Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,645 by Araucaria

Posted by PeterO on May 25th, 2012


A typically delightful offering from Araucaria.

The puzzle centres on 23A, which is an accessible clue (although as it happens I was led to it from Nahum in 11A), and leads to several of the Poet Laureates of the United Kingdom.

1. Fruit to make one quiet after horseplay (7)
ROSEHIP A charade of ROSEH, an anagram (‘play’) of ‘horse’ + I P (‘one quiet’).
5. Old instrument to call Scots girl (7)
REBECCA A charade of REBEC (‘old instrument’) + CA (‘call Scots’).
9. Doctor Livingstone keeps nations together in liquor (7)
DRUNKEN An envelope (‘keeps’) of UN (‘nations together’) in DR (‘doctor’)+ KEN (erstwhile Lord Mayor of London, ‘Livingstone’). Nicely misleading surface.
10. Garment with which some spell 20 (7)
SINGLET The answer to 20D is MATTINS, which is also (I think more usually) spelled with a SINGLE T.
11. Human error pictures one of the 23 across (5,4)
NAHUM TATE First appearance of the mini-theme, of Poet LAUREATES. A charade of NAHUM, an anagram (‘error’) of ‘human + TATE (‘pictures'; an oblique reference to London’s Tate Gallery). Nahum Tate was Poet Laureate from 1692 to 1715.
12. Hunter owned by Dettori once (5)
ORION An answer hidden in (‘owned by’) ‘DettORI ONce’.
13. Way said to be problematic for lame dog (5)
STYLE A homophone (‘said’) of STILE, with reference to the expression “help a lame dog over a stile” – that is, help someone in difficulties.
15. Prize for fool, something of a triumph to be given K (9)
POTASSIUM A charade of POT (‘prize’) + ASS (‘fool’) + IUM (‘something of a trIUMph'; like it or not, this device is part of Araucaria’s weaponry). K is the chemical symbol for potassium.
17. One of 23 across has same problem with the other horses (9)
MASEFIELD A charade of MASE, an anagram (‘problem’) of ‘same’ + FIELD (‘the other horses’). John Masefield, Poet Laureate 1930-1967.
19. Is it sane for one to keep moving? (5)
NOMAD NO, MAD (‘is it sane?’)
22. Poetical outcry — one left (5)
LYRIC An anagram (‘out’) of ‘cry’ + I L (‘one left’).
23. US city’s austere characters assembled as prizewinners (9)
LAUREATES A charade of LA (‘Los Angeles, ‘US city’) + UREATES, an anagram (‘characters assembled’) of ‘austere’.
25. Unlucky to lose leader, splashes out (7)
HAPLESS An anagram (out’) of ‘[s]plashes’ with the first letter removed (‘to lose leader’).
26. The lady’s seizing gold pound with one person to carry it (7)
HAULIER An envelope (‘seizing’) of AU (‘gold’, chemical symbol) + L (‘pound’) + I (‘one’) in HER (‘the lady’).
27. Reserved “Holy Queen” for crooked lawyer (7)
SHYSTER A charade of SHY (‘reserved’) + ST (‘holy’) + ER (‘Queen’).
28. Supply what was wanted, for instance, including clenched fist? (7)
SATISFY An envelope (‘including’) of TISF, an anagram (‘clenched’?) of ‘fist’ in SAY (‘for instance’).
1. Yorkshire tracks? (7)
RIDINGS A play on riding as a riding path, a horse trail; and a division of the county of Yorkshire.
2. Small change with opposition to one of 23 across (7)
SOUTHEY A charade of SOU (‘small change'; an old French coin of little value) + THEY (‘opposition’). Robert Southey was Poet Laureate from 1813-1843.
3. Warrant in piece of Pooh’s nonsense (5)
HOKUM An envelope (in’) of OK (‘warrant’) in HUM (‘piece of Pooh’s).
4. Geordies’ application to come into big house for fruit (9)
PINEAPPLE An envelope (‘to come into’) of NE (northeast, ‘Geordie’) + APP (‘application’) in PILE (‘big house’).
5. Tea or cider for her? (5)
ROSIE Rhyming slang “Rosie Lee” (‘tea’), and a reference to Cider with Rosie, a book by Laurie Lee.
6. One of 23 across is good about orders I left out (3,6)
BEN JONSON An envelope (‘about’) of ENJO[i]NS (‘orders’ ‘I left out’) in BON (‘good’). Ben Jonson was Poet Laureate 1616-1637.
7. Small room at home, one to welcome Renaissance man (7)
CELLINI A charade of CELL (‘small room’) + IN (‘at home’) + I (the perpendicular pronoun, ‘one’). I think the ‘to welcome’ is along just for the ride. Benvenuto Cellini was a goldsmith, sculptor, painter, soldier and musician – a Renaissance man in more than his dates (1500-1571). But see the link in comment @2.
8. Friend of Caesar, J., or the opposite (7)
ANTONYM Antony, M[ark]. A real chestnut.
14. Swear blind, perhaps, to incite revolution that will do its job (9)
EFFICIENT A charade of EFF (‘swear blind, perhaps’) + ICIENT, an anagram (‘revolution’) of ‘incite’.
16. One of 23 across constructed hedge thus (3,6)
TED HUGHES An anagram (‘constructed’) of ‘hedge thus’. Ted Hughes was Poet Laureate 1984-1998.
17. Pure Scotch religious reformer and demographer (7)
MALTHUS A charade of MALT (‘pure Scotch’) + HUS (Jan, c1369-1415, ‘religious reformer’). Thomas Robert Malthus was the demographer.
18. Difficult agent left climbing in (7)
STROPPY An envelope (‘in’) of TROP, a reversal (‘climing’ in a down light) of PORT (‘left’) in SPY (‘agent’).
20. Non-drinker among utility providers giving service (7)
MATTINS An envelope (‘among’) of TT (tee-total, ‘non-drinker’) in MAINS (‘utility provider’). The double T looked odd to me; but see 10A.
21. Eliminate your lot with exchange of constituents of iron (7)
DESTROY DESTINY (‘your lot’) with IN replaced by RO (‘exchange of constituents of iron’).
23. See some service that will never be any good? (5)
LOSER A charade of LO (‘see’) + SER[vice] (‘some service’).
24. Triumph for old flame last month (5)
EXULT A charade of EX (‘old flame’) + ULT (‘last month’).

35 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,645 by Araucaria”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks, PeterO & Araucaria, this was very enjoyable.

    I’d never before heard of Nahum Tate but it was easy enough to work out.

    My COD was DRUNKEN.

  2. Paulwaver says:

    Another gem from the master, 7D see

  3. William says:

    Many thanks, PeterO, what a peach from the Reverend.

    Never heard of the lame dog thing, I’m afraid. Anyone else?

    Caesar, J & Antony M were a delight.

    Never knew you could spell MATTINS like that.

    Loved POTASSIUM but the plum was DRUNKEN, I thought.

    Least favourite was RIDINGS – not quite sure how the clue is supposed to work. Perfectly soluble, of course, just not one of his best.

  4. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    I enjoyed this a lot, though it was over rather quickly. LAUREATES came early, but I wasn’t sure if we were in Nobel territory until TED HUGHES leapt out at me. NAHUM TATE wrote the libretto for Purcell’s opera ‘Dido and Aeneas’, but is best known these days as the writer of the words to some well known hymns (“While Shepherd’s Watched Their Flocks” etc).

    POTASSIUM was a nice Araucarian liberty, but I particularly liked Doctor Livingstone and Caesar, J.

  5. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks to Big A for yet another fine puzzle – and to PeterO for the blog – your 1st line comment says it all.

    Too many favourite clues to mention but 9a had me laughing (OK then – out loud) and I thought the device in 21d was particularly neat.

  6. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 11a, why “London’s” Tate Gallery? There are two in London, plus one in Liverpool and one in St Ives!

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO, and particularly for the parsing of 21dn, which I should have seen, as it’s characteristic A, like 15ac.

    Lovely puzzle, as others have said. 9ac is wonderful.

    8dn may be a chestnut but it’s one of those that should be brought out from time to time, for the benefit of those who haven’t seen them before.

    Speaking of which, I don’t think I knew that Nahum Tate was Poet laureate. I know him as a writer of hymns, perhaps most notably, as Gervase says, ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’, the first two lines of which, of course, were the answer to Araucaria’s famous anagram,

    ‘O hark the herald angels sing the boy’s descent which lifted up the world’.

  8. PeterJohnN says:

    Re 17a, I would have mentioned for the benefit of non-racegoers that “the field” are the other starters in a horse race other than the favourites.

  9. Gervase says:

    Sorry for the greengrocers’ apostrophe in my comment @4. Don’t know what came over me….

  10. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer for DESTROY.

    I liked 15a.
    I have heard of the lame dog but so long ago that I had forgotten it by the time I looked at this puzzle :(

    What is the connection between Pooh and HUM?

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Paulwaver@2

    Many thanks for that: I’d missed the ‘welcome’ – another gem!

  12. jvh says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    chas @10. One meaning of “hum” is to smell bad. A pooh smells bad.

  13. Mitch says:


    “Ho hum said Pooh to Piglet … “. Much nicer :-P

  14. Paulwaver says:

    Grazie Eileen@11 prego!

  15. Gervase says:

    chas @10: Winnie-the-Pooh calls his doggerel poems ‘hums’ in the stories by A A Milne, hence a ‘HUM’ is a ‘piece of Pooh’, with a further nod to the poetical theme.

  16. JollySwagman says:

    @G #9 It’s OK – I’m sure we all took it as a typo. Anyway, round here we know to ignore misleading punctuation – I bet you’ve really only got the one greengrocer.

  17. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria

    An excellent puzzle. I was defeated by 11a – I realised it must be Nahum and found him in a Lauraete list in a hurry to finsih and go out.

    I too missed the Benvenuto. Very nice.

    I much prefer Mitch @13 or other examples – there are lots of hums in the books.

    I liked ‘drunken’ which kept me puzzled for some time. I was convinced 2d was Spencer (s + pence = R(esistance))but did not chceck and only got Southey when it became clearthat would not work.

    I also liked the parsing of ‘destroy’!

  18. Eileen says:

    “There are lots of hums in the books.” – tupu @17

    There’s even a book of hums:

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to Gervase @15. That is the explanation that satisfies me the best.

  20. Robi says:

    I found this a bit of a slog, although it was a well-crafted puzzle. I’m ashamed to say that I even resorted to a word search for POTASSIUM, not recognising K at the time (doh!)

    Thanks PeterO for your super blog; I needed your help today with quite a few answers. I got LAUREATES via TED HUGHES, but struggled with one or two of the others. I particularly liked NOMAD, ANTONY,M & SINGLET. Can’t say I have ever seen MATTINS spelt that way before. I completely failed to parse DRUNKEN, forgetting about red Ken and thinking only of Africa. Jan HUS was completely unknown to me, although MALT was not. :)

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    First traverse led to nothing at the top but the bottom half soon collapsed.
    Creeping northwards I had minor troubles in the NE but the NW took me as long as all the rest.
    Last in was’style’, not aware of the saying. Like others was delighted by 9ac.
    Solved but couldn’t parse ‘destroy’.
    I solved ‘mattins’ early and hesitated over the spelling but left a dictionary check to later. This proved unnecessary when A. revealed all, quite brilliantly, at 10ac. That’s the sort of move which enables A. to remain top of my setters list.

  22. crypticsue says:

    Super stuff. Surely there wasn’t any need to hesitate over the spelling of mattins as A does tell us in 10a that you can spell it alternately with only one t. Thanks to Araucaria for a lovely start to Friday morning, nice to be reminded of Pooh’s hums. Thanks to Peter O too.

  23. Derek Lazenby says:

    I think I need a reality check. Shows how different we all are but I thought this was the easiest from Mr. A. that I’ve ever done. Had most of it done, including the whole top half before I’d read all the clues once! (I usually take them in order first time through)

    Which is not the same as saying I got all the word play before I came here, some of it was just using the definition parts.

    So now that real time has caught up with me, I stand by what I said yesterday, :D !

  24. StanXYZ says:

    The same old problem with themed crosswords – it just becomes a test of GK. No more, please! Lets have a proper cryptic crossword!


  25. StanXYZ says:

    Ps! The Caesar, J. clue made me laugh! Have I seen it before?

  26. harhop says:

    Thanks PeterO for a great blog, and particularly for repeating the clues. I did the crossword this morning at about 7am and have just come back in the late afternoon from a long drive to a funeral, couldnt find the paper,and it was so much esier to check the blog.

  27. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen

    Thanks re the book – I had not come across it.

  28. mark says:

    Some queries:

    5A how does CA = call scots?
    11A how can pictures be Tate. If I go to the pictures I would be heading to local cinema not a gallery and not a specific one?!
    7D – what is “welcome” doing in thec clue – very unhelpful.

    Thanks for any answers

  29. grumpo says:

    Another delight from the Master! I had a little trouble with MATTINS as I had only ever seen it with a SINGLE-T, but that was, of course, cleared up with A’s usual flair.

    A lovely puzzle throughout, and a welcome reminders of Pooh’s hums.

    Thank you, sir – you are the tops!

  30. tupu says:

    Hi Mark

    Ca’ is given in Collins (and no doubt elsewhere) as a Scottish form of ‘call.

    I myself failed to see Tate but it makes perfectly good sense as a collection of pictures (drawings and paintings).

    Welcome (which I also failed to notice) was explained above by paulwaver. Benvenuto means welcome in Italian and was Cellini’s forename.

  31. StanXYZ says:

    @mark – Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t understand!

    5A how does CA = call scots?

  32. Gervase says:

    mark @28:

    5a: CA, more usually represented CA’, is a Scots version of ‘call’ (really just the southern English word with a ‘dark l’ Scottish pronunciation)/

    11a: ‘pictures’ = TATE is an allusive definition, rather than a precise one. An Araucarian speciality (amongst many others)

    7d: Paulwaver @2 explained this – CELLINI’s first name was Benvenuto, which means ‘welcome’ in Italian, so he was the ‘welcome Renaissance man’

  33. Gervase says:

    tupu @30: We crossed – not for the first time!

  34. Innocent Abroad says:

    Cussing ‘cos I dodn’t get 7 or 8; nor 10 (despite getting 20 early: I also didn’t know you could spell it like that, and only trusted it because Araucaria is a man of the cloth!), there’s a wonderful false trail in that the clue to 10 kind of points ot an anaagram and such crosslights as I had did too :(

  35. Tom says:

    On 3d, I had ‘cum’ from the legal term ‘cum warrant’ plus the letters ‘oh’ from Pooh to give hocum – therefore rather confused by 9ac. The explanation above works better. Ah well.

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