Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6332 by Punk – Got there in the end

Posted by nmsindy on February 1st, 2007


This is Punk’s third puzzle in the Indy.     He’s Paul in the Guardian, who I’ve heard praised a lot, but he’s said to be hard, and he also sets in the Times.      So I approached this with trepidation not least when seeing the first clue to a 37-letter phrase comprised just 15 letters itself.     Then, on my first run through the clues, pencilled in just one (which I later found was wrong!)

So I was very pleased in the end to solve it in 39 mins.      There are some cases, mentioned below, where I do not fully see how everything works, but am reasonably confident I’ve got it right. 


1   The clue is “Taste drink, now on”    I did suspect from the very start that the now might refer to today – 1 February – regarded by some as the first day of spring.    When I’d enough crossing letters, I worked it out for myself PINCH (taste), PUNCH (drink), FIRST OF THE MONTH (now) AND NO RETURNS (on).      Completely new phrase to me but Google confirms it as a superstitious saying, common in some areas.

14   AWL (which is piercing)   “All” Sound of the universe.

17  D  AY   One of seven (in a week)

18 STRIP TEASER     My favourite clue.

20  EXPLOIT   (I think)   Clue is “Adventure story about individual stuck on love no longer”.      I think the definition is “Adventure”.    I think  “love no longer” is EX with I (individual) in PLOT (story) but not 100% sure. 


1 S(PUT) UM   That has to be the answer and the equation is the sum.   Clue is “What’s coughed up added to the equation, you might say?”    Maybe PUT is “added” but the “you might say” makes me think “homophone?” but can’t quite see that.

5  ECHO    cf OCHE   local line – line behind which darts are thrown, typically in pubs (i.e. local)

7  I RAN

8 S TICKLER   TICKLER is a puzzle OK, but the whole word I think means a STICKLER might try to solve a puzzle i.e. looking for difficulties.

14  AUTOSTRADA   Italian Motorway   so M (miles)  in I (Italy), I guess.

19  ROS (CO) E   Dated US slang for a gun.

21  PATE   “Meat head?”   Some doubts.   It’s definitely a head, but the second definition, I think, is PATE with an accent on the E (not shown in crosswords).    It can be meat, but doesn’t have to be, but maybe that’s niggly, or maybe I’ve missed it completely.

22 TROT  i.e. Trotskyist.  

9 Responses to “Independent 6332 by Punk – Got there in the end”

  1. says:

    I think 21D is right. I can’t work out 1D either and if 8D is right I don’t think it’s very convincing. STICKLER is defined by the COED as a “person that insists on a certain quality or type of behaviour”.

    The long phrase will probably be familiar to anyone that went to school in this country in the 70s/80s as it was a playground favourite. There was a fairly complex protocol for it: you had to do the actions (pinching and punching someone on the arm) and you had to do it before midday otherwise it didn’t count, for some strange reason. Also, if someone did it to you, you couldn’t do it back to them. Kids, eh?

  2. says:

    1D I think you render “added to the equation” as “put in the sum” and then do what it says. Is that permissible?

  3. says:

    Re nieldubya’s comment, Punk may well have been in such a playground as Jonathan Crowther’s recent book indicates he was 37 years old at the time of writing.

  4. says:

    Bensan is right about 1D. Is it permissible? Well, Punk is considered to be from the Araucarian school, rather than a strict Ximenean. I’m painfully familiar with Pinch/Punch despite being older than Punk and neildubya, but Roscoe was a new one to me.

  5. says:

    There’s nothing 70’s about PINCH PUNCH – I was taught it in the cradle in the 40’s!

  6. says:

    Struggled to remembe the end of the phrase. Also a stranger to roscoe, and slightly puzzled by stickler. And led myself astray with “stripteased” for a while – should have considered all of -sed, -ses, -ser as I didn’t see the wordplay. I was a bit slow from a bottle of Fullers 1845, but 39 mins isn’t bad for this. No worries about SPUTUM on a day when the Times did something equally cheeky.

  7. says:

    Stickler surprised me too, but Collins gives “a problem or puzzle” as the second definition.

  8. says:

    With regard to “pinch punch etc”, the phrase was entirely new to me, and seems to be best known in the London area.

    My problem with the clue is that I can’t see a definition; am I missing something?

  9. says:

    A bit relieved I’m not the only one that had never heard of it. Yes, there’s no definition (unless there’s some subtlety in relation to the phrase or clue that I’ve missed). But, solvers were able to solve it, understand it and enjoy it from what I’ve heard. Before verifying and even though I’d never heard of it, I was pretty sure I was right.

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