Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,784 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on November 10th, 2012


A fun prize puzzle from Araucaria, with a mini theme of writers.

We found this quite doable and as enjoyable as ever, but got rather stuck on BELL TENT – our last clue.

5. PROUDHON PROUD = “Sticking out” + HON (honorary) = “without pay”; Definition: “he wrote”
9. LAVENGRO LO = “see” around AVENG[e]R = “pointless Fury” – the subtitle of LAVENGRO is “The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest”, so I wonder if 17a’s “hell, painter and priest” is a nod to this; Definition: “[BORROW]’s” (i.e. a work of Borrow’s)
10. TONSIL NS = “Poles” in TOIL = “work”; Definition: “lymph gland”
11. LETTER OPENER “Initial clue” is a reverse clue; LETTER OPENER might be a clue for “Initial”; Definition: “thin blade”
13. ANIL 1-0 = “A-NIL”; Definition: “Indigo”
14. TRAINERS Double definition: “Educationalists” and “on their feet?”
17. DISRAELI DIS = “hell” + RA (Royal Academician) = “painter” + ELI = “priest”; Definition: “Writer” – better known as Prime Minister, but Wikipedia tells us (without citations :)) that he “invented the political novel” and that 21 down is an example
18. MEET Double definition: “Appropriate” and “get-together?” (one might talk about having a “pub meet”)
20. CRESCENT MOON C = “Note” + RE = “about” + SCENT = “perfume” + MOON = “show bottom”; Definition: “in two quarters”
23. SERBIA (BE[og]RA[d] I)*; the anagram fodder is from “Beograd” without the letters of “God” and I for “first”; Definition: “country”
24. EUROSTAR (ARR EUSTO[n])* – the anagram fodder is ARR = “arrive” + EUSTON without the last letter (“not this terminus”) – I don’t think this is very satisfactory, unfortunately. “arrive” -> ARR is quite indirect for anagram fodder, and “not this terminus” to drop the N seems forced to me; Definition: “Train”
25. BELL TENT Cryptic definition. This was our last one in – it seemed very likely that this would be BELL or PEAL something, but if you’ve never heard of a “bell tent”, then it’s pretty tough (Clue: “Holiday home for the campanologist?”)
26. WONDER Double definition: “Be unsure” and “miracle?”
2,22. SEASCAPE SEE around A + S = “second” + CAP = “cover”; Definition: “picture”
3. ACELLULAR A followed by L = “left” + U = “turn” in CELLAR = “an underground space”; Definition: “not divided into compartments”
4. DIGITS Double definition: “Figures” and “at extremities” (your fingers)
5. PROPERTY IS THEFT A lovely clue: (PROSPERITY)* + THE FT (Financial Times) =”(financial title)”; Definition: “[PROUDHON]’s”
6. OPTIONAL (INTO)* in OPAL = “stone?”; Define: “Take it or leave it”
7. DONNE (END ON)*; Definition: “Writer”
8. OLIVE GREEN O = “love” + BE = “live” + GREEN = “good for the planet”; Definition: “Shade”
12. ANTIFREEZE (AT FIRENZE)* + E = “English”; Definition: “Protection from cold”
15,1. NO MAN IS AN ISLAND NO MA = “motherless” + NISAN = “month” + (LADS IN)*; Definition “[DONNE]’s”
16. BEVERAGE BE = “Live” around EVER = “always” + A + G = “good”; Definition: “drink”
19. BORROW Double definition: “Writer” and “to get from library”
21. SYBIL LIBY[a] = “most of African country” + S = “‘s” all reversed; Definition: “[DISRAELI]’s”

28 Responses to “Guardian 25,784 / Araucaria”

  1. Fat Al says:

    Thanks MHL,

    Almost finished another prize puzzle. I had to do a bit of research concerning the authors and their works, but that was enjoyable anyway. I got BELL TENT easily enough, but despite looking at it several times throughout the week, EUROSTAR was beyond me. Thanks Aracuria.

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Strange the way these things work: I had heard of a BELL TENT so it was a first pass write-in!

    24ac: on Thursday, I was irritated by Araucaria using the same device in a weekday puzzle (RET as an unsignalled abbreviation of “return” in anagram fodder) but almost no one else seemed to care. I think it’s probably fair play on a Saturday though.

  3. exscouse says:

    When I first sarted doing the Guardian Crossword many years ago Lavengro was one of the setters (as of course was Araucaria). His puzzles were very enjoyable

  4. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Determined as ever to forego aids, I got so close to completion – but my hunch for the long down clue of ‘property in trust’ stymied the SE corner. Quick verification of Proudhon’s concept did eventually reveal EUROSTAR, but for the reasons you give I was grumpy about it, too.

  5. samui pete says:

    Are these saturday jobs getting easier? I’m quite new to this so it could be that I’m becoming less inept. Anyway enjoyed this a lot and thanks.

  6. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. I struggled a bit with this one and thought it was rather more difficult than usual with Araucaria. I made it hard for myself by reading in the print version for 15 that it was 17’s motherless month etc. I wonder if familiarity with bell tents is a function of age; the Army lived in them once and they were fiendish contraptions to erect.

  7. samui pete says:

    I also remember bell tents. Unfortunately.

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl & Araucaria.

    This was truly excellent!

    I don’t think that I’ve ever come across George BORROW or LAVENGRO since my schooldays which were over 60 years ago.

    It’s amazing what sticks in the mind: I suppose that living the Good Life with a regular dose of Crosswords is the recipe for success.

  9. Gervase says:

    Thanks, mhl.

    Very enjoyable puzzle from Araucaria, which I was pleased that I managed to solve pretty easily without artificial aid. I liked the theme of authors and works/quotations.

    5d is a splendid clue, 23a is cleverly allusive – and I rather liked 24a even though (because?) it is distinctly un-Ximenean.

  10. pangapilot says:

    Nice one! 18a meet for meeting is fine. A hunt has a meet.

  11. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and mhl

    Enjoyed this one that took a few elapsed days to get completed, finishing up in the NE corner with LETTER OPENER the last one in (mainly caused by having misspelt ACELLULAR and looking for an U-T-E- OPENER for a while). Was across most of the writers and their works, but did not know PIERRE-JOSEPH PROUDHON.

    The theme seemed to be based on writers of political/sociological works.

  12. Trench Adviser says:

    I had never heard of Borrow and Lavengro but struggled across the line. As for 18a, I think back to the summer and the swimming coverage at the Olympics. I was constantly hearing how Phelps had had ‘a good meet’ meaning the noun ‘get-together’. I, however, find it harder to see how meet means appropriate as a verb or an adjective. Anyone help me out with a sentence to exemplify such a use?

  13. AndrewB says:

    Trench Adviser – BCP (from memory): Priest: “…give thanks to the Lord our God” Response “it is meet and right to do so”. (And then priest: “it is very meet…”).

    Meet as an adhective, meaning fitting or appropriate.

  14. Thomas99 says:

    NeilW @2
    Are you aware of a convention that requires established abbreviations to be indicated in crosswords? E.g. is “son” for “s” wrong but “short son” for “s” OK? I would say not. I didn’t actually realise ret. was an established (Chambers) abbreviation, but I think most people know that arr. is. Re the “indirect anagram” issue, I don’t know who came up with the rule but I’ve often seen it asserted that if the letters are all there in the clue and in the right order then it’s OK. The anagram indicator in 24a is extremely unconventional but that’s another matter… The joke of course is that the Eurostar arrives not at Euston but along the road at St Pancras, so it’s a “partial &lit” (the whole clue is a cryptic definition of “Eurostar”).

    Thanks to mhl for the blog. I enjoyed all the literary stuff, except I was ashamed to have to google “Borrow” to get Lavengro. If only I’d checked it as soon as I’d solved it (I’d had to get it from the wordplay), I’d have seen “Lavengro” at the top of the wiki entry and would have just happened to have the requisite General Knowledge when I came to 9a…

  15. Thomas99 says:

    In my previous post I think “in the right order” is unnecessary – as they’re going to be mixed up anyway it presumably doesn’t matter! Perhaps someone can clarify exactly how that rule goes?

  16. Trench Adviser says:

    AndrewB @ 13

    Thank you for that. Perhaps meet as an adjective is not frequently used in everyday language these days.

  17. Patrick says:

    Agree with everybody about 24A, particularly as I saw the answer very quickly (I live a couple of miles away from the railway line!)but it annoys me not to be able to reconstruct a clue. Having said that The Reverend is often a bit of an impressionist, I’ve got used to that, and it added much to my literary knowlege. Never even realised that Disraeli wrote books!

  18. Matt says:

    Good puzzle. F

  19. Matt says:

    Sorry… Good puzzle. Failed on Lavengro. Thought the general level of difficulty was a touch higher than we have often seen of late from Araucaria.
    Thanks for the blog.

  20. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for their interesting comments, as ever.

    @pangapilot: just to be clear, I wasn’t suggesting in any way that “get-together” was MEET wasn’t fair – I just thought it might be worth an example usage.

    @Thomas99: in my experience, it’s generally accepted that it’s fair to use very well-known one or two letter abbreviations as part of the anagram fodder, but a three letter one (“arrived” => ARR) that’s rather infrequently used is pushing it a bit.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I thought this was moderately easy (especially compared to today’s!).
    Last in was ‘Lavengro’, this and ‘Borrow’ both solved cryptically since I did not know them. Like exscouse @4 I do remember the compiler.
    Favourites were 20ac and 15,1.

  22. samui pete says:

    I agree RCW re today’s. Me and my big mouth..

  23. anio says:

    When I lived in the wilds of Wales my local was the George Borrow , and 40 qdd years ago a mate of mine did his phd on Proudhon so I was off to an easy start. I think this must have been my quickest ever solve of an Araucaria-just over 20 mins but I got my comeuppance today and only managed to finish with lots of help.

  24. Paul B says:

    I don’t think MEET in that sense is obscure for a crossword. If WOOD is mad, then MEET can certainly be appropriate.

  25. samui pete says:

    Would anyone be kind enough to tell me why 21d is ******? Prize 25790. Really enjoyed this. Many thanks Enigmatist

    Edited by Admin to remove spoiler

  26. Gaufrid says:

    Hi samui pete
    One of the policies of this site is that we do not discuss prize puzzles until after the closing date for entries. I have therefore removed the spoiler from your comment.

  27. muffin says:

    I too have fond memories of Lavengro as a compiler – I think it was one of his that was the first ever I completed.

  28. Nonchalant says:


    Possible that ‘to arrive’ ie. ‘to arr’ is ‘ordered’/anagramed with just ‘Eus’ to give ‘Eurostar’? As given that’ton’ ie, ‘not’ is not to be the ending on Euston(terminus)?

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