Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,760 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on October 13th, 2012


We thought this was a pretty tough prize puzzle, in the context of those from the previous few weeks. That was probably largely due to a theme that was difficult for us, and (I’d assume) many other people of my age or younger. It was quite a fun struggle to solve, nonetheless.

I’ve got a few uncertainties about my parsing of some of the clues below, for which suggestions are very welcome, as ever.

9. NONE OTHER NO = “refusal” + NEOT = “Cambridgeshire saint” (as in the town of St Neots) + HER; Definition: “very own self” (? – I suppose perhaps these are rough synomyms when introducing someone – “it’s none other than, her very own self, etc.”)
10. AROMA A ROMA is the Italian for “to Rome”, so “to city in Italy”; Definition: “Perfume”
11. TO ORDER Simple missing words: ‘”Are you ready ___?”, as waiter might say'; Definition: “As specified”
12. DROUGHT If a DR (= “medico”) OUGHT to do something, that would be an “obligation” on them; Definition: “Lack of water”
13. IRMA Hidden in “[The Fa]IR MA[id of Perth]” (a reference to the Walter Scott novel) – the Araucarian hidden indicator is the apostrophe-S; Definition: “sweet girl” – this is a reference to the film Irma La Douce (Irma the Sweet)
14. CHILD STARS (THIRD CLASS)*; Definition: “such as [MCDOWALL], [TATUM O’NEAL], [TEMPLE]”
15. GARLAND (The ellipses really do join the clues here, Judy Garland also being a child star.) A R = “one river” in G = “major” (? don’t think I’ve parsed this right) + LAND [en]GLAND = “part of country” Update: thank to Biggles A and NeilW for correcting this; Definition: “flowers”
17. COLUMBA COLUM[n] = “pillar, nameless” + BA = “graduate”; Definition: “Saint”
19. TATUM O’NEAL TEAL = “duck” around (AMOUNT)*; Definition: “Ryan’s child” referring to Ryan O’Neal
22. EDIT An ebb-tide is when the TIDE is going back, giving EDIT – clued with “ebb?”; Definition: “Alter”
23. TUMBLER Double definition: “Glass” and “for the circus” (in the “acrobat” sense)
24. COLD WAR COWARD = “poltroon” but “keeping end on line”, i.e. moving the end ([cowar]D) to after a new letter, L (line); Definition: “Fighting that isn’t”
26. MILLS HAY = “grass” + LEY = “meadow” (an alternative spelling of “lea”) – I suppose “developed from” should then lead you to Hayley MILLS; Definition: “One of [CHILD STARS]”
27. ADRENALIN (LEARN)* in A DIN = “a row”; Definition: “It stimulates one”
1. ONE THING AT A TIME O = “nothing” + NETHIN[im] = “I’m leaving Jewish acolytes” follwed by TATI = “French comedian” in GAME = “sport”; Definition: “step by step”
2. INFORMER IN = “Home” + FORMER = “old”; Definition: “nark”
3. WOOD “had a lot of growth” suggests a wood of growing trees and plants; Definition: “One of the [CHILD STARS], Natalie”
4. CHURCHED CH = “companion” (Companion of Honour) + UR = “old city” + CHED[dar] = “a lot of cheese”; Definition: “Sanctified”
5. BRIDAL “What sounds like a path” (referring homophonically to a bridleway); Definiton: “to the altar?”
6. CAROUSEL CAROL = “song” around USE = “employment”; Definition: “Musical”
7. LOGGIA LOG = “[WOOD]” + GIA[nts] = “some giants”; Definition: “Porch”
8. EARTH-SHATTERING EAR = “Listener” + THING = “object” around (THREATS)*; Definition: “could be very destructive”
16. ARMY LIST (PALMISTRY)*; Definition: “Officers”
17. CHANCERY CHANCE = “Luck” + RY = “line”; Definition: “with wards”, referring to wards of Chancery (the court), such as the wards in Jarndyce in Bleak House
18. MCDOWALL M = “1000” followed by D[oyle] = “Doyle’s head” in COW = “frighten” + ALL = “everyone”; Definition: “Roddy”
20. TEMPLE I guess that “Capital” is a reference to Temple in London (which does have the Temple Church), and “religious building?” would be a straight definition of TEMPLE, but I don’t quite get it. You could consider that the reference in 14 across provides another definition (Shirley TEMPLE). Update: thanks to RCWhiting and NeilW for pointing out that one meaning of “capital” is “relating to the head”, so this is suggesting the temple at the side of your head.
21. NORMAN Double definition: Norman WISDOM and “French” (as in “of Normandy”)
25. LYNX Sounds like “links” = “making connections with audience”; Definition: “Beast”

25 Responses to “Guardian 25,760 / Araucaria”

  1. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Pretty routine for me except that very unusually I left a clue ( 18d) unsolved.
    I did not know R. McDowall.
    I suspect a Google would have solved it but I put it to one side and forgot about it.

  2. RCWhiting says:

    I have just noticed your query re: temple.
    Capital means of the head, which is where you find the ‘temple'; possibly?

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    No particular reason why I should be right but I parsed GARLAND as AR in (en)GLAND.

    TEMPLE – One meaning of capital is “of the head” so I presumed that was what the first half of the clue alluded to. (Just hit refresh to see that RCW agrees.)

  4. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. Unlike RCW @ 1 Roddy McDowell provided the entry point for me and the rest followed readily enough. I guess that says something about my age. The Hay Ley penny did take a while to drop though. I agree with him about TEMPLE.

    I wondered about 15 too. I think it is AR in gland or most of England.

  5. Jim says:

    Yeah that was a stinker. I filled in a bunch on first read, and thought it was going to be easy. But then I figured out the answers to several clues — Garland, Churched, Tatum Oneal, Cold War — but was unable to fill them in because I couldn’t figure out the parsing. I’m normally OK with Araucaria, but this time he was on a different wavelength.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks MHL & Araucaria

    After getting the theme this unravelled quite easily.

    I agonised over the spellings of O’NEAL and McDOWALL and I was horrified by the later lives of Tatum and her father.

    Crossies are great for learning stuff that has previously passed by unnoticed.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks mhl. I found this reasonably straightforward, except for a couple in the BL. This arose because I has put, firstly, CHURCHEE at 4d (not a word), then CHURCHES (from CHESHIRE cheese), so then GARLAND was a problem.

  8. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog.

    I found this hard going as I am not a film fan. I had heard of Hayley Mills and Shirley Temple but did not know Natalie Wood was a child star. I have never heard of Roddy Mcdowall at all.

    At this point I remember hearing that Araucaria has a pseudonym of Cinephile so I guess this sort of theme comes easily to him :)

  9. bridgesong says:

    Thanks for the blog, mhl. Unlike you, my solving partner Timon and I found this pretty easy, but we are perhaps of an older generation. McDowall was the last one to go in, and although I had heard of him, I hadn’t realised that he was a child star.

    COLD WAR got me going, as it is perilously close to an indirect anagram. I am grateful to you for the correct parsing of EARTH-SHATTERING; I formed the view that it was meant to be an anagram of THREATS in EAR-RING, which of course doesn’t work.

    I think we’ve had Norman Wisdom in another Araucaria puzzle fairly recently.

  10. Biggles A says:

    I’m surprised so few of you haven’t seen Lassie Come Home. The tears rolled dowm my cheeks.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl

    A pleasant puzzle which I solved rather hurriedly, so I missed a couple of parsings – temple (I just assumed it was the capital of some US state!) and ‘earth shattering’ (like bridgesong). Child stars were not a problem (any more than other aspects of aging).

    I liked 14a and 24a.

  12. Eileen says:

    Thanks, both, for the blog.

    Oh dear, Biggles A, McDowall was my first one in, too: for me, it’s ‘How green was my valley’ – and I knew all the rest, too. [I think you mean ‘have seen’. 😉 ]

    It took me several minutes to see that THIRD CLASS was an anagram of CHILD STARS, though. It’s funny how some leap out at you immediately and others are much less obvious.

    I thought it was strange, in view of the theme, that Araucaria didn’t clue TATUM O’NEAL as ‘Ryan’s daughter’.

  13. Biggles A says:

    Thanks Eileen. Of course; I realised it as soon as I clicked on Submit Comment.

  14. Trench Adviser says:

    Happy to finish. A good challenge from Araucaria. I couldn’t work out “cold war”. It is close to an indirect anagram as mentioned above. I marvelled at the many layers to the two word clue ‘Alter ebb?’ Is it also close to an indirect anagram/reversal?

  15. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and mhl

    Didn’t find this one too bad although I did need some referntial assistance with some of the answers – was familiar with most of the child stars (checked Roddy out to see that he also was one of the Apes in the Planet when he grew up).

    Had to check up on both saints and took a while to fully parse NONE OTHER and ONE THING AT A TIME – in which I had to look up NETHINIM another new word.

    Last one in was HAYLEY MILLS in what was an enjoyable prize puzzle.

  16. Robi says:

    Enjoyable puzzle.

    Roddy McDowall was originally famous for the Planet of the Apes films. Had to check on the Jewish acolytes, but I liked ONE THING AT A TIME.

    As a shameless piece of self-promotion, I have a puzzle today on Big Dave’s NTSPP. Any comments please there rather than here.

  17. ancient fish says:

    Nice puzzle, though ‘I’m leaving Jewish acolytes’ I thought just a wee bit esoteric. Well, a LOT esoteric!

    Cheers guys.

  18. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for clearing up Irma – I couldn’t see why she was supposed to be sweet.

    EDIT was a cracker, I thought.

  19. Martin P says:

    I enjoyed this.

    Didn’t someone making a speech re the D-Day landings cause mirth, by saying something along the lines “…the Allies were assisted by Norman wisdom…” or words to that effect?

    Rings a bell somehow.

  20. Martin P says:

    I have it. It’s from the European Parliament in fact:

    “…One classic story is about a debate when a member from Normandy came up with just the right compromise at the right time. One of the French MEPs, using an old French expression, said that this was thanks to “la sagesse normande” (the wisdom of the people from Normandy). The English interpretation rendered this as being “all thanks to Norman Wisdom”…”

  21. Miche says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Proof, if proof were needed, that one solver’s write-in is another’s head-scratcher. I found this easy enough for a Saturday, with only Hayley Mills taking a while to get. Believe me, I have often enough struggled over puzzles that others dismissed as trivially easy.

    22a is beautiful.

    Chas @8: AFAIK Araucaria named his alter ego, Cinephile, from an anagram of Chile Pine, another name for the monkey puzzle tree.

  22. Eileen says:

    Miche @21 re the pseudonyms: I originally thought that, as a Classicist and a film buff, Rev John had made up the name Cinephile but I see it’s in Chambers and Collins. The fact that it’s an anagram of Araucaria, the monkey puzzle tree, I’ve always found mind-blowing: I’d love to know which occurred to him first – perhaps it was one of those amazing Serendipity moments and they arrived simultaneously. I certainly treasure it as one of the treasures of Crosswordland.

  23. Eileen says:

    I meant, of course, an anagram of Chile Pine, the monkey puzzle tree.

  24. jvector says:

    loved this; I did mistakenly have BRIDLE (you never can tell which way the homonym goes) with THREE STARS (which does sort of make sense :)

    Thanks mhl,

  25. mikewglospur says:


    You were not alone! How reassuring for us both!

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