Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,772 by Araucaria

Posted by PeeDee on October 27th, 2012


Varied and very enjoyable with many great clues but sadly also a few of duds.  Thank you Araucaria.

Hold the mouse pointer over any clue number to read the clue.

1 PICKWICK WICK (lively, in N England dialect) following PICK (choice) – The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
5 TROPIC R (right) in TOPIC (subject)
9 PRETORIA REPORT* broadcast=anagram I (one, first) to A
10,20 HONOUR BRIGHT definition/cryptic definition – “honour bright” is an old schoolboy expression meaning “I give my word” or “on my honour”, adopted by the scouts in various ways, though possibly more in America than Britain.  For example the scouts prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help to keep my honor bright
And teach me that integrity of character
Is my most priceless possession…

John Bright was a liberal politician who with Richard Cobden founded the Anti-Corn Law League, so if we honour John Bright should we not honour Richard Cobden too?

12 EXPEL EEL (fish) swallowing XP (X=ten P=pence, a British 10p coin)
13 FRONT DOOR RON (small boy, Ronald shortened) (TO DO)* wrong=anagram inside FOR.   I think there is an error in this clue as it gives an extra letter O.  I cannot see any to other way to parse this. TO can be abbreviated to T’, but then there is no place for ‘wrong’ in the parsing.
14 RUN OUT OF TOWN RUN OUT (dismissed at cricket) OFT (many times) and OWN (admit)
18 WICKETKEEPER Spoonerism of “kick-it weeper”, an instruction to stop crying?
21 PATAGONIA (A PAINT)* spread=anagram around AGO (the past) – part of (somewhat) Chile (sounds like “chilly”, said) – update: Patagonia is partly in Chile, rather than part of Chile.  Thanks to sidey for this.
23 DREAR DR EAR (Doctor Ear might be an audiologist) – definition is ‘gloomy’
24 HARROW double definition – Harrow School is a technical academy in north-west London specialising in ploughing machinery.
25 SHORT LEG double definition – a fielder in cricket positioned behind the wicketkeeper on the opposite side to the slips
26 PRETTY double definition
27 DROP SHOT double definition – an attempt to score at football or tennis. I can’t see anything cryptic about this, it seems a pretty weak clue. Has anyone got any better ideas?
1,8 PEPPERCORN RENT PEPPER (one boosting, someone who peps) and CORN (hachneyed stuff) with RENT (a tear)
2 CHEOPS lifE (point=the end of) in CHOPS (food) – ancient Egyptian ruler and pyramid builder
3 WOODLOUSE D (died) in WOOL with the River OUSE (something that flows)
4,11 CHIEF COOK AND BOTTLE-WASHER I (one, Roman numeral) in CHEF COOK (two preparing food) AND (with) then TWO LET* other=anagram in BASH (party) ER (hesitation)
6 ROOST definition and cryptic definition – ‘ruler of the roost’, another weak one I think
7 PROTOCOL LOCO (crazy) TORPor (lethargy) missing OR all reversed
8 See 1
11 See 4
15 FIELD TRIP LIFTED* mistakenly=anagram and RIP (Rest in peace.)
16 SWAP SHOP W (who’s leader=first letter of who) in SAPPHO’S* problem=anagram
17 SCOT FREE double definition – Alex Salmond is the leader of the Scottish National Party
19 WEALTH (THE LAW)* breaking=anagram
20 See 10
22 GHOST G (good) HOST (entertainer) – Pepper’s Ghost is an illusionist’s trick invented by John Henry Pepper


22 Responses to “Guardian Prize Puzzle 25,772 by Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeeDee.

    I’m sure you’re right about FRONT DOOR. One of those optical illusions. I’ve checked the website this morning and there’s no acknowledgement of error that I can find, though.

    I actually quite liked the allusive ROOST; my weak clue of the day was SCOT FREE. The last time I played, there were no goals in tennis so I suppose DROP SHOT is slightly cryptic…

    4,11 was a nice clue but, as I’m sure RCW will confirm later, a write-in due to the enumeration and had me off to a flying start.

  2. Fat Al says:

    Thanks Pee Dee,

    I was quite chuffed to complete my second prize puzzle in a row, and it was also the first Aracuria I’ve managed to finish. I was awaiting the blog for some parsing questions though…Harrow and Salmond in particular. I wasn’t sure about XP being a British coin, and I was hoping you’d have an explanation for DROP SHOT. I didn’t even notice the extra O in FRONT DOOR.

    Having had my initial successes with prize puzzles, I was brought back to earth during the week, with Gordius on Wednesday being the only one I could finish. Oh well, the learning process continues.

    Thanks again Pee Dee and Aracuria.

  3. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Pee Dee

    I too liked rule the roost. To harrow a field is to further break up the ground after the initial ploughing – done just before you plant, if I remember correctly from my boyhood on a farm.

    Agree with the extra O in FRONT DOOR but had missed that it was there – as obviously had the setter and editor!

    My thinking was in basketball / netball you can drop (throw) a ball into the netfor a goal and the DROP SHOT is the clever one in tennis.

    Not one of the Rev’s hardest puzzles, but an enjoyable challenge – didn’t get the long anagram until well into it.

  4. sidey says:

    Old Etonian PeeDee?

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Just like Fat Al we didn’t notice the extra O in 13ac.
    The Guardian website gives us:
    13: front door F around RON/TO DO(part anag).
    Clearly a mistake.
    Very rare for Araucaria, unfortunately not that rare for the Guardian nowadays.

    Apart from that, one of Araucaria’s more ordinary crosswords.
    [we though yesterday’s puzzle was more enjoyable]
    While 26ac was a write-in and 19d was just as chestnutty, we found it hard to find a Clue of the Day.

    Agree with NeilW @1 about DROP SHOT – see the connection with tennis, but not with scoring a goal (in football?).

    Many thanks, PeeDee, for blogging.

  6. NeilW says:

    brucew_aus @3, I’m not sure the Rev’s into basket/netball – I assumed he was thinking of drop goals in rugby.

  7. sidey says:

    It’s a bit of a shame that nearly four fifths of Patagonia isn’t in Chile.

  8. Biggles A says:

    I agree with NeilW @ 6 though ‘drop kick’ is more commonly used for a shot at goal.

    I found that ghost pepper is a particularly hot variety of the plant and have to wonder at the reference to the illusionist, ingenious though it is.

    I took 21 literally as a cold part of the world but acknowledge it is partly Chile and partly Argentina.

  9. molonglo says:

    Thanks PeeDee. Took barely a quarter of an hour to finish but a while longer to figure the why of some of these – notably the WICK in 1a, the BRIGHT in 10,20 and the GHOST. I wonder how common ‘other’ is as an anagring (4,11). There were some adroit anagram-misleaders, eg in 13a, 15 and 16d.

  10. Jim says:

    For 1 accross Pickwick I assumed that ‘swift in dialect’ was “sounds like quick”. Maybe both uses were intended.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks PeeDee and Araucaria

    I too was puzzled by 13a. Wondered if an abbreviation for ‘for’ or ‘to’ was intended.

    I also wondered about drop shot as an alternative to drop kick. It seems that ‘drop shot’ can also refer to shot made by dropping molten lead into water, but that’s no help either.

    I ticked 14a, 1d, 7d, 15d, 16d.

  12. r_c_a_d says:

    I think FRONT DOOR only parses if you apply “short” to both the boy and “TO DO”. I assume that is what the “part anag” in the annotated solution means.

  13. chas says:

    Thanks to PeeDee for the blog.

    I am another who failed to spot the extra O in 13.
    I also disliked ROOST.

    Thanks to PeeDee for explaining why I had the right answer for 23: I had searched, without joy, for an audiologist with name DREAR :(

  14. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Rather slow to start but a very rapid finish.
    Last in and favourite (roost) because of delightfully vague definition.
    Another favourite was ‘Patagonia’ ; I think maybe the ‘somewhat’ indicates its geographical location.
    Not a great prize puzzle.

  15. NeilW says:

    So, RCW, my confident assertion @1 was wrong! You’re a hard man to pin down.

  16. PeeDee says:

    I couldn’t get 4,11 until I had nearly all of the letters, but then ROOST seemed obvious.

  17. PeeDee says:

    Biggles A – “ghost pepper” would work, but doesn’t have the same posessive quality as “Pepper’s Ghost”.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Neil @15
    Sorry to disappoint. “You’re a hard man to pin down”.
    You are of course wrong. Just follow Paul B.’s maunderings and you will know that I am a stupid idiot (I quote) whose every comment is ridiculous. There you are, totally pinned.

  19. Biggles A says:

    PeeDee @ 17. You are right of course. Sorry about that.

  20. sidey says:

    But that applies to almost everyone who posts here RCW.

  21. rhotician says:

    ‘Attempt to score a goal at tennis?’

    This is typically Araucarian. It’s a sort of a kind of cryptic/allusory double definition.
    Attempt=shot. Goal=drop – along with penalty and the converted try one of the goals that can be scored at rugby.
    Shot, as in “good shot”, may be applied to many ball games including football, cricket, golf etc.
    The word is this sense is not really applicable in rugby.
    In tennis, of course, drop shot is a specific kind of stroke.

    Not one of his better efforts.

  22. Paul B says:

    Re #18, quoting from … ?

    A difficult man to pin down.

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