Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,616 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on April 28th, 2012


I think this was the easiest Saturday crossword we’ve done in quite a while – at least, it was very fast work until the final two clues (15a and 16d), neither of which we knew.

There’s a nice theme here with references to A. A. Milne and childhood more generally, with THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER, BEAR, WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG, INFANCY, CHILDREN appearing as answers. It’s good to be reminded of the poem “The King’s Breakfast” :)

8. CHILDREN Sounds like “chilled wren” (“Cold bird, one might say”); Definition: “issue”
10,11,9. WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG HEN = “Bird” in W + W = “women shortly” + EWER = “jug” + EVERY = “each” + YOU + N = “no” + G = “good”; Definition: “in our [INFANCY]“
12. BUTTER Double definition: “Sheep or goat” (they both “butt”) and “royal request in [WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG]“, referring to the King who plaintively cried, “I only want a little bit of butter for my bread”
14. ANGELICA ANGELIC = “Very good” + A = “article”; Definition: “candied stalks”
15. GENISTA Not sure about this – GEN = “Information” + IS + TA = “volunteers”; Definition: “broom”, but then I don’t see why “after they follow 2″ is there Biggles A points out below that [PLAN] (the answer for 2) + TA (“they”, i.e. the volunteers) + the answer gives you PLANTA GENISTA, the latin name for “broom”
17. INFANCY IN = “at home” + FANCY = “Dream?”; Definition: “First stage”
20. TABLE TOP TABLET = “pill” + OP = “work”; Definition: “Put it on trestles”
22. CANTER CANT is hypocrisy, so a CANTER might be a “Hypocrite”; Definition: “movement?”
23. SPECULATOR S = “Society” + PECULATOR = “thief” (or embezzler); Definition “maybe either 24″ (someone might be a “bull speculator” or a “bear speculator”, referring to bull or bear markets)
24. BEAR Double definition: “Have [CHILDREN]” and “to tolerate”
25. OTTER OTT = “over-the-top”, so OTTER might be “more over-the-top” = “more exaggerated?”; Definition: “One with swimming ability”
26. PEERLESS Double definition: “Unique” and “unlike the upper house” (the upper house is the House of Lords, all of whom are peers of the realm)
1,21,22. THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER HE = “man” in THOU = “old solver” + SEAT = “mansion” + POOH = “bear” + CORNER = “monopoly”; Definition: “A case of up sticks” As jvh explains below, “Eeyore’s house was made of sticks and mistakenly moved by Pooh and Piglet from its original location to Pooh Corner. Hence the definition “case of up sticks” in 1D.”
2. PLAN PAN = “God” around L = “student”; Definition: “scheme”
3. BREWER Double definition: “Author of work of reference” (referring to the fantastic Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable) and “dealing with malt etc”
4. SNOWMAN Cryptic definition: a SNOWMAN is an “Impermanent character” (in that he inevitably melts) while I think “legendary if offensive” refers to the mythical Abominable Snowman
5. HYDROGEN (DOG HENRY)*; Definition: “periodic [TABLE TOP]” – Hydrogen is at the top of the periodic table
6. OUT-VILLAIN OUT = “away from home” + VILLA = “house” + IN = “home”; Definition: “Exceed in wickedness (like Parolles)” – the reference is to Parolles in All’s Well That Ends Well, who “hath out-villain’d villainy so far that the rarity redeems him”
7. AGARIC AG = “silver” + A = “one” + RIC[hes] = “a lot of money”; Definition: “Mushroom” Thanks to RCWhiting and tupu for corrections to what I’d written for this one
13. TRIPLICATE TRIP = “Stumble” on LIE = “fib” around CAT = “pet”; Definition: “repeated twice”
16. TUTELARY TRY = “attempt” around UT = “note” + ALE reversed = “drink going up”; Definition: “Guardian” – a tutelary angel is a guardian angel
18. CREVASSE CE = “the church” around REV = “minister” + ASS = “an idiot”; Definition: “Split”
19. EPITAPH Hidden in: “keep it a philosophical” with “issue” as the slightly unusual hidden answer indicator; Definition: “Final comment”
24. BULL Double definition: “Sign” (as in Taurus, a sign of the zodiac) and “in the centre” (referring to a dart board)

16 Responses to “Guardian 25,616 / Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. I find the botanical name for common broom is ‘planta genista’; hence 2 down followed by TA (volunteers).

    I wasn’t sure about 22, the link between ‘cant’ and ‘hypocrisy’ seems rather tenuous.

    Presumably the ‘case of up sticks’ refers to the game of Poohsticks featured in The House at Pooh Corner but it might have been more accurately described as ‘down sticks’ in that they are carried downstream.

  2. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    mhl,just a little (I for A) slip in ‘agaric’.
    I knew naught of the King and his request, I just took it as a request to the goat to assault our royal personage!

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Yes, a doddle with the straightforward 2d presenting 10, 11, 9 and hence 1, 21,22. After that not even the 6d Parolles clue required references.

  4. g larsen says:

    Thanks mhl.

    Odd, isn’t it, that the words ‘royal request’ should immediately prompt the word BUTTER, at least for someone of my age and upbringing. Others might have found cracking the theme more difficult.

    As we know, many people nowadays like marmalade instead.

    I rather agree with Biggles A that ‘a case of sticks up’ is not really a good definition of THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER.

  5. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Araucaria

    A relatively mild puzzle. Quite enjoyable. I liked ‘otter’ and also ‘table top’.

    I was not altogether happy with ‘agaric’. I don’t follow mhl’s parsing even when his ‘I’ is changed to ‘a’. Rich is an adjective only as far as I can see. I therefore thought it must be ‘ag’ + ‘a’ + ‘riches’ but was not altogether convinced. I suppose ‘rich’ might be ‘getting a lot of money’.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. As you say, an easyish Prize puzzle but rather charming, all the same.

    Yes, g larsen @4, BUTTER was my first one in and opened up the theme immediately.

    I read AGARIC as tupu did [but chuntered at RIC being 'a lot', when it's only half, of 'riches'].

    I fortunately remembered from primary school days that the Plantagenets got their name from the sprig of broom that Henry II’s father, Geoffrey of Anjou, wore on his hat.

  7. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog.

    I was unsure about 4d – I had the snowman as a short-lived character – but did not see the ‘offensive’ aspect. Thanks to mhl for the explanation.

  8. jvh says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Eeyore’s house was made of sticks and mistakenly moved by Pooh and Piglet from its original location to Pooh Corner. Hence the definition “case of up sticks” in 1D.

  9. Robi says:

    Relatively straightforward but enjoyable, although I had to look up the BUTTER quote.

    Thanks mhl; perhaps in 7 ‘lot’ means ‘a separate portion’ [Chambers.] I did like SNOWMAN.

    Thanks also to Eileen for her Plantagenet information; obviously my primary school was much inferior.

  10. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    I enjoyed this puzzle and have been waiting for someone to ask a particular question.
    As no-one has, then it must be me who is lacking and not one of the cognoscenti.
    Why is the ‘D’ of Dream capitalised in 17a ?. I can think of a reason but it’s rather
    tenuous so is there a more specific reason maybe connected with A A Milne ?.

    I particularly liked OTTER and TRIPLICATE. Thanks Arry.

  11. sidey says:

    It’s a slightly misleading reference to Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  12. Davy says:

    Thanks sidey,

    Can you explain how the misleading reference to MND fits the clue ?.

  13. Miche says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    The usual Araucarian fun. I think SNOWMAN was my last in, since it took a while for the offensive/abominable penny to drop. A very neat clue.

    When it comes to Milne, though, I’m with Dorothy Parker: “Tonstant weader fwowed up.”

  14. SteveC says:

    Many thanks for this. As you say, the easiest Saturday puzzle for a while, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

    On a purely practical note, can I put in a request for these solutions not to be set as a table? It makes it harder to read on my iPhone. (My wife and I always do the crosswords in bed on a weekend morning, and I don’t use my computer at weekends.)

  15. mhl says:

    Sorry for the delayed replies, I was away yesterday…

    Firstly, apologies for not adding a explanation of “a case of up sticks”, I was meaning to go back and check The House at Pooh Corner to understand the joke – having done so, I’m sure jvh’s explanation is right. (Not having read it since a child, I’d quite forgotten how good it is.)

    Biggles A: thanks, PLAN + TA to give Planta genista must be it. I’ll update the post.

    RCWhiting: thanks for the pointing out the typo – I’ll fix that.

    tupu: I also particularly liked OTTER. Sorry,you’re quite right that I should have put RIC[hes] rather than RIC[h].

    Eileen: “charming” is a good way of putting it – with all the memories the long clues inspired, I found it a pleasantly nostalgic solve. Thanks for the origin of “plantagenets”, as well – as time goes on, the amount of history I’m learning through crosswords and 15² is easily going to overtake what I learned at school…

    SteveC: sorry that the table doesn’t render well – I’ll try to find someone with an iPhone too see how it’s rendered, and perhaps try something different next month… (It’s fine on my smartphone, for what it’s worth.)

  16. drago says:

    Ah, the legendary SNOWMAN that came to mind was Frosty – is that offensive enough?

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