Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,628 by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on May 12th, 2012


As it was a bank holiday weekend I was really looking forward to another Araucaria special, but sadly it was not to be.  This offering was enjoyable enough, though took up rather less time to solve than I had hoped.

I learned a couple of new words, ‘midinette’ being my favourite, and I’m glad Otto Preminger made an appearance as we have been having a bit of  film noir fest on our DVD player recently, Otto has featured prominently on the bill.

Thank you Araucaria.

Hold the mouse pointer over any clue number to read the clue.

1 MAPLE P (piano) in MALE (man maybe)
4 MARINADE AD (thse days) in MARINE (soldier-sailor)
8 THERMODYNAMICS THE RM (Royal marines, body of marines) MONDAY* (anagram=maybe) SCI (science) reversed
10 EXISTENT STEN (gun) in EXIT (way out) – definition is being
11 WRITHE WRIT (summons) HE (man)
12 ORGIASTIC (IT IS CARGO)* used=anagram – definition is ‘for rave’
15,17 CANTO FERMO CANT (jargon) OF ER (monarch) MO (starts of monarch) – plain song, early western church music
17 See 15
18 ETIOLATED TIO (uncle, Spanish) in ELATED (very happy)
19 CICADA CAD (no gentleman) in CIA (spies)
21 SAPPHIRE APP (software) in SHIRE (county)
24 DOWN IN THE DUMPS DOWN (feathers) IN THE DUMPS (in landfill sites) – definition is ‘blue’
25 UNDERLIP PURLOINED* missing O=nothing, anagram=criminal
26 LAY ON definition and cryptic definition – reference to Shakespear’s Macbeth
1 MATTER-OF-FACT MATTER (stuff) OFF (removed from) ACT performance
2 PREMINGER NG (not good) in PREMIER (top job) – Otto Preminger, film noir director
3 EMMET MET (came across) with ME (setter) reversed and placed in front – old name for an ant
4 MIDINETTE DINETTE (eating area) on top of MI (M1 motorway, road) – a shop girl, especially in Paris, so named because they were seen crowding cafes at luchtimes (midi).
5 RANK double definition – J Arthur Rank
6 NUMERICAL ERICA (heath, heather) following NUM (Nation Union of Miners) Left – numerical order
7 DUCAT old money, found in eDUCATion
9 SECOND PERSON definition (you) and cryptic definition (Eve)
13 AVOIDANCE AVOIr (nearly to have in French) DANCE (ball)
14 CHINA SHOP IN ASH (tree) in CHOP (sack, to dismiss form employment)
16 NUTS IN MAY NUTS (crazy) I (one, Roamn numeral) MANY* (crazy=anagram) – ‘here we go gathering nuts in May’ nursery rhyme
20 CROWN CROW (bird) on N (pole)
22 PEDAL D (top of digit) in PEAL (ring, of bells)
23 ANIL A NIL (nothing) – deep blue colour


22 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,628 by Araucaria”

  1. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Yes,I agree, disappointingly easy for an Araucaria.
    One does not expect clues like 5d and 7d in a quality cryptic.

  2. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Pee Dee. I agree again that this was not too much of a challenge but enjoyable enough. CANTO FERMO was new to me but readily apparent from the crossing letters.

    I have now furthered my education and found out that Macbeth did not ask Macduff to lead on. I also find that since nuts are not gathered in May (not in England anyway) there is a suggestion that the words might originally have been ‘knots of may’.

  3. Paul B says:

    Can’t agree with that ignorant spouting, which seems designed, as ever in the works of RCW, to inflame rather than to inform (i.e. with any detailed critique). Perhaps the likes of Jolly Swagman will disagree with me? Let’s wait and see.

    5D: Lew Grade was a film magnate of sorts, with his production of On Golden Pond and Sophie’s Choice, and financing of various works including The Return of the Pink Panther. So as one element in a double definition, Grade, having misled, leads to Rank, another film magnate.

    7D: perhaps offering more than most competently-produced hiddens, with its somewhat cryptic definition, this clue smacks of professionalism and works well.

    Out of character for me to defend a Guardian puzzle, but some Guardian compilers are more experienced than others, are they not. I enjoyed this one immensely!

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Straightforward (1a and d in the opening seconds) for most of it, but at the top –
    because 8a seemed to want a ‘tetra’ prefix for four – I blundered with 2,3 and 7d until light dawned. The other difficulty was the last two letters of 15,17: getting ‘MO’ into the parsing threw me.

  5. fearsome says:

    Thanks PeeDee, I particularly enjoyed the “Nuts in May” clue

    As a chemist I have always been amused by the laws of thermodynamics as explained to a lay person.
    Rule 1: You can’t win, you can only break even.
    Rule 2: You can only break even under ideal conditions.
    Rule 3: There is no such thing as ideal conditions.
    There was no refereence to the fourth or zeroth law

  6. KeithW says:

    I feel that expressions such as “ignorant spouting” (@2) do not fit well here.

  7. Smoz says:

    Liked this, just about at my level. No clue what etiolated was without research, but loved 9d and 16d. I feel there is a minor prob with 22d as a pedal is a surface for a applying force to a crank, the crank being the lever. Pedantry I’m sure.

  8. r_c_a_d says:

    Coincidentally, Mike Leigh’s film “Nuts in May” was shown on BBC4 on Sunday night.

  9. Biggles A says:

    Smoz @ 7. I guess a brake pedal or a gas pedal could be defined as a lever.

  10. Robi says:

    Enjoyable enough; on the easy side for a Prize. HOWEVER, I stupidly put EXISTING for 10 even though the parsing was complicated: NG=without [outside] gun/IS/EXIT.

    Thanks PeeDee; I didn’t know CANTO FERMO and was not concerned by the double duty of monarch; indeed, I thought the clue was good. I particularly liked SECOND PERSON and AVOIDANCE.

    I agree with KeithW @6; RCW has a right to his opinions, which were not offensive or ignorant, I thought.

  11. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog.
    I needed you to explain MIDINETTE for me – I had filled it in but was unable to say why.

    In fact my memory says Araucaria expends greater effort only for some bank holidays: Easter, August and Christmas.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Araucaria

    As noted, rather easier overall than some but still enjoyable. I ticked 25a, 1d, 6d,9d, 16d. A somehow manages to retain a light touch which is always entertaining.

    My least liked clues were 12a where the equivalence of definition and adjectival answer are a little forced, and 15,17 (for ER + mo). It did not help that I did not know the musical term though it was guessable.

    :) smoz @7, perhaps there is room here for a new word ‘pedaltry’ – ‘being overfastidious about levers’.

  13. Miche says:

    Thank you, PeeDee.

    As a freelancer, I’m barely aware of bank holidays, so I wasn’t expecting anything extra special. This was an enjoyable puzzle, not too taxing.

    My only previous encounter with MIDINETTE was on an episode of the old radio programme My Word!. As I recall it, the explanation they gave for its derivation from midi and dinette was slightly different from Chambers': that the shopgirls had a quick, light midday meal in order to spend the rest of their lunch break promenading and gossiping in the streets.

    A small thing, PeeDee: you’ve omitted L for left in your explanation of 6d.

  14. crosser says:

    Surely in 4d, the parts of the solution are the wrong way round? The clue was “eating area ON (not under) the road”. Could somebody explain, please?

  15. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Miche, corrected now. I think of midinettes like flocks of small birds descending on a place, chattering away and then just as suddenly disappearing again. I suspect the days that shops shut for lunch, even in Paris, are long gone.

    PaulB @3 – RCW’s comment seems quite reasonably expressed to me. You may not agree with him of course, but ‘ingorant spouting’ ? Hardly seems fair.

  16. PeeDee says:

    crosser@14 – I think constructions of the form ‘X is on Y’ can be used either way round. X could be sitting on Y (so X is first), or Y could be first and X is on it (X added to it).

  17. Miche says:

    Crosser @14: I read “on” as meaning “after” rather than “on top of” – it’s a versatile little word, especially in down clues.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    We have had this “X on Y” issue many times before.
    In an across clue, it is preferably “Y then X” but setters use it either way.
    In a down clue, like here, it is common use to put “X on top of Y” (as Crosser @14 says). One will not see it very often the other way around: “Y on top of X” (i.e. X attached to Y). There are even people who will not accept the way Araucaria uses it here (if indeed he does, see below)
    So, yes, as Miche @17 says: “it’s a versatile little word”, I would say especially in across clues …. :)

    As to this puzzle as a whole, one of Araucaria’s easier offerings perhaps.
    But always enjoyable, with 9d (SECOND PERSON) for me a particular highlight.
    While 7d (DUCAT) is almost a giveaway, it is, IMO, quite a nicely written clue.
    Oh, and BTW, the ON issue mentioned above can easily be avoided when we see MIDINETTE as an M1-DINETTE (with adjectival use of M1), which for me makes complete sense. Better sense too.

    Many thanks PeeDee for blogging.

  19. Paul B says:

    Well spotted, Sil. The sort of clue likely to spark a debate on technique (though perhaps not in a 15^2 Guardian thread) until folks realise they’ve been had – and by the very Father of Libertarianism!

  20. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeeDee.

    I found this a pleasant stroll. There are some very good surfaces here (not always the case with the good Rev) – 25a, 2d, 6d, 7d, 9d particularly. Favourites were SECOND PERSON and NUTS IN MAY.

    I agree with Sil on the best way to parse 4d (a word which I have come across somewhere before, probably in a crossword!)

  21. pangapilot says:

    Among the criticism of the Master’s lesser achievements, I’d like (as a language teacher) to voice my admiration for “You must be Eve” (SECOND PERSON) – a perfect clue, IMO.

  22. Paul B says:

    Absolutely, pangapilot: a really nice clue.

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