Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6329 / Math – pretty tough

Posted by petebiddlecombe on January 29th, 2007


Solving time 10:00 + ??

Had most of this done in about 8 mins, but was stuck on 5 and 16 – I had an answer for 16 but as it seemed to be a cryptic def I was waiting for confirmation from 5 that there were no alternative solutions. Did reali-life stuff for a few hours, came back and got 5 immediately. How long it might have taken in one sitting is anyone’s guess. Quite a tough puzzle in vocab terms, though that wasn’t what held me up in the end.

4 BUCKYBALL – (luck by lab)* – which feels like it should possibly be 5-4, but the Concise Oxford disagrees. What I remember from a Horizon programme years ago is that Buckminster-Fullerene is a third form of carbon to go with graphite and diamond. It’s named after the architect Buckminster-Fuller, who was renowned for “geodesic structure” building designs. “Bucky ball” was mentioned as an informal name for the shape involved – 60 carbon atoms arranged roughly like the design of a football with a mixture of pentagonal and hexagonal panels.
10 WITH,Y – another name for osier (a willow shoot used for basket-making and the like, or the type of willow from which it comes)
11 UNSCRAMBLE – (L=50,cream buns)*
12 WILL(I AM) – nothing to do with Lester Piggott, sometimes called “the long fellow” as he was a bit taller than the average jockey
16 TURN-UPS – type of trousers, and trousers at “half-mast” have been partially “let down”.
20 EASTERN – (sea)*,tern
21 SAID – from Port Said, at N. end of Suez Canal.
25 A,LATE = having wings, from ala = wing (Lat.)
27 DISAPPEAR = “diss a peer”
28 WASTE – sweat* – if you want to be picky, “product” seems to be doing double duty, but I doubt this would stop anyone solving the clue.
1 POSTULANT – (plant to us)* – a candidate seeking submission to a religious order – so “one who submits” is accurate if they’re going to be successful!
2 O(Ven.)S – Ven. = Venerable is the title used by an archdeacon.
4 BETIMES – Semite,B=”A follower”, all rev.
5 CIRCLET – Circle = O,T=T, so “OT” = “not completely OTT”.
13 BRAS,STACKS – not totally sure that the schoolboy joke bra=support still holds up when extended to the plural.
15 C(UPFINAL=painful*)S
17 SINCEREST – (ernest,sic) – ghalstly pun on sincere = earnest
19 GRENAD(a),E
21 SWARD = draws rev. – an old-fashioned term for an area of grass
23 CLOSE – three defs
24 KEEP = peek rev.

6 Responses to “Independent 6329 / Math – pretty tough”

  1. says:

    I had the same experience of being stuck on 5dn and unsure about TURN-UPS. Unlike you I couldn’t come up with CIRCLET (not a word I knew), but surely ‘not completely OTT’ merits a question mark?

  2. says:

    I think I agree, though I’m not sure how much difference it would have made.

  3. says:

    First time i’ve tried the Independent, found it tough going. Got most of the “down” answers though. Is it always this tough I wonder? (Would of struggled to get Buckybal).
    Thanks for the help.l

  4. says:

    I think I agree, though I’m not sure how much difference it would have made.

    To me, none; but it might have helped someone who knew the word CIRCLET to get the answer by enabling them to deduce that ‘Headband’ was the definition. But then I thought that anyway.

    oxfordloner – I think in terms of clue construction, this was probably about average for the Independent; in terms of word difficulty, it was probably a bit harder than average. Others may disagree. I always get Math mixed up with Mass (another Indie setter) so can never remember what I think is ‘average’ for either of them!

  5. says:

    Math’s previous two crosswords have had a theme, which can make them easier. On the subject of which, if you haven’t tried Virgilius I’m sure you’ll have fun with Tuesday’s offering.

    I’d say Math is midrange difficulty, possibly harder than Virgilius and Dac (Wednesday), but generally easier than Punk (this Thursday) and Nimrod (this Friday).

  6. says:

    When noting solving times for 2006, Math was slightly quicker than my Indy average. However this particular puzzle I found harder than usual from Math.

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