Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,808 / Araucaria

Posted by mhl on December 8th, 2012


An excellent puzzle: cleverly constructed and with about the right level of difficulty for a Saturday, we thought. The rubric for this puzzle read “Across solutions are 11, when it comes to the subsidiary part of their clues”

11 turned out to be GODFORSAKEN, and so the subsidiary part of each across clue led to the answer minus the name of a God; i.e. it’s as if you had to insert the name of a God somewhere in whatever the cryptic part led you to.

4. AUTHOR AU = “gold”; Definition: “Beginner”, as in (I assume) the originator of something
6. BELLE VUE V = “Five” + U = “turn” in LEE = “shelter”; Definition: “with fine prospect of Manchester”, referring to an area of Machester
9. THEBES TS = “objects to be crossed” – one might talk of “dotting Is and crossing Ts”; Definition: “ancient city”
10. PARVENUS PAR = “Standard”; Definition: “upstarts”
11. GODFORSAKEN GOD = “being” + (SO FAR)* + KEN = “knowledge”; Definition: “Desolate”
15. MARSHAL HAL = “Prince” (Prince Hal is from Henry IV, Part I, later to become Henry V); Definition: “officer”
17. BAA-LAMB AM = “morning” + B = “born”; Definition: “Young child’s young animal”
18. SORCERESSES S[abbaths] = “sabbaths start” + [h]ORSES = “with topless mounts”; Definition: “Witches”
22. OVERHEAR OVER = “Finished”; Definition: “catch”
23. CODIN CG = “coastguard” (backed up by Chambers); Definition: “Subject of notice” (I don’t get this – any suggestions very welcome…)
24. HARASSED (SHADES)*; Definition: “Pestered”
25. CHORUS C = “Number”; Definition: “girls that sing and dance”
1. TOLEDO TODO = “Fuss” around LE = “the French”; Definition: “city in Spain”
2. REMARKABLE Double definition: “Open to reassessment of grade” and “extraordinary”
3. SLOVENIA OVEN = “baker” with AILS = “unwell” being “up and about”; Definition: “Country”
4. AUTOGAMY AMY = “Girl” around U = “posh” + TOGA = “Roman garment”; Definition: “hermaphrodite reproduction”
5. THEODORE THE + ODOR = “smell of America” + E = “English”; Definition: “boy’s name”
7. VINE VIE = “Life in France” around N = “north”; Definition: “can provide liquor”
8. EASY Double definition: “Stop?” (you might say “Easy!” to get someone to stop doing something) and “No problem”
12. SOLAR PANEL (ALL A PERSON)*; Definition: the whole clue (semi-&lit): “All a person needs to heat the house?”
13. MARSHIER (HARRIS ME)*; Definition: “Swampy in comparative”
14. ABUSAGES A + BUS = “vehicle” + AGES = “gets older”; Definition: “inappropriate treatments”
16. HUSH-HUSH Double definition: “Top secret” and “… whisper who dares!” – I suppose the latter is something you might say to get people to be quiet
19. EPOCHS SH = “Don’t talk” + COPE = “manage” all reversed; Definition: “periods”
20,21. POOH BEAR POOH = “Disdainful expression” + BEAR = “support”; Definition: “one of very small brain” – Pooh was “a bear of little brain” :)

24 Responses to “Guardian 25,808 / Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, mhl, especially for the explanation of THEBES, which had me stuck on the BE “crossed” in the middle. :(

    EASY is a specific command to stop rowing.

    Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
    Droops on the little hands little gold head.
    HUSH! HUSH! Whisper who dares!
    Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

  2. NeilW says:

    By the way, you’ve a typo in CODING, with the G missing.

  3. Biggles A says:

    Thanks mhl. I had pretty well completed the grid before the relevance of godforsaken dawned on me. Like you, I still don’t see how CODING (with a G) relates to subject of notice. There is a link between 16 and 20,21; Hush hush, whisper who dares, Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

  4. grandpuzzler says:

    Thanks Araucaria and mhl. Enjoyed this puzzle very much. ABUSAGES – new word for me.
    Never thought I would see my hometown in a Guardian puzzle although we spell it as one word –
    Bellevue (Washington).


  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Very enjoyable and original crossword.
    Of course, we did read the preamble before solving but then forgot about it …. So, when finding CHORUS and OVERHEAR we thought “What is this? Isn’t something missing? Ah, the preamble! :)

    While I liked all this, there was IMO a downside to it.
    In many of the across clues the remainder was so small that it could only be clued in a non-cryptic way. Eg, in 1ac we were left with AU which was clued as the inevitable ‘gold’ (almost like in a Quick Crossword).

    The preamble told us that across solutions were GODFORSAKEN, which therefore must include 11ac itself.
    So, mhl (the usual thanks for blogging!), for us only the ‘forsaken’ part was clued. No ‘being’ = ‘God’ for us [is he or she a being anyway? :)]

    My CoD was 3d (SLOVENIA) – nice surface.

  6. NeilW says:

    Hi Sil. Nice point about GODFORSAKEN… you’re right, of course, but I must admit to having taken “being” as the easy route to the solution, I suppose because I solved it first before having the key to the rest. Perhaps Araucaria was being kind and providing a hint though…

  7. rhotician says:

    CODING: In the UK income tax is collected from employed persons by means of PAYE – Pay As You Earn. At the start of the tax year the tax people (HMRC) send the tax payer a Notice of Coding, which is used by the employer to deduct tax from pay. You can Google some of these terms in the unlikely event that you want to know more.

  8. molonglo says:

    Thanks mhl. Good start with 11a: ‘ken’ for knowledge quickly gave the theme. Although there was the usual Araucarian esoterica, easy ones dotted about ensured steady progress. Could kick myself for struggling in the SE Pooh corner, but was happy when light dawned.

  9. Biggles A says:

    rhotician @7. Thank you. I can see there are advantages in being a UK taxpayer after all.

    molonglo @ 8. I dallied with HEARTBROKEN for a start but got nowhere of course.

  10. Bryan says:

    Many thanks mhl & Araucaria for a superb puzzle.

    Despite rhotician’s Comment @ 7, I am still bewildered by CODING.

    When I was a kid – living in nearby Oldham – I was often taken to Belle Vue Zoo where, among other things, I used to go on elephant rides.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks mhl and Araucaria

    A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. I was held up for a time with 22a since I assumed the ‘god’ was somehow Hera, but it clicked eventually. I missed the Milne connection in 16d (thanks NeilW).

    A very neat point by Sil re ‘godforsaken’.

    For an interesting take on the Greek gods I recommend Thorne Smith’s comic ‘Nightlife of the Gods’.

    Bryan @ 10. I too often frequented Belle Vue Zoo and occasionally the circus and speedway, and have fond memories of the place. I also attended a Burl Ives concert there in the 1950s and became thoroughly hooked on ‘folk’.

  12. chas says:

    Thanks to mhl for the blog. I had THEBES without understanding why that was right: you explained.

    I was also puzzled by ‘notice’ but rhotician sorted that one.

  13. tupu says:

    Further re Sil’s point. It might, I think, have been well appreciated by the ancient Greeks whose Gods are much involved here, since it shows A avoiding the old trap of self-contradiction such as in ‘All Cretans are liars’ (spoken by a Cretan). Cf too the so-called Russell’s paradox ‘I shave all men who do not shave themselves’ (spoken by a barber).

  14. Aztobesed says:

    I loved the fact that Theodore at 5d is a Greek derivation of Gift of God. What is he like?

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    This showed that the old man has lost none of his skill and cunning – well done.
    First in was ‘Toledo’ which confused me since I took 4ac to end with ‘or’.
    Last in was 18ac, also a favourite.
    I also liked 9ac.
    I do like allusive definitions, I thought 23ac was a good example.
    tupu @13
    Did you also listen to Melvin Bragg this weeek re: Russell.

  16. mhl says:

    Thanks to everyone for the comments and corrections. I think I’ve applied all of those to the original post – rather more than usual, but in my defense I think this was a trickier-than-usual puzzle to blog about :)

  17. r_c_a_d says:

    Thanks for the blog.

    I initially had THEBES as THE BRIDGES with RID G missing; so thought the instructions might mean different ways of losing god. Soon saw my error… as someone who has crossed a lot of bridges but hasn’t written anything by hand for years (other than filling in crosswords) t’s were a long way from my mind :)

  18. tupu says:

    Hi RCW
    Thanks. No, I didn’t, I’m afraid. Was it good? I’ve several of R’s books dating from an interest in the 50s and 60s and starting with his ‘Mysticism and Logic’. And I remembered vaguely his discussion of the Cretan/liars case. I also remembered the Barber one, but when I checked to make sure it was Greek it came up as Russell’s. Wikipedia has a lot on these and others, including the idea of a woman barber, but that misses the point of the example by treating it as a trick puzzle.

  19. RCWhiting says:

    As usual,’In Our Time’ was a chance for Melvyn to demonstrate his quite remarrkable ability to mug up on such varied and often obscure subjects.
    I always wonder how much he retains, say a month later.
    He does manage to keep the experts on the ball and remembering that the audience is not expert.

    PS the catcha often uses number words rather than digits but will not accept the same. Odd.

  20. Davy says:

    Thanks mhl,

    An excellent puzzle from the Rev which I really enjoyed. Interesting point also from Sil. Maybe “Apart from 11 itself,
    across solutions are 11″. Doesn’t sound right though, does it !. Better wording anyone ?.

    I particularly liked SORCERESSES (and still do) and, in order, the last three I got were CODING, HARASSED and POOH BEAR.

    I used to go regularly to Belle Vue bowling alley which I think was on Kirkmanshulme Lane. They had midnight and even 2am
    bowling sessions which I occasionally attended. There were also waxworks at Belle Vue, usually depicting a gruesome scene.
    The one that sticks in my mind was of a man lying on his back with a huge curved blade swinging over him and threatening
    to slice him in two. The man would raise his head slightly and then lower it before the blade nearly got him.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    There has been a wide variety of reasons why people knew Belle Vue.
    Back in the fifties my home town and BV were two of the leading speedway teams in the national league: a visit from BV was always a special event.

  22. crypticsue says:

    I did enjoy solving this one – for a moment, I thought we were straying into AA Milne territory but I soon found that I knew more gods than I thought I did. Thanks to Araucaria and mhl.

  23. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and mhl
    As usual started this one late … thought that the Across instructions were innovative and were certainly not gimmes (especially Rhea and Odin, although the latter helped me derive the answer in the end).

    Unfamiliar with the British tax system, I had parsed CODING to do with having a cardiac arrest as would a drowning person and would be a ‘subject of notice for a coastguard’ making it an &lit clue – anyhow the answer was right.

    A good prize puzzle.

  24. Pete says:

    I hoped someone could come up with a better reason for CODING. ‘Summons’ maybe, ‘council tax demand’ maybe, ‘Penalty Charge’ maybe but I cant see coding as being a legit answer even though I have managed to find a letter saying ‘PAYE Coding Notice’.

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