Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,492 – Araucaria

Posted by Uncle Yap on November 29th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

After Paul last week, I get The Master today. My cup runneth over :-) Today’s offering is another potpourri of delightful wordplay (some of which eluded me) It is, as to be expected, devilishly challenging and at the same time, entertaining when you see the light.

Amazing Gray’s, isn’t it?

1 STUMBLE S (second) TUMBLE (fall) and a stumble is indeed nearly a tumble. Lovely clue
5 PROTEST PRO (professional, expert) TEST (a sporting contest between national teams; as any game during the recent RWC 2011 in New Zealand)
12 TAVERN IN THE TOWN Cha of T (first letter of teacher) AVER (to state) NINTH (the last in a series of 9 must be the 9th or ninth) + ins of W (first letter of was) in ETON (school) and of course, this watering hole must be the opposite of a country (answer to 21) pub
13 BASE CAMP *(CAMBS APE) Cambs is the abbreviation for Cambridgeshire. Thanks NeilW @1
16,17 GRAY’S ELEGY GRAYS (Essex town) Ins of LEG (member) in EY (rev of YE, readers) Thanks Dr Girmukh
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
19 FREDERICK Ins of EDER (Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out in mid–May 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, subsequently known as the “Dambusters”, using a specially developed “bouncing bomb” invented and developed by Barnes Wallis. Eder Dam was one such casualty; hence busted dam) in F (first letter of fire) & RICK (haystack)
23 CONFOUND The convict has been found ; he cannot hide
24  ICARUS I (one) CAR (vehicle) US (America) for someone who flew too high and crashed down when the wax on his wings melted
26 HOLY GROUND Sounds like wholly ground and a churchyard is hallowed ground
27 ANTI-HERO Ins of TIH *(HIT) in A NERO (the Roman Emperor who allegedly played his violin during the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD)
29 DEADEYE dd In G&S’s HMS Pinafore, Deadeye Dick is a character and a deadeye is also a round, flattish wooden block with a rope or iron band passing around it, and pierced with three holes for a lanyard

2 TREMAIN T (time) REMAIN (stay) for Rose Tremain CBE (born 1943) an English author.
3 MOOSE The big beast is pretty evident and I had better let a native explain the most controversial device in this forum, the homophone
4 LOCKNUT LOCAL (tavern) minus AL + KNUT (the name of several medieval kings of Denmark, two of whom also reigned over England during the first half of the 11th century)
7 TRY SCORER *(Youth Club’S TERROR) ‘S is for want of a better explanation for the anagram fodder. Any try scorer in a rugby match will be a good guy
8 SCRUMMY SCRUM (part of a rugby match) MY (setter’s)
9 RUGBY WORLD CUP RUG (warmer) Ins of L (learner, student) in BYWORD (perfect example) C (caught) UP for the recently concluded event in New Zealand which saw the home team not-so-convincingly beating France in the final
15 HIGH-FLYER HIGH (on drugs) FLYER (leaflet)
18 LEOPOLD LEO (Zodiac sign) P (page) OLD (former)
22 HUBRIS *(I, one SHRUB)
25 AWARD A WARD (one being protected)

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

39 Responses to “Guardian 25,492 – Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Can’t help you on the MOOSE – no doubt Eileen will elucidate later today.

    BASE CAMP – *(CAMBS APE) Cambs. being the abbreviation for Cambridgeshire.

  2. Alex in Oz says:

    Hi UY – thanks for the blog.

    For 3d, MOOSE would (apparently) be pronounced MOUSE in Scotland. Whilst the homophone in crosswords is always likely to produce snorts of derision from some, there is some precedence for this particular example. The 1950s Harry Robinson song “Hoots Mon” featured the lyric “There’s a moose loose aboot the hoose” which was also used in an advert for a sweet (wine gums I think) in the UK.

    Other than that, a typical Araucarian jaunt on a Tuesday afternoon.

  3. Berny says:

    Nicely blogged UY but what is function of ‘with skill’ if 28 across is merely a dd?

  4. ergonaut says:

    Re:3d I agree with Alex in Oz, it’s a Scottish spelling not a homophone.
    ‘Mouse’ is frequently spelled ‘moose’ in Scots language, just as ‘aboot’ is used in place of ‘about’ and ‘hoose’ for ‘house’. All are used extensively in Scots literature.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Alex in Oz

    Mostly right – but you have the first part the wrong way round. The cliché is that the Scots pronounce ‘mouse’ as ‘moose’, as in the song you quote.

    I never heard my husband say ‘mouse’ that way but he would, as we left our beloved static caravan in Wensleydale, always say, ‘Goodbye, wee hoose’ but I think that was rather tongue in cheek. 😉

    Hi Berny

    The fifth definition of ADDRESS in Collins is ‘with skilfulness or tact’, which makes this a triple definition.

    Thanks UY, for the blog, but not for the preamble, which fortunately, I didn’t see before enjoying solving this lovely puzzle.

  6. Eileen says:

    Apologies, ergonaut – I was still typing when your comment appeared!

  7. Eileen says:

    More apologies

    Re my comment 5 – a misplaced inverted comma: the definition is ‘skilfulness or tact': the ‘with’, of course, belongs to the clue.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks UY et al. for clearing up my parsing doubts.

    I enjoyed this, and finished it fairly quickly. Last in 29ac, which I hadn’t heard off in a nautical context, and my knowledge of lesser Gilbertian characters is much smaller than I would like. At least this gave me the excuse to look up Dick Deadeye, the scheming tar in H.M.S. Pinafore – one of my favourite scenes is when the eloping couple are discovered by Josephine’s father, thanks to Deadeye’s treachery:

    Carefully on tiptoe stealing,
    Breathing gently as we may,
    Every step with caution feeling,
    We will softly steal away. (CAPTAIN stamps. – Chord. )
    ALL (much alarmed). Goodness me –
    Why, what was that?
    DICK. Silent be,
    It was the cat!
    ALL (reassured). It was – it was the cat!
    CAPT. (producing cat-o’-nine-tails). They’re right, it was the cat!

  9. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, UY (though I agree with Eileen’s comment).

    A very enjoyable Xword, finished at first sitting. I thought at first it was going to be very tough, but once I got the Y from EYE of 29a, COUNTRY followed immediately and then CHURCHYARD and GRAY’S ELEGY, and the rest was straightforward.

    I notice Araucaria didn’t go for the (purported) Noel Coward version of Deadeye Dick !.

    I wondered if TAVERN IN THE TOWN was a self standing phrase? I only remember it from the song “There is a tavern in the town”, but on googling I see one of the pubs in the Birmingham Pub Bombs was so called.

  10. Gervase says:

    Thanks, UY.

    Enjoyable puzzle, I thought: for its overall structure – there were no stand-out clues for me. I took a little while to get a purchase on it, because of the many interlinked clues, but once I had cracked 12, 14 the rest fell out quite easily.

    Couldn’t remember ‘Eder’, so 19a had to wait for some crossing letters. And I failed to see the ‘hidden’ parsing of 20d – wondering why DE stood for ‘orchestra’, having put WIND L inside.

    The Concise Scots Dictionary gives the pronunciation of ‘mouse’ as /mus/ in IPA, ie MOOSE. This is the correct pronunciation in true Scots. Many Scots speak standard English with some form of Scottish accent, of course, or are able to code-switch between varieties, depending on the audience.

  11. Eileen says:

    One of my favourite clues was 22dn, for its lovely wordplay, with the double definition of ‘the fall’. HUBRIS [which sounds for all the world like a shrub!] is, of course, the pride or arrogance which, in Greek tragedy, preceded the downfall of the protagonist: that’s how Arachne became a spider – for claiming superiority over Athene in spinning / weaving. See also the King James Bible: Proverbs 16,18: ‘Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall’.

  12. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks to the Master and UY, particularly for the mention of Grays, Essex. A most enjoyable puzzle.

    I’m not sure about the very definite talk of ‘correctness’ in ‘true’ Scots, Gervase. Lowland Scots speakers can use ‘moose’ but it’s not obligatory; interestingly, Burns himself entitles his famous poem ‘To a Mouse’. And Lowland Scots is not the only game in town; there is the Doric, for example. To my mind, there are very few absolute rights and wrongs in language.

  13. Alex in Oz says:

    Hi Eileen – you are, of course, correct re my error at #2. I actually knew that (hence the rhyme). Maybe I’m a partial Spooner?!

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi Alex
    Of course – I realised it was only a typo.

    [As I’ve said on today’s Indy blog, I’m not partial to Spoonerisms: sorry – couldn’t resist! 😉 ]

  15. Gervase says:

    dunsscotus @12: Of course you are right that there are no absolutes in language. The original Scots language, which had multiple dialects anyway, is now so intermingled with ‘southern’ English that nobody ever speaks it in a ‘pure’ form, except for special effect. And (as you imply) Highland Scots never spoke ‘Scottis’ anyway, being originally Gaelic speakers. The Concise Scots Dictionary, however, gives only one pronunciation but three alternative spellings: mouse, mous or moose. It is therefore not clear what pronunciation Burns had in mind when he titled his paean to the ‘tim’rous beastie’.

    Eileen @11: Thanks for reminding us of the classical grounding of HUBRIS. The use of Arachne as an exemplar is interesting for two reasons: her mistake was not just to boast that she was a better weaver than Athene, but that she actually was, and of course she still lives as one of our favourite setters.

  16. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase

    Yes, it was deliberate: I almost said, ‘Our Arachne’. 😉

  17. Roger says:

    Thanks UY. I found this most entertaining and ultimately satisfying once all the little niceties became apparent.

    Lots of good’uns to choose from, I thought … and MOOSE was rather amusing. {Being a southern sassenach, I had no problem with the big (moose) beast sounding like the little (Scottish mouse) beast. Araucaria may well have been playing to the cliché anyway … and had a twinkle in his eye as he wrote it!}

  18. tupu says:

    Thanks UY and Araucaria

    A very enjoyable puzzle with lots of intricate cross-themes.

    Dave Ellison @9 I too thought of Mexican Pete etc.

    Re moose, this was my first in, because of a childish joke in which a Scotsman asks his Canadian host ‘If that’s a moose, what are your rats like?’.

    Particularly liked 16,17, 27,10 18d (smooth surface), but many others pleased as well.

  19. Gervase says:

    Just one more comment on 3d before I bore everyone to death: the Old English for ‘mouse’ was ‘mus’ (promounced ‘moose’). The (southern) English change to the ‘ow’ diphthong is a result of the Great Vowel Shift (yes – it’s here again!).

  20. Robi says:

    Good puzzle, but difficult to get started with all the interlocking clues, and I gave up on parsing some of the longer ones.

    Thanks UY for revealing (nearly) all. Had I thought of “There’s a moose loose aboot the hoose” as Alex in Oz @2, I would have understood 3. Thanks Eileen @7 for the other (third) definition of ADDRESS; this must be related to: “She adjusted a’ dress with skill,” I think 😉

    DWINDLE caused some problems until I spotted the ha – presumably, the ‘orchestra’ is just there for the surface, or have I missed something?

  21. crypticsue says:

    Araucaria in fine form at just the right level for a Tuesday. Thanks to him and UY

  22. Roger says:

    Hi Robi (20). I don’t think you have missed anything (well, if you have, so have I !) … and at the end of the day, there’s no denying that the answer is an amount of “woodwind left in the orchestra”

  23. harhop says:

    Uncle Yap, you are a kindly person. I came fresh from the sports pages to read the blog, and thought your tact and restraint on the subject of the Rugby World Cup wholly admirable! On the topic of the day, I have grandchildren in Scotland who say moose at achool and mouse at home.

  24. Mr A Writinghawk says:

    7d is better if the S is read as from HAS.

  25. Robi says:

    Mr Writinghawk @24; I took the clubs as the playing cards i.e. Cs

  26. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria, as ever and Uncle Yap, too.

    This was just my kind of crossword with the right mix of clues (I’m with Eileen on Spoonerisms).

    I particularly liked 22d Hubris and, of course, the Gray’s Elegy references. UY’s quote reminded me of a naughty girl at school who used to say:

    The ploughman homeward plods his weary way
    For he is having kippers for his tea!

    Not guilty!


  27. Wolfie says:

    Hi Uncle Yap –

    Unfortunately I happened to glimpse the spoiler in your preamble (while scrolling down to yesterday’s blog to catch up with the latest on RCW versus the rest of world) so ‘country churchyard’ and ‘Gray’s elegy’ went in straight away. Nevertheless, an entertaining solve. Thank you Araucaria.

  28. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for explaining DEADEYE which had me stumped.

  29. PeeDee says:

    PS, I caught the ‘Amazing Grays’ spoiler out of the corner of my eye when coming to the site to check if there was anything I needed to respond to from yesterday’s blog. It did take the gloss of solving the GRAYS ELEGY clue.

    It would be nice if you could put these into the second paragraph out of sight. I know you had some long running battle with Gaufrid about this a while ago, but if you could find some other way to get back at him that doesn’t spoil it for the rest of us too then that would be great.

  30. Eileen says:

    It’s a pity to have to open up this discussion once again.

    [Hi Wolfie – I know you’re a recent [very welcome] contributor to this site so may well not be a

  31. Eileen says:

    Oh dear, I seem to have accidentally hit ‘submit too soon – I have more to say! … to be continued…

  32. Eileen says:

    [Hi Wolfie – I know you’re a recent [very welcome] contributor to this site so may well not be aware of the previous correspondence on this issue.]

    When several of us, some time ago, requested that UY should not include any spoilers in his preamble, it was pointed out that there was no need to visit the site until the puzzle was solved, ie when spoilers were irrelevant. Fair enough, but several more contributors then pointed out that there were other reasons for visiting the home site and this has been borne out by PeeDee and wolfie’s comments today.

    As I indicated earlier, I now know not to do so on a Tuesday, but,whatever reasons people may have for visiting the homepage [for us in the UK] first thing in the morning, they have a right not to be presented by a spoiler from UY, since he promised [more than once] not to do so.

  33. Davy says:

    Thanks UY,

    I thought this was the most entertaining Araucaria for a while and kept me occupied for a good couple of hours. I felt like Sherlock Holmes after completing this although it took me a long while to get into. Seeing ELEGY was definitely the turning point. I must have been in an A mood today as I actually understood all his wordplay which is a rarity.

    In 4d, I thought Knut was too close to Canute to be a coincidence and that’s how it is. Cnut is another alternative spelling.

    This puzzle was Arry in top form with many great clues of which STUMBLE, TAVERN IN THE TOWN (absolutely classic), ANTI-HERO, TREMAIN and HUBRIS (superb), were favourites. Great stuff.

  34. Uncle Yap says:

    I have done it again. Sorry, folks. I was too caught up with the homophonic play on Amazing Grace after remembering ‘was blind, but now I see’. I have since rectified the oversight. Once again, my apologies for an unintended gaffe.

  35. Bogeyman says:

    It’s probably too late now, but can anyone tell me what the anagram indicator is for 21,11?

  36. Uncle Yap says:

    Bogeyman@35, there is no anagram indicator for 21,11. Araucaria is noted for his libertarian style which is characterised by, inter alia, occasional lack of indicators.

  37. dunsscotus says:

    Hi Gervase. I don’t think your points are boring at all; I was fascinated to learn we’re talking about the GVS again! I shall look for a Scots dictionary on Amazon.

    A final – and non-scholarly – thought on mouse/moose: is the parodic ‘To a Louse’ possibly an indiction that Burns was thiinking of the ‘English’ pronounciationn of ‘mouse’?

    Thanks again.

  38. PeeDee says:

    Uncle Yap @34.

    The spoiler was just a mistake not deliberate. I was rude then in my comment at 29, I apologise for that.

  39. Mr A Writinghawk says:

    @25: Yes, but that would be a little strained even if not for the fact that C is usually an abbreviation for ‘clubs’ (not ‘club’). ‘S’ is a short form of ‘has’, though (eg ‘He’s gone’), which seems a better bet.

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