Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian Cryptic 25913 Araucaria

Posted by scchua on April 4th, 2013


As with all Araucaria puzzles, I had to keep plugging away at it, and even then had to use the cheat button for the last one in. There is an unusual construction for some of the clues with “24” mentioned in them. For these, what is to be entered into the grid is the answer to the wordplay minus the answer to 24 down, which I have indicated by ****. Thanks to Araucaria for the challenge.  Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links to the puzzle.  Please enclose any comments on them in double brackets.  Thank you.]]

1 Austrian composer rendered in Montebello (9)

SCHONBERG : Cryptic defn: Arnold, Austrian composer. The family name, with an umlaut over the “o”, means “beautiful mountain” in German, which when translated;rendered into Italian gives “montebello”.

6 24 to judge  the judges (5)

BENCH : Double defn: 1st: To BENCH**** is to judge;to rank; and 2nd: The collective noun for court judges, from the seat they sit on.

9 Adjuration of neighbouring tree (2,3)

BY GUM! : BY(neighbouring;close to) GUM(any tree exuding gum resin, notably the eucalyptus, native to Australia and neighbouring islands).

Answer: A mild oath, apparently a euphemism for God, to express surprise or shock. Not sure of the equivalence with the definition, which signifies a solemn oath.

10 Groups require actions or else (9)

CONSORTIA : Anagram of(else) ACTIONS OR.

11 Journalist on the air gets cross with man of mystery (5,5)

EDWIN DROOD : ED(abbrev. for “editor”;journalist) plus(on) WIND(the air moving) plus(gets) ROOD(a cross;a crucifix).

Answer: The Mystery of, was the unfinished final novel by Charles Dickens.

12 Houseroom for 24 in silver (4)

HALL : Double defn: 1st: The entry room in a house; and 2nd: The HALL**** which indicates the purity of silver articles.

14 Paid to be colonised? (7)

SETTLED : Double defn: 1st: Paid, say, the bill; and 2nd: What colonisers did to the land, more often than not taking over control of it.

15 A set of players on leave (7)

ABANDON : A + BAND(a set of players, say, of musical instruments) + ON.

17 Ireland’s captured by Italian king put back into the water (2-5)

RE-RINSE : { ERIN(poetic name for Ireland) + ‘S } contained in(captured by) RE(Italian for “king”).

19,20 Successor and precursor of 24 – we can’t wait! (4,3,4)

TIME AND TIDE : TIME(word following;successor of the answer to 24 down in “to mark time”) plus(and) TIDE(word before;precursor of the answer to 24 down in “tidemark”).

Answer: Reference to “Time and tide wait for no man”.

22 Without time to chew, work with whiskers? (6,4)

MUTTON CHOP : { T(abbrev. for “time”) + TO } contained in(Without …) MUNCH(to chew) + OP(abbrev. for a musical work).

25 Nun involved with chapel from Atlantic to North Sea (2,7)

UP CHANNEL : Anagram of(involved)[ NUN plus(with) CHAPEL].

Answer: Up the English Channel to sail from the Atlantic to the North Sea.

26 24 to identify winds? (5)

TRADE : Cryptic defn: References to a TRADE**** that identifies a proprietary product, and trade winds.

27 Credit given to 24’s a disgrace (5)

BLACK : BLACK(in credit;without debt;making a profit) plus(given to) ****.

28 Privacy is demanded when the blessed Guides are 24-ed (9)

STRANGERS : Cryptic defn: ST. RANGERS(guides as in a nature park who have been blessed become sainted) taken as one word. To demand;ensure your privacy from their intrusion in your Facebook you mark(answer to 24 down) them as such. (Btw, I chose to give up my Facebook account soon after I created one.)

1 27 furry antelope (5)

SABLE : SABLE{ made from sable, and therefore black(answer to 27 across) and furry }.

Answer: The sable antelope inhabits the savannas of East and South Africa.

2 Whig characters in change of heart for 24 made by 20 (4-5)

HIGH WATER : Anagram of(… characters) WHIG contained in(in) anagram of(change of) HEART.

Answer: The mark(answer to 24 down) made by the tide(answer in 20 across).

3 Dangerous place for women alone? (2,4,4)

NO MAN’S LAND : Cryptic defn: Reference to the territory between two opposing armies, which taken literally Edit. note (thanks to HKColin and jvh) would also be dangerous for lone women, there being no men to protect them. (I know, the feminists will be up in arms.) would mean the presence of women only.

4 Beaten at cards playing deuce over time (7)

EUCHRED : Anagram of(playing) DEUCE containing(over) HR(abbrev. for “hour”, a period of time).

Answer: To be beaten;euchred in the North American card game of euchre.

5 Visit Zambian town by boat (7)

GONDOLA : GO(to visit) + NDOLA(a major town in Zambia).

6 24 to find place for reserve (4)

BOOK : Double defn: 1st: A BOOK**** is inserted to find one’s place in a book.

7 Half of those present put up by little girl (5)

NETTA : Reversal of(put up) “attendance”(those present;attending) minus its last 5 letters(Half of).

Answer: A short;little name for a girl.

8 Old man with wrinkles given publicity (9)

HEADLINED : Cryptic defn: Possibly describing an old man with his wrinkled head.

13 Where Captain Mainwaring was backing law with good start in China (10)

WALMINGTON : Reversal of(backing) LAW plus(with) { initial letter of(… start) “good” contained in(in) MINTON(a type of porcelain ware;china) }.

Answer: Where “Dad’s Army”, the TV sitcom, was set.


14 Variety of rose with identifying 24, outstanding digital feature (4,5)

SORE THUMB : Anagram of(Variety of) ROSE plus(with) THUMB ****(unique pattern to identify a person).

Answer: As in the phrase “to stick out like a sore thumb”.

16 How quick to be unquick? (5,4)

DEATH RATE : Cryptic defn: DEATH(what makes you unquick;dead) RATE(a speed;a measure of how quick someone or something is).

18 One of 5 in 24 backing horses (7)

EQUINES : QUIN(short for a “quintuplet”;one of a set of five) contained in(in) reversal of(backing) SEE(defn. in 24 down).

19 So called bird to turn to another with no tail (7)

TITULAR : TIT(a sort of bird) plus(to) U(a 180 degree of turn of direction) plus(to) “lark”(another sort of bird) minus its last letter(with no tail).

21 Statements elevating model that’s into LSD (5)

DICTA : Reversal of(elevating) { T(the old model of Ford cars) contained in(that’s into) ACID(short for the hallucinogenic synthetic drug, LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide in full) }.

Answer: The plural of “dictum”(an authoritative statement).

23 24 that shows where library users can find things in a crowd (5)

PRESS :  Double defn:  1st:  A PRESS**** is a series of characters that is labelled on a book to identify the library shelf where one might find it; and 2nd:  A closely packed crowd.

24 Evangelistic see? (4)

MARK : Double defn: 1st: Pertaining to Mark, one of the four Evangelists who is traditionally believed to be the author of the second Gospel; and 2nd: Eg. in “to mark;see;notice;observe a change in one’s attitude”. A nice misdirection toward the ecclesiastical see.




26 Responses to “Guardian Cryptic 25913 Araucaria”

  1. tupu says:

    Thanks scchua and Araucaria

    An enjoyable puzzle with a theme answers that fell into place once one grasped the code.

    I liked 9a, 19,20, 8d, 13d and 19d. 13d was nicely misleading with ‘ming’ diverting attention from Minton.

    I took 28a as a reference to the cry of ‘strangers’ in Parliament when unauthorised persons are sighted.

  2. Ian Payn says:

    [[“Strangers” on a Train
    Diane Keaton = Annie “Hall”, a “titular” or title role]]

  3. HKColin says:

    Many thanks scchua. It is Ching Ming here today so I had time to spend on this. Good thing because I would have given up on a work day. Didn’t help that I had no clue about Evangelists and finally twigged to 24dn from 6ac to great relief. Thing moved more swiftly after that.

    At 3dn I took it to be a DD with two separate defns – a dangerous place, and for only women. Nothing to rile a feminist there.

  4. Muffyword says:

    [[Red crested pochard = Netta rufina]]

  5. molonglo says:

    Thanks scchua. Rapid progress made to the last four. Bit of a struggle to get 7 and 23d. Much labour over the unheard-of WALMINGTON, including being fooled by the ‘Ming’ component. Utter bamboozle net with STRANGERS, though it went in as such. Thanks for the clarification.

  6. jvh says:

    Thanks scchua.

    Surely in 3D the definition is “Dangerous place”? A land with no men would be for women only (alone).

  7. Thomas99 says:


  8. scchua says:

    Thanks HKColin and jvh. Blog amended – I was reading too much into the clue.
    On re-reading, I’ve also added another defn. to 23 down.
    [[Ian Payn and Muffyword, right! That leaves one.]]

  9. Trailman says:

    Bit of a sruggle but got there. Convinced myself that the African town was GONDO (in Central African Republic) rather than NDOLA so thanks sschua for the parsing there and elsewhere eg 23d, 28a.

    The Austrian composer is more generally rendered umlaut-free in English as SCHOENBERG. Half of the team behind Les Mis was the Frenchman Claude-Michel Schonberg, accorded an umlaut (or would be if my phone had one) rather than the E.

  10. coltrane says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle, thanks A, but needed your help scchua to parse several.

    Actually Trailman @9, the genius composer, leader of the Second Viennese School and inventor of the twelve-tone musical system changed the spelling of his name himself when he went into self exile in the USA; “in deference to American practice”.

  11. crypticsue says:

    Enjoyable puzzle thank you to Araucaria. Interestingly I didn’t actually write 24 in until nearly the end as I wasn’t entirely convinced until half way throught that I had the right word.

    Thanks to scchua for the explanations too.

  12. chas says:

    Thanks to scchua for the blog.

    I had MARK but failed to work out how to use it. This blog made it clear.

    [[not a single idea! :( ]]

  13. Trailman says:

    Thanks Coltrane @10!

  14. Chris Jobson says:

    Thanks for the blog.
    I parssed 8D as Head (old man, as in “the old man” referring to the boss, or the captain) plus lined (with wrinkles).

  15. Robi says:

    Good crossword that I, and my computer, struggled with.

    Thanks scchua; perhaps you have a typo in 7 – attendaNTS I would have thought. Is ‘UP CHANNEL’ a recognised expression? Seems a bit strange to me, although A. usually gets these things right. I’m not sure either about RE-RINSE. If this is a word, would it not be spelled RERINSE, like reread [Chambers.] I’ll leave it to the etymologists to sort that one out.

    [[#1 Marie Antoinette dress – she was Austrian-born – is that it? She definitely didn’t have MUTTON CHOP whiskers!!]]

  16. Robi says:

    [[Of course, NETTA is the short form of Antoinette]]

  17. michelle says:

    This puzzle by Araucaria was quite a challenge, even though I solved the key clue 24 promptly. That said, there were so many clues to enjoy in this puzzle. My favourites were SORE THUMB, NO MANS LAND, SCHONBERG, EDWIN DROOD, MUTTON CHOP, TITULAR, HALL, BOOK & TIME AND TIDE (which took me the longest time to parse).

    I solved but could not parse 7 & 28.

    New words that I learnt today were EUCHRED, NDOLA & NETTA.

    Thanks for the blog, scchua

  18. Bryan says:

    Many thanks Scchua & Araucaria for a truly wonderful puzzle.

    Well worth the struggle!

  19. Ed Foster says:

    Glad to see I am granted instant access. Thankyou

  20. scchua says:

    Robi@15 re attendance/attendants, I think either will do, as the former also means, collectively, the persons present. I’ve corrected the blog to include the reversal indicator.
    [[Right as usual, Robi@16. That was Kirsten Dunst (of Spiderman’s Mary Jane fame) as Marie Antoinette in the film of the same name.]]

  21. muffin says:

    Thanks scchua and Araucaria
    I was thinking of the Parliamentary cry “I spy strangers” for 28ac as well. I wasn’t sure the clue really works, though – it doesn’t really contain a definition.

    Euchre isn’t exclusively US – there was a Euchre league in North Devon when I was young.

  22. Giovanna says:

    Thanks, Araucaria and scchua. You are a super combination!

    All very enjoyable.Liked SCHONBERG in particular.

    WALMINGTON made me smile. What a wonderful example of ensemble acting the series was.

    Giovanna x

  23. drofle says:

    Phew – that was a struggle. Like crypticsue I also didn’t get 24 until very near the end. SCHONBERG was challenging as I don’t speak German. But very enjoyable – many thanks to Araucaria and scchua.

  24. MDatta says:

    Schonberg a bit naughty….’time and tide’ Vg, however. Thanks A.

  25. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and scchua

    Well … the difficulty ante certainly went up with this one ! Took a very concerted effort to finish it off – with NETTA last in – still had to come here to parse STRANGERS (either the Facebook or parliamentary ones). I parsed 8d the same as Chris@14. Had 1d as a triple definition – the heraldic black colour, the fur of the marten-like creature and the sable antelope.

    Thought SCHONBERG was special as was DEATH RATE (when the penny dropped) and several others (including NDOLA and WILMINGTON / MINTON) keep illustrating the breadth of this man’s knowledge base.

  26. Huw Powell says:

    Lovely monkey puzzle, imaginative as always, Araucaria. And thanks for the blog, scchua! Missed out on “stranger”.

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