Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,571 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on February 29th, 2012


This is getting spooky – three Araucarias in a row. I wondered if there’d be something related to today being 29 February, but I don’t think there is. Happy Leap-day to everyone anyway!

Instead we have a variety of plants that have bulbs (or similar), a couple of Yorkshire towns and a few words that were unfamiliar to me, though the clueing was generally clear enough to make them reasonably guessable.

1. BATLEY LET (“out LET”) in BAY (inlet)
4. TERENCE “Tel”, which sounds like “tell”, is a short form of Terry or Terence. Terence, or Publus Terentius Afer (195/185–159 BC) was a Roman playwright
9. LILAC TIME LIL (shortened form of “little”) + ACT 1 (first part) + ME (setter). Lilac Time is an operatta (“show”) based on the music of Franz Schubert
10. STRAY ST (saint) + RAY
11. ORPEN OR (golden) PEN. William Orpen, Irish painter.
12. BEAVERING AVE (Latin greeting “hail”) in BERING [strait]
13. SECURED SE (the Home Couties are in SE England) + CURED
15. NUDIST DIS (underworld) in NUT
17. CROCUS CROC + US. As I remember from a biology lesson in 1966 or 1967, crocuses don’t grow from bulbs, but from the similar-looking corms (cf 14d)
19. REFUSAL Anagram of FAILURES less I. The well-concealed definition is “no” as a noun, as in “that’s a no”
22. A LONG HAUL ALONG (by the side) + homophone of “hall” (mansion)
24. ONION I was about to appeal for help explaining this one when I suddenly saw it: it’s NOON* (12, twisted) containing I (1 o’clock comes after 12)
26. LEAKS Homophone of “leeks”. The leek is closely related to onions and garlic, but I don’t know if it technically has a bulb.
27. LASSITUDE LASS + IT + DUE*, I think, if “not quite” indicates the anagram
28. CATBOAT CAT (pet) + BOA + [mas]T. A catboat is a type of single-master sailing boat (nothing to do with catamarans)
29. OSSETT OS (large-sized) + SETT (badger’s den) for a town near Wakefield
1. BULBOUS L (pupil) in BUBO (swelling associated with bubonic plague) + US
2. TULIP TU (French familiar “you” – I was half-expectomg “toi” here as an “object”) + LIP (cheek)
4. TREMAIN T + REMAIN. Rose Tremain, novelist
5. ROSIE I in ROSE; reference to Laurie Lee’s book “Cider With Rosie”
6. NARCISSUS RAN reversed + homophone (-ish) of “scissors”
7. ERYNGO E + homophone of “Ringo” (Beatles drummer)
8. SINBAD SIN and BAD are both related to evil
16. DAFFODILS DOFF reversedin DAILS (The Dail is the Irish parliament – can you have more than one?)
18. SHALLOT ALL in SHOT – onion-like plant, and reference to the Lady of Shallot
19. RELISH Hidden in quarREL IS Horrible
20. LENIENT N I.E. in LENT (fast)
21. GARLIC GALLIC with one L[eft] changing to R
25. IN USE Cheekily hidden in mINUS Eight

35 Responses to “Guardian 25,571 – Araucaria”

  1. Miche says:

    Thanks, Andrew. A nice springtime puzzle. It took a little while for 24a and 25d to click for me – both very good. But oh, that homophone in 6d…

    There’s only one Dáil Eirann, but dáil means assembly, and you can have any number of those.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. Top half fell in easily, with the exception of 7d. The bottom left corner held me up a bit. But it was all trademark Araucaria, with the weird but guessable words, the dodgy homophones and the odd nice twist like 24a.

  3. stiofain says:

    Thanks Andrew i needed TERENCE and CORM parsed

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. After being quite well behaved of late, this was Araucaria back to his usual mischief. All good fun, though.

    Like you, I had to stare at ONION for a while!

  5. Uncle Yap says:

    Thanks, Andrew and Araucaria.
    I parsed 18D as a clue with one def and two cryptic elements ; ins of ALL in SHOT plus a homophone for CHARLOTTE

  6. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the blog, Andrew.

    This was fun. I spent a minute or two trying to make something of SETTLE – the Yorkshire town more familiar to me – and laughed when the penny dropped.

    Like you, I spent longer on ONION but, for me, inexplicably, it was TERENCE that took longest of all to see.

    Araucaria seems to be an admirer of Rose Tremain: only a couple of months ago we had ‘Rose to be an author and stay after time’ – but, of course, her surname is rather a gift to setters! [At least he didn’t feel the need to clue her as a ‘female’ author, as I objected to one setter doing.] I particularly liked the link with 5dn: libertarian he may be but at least Araucaria’s ellipses usually serve a purpose!

    [I’m with Andrew re ‘The Lady of Shallot’.]

  7. PeterJohnN says:

    Completed the puzzle without much difficulty, but didn’t parse TERENCE, thinking it was are reference to Rattigan.

    Despite being an amateur sailor most of my life, I didn’t know what a CATBOAT was. According to Wikipedia, they originated in New York aropund 1840, and spread eastwards into New England.

    Got ERYNGO, but the word was new to me.

    According to Wiki again, OSSETT is “situated on Junction 40 of the M1″. Sounds rather inconvenient for all concerned!

  8. PeterJohnN says:

    Forgot to thank Araucaria and Andrew.

  9. PeterJohnN says:

    I like the anti-symmetry of the Yorkshire towns in the NW and SE corners. Ossett is indeed to the SE of Batley!

  10. nusquam says:

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    I didn’t understand ‘Terence’ because I did not know of the abbreviation for it, and I failed to see the reason for ‘onion’. I’m grateful for the explanations.

    The Lady of Shalott is differently spelled, I think. Hence ‘lady, say’.

  11. Mitz says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria.

    Several went in today without me fully understanding why, but the only penny that hadn’t fully dropped before reading the blog was mINUS Eight, which in retrospect is delightfully cheeky. Last in were ‘garlic’ and ‘catboat’ as I was fixated with ‘dahlia’ for 21 and spent far too long trying to justify it. Also came up with ‘corncrake’ for 14 – obviously wrong when I saw the light, but the main thing about the Rev is that there are so many misdirections and traps that it is easy to just assume that you’ve missed something!

    ‘Eryngo’ the only unfamiliar word, but easy enough to get from the clue, and with the ‘y’ from the lovely ‘stray’.

    I’m with nusquam: “lady, say” must refer to a homophone of ‘Shallott’. And while I’m on the subject, it wouldn’t be late Arry without at least one heart-felt groan. ‘..cissus’ sounds like ‘scissors’? Jeez!

  12. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer for 9a and 11a.

    I also started off with SETTLE at 29a until I was forced to admit it was wrong!

  13. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    An enjoyable teaser. I missed the parsing of ‘onion’ – quite clever.

    I also did not understand Terence though the answer was clear. Eventually I decided it must be a short ‘told’ form of ‘(ut)terance’ but was not happy about it. I have found only one reference to ‘Tel’ as short for Terry in a brief surfing of google and don’t remember having come across it before.

    The theme eluded me for a time until I decided to tackle the clue head on. Once got, the releted answers were straightforward.

    Like Eileen I remembered Rose Tremain’s appearance before and also liked the linkage between 4 & 5d.

    I needed to check ‘eryngo’.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Andrew and Eileen.
    Having checked I see she was the lady of SHALOTT, hence ‘lady, say?’

  15. Mitz says:

    Notable ‘Tel’s that spring immediately to mind: ‘El Tel’ – Terry Venables, former England football manager who got the nickname after a spell as manager of Barcelona; Dennis Waterman’s character Terry McCann in ‘Minder’ – nearly always shortened to ‘Tel’ by every character (except for Arthur Daley of course, who would pompously call him ‘Terence’); Terence ‘Lucky Tel’ Hogan – prominent criminal from the ’50s and ’60s who was linked with the Great Train Robbery (although he was careful not to get directly involved himself).

  16. Robi says:

    Thanks Aruacaria and Andrew.

    I missed the parsing of IN USE completely (when you look on the computer at the clue beside the grid, the minus sign is on a different line to the 8.) I also failed to see the I.E. in LENIENT. Interestingly, according to Wiki NIE is also a Polish weekly magazine!

    tupu obviously hasn’t heard of Terry “Lucky Tel” Hogan (British professional criminal and prominent figure in the London underworld in the 1950s and 60s.)………..

    …….. but nor have I.

  17. Robi says:

    …or should that be ‘neither have I?’

  18. Frank says:


    I assume Tel is Cockney slang (the back pages of tabloids often referred to English Manager Venables as Tel) – cf Del for Derek (Trotter).

  19. James G says:

    I thought for 24 it was a reference to how you can store onions, winding the stalks of one with the next to make a chain. This explanation is much better. Thanks all.

  20. Wanderer says:

    ‘Inlet without outlet’ is a beautiful construction, I thought. My first reading was ‘without’ = ‘WITH out’ = WHIT and I spent some time trying to justify WHITBY. Anyone else go down this route?

    Thanks to Andrew and Araucaria.

  21. sidey says:

    Robi @ 16 (when you look on the computer at the clue beside the grid, the minus sign is on a different line to the 8.)

    That depends entirely on your browser and its settings.

    I must say that UY’s attempt to make shallot and Charlotte homophones has amused me greatly, as has the OED’s definition of leek, “allied to the onion, but differing from it in having the bulbous part cylindrical”.

  22. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Andrew

    The novelists in the top right corner beat me. Got ERYNGO but had to look up the definition.

  23. nusquam says:

    From what I had been told I was inclined to give Marie Lloyd credit for getting to the leeks/leaks homophone first. But on checking it out, I find that the story, a good one, may well be apocryphal. See this link, some way down.

  24. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    BULBOUS went in immediately and the rest was a fairly rapid but most pleasurable solve. 1a looked like BATLEY, but it was a while before I parsed it (with a laugh – what a great clue. And I liked its twinning with OSSETT). Couldn’t parse TERENCE, ONION or IN USE – thanks to all for these.

    Nice use of the ellipsis at 4d/5d. 9a, 19a, 28a, 3d were other favourites. The clue for ERYNGO is blindingly obvious, if you happen to be familiar with the word: ‘sea holly’ couldn’t be more specific. Several times I’ve come across the word being applied also to the candied root of the sea holly – an intriguing confection which I am sure I have never seen and certainly never tasted. As Falstaff says in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor':

    Let it rain potatoes;
    let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves,
    hail kissing-comfits and snow eryngoes,
    let there come a tempest of provocation

    (The ‘potato’ here is presumably the sweet potato, which although now thought of as exotic in the UK, was actually introduced to Europe earlier than its namesake).

  25. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria for the entertainment this cloudy Wednesday.
    Thanks to Andrew. Like you, toi sprang to mind at 2d and crocus @ 17a reminded me of biology lessons but even more, it reminded me of my father, who was a keen botanist.We used to tease him by offering the plural of crocus as croci (hard c)!

    All in all a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Giovanna x

  26. KayOz says:

    Thank you to Araucaria and Andrew.

    A very enjoyable outing. Unlike most people I start anywhere in the puzzle. First in was 11a Orpen (guessed, not heard of before), then 2d Tulip, then 1d Bulbous. That led to a lot of the other answers.

    I see the ‘in there’ clues straight away. It annoys the shit out of my partner. He can see anagrams from 50 paces and give you all the options. Yesterday, I ‘relish’ed the inclusion of ‘extremity’ in a sentence. I thought it was pretty clever because it is a devilishly difficult word to fit into anything.

    I am in awe of most crossword setters.

    I hadn’t heard of a CATBOAT 28a before but it was easy enough to work out. I mistakenly worked a while with lethargic instead of Lassitude. I liked 22a A long haul – heehe. You gotta love the old master.

  27. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I guess you themists must be delighted. Especially those from Yorkshire.

  28. David Travis says:

    My heart sinks when I see it’s an Araucaria puzzle as I know I’ll struggle. This one certainly met my expectations, so many thanks for these explanations Andrew, or I’d never finish. Just a couple of questions: what’s ‘successfully’ doing in 13a (other than serving to confuse)? And doesn’t 19d need an indicator to show it’s hidden?

  29. Mitz says:

    David @28: ‘treated’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cured’ on its own – only the addition of ‘successfully’ shows that the doctor did the business. In 19d, the indicator that there is a hidden word is ‘of’.

  30. David Travis says:

    Mitz @29: Many thanks, I was reading ‘cured’ as in ‘cured meat’ so thought ‘treated’ was the definition. You’ve made it lot clearer so thanks. But ‘of’ seems a weak hidden indicator (or maybe it’s just me who’s weak!)

  31. RCWhiting says:

    25d is indicated by ‘from’ and the container isn’t spelled out.
    Keep going you will find that you improve with age (unlike in most other things).

  32. Davy says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    I enjoyed this very much and always seem to be more on A’s wavelength than any other compiler. The only wordplay that I didn’t understand was ONION so thanks for that. I always seem to fall for the number reference that doesn’t refer to a clue but that’s what cryptic clues are about.
    I do, however, remain vigilant for the number (nummer) anaesthetic reference.

    Lots of good clues today of which I’ll select STRAY, REFUSAL (my COD), ERYNGO, SHALLOT and RELISH,
    as favourites. Thanks Arry for a great puzzle.

  33. tupu says:

    Hi Andrew
    I am wondering if I missed something @14 re Shallot (small onion)/Shalott (the lady)?

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hard work, but got there, with the odd bit of gadgetting.

    sidey, shouldn’t you do a proper job and say which browsers show the clue as intended and which settings affect it? A lot of people on here don’t like messing with settings so tend not to know about them, hence they would appreciate being told properly. I’d do it for you, but I have a poker game just starting!

  35. Mr Beaver says:

    I particularly liked 12a ;)

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