Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,462 – Araucaria

Posted by Uncle Yap on October 25th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

What a tour de force from The Master.



He has so skillfully woven a grid to include all the  wives of King Henry VIII that today, I learned only one new word meaning an ornamented, usually round-topped, chest or cabinet. As to be expected from the good Reverend, the puzzle is most entertaining and in places, challenging and surprise, surprise, largely a la Ximenes

9 EPITOMISE E (Eastern) PROMISE with R (right) replaced by IT
10 ARGON ARAGON minus A – Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) was born in Aragon, Spain, daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castille. She was Henry VIII’s first wife and was divorced so that Henry could marry Anne Boleyn.
11 GOOD AND Cha of GOOD (virtuous) & AND (plus) with two def 1. Completely as in good and proper = completely proper 2. Good ‘and as in a Cockney having 13 good cards at bridge being the wherewithal to make tricks
12 FAILURE F (first letter of flop, which is also the def) ALLURE (attraction) with I replacing L (line)
13 RACED Ins of AC (account, bill) in RED (into debt)
14 CATHERINE CAT (pet) HEROINE (main female character) minus O (lost love)
16 INDISCIPLINABLE I (one) ins of DISC (record) in NIP (drink) + Ins of N (name) in LIABLE (likely)
19 EXCERPTED Ins of R (Roundhead) in EXCEPTED (removed from the rest)
21 BAHUT BA (Bachelor of Arts) HUT (building) for an ornamented, usually round-topped, chest or cabinet. New word to me
22 PEEKING Ins of E (Eastern, used second time, could have opted for Oriental) in PEKING (now known as Beijing after introduction of  Pinyin )
23 JULIANA JU (sounds like Jew or Hebrew) LIANA (a climbing plant) for Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina (1909–2004) Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1948 and 1980.
24 REEVE RE (about) EVE (the day before)
25 NANCY BELL NAN (grandmother) CYBELE (great nature goddess of ancient Phrygia in Asia Minor; counterpart of Greek Rhea and Roman Ops) minus E plus L (learner, student) Allusion to  The Yarn of the Nancy Bell   (1866) by Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

1 LEDGER LINE *(ILL-GREENED) a line fixed in one place ; a short line added above or below the stave where required or where middle C is often.
2 DIVORCED Ins of ORC (killer whale) in DIVED (went down)
3 HOWARD HOW ‘ARD (How Hard as enunciated by a Cockney) Catherine Howard (c. 1518-1524 – 13 February 1542), the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England was beheaded
4 DIED DI (vorc) ED, answer to 2Down
6 GALILEAN GAL (girl, young woman) I LEAN (I rely)
7 AGOUTI Ins of OUT in A GI (a soldier)
8 ANNE ha
14 CHITTAGONG CHIT (note) TA (thank you) GONG (something beaten for announcement of meal) for a port city and industrial centre in southeastern Bangladesh on the Bay of Bengal
15 EVENTUALLY EVEN (regular) + ins of U (universal, a rating for films meaning that people of any age are allowed to see) in TALLY (sum)
18 BEHEADED BE HE (even if he were) *(DEAD)
20 CLEVES CLEVER (astute) The next in the index would be CLEVE + S (letter after R) Anne of Cleves (1515–1557) was a German noblewoman and the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England and as such she was Queen of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540. The marriage was never consummated, and she was not crowned queen consort. Following the annulment of their marriage, Anne was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King’s Beloved Sister. She lived to see the coronation of Mary I of England, outlasting the rest of Henry’s wives.
21 BOLEYN Ins of LEY (field) in BON (good) Anne Boleyn (c.1501/1507 – 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England. Henry’s marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation.
22 PARR (young salmon up to two years of age, before it becomes a smolt; the young of several other kinds of fish) Catherine Parr (1512–1548) was Queen consort of England and Ireland and the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII of England. She was the fourth commoner Henry had taken as his consort, and outlived him. She was also the most-married English queen, as she had a total of four husbands.
23 JANE SEYMOUR (sounds like SEEM OR) Jane Seymour (c. 1508–1537) was Queen of England as the third wife of King Henry VIII. She died days after giving birth, widely believed to be following birth complications)

The wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort married to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and 1547.
Catherine of Aragon (Annulled),
Anne Boleyn (Beheaded),
Jane Seymour (Died),
Anne of Cleves (Annulled),
Catherine Howard (Beheaded),
Catherine Parr (Survived).

I often wonder why some men do not realise that each time they marry another woman, they get another mother-in-law :-)

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

47 Responses to “Guardian 25,462 – Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY. The old school rhyme applies: “Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived.”

    This was fairly straightforward as I spotted the theme pretty quickly.

    I thought there might be a bit more to 12, although it probably needs someone cleverer than I to explain correctly. Certainly I replaces L in ALLURE, but what’s the “bottom” doing? Perhaps, we are supposed to see that I is also inserted in A LURE, a fishing or bottom line? Not really sure though.

    I suppose JANE is “the odd one out” as the others were all called CATHERINE (with different spellings) or ANNE?

  2. NeilW says:

    Thinking some more about FAILURE – maybe “I get a bit of a bottom line” doesn’t mean “replace L with I” but rather “cut off the bottom part of one of the Ls.”

    By the way, I thought the clue for 3 dn was very sloppy – surely the answer as clued would be OWARD?

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. The theme was readily available from 14a and once, found, soon yielded answers: impressive how the setter got all first and second names and all the demises of Henry’s wives, bar Seymour. Agree with NeilW on 12a: I plumped for the first letters of flop, attraction, if then I + LURE. That would be in keeping with the puzzles many liberties like the ‘the’ in 9a, the 11a definition, 12a’s structure, 8d’s use of good, 18d’s he and I etc – all forgivable.

  4. Eileen says:

    And the homes of Anne of Cleves and Catherine of Aragon, molonglo. [And ‘Seymour’ was in the clue.]

    I took ‘odd one out’ as you did, NeilW – but Jane was also the only one to give Henry a male heir.

    I bet it won’t suit everyone but I loved it. Even though, as molonglo says, I knew what I was looking for after getting 14ac, it wasn’t just, this time, a case of finding where to slot in the answers. There was a lot of fun to be had in unravelling the cluing, some of it inventive, even for Araucaria [but again I agree with molonglo – all forgivable!].

    Thanks, UY.

  5. dunsscotus says:

    Most enjoyable, especially if last night’s filmsoc offering was Laughton in ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII’! One or two cheeky bits, true, but that’s all part of the Araucarian fun.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria for a very enjoyable start to the day, crowned by the offering from Mr. Gilbert. I’m familiar with most of the operas, but didn’t know this poem – hilarious 😆

    By the time I’d read through the grid once, I had three girls’ names, one of them being JULIANA, so it took a little longer for the theme to reveal itself, but when it did completion took no time. I then spent a little while looking around the edges to see if I could find any clue which would have led to England’s most famous polygamist, but found none :(

  7. Roger says:

    More or less agree with NeilW @2 regarding 12a but I think it works thus:
    FAILURE = F(lop) + AILURE {which would be ALLURE (attraction) if the ‘I’ gets a bit of a bottom line [I + _ = L]}.

    Fun puzzle all round. Thanks Araucaria. And UY, of course.

  8. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    I took a while to get into this one. Unlike some others, I didn’t find 14a straightforward, as the clue has no definition (although it is defined obliquely by its connection with other clues). So I was floundering until I spotted PARR, after which the themed clues all fell out easily. BAHUT was the only word I had to check, although it couldn’t really have been anything else.

    12a seems to have several ‘nearly’ parsings, as already mentioned. I liked the cheeky clue for 20d.

    11a is a rather strange entry, as the phrase is meaningless on its own, but is well clued by Araucaria as the opening of a hendiadys.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria

    Tricky in places and overall enjoyable with lots of amusing clues. I agree with Molongolo re ‘good’ in 8d.

    Like others I puzzled over 12a. I missed the ‘allure’ idea and went for ‘lure’. Having a memory of an Araucaria clue last week where just two letters were taken from a longer word, I decided it might be ‘fa’ (bit oF A bottom line) plus ‘Its’ first plus ‘lure’. So far it does not seem a very satisfactory clue any way round.

    I initially found 15d hard to parse because I juggled with ‘all’ as part of the word – I assume deliberate misdirection.

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to UY for the blog. You explained several cases where I could not see why I had the right answer.

    My way in to the theme was not Catherine – that came later – but BOLEYN. As far as my memory goes there is only one Boleyn of significance :)

    In 8d what was the indicator to look inside?

  11. NeilW says:

    Chas, the indicator was that it’s Araucaria! Given the theme the only possibility was that the name was ANNE and that “for” meant “forming part of” and that “good” was entirely redundant. :)

  12. Paul B says:

    Flop is its first attraction, if I get a bit of a bottom line.

    I’m struggling with the grammar here, though I’m getting the creepy feeling that there might be some subjunctive cleverness going on.

    F from FLOP plus AILURE, becoming ALLURE where ‘I get’ a bit of bottom line: no doubts as to the cryptic structure with ‘one gets’, but neater the other way – if it’s a goer. Anyone?

  13. NeilW says:

    Paul B, I think Roger already got there @7.

  14. Paul B says:

    … remembering that ‘I’ is a personal pronoun for surface purposes only …

  15. Paul B says:

    Hi Neil. He’s got the workings, but hasn’t discussed the grammar, which is the bit I’m interested in.

  16. crypticsue says:

    A very enjoyable tussle this morning thank you Araucaria. Thanks to Uncle Y too.

  17. tupu says:

    Hi UY, Neil, Roger, PaulB

    Thanks re 12a. UY was pretty well there with this. Am I wrong to understand the clue as follows?
    1. definition ‘flop’
    2. answer ‘failure’ which would be ‘fallure’ (i.e. f+allure) if ‘I’ were to become ‘L’ by getting a bit of bottom line attached to it.

  18. Paul B says:

    Well yes, F from FLOP then AILURE from ALLURE. It’s whether or not we think ‘I get’ works (via some subjunctive skullduggery?) in the cryptic reading or not that is the question.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very enjoyable and challenging.
    I did not know Nancy or bahut but the cryptics were quite adequate.
    I don’t see any problem with ‘the’ in 9ac. If you wanted to refer to ‘r’ in ‘promise’you would say ‘the r’, no?
    I got 1d but by sticking to fishing and being musically illiterate failed to understand it.
    I know it is often (over)said but I do get a sense of satisfaction at getting inside A’s head which I do not get with any other compiler.

  20. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap. Another very good puzzle from Araucaria. Completed it all apart from 23d JANE. How can you fail to get a four letter answer when you have two of the letters? I just didn’t get it.

  21. liz says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap. My way in to the theme (and the first clue I solved) was 14ac. (Gervase @8 — there is a definition: ‘name’).

    Pretty much plain sailing afterwards, except for the end where I failed to get 6dn (rather stupidly). I also had NANNY instead of NANCY at 25ac :-( Still I did enjoy reading the poem! BAHUT could only be that, but it was a new word for me.

  22. Stella Heath says:

    Hi Gm4hqf, it’s actually the four-letter words which are often the toughest to get, maybe because there’s not much room for clever wordplay, or because there are just so many of them.

    In this case, though, I’m surprised you didn’t get it, given the context, but then we all get blocked sometimes :)

  23. Paul B says:

    For those interested, which looks like being at or around none of you, the ‘I get’ (at 12A, as discussed above), according to someone whose judgement I trust, is indeed a whoopsie: no subjunctive escape route whatsoever, apparently.

  24. apiarist says:

    Although I finished this eventually, without peeking at the solution, I feel a bit of a failure as I could not Parrse a lot of the answers so just a note to say thank you to Uncle Yap !

  25. Robi says:

    Nice one, A; luckily I got CATHERINE at the beginning, which helped matters enormously.

    Thanks, UY; BAHUT was new to me, too. Not sure I understand all the discussion about FAILURE – Roger @7 seemed to have got a reasonable explanation.

  26. amulk says:

    It took me a while to rumble the theme even though I got 14a quite early on. A very enjoyable puzzle even though I don’t really find any of the explantions for 12a totally convincing, and have no sensible suggestions of my own. Also agree with NeilW re 3dn.

  27. Trebor says:

    As has been mentioned I got the theme pretty late on but filling in the surnames was by no means trivial! Splendid stuff.

  28. tupu says:

    HI PaulB

    Thanks. Implicit in my comment @17 is that it seems a slightly odd clue apart from the grammar. One might expect to see the clue saying failure = f + allure if L loses a bit of bottom. But it seems to be saying that failure (the answer) would be f + allure if I gained a bit of bottom. There is a sort of reversal of focus there.

  29. Paul B says:

    Yes, but odd for Araucaria, or just odd for crosswords?

    Apart from the grammatical error, this sort of thing is what I’d expect (i.e. the unexpected) and probably hope to see in an Araucaria puzzle.

  30. tupu says:

    Thanks again. I take your point. I don’t remember this sort of clue before in his or other puzzles but I may simply not have noticed.

  31. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria for an entertaining puzzle and to Uncle Yap for his parsing.

    I thought that Jane Seymour was different because she died during the king’s lifetime as well as being the only one to produce a male heir that lived. Yes, UY, and NeilW @ 1, the old school rhyme was very useful!

    I agree with RCW @ 19 that it is very satisfying to be on the same wavelength as A.


  32. Sylvia says:

    I got ‘jynx’ for 23d as it was the only word I could think of to fit – despite having all the other wives – duh!

  33. Derek Lazenby says:

    Tough one I thought.

    Liberties forgiven? Well in general I suppose so, but “on” in 6 is wrong as it is a down clue. Hero worshippers will of course forgive it. And “for” or even “for good” in 8 is hardly anyway to indicate a hidden answer.

  34. Eileen says:

    I posted my comment 4 this morning before setting off for a beautiful sunny Autumn walk, because I wanted to say how much I had enjoyed the puzzle. I really hoped that, by the time I returned, after a very pleasant pub lunch, someone would have come up with a better explanation of 12ac – which I had shelved. There have been a number of gallant efforts but I found none of them convincing and am still at a loss. Araucaria certainly knows his subjunctives but … And, apart from the wordplay, the surface is pretty nonsensical [as, it has to be admitted, so are some of the others!]. I can’t help feeling we’re still missing something here. What a pity it is that Araucaria is one who never drops in to comment / explain!

    Hi chas@10

    “As far as my memory goes there is only one Boleyn of significance”

    I agree – I haven’t [yet] read or seen the film of this: 😉

  35. Paul B says:

    Dunno! I think we’ve cracked it, or at least Roger did back at 7:

    Flop is its first attraction, if I get a bit of a bottom line

    ie F plus ALLURE, which appears where in AILURE the ‘I’ gets ‘a bit of a bottom line’. That’s not the issue for me anyway, but I’ve been there twice already.

  36. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Paul B, at last I understand what you mean and you’re right.
    Just recently we had a discussion on this and it really should have been “I will get” or similar.

    The device itself though is quite clever and shows how sharp His Mind still is. Many thanks to Uncle Yap for the blog, even though I (and some others, like molonglo) didn’t find this puzzle more Ximenean than usual. See 11ac, 2d and 8d for example.

    It is quite unbelievable that Araucaria gets such a good result, yes, taking liberties but always bearing in mind where the boundaries are.

  37. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    A great puzzle from Araucaria despite 12a and the most enjoyable since the last Pasquale. I saw CATHERINE quite early on but didn’t twig to the theme until I got PARR which opened up the puzzle completely.

    I particularly liked EPITOMISE, CATHERINE and GALILEAN.

  38. Stella Heath says:

    I haven’t commented until now on Paul B’s beef today, having got it from crossing letters and wordplay and not stopped to think more about it.

    Grammatically, it’s sound, and “if” always introduces a subordinate conditional clause. I think the trouble here is that the surface reading means nothing, but at the same time it’s suggestive – “flop is its main attraction” is semantically paradoxical, to say the least.

  39. Paul B says:

    Well, the surface is difficult to place in everyday speech, but nevertheless: I’m interested in how ‘if (an element singular) get (something)’ is not a problem for you!

  40. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Stella, I think, it is like below.

    First part of the clue – “Flop is its first attraction …..”
    “Flop” [the definition] = [is] F [its first, the first letter of ‘Flop’] ALLURE [attraction] …..

    The second part of the clue – “….. if I get a bit of a bottom line”
    Now here’s the problem: if I [the symbol I] *getS* a bit of a bottom line, it would become an L (which transforms F/ALLURE into F/AILURE).
    That little S attached to ‘get’, that’s Paul’s problem.
    Turn to the recent Philistine puzzle to see a similar discussion.
    Paul’s surely right (again), but unlike on that Philistine occasion there’s hardly anyone tonight who sees the point he’s making.

  41. tupu says:

    HI Sil
    ‘Now here’s the problem: if I [the symbol I] *getS* a bit of a bottom line, it would become an L (which transforms F/ALLURE into F/AILURE)’.

    My point @17 is that it transforms F/ailure into F/allure (not the other way round).

  42. Paul B says:

    I think quite a few of us are with you on that Tupu, my point above being that while odd for crosswords it’s not particularly odd for Araucaria: he says ‘this would be F-ALLURE, were the I in FAILURE morphed to become L’. Right?

  43. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi tupu & Paul, if you’re still there.
    My interpretation of the order of the transformation is just like Paul stated at the end of #42. Bit awkward perhaps, but it didn’t worry me [it’s Araucaria after all].

    But Paul, I am surely right [given a recent discussion] that ‘get’ should be something else too (like ‘will get’ or ‘would get’ or similar)?
    Am I right?

  44. Paul B says:

    If a certain eminent grammarian, who generally posts in another place, is right, it certainly looks that way. I was wondering if the clue might involve some subtle deployment of the subjunctive, but the eminent person says not. Stella, OTOH, isn’t at all convinced!

  45. tupu says:

    Hi PaulB @42

    Thanks again. I took your point about Araucaria as a ‘special case’ and also understood your problem re the grammar and the suggestion that it is really wonky. I think our reading is much the same – as exactly (pedantically) as I can parse it, he’s saying ‘this is flop = failure which would be fallure if the ‘i’ got a bit of line at the bottom’.

    Hi Sil

    The simplest (one letter) workable correction (while maintaining the ambiguity of I) would be to change ‘get’ to ‘got’.

  46. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Or perhaps better “if I were to get”.

  47. Van Winkle says:

    … and it would only work on a presumption that you are dealing in capital letters – how does “attraction” become “ALLURE”?

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