Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,717 by Araucaria

Posted by PeterO on August 17th, 2012


As always, Araucaria provides much to chew over and digest.

This puzzle has the air of a study in envelopes, although that did not seem so obvious to me until I wrote the blog. Perhaps I was too busy trying to work out the more recondite wordplays.

1. Give puzzler space to sharpen undiplomatic diplomacy? (9)
MEGAPHONE A charade of ME (‘puzzler’) + GAP (‘space’) + HONE (‘sharpen’). Megaphone diplomacy: negotiation between countries or parties via press releases and announcements, aiming to coerce the other party to adopt a desired position.
6. See 4
- See 4
9. 1,002 solvers? 17 nonsense! (2,3)
MY EYE A charade of M (Roman numeral 1000) + YE + YE (‘2 solvers’). The answer to 17A is OPTICAL, so this clue essentially has two definitions. See also 15A.
10. Heath plant, one left after wrong people got in (9)
TORMENTIL An envelope (‘got in’) of MEN (‘people’) in TORT (‘wrong’, legal term) + I (‘one’) + L (‘left’). ‘The definition ‘heath plant’ indicates that the tormentil (Potentilla) is likely to be found growing on heaths, not that it is one of the several plants named heath.
11. Tin/lead alloy to support light ornaments (10)
CANDELABRA A charade of CAN (‘tin’) + DELA, an anagram (‘alloy’) of ‘lead’ + BRA (‘support’). I spent a certain amount of time trying to shoehorn PEWTER into the answer, before the light bulb lit up.
12,14. We showed recently that without minimal knowledge work comes to a stop (4,7)
OPEN WEEKEND An envelope (‘without’) of WEE KEN (‘minimal knowledge’) in OP (‘work’) + END (‘stop’). Does the “definition” refer to the British Open? It looks as if it might be a semi&lit, but I have not followed the UK news in that detail.
14. See 12
- See 12
15. Trouble in a tram from girl, one called Betty after 9 first (7)
MARTINA An anagram (‘trouble’) of ‘in a tram’. 9A had two definitions; its companion here more or less has two wordplays, the second being MARTIN + A (‘first’), with reference to the phrase “all my eye and Betty Martin” (which I was surprised to learn is alluded to in a Coleridge poem – I would have thought the phrase was not that old).
17. Visual movement in a stone (7)
OPTICAL An envelope (‘in’) of TIC (‘movenment’) in OPAL (‘stone’).
19. Cover girl concealing warmth (7)
SHEATHE An envelope (‘concealing’) of HEAT (‘warmth’) in SHE (‘girl’).
20. Copper with live figure (4)
CUBE A charade of CU (‘copper’, chemical symbol) + BE (‘live’).
22. Dog very lively among geese, when not at home (10)
SCHIPPERKE An envelope (‘among’) of CHIPPER (‘very lively’) in SKE[in] (‘geese’, or a flight thereof) with the IN removed (‘not at home’).
25. Ill-natured in being spontaneous? (9)
UNTRAINED An anagram (‘ill’) of ‘natured in’.
26. Spot for catching fish? (5)
PLACE A homophone (‘catching’) of PLAICE (‘fish’).
27. College in relation to grammar school? (5)
KINGS A charade of KIN (‘relation’) + GS (‘grammar school’). Of the various King’s Colleges, surely the best known is that in Cambridge, from which the Christmas Eve service of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast.
28. Little money for meeting at heart (9)
CENTRALLY A charade of CENT (‘little money’) + RALLY (‘meeting’).
1. Bohemian girl’s c-copy (5)
MIMIC A charade of MIMI (‘Bohemian girl’, the character from Puccini’s – and Leoncavallo’s – opera La Bohème, and the Henri Murger stories on which they are based) + ‘c’.
2. Welcome note to the Spanish inside protected area (5,4)
GREEN BELT An envelope (‘inside’) of NB (‘note’) + EL (‘the Spanish’) in GREET (‘welcome’).
3. Choice of money, when about to pass on (10)
PREFERENCE An envelope (‘when about’) of REFER (‘pass on’) in PENCE (‘money’).
4,6across. Leaving home in time for fighting in ascent of 2 before spring (7,5)
OUTWARD BOUND An envelope (‘in’, the second one) of T (‘time’) + WAR (‘fighting’) in OUD, a reversal (‘ascent’, in a down light) of DUO (‘2′) + BOUND (‘spring’).
5. Vibrator committing a murder? (7)
EARDRUM An anagram (‘committing’) of ‘a murder’.
6. Complaint of the glade in Innisfree? (4)
BEEF The first verse of The lake isle of Innisfree, by WB Yeats:I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.Thus, a charade of ‘bee’ + F (‘loud’).
7. Put off work till nearer heaven? (2,3)
UP TOP UPT, an anagram (‘off’) of ‘put’ + OP (‘work’).
8. Mark out where to get the best food (unadulterated English) (9)
DELINEATE A charade of DELI (‘where to get the best food’) + NEAT (‘unadulterated’) + E (‘English’).
13. Make sure you get us a parliamentary waver (5,5)
ORDER PAPER A charade of ORDER (‘make sure you get’) + PAPER (‘us’ i.e the Guardian). The Order Paper is a publication listing Parliament’s business for the day, and copies are much waved about during debates.
14. Rodent to make love to bird outside church (9)
WOODCHUCK A charade of WOO (‘make love to’) + an envelope (‘outside’) of CH (‘church’) in DUCK (‘bird’). The rodent also known as the groundhog.
16. Tour Europe on line — land in 1-0 (9)
INTERRAIL An envelope (‘in’) of TERRA (‘land’) in I NIL (‘1-0′). The line is a railway, and the InterRail is a European rail pass.
18. Study in people’s brief (7)
LACONIC An envelope (‘in’) of con (‘STUDY’) in LAIC (‘people’s’).
19. Town has issue about air (7)
SWINDON An envelope (‘about’) of WIND (‘air’) in SON (‘issue’).
21. Don’t declare — stick (5)
BATON BAT ON (‘don’t declare’ at cricket).
23. Dick on board? (5)
EMERY Double definition: Dick Emery was a British commedian and actor, and an emery board is used for manicures and pedicures.
24. Married woman entertaining a neighbour (4)
MARS An envelope (‘entertaining’) of ‘a’ in MRS (‘married woman’). Mars is the fourth rock from the sun.

29 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,717 by Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO. Great blog of a fiendish puzzle (well, for me at least!) Really struggled in the bottom right.

    I liked most the simple ones like BATON, MY EYE and PLACE.

    Needed to resort to Google to parse the obvious (with the crossers) BEEF and Chambers to check SCHIPPERKE and TORMENTIL, although the construction of both was clear enough.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. I needed a couple of your explanations, like the Betty one in 15a. For 6d I tossed up unhappily between ‘beer’ and ‘brew’ then, checking Yeats, plumped for ‘bees’ – but you’re right. I cheated once more with the unheard-of dog in 22a, and learned something (skein) about geese. Looking up OPEN WEEKEND afterwards I see that the Guardian had one in late March: might that be the ‘We… recently’ ref in 12,14?

  3. muffin says:

    Thanks for that – I was stuck after putting PERCH instead of PLACE for 26 ac (near double?).
    Could someone please explain what the actual definition in 15ac is, please? – the clue seems to given the answer MARTIN only.

  4. John Appleton says:

    SCHIPPERKE (lovely word) and TORMENTIL were ones I also had to google; BEEF raised a smile when I finally got it in. Probably the trickiest of this week’s puzzles (for me), but no less entertaining.

  5. NeilW says:

    muffin @3, as PeterO indicate by underlining, the definition is “girl” cunningly hidden in mid-clue, with double constructions either side.

  6. NeilW says:

    …”twin” might be a better word than “double”

  7. Thomas99 says:

    muffin @3
    The definition is simply “girl”. There’s wordplay both before and after it – “Trouble in a tram” is a straight anagram and “one called Betty after 9 first” is a charade of Martin + A. Having double wordplay is an established way of cluing, though it can be confusing, and it’s even been rewarded in Azed’s (fairly strictly “Ximenean”) clue-writing competitions.

    This was quite a tough one from Araucaria, but enjoyable. The most amusing was 6d, I thought.

    I’ve just realised the reference to Open Weekend connects with the fact that 11a was set by one of us (the attenders at Araucaria’s talk) – we were invited to make up a clue for Candelabra for him to use at an undisclosed future date. So who was the winner? I bet s/he reads 225…

  8. Matthew Marcus says:

    Very good crossword – got MARTINA fine but had to come here to understand the second half of the clue, as I’d never heard of “all my eye and Betty Martin” before. But that kind of thing is what Fifteensquared is for!

  9. muffin says:

    Thanks for your explanation on Martina – I thought it was a given that the definition appears either at the beginning or the end of the clue, hence I didn’t spot it.

  10. Uncle Yap says:

    Excellent blog for an excellent puzzle. The Master continues to amaze me with his never-ending repertoire of devices, trickeries and artifices. BEEF from BEE-LOUD in a Yeats poem cracked me up. Puzzler is ME followed by solver is YE.

    5Down reminds me of a story in a Hong Kong paper about the advent of the cell-phone and the introduction of the silent vibrator mode. Apparently, a single lady bought one and quickly went to her apartment, locked the doors, got into something comfortable, inserted said communication device into a certain crevice of her anatomy and using her house phone, called herself on the cell-phone.

    This story might never have come to light but for one unfortunate fact … as it vibrated, the phone slipped deeper and deeper into the said crevice and the lady, obviously over-stimulated and panicking, called for help, or as they say, some concerned neighbour called 911 and the rest, as they say again, became history.

    Uncle Yap kid you not :-)

  11. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria and PeterO.

    I was surprised and delighted to see the “All my eye and Betty Martin” expression here. It was one of my father’s old sayings, which I thought he had invented!!

    Also enjoyed 6d, the Lake Isle of Innisfree clue which brought back memories of child/hood/ish versions of the poem.

    Favourites were 10ac, which was well clued and helped by knowing the plant and 22ac, which held me up for a while. I knew skein but chipper didn’t spring readily to mind. Never heard of the dog but this was well clued,too and it was an aha moment when the penny dropped.

    Giovanna x

  12. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    If crosswords were food this one would be a decent homemade 6d stew.
    My favourites were 1ac, 9ac, 11ac (thanks to unknown setter) and 26ac for ‘catching’ as the homophone indicator (also one which works in any accent!).
    My last in was ‘beef’ after I had to verify the quotation.
    I did not fully parse 15ac but I was aware of The G. open weekend.

  13. ClaireS says:

    Thanks for the blog – I certainly needed it today.

    I resorted a word search for 22a and, even then, couldn’t parse it. The second half of 9a eluded me as well plus the links between some of the clues.

    A good, tough challenge from Araucaria today with a variety of clue difficulties. I liked ME for puzzler but my favourite, even though I didn’t know the poem, was BEEF (bee-loud). Lovely. Thanks Araucaria.

  14. JollySwagman says:

    It’s all been said – a great puzzle. Fave for me 6d – took a while to twig – then ha-ha – and then – as A so often does – leads you to re-read the source of the allusion – and glad it was mentioned.

  15. JollySwagman says:

    And thanks to PO for the blog.

  16. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria

    Hardest this week. Enjoyed 9a and 5d. Failed to understand Betty part of 15a though I heard the saying some time ago.

    Like others I had to check 22a (in Chambers for schipper..). I then had to check skein which I should have known. An extremely difficult clue unless you know the dog.

    I put in ‘beef’ in 6d but had to check the poem.

  17. rowland says:

    Bee-loud! Beautiful. But I must confess I didn’t get it! Not an over-complicated idea, but you kind of know it or you don’t. Betty Martin I have met before, and I was glad to see both those clues today. Lovely as ever, thank you very much Araucaria, you’re still a breath of fresh air to me.

    Cheers all,

  18. Rikky says:

    A lovely crossword; thanks so much (again) Araucaria. Got it all – but had to come here to see why for 6 down & 15 ac (Martina – have heard Betty Martin afore, but lost in mists of memory) & can’t quote all my Keats.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I needed you to explain why I had the right answer in a couple of cases.

    On 13d I found that GREEN PAPER fits the grid just as well as ORDER PAPER – but I chose the wrong one :(

  20. Trailman says:

    At Lords, seeking to solve in between the regular sound.of falling England wickets. Perhaps that is why I found it a tougher Rev than usual. The dog and the plant were new to me, but at least I could parse the latter: thanks PeterO for help with 22.

  21. MikeC says:

    Thanks PeterO and A. Another good one!

  22. grumpo says:

    Another great puzzle from the inimitable master! A delight from start to finish, and it also added SCHIPPERKE to my vocabulary! The chance to use it – as in ‘Learn and use a new word every day’ is probably remote, however.

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Well the blogger ignored it and I have waited patiently until late afternoon and none of you have remarked how 19d had brought back such pleasant memories of your visits to the Queen of The Downs and King of Steam.
    Birthplace of Diana Dors AND Melinda Messenger, my pride overflows.
    And our football club was promoted last season!
    So, there I’ve said it.

  24. Derek Lazenby says:

    Hard work but can’t have been that hard as I finished it!

    What really puzzles me is why I can’t see this blog via the usual link which is still showing Brendan as being the most recent! Fortunately I have a news aggregator which also monitors this site so I got here via that tool.

    So this shows the list of blogs with Brendan showing. Going into that one the url is the url from my aggregator is

    there seems to be an extra “cryptic-n-” and an extra “by-” in there.

    Over to Mr. Gaufrid methinks!

  25. PeterO says:

    Derek @24

    The problem was that I had omitted to categorize the blog as belonging to the Guardian thread; now corrected. Thank you for pointing out the omission.

  26. Derek Lazenby says:

    AH. TA.

    Rather begs the question of where everybody else was looking! Oh well.

  27. PeeDee says:

    Thanks PeterO for clearing up some of the more obscure references for me in a super blog. What a feast for the brain!

  28. Huw Powell says:

    For me, the hardest part of working an Araucaria puzzle are the easier clues. Unless I get lucky and happen to look at them first, the harder ones fill my brain with such nonsense that I expect far worse from the easy ones – like, say 11, 1a, 17, etc. Heck, half this puzzle was actually quite easy, but made so much harder by expecting more deviousness than was present.

    Of course, the other half was suitably devious and inventive to justify this grand form of obfuscation.

    Managed to finish it all, after researching the dog and plant as many did, except for entering BEES when I should have got the BEEF. Brilliant clue, using a part of a poem as the cryptic part of the clue!

    Guessed at the possibility of OPEN WEEKEND, and though it might refer to the upcoming Open House Weekend(s), expect for the timing…

    MARTINA seems overdone to me, if it just read “Trouble in a tram from [or for] girl” it would be a complete clue. This idea of putting the definition anywhere in the clue sounds a bit dangerous to me :) Although I suppose I don’t mind adding it to the arsenal of possibilities if there is still a “rule” – it is preceded and followed by cryptics.

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog and to the Rev for a very interesting puzzle. I’m surprised I got so far with it!

  29. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO
    This had been in the to-do pile until Wednesday and what a pleasure to do. Whilst getting it all out and being able to research some of the hard ones – including the innovative BEEF. Hadnt seen MEGAPHONE DIPLOMACY before and clearly not the OPEN WEEKEND session that sounded fun. All good fun from a setter that rarely let’s us down.

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