Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,620 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on April 26th, 2012


A reasonably straightforward puzzle from Araucaria, with a trademark long answer to help things along and some nice constructions to boot. Very enjoyable, I thought.


1,5   ROBINSON CRUSOE: ROBINS [birds] + ON + anagram [maybe] of COURSE: the fictional Robinson Crusoe is based on the real-life Alexander Selkirk
9   SCIMITAR: IMIT [9ac [l]IMIT, ‘topped’] in SCAR [trauma]
12  NO GENTLEMAN: NOGENT [le ROTROU] and LE MAN[s] are railway stations between Chartres and Angers, so they are ‘all but’ stops – definition, ‘cad': one of my favourite clues
15  DELTA: double definition: the Nile delta is so called because its shape resembles the Greek letter D
17  SNOWFLAKE: anagram [cooked] of FOWL in SNAKE [reptile]: a snowflake is a type of cocktail
18  MISCHARGE: MARGE [spread – margarine] round I’S [one’s] CH [church]
19  LIMIT: IT following LIM: homophone [report] of LIM[b] [member]
20  OPERATIONAL: OPE[n] [begin, not finishing] + RATIONAL [with reason]
24,10  DESERT ISLAND: DESERT [worth] + IS + L [pound] + AND [plus]
25  DENTURES: anagram [false] of SET UNDER – another favourite clue
26  MUSKET: MUSK [perfume] + ET [the oxymoronic familiar alien]: I can’t remember how compilers managed before 1982 – ‘and French’, I suppose
27  MY FATHER: cryptic definition referring to the music-hall song, ‘Lloyd George knew my father’, to the tune of ‘Onward Christian soldiers’ – nice one, Araucaria!


  RISING DAMP: nothing to do with golf or horse-racing this time: a ‘possible clue’ to a reversal [rising] of PM [premier] and AD [advertisement]
  BRIDGELESS: BLESS [express good wishes] around RIDGE [where pressure’s high] – definition, ‘Humber is no longer’, since the construction of this
3   NAIRN:  AIR [tune] + N [named] after N [northern] – what a pity Alexander Selkirk wasn’t born here!
6   RESENTFUL: RESTFUL [inducing tranquillity] around E N [directions]
7   SWAY: double definition
8   EDDY: and another
11  IMMODERATELY: anagram [out] of MAY TERM I DOLE
13,4: I AM MONARCH OF ALL I SURVEY: anagram [used] of AMMONIA on [before, in a down clue] RC [Catholic] HO [house] FALL [collapse] IS U [refined] RVEY [anagram – ‘affected’ of VERY]: the opening line of Cowper’s poem, ‘The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk':
I am monarch of all I survey;
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea
I am lord of the fowl and the brute
O Solitude! where are the charms             5
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
14  FERTILISER: anagram [out] of I ERR IS LEFT
16  ASHBOURNE: ASHBO: how a drunk might pronounce ASBO  [Anti-Social Behaviour Order – ‘order to behave’] + URN [container for tea] + E [point]: [I won’t apologise for quoting, again, the much-missed Linda Smith’s injunction:”Don’t knock asbos, it’s the only qualification some of these kids will ever get.” ]
21  INTRA: hidden in poINT RAcing
22  ADAM: A [first] + DAM [mother]
23  ISIS: IS [lives]  – and again

29 Responses to “Guardian 25,620 / Araucaria”

  1. jvh says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I thought that in 1D the “of course” referred to the damp proof course.

  2. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    I agree. An enjoyable puzzle with plenty going on to keep one thinking and amused.

    I ticked 15a, 18a, 25a, 1d!, 13,4 14d (nicely misleading for a time).

    Thanks for the reminder re Cowper.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks jvh I missed that having thought about other sorts of courses.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi jvh

    Sorry – I should have made it clearer. That’s why I gave the link, because it explains ‘damp proof course’.

  5. jvh says:

    Apologies, Eileen, I failed to notice the link.

  6. William says:

    Thank you for the blog, Eileen.

    I didn’t see the RISING DAMP gag – your blog gave the aha moment.

    COD MISCHARGE – nice misdirect using ‘spread about’.

    How the blazes did he stumble on NOGENT & LE MANS? Astonishing clue.

    Most surprising thing (for me) was that there was nothing really too libertarian from himself on this occasion.

    Thanks again.

  7. William says:

    PS Thanks also for the Linda Smith quote – superb. When will we see her like again?

  8. Wanderer says:

    Thank you Eileen for the blog, and especially for explaining NO GENTLEMAN — I got this from the crossing letters but came nowhere close to parsing it.

    Some convoluted idiocy on my part led me to invent an interesting town in Derbyshire. I thought ‘order to behave when drunk’ might be SOBER UP. That gives us an anagram of SOBER, indicated by UP (well, it seemed convincing at the time…) Apply that to the rest of the clue and you get SERBOURNE. Ok, it may not exist, but it’s probably no more obscure than NOGENT LE ROTROU!

    MY FATHER was lovely. Excellent fun throughout.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Entertaining puzzle, with many typical flourishes but nothing too off-the-wall. Thanks for the Cowper reference: the quotation was familiar, but I didn’t know its source. This was the one clue I solved from a few crossing letters without bothering to elucidate the wordplay.

    Favourites were 12a (clever), 18a (nice misdirection of definition: I spent a while looking for a simple ‘error’), 25a (neat and funny) and 1d (best of all: a reverse clue with a cryptic def).

    Given Araucaria’s venerable age, it is entirely plausible that his father actually did know Lloyd George, and vice versa.

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the smile, Wanderer – a perfectly respectable invention, as we often see ‘up’ as an anagram indicator. 😉

    You could well be right about 27ac, Gervase – that hadn’t occurred to me!

  11. postrophe says:

    The Rev does not disappoint.

    The most pleasant ride this week, of course.

    Found myself singing along to 27 :)

  12. Alan Connor says:

    Blimey, thanks for clarifying the wordplay for NO GENTLEMAN. Wow. I dropped by to tell Guardian solvers that Puck has given some fascinating insights in a piece over at the Guardian Crossword Blog, plus a description of starting out as a setter as Fifteen Squared was kicking off.

  13. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Alan, for the link and for the interview – fascinating, as you say. [I’m still smarting rather from missing the little curled-up creature in my blog last week. :-(

  14. William says:

    Thanks, Alan @12, smashing article. My goodness, I’m glad I missed this one!

    “I was especially pleased with managing to incorporate the longest word in Chambers, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, into a 15×15 grid by splitting it into seven parts clued individually, together with a clue for the whole word based on Macbeth’s “way to dusty death”.

    Thank you, Puck.

  15. Robi says:

    Well, the second puzzle this week with me in it. I must be getting famous! No hope for this without computer assistance…… And I thought Selkirk was just a Scottish football club.

    Thanks Eileen for the blog, especially your parsing of NO GENTLEMAN, which eluded me. I liked the drunken ASHBOURNE and the DENTURES. The long clue was screaming out for nice anagrams, such as ‘honour my familiar calves’ or ‘Velcro Himalaya uniforms’ etc.

    I was misled by 14 at the beginning by trying to make an anagram of: (I) p(r)omot(e) g(r)owth – well, at least it’s got the right number of letters!

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    By no means an Araucaria classic but meaty enough to exercise my brain cells for a while.
    Last in was Ashbourne which needed to be checked in my gazeteer.
    I liked 24,10ac and 25ac plus 1d.
    13,4 was one of those many quotations which somewhere along life’s trajectory irremovably enter one’s mind, but with no author or context.
    First in was ‘dentures’ which I thought clever but obviously too easy.

  17. apple granny says:

    Like others we couldn’t place the quote as Cowper, but we did work out that the cad was no gentleman, and the reason (which we confirmed by getting the map of France out.)Some very nice clues. Are we the only ones who had to get a dictionary to see if “mischarge” was really a word?

  18. Derek Lazenby says:

    Must have been on the easy side as I finished it. The word I couldn’t find in sundry word list gadgets was bridgeless but got there in the end so I suppose it must be in one of the bigger paper tomes.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    Derek @18
    I should add that “Humber is no longer” is a definition which is the product of a brain which Edward de Bono would kneel before.

  20. Mick H says:

    I loved the ASHBO, real laugh out loud moment.

  21. SeanDimly says:

    Thank you Araucaria, and thank you Eileen.
    Warmed up quickly enough with 1,5 and 24,10, but then cooled right back down again, my gas at a peep – till I realised I’d put 24 and 10 in the wrong way round. I never learn.
    Lots of lovely clues, though. And I keep hearing Leonard Rossiter, as Rigsby of 1d, saying 13,4. Perhaps he did.

  22. yogdaws says:

    It’s so rare for me to notice something which, apparently, nobody else has picked up on that I can’t resist mentioning the following:-

    With SNOWFLAKE (17a) is Mr Monkey Puzzle making a reference to one of Selkirk’s most famous quotes: ‘Whenever a snowflake leaves the sky, it turns and turns to say Good-by!


    Esprit d’escalier

  23. SteveC says:

    I confess to using Google Maps to plot a route between Le Mans and Angers to find No Gentleman.

    But how on earth did Araucaria come up with the clue? The man’s superhuman.

  24. Huw Powell says:

    The closest I got to a parsing for NO GENTLEMAN was to assume LeMans was between Chartres and Angers, and the people there could be referred to as “nos gents LeMans” (“our people of LeMans” in my new form of Esperanto), without the ‘S’tops.

    Last in was SWAY.

    Thanks Rev and Eileen!

  25. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen
    Still working through the backlog and was happy to get this one today. Typical clever clues and integrated theme.

    Got it all out OK but didn’t realise how many that I hadn’t parsd correctly or even parsed at all (1,12,17,11,16) :(

    Thought that course was just the word referring to the actual wall.

    Anyway, another satisfying solve from A.

  26. Val says:

    Very sorry to reopen this conversation so long afterwards but this is driving me mad! What is the “all but” doing in 12ac? And how do we know to leave out the “le Rotrou” and the “s”? I assume it’s the same answer to both my questions but I can’t see it.

    Belated thanks for the blog, Eileen!

  27. Val says:

    I see from brucew_aus at #25 I’m not alone working through a backlog! I’m just further behind.

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi Val @26

    You’re right, it is the same answer: ‘all but’ = ‘nearly’. I can’t find it in Chambers [which doesn’t mean it isn’t there!] but Collins gives the example of ‘all but dead': ‘nearly dead’.

    The clue was ‘Cad all but stops between Chartres and Angers’. We could hardly say that ‘Nogent’ is nearly all of ‘Nogent le Rotrou’ [I should imagine the locals call it simply Nogent, but I found several in my research!] so I think the ‘all but’ refers to the pairing.

    I hope that makes sense. 😉

  29. Val says:

    Thank you very much, Eileen. It makes sense now, I had been trying to see something more in it. Thanks for such a detailed response so long after the event.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

− 2 = four