Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,711 by Araucaria

Posted by flashling on August 10th, 2012



You may have noticed that Eileen has been a bit quiet recently, she’s away and asked me to stand in for her, I half expected an Enigmatist…


Actually I’ve never completed an Araucaria before (and haven’t still really) and rarely attempted one so this should be an interesting experience.


The theme is somewhat based around T.S. Eliot and his creations and variations thereof.


Feel like I’ve been mugged by Eileen and the Rev, but here’s my best but I’ve a few holes and really need assistance on this, I just don’t get Araucaria at times. I tried but I failed <sob> Maybe I shouldn’t do this late at night, but I doubt I’d do better in the morning.




1 UNDER MILK WOOD 26 pt 1 is (Dylan) THOMAS and [WORK MOULDED IN]* with work doing double duty
10 RESTIFORM RE + IF in STORM. Def cordlike
11 SHEBA SHE(Queen=femail cat) +BA
12 CRAFT Double def
14 INGROWN Hidden in blazING ROW Necessarily
16 DEATHLY D,E (piano keys I guess) + ATHL(etics) + Y(ou). Much means less than half?
18 ARCADIA CAD in ARIA, definition I could do with help on.
21 COMFORTER Hmm. This appears to be FORTE in COME but the last letter’s wrong, any ideas please?
24 TONGS N(orth) in TOGS
3 ELIOT Old testament priest hence ELI + OT
4 MOORMAN (OR + M(thousand)) in MOAN. At least it wasn’t a homophone.
5 LIMITED Well two’s company I suppose.
6 WASTE LAND Work by ELIOT, wordplay lost on me sorry.
8 PRACTICAL CATS Eliot’s 15’s book thereof.
9 FAMILY REUNION Sorry really no idea here folks
15 OLD POSSUM PO’S (post orders I guess) in MOULDS
17 HOLLOW MEN A bit like Halloween
20 CARLIST CAR LIST and supporter of the Bourbons
22 MUNCH CDD see Edvard Munch
23 DELTA Not very CDD




44 Responses to “Guardian 25,711 by Araucaria”

  1. ToniL says:

    18 possibly refers to Latin ‘Et in Arcadia ego’ Nicolas Poussin paintings.

    Translation “Even in Arcadia I” ??

  2. ToniL says:

    21 Arrival = Comer??

  3. ToniL says:

    6 WAST(water) buck(ELAND) Eliot poem

  4. ToniL says:

    5 “is setter” AM I, LYRE (instrument)in F UN (play) I ON (one performing)

  5. flashling says:

    @2 ToniL I thought that but, ok FORTE in one’s strongpoint but a FORT is a strong point I suppose.

    Still nursing wounds – prefer cryptic crosswords to esoteric knowledge crosswords.

  6. ToniL says:

    Also, thought 5 was rather good and 23 Greek letter??

  7. flashling says:

    @ToniL #6 Sorry I thought that was a given :-)

  8. ToniL says:

    Sorry, don’t know what I was thinking…….

    it is rather late!

  9. ToniL says:

    Oh yes, I remember now; It could have been any river beginning with D

    But Dee “sounds like” D Delta “Mouth” – verb??

  10. JollySwagman says:

    Lovely puzzle as always from Big A.

    Knew 18a not from the painting but it’s the title of the first chapter of Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.

    Must’ve looked it up when I first read that, as its implication is not immediatly obvious.

  11. flashling says:

    Sometimes I the just think the Rev sets duff clues but no one will say a word against him because of who he is.

    Just sour grapes as I couldn’t properly solve this.

  12. sidey says:

    flashling, there was a time I used to try to point out duff clues too. It’s not worth bothering as the fans accept all sorts of nonsense. And will doubtless get cross with both of us.

  13. molonglo says:

    Thanks flashling. Staggered myself by completing in under an hour without aids – and having very limited knowledge of Eliot. Limited company (5d) must be its definition – at least a director and a secretary. The 18a ref is to a memento mori that well predates Poussin. All the unknowns – last one the 20a beetle – were gettable from the cross letters. But I do agree that arrival=comer in 21a is weird.

  14. JollySwagman says:

    21d comer (in many dictionaries) – one who arrives.
    arrival (as in “new arrival”) likewise.

    Still looking for those “duff” clues – 17d my least favourite type of clue – along with “change the first letter” without specifying what to – but lots of setters use them.

  15. JollySwagman says:

    21d also strongpoint (one word – not two):

    (Military) a spot in a defensive position that is heavily defended

    so FORT

    FORT in COMER – so a regulation container clue – but yeah – I blinked too at first.

  16. morphiamonet says:

    @molonglo #13 Surely ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’

  17. rififi says:


  18. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and flashling. At 16 ac, reading D and E as piano keys is neat; I think it’s more usual just to construe as key signatures.

    At 9d (not 5, as in ToniL’s helpful 4), The Family Reunion is the only Eliot play included among the poems – I don’t suppose they’re read much these days!

  19. muffin says:

    1ac isn’t the anagrind “turn”?

    I had to look up more unfamliar words in this one than I have for ages! All perfectly soluble, though.

  20. Thomas99 says:

    Good point muffin @19. No double duty. flashling (@11) says “I couldn’t properly solve this” but it seems to me he must have done it in a hell of a hurry. He wouldn’t normally miss something like that, would he? Thanks for the blog, but I see it was posted very early – going for a PB?

    It was satisfying and great fun to solve this.

  21. Gervase says:

    Thanks, flashling (Pity Eileen is in Denmark – this would surely have been right up her street).

    Tricky one, which would have perhaps have been better as a (traditional) prize crossword. RESTIFORM, CADELLE and MOORMAN were all unfamiliar, but gettable from the wordplay. Very typically Araucarian puzzle. As Abraham Lincoln once said: ‘Those who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like’.

    Managed to parse everything except LIMITED (agreeing with ToniL on all points). I liked COMER = arrival (as in ‘someone who arrives’).

    Favourite was MUNCH (though I did like ARCADIA…)

  22. JollySwagman says:

    I think he might have meant double duty as part of the definition but that’s cool too even for pedants (AFAIK) as that makes it an extended definition – ie by convention “Thomas’s” can define “a work by Thomas” so kosher all round as far as I can see – and a neat departure from the main theme.

  23. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, flashling.

    I am not sure if others have explained 23d DELTA. My take is MOUTH = first letter of = D = delta; and delta is possibly how the Dee runs into the sea (It doesn’t form a delta actually, hence the ?). Did we not have something similar recently? Yes, A. 26 April 2012: “15 Letter at the end of Nile (5)”

    I thought there may have been some George Eliot, too, but no.

  24. flashling says:

    @22 JollySwagman – that’s what I was getting at, not that work is the anagrind. As for Delta, I just thought it so obvious to anyone here that it didn’t need saying.

  25. ClaireS says:

    Thanks for the blog flashling – I’m sorry if you didn’t enjoy it. Araucaria is a favourite of mine but I admit to not being keen on clues like 17d.

    Regarding the possible double-dutying of “work” in 1a, often Araucaria (and others, especially Paul I think) will just use the apostrophe to indicate that the answer is a work or piece by the person in question. 6d would seem to conform to that use. He does seem, to me, to use double-dutying on occasion though. [Experts on both sides of the Ximenes/libertarian fences will, no doubt, have better knowledge of this than me though.]

    Sad to say, but I’m not familiar with TS Eliot but I did manage to solve all the themed clues from the word play. RESTIFORM gave me most problems as I didn’t know the word and failed to get STORM as the commotion. I wasn’t sure of the definition for ARCADIA but the translation given by ToniL @1 rang a very distant bell.

    Overall, I found this a tough and enjoyable solve and better than some of Araucaria’s recent prizes. Thanks Araucaria.

  26. chas says:

    Thanks to flashling for the blog. You explained a couple of cases where I was unable to parse them.

    On 25a I had the initial B and spent some time trying to make BELLE fit in then eventually realised that ‘pretty girl’ can indicate other words!

  27. rowland says:

    I didn’t find any duff clues here! Yes, one has to consider sometimes for a while the implications of Araucaria’s clues, but that’s part of the fun for me. He takes me longer than any of the others apart from Enigmatist, on the rare occasions he appears.

    Thanks to blogger and compiler as ever.


  28. JollySwagman says:

    @ClaireS – (not claiming to be an expert) but from observation I think you’re right (that he occasionally uses double duty), but it’s mainly on the overlap of def and wordplay, which I personally have no objection to. It’s really just an extension of the &lit idea – a full &lit being double duty of every word of the clue – so why not?

  29. rowland says:

    An amateur speaks, but just thinking that ‘turn’ could be a noun in that one, as in having a fit of anger. I feel better about the ‘double duty’ thing then.


  30. Miche says:

    Thanks, flashling. Sorry you were lumbered with a crossword you didn’t like. I enjoyed it, with a couple of reservations.

    Once I had 3d, I thought the rest would go pretty quickly, but there were a few words unfamiliar to me — RESTIFORM, MATTEOTTI, CADELLE — which, though gettable from the wordplay, didn’t leap out.

    Dave Ellison @23 — My reading of 23d: A DELTA is found at the mouth of a river, of which the Dee is an example; DELTA in radio communications means the letter D or dee.

    Like Jollyswagman @14, I dislike clues of the type “take this word or phrase and change it a bit in an unspecified way” so 17d gets a thumbs down from me.

    I also don’t like 22d: “to produce [verb] scream” for “the painter [proper noun] of Scream” too big a stretch.

    BTW, sidey @12, I’ve been a fan of Araucaria for over 30 years. That doesn’t mean I’ll “accept all sorts of nonsense.” Remember, all generalisations are flawed. 😉

  31. Eileen says:

    Dear flashling, thank you so much for filling in for me. I said I hoped you’d get a good one and when I saw it, I thought you’d be pleased! So sorry you didn’t enjoy it. :-(

    As Gervase says, it was right up my street. My son printed it out for me first thing this morning before I left and, on and off, together with this week’s Paul [and Gordius!] it occupied a fair bit of my plane / train journey home. I was quite pleased to finish it, apart from 13ac [of which I’m a bit ashamed] without any references. I didn’t know CADELLE, either, but the wordplay was clear.

    I have no problem at all with COMER – newcomer / new arrival; latecomer / late arrival, etc and I thought 5dn referred to both limited company and two’s company, three’s a crowd – quite clever, I thought. Like others, I had reservations about 17dn and, like flashling, about ATHL[etics] but that’s Araucaria and some of us will smile indulgently and others will be outraged.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Miche’s last sentence. My admiration goes back even further and is very well documented here but it is not totally blind adulation and I do try to play Devil’s Advocate when blogging – and then I get flak from other devoted fans!

  32. Trailman says:

    Didn’t find this too bad a solve though didn’t get all the parsing – thanks flashling and all the bloggers especially re the COMER

  33. Trailman says:

    Apologies for post #32, posted too early.
    Didn’t find this too bad a solve though didn’t get all the parsing – thanks flashling and all the bloggers especially re the COMER controversy. Held up at the end by the REUNION bit of 9d as I had forgotten the play till I checked.
    A word though about MATTEOTTI. How do setters go about clues like this; essentially, chicken or egg? Do they choose a word they want to use, or are just forced into setting it by dint of the letters left over? With this one, I guess the latter, given the restrictions the theme would have given. But no matter; the def bit clearly is the second part of the clue; the cryptic part none too complex; and the man himself worthy of commemoration, for his bravery and prescience.

  34. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria – just my sort of puzzle – and well done, flashling. It can’t be easy being the blogger.

    Favourite was 18ac Arcadia with all its literary resonances.

    Glad Eileen saw the puzzle. Like Gervase @ 21, I thought this would be up her street.

    Giovanna x

  35. MikeC says:

    Thanks flashling and A. D’oh – I thought I had this one, including the obscure words that had to be checked. BUT, 24a foxed me. I had the T-N-S and decided the clothes must be “ties”. At the time, it almost seemed to make sense . . .
    Not one of A’s very best, imho, but still a good puzzle.

  36. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I agree with Miche and Eileen re: Araucaria (50 years of admiration).
    This one I found very tricky although it was all due to one error which I can defend (?).
    “Two’s company” is a comparison between 2 and company and hence they are ‘likened’ (5d). This I entered with great confidence and hence failed completely with r?s?i?o?k and m?n?e?t?i.
    Nevertheless, a very good, enjoyable workout which, not for the first, time ended Araucaria 1 RCW 0.

  37. Paul B says:

    Alpha Beta Gamma Delta …

  38. Paul B says:

    Glad to see that reinstalled Swagman (welcome back) is ‘not claiming to be an expert’ today. That’s a much better idea, but if he wants to know what a pedant thinks about a clue, he could always ask one.

    In related news, it’s astonishing the numbers of stricter (i.e. Ximenean or neo-Ximenean) compilers I know who absolutely love Araucaria. Seeing someone doing things so differently, and with so much panache, is mighty to behold – they reckon he’s still a trailblazer at 91, or whatever it is.

  39. nametab says:

    Am always late to contribute, so everyone has already said all there is to say about the crossword’s supposedly contentious clues. Agree particularly with Eileen and RCW’s comments about Rev A. After 45 years, you get to know someone’s brainwaves (double meaning intended). Delta implying greek letter ‘Dee’ at 25d seemed quite straightforward, but on other hand, having solved COMFORTER at 21ac, I couldn’t see definition at all. Thanks to all :)

  40. JollySwagman says:

    When I started doing G puzzles they weren’t by-lined. After they started by-lining them and you saw Araucaria’s name it was obvious that it was he who had been doing the best of those previously uncredited ones. Of course by then Bunthorne was on the scene too and it was a bit of a chippy Manchester thing to make out that he was the best but overall I always preferred A.

    When I first landed in Australia there was only one UK puzzle per week to be had on the G weekly, which at that time came AFAIK all the way from the UK on airmail paper. If it wasn’t Big A (pace to the others) you felt like you’d wasted a whole week.

    So, like RCW, that makes about 50 years all up.

  41. PeeDee says:

    Thank you for the blog flashling.

    I liked this very much indeed, though I can see whay some may not. What I don’t undestand are the conspiracy theories about Araucaria being above criticism. Many like his puzzles, some don’t. What’s the fuss?

  42. Paul B says:

    Well, that was flashling and sidey on this occasion, though the sacred cow argument is wheeled out by one idiot or another pretty much every time A sets a puzzle. Having said that, I’ve met Flash, and he doesn’t seem to be any more of an idiot than anyone else I’ve met at an hostelry de booze somewhere in London.

    What we actually find, especially where the thread hasn’t been too badly nibbled at by 15^2 ducks, or other pond-life, is that people who like, love or even adore the Rev often find something to moan about, in addition to highlighting all the things that are great.

  43. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and flashling

    Found this quite tough but a lot of fun – like many was able to get ELIOT quite early on but still took some time to break the puzzle open – must read a bit more of the man.

    A number of new words in both the non-themed and themed clues – was unfamiliar with WAST WATER in what was probably my COD – had also not heard of MATTEOTTI, RESTIFORM, CADELLE, MUNCH (the painter one) and the ego ARCADIA link – the research button was worked very hard.

    As is often the case, the parsing took as much time as the actual solve.

  44. Huw Powell says:

    Rififi @ 17, regarding the definition for COMFORTER, I’ve lived in the States for 40-odd years and never heard it called that here. The term pacifier is the usual. Luckily the 10 years I spent in the UK help me with clues like this. Once I had tentatively built the answer, I gave up on Bridge (trying to assemble a strongpoint from North plus 4), it just seemed obvious that a dummy is also a comforter.

    That said… I just got back to this, and managed to write the correct letter in every square, whether in pencil or ink. I was able to construct all the new words (the same ones everyone else mentioned, basically) before looking them up, and staying away from the obvious “cheat” of looking up Mr. Eliot on wikipedia, where a list of works combined with letter counts would have ruined all the fun. Was embarrassed WASTE LAND took me so long, but I thought it was one word in the title. Can’t believe I vaguely remembered HOLLOW MAN, because that was a mean clue.

    The rest were surprising Ximenian for the Rev, in my opinion. With him I often find many clues that I “solve”, and I can sort of see where all the bits of the cryptic part come from, but not how to assemble them into a proper explanation. Clues like that are like playing four-dimensional chess. Oh, OK, of course. LIMITED was one of those. You know it’s right but you can’t prove it in a logical fashion.

    Amusingly, I managed to crack 1a before anything at 26a, and I’m really not sure how.

    After re-entering this with it about half-done it still took me another couple of enjoyable hours to finish it, motivated by managing to get one answer every ten minutes or so.

    Surprised to see (as someone mentioned) that this wasn’t a Prize puzzle, it sure felt like one. Seriously, I kept wondering why most of the blog posts had the same date as my printout! I even started thinking “hey, maybe 225 blogs the prizes sooner than I thought!” and I was also wondering why poor flashling felt so rushed when surely s/he had a work to work it out!

    Sorry you got stuck with a chore rather than a pleasure, flashling, and thanks for the blog! And thanks to A. for yet another twisted yet scenic walk through his mind.

    Nobody mentioned the sneaky placement of the cryptic part in the center of the definition at 23a. I thought that was quite artful.

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