Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize No 25,538 by Araucaria

Posted by bridgesong on January 28th, 2012


An easier than usual prize puzzle this week,  I thought, although it features some quite outrageous (but typical) liberties so far as the clueing is concerned.  Once I had cracked the theme, which didn’t take long, it was easy to work out all the references to 8 down.

It was Rattigan’s centenary last year (hence the number of recent revivals of his work),  so perhaps this puzzle has been held over for some reason.


Hold mouse over clue number to read a clue.

9 RARE EARTH RE EAR in RAT,H. I wasted time here looking for a way to make FLARE PATH fit the clue; it hasn’t even got the right enumeration!
10 ERODE (h)EROD (h)E. Very clever.
11 WINSLOW WIN SLOW. A reference to the play The Winslow Boy.
13 IVAN 1 VAN.
17 CHEDDAR HEDDA in CR(edit). Hedda Gabler, by Ibsen.
19 ECTOPLASMS EC, TOP, M in LASS. Any botanists think it acceptable to use this word in the plural?
22,3 HARTNELL HART, NELL. Norman Hartnell was a royal dress designer.
23 SOBER UP BE R in SOUP. A rare example of an &lit clue from Araucaria (a clue where the definition is to be found in the whole clue, not just part of it). It’s a fairly weak definition, hence the question mark.
26 OVERT (p)OVERT(y). I’m struggling here to work out how the solver is meant to know that the last two letters of “happy” are to be removed from the beginning and end of “poverty”. Yes, it’s pretty obvious once you see it, but I don’t think it’s completely fair.
27 ANGOSTURA 0 in ANGST, UR (sounds like “you are”), A (first). Definition is “the pink stuff”!
3 See 22
4 CROWLAND CROW, LAND. I had to check this, never having heard of the place (apologies, Lincolnshire folk).
5 THE SEA THESE A. A reference to Iris Murdoch’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sea, The Sea.
6 DEEP BLUE *(BE PEELED)less E, with U. Another outrageous liberty, only acceptable because it was so easy to guess (assuming that you had worked out 8 down!). It refers to Rattigan’s play, The Deep Blue Sea.
8 TERENCE RATTIGAN TERENCE (the ancient Greek dramatist), RATTI (sounds like “ratty”) NAG(rev).
18 DIALOGUE I don’t quite know how to characterise this clue. Araucaria has taken three letters from “digital” and stuck them on the last five letters of “analogue”. This process is described as “far from complete”.
20 See 16
25 ROSS Double definition. Rattigan’s play of the same name was based on the life of Lawrence of Arabia.


16 Responses to “Guardian Prize No 25,538 by Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks bridgesong. It took me a little while to get into this one but once 8 emerged the rest fell into place readily enough for me too. I’m still not sure about 23 though if the whole clue is the definition. Sobering up is a process which follows the intake of liquid refreshment, not one observed in the midst of it.

    I failed to recognise ‘these’ rather than ‘the’ as the demonstrative in 6 and was left wondering how to explain ‘sea’.

  2. Trebor says:

    I did enjoy “Dialogue” – a very good idea, but I agree that whilst obvious (imo) the clue is a bit weird. Overall, in these situations I definitely appreciate the attempt at something more entertaining, albeit, unconventional.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks bridgesong. I took 90 minutes over this, determined to solve it without aids: got the 8d theme at once, but of these plays of his knew only ROSS. It would be a tame exercise just looking the playwright up on Google and filling in the answers. Even so it was a bit disappointing with some easy answers and a couple of clumsy clues (9 and 26a).

  4. Joy says:

    Isn’t 6d just an anagram of PEELED BU(t). Not so outrageous really

  5. JollySwagman says:

    I think you are being a bit harsh on Araucaria with “some quite outrageous (but typical) liberties”. You only specify three of them, one of which Joy has addressed.

    18D is a simple concatenation of the first 2 letters of DI(GITAL) with the last 6 letters of (AN)ALOGUE so “far from complete” clues it quite well IMHO.

    Likewise in 26A – “happy ending” can only be Y or PY so POVERTY minus PY is hardly tough when the definition and the BEING POOR -> POVERTY mapping are so obvious.

    Are you sure you are not looking at a Libertarian puzzle through Ximenean glasses?

    Aside from that thanks for the otherwise excellent blog and of course thanks to Big A for yet another gem from the master.

  6. Miche says:

    I read 18d as JollySwagman did: DI(gital/an)ALOGUE – a sort of inverted hidden answer. Oddly, though, the Guardian’s annotated solution has:

    18 dialogue DI(git)AL/(anal)OGUE

    Could this clue have been edited for coarseness?

  7. Miche says:

    PS Terence wasn’t Greek.

    PPS Thanks for the blog. Rude of me not to say that the first time.

  8. Robi says:

    I’m afraid it was a case of looking up TERENCE RATTIGAN’s plays.

    Thanks bridgesong; I don’t think SOBER UP is just an &lit; it’s BE R in the middle of SOUP. I thought POVERTY was OK as the instruction is to remove ‘py,’ and there is only one way to do that.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks bridgesong for an excellent blog and Araucaria

    Pretty straight-forward, though I did not know the Murdoch, and wondered what Rupert had to do with it!

    As Miche says, Terence was not Greek. He was a Roman, apparently of North African descent.

    I do not want to start the apostrophe hare again, after Eileen’s plea, but NB 10a’s “H’s” which came so soon after last week’s discussion

  10. Davy says:

    Thanks bridgesong,

    I’m a big fan of A. but didn’t think this puzzle had much spark to it.
    Just seemed to be A. going through the motions as if his heart wasn’t
    really in it. Just a blip I’m sure.

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to bridgesong for the blog.

    I was like tupu on 5d: what has Rupert to do with this?

    On 8d: I got RATTI and GAN fairly swiftly then saw the first word had to be TERENCE but I have never heard of such a playwright. I was quite unable to think of any plays by him so had to use google. :(

  12. bridgesong says:

    Apologies for getting Terence wrong: pure ignorance, I’m afraid, coupled with doing the blog in a bit of rush (I had to blog the next day’s Azed as well last weekend). And I agree with Joy that I have missed the point of 6 down, so it wasn’t at all outrageous. But I plead guilty to being an Ximenean, although that doesn’t stop from enjoying Araucaria’s puzzles.

  13. brucew_aus says:

    My first entry on this blog – really enjoy the discussion from down in Aust. Have only started doing the Guardian puzzles for the past couple of months and find them an interesting challenge. This one was one of A’s easier ones – although I needed help with the works of Mr Rattigan, whom I had not heard of previously!

  14. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog, bridgesong. I didn’t think there were any particularly outrageous liberties here. Loved SOBER UP. Resisted the list of RATTIGAN works for as long as I could, knowing only THE DEEP BLUE SEA: I thought linking that to Iris Murdoch’s “The Sea, The Sea” was clever.

    BTW I am from Lincs and hadn’t heard of CROWLAND either. Checking a map I noted that it is about as far away as you can get from my home town without leaving Lincolnshire…

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Araucaria has set some of the best themed puzzles I have had the pleasure of solving.
    This was not one of them. As several above have noted the playwright (even this is too precise) gives too many easy solutions.
    I solved the very easy ‘separate tables’ (copies = apes (!!) and (battle)*) which led immediately to T.R.
    I think it was A. who recently gave us the ‘potter’ theme which was wonderful since the theme was used in such a variety of widely different ways.
    Much too straightforward for a Saturday challenge (fortunately today’s Paul is much more suitable).

  16. RCWhiting says:

    A quite interesting place. Large semi-ruined abbey. Originally Croyland. Possibly unique stone bridge with three access points.
    I go there regularly but still took a few minutes to spot it.

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