“In praise of… Araucaria”

A Guardian editorial today pays a well-deserved 90th birthday tribute to their brilliant cryptic crossword setter, the Reverend John Graham, MBE – aka Araucaria.   And his fellow setters, Enigmatist, Paul and Shed do likewise with a genius-ly themed offering.

 9 today, hooray, hooray, for 14 across 24 across, Mr 24 down

Indeed.

Update  Fifteensquared has the complete solution to the crossword.  And they point to this short Guardian article on Araucaria by Simon Hoggart.

It’s not just the playful wit that delights the fans. He is also astoundingly inventive, as the special double holiday crosswords in this paper demonstrate. A crossword based on famous novelists? Or heroes of the South African liberation struggle? (John remains leftwing, and will never work for a Murdoch paper.) He invented the alphabetical crossword: clues for every letter of the alphabet, to be slotted in where by cunning deduction. Or the perimetrical: a long clue gives a 28-letter quote that goes around the edge. As he himself says, you have to have a certain type of mind to create such a thing. But not to solve it: once you have acquired the knack, you can generally manage. He has given his name – Araucaria is the Latin name for the monkey-puzzle tree – to his own style, Araucarian, which contrasts with Ximenean, after Ximenes (DS Macnutt, the Observer compiler who laid down regulations for the modern puzzle). It is looser, less rule-bound. For example, Ximenes would never have allowed John’s favourite clue by another compiler (the late Bunthorne, also a Guardian favourite and a devout Araucarian): “Amundsen’s forwarding address (4)” to which the answer is MUSH.

Heh.

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  • Pete Baker

    Update Fifteensquared has the complete solution to the crossword. And they point to this short Guardian article on Araucaria by Simon Hoggart.

    It’s not just the playful wit that delights the fans. He is also astoundingly inventive, as the special double holiday crosswords in this paper demonstrate. A crossword based on famous novelists? Or heroes of the South African liberation struggle? (John remains leftwing, and will never work for a Murdoch paper.) He invented the alphabetical crossword: clues for every letter of the alphabet, to be slotted in where by cunning deduction. Or the perimetrical: a long clue gives a 28-letter quote that goes around the edge. As he himself says, you have to have a certain type of mind to create such a thing. But not to solve it: once you have acquired the knack, you can generally manage. He has given his name – Araucaria is the Latin name for the monkey-puzzle tree – to his own style, Araucarian, which contrasts with Ximenean, after Ximenes (DS Macnutt, the Observer compiler who laid down regulations for the modern puzzle). It is looser, less rule-bound. For example, Ximenes would never have allowed John’s favourite clue by another compiler (the late Bunthorne, also a Guardian favourite and a devout Araucarian): “Amundsen’s forwarding address (4)” to which the answer is MUSH.

    Heh.

  • babyface finlayson

    I have no clue what this is about. O google result!

  • pippakin

    There are members of my family who buy a newspaper solely for its crossword, fortunately I’m not one of them. I wouldn’t take the Guardian if they were giving it away.

  • Pete Baker

    Pippakin

    The crossword is available online. No cost. And you don’t have to read anything else in the paper. 😉

  • Greenflag

    I liked 29 down because I knew the answer without turning my head inside out 🙂

    ‘Danish physicist locating pong on time (4)

    There’s only one famous Danish Physicist i.e Niels Bohr

    Thus pong or smell = BO
    and time =hr abbrev for hour .
    Simple eh – Listen to Pete -Pipp -crosswords are good for the oul mental dexterity as is learning another language or two or three .

    I read of Paisley Senior’s recent pacemaker add on which has now resulted in the Doc becoming in his own words ‘Turbo Charged’ and good for another decade or more !

    I can already see the clue

    ‘Turbo charged lordly man of cloth in textiled pattern ‘