Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,788 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on November 8th, 2012


I think there might be some cries of ‘obscurity’ this morning but the less familiar [or unknown] solutions were all very fairly and clearly clued, I think. For me, the difficulties lay more in the misdirection in some of the clues and the parsing of some of the less obscure answers. I enjoyed the research and learned a few things along the way, which is always a good thing. [I apologise for the rather late posting of this blog – there were a lot of links to provide and the said research led me along several interesting diversions. Then, finally, I made an error in posting the blog and had to call on Gaufrid for technical help!]


1 Unfortunate way of spelling “speshal”
anagram [way of spelling] of SPESHAL

5 Queen and stoic with unending prejudice
ZENO [Stoic] + BIA[s] [unending prejudice]
I was  familiar with this as the name of a range of toiletries used by my grandmother when I was a child: it’s derived from the Queen of Palmyra: there were a couple of Stoic philosophers called Zeno – this is the one who founded the school

9 Distribute grand brandies to one that carries some?
clever anagram [distributed] of GRAND BRANDIES TO, referring to the story of the Alpine rescue dogs with a small keg of brandy round their necks [used in Hennessy adverts]

10 With US lawyer about, sign for English play
DA [District Attorney – US lawyer] round RAM [English translation of zodiac sign Aries]

11 Carp‘s residence in difficulties
HO [house – residence] in PICKLES [difficulties] – I was misled by thinking for a while that HOLES were the difficulties

12 Queen cat holding one page for the Sun
CAT round [holding] LEO [cat] + P [page] + RA [sun] – a rather more familiar queen

14 Father keeps intermediary that eats shoots and leaves
PA [father] round [keeps] AND [intermediary?]
a reference to this joke, which gave Lynne Truss the title for her best-selling book

15 Bitter start to a cry from the heart
A CRI D[e coeur] [a cry from the heart]

16 Live outside right the same as live outside left? Not likely to last
BE [live] round [outside] R [right] + AKA [also known as – the same] + BE [live] round [outside] L [left]

18 Queen with sacred thanksgiving keeping one very quiet
HOLY [sacred] + TA [thanksgiving] round [keeping] I [one] PP [very quiet] for the queen of the Amazons, who appears in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, which quite often appears in Araucaria crosswords

21 Historian of the West in flower
W [west] in ROSE [flower] for historian A L Rowse

22 Displacement of animal organ: is it possible?
anagram [possible] of ANIMAL ORGAN IS IT

23 Desert state‘s currency in order?
YN [abbreviation of yn – currency] in DRESS [order]

24 Fury makes us make a statement about some people
AVER [make a statement] round ENG [English? – some people?]


1 Ultra-orthodox head of college has a lot of stupidity to start with
HAS + IDI [a lot[?] of IDI[ocy] – stupidity] + C [first letter – head] of College

2 One’s own loo in which to return paper used
anagram [used] of TO RET[urn] PAPER in PRIVY [loo]

3 Unable to escape from The Sound of Music?
amusing pun on the von Trapp family, stars of the said musical

4 Gamble with broom?
double[ish] / cryptic definition

5 Queen, last one to go up with old aircraft
Z [last letter] + reversal [to go up] of ONE + CRATE [old aircraft] for the queen in Marlowe’s ‘Tambourlaine’

6 Function of the man or the woman at the top?
hidden in maN OR THe

7 Supposed force in eastern front covered by flashy stuff causing cricket problem
ODYL [a hypothetical force formerly thought to be responsible for many natural phenomena, such as magnetism, light, and hypnotism] + IN E [in eastern] + BOW [front] in [covered by] BLING [flashy stuff] for this cricketing problem

8 Girl golfers’ place on first of month?
double definition and AUGUST [month] + A [first]: I don’t see the need for this rather odd piece of wordplay

13 Bill with close to musical for basic pets
TAB [bill] + BY [close to] + CATS [musical]

14 Fire iron to confront what’s kept straight
simple charade of POKER [fire iron] + FACE [confront]

15 A bogus journalist wishing he hadn’t done it?

17 Queen (English) to depend on gold
E [English] + LEAN [depend] + OR [gold]
take your pick from Eleanor of Aquitaine or Eleanor of Castile

19 Express view of piece with four sharps
OP [opus -piece  of music] + IN E: the scale of E Major has four sharps

20 Soul of American imagery
hidden in americAN IMAgery

44 Responses to “Guardian 25,788 / Araucaria”

  1. muffin says:

    Thanks to Eileen and Araucaria.
    What do people think about 15ac? Is it fair that there is no indication that “cry from the heart” needs to be translated to give the hidden word? I wondered if the parsing was A CRy +ID, but ID doesn’t really do for “heart” (although it does indicate the basic instincts).

  2. Galeraman says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria. I finished this correctly quite quickly but far too many were pencilled in awaiting confirmation. Unless I have missed something, 1a seems a bit week. COD for me 3d.

  3. Rick says:

    Thanks Eileen – much appreciated as always! Not being musical I struggled with 19 down (I could see what the answer was but I couldn’t parse it).

    The usual liberties taken by Araucaria but I thought it was fun (and I liked the theme). A couple of quick comments.

    For 18 across you write

    HOLY [sacred] + TA [thanksgiving] round [keeping] PP [very quiet]

    To be pedantic I think it’s

    HOLY [sacred] + TA [thanksgiving] round [keeping] IPP [one very quiet]

    In 8 down you write

    I don’t see the need for this rather odd piece of wordplay

    I agree (it is a bit strange) but I wondered if the “Girl golfers’ place” was somehow referring to the fact that Augusta is in Georgia and Georgia is a girl’s name (OK – somewhat convoluted and probably wrong!).

  4. Galeraman says:

    @2 or weak even!!

  5. Frank Robinson says:

    Thanks Eileen, this was one of A’s where the answers were usually much easier than the parsing. I agree with Muffin about 15a, and I’m not happy with “yn” as abbreviation for currency in 23a (I thought YN might be a backward “state” – but again, no indication that abbreviation was needed}.

  6. cholecyst says:

    Thanks E & A. I thought this was the best A puzzle for some time, with Saint Bernard dog and Breakable being particularly amusing. BTW Marlowe also wrote a poem about Zenocrate

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Rick @3. That’s not pedantry! It was a careless omission on my part, corrected now.

    muffin @1 and Frank @5

    I saw nothing exceptionable about 15ac: I think it’s a common enough phrase. YN is in Chambers as an abbreviation of yen.

  8. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    A odd mixture of obscurity and simplicity. I got the queens from the word play and checked them at the end.

    Panda was amazingly simple and Drama was so straightforward that I thought Ram must have some special English reference. Acrid was also obviously the answer but I missed the French reference and reluctantly thought it might be as per muffin’s conjecture.

    I liked most of the longer answers especially 9a and 2d. I also ticked 11a and 3d.

    I assumed yn is an abbreviation for yen (officially JPY) – it seems to be used that way in some texts.

  9. andy smith says:

    Thanks for the very helpful blog Eileen – ODY in bodyline was new to me – and I needed you for “opine” as well !

  10. Chris says:

    In BODYLINE BOWLING, doesn’t it need to be (ODYL IN E BOW) inside BLING, rather than ODY? Not that I’ve heard of either… and Google’s not being helpful either!

  11. Galeraman says:

    Re 8d On 1st August 1012 Augusta allowed two female members for the first time, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore.
    Therefore perhaps this is a very clever reference to it being a “girl golfers place” for the first time on the first of August. If it is, full marks for the amazing Rev.

  12. Eileen says:

    Oh dear, another careless slip, which I didn’t notice in checking, because the word was new to me [it’s in Chambers, under ‘od’]. It should be ODYL – thanks, Chris @10: I’ll correct it.

  13. Galeraman says:

    @11 that should, of course, read 1st August 2012. Sorry!!

  14. Robi says:

    It was a good crossword but better suited, I thought, to a Saturday as I would have imagined it was extremely difficult without any aids.

    Thanks Eileen; I think in 7 it is ODYL (pretty obscure stuff 😉 ) I liked DRYNESS for it’s misdirection and the dog anagram was good. I agree that 1a was rather weak [Wretched M1’s accident?]

  15. Robi says:

    Crossed with Chris @10 while I was thinking of clues for 1a!

  16. rowland says:

    15a I don’t like, but for a different reason really. Ir’s Araucaria’s habit of using bits of words without saying how long the bit is going to be! But cri d’coeur is a synonym for the cry from the heart and no problem.


  17. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen

    Araucaria’s puzzles have seemed easier of late, but this was more of a return to form, and very enjoyable.

    I had a lot of trouble with the Z queens, but I managed the rest fairly well, even managing to dredge ODYL out of a dusty corner of the mental lumber room. As ever with the Rev, the parsing sometimes lagged well behind the solving.

    Favourites were 9a (nicely allusive), 16a (ingenious construction), 3d, 19d.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This was good; enough clever tricky clues to provide my daily dementia prophylactic.
    I liked 1ac and both 5s which were jointly last in.
    I parsed 15ac a la Muffin @1. I would accept Elaine’s version as superior except for the lack of a French hint. Araucaria frequently uses Frencch words and runs a wide gamut of indicators so why not here? Has he run out of ideas or just wanted to make life a little trickier for us.

  19. Robi says:

    RCW @18 & Muffin @1; ‘Cri de coeur’ is in Chambers, so I guess you don’t need to translate.

  20. rowland says:

    Hi RCW

    I was looking at the BBC website the other day, and to my surprise they say crosswords are nt as good for our dementia as a bit of exercise! Heresy from the under-fire BBc.


  21. muffin says:

    Robi @ 19
    I accept that “cri de coeur” is a familiar expression – the problem is, the expression doesn’t appear in the clue!

  22. rowland says:

    Doesn’t have to Muffin, I think, it’s a synonym so okay.


  23. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen for 19d and ODYL, of which I have never heard.

    According to wikipedia, “Zenobia (ruled 267–274) – Zenobia bestowed upon herself and her son the honorific titles of Augusta and Augustus” – did A. miss a chance to complicate 8d further? I liked Galeraman’s explanation of this.

    I enjoyed this and didn’t find it too difficult, except for the 5s

  24. Martin says:

    Am I the only one to have missolved, if such a word exists, 11a as “deep water”, which seems to me to fit bothh the wordplay and the definition? I had fun, but no success in trying to fit the down solutions in around this…..

  25. Gervase says:

    Nice one, Martin (@24)! To be strict about these things, such an interpretation would have required a question mark at the end of the clue, as ‘carp’s residence’ is only a vague synonym of the answer. But Araucaria isn’t usually too troubled by such niceties. On the other hand, ‘carp’ is very specific, and the good Rev uses charades and containers much more often than double definitions – which is perhaps why nobody else found this ingenious solution.

  26. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Phew! The great man back on puzzling form! Two hours of fun and education.

    As previously stated some nice easy starters and then pure “hell”. Lovely.

    Thanks for the parsing assistance on at least 4 answers Eileen and thanks Sir A!!!

  27. Martin says:

    I’m still puzzled by the wordplay in 2d. Why does the anagram exclude the second part of “return” – ie “urn”? If the reason is blindingly obvious, I apologise in advance: after all, I’m the one who got “deep water” for 11a, and I’ve been struggling with this one ever since.

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi Martin @27

    ‘Ret’ is a recognised abbreviation for ‘return’ [as on a keyboard].

    [I rather liked your ‘deep water’. 😉 ]

  29. Martin says:

    Thank you Eileen. I don’t much like anagrams which don’t give all the letters of the solution, or rather those letters only. I think there should have been some indication that the “ret”, without the “urn” was to be used in it. Or am I missing something, and carping up the wrong tree? Probably.

  30. RCWhiting says:

    Rowland @20
    Thanks but that is a piece of news I shall ignore.

    Robi @19
    That is interesting. If it’s in Chambers it is English?
    What if it is in Chambers but clearly labelled as French?
    And therefore should be indicated as such……or not?

  31. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog. I needed you to explain why I was correct with OPINE.

    My long-ago memories of music lessons say that flats go BEADGCF (BEA Do Give Comfortable Flying) to resurrect an ancient airline. Sharps go the opposite way round: FCGDAEB. Unfortunately my memory does not tell me which key has which sharps / flats :(

  32. harhop says:

    Its late in the day but for years I’ve had three lines of Marlowe in my head, in Tamburlaine’s lament for his Queen

    Now walk the angels on the walls of heaven
    As sentinels to warn immortal souls
    To entertain divine Zenocrate

  33. RCWhiting says:

    So now it’s only ‘thanks’ for TA but a new alternative for Argon.

    Why do politicians have to incur this sort of pointless expenditure?

  34. Derek Lazenby says:

    Well the class dummy finished eventually. Put me down with the one’s suggesting it was a) more of a Saturday puzzle; b) needed the reference books and/or the web.

    I seem to remember hearing somewhere (on QI?) that the brandy thing is a myth.

  35. muffin says:

    Well, giving brandy to someone suffering from exposure is one of the worst treatments possible (discounting shooting him, of course – “does anyone remember “First, make sure that he’s dead”?)

  36. Eileen says:

    Derek @34 and muffin @35 re the brandy-bearing St Bernards:

    These are two of the links that I messed up when I was posting the blog this morning

  37. muffin says:

    Thanks, eileen
    I think I would agree with your first link!

  38. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks E & A.

    Certainly one of Big A’s most interesting for while and for my money one of the best both for amusement and solving satisfaction.

    8d – I thought the wordplay possibilities were just misdirection and that maybe it was more of DD, thinking that the Masters Tournament started on the first of the month – it doesn’t – it’s the first full week in April – but I like Galeraman’s explanation at #11 – that’s the one I’m gonna buy – but it’s still great to see clues with different possibilities floating around in them.

  39. RCWhiting says:

    Although I agree with Eileen’s comment: “I don’t see the need for this rather odd piece of wordplay” it did make it a very much easier clue to solve.

  40. rowland says:

    Didn’t make much sense to me!


  41. RCWhiting says:

    Double definition girl= Augusta (name) golfer’s place = course in the USA
    There are thousands of golf courses and of girls’ names but only twelve months!

  42. Paul B says:

    I saw AUGUST A as pleading for ‘August’s A’, i.e. ‘first of the month’, so def plus def plus AUGUST/ A. There may be the more allusive nod that Galeraman asks for, but it’s neither here nor there.

  43. john mcc says:

    Have been away and Graunless so just catching up. Did this without any aids, amazingly for me. Must’ve had the same sort of education as the Rev!

  44. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen

    Going for the record latest post here !! :)

    Actually completed this last November, but it had waited around to finish last parse (I print them out and do keep them for a while). As it turns out the YN – yen abbrev had held me up and had put it to one side for what has been more than 6 months.

    Can remember the puzzle quite clearly and agree with the positive comments above.

    Guess the thing that prompted me to post anyway was twofold:
    – reading the above and seeing the RCW contibutions and how I miss them now;
    – seeing the quality of crossword from A and the enjoyment that he brings to so many – and realizing that this was only a couple of months before he made his announcement.

    Made for a reflective Sunday morning … all these months on …

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