Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,664 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on June 23rd, 2012


A very enjoyable prize puzzle from Araucaria, with a mini-theme based on 27a (also my favourite clue in the puzzle). There were a couple here I needed to Google to be able to parse (13a and 5d), but otherwise we didn’t find this too difficult.

1. PHOTOGRAPHICAL (LARGO HIP HOP ACT)*; Definition: “Accurately reproduced”
8. AITCH A + ITCH = “desire”; Definition: “a letter”
9. ROLL-NECK (RECKON)* around “50-50″ = LL; Definition: “one’s not wearing a tie” (?)
11. TAPERED TAPE, RED = “bureaucracy as indexed?”; Definition: “Thinning out”
12. YORKIST YOR (sounds like “your”) = “reported solver” + KIST = “bust” (“chest” is one definition of “kist” in Chambers, but I always thought kist onlyl meant “chest” as in the item of furniture…); Definition: “Partisan in [WARS OF THE ROSES]”
13. GOBBI Double definition: Tito refers to Tito GOBBI and “gobbo” is an Italian word for hunchback, thus the plural in Italian would be GOBBI = “hunchbacks”
15. SNAIL MAIL “I would say not: it’s hermaphrodite” – “say” indicates a homophone, so this can be read as “Snail male? No, it’s hermaphrodite” (as most snails are); Definition: “Rhyming letters?” – SNAIL MAIL is a tongue-in-cheek term for the post, as opposed to email
17. NORWEGIAN (GO A WINNER)*; Definition: “wood for Beatles”, referring to the song Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
20. NADIA Hidden in “caNADIAn pacific railway” (CPR); Definition: “Name of girl”
21. TRAFFIC Double definition: “Deal” and “cars etc”)
23. MEANEST to give setter a home (7); Definition: “Maximum base” – I’m not sure this quite works – surely it should be “maximally base”?
25. HUMORIST MORI’S = “Pollster’s” in HUT = “building”; Definition: “joker”
26. THEME THEM = “Opposition” + E = to “English”; Definition: “subject”
27. WARS OF THE ROSES My favourite clue: SOFT = “Weak” + HERO’S = “leading man’s” in WARES = “goods”; Definition: “horticultural contests”
1. PLANTAGENETS PLAN = “Devise” + TENETS = “beliefs” around AG = “silver”; Definition: “brooms in [WARS OF THE ROSES]” – the Plantagenets are named after Planta genista (the common broom) which Geoffrey of Anjou supposedly wore a sprig of in his hat. (I only got this because Eileen mentioned the story when PLANTA GENISTA came up in a crossword recently :))
2. ON TOP POT = “Sink” (as in snooker) + NO = “number” reversed; Definition: “in the first place”
3. OTHERWISE (WHITE ROSE)* – the white rose is the emblem of he House of York; Definition: “differently”
4. REREDOS (RED ROSE)* – the red rose is the emblem of the House of Lancaster; Definition: “altar back”
5. PALMYRA Triple definition, I think: “Syrian [city]”; PAL, MYRA = “girlfriend”; and “toddy [palm]
6. INNER INN = “Local” + ER = “monarch”; Definition: “next to magpie” – in archery, apparently, the “magpie” is the ring between the inner and outer rings
7. ARCHIBALD CH = “Church” in A = “an” + RIBALD = “irreverent”; Definition: “boy”
10. STALWARTNESS (SAW SLATTERNS)*; Definition: “Strength and loyalty”
14. BARRACUDA A + DUC = “French nobleman” all reversed on BARRA = “Hebridean island”; Definition: “fish”
16. LANCASTER CAST = “Actors” in LANE = “way” + R = “right”; Definition: “side in [WARS OF THE ROSES]”
18. IN CHIEF INCH = “Distance” + IE = “that is” + F = “key”; Definition: “being high up on shield” – a term from heraldry
19. NO MATCH Double definition: “Absolutely unequal” and “cancelling game?”
22. FLOSS Double definition: “Novel river” (as in the novel “The Mill on the Floss”, by George Eliot) and “candy” (as in candy-floss)
24. EVENS “[s]EVENS” = “First off numbers”; Definition: “50-50″

30 Responses to “Guardian 25,664 / Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. I enjoyed this one too but never did explain NADIA. I thought of Canadian Pacific too but was sidetracked by cardiopulmonary resuscitation and failed to make the link.

    In 12 I think the reference is to ‘buss’ as in ‘kiss’.

  2. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks mhl. I had the same experience as Biggles A. Although I have ridden on Canadian Pacific, I was stuck on the other CPR so didn’t come up with Nadia. GOBBI was a new work to me.


  3. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    It might seem repetitive to say so but A.does produce the goods everytime for me. I really enjoyed this one.
    I am not a great fan of themes but this was sensibly handled and led to some delights like 3d.
    Other favourites were 11ac and 15ac.
    I read bust as bussed like Biggles.
    Well done again A.

  4. Miche says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Bust/bussed/kissed/kist is just lovely. Last in for me was NADIA: like others, I was fixated on cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

    6d: I think it’s target shooting that has a magpie, rather than archery.

    Another fine puzzle from Araucaria.

  5. sidey says:

    Bust is the past tense of buss so the only homophone needed is kissed/kist.

  6. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. You probably recall blogging on 28 April Araucaria’s prize 25,616 which you found also easy – I checked it because I remembered the plantagenet/broom connection from that puzzle. This one was as good and quirky as ever: SNAIL MAIL, say no more.

  7. Biggles A says:

    sidey @ 5. Arguable I think. Websters gives the past tense of buss as bussed. The OED shows bust and busst as past tenses but its quotations illustrating the verb in its past tense use bussed. The annotated solution, ‘Yorkist your kissed (hom)’, supports this interpretation.

  8. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog.

    I also failed to think of Canadian Pacific Railway so I was left scratching my head over NADIA :(

    I remembered the name of Tito Gobbi but the hunchbacks defeated me.

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and thanks too Araucaria (Another fine puzzle you’ve got us into!)

    Lots of fun and something to learn (Norwegian wood, Palmyra, magpie, hunchbacks) as well. I knew Gobbi from days long ago of collecting 78 rpm operatic records (his performances as Figaro and in Traviata were particularly fine), and I was lucky enough to think of Canadian Pacific.

    Nice anagrams from theme words. I also particularly liked 11a, 12a, 27a.

  10. Wolfie says:

    Thanks MHL.

    Though it had its entertaining moments I found this disappointingly straightforward for a Saturday Prize, with too many ‘write-ins’. I got 27ac early on, leading immediately to three other solutions and the rest of the puzzle fell into place quickly. (I find this often happens with themed crosswords, which is why I don’t like them much.) Like other commenters I struggled to parse NADIA, but the penny dropped eventually.

  11. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    I really enjoyed this and the mini-theme and found it so much easier than Paul’s the previous Saturday.
    I agree that the clue for WARS OF THE ROSES was marvellous and I also liked LANCASTER. An excellent
    offering from the great man. Thanks Arry.
    By the way, I didn’t understand the hunchbacks reference either but did remembet Tito Gobbi.

  12. Giovanna says:

    Thanks once again, Araucaria, for an enjoyable puzzle and mhl for the blog.

    I loved the theme and thought the clueing was fun for the Wars of the Roses set.

    Like many others, I thought of resuscitation for CPR, so Nadia was the last one in.

    My first thought on Tito was Marshall Tito but then Gobbi made more sense; although the term for hunchbacks is pretty offensive.

    Please keep them coming.

    Giovanna x

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, mhl, as you said, an enjoyable crossword.

    But there is one thing I would like to add as nobody came up with it so far.
    It’s about the emblem clues 3d and 4d.
    Very cleverly written within the context of the theme.

    From a cryptic point of view both clues are examples of indirect anagrams.
    Very indirect anagrams, in fact.
    Isn’t this completely against the basic rules of compiling?
    As I said, nice pair of clues as such, but even so.

  14. tupu says:

    Hi Sil

    An interesting point which never struck me, probably because the emblematic white rose/red rose connection to Yorkshire and Lancashire is such a commonplace part of British contemporary culture, especially with regard to cricket and other sporting rivalry between the two counties. Of course you are right about the indirectness of the link, but it is as near direct as an indirect link could be :).

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Well,Sil,from your ex cathedra position, are 3d and 4d brilliantly original or beyond the compiler pale? Don’t sit on the fence (impossible perhaps when in cathedra).

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    RCW, no doubt I do agree with you that 3d/4d is a highly original set of clues (especially given their similarity).
    I only put question marks to the fact that – one cannot deny it – these are indirect anagrams in extremis from a crypto-technical point of view.
    I did not say I didn’t like them (far from that), but, yes, but.
    Perhaps, Paul B could say something relevant about it as I respect him very much as the Keeper of the Castle.

  17. RCWhiting says:

    I don’t think a castle would have a cathedra, a basilica would be more appropriate.

  18. rhotician says:

    Sil @13: You beat me to it, dammit!

    However, I am going to go further than you and try to show that the puzzle is full of indirections.

    RCW @15: I am going to go less far than Sil, in another sense.

    I will try to describe these indirections without taking any position as to their validity or expressing any opinion as to whether they are to my taste. (I will also try, with my limited keyboard skills, not to submit more than one version of the comment).

    1. This is a themed puzzle of a particular type. (There are many different types.)
    One clue indicates the theme (27 in this case) and others refer to it (in this case 12, 1dn and 16).
    That’s one level of indirection. Another level is introduced here when 3 refers to 12 and 4 refers to 16.

    2. Clues 3 and 4 are indirect anagrams, where the fodder does not appear explicitly in the clue but is indicated by part of it. This is dealt with in greater detail in an article, Cryptic crosswords, in Wikipaedia. (I would recommend this article to any solver and especially to beginners.)

    This is the first puzzle in which I have met such a clue.

    The setter, the big A, could have clued 3 as ‘White rose rendered differently’, so he’s introducing this indirection deliberately.

    3. 20 might be described as an indirect hidden answer. Again I’ve never seen the like of this before. And again A is being deliberate – he could have said ‘Name of girl in Canadian’.

    Someone thought that CPR meant a form of resuscitation. I had no idea what it meant so I consulted Chambers to discover that it could also mean a railway. Note that A resolves this ambiguity by using ‘the CPR’.

    4. ‘reported solver’s bust’ in 12 can be parsed in two indirect ways. ‘reported solver’s’=’yor’ and either ‘bust’=’chest’=’kist’ or ‘bust’=’bussed’=’kissed’=’kist’.

    mhl, who has my deepest sympathy, favoured the former, with reservations. Various posters’ comments could be combined to (almost) favour the latter, also with reservations.

    I express no preference nor any reservation. I observe merely that ‘reported solver’s chest’ would have no more than the usual level of indirection.

    5. In 5, ‘toddy’ leads directly to ‘palmyra’, ‘girlfriend’ leads to ‘myrapal’ which, with a change of direction, leads to ‘palmyra’ and ‘Syrian’ leads nowhere or anywhere depending on how you look at it.

    6. In 15 the answer ‘snail mail’ leads back to the clue to provide ‘snail male’. Just ‘Rhyming letters?’ as a cryptic definition is enough.

    7. In 1dn ‘brooms’ leads to planta genista which leads to ‘plantagenets’ by way of hats. ‘side’ as used in 16 would do instead.

  19. rhotician says:

    P.S. I don’t like textspeak. LOL, for example, is overused. I suspect that it often really means ‘That made me smile’ or ‘How amusing’.

    But I did laugh out loud reading tupu @9.

    “Another fine puzzle you’ve got us into!” Brilliant.

    (I’m still not expressing any opinion either way, though.)

  20. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks mhl and Araucaria

    Another who thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and one that I did actually do close to the date that it came out.

    My last in was NADIA and am afraid that I missed the railway view as well – I had put CPR = Communist Party of Russia and that NADIA (a common Russian girl’s name) was a member of (or in) it. I had the kissed = kist interpretation – but could not step that through to the bussed = bust and needed the help from here.

    I know that A does bend the standard cryptic rules, but I think that the novel inventiveness of some of the clues that he creates is well worth the deviation. Clearly most solvers here tend to get to the answer in the end.

    I thought that the 3 and 4 were gems.

  21. Paul B says:

    You could have fooled me. But that’s still impressive stuff for ten past three in the morning.

  22. Paul B says:

    Apologies Bruce: 21 relates to 18 & 19, of course.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    “try to show that the puzzle is full of indirections.”

    My first thought here is why you have used ‘indirection’ rather than ‘misdirection’ Do you know something which I do not?
    Since it is not a word I know I checked it in Chambers which gives it but only from WS as “indirect course or means, dishonest practice”. Assuming you are not accusing A. of the latter then I would certainly expect any cryptic crossword to contain many ‘indirect courses or means’.
    The more the better!

  24. rhotician says:


    My first thought here was…but no, I’d better leave that till later.

    So on second thoughts – I agree with you entirely when you say you would expect any cryptic crossword to contain many ‘indirect courses or means’. In fact I would say a cryptic crossword must contain many ‘indirections’. ‘Cryptic’ practically means ‘indirect’.

    I was struggling with how to say what I meant when Sils intervened. The best I can come up with, in retrospect, is ‘indirect indirectnesses’. Not pretty, I think, but precise.

    Perhaps I should stop pretending to have no opinions. First I must say nothing in this puzzle gave me any great difficulty in solving it. But I don’t consider a puzzle completed until I’ve parsed everything. (It’s part of the pleasure.)

    1.I have no problem with this type of themed puzzle. In fact I like it.

    2.Indirect anagrams. The article in Wiki contains much of interest but in full it has much that is distracting. The relevant part here can be stated as “Indirect anagrams are not used in the majority of cryptic crosswords.” Well I can understand why. Another source gives an example: Measure of broken tree(4). (ACRE or MILE). I don’t mind that there are two possible solutions, it’s ‘tree’ I dislike. Nearly as bad as ‘plant’, whose appearance in a clue always gives me a sinking feeling. The source classes this invalid. I don’t presume to go so far, but I don’t like it.

    In this puzzle I had got LANCASTER (fine) and YORKIST (with misgivings) so I come to “4. Emblem of Lancaster moved altar back(7)” Well ‘altar back’ is clearly REREDOS, a word I only know from crosswords. Hello! What we’ve got here is an indirect anagram! First I’ve ever seen! There’ll be trouble over this. So next we have “3. Yorkist element rendered differently(9)” Well differently looks like an anagrind but No! It’s the definition! And here’s another hidden anagram! Two of them side by side and symetrically related to the theme. Brilliant! The man’s a genius.

    3. Indirect hidden answer. Hmm! Never seen that before either. Don’t think I like it. The man’s doing it on purpose! At least he has the decency to include ‘the’ to resolve the ambiguity.

    4. YORKIST Can’t parse this at all. And he’s at it again. I’m afraid I have, with regret, to pronounce this invalid.

    5. “Syrian” He’s at it again. Completely unnecessary.

    6. “Snail male? I would say not: it’s hermaphrodite” The clueing doesn’t really work but it’s a very nice joke. I’ll let him off with a caution.

    7. “brooms” Again unnecessary, but he forced me to Chambers where I learned something interesting.

    Overall verdict? Not too difficult, not too easy, lots of fun.

  25. rhotician says:

    Sorry “Yorkist element” in 2 above should of course be “Yorkist emblem”.

  26. rhotician says:

    RCW@23: My first thought

    I am indeed not accusing the Rev of “dishonest practice”, but some would, or at least come close to it.

    A Ximenean would pronounce him very “unfair”.

    But words can, of course, have different senses in different contexts. I might say, down the pub, “That fellow Whiting is very devious”, which would be pejorative. “That crossword setter Araucaria is very devious” would be complimentary!

  27. rhotician says:

    “indirect indirectness” is precise only in the sense that it is tautologous. Think again.

  28. r_c_a_d says:

    Just a small comment – “the CPR” hardly resolves the ambiguity as my quick search threw up a list of 117 uses!

  29. RCWhiting says:

    I have my own self-promulgated rule: when I have filled the grid am able to be certain that all solutions are correct. That’s all.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    I missed out the ‘I’, that’s not like me, eh?

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