Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 25,925 – Araucaria

Posted by Andrew on April 18th, 2013


Araucaria keeps them coming (I’m glad to say – see also yesterday’s FT puzzle by his alter ego Cinephile if you haven’t already). I found this mostly quite straightforward, though with some clues where the answer was fairly obvious but the wordplay took some working out. The NW corner was the last to yield. (I’m typing this on a small laptop in a hotel room, so there may be (even) more typos than usual – apologies in advance if so.)

1. PURPLE COW (UPPER CL[ass])* + OW. Reference to the lines “I never saw a Purple Cow/I never hope to see one now” in the poem by Gelett Burgess.
6. SCABBARD SCAB (strike-breaker) + BARD (poet), and a scabbard “conceals” a sword.
10. RODIN Auguste Rodin, sculptor, famous for The Thinker. Chambers defines “have a rod in pickle” as “to have a punishment ready”, perhaps connected to “pickle” meaning “to run with salt or salt and vinegar, as an old naval punishment”
11. MAN AND BOY (A BOND)* in MANY. Chambers defines this as “from childhood to adulthood”, and people say things like ‘I’ve lived here all my life, man and boy”. Also perhaps a reference to Aracauria’s long life – 92 years so far..
13. OTHELLO THE in OL + LO (look “both ways”)
14,17. A ROLLING STONE GATHERS NO MOSS Cryptic definition referring to Mick Jagger and Kate Moss
21. ANNATES ANNA (palidromic girl) + SET “back”. “The first-fruits, or one year’s income of a benefice, paid to the Pope .. [or] crown”. An unfamiliar word, but very clearly clued.
22. NEONATE NEON (“lighter”) + ATE. Pregnant women sometimes (used to?) say euphemistically that they are “expecting a little stranger
25. INGOT IN GOT as perhaps a poetical way of saying “got in” or “entered”
27. SUMPTUOUS OUT< in SUM (all) PUS (matter)
1. PARTHIAN PART + HI + AN. A Parthian shot (or parting shot) is a bon mot said on leaving, “from the Parthian habit of turning round in the saddle to discharge an arrow at a pursuer”
2. RIDER Double definition – an addendum to a legal document etc, and someone carried on a horse etc
3. LINE OF LATITUDE E (point) in LINO (floor covering) + FLAT (residence) + IT + DUE*, and lines of latitude are also called parallels, e.g. the 38th parallel proposed as the dividing line between the two halves of Korea
4. CAMERON CAMER[a] ON &lit. Perhaps this Victorian photographer, or perhaps Araucaria, aka Cinephile, is thinking of the film maker James Cameron.
5. WINDOWS Double definition
7. CABALLERO C + A BALL (a good time) + ERO[s]
8. BLYTON L in BY (near) + TON
16. ASBESTOS BEST (preferably) in A SOS
18. ESSENES E + S + SE + NE + S, or just an anagram of a combination of N E S – everywhere but west. The Essenes were an ascetic Jewish sect.
19. SUNBEAM SUN (title = “a book or publication”, here the Murdoch newspaper) + BEAM (side), and a sunbeam “is enlightening”
23. AGGRO A GG + OR*

25 Responses to “Guardian 25,925 – Araucaria”

  1. michelle says:

    I got off to a flying start with this puzzle but for some reason, I slowed down in the NW & the SE corners.


    New words for me today were ‘grebe’, PURPLE COW, ANNATES & NEONATE.

    I solved but could not parse 11a, 10a, 19d.

    For 4d I agree about Julia Margaret Cameron. James Cameron is better described as a film director rather than a photographer.

    Thanks for the blog, Andrew.

  2. Dave Ellison says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria.

    I would never have explained the pickle part of RODIN; how on earth did you know it?

    I had not heard of ANNATES, but it seemed clear it must be that, quickly confirmed by my dictionary.

    I thought this was much more enjoyable than yesterday’s contribution. I especially liked the rolling stone one.

    ZAGREB last in – took a while to spot it.

  3. molonglo says:

    Thanks Andrew. Unlike Dave Ellison, ZAGREB was my first in – it caught my eye when I picked up the puzzle – and ANNATES was second. Scooted about and then, like others, slowed right down in the top left corner. Stabs made, enlightenment after: finding out about PURPLE COW, the 10a reproof, the photographer and the largely forgotten story of the Archers. Good fun.

  4. Andrew says:

    Dave, I didn’t know “rod in a pickle” before today – I found it by looking up PICKLE in Chambers (or rather my iPhone Chambers app) when I was struggling to explain the clue.

  5. crypticsue says:

    What a great start to the day’s cryptic solving! Didn’t take long to solve but lots to smile at. Thanks to Araucaria for the fun and to Andrew for the explanations, especially the pickle.

  6. muffin says:

    Thanks to Araucaria and Andrew
    I agree that it was fairly easy to find the answers; harder to explain them. I too wrote in RODIN as the only sculptor I could think of who fitted.
    My favourite was also the “rolling stone” one.

    I was going to question the definition in “anthropologist”, but I see it now – hardly worth posting then! Oh well, it’s written now.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for the blog, and especially for PURPLE COW and ‘rod in pickle’ – Araucaria never ceases to educate!

    10ac couldn’t be anything but RODIN but it was as clear as mud to me. I just can’t get myself into the habit of routinely looking up words that I’m absolutely sure I know the meaning of! There it is, in Chambers, under both ‘rod’ and ‘pickle’ – highlighted under the latter, in fact.

    At least I knew ANNATES, from Henry VIII’s Acts of Annates – A Level History to the rescue again.

    Favourite clues: 13, 14/17 ac and 18dn.

  8. Shirley says:

    Thanks Andrew but I’m afraid we have to disagree with you on 10A. According to Brewers Phrase and Fable birch rods were kept in brine to keep them supple hence “rod in pickle”
    Great crossword and blog – I’m afraid Purple cow was new to us, and we wondered if in 4D it was David Cameron who was endlessly performing?

  9. baerchen says:

    It may be the case that today’s schoolchildren have an easier time than I did, but deliberately storing weapons in a pickling solution to enhance their whippiness seems a tad extreme.

  10. Robi says:

    Entertaining and straightforward for an Araucarian puzzle, although pickled rods and PURPLE COWs unknown before today.

    Thanks Andrew; I found the ROLLING STONE a write-in, which helped the general solve. ANNATES was new but precisely clued.

    I particularly liked NEONATE and SUMPTUOUS.

  11. tupu says:

    Thanks Andrew and Araucaria

    Enjoyable and mostly on the easier side with a few holdups like parsing 10a.

    I liked 14a,17 and also 22a, 1d, and 9d.

    As a 9d myself, I was a little slower to see the answer than I should have been.

  12. george says:

    A couple of new words for me too today and troubles with parsing quite a few. Thank you Andrew for the explanations and the extra information that adds to the enjoyment.

    i don’t know what it is about Araucaria’s puzzles, but they do make me smile. Amongst others WINDOWS had me grinning as I had been on completely the wrong track.

    When I solved 11ac I thought what a lovely clue for MAN AND BOY it was.

  13. michelle says:

    I would say that both Andrew and you are right about the birch rod being a bundle of leafless twigs bound together to form an implement for administering corporal punishment. Traditionally, birch rods were soaked in brine before use, which greatly increased the weight, flexibility and strength of the twigs, making the punishment more severe both in terms of pain, and in terms of damage to the victim’s flesh in the form of cuts and weals. Because of its antiseptic properties, the brine also helped prevent infection developing in the wounds following the punishment.

    Birching was a corporal punishment used by the Royal Navy and the civilian courts in the UK from the 1860s. (ref wikipedia –

    Baerchen@9, I don’t think it was ever used on schoolchildren but it was certainly used on boy seamen and other young men.

    So, “rod in pickle” can be both the actual birch rod soaked in brine, and the definition as found in Chambers by Andrew – “to have a punishment ready” or “a scolding in store”.

  14. george says:

    Michelle @13

    i think you will find that schoolchildren were frequently birched – see for example !

  15. michelle says:


    Thanks for that info. It never occurred to me that anyone would birch school kids.

  16. John Appleton says:

    Fairly quick solve for an Araucaria – was much helped by getting 14,17 straight away; I’m probably not the only one to have seen similar before. I say I solved it… I’d entered ENSENES rather than ESSENES, the latter not having occured to me. Aside from that, there were some unusual words, but very accessibly clued, I thought.

  17. Rowland says:

    As stated, MUCH better than yesterday’s — probably just the experience of the master, maybe a great feel for the audience, great feel for WHAT WORKS.

    Sorry about my typing, which was commented on yesterday, which is affected by a co-ordination problem that’s worse some days than it is others. Heigh-ho, getting old sucks!!


  18. Monkeypuzzler says:

    Can someone enlighten me how ZA is obtained from (presumably) South Africa in 20d?

  19. Paul (not Paul) says:

    @18 Monkeypuzzler
    ZA is the international vehicle identifier for South African cars and websites for SA end with a .za

    Originally the dutch called it Zuid-Afrika, which they would ‘cos they speak dutch.

  20. chas says:

    Thanks to Andrew for the blog. You explained a couple of cases where I had the answer but no explanation.

    On 19d I was fixated on Sir as a title but eventually found SUNBEAM then I needed 15squared to remind me of alternative meanings of ‘title’ and ‘side’ :(

  21. brucew_aus says:

    Thanks Araucaria and Andrew

    Typical enjoyable solve from A with the usual opportunities for additional knowledge. Zagreb was also my first in and may have been similarly clued not all that long ago. Finished off in SE with NEONATES and SUNBEAM where I struggled with the tenuousness of title=Sun for a while.

    Hadn’t heard of the term MAN AND BOY in the sense of a man’s life before and needed to check the dictionary for 1d, 4d (the English photographer), 1a and 21a.

  22. David Mop says:

    Too easy for those who do Listener puzzles to time their soft-boiled quails eggs? Perhaps, but hard enough for me! A delight to have another friendly and educational tussle with Araucaria.

  23. drofle says:

    I’d never heard of ‘purple cow’
    But with anticipation . . .
    I googled it, and quickly found
    Poetic confirmation

  24. vic says:

    I enjoyed the Purple Cow, cos we had a one at home with the poem hanging on its neck.
    there is second verse as well.
    Ah yes I wrote the Purple cow,
    I wish I’d never wrote it
    But this I’ll tell you anyhow,
    I’ll kill you if you quote it

    (Take care, Araucaria!)

  25. drofle says:

    Vic – thanks, I had already seen that. So . . .

    Beware, ye setters all – avoid
    This cruciverbal phrase!
    To mention Purple Cow’s to risk
    The ending of your days.

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