Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,736 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on September 15th, 2012


A fun prize puzzle from Araucaria – we found this pretty easy apart from the the bottom right corner, which took another look a few days later to finish it off. There’s a mini-theme based around 9 across (FORGE), but no other special features I could spot.

1. TESSERA TESS = “from Hardy’s novel” + ERA = “period”; Definition: “Mosaic piece”
5. FARRIER FAR = “a long way” + I ERR = “I go wrong” with the last letter put first (“putting last first”); Definition: “I work with [HORSESHOES]”
9. FORGE FORAGE = “Seek food” without A = “article”; Definition: “fake”
10. VENERATED (ERE ADVENT)* (the anagram indicator is “came about”); Definition: “Worshipped”
11. EMPTY GLASS Double definition: “Last words of Omar” refers to the end of one of the poems in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám – it’s this one, ending in the line “Where I made One—turn down an empty Glass!”; the other definition (“the pessimist has half one”) refers to the saying that to an optimist, the glass is half full, while to a pessimist, it’s half empty
12. LEVI Cryptic definition, referring to Levi’s jeans and the tribe of Levi from the Old Testament
14. HAMMERSMITH HAMMER = “Tool for [FORGE]” + SMITH = “operator [of a forge]”; Definition: “in London”
18. OCEAN BREEZE (A ONCE)* + BREEZE = “building block”; Definition: “sea air” and “(that let down Bingo in the Goodwood Cup)” – the latter refers to P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster story “The Inimitable Jeeves” where Bingo Little loses a lot of money on a horse called “Ocean Breeze”
22. HORSESHOES A (not terribly) cryptic definition: “Lucky products of [FORGE] for 4 ft?”
25. FORGETFUL “[FORGE]” followed by LUFT = “European air backed” (the German for air is “Luft”); Definition: “with less than total recall”
26. BLACK L = “Number” in BACK = “reverse”; Definition: “like operator in [FORGE]” (referring to a blacksmith)
27. CAMELOT CAME = “kept appointment” + LOT = “fate”; Definition: the whole clue (“Where Arthur kept appointment with fate?”)
28. TUESDAY TAY = “Flower” around (USED)*; Definition: “within the jurisdiction of the war god” – this refers to the Norse god of war Tiw or Týr, after whom the day of the week TUESDAY is named
1. TOFFEE T = “Time” + OF + FEE = “payment”; Definition: “sweet”
2. SCRAPE Double definition: “Predicament?” and “Economise”
3. EVERYTHING [th]E = “End of the” + VERY THING = “ideal solution”; Definition: “the lot”
4. ANVIL Hidden in “Suburban villa”; Definition: “contribution to [FORGE]”
5. FINISTÈRE (TRIES)* in FINE = “sunny”; Definition: “part of Brittany”, perhaps best known in the UK from the shipping forecast
6. RARE Cryptic definition: “But not that unusual for roast beef?”
7. INTREPID (PINTER)* in ID = “self-disclosure”; Definition: “courageous”
8. RED LIGHT Spoonerism of “led right” (“was the Tory leader”); Definition: “Warning of danger”
13. OSTENSIBLE (SO BE SILENT)* – the anagram indicator is the form “[answer] demands [anagram fodder]”, as you sometimes see “[answer] is produced by [anagram fodder]”; Definition: “Apparent”
15. MARROWFAT (ART OF WARM)*; Definition: “peas” – my favourite clue of the puzzle, which made us smile
16. HORRIFIC H = “Bough’s ending” + OR = “Golden” + FIR reversed = “tree turned” + IC[e] = “ice — nearly”; Definition: “awful!”
17. HEXAGRAM HEX = “Spell” + AGRA = “Shah Jahan’s city” + M = “many” (as in the Roman numeral – a somewhat controversial indicator); Definition: “a starry figure”
19. POLAND LA = “Transatlantic city” in POND = “Atlantic” (as in “across the pond”); Definition: “country”
20. ASHKEY ASKEY = “Comic Arthur” around H = “hard”; Definition: “fruit from tree” – the fruit of the ash tree are sometimes called “ash keys”
23. SPLIT SLIT = “Cut” around P = “page”; Definition: “division”
24,21. WELL READ WE’LL READ = “The Guardian is going to study”; Definition: “literate” – my other favourite clue from this puzzle, similarly for the nice surface

27 Responses to “Guardian 25,736 / Araucaria”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks mhl. Agree about the SE corner which was the last in for me. In fact, I finished it right after reading your blog. Couldn’t parse TUESDAY

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Araucaria’s seem to be getting easier, but lose none of their charm. The clueing is as ever good enough to throw up the answer even from obscurities like 18a, and point down interesting alleys like Omar’s last words.

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl. SE also last for me but only because I solved sequentially NW to SE which is a sign of how this really was pretty easy for a prize. A nice enough puzzle but really this should have swapped places with Bonxie on the Tuesday before which deserved the spot! [Perhaps the PISTOLS debacle would have been avoided too. ;)]

  4. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. Like the others I thought it was pretty straightforward and only lingered a bit in the SE corner. At the risk of being pedantic, the shipping forecast area was FINISTERRE from the cape in Galicia. I only know this because I thought the spelling was unusual and had to look it up.

  5. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl & Araucaria. This was a joy!

    Biggles A @4 – According to Wiki (which is not always right):

    ‘Finistère (in Brittany) is not to be confused with Finisterre in Spain’.

  6. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Bryan. That is exactly my point.

  7. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog. On 28 I had TAY as the flower and (USED)* giving TUESDAY but the only war god I could think of was Mars :(

    I was disappointed in 18: I count myself as a Wodehouse fan but I completely missed Bingo Little!

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Araucaria

    Generally enjoyable puzzle. I too needed to check Tuesday. I had not realised the origin and the assimilation of the Norse god to Mars who of course gives his name to French Mardi.

    I liked 25a,

  9. Trench Adviser says:

    A great puzzle, but slightly on the easy side. I completed it but missed the Persian poetry and Wodehouse references. I have vague memories of Fry and Laurie on ITV on Sunday nights when I was a kid. I did wonder about LA being transatlantic. My first thought was NY. Does it just mean you can fly over the atlantic to or from LA? For example, London to LA? Have a nice weekend all

  10. rhotician says:

    Thanks mhi and Araucaria.

    tupu, The god Mars also gives his name to one of the seven planets of early astronomy. By planet was meant a “heavenly body whose place among the fixed stars is not fixed” (Chambers). This includes the sun and moon. The other five are named after gods, whose names are used for five of the days in French. The Norse equivalents are used for the same five in English. Monday and lundi are linked to moon. These connections exist in many languages except that in French and most others Sunday becomes Dimanche, the day of the Lord. See Days of the Week in Wiki for full details.

    The gist is that the days aare named for planets rather than gods.

    Well I think it’s interesting.

  11. rhotician says:

    Sorry, for ‘aare’ read ‘were originally’.

  12. Miche says:

    Thanks, mhl. A fun puzzle as ever from Araucaria, but over too quickly for a Saturday. Nice to be reminded of Comrade Bingo in his false beard.

    Biggles A @4 is quite right: the shipping forecast sea area formerly called Finisterre was named for the Spanish cape. They call it Fitzroy now.

  13. Miche says:

    Trench Adviser @9: LA is across the Atlantic from the UK, where the Guardian is published, so I think it’s fair to call it a “transatlantic city.” It makes for nice misdirection in 19d, as we naturally associate LA with the Pacific.

  14. DuncT says:

    I made life in the SE corner even more difficult by initially entering TOBAGO for 19. BA in TOGO fitted so well that I just accepted the weak definition – 28 took a long time to get after that.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    A disappointingly easy ‘prize’ puzzle.
    I didn’t get the reference in 18ac or the definition in ‘Tuesday’ (last in).
    I liked 22ac and19d, but a couple of good clues do not make a proper challenge.

  16. Gervase says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Quickest solved Prize puzzle for a long time, but fun while it lasted. I spotted the TUESDAY reference, but not the Bingo Little allusion in 18ac.

    Further to the comments above about FINISTÈRE, this Breton département adjoins sea areas Plymouth and Biscay, and not the one formerly known as Finisterre.

    Favourites: 11ac, 15dn, 19dn.

  17. Prolixic says:

    Completely off topic but (unless there are two Gervases) Gervase at #16 has his very own crossword published today in the Noth The Saturday Prize Puzzle slot here:

  18. Gervase (for it is he) says:

    Quite right, Prolixic!

  19. Paul B says:


  20. Eileen says:

    Our Gervase does write exceedingly good puzzles [more on Alberich’s site, here: ]

    – as does our Sil [Dalibor] [on the same page]. 😉

  21. Paul B says:

    Well, congrats to all. So many excellent compilers have contributed to that site, including Slovany and Polvo. And John, of course.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    Yesterday I went there and solved Gervase’s puzzle.
    It amazes me how so many of you regularly solve your puzzles on line.
    I found the process so awkward,rather like eating with the wrong hand.

  23. Eileen says:


    Everyone knows what a computer idiot I am but I can’t see any way of solving those puzzles online – I printed them out, as I always do with the FT ones!

  24. RCWhiting says:

    That’s not really solving online.
    Poor old traditionalist that I am, I really enjoy reading the paper through from page 1 and then discovering the cherry right at the end as a reward. That is partly why I am so disappointed when the cherry turns out to be shrivelled and sour.
    Also I do not own a printer(!).

  25. Mary says:

    What does ‘parsing’ Tuesday mean (1) and what does ‘surface’ mean which I sometimes see on these pages.
    I can usually solve the crosswords but am not yet used to the language of these comments.

  26. RCWhiting says:

    To parse means to unravel the definition and cryptic parts of a clue. This then enables you to explain each word in the clue.
    Surface means ignoring the parsing but asking does the whole clue read as a sensible (smooth to read?)sentence.
    I hope that rather clumsy explanation helps.

  27. Mary says:

    To RCWhiting

    Many thanks. Your explanation was very clear and not clumsy at all. I am beginning to learn!

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