Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Prize No 25,873 by Araucaria

Posted by bridgesong on February 23rd, 2013


Another wide-ranging puzzle from Araucaria, with a mini-theme of early British kings, and references to Armstrong-Siddeley and Michael Winner, to name but two.  As always, the surfaces are immaculate, but I have noted one or two particular liberties.   On the easy side for a prize puzzle, I thought.

1 DIALECTICAL Small girl and boy heard to amuse, Hegelian style (11)
DI(ana) ALEC, sounds like TICKLE.  This made me laugh when the penny dropped.
9 ONSHORE Riding wild horse towards land (7)
ON *HORSE.  “Towards land” is the definition.
10 PARLOUR Speaker’s chamber? (7)
Cryptic definition, I think.  One of the definitions of PARLOUR in Chambers is “a private room for conversation”  and of course the word derives from the French word “parler“, meaning to speak.  Nothing to do with the House of Commons, except that of course Parliament comes from the same root.
11 See 21
See 21
12 WHICH A question of pronunciation for one doing spelling? (5)
Sounds like “witch” (one who casts spells) , but I had to wait for 6 down before I could be sure which was correct.
13 MARK King of 5 associated with 8 achieves fame (4)
Legendary King of Cornwall, associated with King Arthur.
14 VENTILATOR Exposer of vagrant in love with tart (10)
16 WANDERLUST Pale powder covers fairy king with itchy feet (10)
ERL in WAN DUST.  I remembered the Schubert lied Der Erlkönig from school, which was lucky because erl on its own doesn’t actually mean “fairy king”.
19 LEAR British king, one on field (4)
21,11 UTHER PENDRAGON Behead reformer and wait, not losing temper with British king (5,9)
(L)UTHER, RAG in PEND ON.  The reference to not losing your rag is brilliant, but I’m not happy with PEND ON  for “wait”.
22 CYMBELINE British king taking much of Wales by almost direct route (9)
CYM(ru), BE(e)LINE.
24 DISTEND Stretch performed without shooter (7)
25 ROSTRUM Stand having wrong sort to drink (7)
26 DERBY WINNER Associate of crown, Michael who directed the successful Equus? (5,6)
(Crown) DERBY, with a reference to the recent death of the film director Michael WINNER.
1 DISENFRANCHISED Having no choice? Send if worried to cattle farm on other side (15)
2 AMOUR Early hours for the Guardian’s affair (5)
3 EPERGNE I’m on the table with disgraced peer and sacked general (7)
*PEER, *GEN.  I had to check this word in Chambers; it’s a “branched ornamental centrepiece for a table”.
4 TOPKNOT Maximum speed ahead? (7)
TOP, KNOT.  “Ahead” is the somewhat loose definition here, but there is a question mark in the clue.
5 CORNWALL 19’s son-in-law makes crown available to everyone (8)
*CROWN, ALL.  In Shakespeare’s King Lear, the King’s daughter Regan is married to the Duke of Cornwall.
6 LOOK IN THE MIRROR See yourself giving advice to driver (4,2,3,6)
Definition and cryptic definition, very easy to guess from the enumeration.
7 POMPOM Ornament for gun dogs? (6)
A pompom is an ornament; a pom-pom is a gun, and Pomeranians (or Poms) are a breed of dog.  So a very clever triple definition.
8 ARTHUR British king in painting by father of chariot racer? (6)
ART, HUR. The name Ben-Hur (the chariot racer) means “son of Hur”, hence the reference to “father”.
15 DEAR, DEAR What a pity loved one’s expensive! (4,4)
“What a pity” is the definition, with two synonyms for the word “dear”.
16 WOUNDS Hurts that may get us down? (6)
17 LUCIDLY Clearly a convenience for Armstrong’s partner, say (7)
Sounds like Loo Siddeley, Armstrong-Siddeley being a now-defunct British engineering company.
18 SAMURAI Raise one lily as required by oriental warriors (7)
1 ARUM AS (all rev).
20 RHEUMY Having nasal problems allegedly, with plenty of space (6)
Sounds like “roomy”.
23 ESSEN Jewish ascetic docked at German city (5)
The Essenes were a second century BC Jewish sect.


25 Responses to “Guardian Prize No 25,873 by Araucaria”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks bridgesong. No trouble or help needed with this, until the final two letters: of 13a. ‘Mort’ tempted me (since I’ve never hear of any Cornish king): checking on it, and seeing the right answer, I then wondered why the famous Tennyson poem got the spelling and gender of that word wrong. Or did Malory before him? Or was it a Caxton typo?

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, bridgesong.

    Didn’t have too much problem with MARK, since it’s a double definition (fame.)

    UTHER PENDRAGON – I think “wait” is just PEND and, if you don’t lose it, you still have your RAG ON.

  3. RCWhiting says:

    Thanks all
    I had this as average difficulty,it might have rated trickier if the long 6d had not been an immediate write-in.
    My last two were ‘pompom’ and ‘on shore’ because I had persisted throughout with ‘upshore’.
    Although it is common usage was UP really King of Britain, did he ever hold much sway in Scotland? BTW I parsed ‘pendragon’as Neil @2. I also spotted ‘mark’=fame.
    I liked 26ac for its breadth of reference.

  4. Biggles A says:

    Thanks bridgesong. I agree, not too much of a challenge. In 10 I thought it referred to what the spider said to the fly.

  5. JC says:

    RCW @3 The clue says British king, not king of Britain. Nobody was king of Britain then – the first king of England, Wales and Scotland must have been James I.

  6. michelle says:

    This was the first time I have attempted a Prize puzzle, and it was a very enjoyable challenge. It took me a while to get going but the mini theme of British kings helped me a lot, as well as the early-ish solving of the long words WANDERLUST, UTHER PENDRAGON, DISENFRANCHISED.


    Most fun was my parsing of HUR as ‘father of chariot racer, (Ben) to get ARTHUR. I actually laughed out loud for this one.

    I enjoyed reading this blog because I could not fully parse 19, 17, 22 & 11a.

    I like your parsing of 7d as a triple definition. I only got as far as pompom = 1/ ornament and 2/ pompom poodle = a type of gun dog.

    I also wanted to check this blog to see if I got the parsing right for PARLOUR because the way I parsed it was pretty funny! 1/ a weird homophone of ‘parle-er’ = speaker 2/chamber

    I agree with NeilW@2’s parsing of UTHER PENDRAGON.

    Re 13a, Mark is the only Cornish king I know of thanks to Tristan and Iseult.

    Thanks, bridgesong.

  7. vinyl1 says:

    I surprised you didn’t know ‘epergne’, it is quite a popular word in puzzles, like ‘atelier’, ‘estaminet’, and ‘Tiepolo’. I don’t know why setters latch onto these things, but once they’re in circulation they continue to appear.

    I did enjoy the puzzle, where it helped to know a few kings. They are British kings in the sense of being rulers over the British people and not the Germanic invaders, who had Horsa and Hengist to lead them. Mark is famous because he is part of the Tristan and Isolde legend, and has a big part in the Wagner opera.

  8. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Bridgesong & Araucaria, this was very enjoyable.

    My only disappointment was that the King of Crosswords was not included but I suppose that it was his natural modesty.

  9. chas says:

    Thanks to bridgesong for the blog. You explained a couple of cases where I had the correct answer without knowing why e.g. Armstrong Siddeley. Also I had failed to think of bee-line as a direct route.

  10. Aztobesed says:

    Thanks for the blog, bridgesong.

    I wondered about the Siddeley at 17d and made a note – Armstrong Siddeley, Vickers Armstrong, Super Marine Aviation — the Merlin engine, which was fitted in the Spitfire, which was an old term for a witch. Weren’t they manufactured in Derby? He does this a lot.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks bridgesong and Araucaria

    Usual nicel light touch and fairly straightforward. I too went for the ‘rag on’ idea.

    I checked Mark (because of fame) and also wondered about ‘Mort’.

    Plenty of amusing clues – 16a particularly caught my fancy.

  12. Biggles A says:

    molonglo @ 1. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Since morte (or mort) is a feminine noun, French would require the article la (i.e., “la mort d’Arthur”). According to Stephen H. A. Shepherd, “Malory frequently misapplies le in titular compounds, perhaps on a simple sonic and gender-neutral analogy with ‘the'”.

  13. Robi says:

    Thanks Araucaria and bridgesong.

    I agree that this was not as difficult as some prize ones, but nonetheless very enjoyable.

    The annotated solution does give the ‘rag on’ solution for 11. I was a bit perplexed by the exposer=ventilator but Chambers gives: ‘to open or expose to the free passage of air’ for ventilate, so I guess that covers it (or not! 😉 )

    I did particularly like DISENFRANCHISED and LUCIDLY. I’m old enough to remember Armstrong-Siddeley!

  14. RCWhiting says:

    JC @5
    I know the clue gives British King; the common usage (as I said – try a google) seems to be King of Britain. That was my point – of course A. would never make such an error!

  15. RCWhiting says:

    Aztobesed @10
    Just to add another pointless fact to your extensive store:
    Swindon’s second football team (after the wonderful STFC) is known as Swindon Supermarine. It is the result of several amalgamations including a Vickers factory side.

  16. Aztobesed says:

    RCW @15

    Uther Pendragon, Arthur, the witch, Siddely and Merlin? Come off it, mate – surely he meant it? Hardly ‘pointless’. You’ve now got me wondering whether Ray Parlour had an early trial in Swindon…

  17. Aztobesed says:

    Ah. My case is weakened since I rechecked the blog. I had witch at 12 and ‘look to the mirror’ at 6d. I didn’t give it a second thought. Look to the mirror must be a vestige of my Yorkshire upbringing. I can almost hear my dad saying it when he taught me to drive.

  18. RCWhiting says:

    I completely misunderstood your @10.
    I did not realise you were seeking to justify a theme in this crossword; I thought you were merely ruminating nostalgically.

  19. Aztobesed says:

    RCW @ 18

    I’m splitting myself between here and the Guardian site and getting muddled. It was the presence of MARK, CORNWALL, UTHER PENDRAGON and ARTHUR who all feature in Arthurian Romance that convinced me he’d put in a reference to MERLIN. The word witch was once applied to men (it is an old word for ‘wizard’.). The a spitfire is another word for a witch, I thought there was some play on words, especially since he referred to ARMSTRONG-SIDDLEY who became VICKERS-ARMSTRONG who developed the MERLIN engine. ‘Look to the mirror’ seems a more sensible piece of advice than ‘look in the mirror’ when teaching someone to drive. I was convinced there was some Araucarian ‘ghost-theme’ (Pom-pom and Essen) – but the annotated solution suggests I was chasing shadows. Not for the first time with this estimable gentleman.

  20. molonglo says:

    Biggles @12. Thanks. Still odd that Tennyson persisted with “Le Morte.”

  21. molonglo says:

    Maybe he fudged by dropping the article, though

  22. Biggles A says:

    Yes, a satisfactory compromise.

  23. bridgesong says:

    In case anyone’s still reading this thread, apologies for not having been able to respond yesterday to all the comments. Not much to add, except that I failed to indicate the other meaning of MARK, thinking it obvious; I accept Neil W’s parsing of PENDRAGON, and that’s about it.

  24. NeilW says:

    bridgesong, re MARK, I never doubted it: I was responding to molonglo’s post @1.

  25. milangite says:

    Apologies for such a tardy post. Have found a few references online regarding PARLOUR, such as: “The first recorded use of the term “Speaker” was 1377
    (Sir Thomas Hungerford) though a title with similar meaning—
    “parlour” or “prolocutor” was used from 1258.” This ties in with the time frame of the theme.

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