Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,597 / Araucaria

Posted by Gaufrid on March 30th, 2012


Stella appears to have gone walkabout so I am a late stand-in.

A bit of fun from the good Rev today, with some characteristic liberties, though I must admit that it took me a little while to work out the parsing of 24ac and 8dn. One new word for me today, 15ac.

1 TWINGE TWIN (one of the 24 that is two) GE[mini] (a bit of it)
4 LUCIFER double def.
9 BASILICAN BAN (interdict) around SILICA (quartz etc)
10 CORPS SCORP[io] (one of the 24 less 10) with the first letter moved to the end
11 RENEW RENE (French boy) W[orld]
12 LIBRARIES LIBRA ARIES overlapping (two of the 24 merge)
13 TACITUS AC (account) in TITUS (emperor)
15 WELKIN ELK (large beast) in WIN (attain) – the sky or region of clouds (Chambers)
17 SCARAB SCAR (traumatise) AB (sailor)
19 MANAGUA MAN (fellow) A GUA[rdian]
22 RETICULAR CU (copper) in LIT (French bed) reversed in REAR (back)
24 SIGNS The first part of the clue refers to the twelve signs of the zodiac which each have a Latin and an English name. Then we have: I DOZ (one 12) reversed (back) A C (a 100) to give ‘zodiac’ as a further indicator.
26 SKIMP SKIM (remove top from) P (page)
27 ISLINGTON I SLING (I throw) TON (weight)
28 RUSSIAN [p]RUSSIAN (another first off)
29 BEETLE double def.
1 TABARET TAT (rubbishy stuff) around BARE (naked)
2 IBSEN NESBI[t] (timeless children’s author) reversed
3 GOLDWATER GOLD (target for one of the 24) WATER (gift of another) – Barry Goldwater
4 LONGBOW LONG (desire) BOW (front)
5 COCOA COCO (Chanel) A (No 1)
6 FORGIVING VIGRO (one of the 24 a bit differently) reversed IN (at home) in F G (successive notes)
7 RESIST REST (the others) around IS (lives)
8 SCALES One of the 24, ‘found on another’ refers to the fact that fish (Pisces) have scales and the ‘Thespian’ is Prunella Scales.
14 COCKTAILS COCK (fellow) TAILS (evening dress)
16 LONG SINCE anagram (dressed) of NINE CLOGS
18 BULLION BULL LION overlapping (two of the 24 merge)
19 MORALE anagram (translated) of RAM LEO (24 from 12 and 18)
20 ABSENCE ACE (winner) around [i]BSEN (2 topped)
21 ERASER AS (when) in ER ER (Queens)
23 CAPRI CAPRI[corn]
25 GOT AT T (temperature) in GOAT (one of the 24)


37 Responses to “Guardian 25,597 / Araucaria”

  1. djawhufc says:

    Hi Gaufrid

    Thanks for blog.
    Excellent crossword today I thought. Tough but fair. Clever use of the theme.

    Also re 8 d- Prunella Scales is a big fan of A’s crosswords and has written forewords in his books I think

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Gaufrid for filling in. Enjoyed this puzzle although it took some time to finish it. However, I now see that my 10ac answer CORNS was quite wrong. I had CAPRI

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. Hope Stella’s OK.

    I felt like a bomb disposal expert painstakingly cutting the wires in the correct sequence in this one! Very satisfying not to get killed in the process. :)

    I thought “removal expert” in 23 was a strange definition.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, especially for the explanation of SIGNS. A nice workout, despite the occasional liberties. I think every sign of the zodiac is used at least once, with the exception of Cancer.

    Prunella Scales is of course a well-known Araucaria fan – she was one of the guests at his 90th birthday party at the Guardian.

  5. NeilW says:

    …or does it refer to the film of the same title?

  6. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Gaufrid for pinch-hitting. Enjoyed this puzzle although now I see that my 10ac CORNS was quite wrong. I had CAPRI at 23d so the corns seemed to fit. Couldn’t parse it but that didn’t stop me. Also thanks for the parsing of SIGNS; couldn’t sort that one out either. Remembered WELKIN from a Christmas carol somewhere.


  7. tupu says:

    Many thanks Guafrid and Araucaria

    An enjoyable puzzle making nice use of the Latin and English versions of the theme. I had to work hard to remember them all without consulting a crib. Some new or forgotten words – tabaret, welkin, and beetle (mallet) were gettable from the clues. A little arbitrarily, I ticked 12a, 2d, 8d, 20d. I liked the idea in 27a (I kept trying to dredge up some Greek word for an angel) but the clue was not A’s best. 19d (my last in) was clever I thought.

    Thanks djawhufc and Andrew for the reminder re 8d’s interest.

  8. tupu says:

    Gaufrid even!

  9. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Andrew @4
    “I think every sign of the zodiac is used at least once, with the exception of Cancer.”

    Yes. The anomaly is that 17ac could have been clued along the lines of ‘One of the 24 as confused as 29′ then all twelve would have been used in one way or another.

  10. liz says:

    Thanks for stepping in, Gaufrid. I couldn’t parse SIGNS so thanks for that. WELKIN was a new one for me and I needed help to get the K. My Chambers app (the aid in question) refers to its use in Shakespeare.

    Other than that, v enjoyable and a good use of the theme.

  11. Barbara says:

    The cancer sign (Crab) was also included in 17ac. sCaRAB

  12. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks Gaufrid and Araucaria

    24a was obviously SIGNS but I couldn’t parse it either. So many other clues depended on 24 that it slowed me down quite a lot till the penny dropped.

  13. William says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    Gasp – this was a struggle. Took me ages as I simply could not parse SIGNS. Sneaked in through the back door with the GOAT at 25d.

    Not happy with 19d. “Choose a bit of one clue, and a bit of another, translate them, combine them anagrammatically, and get a new word. Good grief, how libertarian is that?

    I thought RUSSIAN was nice, though.

    Like pizza, I’m rather glad I don’t have to rely on the Reverend for my daily diet!

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I had solved 90% before I gat ‘signs’ although I had noticed the many zodiac hints. I never managed to parse ‘signs’.
    In spite of my dislike of themes I enjoyed this as it is an example of superior theme use (although nowhere near his use of ‘potter’ previously).

  15. Thomas99 says:

    Many thanks. A great puzzle.

    Apparently scarab is an alternative (Egyptian?) name for Cancer/the Crab. I’m glad he didn’t make the connection overtly though; it would probably only have confused me!

  16. Robi says:

    A very hard one, I thought, with SIGNS being impossible for me to parse.

    Thanks Gaufrid for showing the way. Until I got the theme, I thought in 6 that the word was ‘vigor,’ which didn’t help me finding the right SIGNS.

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks Thomas99

    A cunning move by Araucaria who is, once again, one step ahead of us. The point is made in several websites but see under illustrations.

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hmm. Now let’s just remind ourselves that the class dummy has solved a number by Mr A to the point where I lost count a while back, however, I’m still more at home with the Quiptic. So, it can be no surprise that I found this a complete waste of time. I got 6 or 7, then went to the bookies, far more entertaining.

    The problem, and I’m sure a lot of our silent, non-expert lurkers would agree, is using a blatantly non-Ximenian clue for an answer that is referenced all over the place. Making such a clue anything else is basically saying that anyone other than an expert can get lost now because your daily entertainment is something no one cares about.

    Put that same clue in standalone, or make the puzzle the Saturday Prize, that is a different kettle of fish.

    Still, it’s nice to know that our residents experts, the very very tiny target audience, had their fun for the day. Shame about anybody else.

  19. Bertandjoyce says:

    We are not normally fans of Araucaria,, apart from his alphabetical jigsaws. We do have great respect for him however as the founder of the ‘modern’ cryptic.

    Today though was a delight!

    Needed to check the parsing of 19d but Gaufrid’s explanation made us cringe at how we had missed it!

    A good end to the week and better than the Phi (dare we say it?) we blogged in ‘another place’ today.

    Thanks Gaufrid and Araucaria.

  20. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. 25 minutes to complete thins, with easy 4a opening the NE and corps/Scorpio and so the theme. I never did get round to parsing SIGNS so thanks for that too, and I did have to look up WELIKIN afterwards, last in.

  21. Le Petomane says:

    Re. 15ac: In an obscure poem by Jean Ingelow called “High Tide on the coast of Lincolnshire” there is the line “and all the welkin rang amain”. I had to learn it 50 years ago; strange that it should come in useful one day.

  22. PeterC says:

    I thought this a wonderful puzzle which was so much more joyful than the usual slog. The Great Man is on a higher plane than most in my opinion.

  23. J says:

    How many people have to fail to parse 24 across even when they know the answer before we can agree that it’s a terrible clue?

  24. nametab says:

    Having been a fan of Araucaria for decades, I’m always confident that I’ll solve him even if it seems intractable at first. This one was fairly straightforward. Having got GOAT & TWINGE from the off, the theme was clear. Gave up trying to parse 2nd half of definition for SIGNS, so thanks Gaufrid. Sort of agree with William @13 about liberties taken with 19d, but the ‘translated’ is quite a strong hint about the derivation. Didn’t know meanig of TABARET.

    Derek Lazenby @ 18: not sure of the axe you’re grinding, but there’s always an edge to it. (Don’t know how to add a smiley)

  25. Frank jones says:

    sir Toby Belch invites sir Andrew Aguecheeck to “make the welkin dance indeed” in act 2 (I think) of 12 th Night

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Oh! Come on. We militant atheists shout “Good Welkin” every day.

  27. molonglo says:

    Apologies Gaufrid – and thanks also for stepping in for Stella whom I hope is well. Andrew has been an asset this week, too.

  28. JollySwagman says:

    Absolutely suberb puzzle even by Big A’s standards.

    One for the hall of fame.

    The way the theme was kept at an extra remove made it so much better than a regular themer.

    @DL #18 – by “blatantly non-Ximenian” I presume you mean curly. Actually that was an essential part of the puzzle. Not good for the theme to fall too easily. As with many themers I bet most people came to that in reverse through the links and then had the wordplay to marvel at – I did.

    A Quiptic-level solver quoting Ximenes is a dangerous mix. The cryptic world would be a better place if that wretched book had never been written.

    B&J #19 have it right – “founder of the ‘modern’ cryptic”. Well, not alone, but the main influence – even to the setters who manage to squeeze humour and originality into the Ximenan framework.

    19D had me stumped but the Guardianistas helped me out before this went up – many thanks anyway G for stepping in.

  29. SteveC says:

    Many thanks for parsing 24 – I finished the crossword (eventually!) but couldn’t figure out Signs.

    An Araucaria brightens my whole week. The man is a genius.

  30. Jamie says:

    +1 for a grumpy call of “foul”! I’m a long time fan of the Monkey Man, but
    having an extra layer of ambiguity (24 preludes, religious reference?) was
    too hard for a Friday. Now just twelve, that would’ve been doable (cf double)..

  31. snigger says:

    SteveC @29. The man sets crosswords, lets not get too carried away.

    And as has already been mentioned, set a crossword to appease the resident critics section here. Some of those who got the correct answer for the central theme could not work out why.

    Had a quick look on line and decided this was a WOPI – waste of printer ink.

  32. Huw Powell says:

    Very amusing, and a theme that maintained an amount of “openness” even when identified.

    As far as the actual theme clue, which I never parsed, my entry was in the SW, where several non-themed clues (22, 26, 28) led to then confirmed the fairly easy CAPRI, and then on to GOT AT.

    Derek @ 18, I am sorry for your plight, but Ximenes is only one preceptor of how these devious entertainments are supposed to work. Araucaria is most decidedly a libertarian – as I got used to him over a year or two ago, I noted that many answers could only be parsed (by me, at least) via a strange trip through a 5th or 6th dimension of meaning – but if I closed my eyes, they made sense.

    That being said, the Grauniad is generally very friendly to libertarians from what I can see, rare it is indeed for an entire one of their puzzles to strictly follow X’s “rule”. And I think that is part of the appeal for both us and the setters.

    Anyway, thanks so much for the blog, Gaufrid, and the various bloggers, for help parsing the pencilled-in theme word and MORALE; and to an extent, GOLDWATER – I still don’t really see how GOLD is “target for Sagittarius” (an archery thing?), but see preceding paragraph… and thanks Araucaria, of course, for one more gem!

  33. ernie says:

    Very good, Araucaria and Gaufrid. Though mine (Crab/Cancer) isn’t in.

  34. ernie says:

    24 confused me for a long while. 24 blackbirds baked in a pie? 24 Greek letters? Etc.

    As for the Ximenes vs not Ximenes arguments, I don’t really mind as long as it’s fun.

  35. aguers says:

    On the subject of the welkin, I once played Andrew Aguecheek in a production of Twelfth Night, hence my web name.

    27 across brought back a buried memory; I’d heard this one before (more or less) in an episode of “Waiting for God” (remember that show? Much repeated in the US, but forgotten over here). A quick google provided the relevant scene:

  36. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. Did this one very late. What a cracker!

    I’m so glad I’m not Derek Lazenby.

  37. brucew_aus says:

    Bravo A and thanks for the great effort in parsing it G.

    Didn’t get a chance to start this until Sunday and must confess that just kept whacking away at it piece by piece until I got the last couple out today. Always enjoy this setter and I put the fun factor well before any set in stone rules to play by !

    He gives a mix of clever clueing with a couple of new snippets of information with each puzzle – how many of us knew the capital of Nicaragua and Mr Goldwater off the top of our heads – but both very gettable from the rest of the clue. He’s a master of the subtle theme and just gives good value for the time that it takes to get him finished.

    Needed help with the parsing of SIGNS, WELKIN and SCALES (not familiar with Prunella by name but certainly remember Mrs Fawlty). Had tried to fit WELK (a large sea snail) into my version. Don’t think that I would have figured out the logic of SIGNS in another month !

    Thoroughly enjoyed it !

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