Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,902 / Araucaria

Posted by Eileen on March 22nd, 2013


Typical Araucaria fare today, with familiar ploys which will tickle or exasperate, depending on your predilections. Needless to say, I loved it.


1 Call boy’s takeover
HI [call ] + JACK [boy]

4 I finish the paper and don’t say a word, getting more embarrassed
SH [don’t say a word] + REDDER [more embarrassed]

9 Tax on part of capital suggested by one of the Greens?
LO [part of LOndon – capital] + VAT [value-added tax] for a shade of green often used in tweeds or wools

10 Guardian people personally bear being translated with spirits
OURS [French for bear – bear being translated] + ELVES [spirits]

11,12 Jethro’s accepted name for game with partners in place of the disgusted
TULL’S [Jethro’s] round [accepted] N [name] + BRIDGE [game with partners ie W E] for the Kent town proverbially famous for outraged writers of letters to the Times
I’d heard of Jethro Tull in history lessons as the Agricultural Revolution inventor of the seed drill, well before the emergence of the rock band

13 Sensational development of a lord and master in police force (first century)
anagram [development] of A LORD and MA [Master of Arts] in MET [Metropolitan police force] + I [first] + C [century]

20,17 It’s quite obvious you should give level ground urgently to Eisenhower and Co
PLAIN [level ground] + ASAP [as soon as possible – urgently] + IKE [Eisenhower] + STAFF [and Co!]

21 One location in which British king turns to Middle Easterner
reversal [turns] of LEAR [British king] in I SITE [one location]

23 Knowledge obtained during golden break in friend’s house
KEN [knowledge] in anagram [break] of GOLDEN
Araucaria must have a dog – this is the third time very recently that he has clued ‘dog’ as ‘friend’

24 Formerly called early supper, as they say?
HIGH T = high tea [early supper] as they say. A Level English to the rescue yet again: I knew ‘hight’ = ‘called’ from ‘The Faerie Queene’

25 Revolutionary movement with wings?
RED [revolutionary] + START [movement] for this pretty little bird 

26 Engineer in 5 is frit
RE [engineer] in SCAD [a kind of mackerel – see 5dn]
Margaret Thatcher once caused some consternation in the House by supposedly reverting to her Lincolnshire vernacular and accusing Denis Healey of being ‘frit’ but it’s well-known here in Leicestershire, too


1 Interval of third or seventh note?
This is a musical reference that I’ll leave someone else to explain

2 Young ’un, dance with a swing, if I were you, flower!
Araucaria used this device two puzzles ago, so I was well prepared for it this time. We need to replace the i in JiVE [dance with a swing] with U [if I were you] to give JUVE + NILE [flower]

3 Provide for pet corgi owner
CAT [pet] + ER [the nation’s most famous corgi owner]

5 Rome’s in trouble, besieged by cyber criminal on line with fish
anagram [in trouble] of ROME’S in [besieged by] HACKER [cyber criminal] + EL [line – the Chicago railway that often crops up in crosswords]

6 The Guardian is in Leeds, resolved to find white flower
WE [the Guardian – second outing] + IS  in anagram [resolved] of LEEDS
re the discussion yesterday about the unnecessary use of ‘English’ in a clue, the edelweiss is invariably defined as a white flower [eg ‘The Sound of Music': ‘small and white, clean and bright’ ] and there’s a very nice reference in the surface here to the white rose of Yorkshire. [I didn’t join in the fray yesterday but I get more exercised about the gratuitous use of ‘female’ [eg writer] which crops up from time to time!]

7 Are they responsible for many bad things?
D [500] EVILS – &lit

8 Among other things is “Don’t comply”
IS in REST [other things]

10 Veteran coped with alarming effect
anagram [effect] of COPED and ALARMING

14 Sell shares small boy put up, not wearing a shirt?
reversal [put up] of SID [‘small boy’  – even I get irritated by this device!] + IN VEST – which doesn’t necessarily mean not wearing a shirt!

15 Claim to have illness caused by a gremlin
anagram [caused by] of A GREMLIN

16 Moved to be insincere
double definition

18 Has another bath up from which he cannot climb?
reversal of REDIPS [has another bath, cryptically referring to this phenomenon which makes Flanders and Swann frit]

19 Witch doctor initially taking in mythical voyager to Mars
WD [witch doctor initially round ARGO [Jason’s ship – mythical voyager]

22 Code for the thick-headed
hidden in thE THICk-headed

62 Responses to “Guardian 25,902 / Araucaria”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Eileen. For some reason, I found this quite hard for Araucaria…


  2. Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria.

    I loved it too!

    I was beaten by HIGHT, an obscure word but fairly clued and it was my fault I failed to think of “high tea”.

    TUNBRIDGE WELLS and PLAIN AS A PIKESTAFF were easy but were very amusingly clued and helped a lot in solving the rest of the puzzle.

  3. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks A and Eileen, and thanks all for a really good week.

    I don’t think it much matters, but I use Mi and Te (see Neil at 1).

  4. Muffyword says:

    Thanks for the blog and the excellent linked pictures – especially the redstart.

    HALF-TIME is from doh-re-ME-fa-so-la-TI-doh, I believe.

  5. muffin says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen.
    I too failed on HIGHT.
    I thought “part of capital” for “LO” in 9ac was a bit weak, and wondered if I was missing something, but you have parsed it like that as well.
    Favourite was SPIDER.

  6. John Appleton says:

    Thanks Eileen, particularly for explaining the EL in MACKEREL. I’m familiar with L=line, but not EL; I thought there might have been an error, but I’m glad it’s not the case.

    LOVAT and HIGHT both new to me, but guessable enough (though the latter has soem of the Rev’s trademark sneakiness). PLAIN AS A PIKSTAFF very nicely clued.

    Good morning’s entertainment.

  7. Trailman says:

    Thanks Eileen for the blog and Araucaria for, as usual, a witty and inventive offering.

    This was one of those crosswords for which I’m much indebted to the blog, for my solving abilities much outstripped my parsing: eg 2d. I’d not heard of either mackerel variant, and HIGHT was new to me, not being too up in Spenserian English. Thankfully my Shakespeare is serviceable and the numeration of 20,17, plus the knowledge that there would be an IKE somewhere, led to a rapid write-in here.

    Is there any current ‘boy’ out there called Sid? As likely as a Percy these days surely? But alas Harry, Oliver and Jack are none too crossword-friendly, in this context.

  8. NeilW says:

    John @6, EL for “line” is a classic Araucarianism. He uses it very frequently – I suppose you could say it’s one of his little trademarks!

  9. muffin says:

    btw no-one has mentioned that the “EL” is so-called because it is an ELevated railway.

  10. dunsscotus says:

    Re 6 and 8: am i right in thinking ‘el’ is short for ‘elevated’?

  11. dunsscotus says:

    Thanks Muffin; crossed.

  12. Colin says:

    Sorry to be thick but I still don’t get how HALF-TIME works.

  13. Aztobesed says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen.

    I’m sure that ‘part of capital’ was meant as Lo(ndon) but I didn’t warm to it much. It does actually work as London Overground = L.O. (which is a part of the capital).

  14. dunsscotus says:

    Hi Colin. However spelt, the third of the scale is Mi and the seventh is Te. Both of these contain two of the letters of ‘time’, so ‘half-time’ – which is the interval in a game, eg, football.

  15. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. With20,17’s Ike reference as a launch pad, this was comfortably doable in the lunch hour. Afterwards, as is now traditional, resort to Google illuminated the mysteries, like ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wella’, and how 5d=scad. OLD CAMPAIGNER was beautifully anagrammed.

  16. Eileen says:

    Thank you for the music, NeilW and Muffyword.

    I didn’t expand on EL because, as Neil says, it’s almost commonplace in A’s puzzles. Here’s the link I should have given:

    Hi Aztobesed

    That was one of the ‘familir ploys’ I was referring to, which has caused much discussion in the past!

  17. george says:

    Trailman @7, I too managed to solve this morning because in some cases the word fitted and felt right, but I did not know why and echo the thanks to Eileen for the blog.

    There was lots to like. My favourite was SPIDER. Last is was 19d WAR GOD, but afterwards I could not understand why it had taken me so long.

  18. Mitz says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria.

    I thought this was made a lot easier than some crosswords by the prevalence of helpful crossing letters – Ks, Ws, Js and so on – that helped to narrow down the possibilities. Most of the long clues went in very quickly leaving just the tricksy shorter ones to hoover up. Like most, I hadn’t come across HIGHT before, and my last pair in were LOVAT and HALF-TIME – kicked myself when I saw the latter: it’s not like A has never tickled us with this type of device before.

    My favourites were the elegantly constructed EDELWEISS (although I completely missed the misdirection of Leeds being in Yorkshire, which should have suggested a rose as the white flower, until after I had solved it – incidentally, tiny omission in the blog: the full parsing is WE + IS in (LEEDS)*) and MALINGER which made me smile, not least because of the teenagers that seem to spend most of their time lolling about disconsolately in my house…

    Wish you had joined in yesterday, Eileen – who would you have sided with?

  19. Stella says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria for a bit of fun this morning.

    I actually looked in for an explanation to 1d, the only one I’d failed to parse fully, then the explanation came to me as I was reading your claim to ignorance :-) The interval between notes is: tone, tone, semi-tone, tone, tone, tone, semi-tone; therefore half for the third and seventh notes.

    The “Spider in the bath” video reminded me of the many times I had to catch one as a child because my mother detested them :-)

  20. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Eileen.

    Great fun, with some entertaining clues – I particularly liked PLAIN AS A PIKESTAFF and HIGHT (which, BTW is cognate with the usual words for ‘is called’ in other Germanic languages: heißt in German, heter in Swedish…).

    As Eileen says, EDELWEISS is invariably defined as ‘white flower’, although this is botanically incorrect. The ‘flower’ is in fact an inflorescence; the flowers themselves are small heads of yellow disc florets, forming a tight cluster surrounded by a whorl of woolly white leaves. The ‘white’ association is undoubtedly from ‘The Sound of Music’. I have always suspected that Hammerstein had never actually seen the edelweiss: it’s white, certainly, but not particularly small, and I wouldn’t describe its somewhat greyish lanose appearance as ‘clean and bright’. He was probably thinking of a saxifrage.

  21. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the blog Eileen. Good Araucarian fun as always: I realised that HALF-TIME came from TI and ME (making another Sound Of Music allusions after EDELWEISS?) but I think the clue doesn’t stand up to too much analysis.

    I knew HIGHT from the Mechanicals’ entertainment in A Midsummer Night’s Dream: ‘This grisly beast, which “Lion” hight by name,/The trusty Thisbe, coming first by night,/Did scare away, or rather did affright.” (And not only because I’ve played the part of Francis Flute, who plays Thisbe in the entertainment.)

  22. Mitz says:

    Stella @19.

    I considered your explanation for HALF-TIME (and before I solved MELODRAMATIC I actually thought “semi-tone” might be the answer), but I rejected the idea as this is only the case for a major scale and there is no indication of that in the clue, and even then we would be talking about the intervals between the third and fourth notes and the seventh and eighth notes – again no indication of that in the clue. I think NeilW et al are right: the third note is ME (a name I call myself) and the seventh is TI (a drink with jam and bread) – both of which are half of “time”.

  23. John Appleton says:

    Thanks for those explanations for EL. Makes a change from “the Spanish”, if nothing else.

  24. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Mitz, @18 – corrected now.

    [I wasn’t particularly bothered about the ‘e’ yesterday: I did wonder whether to comment on ‘Btitish’ king in 21ac today.]

    And bless you, Andrew, @21 – I just knew that there was a more familiar instance of HIGHT: I’m sure that’s the one Araucaria, with his love of AMND, was thinking of.

  25. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen and Araucaria

    Another enjoyable puzzle. Araucaria’s light touch somehow seems to show in his answers as well as in his clues.

    I too was puzzled by ‘half-time’ but came to the same conclusion as Mitz et al.

    Several ticks – 20,17, 1d, 2d, 10d, 14d.

  26. Robi says:

    Another good crossword from A., with less need than usual to consult Google.

    Thanks Eileen; I was not too bothered by the LO as ‘part of capital’ because there was not much else to put with VAT to make green! I thought the bear in 10a was a rearranged urso, but no doubt your explanation is sounder. Like you, I rather gave up on the parsing of HALF-TIME, but now it has been explained it is a cracking clue. :)

  27. Robi says:

    P.S. Apart from the capatised version ‘el’ in lower case is in Chambers for elevated railway.

  28. Colin says:

    Thanks dunsscotus @14. Very clever cluing and parsing.

  29. Gervase says:

    Eileen @24: I think LEAR is more often represented as ‘old king’ in crossword clues. I wasn’t particularly exercised by the ‘British’ here – perhaps I’m being inconsistent, but the eponymous character in the play is a king of pre-Roman Britain so in this instance the toponym helped me. ‘Cymbeline’ is sometimes subtitled ‘King of Britain’ so he is perhaps the truest Shakespearian ‘British king’!

  30. Chris says:

    Anyone else plump for EIGHT at 24, on the basis of it being a homophone, “as they say”, for ATE, “supper”; thinking that 8pm could well have been defined as “early” at some point in the past?

    No? Just me, then.

  31. muffin says:

    Chris @ 30
    I did, and only changed it when I used the “Check” function to discover that it was incorrect (and, consequentially, the reason why I couldn’t get 22dn at the time).

  32. Gervase says:

    I parsed HALF TIME as HALF + TI + ME, as NeilW @1 and others above, although I missed the ‘Sound of Music’ link. Curiously, 1d in Araucaria’s puzzle last Wednesday (Guardian 25894) was TONIC SOL-FA.

  33. Eileen says:

    Hi Gervase @29

    That’s pretty much the kind of comment I was pondeing!

  34. Schroduck says:

    I wonder if the “white” in 6d is partly there to specifically hint at the “weiss” in “Edelweiss”.

  35. Rowland says:

    They are white leaves around the flowerheads, but edelweiss is a flower that is white.

    I like this madness, because it is considered, as always by JG, and the half-time clues is my CoD.

    thanks all.


  36. michelle says:

    Great puzzle, although I ran out of time and gave up on 24a, 22d & 26a.

    My favourites were 20/17, 5d, 11/12, 1a, 2d.

    I learnt some new words: REDSTART, LOVAT, PLAIN AS A PIKESTAFF, MALINGER, as well as unsolved HIGHT and ‘scad’.

    Thanks for the great blog, Eileen. I appreciated the explanations of how to parse 13a, 10a, 4d, 10d and 1d in the blog ad posts above.

  37. Gervase says:

    Rowly @35: Quite so. I was merely pointing out the difference between strict botanical nomenclature and common parlance. What is commonly referred to as the ‘flower’ of the edelweiss is not strictly a flower, just as strawberries and raspberries are not technically ‘berries’ (unlike bananas, which are!)

  38. rhotician says:

    Eileen, Gervase and Mitz passim:

    EDELWEISS is not “invariably defined” as ‘white flower’. It may be common in non-cryptics but a cursory scan of the archive suggests that simply ‘alpine’ is the favourite of cryptic compilers. ‘plant’ and simply ‘flower’ also feature.

    Similarly ‘English novelist’ is not “fairly well-used crossword shorthand” for DEFOE. ‘author’ and ‘writer’ are usual. Reading ‘English novelist’ as ‘arguably the originator of the English Novel’ is a little eccentric and I very much doubt that Picaroon intended us to do so. The suggestion of E was unfair misdirection.

    As for today’s puzzle I think ‘British’ enhances the surface of 21a by contrast with ‘Middle Easterner’. And ‘white flower’ combined with ‘Leeds’ is a legitimate surface misdirection, suggesting ROSE.

  39. Mitz says:


    Glad we agree on “rose” at least…!

  40. Eileen says:

    My apologies, rhotician, for my misleading remark. ‘Invariably’ was probably ill-advised – but I was referring to dictionaries rather than crosswords – eg Chambers: ‘a small white composite plant…'; SOED: ‘Alpine plant, remarkable for its white woolly flower…’.

  41. Gervase says:

    rhotician @38: Thanks for correcting Eileen and me on the non-invariability of the edelweiss’s whiteness in crosswords. In fact, I don’t have any quibbles with Araucaria’s clueing here as such; although the EDELWEISS may not strictly be a ‘white flower’, it nevertheless sprang immediately to mind. And I do blame Rogers & Hammerstein for that.

  42. Giovanna says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen as ever.

    What fun on a cold March day.Loved SCARED with its layers of meaning. Frit was familiar from when I lived in the Yorkshire Dales ( I never had a problem with the dialect of Wuthering Heights because of this!).

    LO VAT amused, too. It was once a staple shade of green for country gentlemen – also fits well with the White Rose of Yorkshire.
    OURS ELVES was good, too, as were (disgusted of) TUNBRIDGE WELLS and PLAIN AS A PIKESTAFF.

    Giovanna x

  43. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. Pleased to have another Araucaria puzzle to enjoy this morning!

    HIGHT was my stumbling block on this one. I also toyed with EIGHT until the check button told me otherwise, then I spotted the hidden at 22dn and all was revealed. Still managed to miss the wordplay of HIGH T, but I did have a dim memory of the archaic usage.

    Wonder what tomorrow will have in store?

  44. Eileen says:

    Hi liz

    My guess is Paul, as we haven’t seen him this week.

  45. MDatta says:

    Don’t understand War God, despite parsing. Help anyone?

  46. andy smith says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    Just about my level this one, entertaining.

    Re the half-time ref – I interpreted as the beat – see

  47. Rowland says:

    I think rhotician must be having as bad day!!!

    Look chap, it is FRDAY! For boozing and making merry.

    Happy weekend

  48. Eileen says:

    Hi MDatta

    Mars is the Roman god of war:

  49. Rowland says:

    Hey mDatta, Mars is a god of war.

  50. MDatta says:

    Of course he is! Duh! Thanks both. Wood….trees….

  51. apiarist says:

    When solving 9ac, I knew it had to be lovat, but the only capital I could think of with “lo” in it was Oslo ! Oh dear !

  52. sidey says:

    …or Bloemfontein or Sao Paolo or Belo Horizonte or Colombo or Babylon…

  53. rhotician says:

    Gervase @41: Rodgers is innocent. He was better served by Hart. Hammerstein has much to answer for. On the other hand Oklahoma! is very fine.

    Rowland @47: Nice to see you refraining from your ritual slagging off of the Guardian. Even at the price of joshing me. As it happens I have had quite a nice day. Rounding off with a glass or two of Gewurztraminer, regardless of the day of the week.


  54. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Perhaps, as you say Eileen, a typical Araucaria.
    But I/we find it stunning that at 92 (and long may may he live – which is not cynical, but heartfelt) he can still come up with a puzzle that keeps us at our toes.

    There are some Araucarian things that I do not like deep inside, but I accept them because Araucaria does it like that.
    LO for London, for example (not sure whether the indeed better London Overground was intended).
    Or the lack of a real hidden-indicator in 22d (ETHIC).

    There has been a lot of discussion on 1d (HALF TIME). We had no problem parsing this clue, but we thought the order of TI & ME was rather unfortunate, ie different in clue and answer.

    Not sure whether a SPIDER cannot get out of bath or that ‘in vest’ is the same as ‘not wearing a shirt’, but who cares.

    It was just another inspirational crossword.

  55. Paul B says:

    Re Betty/ Rowland we should remember that this is an Araucaria: and a very fine one indeed. I hope you enjoyed your grape, anyway, at least as much as I enjoyed this splendid puzzle.

  56. rhotician says:

    How could anyone forget that a puzzle is an Araucaria? Can you still get High Tea? Mixed grill for main was good but the best were to be found in Scottish hotels, featuring either steak or salmon, both of which they do grow very well. The jam was good too.

  57. Paul B says:

    Hello Betty, old luv.

    Well, you can get tea that makes you high: I think the recipe is in the lyrics to Camembert Electrique by Gong (the Daevid Allen version). The Jam were good too, though not perhaps my cup of high tea.

  58. Martin P says:

    I’m glad folk are still posting. I caught up on this after today’s Paul and it helped unmangle my brain…

    I assume “hight” is related to the German verb “heissen” “to be named”.

  59. rhotician says:

    Well hello to you too. I recall Noddy Holder, of kipper tie fame, being asked if he’d ever got into drugs. He cheerfully replied that booze was enough.

  60. Samui Pete says:

    Gong?? Takes a chap back..

  61. Paul B says:

    Confess to having listened as recently as yesterday to Gong Live, which is from approx 1973. Pre-schism stuff, with Daevid Allen and Pierre Moerlen still together in the band. By 1976 we had Gazeuse, Allan Holdsworth et all noodling away.

  62. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Eileen

    Was an interrupted solve this one and finally finished with OLD CAMPAIGNER and REDSTART on Sunday.

    As per normal a really enjoyable challenge and didn’t get the TI ME parse of HALF TIME – found a reference to a musical style called half time that had a tempo that followed a pattern of:
    1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (with emphasis on first 2 and 4 – and second 3 and 7) – that’s where I thought the third and seventh note came in !!

    Right answer anyway – guess that’s all that matters!!

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