Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6314 by Punk – lots of invention

Posted by nmsindy on January 11th, 2007


This is only the second puzzle by Punk in the Indy, packed with cryptic definitions and imaginative clueing.   I noticed that Eimi, commenting on this site some time ago, said he was not Ximenean.    This is a big change for the Indy in my experience, though I have not noticed departures too often in recent puzzles.    There is at least one example in this one, I think.

Solving time:  27 mins.


11 L(ASS)IE     “canine screened”   Very good that, Lassie, the dog, hero of many a film.

12/24   FRIENDLY FIRE      Top drawer stuff, cryptic definition

18  ROB(b)ER (poin)T BROWNING (a gun)

20  G (ASBO) ARD   pullover = drag back (non-X, I think).    “badge of dishonour” is good.

22 I’M PART   Slightly uneasy about the crossword grammar here, too.

25  YOGIC FLYING    Another cryptic definition.     This held me up, as it’s new to me.

27  ST G(E)ORGE SC ROSS    Guessed this straight away from the definition, working out the wordplay afterwards.


2  (COCKS) “cox” i.e. apple + COMB

3  ELEMI  (hidden reversal)   More commonly met in crosswords than real life

6  CLOSE DOWN !      More top drawer clueing

7 nEt LAND     See 3 Down.

10 TO(YIn)SH

13 CAT BURGLAR    More cryptic definition 23 down.

17  F(R)OGGY    Great definition.

19  STRESS   Imaginative double definition.   drive home = emphasize = stress

23  MA (GI) C    Hmm!    If further explanation needed, ask a mature adult privately…

12 Responses to “Independent 6314 by Punk – lots of invention”

  1. says:

    Punk is Paul in the Guardian and definitely from the non-Ximenean side of town. I thought this puzzle was terrific with lots to admire, especially 12/24 and 23D.

  2. says:

    I think I claimed not to be a ‘strict’ Ximenean. Ximenes provides a very good starting point, but I believe there is a crosswording equivalent of poetic licence. You can stray from Ximenes if you have good reason to, if the end justifies the means. Ximenean standards are covered very well in Don Manley’s Crossword Manual (available from all good bookshops), but he disapproves of the classic clue ‘HIJKLMNO’ for ‘water,’ whereas I think it’s a wonderful clue and exactly the type of clue that got me and a lot of my contemporaries hooked on cryptic crosswords.

    To give an example from my own puzzle on New Year’s Day, the first clue was ‘WC Handy?’. Strictly speaking handy doesn’t mean ‘convenience’ but WC Handiness wasn’t a composer, so I stretched the rules and included the question mark to hint at that.

  3. says:

    Yes, that makes it clearer. Indeed, in reviewing that 1 Jan puzzle, I commented on that very point re WC Handy. I’d be found in the X school, but think ‘HIJKLMNO’ is fine. Also, some, particularly in the advanced crossword world, like to avoid link words altogether. I think they’re fine and give extra scope for misdirection and enjoyment.

  4. says:

    There are two views on the water clue (only one sane one, of course!)and much else besides, but no sane person (not even this arch-Ximenean) should want to abandon link words. By the way, if anyone finds a good bookshop (as defined above) do please let me know.

  5. says:

    Paul not Ximenean? Well, not strictly I suppose, but I really must insist that he is among the fairest of them all over at Grauniad. If anything, he is a delightful anomaly – the best of both X & A worlds, and among the most inventive cruciverbal thinklers I’ve ever seen.

    As well as being an Indyist he’s also in the Times, and you can’t get away with too many ‘in-deedisms’ on that pro-Xim panel.

    Btw, I can see why a CONVENIENCE = a wc that’s handy.

  6. says:

    PS If anyone knows, please say what a THINKLER is.

  7. says:

    A student philosopher?

  8. says:

    I agree absolutely that Paul/Punk is fair, and that is more important to me than Ximenean purity, as I’ve said before, and wonderfully inventive, which is why he’ll be appearing regularly in the Independent in future.

  9. says:

    Paul/Punk is very inventive but sometimes goes a step or two too far for me in his Guardian persona. An example is the “Potty train” clue for LOCO, cited by Sandy Balfour as one of his all-time favourites – I’m pretty sure this is a Paul clue from about four years ago. For me it fails because, however much you’d like it to be, a loco is not a train. “Toyish” today was new to me, but on checking Chambers I have to admit it works.

    The Times may not allow “indeed” but I’m sure strict Ximeneans could find you a few Times clues a week to wonder about. There’s a clue in today’s puzzle using a technique guaranteed to irritate me, and there was a bit of “clue to a clue” yesterday – more on the other channel… On the other hand there are strict Ximeneans on the Times team so some puzzles are 100% Ximenean, as much as we can ever agree exactly what that means.

  10. says:

    But if you say “locomotive” to most people, they’ll probably think “train”, even if that’s not how the dictionary defines it. I think it’s a fair clue because once you’ve hit upon LOCO, you know it has to be the right answer.

  11. says:

    I was not aware of the Paul clue, and am delighted to hear from Eimi that, as Punk, he will appear often in the Indy. I think a little licence can be allowed. The dictionaries say a train is something pulled by e.g, a locomotive. But if you were standing on a platform waiting for your train and a loco went by on its own, I think most would think of it and probably refer to it as a train.

  12. says:

    Yes – agree The Times isn’t always ‘Ximenean’.

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