Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 874 by Quixote Easy and good

Posted by nmsindy on November 17th, 2006


I found this very easy, solved in 13 mins.

Typical Quixote style, light in cultural references, homing in on the everyday experience of the solver.Simple constructions with, I think, just three complete anagrams. As always, a freshness and good surface reading to the clues.


1 GAS TAP – a st (abbrev for stone)in gap = opening

5 GRANGE – g = good + range = stove

10 REAGENT – Time (age) to “fill in” slit (rent).

11 RUINOUS – game = RU (Rugby Union) very common in crosswords   I = one   nous = common sense

13 HYDERABAD – Large city in India   Definition is “city”.  Rest of clue is the wordplay.   Name of Park (Hyde Park in London) by r =river “to the west of” a  wicked = bad.   “To the west of” is used in across clues because that’s where it is when it’s written down, like here.

15 LEAR – Shakespeare’s character (and play):  King LEAR.    Half the students go off = Lear(ners).

25 BATHURST ISLAND  Anagram of “Bird’s last haunt” with anagram indicator “destroyed”.    I’d never heard of it but put “island” in on first run through, when I found the letters.   After getting the other four crossing letters, I guessed right, verifying after.

27 DEMISE – is in Deme(anour) = appearance  Evident is the  containing indicator.  Gallows humour in the surface.


2 AWKWARD – A wk (abbrev for week) + ward (as in “ward of court”)

3 TEABERRY – ABE Lincoln (American President) in TERRY    Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 and is very familiar to solvers in his abbreviated form Abe.  Entertaining is the containing indicator

4 PAINTABLE – Pain (tiresome person) + table    Definition is “may be portrayed”

6 ADONIS – Greek Mythology    (By-word for a handsome man).   Dis = the Underworld i.e. hell.   So it’s “on” in “a dis”

7 GAMBOGE – Yellow resin    Bomb “tossed up” = egg (reversed in a down clue) containing a + anagram “disorderly” of mob  which “intrudes”

8 STARCHIEST – This was a great help in this puzzle as I solved it straightaway and it gave the starting letters of five across words because of its position.   Anything with “Most” is very like to end in –est.     “Archie” “hemmed in” by st and st (2 saints)

16 UNCLE SAM – Anagrams of clues, man.   Personification of America.   Amusing surface.

22 ICECAPS – An  &lit  clue.   Whole clue is definition and also the wordplay .  “Possibly” apices (plural of apex) indicates an anagram of it containing c = cold.     In the surface reading “possibly” shows that not all icecaps are apices, but some may be.  My favourite clue in the puzzle.

21 RICHES – r = King has one = I bottomless box = ches(t).      Bottomless used as it’s a down clue and that’s how you see CHES in the grid.

22 ERROR – fault is definition. All the rest is wordplay.Er + roar (shout) less a

Tip: Dictionary: Indy puzzles,like daily cryptics generally,use everyday vocabulary as people will solve them while travelling etc or in breaks in the working day without a dictionary at hand. However, regular solvers will find it useful to have a dictionary to check or verify or search later, if stuck. I’d recommend the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. This should confirm all the answers and any abbreviations used.The only exception would be the occasional proper noun.

5 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 874 by Quixote Easy and good”

  1. says:

    Once I’d have stepped in and recommended Collins as a good dictionary that adds most of the proper nouns. But there are two problems with Collins: a baffling variety of books with “Collins Dictionary” in the title, making it difficult to know which one to choose, and dropping people from the proper noun entries – Churchill is now just a town and river in Canada, for example. Apparently some focus group told them this was a good idea – just as a focus group told Chambers that the really important thing about their dictionaries was having consistent colours so that they could “identify the product” or some such tosh. Are people buying dictionaries not capable of reading the word “Chambers” in inch-high letters? Rant over …
    From limited knowledge (bookshop browsing), the “Oxford Dictionary Of English” looks the best current choice for adding proper nouns – it’s fairly obviously intended as a rival to Collins and Chambers. Of course, anyone reading this should be able to use Google and Wikipedia to check out the proper nouns! So COD plus the web (where you can get Collins and the Chambers “21st Century” free – see tomorrow’s report on last Sat’s Indie) should be a winning combination. If you want a paper dictionary but cash is tight, try the Penguin English Dictionary. Don’t know about it’s proper noun coverage but it’s a very sound dictionary.
    I’ll bang on about thesuruses and other handy references another time.

  2. says:

    I’d heartily recommend the 2004 Collins English Dictionary, Desktop Edition with free CD Rom. It’s my first port of call for all but the advanced cryptics. It also has a function whereby you can select a word in another program (e.g. Word or Outlook Express) and click on an icon in your taskbar and a dictionary definition will pop up.

  3. says:

    Eimi – which is the standard ref for Indie puzzles? Your comment earlier on today’s Nimrod suggested Chambers…

  4. says:

    I tend to use Collins. I find it easier to look up definitions than Chambers and also it’s a good yardstick for judging whether a word is too obscure. Chambers is more comprehensive, which is why I expressed surprise that ta-ra wasn’t in it. I wouldn’t be happy to publish a weekday crossword that had several solutions that were in Chambers, but not Collins or the OED. I give more licence at weekends, assuming that solvers are more likely to have access to reference books, and as all the weekend cryptic crosswords in the Independent are prize puzzles, I think it’s fair that they should be a little bit more challenging in terms of vocabulary.

  5. says:

    Thanks for the bouquets. My definition for PAINTABLE should have read ‘ that may be portrayed’, but the THAT got lost between me and the printer, it seems. Without the THAT the definition wouldn’t give the right part of speech, of course.

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