Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6273/Mass – Painful for me

Posted by neildubya on November 23rd, 2006


Something of a bruising encounter for me and I’m still licking the wounds. I find Mass puzzles very tough – enjoyable, but tough. Matters weren’t helped by getting 19A and 22a wrong and there were a number of answers which I was half-sure were right (9A, 15A, 7D, 14D) but not sure enough to fill anything in, so that deprived me of checking letters for other clues. The kind of crossword that makes me think that they’re not my 8D after all!

1 P in TRIOS
5 DUPLEX – hidden
8 SHOGUNATE – anag of “UN Hostage”. New word to me and took a while to get. Great surface reading.
9 N + anag of SOUT(h) – Notus is the God of the South Wind.
12 ORANGE PEEL – ref William of Orange and the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, and Robert Peel, British PM.
13 NIGHTCAP – was very tempted by HIGHBALL, on the basis that in football you would usually deal with a high ball by heading it.
19 CASTS OFF – I first put in JUMPS OFF but it became apparent that this wasn’t right when I worked out 6D.
22 INEPTITUDE – don’t geddit. Is this just a cryptic def (awkward=inept?) or is there something else going on? I stupidly filled in EXACTITUDE, probably because I was desperate to jump-start the whole crossword.
27 STATU(e)S – very misleading, as you probably think you need a verb for “standing” rather than a noun.
2 ROOKING – “rook” means to defraud or swindle (“rip off”) and it’s also piece in chess that starts a game in the corner. Not sure about “last section for repapering” as an indicator for “ing” – am I missing something or have I got this wrong?
5 DUE + ANN (going up)
6 PEN, TE, COST – tip for beginners: “notes” are often “doh, re, me, fah, so, lah, te”
10 SELF-DEFENCE – cryptic def. “Noble art” is boxing.
16 SAND TRAP – anag of “parts and”.
18 HERB in SET – an Australian colloquialism for beer, although it’s common usage over here too. Often misspelt, according to the Concise Oxford, as “sherbert”.
20 ONTARIO – well, Ontario is a province of Canada but I see how the rest of the clue works. Any offers?
21 STASIS – anag of “assist”.
24 WHIG – homophone. To “wig” someone is told scold them severely.

5 Responses to “Independent 6273/Mass – Painful for me”

  1. says:

    This was very tough – 34 mins to solve. Mass appeared in the Indy from early on and there are few better at exploiting the various meanings of words in the English language. He used to appear weekly but his puzzles are less frequent now. His puzzles were always among the toughest, but very satisfying, with an enjoyable old-fashioned feel to this one. Re ONTARIO, I took that as just a pun on province – I’d pencilled in “outback” at first. It was the last clue I solved.

  2. says:

    I used to have trouble with Mass too, but the last few have been easier than I expected – equivalent to a toughish Times rather than a stinker. I hope that means you should persevere, rather than expect some even tougher ones! Glad I didn’t think of HIGHBALL. Last for me was 11 – REIN I hope – a “means of governing” says the dictionary, and sounds like RAIN = wet in its “the rain” meaning. Struggled not to think about the similar but irrelevant reign/rain pun. 20 and 22 are just cryptic definitions of an old-school type that takes some getting used to – so is 4, looking back. I’m sure you’re right about 2D.

  3. says:

    30 mins for me too – I spent a long time trying to resolve 24 and 28. In the end I wrote in WHIG and PIGEON and stomped off. Turns out I didn’t know 3 of the necessary 4 meanings between these two clues. Like NMS I wrote in OUTBACK, which made SURCHARGE very difficult/slow (as did fixating on SURF instead of SURGE) and I also flirted with the ludicrous GNATHOUSE at 8ac.

    I didn’t think any of the cryptic definitions (STAIRWAY, ONTARIO, INEPTITUDE) were satisfactory to be honest – I was sufficiently doubtful not to write any of them in until I had virtually all the checking letters. Ditto ‘last section for repapering’ = ING.

  4. says:

    Tough one for me too – 40 minutes.

    I didn’t feel satisfied after finishing it, unlike most puzzles.

    Have just seen a wicked Bunthorne clue for Orange Peel, so this one was nice but not laught out loud like Bunty’s reference to the RUC?

  5. says:

    Same thing really, the Orange dynasty and Peel’s peelers.

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