Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,853 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on January 24th, 2013


After Araucaria’s announcement of his cancer a couple weeks ago, every new crossword he produces is surely one to treasure. It seems to be very much business as usual with this one, with all the ingenuity and wit (and sometimes slight looseness of clueing, but who cares?) that we associate with him. A theme (not particularly developed, I think, though perhaps I’ve missed something) of clues about accommodation, and a couple of new words for me.

1. DOGHOUSE Double definition – a home for “man’s best friend”, and to be in the doghouse is to be in disgrace
5,9. BED AND BREAKFAST ED in BAND + BREAK FAST, which might be to “get a quick divorce”
11. HOTEL HOT (in summer) + EL – the Elevated railway of some US cities
12. CARAVANSERAI (A VICAR NEAR AS)*, a caravanserai being a kind of inn
15. GITE GIT + E
18. COMPARABLE COM (follows dot in “dotcom”) + PARABLE
19. ACOL A COL (mountain pass), Acol being a bidding system in the game of bridge
21. SELF-CATERING ELF + CAT in SERIN (a type of finch) + G
24. ALBAN A L BAN. St Alban was the first British Christian martyr
25. REJOINDER JO (Scots sweetheart) in REINDE[e]R
26. DEMOTE DEE (river) in MOT (test) Oops, I mean MOT in DEE of course
27. PYRENEAN RE (second note of the scale, known as the supertonic) in (A PENNY)*
1. DEBT DEB[utante] + [model] T
2. GLEE Double definition – a glee is a part-song
3. OAKHAM Homophone of “oakum” (formerly worked on by prisoners, and the workhouse boys in ‘Oliver Twist’), and the county town of Rutland
4. STAR AND GARTER STAR and GARTER are honours; RAND + AG< in STARTER (soup, perhaps);and the Star and Garter is a pub in Manchester (and also a former hotel in Richmond, Surrey, on the site of what is now the Star and Garter home for injured servicemen)
6. EPHESIAN HES (men) in (APE IN)*
7. ALTARPIECE Homophone of “alter peace”
8. DELHI BELLY Delhi and belly rhyme, and this is a nickname of, er, digestive distress, coming soon after Paul’s Montezuma’s Revenge/Aztec Two-step of last week
10. TRAVELLER’S JOY RAVEL in JOSTLER + Y. A plant also known as Old Man’s Beard.
13. EGG CUSTARD EG + (CU + ST) in reverse of DRAG
14. STUMBLEBUM S + TUMBLE + BUM (behind). A US term for a clumsy person, which I knew as a word in the song “If My Friends Could See Me Now” from the musical “Sweet Charity”.
17. CARCANET CARCAS[e] (a lot of body) + NET (with no extras, e.g. excluding tax). This was a new word for me: As the clue says, it’s an old type of jewelled collar
20. INSIDE The IN SIDE is the batting team, and indiser trading is not allowed
22. EDGE Double definition – a glee is a part-song
23. IRON A golf club, of course, and iron is atomic number 26 in the Periodic Table

34 Responses to “Guardian 25,853 – Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Andrew. I found this pretty tricky for the Rev but nothing particularly loose. It seems the EL has become his favourite railway!

    Thanks for explaining IRON, which had me completely bamboozled. :)

    You have a couple of word processing errors in DEMOTE and EDGE.

  2. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. The top half was a shoo-in, and then the trouble started. Needed google for the last two: CARCANET and PYRENEAN. Your 26 is the other way round (MOT in DEE). How is glee relevant to 22d?

  3. michelle says:

    Thanks, Andrew for a great blog.

    This was really quite a struggle for me but as a beginner I am always happy if I can finish a puzzle and especially if I can parse say 2/3 of the answers I get.

    My favourites were 8d and 13d, and I was extra pleased that I could actually parse 10D!

    After yesterday’s ‘mooner’, I thought that 14d was fun.

    Most difficult for me were 3d & 4d and (for me) new words 15a, 19a and 17d requiring combination of help from wikipedia and dictionary. And lots of hitting the “check” button of course.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for a great blog pf another great puzzle.

    Vintage Araucaria, with several smiles, like DOGHOUSE [even after his recent ‘friend/ship’ clue, I still started off trying to do do something like putting PAL inside SHAME], STUMBLEBUM – a new word for me but immaculately clued! – PYRENEAN and REJOINDER. [Michelle, if you’re still there, for the second time this week, ‘sweetheart’ didn’t indicate E – sorry!]. I smiled at GITE, too.

    CARCANET was new for me, too, but, again, the wordplay and the crossers got me there.

    Araucaria was reported a couple of weeks ago as saying, “Someone will have to tell me if the quality’s going off, but I think it’s all right so far.” This’ll do me, thank you, Araucaria! ;-)

  5. muffin says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria
    I enjoyed this very much, though I was held up by having GAFF instead of GITE (GAFFE without the E, slang for “home” – not as good as the answer, of course)
    Someone suffering from DELHI BELLY might spend a lot of time “in convenience”!

  6. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Andrew

    Interesting puzzle from Araucaria – a bit trickier than most because of the vocabulary. I imagine few solvers would have been familiar with all of the words here (STUMBLEBUM and ACOL were strangers to me, though CARCANET stirred a very dim memory – probably from an old crossword…).

    I enjoyed ‘Dot’s sequel to bible story’, the simplicity of 1a and the fine anagrammatic 12a, but this chemist’s favourite was naturally 23d.

  7. muffin says:

    I was also convinced that “a lot of body” was TOR(so), so tried to make CARCANET TORC???? (without success, of course).
    Another minor misprint, Andrew – iron IS atomic number 26 (not “in”)

  8. Ian Payn says:

    There’s a publisher called Carcanet. Poetry, mainly. I bought some books from them on-line a few years ago and have received their newsletter (with free poem!) every Friday since. otherwise I freely admit that the word was unfamiliar to me.

  9. Wanderer says:

    27a: PYRENEAN. Splendidly misdirected by the formula ‘spends a penny’. Before spotting that ‘spends’= anagram indicator and ‘a penny’= fodder, I was lured into the more literal interpretation, ie ‘spends a penny’= PEES. This made me think the answer could be PYRENEES, with PEES drinking YREN. (supertonic?) I even looked up YREN to see if such a word exists, and, according to the online Webster’s 1913 edition, it does — an archaic form of IRON (23d). Eventually the, er, penny dropped, and my hapless musings actually helped me out on 23 as well.

    Thanks Andrew for the blog and thanks as always to Araucaria for some marvellous fun.

  10. Trailman says:

    Thanks for the blog Andrew for without it I would not have known that a CARAVANSERAI was a sort of inn; I had always visualised camels crossing the desert, but not where they rested.

    Like many I guess, CARCANET was new and needed some research. I had to discard Falconet and Balconet before getting there. And I thought that PYRENEAN had an extra N. So that’s three bits of learning from one crossword.

  11. michelle says:

    Eileen@4, no problem about “sweetheart = E” as it is something new for me to remember and look out for in future puzzles. Thanks for the info.

  12. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    A fine puzzle. Like Wanderer I was first misled into ‘pees’ over something.

    Thanks Andrew for help over 23d (re element table) and 3d (I ended up thinking it was somehow meant to be linked to ‘hocum’ – ‘obvious or hackneyed material of a sentimental nature in a play, film, etc.’. I now vaguely wonder if ‘oakam’ is where ‘hocum’ comes from.

    Lots of enjoyable clues e.g. 1a, 5,9, 25a, 1d, 10d.

    17d was interesting. As Eileen says, one could work it out from the wordplay even when one did not know it – exactly the sort of thing that Andrew and others, including me, wanted for ‘calumet’ on Monday.

  13. Gervase says:

    tupu @12: ‘oakum’ is ‘off-comb’ – strands picked from old rope. ‘Hokum’ is thought to be a portmanteau of ‘hocus pocus’ (a meaningless imprecation, sometimes suggested to be a corruption of ‘hoc est corpus [meum]’ -‘this is my body’, from the Latin mass) and ‘bunkum’ (from Buncombe County, NC, whose 19th century representative in Congress once made a long and rambling speech). An interestingly complicated derivation for a load of old rubbish. OAKHAM is, more prosaically, the ‘village by the oaks’.

  14. aztobesed says:

    I had it as hokum – a theatrical term for playing to the audience with trite or overworked devices. It made its way into accusations against politicians and came to mean nonsense in the US.

  15. Robi says:

    Another great crossword; keep them coming! Some words were new but well clued.

    Thanks Andrew; at the beginning, I thought of ‘willy nilly’ for 8, although it didn’t quite parse properly. I’m kicking myself over IRON, I was trying to connect IRONing with DE-MOTE as in defragment, but it I couldn’t iron it out. ;)

    ‘Say, copper on street in drag turned up for food?’ painted an interesting picture. A. might well receive complaints from the Met about mocking them. :)

  16. tupu says:

    Hi Gervase

    Thanks and yes. I merely began to wonder about it when I saw that the portmanteau origin was only ‘thought to be’ so. It seems to be originally US theatre slang and I tend to think of it as an American word though it has been quite common over here. There is a tempting convergence of meanings here, and this often leads to false folk etymologies such as certificate/stiff ticket. I came across an odd Swahili/English one many years ago when a Tanzanian chief told me that ‘motorcar’ (locally pronounced ‘mtokaa’, came from the fact that a person (SW. mtu) sits (SW. kaa) inside it.

  17. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria for another great puzzle.Don’t even think about giving up! As I said before: you can’t be spared! xx

    Thanks,Andrew for the parsing, especially of STUMBLEBUM, which I worked out but didn’t know.

    CARCANET rang a faint bell for me from historical novels, I think. ACOL was new but getable. It reminded me of school and being made to learn corrie, col and cwm. Odd the things that stick in the mind.

    Apart from being a good homophone, OAKHAM reminded me of tins of ye Old Oak Ham.

    Giovanna x

  18. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. You explained several cases where I had the right answer without understanding why.

    I was totally fooled by 23d: trying to make something of ‘demote’ :(

    As for Araucaria – keep on giving us puzzles like this one!

  19. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Andrew and Araucaria.

    This was very enjoyable although I failed to get CARCANET.

    I loved STUMBLEBUMS which I recalled from ‘Sweet Charity’.

    I also loved DELHI BELLY which reminded me that, on one England Cricket tour of India, they reported that some members had suffered BOYCOTT BELLY: this was similar to DELHI BELLY but the runs came more slowly.

  20. Colin H says:

    Not sure I like “Fool” as the definition for “Git”.

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Very enjoyable and suitably testing.
    Last in Oakham.

  22. Mitz says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria.

    Enjoyed this. I’m another that found the top half pretty straightforward and the bottom considerably tougher, but there was lovely stuff throughout.

    Like many I paused over PYRENEAN, confident that I had the right answer, pretty sure that (apenny)* was involved, but unable to see why RE = “supertonic”. And wanderer (#9) – you’re not the only one who hopefully looked up “yren” at one stage! Feel a bit foolish now. Also, I put GLEE in without knowing the secondary definition. I have never played bridge and so hadn’t come across ACOL before, but it was pretty obvious from the clue.

    There are STAR AND GARTER pubs all over the place – in fact I can see one out of my office window. I was familiar with OAKHAM as I often drive through it on my way to see friends who happen to live in Melton Mowbray – “little county town” indeed! CARCANET was my last in – never heard of it, but again eminently gettable from clue and crossing letters.

    COD by a mile was COMPARABLE.

    michelle – the trouble with devices like “sweetheart” is that the wilier compilers, like the good Reverend, are as aware of them as those of us who like to think of ourselves as experienced solvers, and so often chuck them in just to throw us off the scent!

  23. RCWhiting says:

    Mitz@22 last para
    That is so true although I have never seen it stated so clearly before.
    It could almost be the definition of a good compiler!

  24. Shuna says:

    After my distress at the news embedded in the last Araucaria puzzle, I was delighted to see this one today & to find it well up to his usual standard. Particularly enjoyed 12a, 21a & 10d, while 18a made me lol! Great to learn new words like carcanet & supersonic, too. Keep them coming, please!

  25. MikeC says:

    Thanks A and A. A good, very enjoyable challenge. Needed help to see why IRON was No 26 – my very ancient A level chemistry didn’t run to the periodic table or atomic numbers (or very much else?).

    RCW@23 – Yes!

  26. Martin P says:

    Thanks to all:

    I needed a few searches here.

    New ones for me were carcanet, acol, oakum, glee’s other meaning, and I didn’t spot the periodic table ref. for iron either.

    I consider myself beaten on points.

    I was chuffed to spot “Delhi belly” early on though.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in finding this a warmly cheering puzzle.

  27. Brendan (not that one) says:

    An enjoyable crossword as ever from the master.

    I hadn’t heard of CARCANET so had to google it! A lot of body for CARCA(SS) or(SE) was a step too far for me!

    Also can anybody parse 24a.? The wordplay gave the answer ALBAN but where is the definiton?

    Thanks to the 2 As

  28. tupu says:

    Hi Brendan

    St Alban was ‘martyred’. I assumed ‘being martyred’ = ‘person martyred’.

  29. scchua says:

    Thanks to Andrew and Araucaria, brilliant as ever.

    Only one question: assuming there is no misprint, is “no” incontrast to “no.” a valid abbrev. for “number”? The difference made the clear past misdirection towards misleading territory. And this is no criticism by the way, only that it might have made for a better clue than it was.

  30. scchua says:

    Sorry “clue” not “clear”.

  31. Brendan (not that one) says:

    Thanks Tupu @28

    I couldn’t see a possibility but I obviously was having an “off-day”.

    My only other thought was a misprint of “martyred” for “martyr” but obviously others on here would have mentioned that.

  32. SimonP says:

    Kicking myself over Pyrenean. I had “Goatweed”, and it sort of worked! Goat for “mountain dweller”, weed for “spen(t) a penny” with the invariable Grauniad typo, and Horny Goat Weed could be said to be a “supertonic”. Duh.

  33. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Andrew

    Good to see A serve up the second of his roughies for the week. Unlike a couple of other posters where the divide between difficulty was top and bottom, mine was east-west with the trouble on the left of Traveller’s Joy. The last part was the NE corner with the last clue in being the pub with honours.

    As with many of his puzzles, there was new learning to be had, with a number of new words at 3, 4, 6, 17 down and 15, 19 and 24 across. Think that 13d and 16a were my favourite constructions and happy to get it finished!

    Was another who didn’t see the periodic number for IRON.

  34. Huw Powell says:

    Yet another tour de force from the Master. Puzzles like this are the exact level of difficulty I love – really hard work, but slow progress eventually yielding yet one more answer to tease me into not giving, eventually leading to massive research, reading articles on wikipedia that have nothing to do with the eventual answer (Queen Anne, for example), occasional reaching points where OneLook or the internet anagram server (too lazy at ADRENALINE!)… and in the end thinking I had finished it completely (see errata below…).

    First looked at it Thursday evening, and got no more than penciling in REJOINDER and EDGE. All I got from another hour or two on Friday was a level of frustration I haven’t encountered in some time. All I got was a faintly penciled “Y” at 10d/27a. Then today, Saturday, I finally starting solving clues in the SW, only to hit another brick wall, which was finally relieved by ALTARPIECE.

    Random comments of things I highlighted while reading Andrew’s excellent blog…

    * Errata 1: Plumped for the obvious non-homonym of Ockham, having read about too many possible county towns on wikipedia to finish the job.

    * Errata 2: Neglected to look up the “obvious” GITE and left “gate” in pencil early on, wondering if it would make sense later.

    * To confirm TRAVELLER’S JOY I had to use my beloved Chambers since wikipedia was useless on the alternate common name “old man’s beard”.

    * 20, INSIDE, came last, with a wonderful gasp at the wordplay.

    * Kicking myself on 23 for missing “No” = “number”. I do think “No. 26 club” would have been fairer, but I have no desire for these puzzles to get easier.

    * I spent a lot of time wondering about “soup. maybe” at 4, even checked the on-line version to check for typos in the clue. Ended up with a rather rambling solution – coin = START containing AG and DNA (“turning up in the soup”) and “maybe” = ER. However, this did leave me shy an “R”.

    * I think 24 – of all the clues – could have been better. “On” just doesn’t work for me. “First” would have made the definition really tight, “one” would also have been better. Another typo, perhaps?

    * I also had to use my Chambers to finally verify that “serin” = “finch”.

    So again, thanks to Andrew and the rest of you lot for a great blog and to Araucaria for a fantastic monkey puzzle!

    PS, I like that the captcha for a word puzzle blog is always an (easy) algebra problem!

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