Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,805 by Araucaria

Posted by PeterO on November 28th, 2012


I think this may produce some varied responses, depending on the appetite for Araucaria’s liberties.

I found it thoroughly entertaining, even (or especially) when difficult to pin down (13/15) or outrageous (7D).

1. 13 apostle, nut at scene of vice (6)
COBDEN A charade of COB (‘nut’) plus DEN (‘scene of vice’) for Richard Cobden, nineteenth century free trade (13A) advocate.
4. Base player playing lover of 16 down 11 in dream (6)
BOTTOM Double definition, with Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the lover of, no, not Titania, but Flute the bellows-mender as Pyramus and Thisbe respectively in the play-within-the-olay.
9. A little while after morning rounds (4)
AMMO A charade of AM (‘morning’) plus MO (‘a little while’).
10. Pages about Jessica (say) and Dalyell once put on a postcard (5,5)
PENNY STAMP An envelope (‘about’) of ENNYS, an approximate homophone (‘say’) of ENNIS (‘Jessica’, Olympic heptathlon champion) plus TAM (‘Dalyell’, British Labour politician) in PP (‘pages’).
11. See 16 down
- See 16 down
12. Digital covers with responsibility shared between nose and tail (8)
TOENAILS An anagram (‘responsibility shared between’) of ‘nose’ and ‘tail’.
13,15. Geordie endorsement of raid announced in Far East’s first economic community (4,5,4)
FREE TRADE AREA An envelope (‘in’) of REET RADE AR (‘Geordie endorsement of raid announced'; the first word is a Geordie – north-east England – pronunciation of right, used as a commendation, the second a homophone of ‘raid’, and the third perhaps for “there”, or a general rumble of approval. I think.) in F ‘far’ plus E (‘Far East’) plus A (‘first’).
15. See 13
- See 13
16,25. CID purchase spring onion with diamonds inside? (8)
BUSYBODY An envelope (‘inside’) of SYBO (‘spring onion’, sometimes spelled with a W or an E at the end) plus D (‘diamonds’) in BUY (‘purchase’). We had BUSY as a policeman not so long ago – I have not had time to track it down – so the CID is a BUSY BODY.
17. Study lunatic among solvers off the peg (5-4)
READY-MADE A charade of READ (‘study’) plus an envelope (‘among’) of MAD (‘lunatic’) in YE (you, ‘solvers’).
21. Run away from exam with maximum speed (8)
FLEETEST A charade of FLEE (‘run away from’) plus TEST (‘exam’).
22. Preserve eggs for graceful sculptor (6)
CANOVA A charade of CAN (‘preserve’) plus OVA (‘eggs’), for Antonio Canova,the neoclassical sculptor of the early nineteenth century.

The three Graces by Canova

24. Tipped off about Farrow and Eden? (10)
FOREWARNED An anagram (‘about’) of ‘Farrow’ and ‘Eden’.
25. See 16
- See 16
26. Time put into underhand in a sensible way (6)
SAGELY An envelope (‘put into’) of AGE (‘time’) in SLY (‘underhand’).
27. One on your side at the end of the day (6)
FRIEND I suppose the ‘day’ in question is Friday; a semi-&lit.
1. Olympian hiding what he was, the Queen being his equal? (7)
COMPEER An envelope (‘hiding’) of MP (‘what he was”; Seb Coe became a Conservative Member of Parliament after retiring from the track) in COE (Sebastian, ‘Olympian’, tying together the puzzle’s mini-themes of politicians and Olympic athletes) plus ER (‘Queen’).
2. Wide girl? (5)
BROAD Double definition.
3. Possible 1 down with Roman instead of Catholic ruler (7)
EMPEROR 1D is COMPEER; replace the C (‘Catholic’) by R (‘Roman’), and take an anagram (‘possible’).
5. O for publicity? (6)
OXYGEN I suppose a double definition – or at least allusion, to the chemical symbol, and the phrase “oxygen of publicity”.
6. Four-letter word used by Margaret raised with final twist by model (9)
TETRAGRAM A reversal (‘raised’) of MARGARTE (‘Margaret … with a final twist’) plus T (‘model’). If you object to T being covered by the ‘raised’, you might be happier treating ‘by’ as indicating the placement of twisted Margaret after the T.
7. Mother not keeping well may need succour, so to speak (7)
MAMILLA Definitely cheeky, with stereo homophones (‘so to speak’); first in the wordplay (MAM ILLER) and then in the definition (!) SUCKER (not you, sit down).
8. Edward West after higher education and before 19 20 (6,2,5)
UNITED WE STAND A charade of UNI (university, ‘higher education’) plus TED (‘Edward’) plus ‘West’ plus ‘and'; referencing the expression “united we stand, divided we fall”.
14. Seasonal food, say, including flower, say (6,3)
EASTER EGG An envelope (‘including’) of ASTER (‘flower’) plus EG (‘say’) in EG (‘say’, the first one).
16,11. Flute makes a loud noise and people return blushing (7-6)
BELLOWS-MENDER A charade of BELLOWS (‘makes a loud noise’) plus MEN (‘people’) plus DER, a reversal (‘return’) of RED (‘blushing’). Francis Flute in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream was a bellows mender when not a thespian.
18. Notes on drink for settler (7)
DECIDER A charade of D E (‘notes’) plus CIDER (‘drink’).
19,20. Rest of saying about hanging separately, with gap between backward minority and the whole (7,2,4)
DIVIDED WE FALL A charade of DIVIDED (‘with gap’) plus WEF, a reversal (‘backward’) of FEW (‘minority’) plus ALL (‘the whole’), referencing a conflation of the expression with 8D, and Ben Franklin’s equivalent “we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”.
20. See 19
- See 19
23. Bilingual elevation of the good and generous (5)
NOBLE A reversal (‘elevation’) of EL (Spanish ‘the’) plus BON (French ‘good’).

29 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,805 by Araucaria”

  1. AndrewC says:

    Thanks Peter – and my eternal gratitude to the Reverend.

    Perhaps it’s my lack of Geordie experience, but I got to the end of 13,15ac slightly differently:

    ‘Reet’ (ugh!) and ‘rade’ inside ‘F[…]ar’, with the ‘ea’ coming from ‘East’s first’. In a universe ruled by Araucarian logic. I’m sure we can allow ‘first’ to refer to more than one letter at the start of a word. :).

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO. I didn’t find any of his tricks too contentious today. Perhaps, as the French say, I have been vaccinated! A couple of points where I don’t quite agree with you:

    PENNY STAMP: the insertion is, of course, ENNYS, a homophone of Ennis.
    FREE TRADE AREA: Isn’t it FAR E A around REET RADE?
    TETRAGRAM: I’m sure your first parsing is the intended one.
    MAMILLA: I thought the def was “may need a sucker” rather than just “sucker”.

  3. NeilW says:

    Sorry, AndrewC, for crossing on the FTA!

  4. JollySwagman says:

    Regulation revver really – and none the worse for that. I came to 13,15 more or less like AndrewC.

    The biggies fell easily making it seem incredibly easy to start with but plenty left to do – although easier than usual on balance.

    I dream of one day reading a Big A puzzle blog with no mention of the word “liberties”.

    Still – thanks PO – good explanations – didn’t know the spring onions. We get them down here (no watercress mind) – “but it’s not the same”.

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter, especially for the Geordie bits. Didn’t actually need references to finish this, but checking afterwards revealed the CID/BUSYBODY connection in Cassell’s dictionary of slang, and the 4a MND stuff. Classic Araucaria fodder.

  6. JollySwagman says:

    BTW – was this puzzle a tribute to the group Brotherhood of Man, whose 1976 Eurovision song contest entry “Save Your Kisses for Me” prompted me to emigrate?

    Ie they first recorded the song “United we stand” – subsequently covered by numerous other artists and football crowds.

  7. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Peter. Enjoyed this. 5 and 6d – loose connection of Maggie Thatcher who used the phrase

  8. muffin says:

    Thanks to Araucaria and PeterO
    Very enjoyable, though another that was far easier to solve than to parse.
    Did anyone else try to fit “Mia” into 24ac?

  9. JollySwagman says:

    @muffin – yes – had the A from 20d so thought it must be.

  10. Gervase says:

    Thanks, PeterO

    I enjoyed this a lot – more so than many recent Araucaria puzzles – although I didn’t find it at all taxing. Why does AMND appear so often in crosswords?

    I parsed 7d slightly differently: ‘Mother not keeping well’ = Mother keeping ill, ie ILL in MAMA, with ‘may need succour, so to speak’ as the homophonic definition. In this way, there is no need for the homophone indicator to do double duty.

    I have always thought of a TETRAGRAM as a quadrilateral, rather than a four-letter word, but Chambers (for it is he) gives the latter definition first. I did know of the Tetragrammaton – the Four-Letter Word – the Hebrew name of God, too sacred to be uttered, which is now usually rendered in English as Yahweh.

  11. jim says:

    I enjoyed this but I couldn’t parse busybody, even though it had to be right.
    I agree with Gervase – this was better than a lot of recent Araucaria puzzles.
    My only quibble was that 27A was a bit weak – end appearing in the clue and the solution.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria

    A fun puzzle.

    I did not know ‘sybo’ and assumed ‘spring onion’ must be a term for a ‘boy’ and hurriedly made up the anagram of buy + boy +ds.

    I agreed with AndrewC and NeilW re 13,15 and with Gervase re 7d.

  13. Mitz says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO.

    Not too tricky but very enjoyable. Got the bottom half sorted out first, then the NW, with the NE corner proving the most stubborn. Coincidence that we have had a tetra- solution twice on the trot. I struggled to get “penny black” out of my head for 10 – it was only after solving 1D (ah – that kind of Olympian!) that I twigged which Jessica was required.

    I read 7D slightly differently again: Mam + homophone of “iller”, meaning the thing that gives relief (ie “succour”) when nothing else will do to stop an infant screaming! Probably reading too much in to it, but then I am a father of four…

    Enjoyed the AMND play within the play references, but COD was definitely 16 25. I had some crossing letters and remembered “sybo” for spring onion, but I had to smile when I realised we were talking about a body of busies!

  14. Robi says:

    Typical enjoyable Araucarian fodder. I got the two biggies but then failed the general knowledge test that followed, but the Googglebox came to my rescue [Flute as BELLOWS-MENDER is not exactly top of my word-association list.]

    Thanks PeterO; same as tupu@12 for parsing. I’m ashamed to admit that OXYGEN was my last in. I thought it was a play on: O for fool, P for relief, Q for a bus etc. ;) I particularly liked the ‘digital covers’ for TOENAILS and the FREE TRADE AREA.

    I didn’t know ‘sybo;’ sounds like a James Bond villain and probably known to the younger generation as: ‘SYBO Games is an independent game development company that makes iOS games, animation outsourcing and concept development for bigger games.’

  15. Mitz says:

    Ha! I wonder if the games developers are aware of their company name’s other meaning?

  16. Stella says:

    Thanks for explaining 16,24 and 13,15 – though I got them, I wouldn’t have parsed them for the life of me! I’m good with languages, but not with accents, and had never heard of a SYBO or a BUSY as a policeman :-(

    Fun crossword, for all that.

  17. Stella says:

    BTW, I took 5d to be a reference to the big O stadia I see whenever I go over to the Isles

  18. Ian Payn says:

    I don’t normally mind, but if “Ennis” is a homophone of “Ennys” then I’m Fenella Fielding.

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I had FREE TRADE AREA without a clue as to the reason.

    Very good misdirection by the Rev in 1d: I was trying to find a Greek god to go in there. I also tried to fit Mia into 24.
    Equally 8d had me trying to fit Mae into the answer as that is often what is meant by West in the clue :(

  20. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    First in ‘oxygen'; last in ‘noble’ and ‘busybody’ (‘sybo’ new to me.
    The two long ones opened up the whole thing and I was expecting disappointment. However, A rarely does disappoint, and I was left with 3 or 4 challenges at the end.
    ‘Penny stamp’ came easily because of course I shall be voting for that amazing young woman in the SPOTY.
    Of course Mo can run fast and Bradley can certainly ride his bike, but she can do everything to a very high standard.

  21. John Appleton says:

    Right old mental block today, not helped by there being a number of new words to me. Of the ones I did get, I very much liked 6d.

  22. PeterO says:

    Speaking of mental blocks, there is the little matter of FAR in 13/15. It evidently was just too obvious for me to see; but I will stick with ‘first’ for A – Araucaria does this quite often.
    I will put in the omitted homophone(-ish) part of 10A; thanks NeilW.
    JollySwagman @4 – Somehow “liberties” and “Araucaria” form a natural association. “Tricks” would serve very well.

  23. Sylvia says:

    Great crossword which seemed impossible on first reading. As a mancunian, kept trying to justify Free Trade Hall for ages. I thought tetragram was a complete reversal of Margaret with a t inserted before the e. After solving ‘divided we fall’ was delighted to discover ‘united we stand’. Araucaria never disappoints!

  24. postrophe says:

    To Ian Payn @18

    I once had to pleasure of sharing lunch with Fenella Fielding in the RADA canteen, circa 1970. I was totally seduced by that magical husky voice. Happy days!

  25. hammock says:

    Sybo!! I have been growing the lttle green and white buggers for 40 odd years and that’s a new one. Ridiculous imho.

  26. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO. I always enjoy the Puzzler’s puzzles but enjoy the parsing, too.

    Bottom was an early entry and I was looking round for a Dream theme. Of course Titania sprang to mind for Bottom’s love interest but the Bellows mender soon followed.

    Like many others, sybo was new. I was looking for ice for diamonds!

    All good fun.

    Giovanna x

  27. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Once the Divided We….. etc went in it was all pretty straightforward except for some of the parsing of course.

    Thanks to everybody on here for clearing that up!

    Last in was FRIEND as I couldn’t believe that the last 3 letters could be END! In fact I still can’t as the def appears to be end also! Perhaps I’m missing something :-)

    Where’s my copy of “Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword”?

  28. Gervase says:

    If anyone is still awake…

    SYBO, a corruption of ‘cibol’ – from the Latin ‘cepola’ – is therefore cognate with ‘cipolla’, the standard Italian word for ‘onion’.

    PeterO has a nice typo in his blog, describing Pyramus and Thisbe as ‘the play-within-the-olay’. I didn’t remember its being so emollient.

  29. rhotician says:

    In between there’s the French ‘ciboule’, which means oignon du printemps. (Not to be confused with ‘ciboulette’ which means chive.) Google provides easy access to 32 pages of images of spring onions and 34 of scallions, a few amusing and some surprising. There is also discussion of the difference between the spring onion and the scallion. And lots of recipes. Champ is good one, from which come the expressions ‘thick as champ’ and ‘ignorant as champ at a wedding’, meaning stupid and unsophisticated respectively.

    It all goes to show, again, that the Rev knows his onions and that the Web is a trap.

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