Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,556 by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on February 18th, 2012


Very enjoyable.  As usual Araucaria demands a broad range of knowledge form his solvers, and I think this results in interesting crosswords.  I wonder if the eclectic mixes come from Araucaria relying less on computer software than some of his more modern counterparts?  Solving an Araucaria puzzle feels like being granted a glimpse into someone’s mind.

Hold mouse over clue number to read a clue.

1 BUFF-TIP BUFF (polish) TIP (piece of advice) – a moth, nocturnal flyer
5 SPECTRA Second PETRA including C (100, a number) – defiition is ‘ranges’
9 THE PLOT THICKENS HEP (switched on, jazz-era slang) Willy LOTT (owner of the cottage, painting by John Constable) HICK (countryman) inside TENS (numbers)
10 OPHIR OP (opus, work) by Damien HIRST (desanctified, missing ST=Saint) – biblical port and region famous for its wealth
11 AVOIDANCE A (first) V (versus, against) O (love, zero tennis score) I DANCE (get moving)
12 SERENADER SERE (sear, to dry) and Ralph NADER (US political campaigner)
14,23,22 A ROSE-RED CITY HALF AS OLD AS TIME AROSE (got up) (TRY CHIDE)* possibly=anagram ALFAlfa SOLD AS TIME (lucerne mostly, sold as thyme) say=sounds like – last line from poem by John William Burgon describing Petra
15 CHIDE HID (concealed) inside CE (church)
16 SYNCRETIC SYN sounds like “sin” (wrongdoing reported) CRETIC (Cretan, a Greek Islander) – definition is ‘reconciling beliefs’
18 MUSK MELON KUMMELS* (possibly=anagram) and ON (possible) – definition is ‘fruit that is scented’
21 VIEWS WIVES* anagram=merry
22 See 14
23 See 14
24 SHEBEEN Definition and cryptic definition – literally a shebeen sells moonshine, cryptically Moonshine is a girl who has been missing.  brucew @2 comments that this is from a poem:

The day is ending   
And the moon can be seen   
But all through the day   
Where has She been?

Anyone know who wrote this?

1 BUTTONS double definition – Buttons is a servant in Cinderella
2 FRESH FRUIT SALAD (SUFFER SHIRT)* anagram=twisted by A LAD (boy)
3 TOLERANCE double definition
4 PETRA Ancient city in Jordan and a dog appearing on the childrens TV program Blue Peter for 15 years. I don’t know why this is particularly a god’s place (more than any other archaeological site), can anyone explain? Possibly dog=pet and ra=god, Petra=a place? Possibly this clue is a biblical reference to ‘a place of safety’, associated with Petra? Also, what is the elipsis for?
5 SCHOOL RUN SCHOOL (some fish) RUN (get moving) – cryptically commenting on the drive to school
6 EL CID EL (Elevated Railway) CID (police, criminal investigations division) – definition is ‘hero’
7 THE END OF THE LINE double cryptic definition – the last metrical foot of a line of poetry and a fishing line
8 AUSTERE A (an) US (American) TREE* (anagram=sadly)
13 DESULTORY DUELS* (anagram=unplanned) TORY (Conservative)- definition is ‘unplanned
14 ARRIVISTE JM bARRIE (topless playwright) about VISTa (bottomless prospect)
15 CAMPHOR MPH O (miles per hour zero, no speed) in CAR (vehicle) – chemical that goes into the making of mothballs
17 CISTERN C sounds like “sea” (they say) IS TERN (seabird) – definition is ‘water supply’
19 MIAMI I’M (setter is) AIM (goal) all reversed
20 NUDES included in meNU DESsert – definition is ‘they have nothing on’


30 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,556 by Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks PeeDee.I saw 4 as you have explained – dog = pet, Ra is the god and Petra is the place.

    With the help of some crossing letters the rose red city revealed itself quite readily but I had failed to notice the little 4 numeral at the start of the clue and was left casting around for a definition for a while.

    I also enjoy making new discoveries while researching Araucaria’s clues; I wasn’t aware that Lawrence was there.

  2. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Araucaria
    Another gem of a puzzle from the master.
    Agree with Biggles A@1 with the parsing of 4d and suspect that the ellipse has to do with leading on to the very clever 14,23,22 – Petra … a rose red etc.
    Hadn’t heard of it before, but discover this week that my niece has just come back from visiting there – an amazing place!

    Thought 24a was cute … and from a poem called Moonshine:
    The day is ending
    And the moon can be seen
    But all through the day
    Where has She been?

    Always something new to be learnt from A !! Well done.

  3. harvey hawley says:

    It amuses me greatly when people use the term The Master to refer to the master of the trite.

    He has been using the same trivial devices which fail miserably to conceal the definitions for more years than you could shake an unfrocked priest at.

    Fans of these school children’s bits of fun really should aspire to something that actually challenges their brain.

    They certainly won’t find them from the current editor of the Guardian puzzles.

    As for the old buffer’s breath of knowledge, I have to pass, he certainly fails to exhibit it muchly.

  4. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    That quote was very familiar,thanks to the genius that was Sellars in the 50s. “Balham, rose red city half as Golders Green”.
    Harvey, there is a great thrill to being in a minority.

  5. stiofain says:

    haha HH that would have been skillful trolling if you hadnt spelt breadth wrong(ly)
    he is constantly inventive
    polymathic in his subjects
    and has introduced many innovations to the genre
    he is the master like it or not
    and i dont even like his pedestrian puzzles that much
    but love his “specials”
    i enjoyed this one and spent a pleasant time checking out petra

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee, including for explaining the Lott bit in 9a. Thanks too RCWhiting for the forgotten Balham quote. Indiana Jones’s Last Crusade begins in Petra, and that scene does do this unforgettable place justice. But a nice puzzle unravelled itself all too soon for me.

  7. Biggles A says:

    Half as gold as green?

  8. Muz says:

    Thanks PeeDee

    My first attempt at a prize and I worked through it well enough, so I’m right chuffed.

    I was surprised to see “kummel” get a mention (18a), even only as anagrist. It’s German for caraway and I didn’t know it had an English usage. I’ve never eaten musk melon, so I can’t comment on possible &lit status.

    Lovely puzzle all round, really

  9. Bryan says:

    A Great Puzzle – despite Harvey Hawley’s complaints.

    Many thanks Araucaria & PeeDee!

    I now suspect that The Rev has an electric Eclectic Mixer in his kitchen.

    You can now read more about Harvey Hawley on one of my websites:

  10. scchua says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Araucaria, for a challenging and satisfying puzzle.

    I particularly liked 24A SHEBEEN, so nicely constructed; and 14D ARRIVISTE. Towards the end, caused myself trouble with 2 that had alternative answers, given the checking letters at that time, and having no clue about 14A,23A,22A:

    4D PLUTO = triple defn: dog(Disney), god(Hades) and place(planet);
    5D SALMON RUN (but of course fish, unlike schoolchildren, can’t walk!)

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog. I had worked out most of 4a but I was left with LOTT which I could not explain. This demonstrates the encyclopaedic view of The Master – despite some mean-spirited comments.

    I was misled by 24a’s mention of Moonshine. I went to Midsummer Night’s Dream and tried to find another character who would fit this clue – no joy. It was clear from the crossing letters that the answer had to be SHEBEEN but I had never heard of the poem :(

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks PeeDee,

    The HH comment does not deserve a response so please ensure that it is removed, as it is rude to A. and I’m sure it breaches your terms and conditions…

    …and RCW, how can you be so gleeful at such a nasty remark. You do us all a disservice.

    Great crossword by the way. Favourite clue was AVOIDANCE. Thanks Arry.

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Araucaria

    Enjoyable puzzle. I managed to misspell Hirst and so put in Ophur (I think there was a clue recently relating to Ben Hur and that misled me but I should have checked).

    Petra refs seemed familiar and I see some occured in a puzzle a couple of years ago by Brendan (the quote was in the blog). Buff-tip also seemed familiar and A used it last November, but I still needed to check it.

    I ticked 14a, 24a,6d, and 14d.

    My first try for 5d was ‘salmon run’ but 9a made it clear this was wrong.

  14. snigger says:

    Heaven forbid that someone should post on here and not include more “thank yous” than the average Oscar acceptance speech.

    I hope this one runs for a while, the comments are often more entertaining than the crossword.

  15. Robi says:

    Not really my cup of tea. Once I had every crossing letter and A ROSE RED at the beginning, I still couldn’t complete the expression without the help of an Indian (?) website.

    Thanks PeeDee; I wouldn’t have been able to parse THE PLOT THICKENS in a month of Sundays. John Burgon, eh:’Apart from the poem Petra, Burgon’s most notable works for which he is remembered today are The Revision Revised which was a critique of the then-new Revised Version of the Bible (1881), The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, The Traditional Text, and Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels.’ Not exactly a well-known poet, methinks.

    Like, ‘I do not like green eggs and ham,’ I do not like these long sayings, quotations etc, which either you know and make the crossword trivial, or you do not and makes it tiresome.

  16. Wolfie says:

    The problem I always have with Araucaria’s long anagrams is that I can usually solve them easily just from the numeration and crossing letters – the well-known “Rose-red city…..” was a case in point. Having written in the solution I can rarely be bothered to go back and parse the clue.

    Thanks PD for doing the parsing chores for me!

  17. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria for entertaining us so well over the years – long may you continue to do so.

    Thanks also to PeeDee for an excellent (and necessary) blog!

    The rose red city has such an evocative ring and Ophir reminded me of one of the first poems that we read as children.

    Giovanna x

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Biggles @7
    I’m sure PS knew that. It was a pun.

  19. Biggles A says:

    Thanks RCW I’m sure he did too!

    Another little gem I encountered in the researching process is that Burgon wrote the poem without ever going to Petra.

  20. Vin says:

    RCWhiting @ 4

    The genius of Sellars plus the geniuses of Muir and Norden who wrote “Balham, Gateway to the South”.

  21. Vin says:

    Sellers, even.

  22. crosser says:

    Thanks, PeeDee and, of course, Araucaria who never fails to amaze me.
    Like Chas, I first went to A Midsummer Night’s Dream for moonshine at 24a and wasted a bit of time there.
    I finished this but at the risk of sounding dim, I would like someone to explain ON = possible in 18a. Thanks.

  23. Wolfie says:

    Good morning Crosser @22

    ON as a synonym for POSSIBLE occurs in expressions such as ‘The Chelsea manager believes that a top-four finish is still on, despite the clubs recent poor results’.

  24. Wolfie says:

    Sorry about missed apostrophe in club’s …

  25. Biggles A says:

    One of the OED definitions for ON:

    Acceptable; played according to the rules of a game (originally esp. in Snooker); conforming to a standard of behaviour, etc.; practicable, feasible. Freq. in negative contexts, esp. in it’s (just) not on .

  26. crosser says:

    Thanks, Wolfie and Biggles.
    Of course, “It’s just not on” is very familiar – it must have been the lack of a negative that confused me!

  27. Mr Beaver says:

    Davy @12. Not sure if you were being ironic, but I would take great umbrage if mild criticisms were censored as you suggest.
    I don’t agree with HH and RCW re Araucaria – I always turn to his crosswords with great relish – but they’re entitled to their opinions, however eccentric 😉

  28. PeeDee says:

    Mr Beaver @27, my thoughts too. To a certain extent one has to tolerate apparent rudeness and intolerance, otherwise how is your own behaviour different? Banning comments you don’t like gets nobody anywhere.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    Mr Beaver
    You leave me quite confused.
    “I don’t agree with HH and RCW re Araucaria – ”
    Araucaria is my favoutite setter and has been for 50 years.
    What, in my ironic comment re HH, do you think indicates otherwise.
    I do not bother replying to any comment Davy makes since he seems to like following me around and being unnecessarily rude or completely failing to understand my comments.

  30. PeeDee says:

    RCW, just making it clear that my comment @26 refers to HH’s comment and Davy’s reply, not yours.

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