Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,817 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on December 12th, 2012


What looked for a while like a typically Araucarian mixture of obscurity and straightforwardness, with a few liberties thrown in, turned out to have more going on than I realised.

Definitions are underlined.


5,20 Wall to speak directly to 10 5 down 21
BARRIER [wall] + UTTER [speak]
Please see the end of the blog for further comment on this clue

6 Little fellow and little fool keeping time
SIMP [little fool – short for simpleton, which I hadn’t met before] round [keeping] HR [hour – time]

9,24 Exploiting queen when unconscious, point to close relation
USING [exploiting] ER queen in [COMA [‘when unconscious’ – I know not everyone will like it but I do!] + N [point]

10,4 Air display (and not the Navy’s) with pet food
NOR [and not] THE RN [the navy] + LIGHTS [pet food]

11 Cutter also produces sound
sounds like adds [also produces]

12 Able to grasp things concerning birds in big building
RE HENS [concerning birds] in PILE [big building]

13 Work with mouse to contribute largely to 66 at bingo?
CLICK CLICK would be most of CLICKETY CLICK – the bingo call for 66

18 Big building where ringers see and hear about bows put back right
I thought I was going to have to call for help in parsing this one: it took a while [bowing and scraping? fiddle bows scraping?] then light dawned: it’s SKYPE [where ringers see and hear] round a reversal [put back] of ARCS [bows]  + R [right]

21 Date in Rome for fishes
double definition

22 Sweet William, say, bringing incense to goddess shortly
DIAN[a] [goddess shortly] + THUS [incense]
I knew THUS was Latin for incense but didn’t know of it in English, except in its derivativees, thurible and thurifer, but Chambers [not Collins] has thus = frankincense
Sweet William is a species of dianthus, hence the ‘say’

23 Religious building goes ahead
double / cryptic definition

25 Singularly little money for butter?
double / cryptic definition: peanuts is a small amount of money, hence the saying, ‘If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ and peanuts are made into peanut butter, which is rather like Marmite [or this clue] – you either love it or hate it!


1 People in support through love of magician
PROS [people in support] + PER [through] + O [love] for the magician in ‘The Tempest’

2 Snatch leather with soft coating
KID [leather] + NAP [soft coating]

3 Caught taking her water supply from river
C [caught] + HER + WELL [water supply] for a tributary of the Thames

5 Ladies of the Lakes?
double definition

7 Dad’s part has promise

8 Skimp on publicity for nude show with king to be model
anagram [show] of NUDE + REX [king] + POSE [be model]

14 Special occasion, maybe third in recess
anagram [maybe] of THIRD in BAY [recess]

15 Rodent getting a large portion about lunchtime
CHUNK [large portion] round IPM [1 pm – lunchtime] – an amusing clue but this word always makes me smile, because it reminds me of the daft exchange in a monastery kitchen, which I heard decades ago on ‘Round the Horne’  [and since in other places]: ‘Are you the fish-fryer?’ – ‘No, I’m the chip monk’

16 Sport of kings? I wonder
anagram [wonder] of KINGS I

17 Half 11 plenty for enthusiast
ZE [half of adZE – 11ac] + A LOT [plenty]

19 Divers don’t use towel?
SUN DRY – like tomatoes: a clever clue and another smile to end with

I’m afraid the name BARRIE RUTTER didn’t mean anything to me: I had to come back to 5,20 and get in by the back door, as it were. Fortunately, the clues to the contributory answers were relatively straightforward and cleverly produced NORTHERN BROADSIDES, which, again, was unfamiliar but led me to the man himself Barrie Rutter . When I saw photographs of him, I realised he’s one of those people you see fairly regularly on television and somehow don’t get to know their name – but I should have known him as the director of Lenny Henry’s ‘Othello’.

If I had been more familiar with him, I would have supplied the link without, perhaps, taking more notice but the first line of the Wikipedia entry told me that he was born on 12th December 1946. I noted the coincidence of today’s date – and then a whole bagful of pennies dropped: today is his 13ac th 14dn!

Many Happy Returns, Mr Rutter – I shall watch out for you! 😉

44 Responses to “Guardian 25,817 / Araucaria”

  1. Ian Payn says:

    Happily I am familiar with Barrie Rutter so it possibly fell into place a bit quicker for me. I’ve always felt he did rather well – I first became aware of him years ago when he was a young actor, competent and always a welcome face on the screen but not particularly remarkable. What he went on to achieve with Norther Braodsides was exceptional, and I was delighted to see that Araucaria obviously thinks so too! If he’s not more well known, all I can say is that he should be!

  2. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Enjoyable puzzle, though I failed to get 5,20 without assistance – the first word looked like BERLIN (‘Wall’), which confused me, and the birthday boy was unfamiliar.

    Some entertaining devices here: I liked COUSIN GERMAN (one of my first entries, mirabile dictu), ‘and not the Navy’s’, ‘goes ahead’. Pleasing to see a nonagenarian come up with DOUBLE CLICK and a clue involving ‘Skype’ in the charade.

    Favourite was SUNDRY – surprised I haven’t seen this construction before.

  3. Paul W says:

    Does anyone know why on the printed version of the crossword, we have the following?

    Related information Crosswords

    Cryptic crossword No 25,805 28 Nov 2012
    Cryptic crossword No 25,805 26 Nov 2012
    Cryptic crossword No 25,803 23 Nov 2012
    Cryptic crossword No 25,801 21 Nov 2012
    Cryptic crossword No 25,799
    Cryptic crossword No 25,798 20 Nov 2012
    Cryptic crossword No 25,798

  4. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Eileen, Araucaria and especially Hugh for the Cheat Button.

    It proved invaluable for determining the otherwise invisible BARRIE RUTTER.

    If Araucaria delivers any more like this, he is in very real danger of being forcibly evicted from my Favourite Setter slot.

  5. Bryan says:

    Paul W @ 3

    None of the items you listed are on my copy.

    Are you possibly using a now obsolete Browser?

  6. Ian SW3 says:

    I get the same thing using a very much up-to-date Firefox.

  7. NormanLinFrance says:

    Thanks, Eileen. The joke works better if the person asks if he’s the chief friar. Fond memories of Round the Horne indeed.

  8. Stella says:

    Thanks for the explanations, Eileen. I had a feeling something was going on, and actually looked cursorily for a pangram at one moment, but obviously was way off the mark.

    Pity, because I love theatre, and my parents actually helped found an important amateur theatre charity in London.

  9. Robi says:

    Nice idea from A., although I didn’t know BARRIE RUTTER until I saw his photographs. I’m used to having to employ various aids to solve the rev’s puzzles.

    Thanks Eileen; especially for the parsing of SKYSCRAPER, which defeated me. I particularly liked SUNDRY and CHIPMUNK [liked your little joke, too :) .] I was convinced that ‘Wall’ in 5,20 related to Mid-Summer’s Night Dream, so spent some fruitless time searching for explanations in the play. I’ve never come across COUSIN-GERMAN [it has a hyphen in Chambers} before. I don’t suppose it is used much now as cousin by itself has come to mean ‘first cousin.’

  10. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    Like several others, I did not know/remember the birthday boy. Was it unkind of me, after getting him and then googling, to wonder if the puzzle was a commissioned one? We have had at least one such before. His name was my last in.

    I started a bit slowly, not getting very far with some of the (rufus-like) shorter clues. But it began to fit into place. Like Gervase, I was pleased to see the computer references, though why they should surprise me I don’t really know.

    Unlike Bryan, I enjoyed this a lot. The breaking up of words across the clues e.g broads + ides was pleasing to spot.

    I ticked several as I went along – 10,4, 8d, and 19d seeming particularly nice at the time.

  11. William says:

    Thank you Eileen. Your blog added water and the whole thing flowered.

    Certainly could not have parsed DIANTHUS but will watch for the THUS trick henceforth.

    Like you, I rather like the ‘in a coma’ gag in COUSIN GERMAN. Chambers gives the def as ‘first cousin’. Anyone know the origin?

    Particularly enjoyed SKYSCRAPER, SKIING, & DIVERS.

    Paul W @3 me too. I’m using Google Chrome – anyone know what’s going on here?

  12. Trailman says:

    DIANTHUS and COUSIN-GERMAN were both new to me, as is Thus for incense. I had heard of NORTHERN BROADSIDES though, and dimly remembered BARRIE RUTTER. It still took a long time. Spotting two linked clues, one looks out for more, but 14d and 13ac require a detailed knowledge of the subject that few of us have. Maybe the very tenuous Shakespearean links of PROSPERO and IDES are meant to count towards a theme.

  13. tupu says:

    Hi William
    ‘German’ here seems to be an old form of ‘germane’ which originally meant ‘of the same stock’ (cf germ = seed) or ‘related by blood’. ‘Germane’ is of course mostly used in a figurative sense these days for ‘related’ or ‘congenial’ e.g ‘a matter germane to my present discussion’. It seems there is also ‘brother-german’ i.e one with the same parents. I imagine it was developed for discrimination between ‘full’ or close kin and more distant or metaphorical relatives in matters of inheritance and the like.

  14. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria, as ever, and Eileen for the super blog. I had never heard of Barrie Rutter, either but managed to get it as the last one to fall.

    William @ 11, my old Chambers’s (sic) gives German, of the first degree, as cousins german: closely allied etc.This clue rang a bell from the dim and distant past, so fell easily.

    I, too, thought of A Midsummer Night’s Dream first.

    SUNDRY raised a smile and the whole puzzle was enjoyable.

    Giovanna x

  15. chas says:

    Thanks to Eileen for the blog. I had SKYSCRAPER but was totally unable to see why.

    I don’t remember that Round the Horne joke but I note in passing that Radio 4Extra has started re-airing the programme on Mondays at noon. This week we had the first ever Round the Horne.

    I also remembered that Wall is a ‘character’ in MND and spent some time trying to make something of that.

    I had never heard of the 10 5d 21 or its director so I had to work out his name the hard way then look him up on google.

  16. Stella says:

    Regarding GERMAN, it has the same origin as Spanish “hermano/a” (=brother/sister)

  17. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks, Eileen. I failed to get Barrie Rutter and like some others got hung up on Berlin (especially with GERMAN further down, I though there must be some connection). Thanks also Robi @ 9 for the explanation of COUSIN GERMAN. All I need now is to know why PROS = people in support.

    I toyed about with PI and MILL at 23a for a while, and convinced myself I must have misheard 66 as CLICKY-CLICK all these years, until the penny dropped.

  18. Dave Ellison says:

    Another penny just dropped: it’s pros as in pros and cons, and nothing to do with sex.

  19. William says:

    Tupu @13 (& Giovanna @14) Most interesting, thanks a lot.

  20. Querulous says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen.

    I was slightly surprised to see LIGHTS clued by “pet food”, as I’ve only come across it before in the context of human food (e.g. liver and lights). Or does my family just have strange eating habits (though we draw the line at Whiskas)? Or does it mean food that you could potentially obtain from your pet?! Surely not …

  21. muffin says:

    Thanks Eileen
    I gave up on this one, and was still unenlightened on some after reading the blog – a really obscure one for Araucaria.
    I found “cousin german” in a word match site, but when I tried to find out what it meant in Wikipedia I drew a blank – it doesn’t seem to be mentioned (though I did later find it in Chambers).
    Not often I put down the crossword with as many blanks left.

  22. Robi says:

    Querulous @20; Collins gives: ‘the lungs, esp of sheep, bullocks, and pigs, used for feeding pets and occasionally in human food.’

  23. Querulous says:

    Robi @ 22: thanks. Chambers (2002) just says that they’re the lungs of an animal, without mentioning who/what generally eats them.

  24. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    That was a cracking puzzle,very enjoyable and quite challenging (I should point out that that is solely my (non-humble) opinion even though it might sound pompous for me to express it so blatantly).
    I did not know Mr. Rutter and he was last in and all the personal details passed me by; but I did like the 5,20 clue.
    One somewhat unusual aspect of this one was that I quite quickly solved clues spread all over the grid without finishing a single quarter and then had to slow down to fill in the blanks.
    Well done compiler.

  25. muck says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria
    Solved and parsed everything except BARRIE RUTTER
    I worked out NORTHERN BROADS/IDES but convinced the answer was BERLIN R-T-E-

  26. Gervase says:

    Querulous @20: LIGHTS on their own are probably more often used for feeding pets, but are one of the ingredients in the noble haggis, and also the rather more rumbustious Italian ‘coratella’ (heart, lungs and liver or a sheep, often sold still attached to each other).

  27. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase

    Too much information, I think. [Having had a Scottish husband, I have, under duress, eaten haggis but didn’t inquire too closely. 😉 ]

  28. Robi says:

    Eileen; is that the Scottish form of ‘enquire?’ If anyone is still awake, this could provoke a difficult discussion.

  29. RCWhiting says:

    Look up’inquire’ in Chambers and the ‘difficult discussion’ disappears.

  30. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Thanks Eileen, I needed the blog to explain quite a few today.

    Didn’t like 5,20a. I note you couldn’t underline the definition. How can “directly to” mean responsible for? Perhaps “Wall to speak behind 10 5d 21″ might have been better.

    Also managed to convince myself that 9,24a was sister-german (not that I could parse it from the clue, obviously) as I had mistakenly thought 5d was naiads!

  31. Eileen says:

    Robi @28

    I have always understood the two were interchangeable: the entry in both Collins and Chambers begins ‘inquire or enquire’. The Latin root is ‘inquirere’ and the French ‘enquirer’, which perhaps explains why I incline to the former – though not always! I don’t see why it should cause any [difficult] discussion: count me out if it does.

    Hi Monkeypuzzler @30

    You have reminded me that I meant to comment on ‘directly’ in my footnote. I think it perhaps refers to the fact that the aim of Northeren Broadsides is to make Shakespeare and other classics more accessible. You’re right – I couldn’t find an actual definition!

    [On my first skim through, my first thought for 5dn was naiads, too, thinking that it wasn;t very cryptic! ;-)]

  32. Eileen says:

    Apologies for the two typos – I forgot to preview.

  33. nametab says:

    Concerning the definition of 5,20: is perhaps ‘directly to’ an Araucarianism stretch of language to indicate something like ‘in the capacity of a director of…’?

    Never knew ‘thus’ meant incense

  34. Eileen says:

    Hi nametab @33

    I had a quiet smile at my Latin reading group this afternoon, when we sang some Latin Christmas carols, including ‘Quem pastores’, with the line, ‘aurum, thus, myrrham portabant’ and ‘Personent hodie’, including, ‘aurum, thus et myrrham ei offerendo’. 😉

  35. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Wow. Got there in the end as all answers were well clued.

    Couldn’t parse a couple and Barrie Rutter only went in when I’d worked out Northern Broadsides and Googled it. No problem as far as I’m concerned as I don’t think the name of the director of this company nor indeed his birthday would be expected to be known by a significant percentage of the population.

    Enjoyed this puzzle immensely. Like RCW I had a large percentage of the puzzle filled in without a completed corner.

    Thanks to Eileen for filling in the missing parsings and to A for an extraordinary puzzle. :-)

  36. Robi says:

    Just in case anyone is still out there and is interested:

    I know that enquire and inquire are interchangeable; I tend to use the former for ‘ask.’

    My ODE says: ‘The traditional distinction between enquire and inquire is that enquire is used for general senses of ‘ask’ while inquire is reserved for uses meaning ‘make a formal investigation.’ In practice, however, there [is] little discernible distinction in the way the two words are used today in British English, although inquiry is commoner than enquiry in the sense ‘a formal investigation.’ In all senses inquiry and enquiry are the more usual forms in US English, whereas enquire and enquiry are chiefly restricted to British English.

  37. Thomas99 says:

    I’m sure lots of people noticed it but nobody actually seems to have pointed out that “six” appears directly below the “double” of “double-click”, marking the 66th birthday.

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi Thomas 99

    How diplomatically put! No, I hadn’t spotted it, so well done and thanks for pointing it out.

  39. Robi says:

    My @36 might make more sense if I typed it correctly, viz: ‘In all senses inquire and inquiry are the more usual forms in US English, whereas enquire and enquiry are chiefly restricted to British English.

  40. RCWhiting says:

    Robi @36
    That’s a very poetic dictionary you are using.

  41. andym says:

    After a bit of googling it seems Barrie rutter once played prospero

  42. Huw Powell says:

    What a little delight! When the Rev comes through, he does it in style.

    Just like RCW @ 24 and Brendan (NTO) @ 35, I had bits and pieces of this puzzle solved all over the place. I think this was due to the gentle setter including a handful of “easier” clues to help us untangle the linked ones.

    And then I was stuck (since I couldn’t figure out 10/4 on my own, and I have even seen them once!).

    So I used OneLook to solve b?r?e? r?t?e? and realized how smooth that clue really was. Looked him up on wikipedia (the only link provided at OL) and saw “Northern” instantly. Then I “solved” the second half of the puzzle, bit by bit.

    First answer guessed in was TEMPLE, last but not understood was PEANUT.

    Thanks Araucaria for the excellent Wednesday workout, and Eileen and everyone else for the great blog!

    PS, I have been getting that extra stuff at the bottom of the “print version” randomly over the last few days. Not on this one, but on the one before and the one after. As I understand it, the Grauniad has been tinkering/tampering with their blog for the puzzles, so some bright young person probably is in the middle of an edit war to get their “related links” mongrel adopted by the rest of the team. Sad, since it wastes a sheet of paper if the user is not careful, and we don’t go to the print version to get links to other things.

  43. FlutterBy says:

    Paul W @3
    and Ian SW3 @6 … I have the same clutter appearing on my Browser (Firefox) whenever I select ‘Print Version’ of any crossword.

    I’m guessing it’s a glitch on the Guardian’s website, or worse it might be deliberate! I’m managing to NOT print it by selecting (click and drag) the area of the page with grid and clues and then, when the print dialog box appears, clicking ‘Selection’ rather than ‘All’. Bit of a pain but worth it for a nice ‘clean’ print-out.

  44. Edward says:

    Barrie Rutter was previously unknown to me but got it by clear clueing and some Internet searching. It’s interesting to look at Wikipedia stats when there’s a slightly obscure answer – see to get an idea how many are doing the crossword and at what delay.

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