Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,675 by Araucaria

Posted by PeterO on June 29th, 2012


Here we have the wide range of references and creative clueing typical of Araucaria.

Like yesterday’s Crucible. the puzzle is liberally sprinkled with envelopes. And it surely can be described as colourful.

1. Not like certain steroids? That’s general, not hard, including first two (9)
CATABOLIC An envelope (‘including’) of AB (‘first two’ – letters, that is) in CAT[h]OLIC (‘general’) with the H removed (‘not hard’). Catabolic – breaking down – is the opposite of anabolic – building up – ‘like certain steroids’.
6. Holly coming into flower with (5)
BUDDY Triple definition, with the third spilling over into the next clue.
9. friend: is it ok for me to take off? (5)
AMIGO Am I go? ‘Is it ok for me to take off?’.
10. Cut out of New Zealand as a clue (4,5)
SUEZ CANAL An anagram (‘out of’) of NZ (‘New Zealand’) + ‘as a clue’.
11,17. Tennyson’s nature put colour into books by worker about legislation (3,2,5,3,4)
RED IN TOOTH AND CLAW A charade of RED (‘colour’) + ‘into’ + OT (‘books’) + HAND (‘worker’) + C (circa, ‘about’) + LAW (‘legislation’). Tennyson’s famous description of Nature is from In Memoriam A.H.H.
12. Wise guy, no Scotsman, by himself (4)
SOLO SOLO[n] (‘wise guy’), without N (northern, ‘Scotsman’?). It seemed quite obvious when I solved this, but looks a little strained now.
14. Work on a piece of verse that’s milky white (7)
OPALINE A charade of OP (‘work’) + ‘a’ + LINE (‘piece of verse’).
15. Coloured bottom piece of garden (4,3)
ROSE BED Literal interpretation ROSE BED (‘coloured bottom’).
17. See 11
See 11
19. German city backed food for sheep (7)
MARBURG RAM GRUB (‘food for sheep’), each word separately reversed (‘backed’). This seems to me the best explanation of the ‘for’ in the clue.
20. Gallery in the Pantheon? (4)
GODS Double definition.
22. Proposal of policy to give coloured bread and milk to queen (5,5)
GREEN PAPER A charade of GREEN PAP (‘coloured bread and milk’) + ER (‘queen’).
25. Marching girlfriend round plane holding gold (9)
MAJORETTE A double envelope (’round’ and ‘holding’) of OR (‘gold’) in JET (‘plane’); all in MATE (‘friend’).
26. First parliament backing epic (5)
ILIAD A charade of I (‘first’) + LIAD, a reversal (‘backing’) of DAIL (‘parliament'; the lower house of Eire).
27. Goat‘s name to be aggravating without love (5)
NANNY A charade of N (‘name’) + ANN[o]Y (‘to be aggravating’) less O (‘without love’).
28. Non-U scenic route round military alliance’s explosive requirement (9)
DETONATOR An envelope (’round’) of NATO (‘military alliance’) in DETO[u]R (‘scenic route’) less U (‘non-U’).
1. One presiding over church music? (5)
CHAIR A charade of CH (‘church’) + AIR (‘music’).
2. Well used to playing high card at bridge? (5-4)
THIRD-HAND Double definition, with reference to the bridge maxim “third hand plays high”.
3. Coloured area for past and future building? (10)
BROWNFIELD Definition and literal interpretation: BROWN FIELD (‘coloured area’) for the latter. Brownfield describes a site derelict from industrial use, and ripe for redevelopment.
4. Svelte model held back by romance (7)
LISSOME An envelope (‘held’) of SSOM, a reversal (‘back’) of MOSS (Kate, ‘model’) in LIE (‘romance’).
5. City street in good mood (7)
CHESTER An envelope (‘in’) of ST (‘street’) in CHEER (‘good mood’).
6. Gesture from stream (4)
BECK Double definition.
7. See 8
See 8
8,7. Kangaroo chaser lying to conceal row on colour (6,3,5)
YELLOW DOG DINGO An envelope (‘to conceal’) of DIN (‘row’) in YELLOW (‘colour’) + DOGGO (‘lying’). Yellow-dog dingo is the kangaroo chaser in The Sing-song of Old Man Kangaroo from Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories.
13. I give praise to Paris in a hundred shapes (10)
ASCRIPTION An anagram (‘shapes’) of ‘to Paris in’ + C (‘a hundred’). Chambers defines ASCRIPTION as: the act, expression or formula of ascribing or imputing, eg that ascribing glory to God at the end of a Christian sermon. This last bit must justify the definition in the clue.
14. King Billy’s supporter’s coloured island (9)
ORANGEMAN King William III (of Orange), king of England and Ireland (and as William II, of Scotland) was Protestant, and inflicted a clear defeat on Catholic James (II of England and Ireland, VII of Scotland) at the Battle of the Boyne. An orangeman then is a supporter of King Billy, or more specifically a member of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland or elsewhere. ‘Coloured island’ is a literal interpretation of ORANGE MAN.
16. Plan to find coloured liquid outside river (9)
BLUEPRINT An envelope (‘outside’) of R (‘river’) in BLUE PINT (‘coloured liquid’).
18. Got the better of material (7)
WORSTED Double definition.
19. Actress nuts about sheep (3,4)
MAE WEST An envelope (‘about’) of EWE (‘sheep’) in MAST (‘nuts’).
21. One in formal dress when performing will cut the mustard (5)
DIJON An envelope (‘in’) of I (‘one’) in DJ (dinner jacket, ‘formal dress’) + ON (‘when performing’). Perhaps ‘cut’ might be included in the definition?
23. Jury’s comment on horse (5)
RIDER Double definition.
24. Asinine comment with inconstant vicar (4)
BRAY Double definition’ The Vicar of Bray is a satirical song detailing the vicar’s changes of principle according to the varying requirements of the state, with the chorus

And this be law, that I’ll maintain, until my dying day, sir
That whatsoever king may rein, still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.

Being an inconstant vicar in order to be a constant vicar.

30 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,675 by Araucaria”

  1. EB says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria.

    Re 12ac – more likely to be Solomon minus mon; perhaps this is what you first thought when solving it.

  2. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks A and PO

    Lovely puzzle with quite a few good chuckles (liked 24d), and allusions all over the place.

    Agree with EB #1 re 12ac. Usual suspect for wise man duty.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. I struggled with 22a (couldn’t figure the bread) and 13d, last in, which seemed to have an A too many in the mix. But it was a 30 min job, with 11,17 and 8,7 jumping quickly out.

  4. Miche says:

    Thanks, Peter O.

    My COD: 25a for the seamless welding together of definition and cryptic parts.

  5. crypticsue says:

    25a is my COD too for the great d’oh moment. Very enjoyable colourful puzzle which didn’t take long but was fun. THanks to P and A.

  6. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. Now I understand why I had the right answer to 28a. I had taken ‘route’ from the clue and removed U but this left me with a D not accounted for.

    I liked 25a, once I had stopped trying to think of which parliament came first!

  7. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Since I have so often ‘ascribed’ this compiler I suppose I am allowed to say that I thought this was a rather weak effort.
    Never mind extra As, ‘green paper’ went in immediately from the definition, very unAraucarian. The random colours added nothing.
    ‘Yellow dog dingo’ was easy but is not in Chambers and sems an oddly tautological phrase.
    Agree with EB on 12ac.Last in was 16d, a new word to me.

  8. RCWhiting says:

    Sorry Rudyard, my failing (?).

  9. DougHug says:

    Interestingly, my first in was 16d, but I dithered over green/white (paper), having been diverted by the reference to bread (but being unhappy with both white being a colour, and the idea that white papers contained proposals). Also couldn’t get past the “first parliament” mis-direction for a while, and trying to make the good mood “ECSTasy” work for 5d. Last in was 6d, for which I couldn’t move past the deeply unsatisfactory “wave”, until I had a crossing letter. All the more enjoyable for these above blind alleys.

  10. S. telfer says:

    What about SOLOMON (wiseman) without MON ( scottsman) for 12 across. ?

  11. RCWhiting says:

    See EB @1

  12. rhotician says:


  13. Trailman says:

    So there was me yesterday, all smug at completing Crucible in seven tube stops. Today it was a day return from Barking to Leigh-on-Sea plus another go after tea. Vaguely remembered the Tennyson, knew nothing of the Kipling, but had it all unlocked by a very belated 6ac. Last in was 13d, the only word that I could make fit; not yet convinced by the def.

  14. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Must agree with RCW about this being disappointing for the big “A”.

    Sadly I can only disagree with JollyS @2 about 24d. Surely not an Araucaria clue? Only fit for a beginners cryptic set by a beginner? All that’s missing is “(PSSST The answer is BRAY)” although it would be superfluous!

    Obviously the great man was on a tight schedule.

  15. Taco_Belly says:

    Always get excited when A is compiler although concerned for my time management for the rest of the day. No such worries today as one after anonther fell into place after getting 11,17 straight away.

    Not a classic from A – but nevertheless enjoyable and some nice moments. Thanks PeterO for the blog and for parsing 9a which I couldn’t quite fit together satisfactorily.

  16. rhotician says:

    Brendan @14: 24d Asinine comment with inconstant vicar.

    The Rev might loosely be described as an inconstant vicar. Your comment is definitely asinine.


  17. JollySwagman says:

    @#14 and #16 – I agree that it’s a simplistic clue – it just made me laugh (out loud as they say – but not the full rolling on the floor).

    That’s why I liked it.

  18. William says:

    Thanks PeterO.

    Bit late now as I had to finish this on the plane but if you’re still checking the blog, can you tell me how to parse ASCRIPTION? I can’t see what the “I” or “give” parts of the clue are doing. Don’t they define the person doing the ascription? No doubt I’m missing something.

    Thanks for the blog.

  19. mark says:

    19a food for sheep would be ram(s)grub NOT grubram. How is that ok?

    Help please on:
    19d – I guessed it but why is MAST = nuts?
    23d – ditto RIDER = jury’s comment

    I didn’t really know a BECK was a gesture either but I suppose that’s why we say refer to being at someone’s beck and call?

  20. Denis says:

    William@18: I agree ref. 13d. The way the clue is worded the answer should be a verb not a noun.

    Mark@19: Mast is an old word for nuts thought of as food for (e.g.) pigs foraging in woodland.
    This (19d) was my favourite clue: not difficult, just neat.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    A rider is usually a legal term meaning something added as an extra to a document etc. I assume in this case it refers to those occasions when a jury reports ‘guilty’ but then adds some recommendation to the judge.
    rho @16
    That is the second example of inapproptiate language here this week. It would be desirable if it were the last.

  22. rhotician says:

    RCW @21

    I could refute your assertion but I can’t be arsed.

  23. PeterO says:

    William @18

    I took the ‘I’ in 13D to be a personification of the sermon’s postamble (and I disagree with Denis @20 that the clue as phrased requires a verb as answer). All told, I would not put this clue among Araucaria’s finest – apart from the personification, the definition seems questionable (although the usage may common jargon for a cleric), and the ‘a’ before ‘hundred’ there only for the surface, which is not up to much anyway.

    Mark @19

    In 19A, I suggested that each word should be reversed separately. This strikes me as odd, but not entirely outside the pale. MAST and RIDER have been dealt with already. For BECK, it might be added that the verb beckon is more familiar.

    EB @1

    It wasn’t, but it certainly should have been. I do not know why I was fixated on Solon.

  24. Brendan (not that one) says:

    rho @16

    I read your comments with interest. Please could you inform us all just how my comment was asinine?

  25. Denis says:

    12A – I agree with S.telfer@10

    13D – Petero@23: apologies for my noun/verb error; I agree the interpretation has to be personification of the abstract noun. But this is awkward, and quite unnecessary: as William@18 pointed out, the awkwardness could be avoided by simply omitting “I give”.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    rho @22
    a) my comment was not addressed to anyone
    b) you obviously failed entirely to spot that you were in the middle of discussing the clue for ‘sheared’, you introduced my name to the discussion and my reply was a moderately clever anagram (arsed, he). Wake up.

  27. rhotician says:

    Brendan @24: OK

    You say re 24dn “Surely not an Araucaria clue?”. It is typically Araucarian. Two cryptic definitions, the second rather loose, more an allusion than a definition. Both amusing. JS found the clue amusing. So did I. I suspect that PeterO did too, given his fine elaboration in the blog. Your criticism is invalid.

    The rest of your comment seems merely to say that you thought it too easy. Nothing wrong with that but your language is sarcastic and hyperbolic. You are being insulting to JS and to Araucaria himself.

    Insulting and invalid contravenes points 1 and 2 of Site Policy. To borrow a word from RCW @21 your comment is inappropriate, to put it mildly. ‘Asinine’ is, of course, not putting it mildly, but more of that later.

  28. rhotician says:

    RCW @21: By inappropriate I take it you mean in contravention of Site Policy, in that my language was insulting.

    Well, as I say above, I think Brendan’s comment was gratuitously insulting. In chosing to insult Brendan I was being appropriately inappropriate.

    My choice of the word asinine was taken, appropriately, from the clue in question. It is also appropriately hyperbolic.

    Now, you started all this @7, prompting Brendan to join in @14. You criticised the puzzle for being too easy and cited a particular clue by way of illustration. However your comment, in general and particular, is not invalid and your language is positively polite.

  29. rhotician says:

    RCW @26

    You are much too modest. (arsed,he)* is very clever and most appropriate.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    “and your language is positively polite.” Thanks.
    It has taken some folk on this MB a while to appreciate that and accept that I can be (and am) sometimes brutal in my assessment of a puzzle without straying into undesirable or personal language.

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