Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize 25,694 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on July 28th, 2012


I found this a pleasantly enjoyable solve, although over rather quickly for a Saturday.
I’ve seen much tougher clues from Araucaria but there are some nicely constructed ones here. Nothing too outrageous but perhaps a couple of liberties in 1 and 17,18dn. It left me with a smile on my face, anyway.

[Definitions are underlined.]


1 First course requests under which they’ll soon be off
Double / cryptic definition

9 City subject is out of place
EC [City of London] + TOPIC [subject]

10 Hebrew girl needs to come in just a bit harder
hidden in jusT A BIT HArder – the Hebrew girl Tabitha was raised from the dead by St Peter

11 Obvious scheme to catch one
PLAN [scheme] round [to catch] I [one]

12 Assign binder to one form of element
ALLOT [assign] ROPE [binder]

13 Sick aunt to get better temporarily, of course
anagram [sick] of AUNT + RALLY [get better]: I don’t think RALLY necessarily implies a temporary recovery but ‘temporarily’ does improve the surface, which I think is very good

14 Female with a female bundle
SHE [female] + A F [a female]

15 Essayist and painter boycott holding company

BAN [boycott] round [holding] CO [company]: two Francis Bacons for the price of one [to enable Araucaria to use ‘boycott’ as a plural verb]: the writer [1561-1626]
and the artist [1909-92]

17 Writer of music about sea foam is a browser
WEBER [writer of music]  round SURF [sea foam]

20 Diligent, detaining one pair seen as suspicious?
AS SUS [as suspicious] round [detaining] I DUO [one pair]: the wordplay just about works, I think, if you shut one eye and squint at it!

22,16 Card games in Italian monastery
Two card games to give the name of the Italian monastery and site of a World War II battle

23 With some canvas around, get shot of deterrent
TENT [some canvas] round RID [get rid = get shot]

24 Leaven’s used to bind
anagram [used] of LEAVEN’S

25 Fortune held by left-winger as local funding
TYCHE [Greek goddess of fortune] in [held by] COMMUNIST [left-winger]


1 Plebeian guy set off, aroused by love
anagram of PLEBEIAN GUY SET – a rather loose definition but an amiable surface, which raised a smile, since the arouser, being a prince, was by no means plebeian!

2 A tourist trophy race — nearly time to draw
A TT [a tourist trophy] + RAC[e] [race nearly] + T [time]

3 What did you say is missing from Pandit Nehru’s new game?

anagram [new] of PANDIT N[eh]RU minus [is missing] eh [what did you say] – easy enough to get but an absolute gem of a clue, I think

4 Island area to shake the world?
ROCK [shake] ALL [the world]
Rockall is a tiny islet in the North Atlantic, perhaps best known for its place in the litany of the shipping forecast [hence {shipping} ‘area’] but there are some interesting things about it here

5 Defeat easily with expense about a penny
OUTLAY [expense] round P [a penny]

6 First appearance of French qualification
de [of French] BUT [qualification]

7 Peg follows artist to renegade’s home
THOLE [peg] after RA [artist]

8 Police job going from Los Angeles to London for building material
LA [Los Angeles] + WEN [London – William Cobbett disparagingly called London ‘The Great Wen’] + FOR CEMENT [for building material]

14 Black notes? Just so, circulating round tree
SIC [just so] round [circulating] O [round] ULMUS [elm tree]

17,18 Now royal court on wagon, on spec, keeping donkey at junction
WOO court + TT [on wagon] + ON BET [on spec] round [keeping] ASS [donkey] + T [junction]
another very loose definition – and ‘royal’ should be capitalised – and the surface is bizarre – but somehow I liked it!
Wootton Bassett is now Royal Wootton Bassett, being the first town for a hundred years to receive royal patronage, in recognition of its recent role in military funeral  repatriations,   which until last year passed through the town

19 Flourish to celebrate supporter’s travel cost?
FAN [supporter] FARE [travel cost]

21 Fancy being mother when entertaining sapper?
DAM [mother] round [entertaining] RE [sapper] – an amusing reference to ‘Shall I be mother?’, meaning ‘Shall I pour the tea?’

15 Responses to “Guardian Prize 25,694 / Araucaria”

  1. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Eileen. This one fell into place quite quickly and left me faintly disappointed. 14d needed some research and was my last and I had to confirm that surf could be sea foam as swell (!) as a breaking wave.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. Three asses in here (also 20a and 16d) but it was the one 18d that revealed to me an otherwise obscure answer. The only obstacles to an easy overall run were Tyche in 25a and the tree in 14d. Still, good fun.

  3. Sylvia says:

    Had a bad start by entering 1a as 1d, then when later correcting entered it as ‘starting orders’. Despite this eventually finished without more problems. 17/18 my COTD. Thanks to Eileen and Araucaria.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. As you say, very much a daily rather than a prize. At the time I remember thinking that it seemed a little unfair that Tramp, the day before, had designed his puzzle as a prize but was bumped to keep Araucaria in his place of honour.

    Today’s is more challenging. Congratulations to Trailman in yesterday’s blog for being half right, predicting that it would be a Crucible. Perversely, though, we have not the Olympics as the theme but the centenary of the BBFC!

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria.
    Agree with all that this was the easiest Prize for a while (I was able to complete it in one sitting!). I liked SLEEPING BEAUTY and LAW ENFORCEMENT.
    Btw there’s a missing O for round (in the clue) in the parsing for SOUL MUSIC.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thank you, scchua – amended now.

  7. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    I was totally baffled by 14d: it had to be SOUL MUSIC but I could not see a tree anywhere! I have just remembered that Araucaria is the Latin name for a tree so I should have searched harder :(

  8. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria and Eileen. It is much better with the clue printed and definition underlined. Well done, Eileen.

    Monte Cassino leapt out at me, although I am unfamiliar with either game but know the monastery with its fabulous panorama. It is impossible to view it without thinking about those who lost their lives there.

    Chas @ 7, Soul Music held me up, too. My first thought was elm, which didn’t fit, of course and I was cross with myself when I solved it as I know ulmus only too well!

    Giovanna x

  9. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen

    This was an easier prize puzzle than a few of the recent mid-week offerings, but entertaining notwithstanding. Last in was WOOTTON BASSETT which I had not previously heard of and the recent upgrade to royal was lost on me as well – even in the research. ULMUS took a bit of tracking down as the tree genus. Was interested to see London referred to as WEN – amazing what you can learn by filling in a crossword!

    Thought that the two BACONS and RATHOLE were particularly clever.

  10. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    Didn’t take me very long, despite not tackling it until the evening after having had (more than) a few. I thought the surfaces were rather better than in most other recent Araucaria puzzles. Fortunately, I’m fairly au fait with botanical terms, so ULMUS caused no problems.

    I liked WOOTTON BASSETT, and 25a is a most unexpected container clue.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase

    “I’m fairly au fait with botanical terms, so ULMUS caused no problems.”

    No problems for me either: you won’t be surprised to hear that I know it from Latin poetry. Araucaria, of course, would know it from both directions. 😉

  12. allan_c says:

    No real problems with this one. A little quibble with 17a in that I’ve come across “net surfer” and “web browser” but not “web surfer” – but maybe hat’s just me. Was misdirected for a bit with 13a trying to make an anagram of “aunt to get” which would mean someone placing a bet with an on-course bookmaker. Needed the blog to explain the parsing of some clues, e.g. 25a, 14d.

  13. Miche says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    I had to refer to the dictionary a couple of times, to check ulmus and thole as a noun (I’m familiar with the verb, Scots and Northern Irish I think, meaning “stand” or “endure”).

    I agree that 20a needs a bit of a squint to make the wordplay work. Moreover, our old friend Chambers has “sus” as a slang noun meaning a suspect, suspicion or suspicious activity, but not as an adjective.

    I wondered about “area” in 4d – should have remembered the shipping forecast. thanks for that and your other explanations.

  14. iam says:

    Thanks, Eileen. Also agree with NeilW@4 “As you say, very much a daily rather than a prize. At the time I remember thinking that it seemed a little unfair that Tramp, the day before, had designed his puzzle as a prize but was bumped to keep Araucaria in his place of honour.”

  15. Paul B says:

    Well, you would.

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