Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,609 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on April 13th, 2012


Most of the clueing in this was fairly straightforward (though there are a couple I can’t fully explain), but there were a few references that I needed to look up to confirm the details.

1. CATWALK Reference to “The Cat That Walked by Himself” from Kipling’s “Just So Stories”, and “the catwalk” can refer to modelling
9. CLEGG CLEG (horsefly) + G (horse, colloquially, though I spend some time trying to justify GG). Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister.
10. RIVERBOAT R (Recipe – take)+ I VERB + OAT
11. UNCLE TOM’S CABIN UNCLE (pawnbroker) + CAMS* in TOBIN (presumably a reference to the Tobin Tax), and the novel is by Harriet Beecher Stowe
13. OATH Hidden in riverbOAT Helsinki
14. UNDERCUT UND (German “joiner”) + TRUCE*. Definition “charge less than”
18. FIDO F (noisy) I + DO[g]. Are any dogs called Fido nowadays?
21. FULL STEAM AHEAD (ADULT FEMALE HAS)* – “order” seems to be doing double duty
25. YTTRIUM YT (obsolete abbreviation of “that” – cf “ye” for “the”, where the Y stands for the old letter Thorn) + TRIUM(ph). Yttrium is a rare-earth element, named after the Swedish town of Ytterby.
1,24. COCKFIGHT COCK (prepare to shoot) + FIG (picture? I can’t explain this) + HT
2. THE ONE TRUE LIGHT Reference to a stanza (only vaguely familiar to me, if at all) in “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”: And this I know: whether the one True Light,/Kindle to Love, or Wrath — consume me quite,/ One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught/ Better than in the Temple lost outright.. Also reference to Very lights (flares used at sea) and perhaps also very=true.
3. ANGOLA LO (look) reversed or “back” in ANGA (homophone of “anger”)
7. LOOK BACK IN ANGER LOOK BACK (retrospect) + IN (fashionable) + ANGER (rage)
12. TOOTH FAIRY (FAITH O TRY O)*, though the Tooth Fairy usually leaves rewards for milk, not wisdom, teeth.
15. HELSINKI SINK (set) in HELI[os]
16. TELEGRAM Another one I’m not sure about – LEG (walker) + R in TEAM?
21. SHIFTY I FT (one foot = 12 inches) in SHY (throw)
22. STOP Reverse of POTS (e.g. as in “pots of money”)

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,609 – Araucaria”

  1. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the helpful blog – needed you on several I regret to say.

    Re 1,24 – FIG = figure as in, see fig, 1.

  2. andy smith says:

    Oh, and 16d – right inside = R in TEAM

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I’m not sure that order is doing double duty in 21ac – if you go FULL STEAM AHEAD at a task you “get on with it.”

  4. CliffB says:

    If 16d is LEG R inside TEAM, where does TEAM come from? Is “inside” doing double duty in a way I don’t understand, or does “the” have a meaning I don’t know?

  5. Martin W says:

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

    Perhaps the FIG in COCKFIGHT is just short for ‘figure’?

  6. Mitch says:

    LEG R in TEAM where team = side

  7. Manu says:

    Inside = in side (in team)

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    A clever puzzle that grew on me as I progressed.

    Thanks andy smith re ‘in side’! One should be used to these tricks by now.

    I had to check cleg and forgot to check catwalk so thanks Andrew for the detail (no ref. to fido intended). I also checked Tenedos to be sure.

    I ticked 5a, 10a, 11a, 13a (I kept trying to make this ‘work’ at first a la Wilde), 14a, 18a, 1,24, 3d!, 12d. Some excellent surfaces, ideas, and unlikely anagrams.

  9. Martin W says:

    Re 17ac: why is ‘Greek cross’ = TAU?

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog.

    Once again I have to confess that there were several where I could not parse them :(

  11. tupu says:

    Hi MartinW

    It is the Greek letter T and its shape represented a cross both for early Christians and others well before that. The following link explains

  12. apple granny says:

    Great crossword, Araucaria, and thanks for the useful blog.
    Tau is the Greek letter T and T is used for a crossing, we think.
    We loved 13a, “oath” – our last one in, and guessed 2d just before that, but didn’t know the reference. Liked “tooth fairy ” too.
    But we found it one of Araucaria’s easier ones.

  13. Robi says:

    Clever puzzle, although it took me ages to get started properly.

    Thanks Andrew for help with some of the parsing. I failed to see ANGOLA (possibly because I slapped it in before getting 7), which has a great clue, as does TOOTH FAIRY and YTTRIUM although I didn’t know YT=that (obs.)

  14. aztobesed says:

    I think Araucaria is playing with words, which is what you expect him to do – but the Tau cross is more properly known as the Egyptian cross (crux commissa) whereas the Greek (Orthodox) cross, oddly, isn’t the Tau (letter) but is of equal quadrants (crux immissa).

  15. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. This setter demands mental leaps. I jumped about, getting 11a first then 7d, leaving the parsing for later. Even so, like you, I was baffled by a couple. The last quarter was the top left, which had some of the best clues. Most satisfying

  16. NeilW says:

    HELSINKI was of my last in. Luckily, I guessed the device in 13 straight away, which then gave me the starting H.

  17. Newbie says:

    Nearly finished my first Arucaria. Let astray by 18a
    (D)og noisy (din) one with no tail (I no), no tail = Dingo minus g
    Put down Dino!
    Still not finished one!

  18. Jeff Flatters says:

    Re 18a

    There was,of course, the couple in Hampstead who had a dog of that name but, they spelled it Phydeaux

  19. gm4hqf says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew

    I can normally finish Araucaria puzzles but not this one. Couldn’t fathom 2d, THE and LIGHT were obvious but not getting the rest scuppered 17a.

    Thought 15d HELSINKI was pretty tricky. 11a UNCLE TOMS CABIN was obviously correct but I have never heard of the Tobin tax. Quite difficult.

  20. Cosafina says:

    Like Newbie @17 I put in Dino for 18a, based on din = noisy and o = o[ne] with no tail, giving me the Flintstones’ dog (?) Dino.

    My COD was tooth fairy! Loved it.

  21. mark says:

    Thanks Andrew but the fact that even you couldn’t explain some says much about how infuriating Araucaria is. I almost finished it with the help of Wikipedia for the obscure references and words (YT in 25A – did anyone know that off the top of their head?).

    Some I still don’t understand:

    9A why is a colloquial horse a “G”. GG I thought?
    10A why does R = “take”? I read above that R is an abreviation for recipe but even then…?
    23A I got it but can’t parse this. How does “a lot of skill in contriving” = INGEN. If INGEN is a shortened INGENUITY then it’s a hell of a lot of shortening and where is the instruction to shorten; “mostly” is already the definition. And the “contriving” can’t relate to the anagram of “real” as we already are told that by “trouble”?!?
    12D where is the anagram indicator. Again I got it but was not satisfied by this clue at all; as stated above the tooth fairy is only interested in baby teeth surely?

  22. exscouse says:

    Regarding 16 down I thought maybe Araucaria is a fan of Warrington Rugby League team that used to be known as The Wire. Inside the wire could refer to leg and R being inside team. Is this what you call an & lit?

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Lovely challenge, could have been a Saturday puzzle.
    SW corner was my hold-up site.
    I do find that my last-in (or nearly) is so often my COD. Today was no exception with ‘telegram’ fulfilling both categories. A superb clue (without any RL references!).
    ‘Angola’ was a typical bit of Araucaria magic.

  24. tupu says:

    Hi Mark

    Recipe is originally Latin for ‘take’ as in ‘take 5 ounces of sugar’ or ‘take three times of day’.

    I did not particularly like 23a but the definition is ‘mostly’ and the construction is ‘ingen’ = a lot of (shortened) ‘skill in contriving’ + ‘eral’ (real trouble).

    I am not too sure what to make of ‘tooth fairy’ – Andrew already mentions milk teeth but I think the question mark after wisdom probably does enough to deal with that. ‘Whence’ is I suspect doing double duty and there could perhaps usefully be another ‘?’ after ‘try love’ but Araucaria is not one for absolutely rigid rules and everyone seems to have got the – to me and many others – amusing answer.

  25. tupu says:

    25 Hi RCW

    :) Did I detect a hint of adulation coming on with ‘typical bit of Araucaria magic’?

  26. RCWhiting says:

    Absolutely tupu. I adulated 3d.

  27. Headteacher says:

    Just in case you’re being serious Mark #21, wire = telegram, leg = walker, r = right, inside = in team. Anyway,mwhat’s with “used to”? Warrington are still known as “The Wire”, at least in this house!

  28. Headteacher says:

    Sorry, what’s not mwhat’s #27

  29. Headteacher says:

    Not my day, today. My post #27 is in reply to exscouse #22 not Mark #21. Apologies.

  30. nametab says:

    A fairly straightforward, but diverting Araucaria,I thought. He always makes you read between the lines more (e.g at 12d, where the anagram indicator is the whole first sentence with question mark. Liked 3d. Agree with several contributors that GG is more colloquial for horse, but have seen G defined this way before by Mr A. Also, parsing of ‘inside’ has cropped up several times. Being a technologist, YTTRIUM was straightforward fortunately. SE corner very easy. I was looking for the parsing of the ‘O’ in RIVERBOAT because I had interpreted ‘grass’ as RAT (cf traitor) who was ‘taking’ the rest of the clue; so thanks for proper parsing Andrew.

  31. drago says:

    A very entertaining puzzle. Thanks Andrew and Araucaria.
    It seems ‘gee-gee’ came after ‘gee’ as an exclamation to a horse. Collins lists g as an abbreviation for ‘gelding’ too. It’s a mystery.

  32. molonglo says:

    Last word on 9a from G&S: You’ll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

  33. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Arucaria and Andrew. Only got around to this one on Monday … and it took a few goes over the next couple of days to get it out.

    Don’t know about this being one of A’s easier ones – had a mixed bag of local knowledge (9a), literary knowledge (2d, 7d, 11a), a bit of geography and a good overall brain workout – at least for me anyway.

    Like others, I think 3d is a gem and 12d not far behind (think that WISDOM is a great diversion but serves as another link back to the TOOTH part). Hadn’t heard of the TAKE = RECIPE but had the rest of the parse right on it (with a ? on the R).

    A hugely enjoyable solve and up to Prize standard for mine!

  34. john says:

    25 ac is mistaken in calling Yttrium a rare earth element. It is actually a (borderline) transition element (atomic number 39) – which meant that I was side-tracked for a while looking for the answer among the rare earths (atomic numbers 57-70). That said, time and again I’m impressed by Araucaria’s amazing breadth of general knowledge and this was indeed a rare occasion when my own (science) education meant I could spot the error!

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