Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 878 by Quixote – as tough as any of his this year for me

Posted by nmsindy on December 15th, 2006


When I solve a clue and think I’m certain I won’t have to go back to verify it, I tick the clue number in the paper.

This is usually the case if I understand definition and the cryptic build-up fully. This time I did it when I thought I was fairly sure with a double definition but I was wrong. 23 ac “Evade issue that may divide the neighbours”. I said, “that’s HEDGE.” But it wasn’t and that really slowed me in the SE quadrant – the correct answer was FENCE.     Resolution:  Never tick off a double definition.

Problems also in the NW quadrant with 1 ac. It turned out in the end to be GALATEA. It’s a word I’d vaguely heard of and I did get it in the end from the wordplay – GALA(festival)+TEA(meal).   I thought it might be Old Testament but it’s mythology on which I confess I’m weak and I associate with crosswords of days gone by (not that I don’t remember them).   Definition “Maiden coming alive”.    My Collins says “a statue of a maiden brought to life by Aphrodite in response to the prayers of the sculptor Pygmalion, who had fallen in love with his creation.”

These two factors led me to equal my previous slowest time for Quixote in 2006.

Solving time: 44 mins.

But, as always with Quixote, it was an excellent puzzle, everything understood.


9  NEWS (four players at table i.e. playing bridge) + A GENT(toff)

11 ROACH    hard    US usage    roach = cockroach “may be seen in dirty US kitchen”

13 TU (union = trade union) + S (second) + SLING (David’s weapon against the “big bully” Goliath)

19  PLATELET    Hard cryptic definition

22 OLDEN (long-gone) in GAGE (pledge) – pledge to “capture”

26 ME (this writer) + A GREED (big desire for food) no man i.e Ed taken out to give MEAGRE.

27 SOT (drunk) + HERE (in this place)    Liked that.


1  GENERATION GAP   Nice cryptic definition that I got first time around.

3  T(he) i.e.  The less he (male split) + RASH (careless).    Tricky.

7  RA (artist) in CAVAN(Irish county)

10 STREET THEATRE    Favourite clue  – very clever cryptic definition using the common phrase “raise the roof”

14  ADDER (snake) in LING (heather).    Older solvers may remember (a problem with nylons).

16 CLUELESS  “What you are now doing is definitely not” Complete the sentence to get the answer.   A good device, used sparingly by setters I think, but totally valid.

20  DAN (man) in LINE (row) i.e, Lindane, an insecticide.   Struggled with this, because of my HEDGE/FENCE confusion.

21 PAT (a man or woman i.e. name common for either) on TEE (area of golf course).    New word for me meaning of a cross having triangular arms outwards..   Hence definition “like a cross”.    Would not have immediately associated “tee” with “area” of a golf course but dictionaries confirm it is correct.

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