did invite your frank comments. I’m relieved to see that most [?] of you agreed that this was comparatively easy for an Araucaria prize puzzle, which, I think, is what I said in my preamble. That’s certainly what I meant to say, or imply, so I was rather surprised by the vehemence of Thomas99’s comment @10: I don’t see any mention anywhere of this being a ‘bad puzzle’, nor any evidence of ‘the boot having been put in so much’. This was, indeed, a first for me, to be less than rapturous about an Araucaria puzzle: my concern is usually not to overdo the sycophancy!

    On a lighter note: tupu, my Grandpa [he was from Birmingham] used to call me ‘my old flower’. No one else I knew used that expression and I never heard him use it to anyone else, so all through my childhood I thought it was his [made up] pet name for me!

    Hi chas

    Thanks for the reminder of that great Araucaria clue, which I dimly remembered. I’ve managed to track it down [from August 2007!]: ‘Send parcel to a needlewoman’ – brilliant!

    I hope you all enjoyed today’s Paul puzzle as much as I did. :-)

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

nine × 9 =