Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,813 by Araucaria

Posted by PeterO on December 7th, 2012


As long as you know the references, I think this is at the easier end of Araucaria’s output.

The theme is defined in 11/28 as a modern day version, but the references are to Classical Greek drama, its three most prominent dramatists, and perhaps their best-known plays.

1. Place and time can be very destructive (6)
LOCUST A charade of LOCUS (‘place’) plus T (‘time’).
4. Bathe between Old English and American dramatised by … (7)
OEDIPUS An envelope (‘between’) of DIP (‘bathe’) in OE (‘Old English’) plus US (‘American’); or a charade, if you prefer. The definition follows on to the answer to the next clue, SOPHOCLES, the author of the most famous version of the story, even if the title is often rendered in Latin, Oedipus Rex.
9. exponent of 11 28, cooking chop and fish outside (9)
SOPHOCLES This time definitely an envelope (‘outside’) of PHOC, an anagram (‘cooking’) of ‘chop’ in SOLES (‘fish’).
10. Solver starts to think of Salad Days (5)
YOUTH A charade of YOU (‘solvers’) plus TH (‘starts to THink’).
11,28. Stink in government terminally spread like wildfire, with your first result of Euro-crisis … (5,7)
GREEK TRAGEDY An envelope (‘in’) of REEK (‘stink’) in GT (‘GovernmenT terminally’, both ends) plus RAGED (‘spread like wildfire’) plus Y (‘Your first’).
12. … some of which I spied, disguised as exponent of 11 28 (9)
EURIPIDES A charade of EUR (‘some of which’, i.e. ‘EURo-crisis’ from the previous clue) plus an anagram (‘disguised’) of ‘I spied’.
13. Insult that should not take one aback? (7)
AFFRONT Obvious, but how to describe the clue? Let up just say … obvious. To affront is to face someone.
15. Urge former partner to start gardening (6)
EXHORT A charade of EX (‘former partner’) plus HORT[iculture] (‘start gardening’).
17. Kidnap leader of society, of course (6)
SNATCH A charade of S (‘leader of Society’) plus NATCH (‘of course’).
19. Buyer to pursue tenacious creature (7)
BULLDOG A charade of BULL (‘buyer’ of stocks) plus DOG (‘pursue’).
22. First among men making work of 27 (9)
AGAMEMNON A charade of A (‘first’) plus GAMEMNON, an anagram (‘making’) of ‘among men’.
24. North wind on north Scots town (5)
NAIRN A charade of N (‘north’) plus AIR (‘wind’) p[lus N (‘north’).
26. Persian associate with a work of 12 (5)
MEDEA A charade of MEDE (‘Persian’) plus ‘a’.
27. Cushy sale arranged by exponent of 11 28 (9)
AESCHYLUS An anagram (‘arranged’) of ‘cushy sale’.
28. See 11
See 11
29. Nothing can replace extended play for making 4 across horrid (6)
ODIOUS An anagram (‘making’) of OEDIPUS, the answer to 4A, with EP (‘extended play’) replaced by O (‘nothing’). I describe the clue as an anagram only because  the E and P are not contiguous.
1. Pasta as possible anag of Los Angeles? (7)
LASAGNA There seems to be a surplus A here: we have anagram (‘possible’) fodder of ‘as’, ‘anag’ and LA (‘Los Angeles’). I cannot see any alternative interpretation to finesse the extra letter. Alast minute thought: how about dropping ‘as’ and using LA’S (‘of Los Angeles’) – then the anag could be of ‘anag’ alone?
2. Plantation of police, say (5)
COPSE A homophone (‘say’) of COPS (‘police’).
3. Keep wine near Manchester (9)
STOCKPORT A charade of STOCK (‘keep’) plus PORT (‘wine’).
4. Terribly verbose remark (7)
OBSERVE An anagram (‘terribly’) of ‘verbose’.
5. Have no more to say? Use the tea towel (3,2)
DRY UP Double definition.
6. Grabbed stuff from page with Labour led by himself (9)
PLUNDERED A charade of P (‘page’) plus L (‘Labour’) plus UNDER (‘led by’) plus ED (Miliband, Labour leader, ‘himself’).
7. Split church and miss opportunity outside (6)
SCHISM An envelope (‘outside’) of CH (‘church’) in SISM, an anagram (‘opportunity’?) of ‘miss’.
8. First in the field (estimated) (6)
ELDEST An answer hidden in ‘fiELD ESTimated’.
14. Sibelius’s forte, rendering of the year in Asian country (9)
FINLANDIA I take it that this is F (‘forte’) plus an envelope (‘in’) of L’AN (‘rendering of the year’ into French) in INDIA (‘Asian country’).
16. Chronicler taking time off in outbuilding (9)
HOLINSHED A charade of HOL (‘holiday, ‘time off’) plus ‘in’ plus SHED (‘outbuilding’), for Raphael Holinshed, the 16th century primary author of The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, which was the major source for Shakespeare’s history plays.
18. Country first in needing food (7)
HUNGARY An envelope (‘in’) of A (‘first’, again’) in HUNGRY (‘needing food’).
19. Send away for backing in invading party (6)
BANISH An envelope (‘invading’) of NI, a reversal (‘backing’) of ‘in’ in BASH (‘party’).
20. Beginning and seeing off second (7)
GENESIS A charade of GENESI, an anagram (‘off’) of ‘seeing’ plus S (‘second’).
21. Burrower to supply weapon in test (6)
MARMOT An envelope (‘in’) of ARM (‘to supply weapon’) in MOT (vehicle inspection ‘test’).
23. Remove covering as before (5)
ERASE An envelope (‘covering’) of ‘as’ in ERE (‘before’).
25. See where I go round house in cold climate (5)
IGLOO An envelope (’round’) of LO (‘see’) in ‘I go’. ‘Round’, of course, also applies to the definition.

35 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,813 by Araucaria”

  1. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO. Although it has been since the early 60’s when I took the courses in the Greek Tragedies, I managed to get through this alright. Had to verify HOLINSHED and the MOT in MARMOT.


  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO.

    Despite only a nodding acquaintance with the Greeks, I can’t remember ever moving through an Araucaria puzzle so fast.

    I read LASAGNA as per your last minute thought.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. You’re right: it wasn’t hard. I missed the Frenchness of 14d and passed on, as I passed over the anag in 1d – both answers obvious. Still, you always have fun with Araucaria, this was no exception.

  4. Ian SW3 says:

    Easy stuff indeed (though not unenjoyable). I filled in 9a before even glancing at the clue, and the remaining playwrights and their works similarly leapt out. Bizarrely, the “obvious” 13a was almost the only one not to fall on my first pass through. I am indebted to your parsing of Finlandia — also blindingly obvious but “l’an” didn’t occur to me.

    Perhaps more appropriate for a Monday than a Friday, but thanks in any event to Araucaria and PeterO.

  5. Paul W says:

    Re-read The Browning version about 1 month ago, which helped enormously when it came to spelling Aeschylus.

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria
    I’m not very proud of how I did this one. I thought that it might be difficult, with all the linked clues, but I put “cushysale” in an anagram solver and gained a “Eureka moment”. It then fell out very easily, with the aid of Google.
    I think it was last week when I mistakenly entered MEDEA as the homeland of the Medes – co-incidence that they turn up again?

  7. John Appleton says:

    I’d had 1d parsed as LA’S (ANAG)* too. I’d agree that it’s one of the easier Araucaria puzzles, but it depends on knowledge of the theme (or Greek mythology in general, if only for the works rather than the authors). My passing knowledge of Greek tragedies was good enough for me to enjoy, and indeed complete the puzzle.

    I’m also indebted to PeterO for explaining L’AN.

  8. postrophe says:

    Does the ‘of Los Angeles’ also point to the American spelling of LASAGNE?

  9. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria

    A gentle but enjoyable puzzle as others have noted. 1d puzzled me for a time – I first of all wondered about effront and then about the anagram. I also decided for LA’s*anag.

    I ticked 4a, 17a, 1d, and 7d as the fancy happened to take me while moving through.

    I never lost faith that a classical education would prove useful to me in the end.

  10. tupu says:

    Hi postrophe

    For what it’s worth, I would guess ‘not’, since ‘lasagna’ is also given in both Chambers and Collins (without any US reference) and is the original Italian spelling for (a sheet of) the pasta of which ‘lasagne’ (used in the name of dishes e.g ‘… al forno’) is the plural.

  11. Robi says:

    Yes, a little easier than some from A. I managed to put in OEDIPUS and EURIPEDES before summoning some help from Mrs Google as my classical knowledge is fairly woeful.

    Thanks PeterO for your comprehensive blog; I was a bit puzzled by the parsing of LASAGNA and FINLANDIA. I did like SNATCH although I can’t see me saying ‘natch’ anytime soon [no doubt A. uses it all the time. 😉 ] AGAMEMNON had a nice clue, too.

  12. postrophe says:


    Thanks for that!

  13. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria and PeterO.

    Just the ticket for a chilly Friday and right up my street.I agree with the second parsing of LASAGNA.

    When I first looked at 11/28, I thought we were in for a European financial theme and was delighted with GREEK TRAGEDY.

    Giovanna x

  14. crypticsue says:

    As enjoyable as it was straightforward thank you Araucaria and PeterO too.

    I didn’t realise how much I actually knew about 11/28 – didn’t need to look anything up at all.

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Wow! I was quite proud of myself completing this without any help.
    My knowledge of 11,28 is extremely limited but I managed to dredge up the little I have and despite the odd spellings (27ac) I finished it.
    Last in was ‘eldest’ but only because I had not read it previously.
    I failed to parse ‘Finlandia’.
    Although this was very easy for an A.puzzle I did still enjoy it (strangely).

  16. Trailman says:

    Oedipus arrived very early, Sophocles was next door, so I went looking for Greek something at 11, 28 after which it was as much a general knowledge puzzle as a cryptic. Vast amounts were write-ins, no break to recharge brain needed, only hiccup being how do you spell 27ac. Better get on and read the rest of the paper.

  17. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO.

    At first sight this looked a bit daunting, with the cross references, but getting 27ac straight off led to some very rapid write-ins – right up my street, of course, and a joy to do, as there were enough other nice clues to keep the interest going [including a reminder of a very pleasant few days in Nairn].

    I turned to 15² a bit nervously, thinking there might be cries of ‘elitism’ and was delighted to find that most others had also enjoyed it. If you haven’t read ‘Oedipus Rex’, I urge you to do so. It’s a wonderful play and a very useful aid for explaining dramatic irony.

    [muffin, Medea, [you need to read that aloud 😉 ] I wondered if you’d remember.]

  18. muffin says:

    [Eileen – I too got Nairn early, having had a very pleasant few days there!]

  19. chas says:

    Thanks to PeterO for the blog. I had LASAGNA without fully understanding it. Similarly FINLANDIA.

    When I first looked at 24a I remembered that the various winds each have a name e.g. Auster is the south wind. That did not help me as the north wind is Boreas which is too long to fit into a 5-letter space :(

  20. chas says:

    I forgot to add: on 26a my fading memory of things learned in my youth yielded the phrase ‘the Medes and the Persians’ so I decided one Mede would be a Persian associate.

  21. Mitz says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO.

    Altogether now…

    There once lived a man called Oedipus Rex
    You may have heard about his odd complex
    His name appears in Freud’s index
    Cos he loved his mother!

    No problems at all today (it was Sophocles that leapt out at me almost immediately) except for being too lazy to parse 1D properly and so finishing with an ‘e’, which obviously made me pause for 13A. Kept me amused on my train journey down to Southampton this morning, but unfortunately wasn’t challenging enough to keep me going for the return journey as well. Good fun while it lasted.

  22. muffin says:

    Mitz @ 21
    Another Tom Lehrer fan, I see!

  23. Mitz says:

    Glad I’m not the only one left muffin!

  24. ClaireS says:

    Thanks PeterO & Araucaria.

    I failed to parse FINLANDIA and would have understood 26a if only I’d bothered to look up MEDE in the dictionary. Muppet!

    I enjoyed this. I’m not strong on the classics but all the answers were buried deep in my brain and just needed dredging up and was chuffed to complete it without recourse to references/google etc. My particular favourites were AFFRONT and SNATCH.

    Eileen & RCWhiting – I have replied to you both on yesterday’s blog.

  25. rhotician says:

    Eileen, ma chere, what if muffin has a Scottish accent? I was going to say Zummerzet but I think it might work there, for a different reason.

  26. muffin says:

    [Worry not, rhotician – it works in Devon!]

  27. muffin says:

    [Fret not, rhotician – it works in Devon!]

  28. muffin says:

    Sorry about the near duplicate – site hiccough. It didn’t seem to send, then blocked a second attempt, so I changed the wording.

  29. tupu says:

    HI Chas@20

    I think you are right. I missed the ‘associate’ bit myself and carelessly attached it to the ‘with’.

  30. Eileen says:

    rhotican and muffin

    There has been recent talk of flogging a dead horse. I’m going to respond to you, if you’re still there, under General Discussion.

  31. Martin P says:

    Yep. Agree @10 about “lasagna”.

    Just as “spaghetto” is Italian for a single strand of what we call “spaghetti”.

    The feminine plural of Italian words ending -a generally becomes -a.

  32. Martin P says:

    Sorry: becomes -e.

  33. Vin says:

    Thanks to Araucaria for a very enjoyable puzzle. The lovely, absurd humour of HOLINSHED made me laugh aloud, something usually only Paul’s risqué efforts can occasion. I remembered Holinshed from the annotations in my A-level Shakespeare textbooks.

    Thanks, too, to PeterO for explaining the handful of answers I couldn’t fully parse.

  34. Brendan (not that one) says:

    As previously stated very easy for an Araucaria. (Possibly the easiest ever!)

    4a was so obvious and the ellipsis gave 9a. This made the across clues almost a write in. The down were easy enough as they stood but with the added bonus of most of the across clues being solved the puzzle succumbed.

    Thanks to PeterO and A although this was a little too easy for a Friday.

  35. Sylvia says:

    The only one I struggled with, absurdly, was ‘erase’, which took ages before light dawned!

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