Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6260 by Dac – Excellent, varied, fair

Posted by nmsindy on November 8th, 2006


This had all the attributes I associate with Dac – flowing clues, variation, trickery, always accessible in the end.
Average in difficulty for a Dac for me – solved in 17 mins.
1 HALF-INCH Rhyming slang for “pinch” = take = appropriate . V good.
5 PAST IT Asti in Pt (Little point)
10 ALCOCK Hidden – nice touch to use “cockpit”. Alcock and Brown, first to fly across Atlantic (1919)
11 Lawrence OATES (1880-1912) Antarctic explorer. Oases = fertile parts of desert change of heart (middle letter) = s becomes t for “this” explorer, confirmed by a crossing down word
14 ACUTE ACCENT a cute accent
18 INATTENTION cf inner tension (”it’s said”)
26 SILVER Long John Silver (Treasure Island)
27 PESTERED st in peered – cleverly misleading in that I looked first for a word meaning “standing” around st. Whereas it is the containing indicator.
1 John HUSTON (1906-1987) US film director of The Maltese Falcon and much else. anagram of south then n = north
2 LOLITA – guess most know this book – amusing surface. largely coarse = lo(w) + reading matter = lit (literature) + a
3 INCESSANT Hidden = clever to hide such a long word (did not get it first time around). Indicator is “eating”
4 CONSEQUENCE (cf the game consequences)
6 ALLOA = familiar to those who follow the football results. allow less w (wife) +a
13 AMERICAN PIE a + anagram of marine epic
15 CONSCRIPT cript = crypt “say” underground room
17 MANDRILL a baboon man dr ill attends is a link
19 ARBOUR cf (h)arbour

9 Responses to “Independent 6260 by Dac – Excellent, varied, fair”

  1. says:

    Intrigued by the diagram… It’s very similar to one I grumbled about a month or two ago when putting brief comments about Indie puzzles in my Times blog, but has a difference making it much fairer to the solver. To see the old one (which I think just about every paper has used at some point), put a white square between OATES and EMANATION, and black out the first A in EMANATION, repeating at the corresponding places in the quarter-turn symmetry. You end up with four “mini crosswords” only joined by four nine-letter words. If this is a deliberate change rather than coincidence, BRAVO!
    One minor point: at 11, I think the initial T in “this” is coincidence – for single letter changes in fairly easy words, many setters (rightly I think) don’t always indicate the letter being replaced. If Dac wanted us to use only a bit of ‘this’, I’m sure he’d indicate it clearly.

  2. says:

    Re 11, I did not mean the t for “this” – It was to highlight that the definition was “this explorer”. I should not have put the ” after “this” which may have caused the confusion. Dac was being very fair to the solver by doing this as some might think the answer was OASES – “fertile parts of desert” at the other end of the clue.

  3. says:

    Humble pie time (again…) – you can rely on some cryptic xwd solvers to find an alternative interpretation of almost anything you write!

  4. says:

    Thanks for your solutions to 6260 – very helpful. I did however get stuck on 23 as I was looking at the clue the wrong (I was looking for a 5-letter US city). Figured out eventually that it was ‘car’ + (city), but couldn’t think of any two letter US cities until I came up with a woman’s name and then it twigged that it was city abbreviation… would never have got it without the checking letters. You probably thought it too obvious to explain, but I expect you’re happy for me to post here if I get stuck on others.

    The others you left unsolved were fine after a bit of thought and some help from a crossword solver. I think explanation is most useful to me where some knowledge is required (e.g. rhyming slang, literature, geography, sayings, first person to fly Atlantic, Scottish football teams) plus the less common wordplays and the more obscure indicators. I’ll be here soaking up all you have to offer!

    Keep those comments for beginners coming, please assume we know little past the basics… for example I’d never read about the letter to be replaced in straightforward substitutions not being indicated – I’d always assumed it had to be indicated. Little gems like that will really help me.

    Finally, one question about 19D – is ‘East London’ in there purely for surface reading (I spent a while trying things with ‘E’,’LON’ etc). One thing the books generally teach is that all words are usually there for a purpose. Hope you don’t mind fielding stupid questions!


  5. says:

    A site that helps keen but inexperienced solvers is a very good thing, especially one that teaches basic principles with reference to current crosswords.

    To answer Dave’s query, the East London reference is due to Cockneys (from East London) famously dropping their Hs, so Harbour (dock area) becomes Arbour.

  6. says:

    Any clue with “knowledge” required is likely to be mentioned, as it may baffle even experienced solvers. There will be some things like Cockney h-dropping or American city = LA that we don’t mention. Subject to the time we have to write, this may change a bit as we respond to comments, but there’s a risk of “spoon-feeding”. You should never lose the skill of learning things like “US city” = LA by working out the rest of the clue.

    Your comment about all words being there for a purpose is worth remembering. It’s possible to analyse cryptic clues in a more detaied way than we normally give. Take the clue “Poet cut by Oriental medico (8)” = HOUSEMAN. We’d just say something like “E(astern) in (A.E.) HOUSMAN”. In more detail you could say:

    Poet = HOUSMAN
    cut by = containment indicator
    Oriental = E
    medico = definition

    The important thing here is that the clue appears in whole on one side of the = signs, and on the other, we have exactly one role described for each part of the clue, and we get the whole of the answer. Apart from cryptic definitions and &lits, you can do this kind of analysis with every clue. If you’re unsure whether you’ve worked out the wordplay correctly, doing this kind of analysis on paper or in your head will help.

  7. says:

    Thanks for the replies! It’s actually good that the easier clues are left unanswered as it forces me to work them out… and generally I know when I’ve stumbled on the correct answer. Some of the ones that you think are easy completely elude me sometimes, but you can’t possibly cover everything. Over time I’ll pick things up.

    Glad I asked about ‘East London’ though, I thought the ‘in’ was indicating that the answer was contained within ‘harbour’, a bit like a hidden clue. Never occured to me about dropping the ‘h’. I bet the Americans struggle with our cryptics!

    … and based on the use of ‘half-inch’ – I’m off to find myself a Cockney rhyming slang phrase book!


  8. says:

    Thanks for your comments, much appreciated. I think your queries have been answered by others (away myself today). It gives me confidence in support of the approach I took because I aimed to give full explanations to cater for new solvers, as I was once (I’ll develop and expand on this in future posts.) It took me quite a while to get CARLA, too!

    The policy is not to comment on every clue as the newspaper has a premium line service people can ring for answers on the day.

  9. says:

    Rhyming slang: for the older stuff, I can recommend Julian Franklyn’s “A Dictionary of Rhyming Slang” – 1960, revised ’61, but still in print. Amazon also threw up the Oxford Dict of RS by John Ayto – from 2002, so probably explains more modern stuff like Ruby (Murray) = curry (and there are many other guides). Or just use a good dictionary to look up some of the slang words used in a program like Only Fools and Horses. You’ll keep coming across words you never realised were rhyming slang. My new one for today: Why were Norman Stanley Fletcher and Lenny Godber “doing bird” in Porridge? Simple: bird-lime: time! (Porridge apparently isn’t rhyming slang, just in case you wonder.)

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