Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,488 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on November 24th, 2011


Since I’m only a substitute today, I count myself very lucky to have drawn this fun puzzle from Araucaria. I really enjoyed it, for its  amusing, whimsical  cluing and some clever linking between clues, that was not too obtrusive – and not too many liberties taken today, I think!


9   UNWELCOME: anagram [upsetting] of ME CLUE NOW
10  RATIO: part of opeRATIOn
11   CHEVRON: V between CHE [Guevara] and RON[ald] Reagan – a CHEVRON is V-shaped
12  SHARDIK: SHARK [fish] round [‘that’s eaten’] DI[sh]: Shardik is the eponymous bear in Richard Adams’ less well-known second novel [after ‘Watership Down’]
13,23  OPEN HEART: double definition
14  MATTERHORN: simple charade of MATTER [stuff] + HORN [the cape at the southern tip of South America]
16  FISH OUT: FI anagram/reversal [‘hurt’] of IF + SHOUT [yell]
17  WALDORF: FLAW [something wrong] around [about]  ROD [punishment, as in ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’] all reversed: for once, ‘hotel’ is the definition, rather than simply supplying an H for the wordplay
19  HYPOTHESIS: SIS[ter] [sibling] after [‘should follow’] PO [river] in [‘through’] HYTHE [town in Kent]
22,7  FILM STUDIO: FILM [clinging stuff] + STUD [breeding ground] + IO [10 = ten]
24,3  MORNING GLORY: I’m struggling a wee bit here: RN [Royal Navy – sailors] + IN [home] in MOG [cat] + G [‘horse {say’}?] + LORY [parrot] but surely ‘horse’ should be G G, but I need one G for the cat – and what is ‘beatified’ doing? My best shot is that MORNING GLORY is the ‘posh’ name for bindweed or, alternatively, that gardeners might well call it ‘blessed bindweed!’ but I’m sure one or more of you can do better than that!
25  EMERSON: EMERS[i]ON is the reappearance of a celestial body after an eclipse, so here we have a lovely ‘lift and separate’ clue where we have to take [one off] the ‘i’ away to give the American writer [1803-1882]  whose first names were RALPH WALDO[rf]: wouldn’t it have been OK for Araucaria to hyphenate ‘one-off’, to give a better surface?
26  RALPH: R[iver] ALPH: from the mellifluous opening lines of Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan':
‘In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.’
A lovely clue!
27  NEFARIOUS: F [loud] in NEAR [approaching] + IOUS [the familiar crossword bills]


1   QUICK OFF THE MARK: [k]ICK OFF [start game without the first letter [starter] + THEM [the other side, as in ‘us and them’] in [cover with] QUARK [‘unobservable object’ – Chambers: ‘a fundamental subatomic particle … which is not directly observable’ – not, this time, a type of cheese!]
2   TWEEZERS: TWEE [pretty little] Z [finish] + ERS [queen’s]
4   DOWNCAST : DOWN [Ulster county] + CAST [actors]
5   TEA SET: anagram [agent?] of ESTATE
6   BREAD ROLL: anagram [wild] of BEAR + DROLL [funny]
8   NO SKIN OFF MY NOSE: cryptic definition which would be more amusing if I were not just starting my first cold for ages!
15  FORTNIGHT: take O [no love] from the expression dear to all parents at the end of bed-time stories, ‘that’s all FOR T[o] NIGHT': I really liked that one!
17  WRITE-OFF: amusing double definition
18  OMISSION: O [naught] + MISSION [traveller’s task]
20  PAROLE: PA [father] + ROLE [part]
21  ENGINE: anagram [process] of the last part [‘concluding’] – or, rather 75%! – of [gr]EENING

42 Responses to “Guardian 25,488 / Araucaria”

  1. Robi says:

    I think this is the easiest A. puzzle I have tried.

    Thanks, Eileen. I, too, don’t get the parsing of MORNING GLORY, as I followed your ‘mog’ and ‘gg.’ As you say, no doubt someone clever can enlighten us.

  2. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Like Robi, I thought this was quite easy for Araucaria, but enjoyable nonetheless. I got quite a few of the clues from the checking letters/enumeration once a few of the easier ones went in.

    Can’t help with 24, 3, I’m afraid!

  3. Robi says:

    P.S. The only other thought is that you say: “gee-up neddy” to a horse, so maybe just one ‘g?’ Doesn’t explain ‘beatified’ though.

  4. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Nice one from Araucaria. Starting in the NW corner, I got answers containing Q K W Z V, and I thought at first this might be a pangram – but that’s a trick the good Rev only uses in his alphabeticals (wasn’t Saturday’s fun?).

    Re 24,3 – the SOED lists ‘gee’ as well as the commoner reduplicated ‘gee-gee’ as a colloquial term for ‘horse’, thought to come from the command ‘gee!’ (‘get a move on!’). I’m sure I’ve seen this used before. I presume that the definition is ‘Bindweed beatified’ – GLORY is an alternative name for the halo or nimbus with which saints were conventionally identified in paintings.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. This was fair enough, an hour without aids. New word, EMERSION, found on the way to the saucy 26-17a-27 sequence. Clever stuff, like the 17d “off” joke. I liked 6d, very neat.

  6. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the helpful blog Eileen. FWIW Wiki gives MORNING GLORY as a type of bindweed, and I also think A is short a G in 24,3 , but there is probably some other interpretation.

    I didn’t think that “I’m all right Jack” in 8d is a good alternative to “No skin off my nose”. The sense/tone of the first is basically “screw you, I don’t care what happens to you” but the second is neutral “I’m not bothered either way”, IMO.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Gervase. I’d forgotten that meaning of glory – but then I think I’d really expect some more wordplay for ‘morning’.

    I think I have seen one G for ‘horse’, before and I perhaps I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if there hadn’t been two adjacent Gs in the solution.

    Hi Andy

    I wasn’t questioning the definition – I thought I’d made it clear that bindweed = MORNING GLORY – but I wondered why it was ‘beatified’.

    I did wonder about 8dn: they’re not exact equivalents but I think
    there’s a bit more huffiness implied [‘Oh well, if that’s the way you want it …’] than you suggest.

  8. Robi says:

    P.P.S. In case Eileen really has led a sheltered life, I won’t refer to the coarser meaning of MORNING GLORY, but that is still not beatified! ;)

  9. Thomas99 says:

    I was thinking the anagram indicator 5d is “agent with” – you add an agent to another chemical to change it, reorganise its make-up.

    Re 24,3 I’ve seen g=horse in crosswords before, although I don’t know why. Maybe “Gee up” literally means “horse up”? I think the “beatified” just refers to the fact that it’s the only bindweed with “glory” in its name.

  10. gm4hqf says:

    Completed this one but I needed your blog Eileen to explain quite a few of the answers. RALPH, EMERSON, SHARDIK

    I am not happy with the clue to 16a. “if hurt”, it is surely just a reversal of if. Don’t see what Araucaria is getting at here.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi again Andy

    Looking at 8dn again: if you add the ‘I’m using soft tissues’, it means exactly ‘Blow you, Jack, I’m all right’, doesn’t it? – and perhaps there’s a pun with the ‘Blow you’. ;-)

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi gm4hqf

    We wouldn’t think twice about ‘hurt’ as an anagram indicator for a longer word and the only possible anagram of a two-letter word is a reversal – it works for me!

  13. Allan_C says:

    A single G, or at least ‘gee’ to mean a horse has been around a long time. It turns up in The Pirates of Penzance, as :

    In short, when I’ve a smattering of elemental strategy—
    You’ll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

    I had difficulty parsing some of the long entries, but once they were obvious I didn’t try too hard.

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    An entertaining puzzle and a nice blog which helpfully spelled out 15d for me – I let it be once I’d seen the answer and the missing o.

    I struggled with this for a time but it suddenly started to flow.

    I liked lots of clues – e.g. 13,23, 16a, 17a, 22,7, 24,3 (the one g seems OK to me too), 25a, 1d,17d.

    A’s light touch is always welcome.

    Sorry about your cold, Eileen. Best wishes to you and others for Saturday.

  15. thesunneversets says:

    I was wondering if beatified meant – made into a saint – given a halo – ergo beatified sailors = O RN?

    That leaves the horse being a GG, but would reduce the cat to “M”. Which doesn’t seem altogether likely, I must admit.

  16. andy smith says:

    There are various types of bindweed, only a proportion are also species called morning glory – so ‘bindweed beatified’ is I think a (good) definition for the subset of bindweed species called morning glory.

  17. Robi says:

    Clutching at straws time – there is a ‘classic’ song that goes:

    Jesus washed my sins away
    One glorious morning (praise His dear name)
    He blessed my soul (He blessed my soul)

    You can witness the full effect here.

  18. Robi says:

    Andy @16; I think your explanation is more plausible!

  19. Eileen says:

    Thanks, thesunneversets, andy and Robi for the further suggestions. I have to go out now until late afternoon, so thanks in advance for any more.

    [And thanks, tupu: we’ll miss you. :-( ]

  20. PeterJohnN says:

    Thanks Eileen. I too had trouble with Morning Glory, otherwise pretty straight-forward.
    Hope you’re using soft tissues! Get well soon!

    A bit cheeky of me, as I’m a newcomer to the blog, but I prefer it when, as some do, the blogger spells out the definition part of the clue before explaining how the solution is arrived at. For example;
    UNWELCOME = not wanted
    RATIO = proportion
    CHEVRON = appearance of V

    In yesterday’s blog there were several messages where the definition part of the clue had not been properly identified.

  21. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the explanation of 16a Eileen. Makes sense but I am still not sure if I like the clue.


  22. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen and to Araucaria for a most enjoyable puzzle. All were good fun but two stood out for me. I struggled mightily in the SW corner because I very confidently entered ‘Josephine’ for 15dn, as soon as I saw ‘no love this time’ and had the crossing ‘O’. Was I the only one who fell into this trap? The eventual answer is of course much better.

    One of my favourite Asian vegetables is referred to as kangung in Singapore/Malaysia, ong choy in Hong Kong and koo shin sai in SE Asian restaurants here in Tokyo. Occasionally I see it translated to ‘Morning Glory’ in the English portion of the menu but I have never heard of anyone eating bindweed. So I agree with Andy’s comment @16 – only some bindweed is beatified and only some is delicious cooked with belacan!

    I also agree with Allan@13. A ‘gee’ is a horse which is why A inserted ‘say’ to suggest the sound of the letter G.

  23. andy smith says:

    Tokyo Colin – FWIW Wiki says that Morning Glory is used in Chinese medicine as a laxative, so go easy on the ong choy, maybe!

  24. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria, I really enjoyed this and the blog, which explained who the bear was :)

    I had no problem with the parsing, so obviously accepted “g” for horse – I’m sure it’s not the first time I’ve seen it used in crosswordland.

    Hi PeterJohnN, as the person responsible for yesterday’s blog, I’d like to explain that for a daily blog (rather than a quiptic, which is where I started), I often assume the definition to be self-evident – unless, of course, it isn’t :)

    We all have different styles, and other people underline it, or signify it in some other way. I’ll try to keep your suggestion in mind for my next blog.

    In a slight aside, in answer to your late comment on my blog, I’ve lived in Spain for over thirty years, so know very few British broadcasters – though I did know Brian Hanrahan R.I.P.; personally that is, not as a broadcaster :)

  25. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Pretty straightforward for Araucaria.
    The only hold-up I had was self-inflicted.As I was not aware of the River Alph I stuck in Rolfe thus making ‘fortnight’ insoluble.
    Pity, since 15d was a nice clue.
    I also liked 17d and its references to 1 and 8.
    Altogether a reasonable work-out.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    I think ‘no skin off…..’ definitely implies a lack of regard for other people. In other words, it is an (over) precise definition!

  27. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog. I needed you to explain a couple of cases where I thought he must want xxx but why?

    On 22,7 I was totally fixated on 10 referring to 10ac so failed to see why FILM STUDIO was correct!

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi PeterJohnN @20

    I agree broadly with Stella’s comment @20. I find one of the hardest things about blogging is knowing just how much detail to include and how much to expect the average solver to know / understand. We have a wide range of solvers, as the comments regularly show, from absolute beginners to people with 50 years’ experience.

    As Stella says, just like the setters, we all have our own styles and solvers have their own preferences. Some like the clue reproduced in the blog and several bloggers do that. It never occurred to me to do it, because I presumed that solvers came to the blog with their solution in front of them. Since I’ve been blogging the Saturday puzzle, I do include the definitions, since I have all week to write the blog, and, after a week, solvers might have recycled their puzzle [or sent it off for the prize!] but I’m not up to using the software that Stella mentioned recently, [nor to providing pictures, which some people like] so it would slow the process up and, on a weekday, I think people like the blog as early as possible.

    As for providing the definition, again like Stella, it has never occurred to me to do that, unless it is very well-hidden [and even then not as the first element].

    I’ve noticed that several times since you have joined us [and my apologies for not having welcomed you earlier :-)] you have pointed out definitions that I would take for granted, eg DUENNA in my own Rufus blog on Monday. As I said, it’s really very difficult to judge, since there’s always the risk of appearing patronising.

    Like the setters, we can’t all please all the siolvers all the time – but bear with us and keep commenting!

  29. Eileen says:

    In the last sentence, please read ‘solvers’ for ‘siolvers’, of course. ;-)

  30. apiarist says:

    Ooer ! I finished this but I have to admit that my Shardik came from a Stephen King novel. I think it was a mechanical device that resembled a bear !

  31. RCWhiting says:

    “[nor to providing pictures, which some people like] ”
    and some people find totally extraneous,so stick to your last.
    As to knowing how much to give and fearing appearing patronising,you are not alone.
    Azed always accompanies a solution with ‘notes’ but these refer to only a selection of the answers. I find it so irritating (and I suppose patronising) when the only solution I hadn’t understood is not in his selection (obviously too easy to warrant any explanation). Of course he does provide (at a price) a solution ‘slip’ but please don’t contemplate any more extraneous stuff.

  32. PeeDee says:

    Thank you Eileen, I couldn’t get EMERSON, but I kicked myself when I saw the answer. I had no problem with MORNING GLORY, seemed just fine to me.

    On the subject of detail in blogs, I like to err on the side of caution and add in the extra detail if I am in any doubt a relative novice will understand.

    I also like the way that there is a mix of blogging styles on the site, it keeps it interesting. People with many years experience don’t need the explanations anyway, they can just skip straight to the comments if they don’t like style of the blog that day.

  33. Pierre says:

    Don’t want to go too much off-topic, but as far as blogging styles are concerned, I personally tend to go over the top in providing detail. My thinking is that if you’re a beginner, you’ll appreciate it and that if you don’t need the explanations, then you’ll go straight to the comments, as PeeDee says.

    I understand that not all bloggers have the time to produce thorough blogs, but there will always be someone else who’ll help to explain any queries.

  34. PeterJohnN says:

    Just revisiting the blog after an afternoon out. Many thanks to Stella @ 24 and Eileen @ 28 for your replies. I fully understand your points of view regarding not wishing to be patronising. I hate to admit it, but I have been doing cryptic crossswords for about fifty years, and have O levels in French, Spanish and German (plus English Language and English Literature!). What seems obvious to you and me is not necessarily so to an inexperienced solver. I don’t think you need to feel patronising to isolate the definition, because that makes it easier to understand the subsidiary part of the clue. I have had comments thanking me for my clarifications.

    Not wishing to harp on about it, but just as an example, one of yesterday’s clues was “Broadcaster perhaps pronounced French city’s name the English way”. The solution was MARSEILLES. The definition was in the last 6 words, viz. “French ciy’s name the English way.” That is because in French, there is no final S in MARSEILLE. That leaves “Broadcaster perhaps pronounced” as the subsidiary clue, giving MARR (broadcaster Andrew), SAY (perhaps, for example) as the (French) pronunciation of MARSEILLE.
    However, many people made comments about the English pronunciation of Marseille, which was mixing up the two parts of the clue, and irrelevant.

    Another clue was “Answer to clue? It’s easy, but it causes small wavelets”. The solution was “LIGHT BREEZE”. The definition was “it causes small wavelets”. That is because a “Light Breeze” is the name for Force 2 on the Beaufort scale of wind strength, which is officially described as causing “small wavelets” (Google “Beaufort Scale” if you need proof!). The subsidiary part of the clue was “Answer to clue? It’s easy” which was well explained by Stella.

    Sorry Stella, didn’t know you lived in Spain. Buenas noches!

  35. morpheus says:

    The thing is PeterJohnN you are clearly a Ximinean, whereas others are clearly more Libertarian in spirit!

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Peter JN
    That is the second time you have explained the Beaufort Scale.
    It is perfectly easy to equate ’causes small wavelets’ with ‘light breeze’ without any knowledge of it.

  37. Stella Heath says:

    Hi PeterJohnN,

    It’s not customary here to go back on a previous day’s blog, but as a novice you’re forgiven.

    IMO your latest explanation of MARSEILLES, which I totally missed, is by far the clearest of all those posted, and I’d like to include a belated mea culpa: as a linguist whose first foreign language was French, I should, course, have realised the discrepancy between English and French spellings.

    On the other hand, I took “it causes small wavelets” as a simple definition, and it didn’t occur to me to look at the Beaufort scale, so thanks for that – it adds an extra dimension to the clue.

    To Arachne, if you’re looking in this late, apologies for not realising so many details, in my hurry to complete the blog :)

  38. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to Eileen and A. for a really nice puzzle, my champagne moment being the route to ‘Emerson’.

    I’ve seen ‘g’ for horse a few times over the years.

    My hunt for the pangram certainly helped me to see ‘hYpothesis’, but then the pangram never materialised!

  39. stumped says:

    Another enjoyable Araucaria whose puzzles ‘click’ with me. Thanks for the blog Eileen.

    For me, MORNING GLORY came about from Cat = MOGGY and RN + IN. LOR I simply decided not to bother thinking about. I didn’t know the plant was edible. I’ve heard the seeds can be psycho-active, whether by preparing a tincture or grinding then smoking them I know not.

    QUICK OFF THE MARK, here I didn’t understand precise origin of THEM. I decided it was THE + an unfathomable M. Having been a ‘scientist’ in early years QUARK was easy. Interestingly they come in ‘threes’ and the story goes that they were so called after a line in Finnegan’s Wake, “Three Quarks for Muster Mark”. A particle physicist who has read Joyce, quite a thought!

    Final point about things that are obvious to some solvers and stump others. Sorry to hark back to an earlier puzzle, but RCWhiting’s “perfectly easy” equation of ’causes small wavelets’ to ‘light breeze’ baffled me even though I had ‘light’ and the crossing letters. My scientific bent had me thinking about ‘packets’ and ‘quanta’ and sometimes it’s hard to ditch an idea no matter how obviously wrong. I solved it by painstakingly going through the alphabet and was glad to get clarification from PeterJohnN

  40. PeterJohnN says:

    RCWhiting @ 36, if you’re still listening! Sorry for the repetition, but I was just giving examples of where the definition part of the clue had not been properly identified.
    I agree you don’t need to know about the Beaufort Scale to solve the clue, but the setter was clearly alluding to it by using that particular wording. Otherwise, “ripples” for example, would have sufficed.

    I think I am exonerated by Stella’s comments @ 37!

  41. PeterJohnN says:

    ….and stumped’s @ 39!

  42. Huw Powell says:

    I’d like to add a few of my thoughts to the “blogging style” aspect of this thread.

    But first, a few things about this puzzle. I didn’t like MORNING GLORY, but whatever, I think I have only ever seen one puzzle in all these years that I thought was “perfect”. And they are free. And the 225 blog often clears up my little “gripes”. And it’s free. And it’s all fun.

    Now to the blogging/exegesis of the clues. One thing I do while solving is use a few shorthand techniques (I print from the website and solve on my own paper, btw) to indicate how I parsed the clue, unless it was dead simple, in case when struggling with one it checks I question a letter. I’ll underline anagrams, letters built by charades, etc. This helps when I glance back, I can see instantly that the earlier solution is indeed correct (or a bit iffy, though those usually stay in pencil).

    It only takes a couple or three lines to both “quote” the clue and explicate, IMHO.

    Now this works perfectly for purely Ximenian clues. But when we drift into libertarian territory, sometimes I have seen clues, especially from The Rev., where I can use every word of the clue in some way, in a more organic fashion, to make the answer make perfect sense – but there’s no way I could “logically” parse them. They are just correct and what they are. I do actually admire such clues, even though they can really stretch the bounds at times.

    And a final note about the worry about dear Ximenes and the style… Rufus routinely includes at least a half dozen “non-Ximenean” clues every week, and most other setters also do so, but with lower frequency. Cryptic definitions and double definitions are, by definition, non-Ximenian (unless also &lits?), but no one complains that I can see.

    Hi everyone :)

    Thanks as always for the blog, Eileen, and to the Master for an interesting and as always amusing puzzle. And to everyone else for your interesting thoughts and input!

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