Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,753 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on September 28th, 2012


An enjoyable puzzle with a mini-theme that was up my street, making it mostly an easy stroll for me, except that I can’t fully explain the crucial 3,12 (though getting the answer was no problem from the enumeration and the link to 17dn). No doubt help will soon be at hand.

10. OUTDO To OUTDO is to excel, and a alfresco party is an “out[side] do”, but I’m not sure what the “or not” is doing here. Thanks to NeilW: “alfresco or not” = OUTDOOR less OR.
11. LOUNGER U (turn) in LONGER (more time)
13. VOID O in VID = 6d = sixpence = obsolete coin
14. CHARLESTON LEST (in case) in CHARON (ferryman across the Styx). The Charleston is a dance, and the city is the setting of “Porgy and Bess”
16. NITRIDE Homophone of “night ride”
17. GOUACHE “Goo” + ACHE
19. IN A MEASURE I NAME (I’m calling) A SURE (certain). The phrase means “to a degree” or “to some extent”, so is a qualification.
22. ARAL A R in A L. The Aral Sea has shrunk in recent times, making it highly saline, like the Dead Sea (though apparently things are improving again)
24. ELITISM Reverse of (SIT in MILE). This refers to streaming in schools, which could be called a form of elitism.
25. HUNSLET L in (THE SUN)*. Hunslet is an area of Leeds, until last year the site of the Tetley’s bewery.
26,18. SOUTH CAROLINA (CO-AUTHOR SLAIN)*. The city of Charleston (14ac) is in South Carolina
27. EXISTENCE EX (old) + STEN (gun) in ICE (slang for diamonds), definition “being”
1. THE LIVING IS EASY A living or benefice is a clergyman’s parish, and the income associated with it, so a vicar might be said have no problems if the living was easy. The phrase is also the second line of the song “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess”, thought my sources give it as “the livin’ is easy” there.
3,12. PORGY AND BESS Gershwin’s opera, of course, but embarrassingly I can’t fully explain the clue, although the answer was obvious. Our Queen (“Bess”) came to the throne in 1952, and the opera was revived, and came to London, in that year, but I can’t find a King Porgy or anything similar.
4. SEARCH ME Double definition
5. UNFAIR Double definition
6. DOODLEBUG DOUBLE* in DOG (“man’s best friend”) for the German V1 flying bomb
17. GERSHWIN (HER WINGS)*, composer of “Porgy and Bess”. By a nice coincidence, “Summertime” also contains the lines “Then you’ll spread your wings/And you’ll take to the sky”
21. SUMMER From Malvolio’s famous line in ‘Twelfth Night': “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. The “said” is doing double duty to indicate both the quotation and the homophone SUMMER = “some are”. And of course a mathematician does “sums” so is a “summer”.
23. KNITS Reverse of STINK (scandal)

32 Responses to “Guardian 25,753 – Araucaria”

  1. Pete_the_teach says:

    3, 12 Georgy Porgy and Good Queen Bess?

  2. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the useful blog Andrew – needed your help on parsing several.

    Re 3,12 – maybe Porgy refers to “Georgy Porgy?” i.e. King George?

  3. Aoxomoxoa says:

    No idea myself but a quick Google reveals a band called Porgy & The Monarchs although I’m sure that it’s irrelevant.

  4. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I had the same thoughts about Georgie Porgie (but isn’t that the spelling?)

    OUTDO(or) = alfresco

  5. muffin says:

    Thanks, araucaria and andrew
    Favourite was 21dn, though I confess that I spent some time trying to think of a mathematician called SUMAR or something similar – light dawned on solving 1dn, of course! I also failed to find an old coin called a “vid”.

  6. John Appleton says:

    Almost a quick solve until 1 and 13 gave me problems. 13 very sneaky, but nicely so. And thanks, Andrew, for explaining what a vicar had to do with 1.

  7. Andrew says:

    Thanks all. It should have occurred to me that George VI was also a monarch in 1952, but he wasn’t known as Georgie Porgie as far as I can tell, and in any case “Porgie” is wrong in both spelling and pronunciation – Porgy in the opera has a hard G.

    NeilW – thanks for the (now obvious) explanation of OUTDO.

  8. KeithW says:

    Enjoyed this. Thanks Messrs A and A.

    Concur with Georgie Porgie and Outdoor not or.

  9. NeilW says:

    Andrew @7, maybe you were subconsciously influenced by Shed’s recent prize puzzle (25,676) clue for OUTDO: “Surpass alfresco party”

  10. NeilW says:

    (Sorry, off topic I know.) Since I was too busy to comment yesterday, I see that Paul has just tweeted his thanks to Boatman for including his wife’s name at the top yesterday. Thanks, Boatman, for my mention too!

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    An enjoyable fairly easy stroll after yesterday’s tough hike.

    I particularly liked 26,15 and 23d.

    It seems that Georgie Porgie is sometimes spelled Georgy Porgy. It is said to have been composed with a King George (IV) in mind. It is of course a common nickname for any George.

  12. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    An enjoyable outing for Araucaria.

    I was similarly mystified about the parsing of 3,12. The ‘Georgie Porgie’ explanation is undoubtedly right, though this is the customary spelling for the nursery rhyme, and the pronunciations are different: (Georgie) Porgie and Porgy (& Bess) are not homophones.

    A couple of really good anagrams (albeit clearly flagged) at 26,18 and (especially) 8dn.

  13. aztobesed says:

    The major problem facing Porgy and Bess is Bess’s brutal ex, the stevedore Crown, who tells Bess that her arrangement with Porgy is purely temporary. I’m not offering this as a candidate for one of the monarchs in 3, 12 – just pointing him out.

  14. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. You explained why I had the right answer in a couple of cases.

    I had not known (or had forgotten) the origin of ‘some are born great etc’ so 21d had me scratching my head even after I had seen that a mathematician does sums!

  15. Eccles45 says:

    re 3,12

    As there is a question mark after the clue, isn’t the link with the two monarchs in 1952 OK, soft or hard g irrelevant ?

  16. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Either I am getting too familiar with Araucaria’s tricks or he is setting easier puzzles.
    Last in was ‘Aral’ although it had been under consideration earlier.
    I agree with Eccles since 1952 saw two momarchs on the throne; one called George (Porgy) and the other Elizabeth (Bess).

  17. Trailman says:

    Much the easiest Araucaria I can remember, helped by having seen the theme work this summer, though any sense of superiority on my part was dashed on checking answers. Foolishly, I had scribbled in NITRITE with insufficient thought. And I was good at A level Chemistry too. Rev 1, solver 0.

  18. Robi says:

    Thanks Araucaria; SUMMER brought on a chuckle – even after I put it in, I was still looking for mathematician’s surnames. :(

    Thanks Andrew and NeilW for OUTDO(or). I didn’t see the VId=sixpence, but V1=DOODLEBUG was a bit of a write-in. NITRIDE a nice change from the usual nitrate or nitrite (a dark composition.)

  19. Cosafina says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Andrew. I agree with Trailman @17, in that I found this a relatively easy offering from The Master.

    I saw the “alfresco or not” of 10a as the fact that you can outdo someone indoors.

  20. Bryan says:

    Many thanks to the two A’s

    May I point out that Porgy and Bess is set in a fishing village in South Carolina?

  21. Mitz says:

    Thanks A and A.

    Trailman at #17 – either we’re both foolish, or ‘rite’ is a perfectly good synonym for ‘journey’. So many people in this Olympic year seem to have gone on incredible journeys that this was the sense that occurred to me as well.

  22. RCWhiting says:

    That would make ‘rite of passage’ rather tautological?

  23. Trailman says:

    Mitz @ 21, having had a fantastic Olympic journey myself, you’ve made me feel so much better!

  24. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Andrew. Regarding 21d – lyrics from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess:
    SUMMERtime and the livin’ is easy. Coincidence?


  25. Thomas99 says:

    grandpuzzler @24
    That information is in the clue for 1d, and in Andrew’s blog, so no, certainly no coincidence!

  26. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Yes, a very easy Araucaria. If it hadn’t been for the SW corner and 13ac the whole thing would have been done and dusted in 15 minutes.

    Even so this was surely not Friday fodder.

    I know I’ll get slated for this but, considering the incidents of the past few weeks, does anybody else get the feeling that our esteemed “Crossword Editor” is only giving the submitted puzzles the most casual glance before passing them for publication? (I’m putting on the tin helmet as I sign off!!!! :-()

    Thanks to A for blog and A for puzzle.

  27. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Andrew. An enjoyable solve for a busy Friday.

    Like others I had nitrite at first, which made me smile. 21d made me smile, too – love my Shakespeare.

    Giovanna x

  28. kate says:

    Did noone else even consider Napier as a possibility for 21d-nee + peer? The clue did say “said” !

  29. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Andrew

    Don’t know whether I found this as easy as some – having not being familiar with the opera – interested to read up on it though. Last two in were VOID, 1d and NITRIDE (which I had to change from NITRITE too). GOUACHE, DOODLEBUG and HUNSLET were new.

    The interesting clueing made it fun – thought 3,12 was COD.

    Agree with Brendan@26 where there are ‘odd’ placements of crosswords – with very easy ones popping up in Prize and late in the week slots and more difficult ones on an ‘easy’ day.

  30. Huw Powell says:

    I’m not really going to comment on this puzzle so much as the “difficulty” issue.

    Difficulty (or ease) is very very hard to determine, I think. I suspect Hugh assumes Araucaria belong on Thu, Fri, or Prize. And when one just scans the clues and sees all the other clue numbers in them, one might assume it will be hard. I know I do!

    But difficulty is so hard to ascertain. Is there a theme which one Wikipedia article will give all the answers to? Or that someone simply well-versed in the topic can fill in 8 answers based on word lengths?

    I liked this, it was fun. Porgy and Bess came to me early and I had a great chuckle. That gave me Gershwin, and a gentle struggle through the rest. I think I missed one, and had to use research to “prove” or find two. Oh, yes, Hunslet and Doodlebug. The former I would not have worked out in a thousand years, the latter I might have got in a few days.

    Thanks for the late summertime teaser, Araucaria, and the excellent blog, Andrew and everyone else!

  31. Huw Powell says:

    PS, WGBH is broadcasting the Opera tonight on their sister classical station. But I had to listen to jazz…

  32. RCWhiting says:

    I, at least partly, agree with you (possibly entirely).
    For example any Rugby League fan would have had no problem with that part of Leeds.

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