Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic N° 25,866 by Araucaria

Posted by PeterO on February 8th, 2013


I feel honoured to draw another of Araucaria’a puzzles.

In this one, I was held up for a while because I was not familiar with the expression in the thematic 18, 11, although the wordplay is quite clear.

1. Before entering parliament with backing, see what people are saying (3-4)
LIP-READ An envelope (‘entering’) of PRE (‘before’) in LIAD, a reversal (‘with backing’) of DAIL (‘parliament’, Irish lower house).
5. Substitute what’s on one’s mind at station? (7)
STOPGAP Definition and literal interpretation. Here on Long Island there have been accidents in which people have been injured falling into the gap between a train and the platform; I take it that we are not alone in tackling this problem.
9. Human error in pact with rhino (9)
ANTHROPIC An anagram (‘error in’) of ‘pact’ plus ‘rhino’.
10. Object of calling with 18 (5)
SPADE An oblique reference to the expression “calling a spade a spade”, and to a kid’s beach toys or the like..
11. See 18
See 18
12. Food supply, last in hand for neighbour to bull with 18 (6,4)
DINNER PAIL A charade of D (‘last in hanD‘) plus INNER (‘neighbour to bull’ on a target) plus PAIL (’18’ BUCKET).
14. English region‘s acknowledgement to French (6)
MERCIA The French MERCI À (with thanks to, ‘acknowledgement to French’), for the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the English Midlands.
15. Lord Coe entertaining a fool to fish (3,4)
SEA BASS An enevelope (‘entertaining’) of ‘a’ in SEB (‘Lord Coe’) plus ASS (‘fool’).
16. Go right through quietly before holding nurse at war (7)
PERVADE An envelope (‘holding’) of VAD (‘nurses at war’ Voluntary Aid Detachment, an organization of voluntary nurses, esp in wartime – Chambers) in P (piano, ‘quietly’) olus ERE (‘before’).
18,11. Dollar for aliens’ dance from shady business (6,4)
BUCKET SHOP A charade of BUCK (‘dollar’) plus ETS (‘aliens’) plus HOP (‘dance’), for the sleazier end of the stockbroking business.
20. Stupendous animal, horse reportedly, going round Ireland (10)
STAGGERING An envelope )’going round’) of ERIN (‘Ireland’) in STAG (‘animal’) plus GG (gee-gee, ‘horse reportedly’).
21. Constituency maybe following 18 in transport (4)
SEAT Double definition, with reference to a bucket seat in a car or aeroplane.
24. Revolutionary invention to raise water after 18 (5)
WHEEL How is one to describe this – double definition, cryptic definition, sesquidef? The reference is to a bucket wheel, a device with buckets round its perimeter to raise water (or, more commonly now, an excavator working on a similar principle).
25. Shy old copper, if well outside sanctum (9)
DIFFIDENT An envelope (‘outside’) of DEN (‘sanctum’) in D (penny, ‘old copper’) plus ‘if’ plus FIT (‘well’).
26. I’ve left off working on Hebridean island (7)
RETIREE A charade of RE (‘on’) plus TIREE (‘hebridean island’).
27. Have a break from backing undiluted a rebel within (4,3)
TAKE TEN An envelope (‘within’) of KET (‘rebel'; Robert Ket or Kett led a rebellion in Norfolk in 1549) in TAEN, a reversal (‘backing’) of NEAT (‘undiluted’).
1. Plenty, especially after 18 (see posters) (5)
LOADS A charade of LO (‘see’) plus ADS (‘posters’).
2. Awfully hot in cold place causing problem, in a way (7)
POTHOLE An envelope (‘in’) of OTH, an anagram (‘awfully’) of ‘hot’ in POLE (‘cold place’).
3. Make money from loch (4)
EARN Double definition, with reference to Loch Earn in the Highlands.
4. Double-crossing as a game? (9,6)
DUPLICATE BRIDGE Literal interpretation and definition.
5. State aid, so majority in parliament speculate about fine mess (8,7)
SICKNESS BENEFIT A charade of SIC (‘so’) plus KNESS[et] (‘majority in parliament’) plus an envelope (‘about’) of NEFI, an anagram (‘mess’) of ‘fine’ in BET (‘speculate’).
6. No breach? Not quite, with half 7s in bother (10)
OBSERVANCE An anagram (‘in bother’) of ‘no breac[h]’ (‘not quite’) plus SEV[ens] (‘half 7s’), with no apparent definition, beyond a nod to Hamlet’s “custom more honoured in the breach than the observance”.
7. About a thousand pounds for article on Spanish city (7)
GRANADA An envelope (‘about’) of ‘a’ in GRAND (‘thousand pounds’) plus A (‘article’).
8. Stones with a change of note in Scotland (7)
PEEBLES PEBBLES (‘stones’) with the first B replaced by E (‘change of note’).
13. Visual, without particular taste, like type of polygon (10)
OCTANGULAR An envelope (‘without’) of TANG (‘particular taste’) in OCULAR (‘visual’).
16. Orders Scotch for two right at the end of the 1940s (4-3)
POST-WAR A charade of POS (postal ‘orders’) plus TWA (‘Scotch for two’) plus R (‘right’).
17. Tester takes time to enter payment (7)
REAGENT An envelope (‘to enter’) of AGE (‘time’) in RENT (‘payment’).
19. High spot for woman and others (7)
EVEREST A charade of EVE (‘woman’) plus REST (‘others’).
22. God of old said to increase tension (5)
TITAN A homophone (‘said’) of TIGHTEN (‘increase tension’).
23. Excitement to be fatal with 18 (4)
KICK Double definition.

27 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic N° 25,866 by Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, PeterO. A few classic “Araucarianisms” today: ET for “alien”; GG for “horse”; PO for “order”.

    STOPGAP is a specific reference to the recorded message at certain London underground stations: (Sorry, don’t know how to do the link thing.)

    Does KICK work? KICK the BUCKET means to die but I can’t quite see that as “to be fatal”.

  2. ToniL says:

    We parsed 6 with “No breach” doing a bit of double duty and being the definition as well as providing anagram fodder.

    I think anyone who has ever travelled on the tube will have had “Mind the Gap” in ‘mind’, so to speak.

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO

  3. michelle says:

    I found this to be a difficult puzzle and needed quite a lot of help to solve it. Didn’t help that I took a long time to solve 18/11.

    I failed to think of PAIL in 12a.

    I liked 22d and 20a.

    New words for me were REAGENT, ANTHROPIC, BUCKET SHOP, DUPLICATE BRIDGE and ‘Knesset’ referred to in the parsing of 5d.

    I still don’t understand TWA = ‘Scotch for two’ – is that how they pronounce ‘two’ in Scotland? And I did get PEEBLES as an answer but needed google’s help to confirm existence of Peebles in Scotland.

    Thanks for the blog, PeterO and many thanks to Araucaria for a challenging puzzle.

  4. NeilW says:

    Hi michelle. Yes, TWA: Scots form of two. (Chambers)

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks Peter. 18’s buck-et was my first in, and that readily delivered a few other answers. But 11 took a lot longer, and 10 was actually last in – a very neat clue. Bit similar for 5d: the benefit was at once evident, the sickness came much later. On 6d, I took the first two words to be doing clever double duty: this is the definition.

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO
    Quite hard, I thought, but clever. I didn’t know VAD, and I was convinced for some time that Araucaria had made an unusual mistake with KET (I only knew KETT), but Google proves him correct, of course.
    I particularly liked REAGENT.

  7. Trailman says:

    My thought processes were practically identical with Molonglo @ 5, other than getting SHOP quickly; in return, I needed Chambers’ support for 12a, an Americanism I did not know.

    Any other setter out there who would have thought of theming a crossword around the exciting word BUCKET? Only a shame that Hyacinth did not appear.

  8. CliffB says:

    I can’t have been alone in having the traditional poem “Twa Corbies” brought to mind from long-gone school days.

    As I was walking all alane,
    I heard twa corbies makin a mane;
    The tane unto the ither say,
    “Whar sall we gang and dine the-day?”

    “In ahint yon auld fail dyke,
    I wot there lies a new slain knight;
    And nane do ken that he lies there,
    But his hawk, his hound an his lady fair.”

    “His hound is tae the huntin gane,
    His hawk tae fetch the wild-fowl hame,
    His lady’s tain anither mate,
    So we may mak oor dinner swate.”

    “Ye’ll sit on his white hause-bane,
    And I’ll pike oot his bonny blue een;
    Wi ae lock o his gowden hair
    We’ll theek oor nest whan it grows bare.”

    “Mony a one for him makes mane,
    But nane sall ken whar he is gane;
    Oer his white banes, whan they are bare,
    The wind sall blaw for evermair.”

  9. michelle says:

    Neil@4 – thanks, I get TWA now

    molonglo@5 – ditto, I got BENEFIT quickly but took a lot longer with SICKNESS

    muffin@6 – I also did not know VAD (and furthermore I could not parse many of the answers I solved).

    Trailman@7 – I got DINNER quickly but did not get PAIL at all (like you I am not American).

    Araucaria is a true master of his craft. Was a pleasure to learn so many new words and definitions.

  10. Apple Granny says:

    A real triumph. Hard to get going, then it went fairly fast.Lots of enjoyable clues. Like others we got benefit at once, and took a while to see sickness. VAD rang a bell – but we had to check in Chambers. We had never heard of Ket. Keep up the challenges Araucaria. Great start to the day.

  11. Robi says:

    Another good one from A., which I didn’t exactly bucket along with [no brigades, though.]

    Thanks PeterO; for 10 (SPADE), I thought of calling a spade at bridge (I think – I don’t play the game.)

    In at least one tube station, I think they actually say: “Mind the stopgap.” I couldn’t see the anagram in 6, although the answer was clear enough with reference to breach.

    I particularly liked POTHOLE, LIP-READ and DINNER PAIL, although the latter was a new expression for me.

  12. setrungo says:

    Apologies for the non-sequitur, but in today’s Doonesbury strip a character uses the phrase “to rock the snark”. Does anyone know what this phrase means?

  13. Ian Payn says:

    Duplicate Bridge took me a few moments – “Bridge” was obvious, but what sort of bridge? I wracked my brains for the various types of bridge until the light dawned. This wouldn’t be worthy of comment other than the fact that I’m Chairman of the English Bridge Union’s Tournament Committee, responsible for all the Duplicate Bridge Tournaments in England. I hereby nominate myself for the Slow Idiot of the Day Award…

  14. tupu says:

    Thanks PeterO and Araucaria

    A good puzzle with some clever cluing. I particularly liked 10a.

    I got ‘stopgap’ – almost last in – but oddly failed to see the reference of ‘gap’. My mind was clearly elsewhere! Another very clever clue.

    I found the puzzle harder than some of A’s and had to check a few answers or parts of them, though they were clear enough from the clues.

  15. Robi says:

    NeilW @1; ‘(Sorry, don’t know how to do the link thing.)’ It’s on the FAQ tab above. :)

  16. bdg says:

    setrungo @ 12: snark=sarcasm; backformation from snarky.

  17. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Robi @15. I knew the instructions were somewhere! Not laziness on my part but just that I run a very busy company and so zip in and out of the blog.

  18. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria and PeterO,

    Lots of fun as ever with Araucaria.

    Hamlet leapt out with breach and observance, as did Mind the Gap.

    Not sure why Michelle @9 thinks of PAIL as American. I grew up with it and what about Jack and Jill with their pail of water? BTW, welcome, Michelle x

    This was the best crossword of the week IMHO!

    Giovanna x

  19. NeilW says:

    Hi Giovanna. While there’s nothing American about PAIL, Chambers lists DiNNER-PAIL (yes, with a hyphen) as an American expression so michelle is quite correct.

  20. Giovanna says:

    Hi NeilW,

    Thanks for that. I wasn’t disputing the correctness; merely making an observation. Needless to say,my Chamber’s (sic) inscribed 1913 by my father doesn’t list it!

    I do have a more modern version which does list dinner-pail but love the old one with its crumbling pages and little line drawings.

    Giovanna x

  21. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    Not one of his hardest but still a joy to puzzle over.
    I often complain of over-easy definitions; those guilty of such should look at “Object of calling” and learn how it is done.
    Not only very vague but with two distinct meanings, one hinted at in 4 down.
    I think the WS quote makes ‘no breach’ a perfect definition (another slice of allusion) and therefore a great clue.
    Last in was ‘spade’.
    I too was not familiar with ‘dinner-pail’ and only entered it after
    Peebles was in. I also didn’t know ‘ket’.
    I was looking out for Hyacinth too (Trailman.
    BTW Neil, surely to die is about as fatal as you could wish for.
    If we must have themes this is the way to deliver one.

  22. Brendan (not that one) says:

    One of A’s better recent offerings for me.

    After a shaky start it looked like everything was going to fall into place quickly as often happens with the master. Then I hit the NE corner!

    I too saw “No breach” as def and fodder! Lovely clue. He’s still stretching those boundaries :-)

    Last in was SPADE which eluded me for ages. I was misdirected by the “in the calling” to looking for a homophone. Thank God it wasn’t as the usual suspects on here would have decried it! 😉

    Thanks to PterO and A

  23. nametab says:

    As with many of Rev A’s, this one slowly unravelled; very satisfying. Last one in was ‘shape’, instead of ‘spade'; grr.
    Cliff B @8: me too; can still recite most of it. Also recorded by Steeleye Span.
    Thanks to Peter O

  24. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and PeterO
    Just finished this one today after only getting to it yesterday – what a great challenge and a great effort to create such with a BUCKET. The NE corner and SPADE in particular were last in.

    Plenty of new words again from A and a couple that I didn’t fully parse (6d and the calling a spade a spade bit of 10).

    Glad to get it out … and a fun way to be reminded of just how much one does not know !!

  25. ToffeeDan says:

    Ian (14)

    I’m not so far behind you for the award (and of course we know each other well). To be honest the allusion to DB was not obvious in the guise of Double Crossing.

    I did think Post-war was beautifully constructed (Orders for POs, Twa and Right). Of course all A’s Crosswords are a delight.

    Daniel (Miller)

  26. SuzeeMoon says:

    I too remember “The Twa Corbies” – part of my Eng Lit o’level along with “The Three Ravens”.

    Annoyingly I didnt get “Mercia” so failed to complete.

    Loved “Duplicate Bridge” when I finally got there, although not previously aware of term/game.

    Got “observance” from the letters and vague knowledge of obsevance mainly in breach as concept – totally missed anagram though!

    Bucket shop was interesting – knew the term but remembered it as somewhere one got cheap air tickets a while back.

    Put in spade as it went with bucket, but didn’t get clue so thanks once more for blog and this place!


  27. setrungo says:

    bdg @16: Many thanks…that is much clearer to me now.

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