Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,687 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on July 13th, 2012


When the first two across clues went in straightaway, I thought this might be going to be a doddle. Not so: I found it quite hard going, even after getting the theme early on.

We have no fewer than four characteristic 15-letter answers, with some intricate wordplay, making parsing in some cases a more lengthy process than the solving. There are also, unusually for Araucaria, I think, several double definitions.

Overall, this was an enjoyable solve, with a theme which would have warmed the cockles of my grandpa’s heart.


8   LAST POST: double definition
9   VOLUME: a rather loose double / cryptic definition!
10  ISLAND: and another!
11  TURNPIKE: anagram [changing] of PIN in TURKE[y] [tailless bird]: a turnpike is a toll road
12  RAIL: double definition and a reference to the fact that there is both a landrail [corncrake] and a water rail: this took me longer than it should have, because I’ve always associated ‘rail’ with criticism or rebuke rather than mockery. Anyway, we now have our gateway [© Kathryn’s Dad] word
13  SLOW TRAINS: anagram [forming] of TWO RAILS [answer to 12] + NS [poles] – very clever
15  FLICKER: FLICK [movie] + ER [queen]
16  SUBJECT: double definition
18  ANIMADVERT: AN I [individual] + MAD [very angry] + VERT [green]: I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard this word used but I was aware of it, because I’m familiar with the Letin verb animadvertere [literally, to turn one’s mind to] from which it comes
19  NERO: hidden in oNE ROof; a nice allusion to the Topol musical and the mythical fiddling of the emperor but I’m not keen on ‘for’ as an indicator
20  HYSTERIA: anagram [problem] of THIS YEAR: another rather loose definition
22  NUTRIA: NUT [crazy?] + reversal [backed] of AIR [tune]: I wanted this to be the answer from the start [nutria is another name for the coypu – learned from crosswords] but, of course, was bamboozled into thinking we needed an anagram of tune: can nut mean crazy?
23  TRAVEL: T + RAVEL [composer]: I’m not sure how to read this: is it T = ‘piece of top’ or simply top = first letter [but this is an across clue]?
24  DISGORGE: DIS [Hell] + GORGE [throat]


1   MARSHALLING YARD: R [king] SHALL [is going to] in MAGYAR [Hungarian] + D [Germany]: [it’s not true that philately will get you nowhere 😉 ]
2   STEAM LOCOMOTIVE: S [second] + TEAM [XI, possibly] + LOCO [crazy] + MOTIVE [driver] – not so convoluted as usual!
3   CONDESCEND: anagram [possibly] of  SECOND C [century] + END [termination]
4   STATION: SON [boy] round [restricts] TATI [Jacques, comedian]
5,21  OVERRULE: ‘over rule’ – part of the laws of cricket
6   CLAPHAM JUNCTION: anagram [revealed by?] of MAJ [major] HL [House of Lords] ACCOUNT PIN
7   SMOKING CARRIAGE: MO [doctor] KING [Martin Luther] in SCAR [trauma] + I [first] in RAGE [anger]
14  TRUSTINESS: T [time] ‘before’ RUSTINESS [lack of practice]
17  REGARDS: another double definition

38 Responses to “Guardian 25,687 / Araucaria”

  1. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen & Araucaria, this was very enjoyable.

    However, even though I guessed 1d MARSHALLING YARD, I had no idea how the clue worked – until now.

    Incidentally, I was Chairman of my school Philatelic Society so this do me any good.

  2. Ian Payn says:

    I thought it was going to be easier than it was, but prevailedin an average sort of time. Nice to see the expression “Marshalling Yard”. 6d was one of those stupid clues for me. After a few moments wondering what the answer might be I cast my mind back thirty seconds to where I’d just boarded my train…

  3. Bryan says:

    Add ‘didn’t’ before ‘do’.

  4. Aoxomoxoa says:

    Thanks for the blog. Re 23, I think it’s ‘TOP’ with a piece missing ie. T[OP].

  5. John Appleton says:

    13a was my nemesis. I’d convinced myself it was SNOW something (as in the wrong kind that famously causes delays). Thanks Eileen for the enlightenment.

  6. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I raced through this one, perhaps because I was unusually warmed up this morning (woke up ludicrously early through jet lag, so this was my third crossword of the day!). Spotting RAIL immediately certainly helped to build momentum – I inserted CLAPHAM JUNCTION with just the crossing L. STEAM LOCOMOTIVE I worked out from the wordplay, but the other long clues came to me before the parsing; this is not unusual in an Araucaria puzzle.

    On the very rare occasions I have come across the word ANIMADVERT it has meant ‘criticise'; ‘comment’ seemed a bit weak as a def – Chambers gives ‘take cognisance of’ or ‘comment critically’ as its two meanings.

    In 22a, NUT can mean ‘crazy’, because the latter can be used as a noun: a ‘crazy’ is a crazy person. This was my last entry, as I was fixated on *TUNE.

  7. aztobesed says:

    23 puzzled me for ages – then it struck me that if ‘top’ loses ‘op’ (as a ‘piece’) it works. Apart from that, 6d was the brute to decode. I enjoyed it no end, by the way.

  8. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I read 23 as Top minus op as in opus (piece).

    In 22, I have certainly seen the usage of crazy as a noun and Chambers confirms it, though defines it as “informal.” Sits better with me than HYSTERIA as an adjective! :)

  9. Gervase says:

    PS I’m with Aoxomoxoa on 23 – the ‘piece’ is an OP (appropriate for the first night of the Proms).

  10. NeilW says:

    Took too long typing that!

  11. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. I’m enjoying this one more in retrospect. At the time I found it quite frustrating but it’s funnier than I thought (e.g. Island (10a) – d’oh!). I liked 1d and was certainly helped by “Magyar Posta” and those bags of colourful “approvals” from Stanley Gibbons. Does anybody know exactly why Hungarian stamps were so plentiful in this country during the Cold War?

    Re 12a – It’s been pointed out to me on the other site that “scoff” is actually the main definition for “rail” in Chambers (though not in the ODE). Like you I thought of it rather differently.
    Re 22a – I think a “crazy” is both an old-fashioned and an American noun for a mad person

    I agree with everyone about the op in 23a.

  12. Eileen says:

    Thanks, all, for the ‘op’ – so obvious now – and Neil for the ‘crazy': I was approaching that from the wrong direction. I think now I saw a discussion of crazy as a noun the other day. Chambers has it but not Collins.

  13. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen, especially for explaining 1d: it went straight in, once I had the theme, because of ‘Magyar’ but as with a lot of Araucaria, I left reasoning until afterwards. I knocked this over in 20 mins, finding the long ones pretty straightforward. Never heard of NUTRIA. Really liked the neatness in 3d and the 20a anagram.

  14. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks Eileen, and Big A of course for another in his classic style.

    Raced along early and despite slowing down found it well on the easy side for an A puzzle.

    Oh well OK – that was until my last one – 22a – which I desperately wanted to be NUTKIN as in Squirrel Nutkin – well he’s furry isn’t he – and stumbled on the real answer while searching in Chambers for a type of song called KIN – which of course didn’t exist – but then neither did NUTKIN.

    Haven’t they heard of Beatrix Potter up in Scotland – I mean the Lake District’s almost there isn’t it?

  15. JollySwagman says:

    NIK not KIN

  16. Robi says:

    Once the theme word appeared, it enabled many of the clues to be guessed at, and parsed later.

    Thanks Eileen; I didn’t try to parse MARSHALLING YARD, so thanks for the solution.

  17. flashling says:

    Tricky, never really been the Auracaria’s wavelength, there seems something remarkably similar to 18a in the Indy today.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    The much discussion of ‘op’ above reinforces my view that 23ac was not just last in but also COD.
    This was a rather easy example of Araucaria at work but quite enjoyable.
    ‘animadvert’ is a word I have come across only in written form.
    This is not surprising since it seems to me such an awkward word to say that I wonder how it ever came about in English.
    Unlike Ian Payn I have never been to CJ and yet I wrote it in with little help from crossers. I wonder how such vague information enters the mind.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I was another fixated on SNOW as the first word in 13a and I finished with CHAINS as the second word. :(

    Now that I have seen the correct answer to 13 I am reminded of Flanders and Swan: in ‘At the Drop of Another Hat’ they had a lament entitled Slow Train.

  20. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the reminder, chas. I’ve just listened to / watched it here: and amused myself noting how many of the places I’ve been to.

  21. Diffident says:

    I enjoyed this very much. I have no idea if Araucaria meant this coincidence, but apparently the word coypu (another name for nutria) derives from the South American people known as Araucania, which also gives its name to the monkey puzzle tree…

  22. Trailman says:

    Like others, an early crack of the theme led to a fast start. A little slower on the S half; had to google NUTRIA, out of desperation rather than expectation, and originally had DISLODGE for 24a.
    My feeble effort to parse 1d relied on MARSHALLIN being some sort of senior Hungarian noble, not that it would remotely stand up if it were. Thanks Eileen!

  23. Bertandjoyce says:

    It’s only Joyce today and I had to resort to some ekectronic help for a number of clues. I’m not a particular fan of Auracaria – yes, there were some very clever clues but some unusual words connecting with the long down clues that held me up. Whilst the cryptic part helped with MADVERT the beginning completely eluded me. I could not parse 1d or 7d so thanks Eileen for the blog!

    It’s a shame though that the theme did not relate to Bastille Day. Perhaps it will tomorrow!

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Glad I don’t blog these. The long ones were easy enough from the definitions fortunately, especially with the odd crossing letter. Had to come here to understand the complicated halves of some of the clues (but not all!). Being fond of railways helped too.

  25. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen
    Started off with a write-in LAST POST and when 12 and 1 quickly followed, thought that we were in for a very easy day at the office – but not to be – the right hand side was pretty tough with SLOW TRAINS being the last in (and a very satisfying parse of this clever clue).

    Couldn’t parse 1d and needed help remembering MO=doctor in 7d (thanks Eileen). Had seen NUTRIA before but not ANIMADVERT.

    13A was my COD closely followed by 15A

  26. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    I only got to this this afternoon and was held up by carelessly writing in ‘hysteric’ and only getting 17f after spotting the error. I could see the answer to 6d quite early on but only managed to parse it at the very end.
    This solve first/think later process happend more than once for me as for others.

    I had no problems, thank goodness, with Magyar or nutria. I used to know these as coypu but later encountered a post-Soviet nutria farming and canning enterprise in Estonia. I did not try a tin but was told the meat is very good.

    2d, 13a and 24a pleased me most. Some of cluing seemed a bit willful, though I wonder if 20a might also possibly parse as ‘this year is a problem i.e. hysteria’ with ‘out of control’ an anagram indicator?

  27. Eileen says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have access to Indy puzzles at the moment but I gather from the blog that ANIMADVERSION was, amazingly, one of the answers there today!

  28. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks very much Eileen for blogging a really enjoyable Araucaria, one that I didn’t find hard going at all.

    Catalysed by your preamble, I started with the first two across clues and, indeed, they were there in a blink of an eye.
    ‘Station’ and ‘rail’ were soon to follow after which the ball kept on rolling and rolling.

    A couple of years ago I would have qualified this puzzle as an Araucaria Lite, but as I had too many (correct) entries that needed parsing only afterwards, I should be careful to use the word Lite here. The grid was filled quickly, but not always as a result of Araucaria’s clever cluing.

    Surely a good puzzle.
    Only a shame to see ‘Nero’ being clued like that – hardly acceptable, in my opinion.

  29. Eileen says:

    Calling [rather late in the day] Crucible fans!

    Crucible’s alter ego Redshank has an excellent FT puzzle today:

  30. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen; I always come late to this on a Friday because of grandson babysitting.

    I, too, had 8a straight away, and 9, though I was a bit doubtful about it, and whilst I thought of RAIL on first read through I wasn’t at all sure; nor with 10a ISLAND (no one has mentioned it but I assume it refers to a traffic island?). However I cracked the theme at 2 down, when -T—, with a putative A from ISLAND, gave me STEAM which quickly confirmed RAIL; strange how the smallest bits of clues can be great aids.

    18a ANIMADVERT. I was convinced we had this not so long ago, but a quick search reveals Andrew blogged Arachne on May 15, 2009 (where it was ANIMADVERSION); but Andrew was convinced we had seen it shortly before that. I do seem to recall there was a good bit of discussion about it.

    Thanks for explanation of 1d – in my haste I wrote the answer in and forgot to parse it, which I wouldn’t have managed anyway.

  31. Eileen says:

    Hi Sil

    Re NERO: I presume you mean the dodgy ‘for’?

  32. RCWhiting says:

    You are completely right. For example today, I immediately knew 13d ended with forks which was a big help, even though the pitch came later.And,of course, the 21,24 and 26ac confirmed my guess.
    Sometimes just ‘knowing’ a first or last letter can be a great help.
    I suspect this is something tyros do not always appreciate, you don’t need a complete solution to advance the whole thing.

  33. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Eileen, I mean the dodgy ‘for’, which we only accept because we know that Araucaria just does things like this if he ‘needs to’. In this case, for the Fiddler on the Roof surface.
    I do not want to start another long discussion (like in yesterday’s Gordius) but my main problem with the clue is that usually “A for B” means that A leads to the answer B. But here B’s the fodder which really doesn’t work for me at all. Moreover, ‘for’ is not really an appropriate hidden solution indicator (unlike perhaps ‘from’ or ‘of’, to name some neighbours).
    It’s a poor clue in an otherwise very fine crossword.

    And Redshank? (re @29).
    Indeed, fantastic crossword that all admirers of Crucible (and Radian at another place) should really take a look at!

  34. Eileen says:

    Thanks Sil

    Agreed on all counts! 😉

  35. JollySwagman says:

    Re “for” as an embed indicator.

    I’m having fish for dinner.

    Ie my dinner will include fish – not consist exclusively of it.

    Plus of course good setters drop indicators when they’re too obvious (eg especially foreign words – doubly especially French or Latin) so it could equally be treated as an unindicated embed with “for” in its regular role as a linkword.

  36. Paul B says:

    That’s wisdom.

    Rev revving on all cylinders in the stand-out down clues. Really excellent stuff!

  37. AlexCrewe says:

    Didn’t anyone else get NITWIT for 22a?

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi AlexCrewe

    Apparently not: how did you parse it?

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