Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6424/Monk

Posted by neildubya on May 26th, 2007


Superb but very tough puzzle from Monk. The bottom right-hand corner caused me all sorts of problems (especially 22A, 20D and 23D) and the top-left was any easier. I’m still not sure about the wordplay for 1A though and I can’t see any obvious theme.

1 CATS-PAW – which is defined by the COED as “a person who is used by another to carry out an unpleasant or dangerous task”. I’m sure this is right but I can’t work out the wordplay – any offers?
5 DEC,I,BE(vy),L – I’m assuming that “band” = BEVY.
9 (RING ROAD)*,E – this was quite misleading as “Ring-road around English…” seems to suggest a container-and-contents clue. Once you have the initial R in place, the enumeration (3,6) doesn’t leave many options.
11 STERN,(b)UM(p) – I had S?????M so STERNUM was fairly obvious but it took a while to work out why. “Swelling in the middle” for (b)UM(p) is tough, I think.
14 initial letters of “Make Wife And Husband” – the noise you make when you kiss someone but don’t kiss them, if you see what I mean.
16 OPINE in DROSS – another one I filled in at the time without really knowing why and have only just worked out.
17 (OUT)* in SH,DOWNS
21 SEE YOU – “c u”, which is the chemical symbol for copper. It’s useful to know a few of the more common chemical symbols when you’re solving cryptics.
22 B,LOUS(y),ON – very tough, and very misleading as the definition “top” is well hidden.
28 PENS in SER(ies)
2 (i)T(s),(p)ROVE(n) – again, I’ve only just worked out the wordplay and I’m not sure it’s right. The wordplay is “It’s proven to be unlimited” – if I’m right, then this is another excellent but tough clue.
3 RE in PANT
6 CAM(e),PARI(s) – another corker.
13 (AMONG BONES)* – I think MOONG is a variant spelling of “mung”.
15 A,CUT,E,N,E,S,S
20 R in MOOSE
23 SWIMS – very tough, using a device I’ve not seen before. The wordplay is “either normally or upside down”, which means that if you turn SWIMS upside-down it spells out the same word because a W is an inverted M. Very clever.
24 C(h)AIN

8 Responses to “Independent 6424/Monk”

  1. says:

    1A Acts when ordered, for the most part an instrument (4-3) Cat’s-paw
    If “Acts when ordered” gives ACTS, then somehow “for the most part” gives PAW, but I can’t see how.
    I suggest the whole of the second part of the clue “for the most part an instrument” gives PAW if the “instrument” is PAWN.
    But then there is no separate definition in the clue and Cat’s-paw is defined by “instrument” in much the same sense as pawn.

  2. says:

    I missed Phi’s yesterday, but I saw this – look in the middle row and column, it did speed up my solving.

  3. says:

    I want it to be &lit with ‘Acts when ordered’ = CATS, plus PAW(n). No need for a definition.

  4. says:

    Yes, that’s it, Paul B. The (He/she) is, I think understood at the start.
    Re the theme referred to in 2 above, in case anyone has thrown the puzzle away, the letters spelled out ACROSS (centre row) and DOWN (centre column)

  5. says:

    The &Lit parsing in item 3 above is correct.
    Thanks for the +ve comments.


  6. says:

    Another positive comment from me, too. A devilish but intriguing and ultimately satisfying challenge!

  7. says:

    5 across- I had “band”= BE(lt)

    Not sure about 1 across although solved it. Doesn’t it rather give the impression, for an & lit., that the answer is a verb with an S on the end of it?

    Didn’t understand 23 dn. Thanks for the explanation. Not particularly keen on the idea that SWIM is SWIM upside down since W is not an exact inversion of M (or at least the way they are normally written).

  8. says:

    I got SWIMS OK, but did not realise the significance of the WM – I thought that perhaps what was meant was that you could swim on your front or on your back. But, now that it’s revealed, I’d say that cryptic explanation is the right one – though I’d have thought it would be more apt in an across clue.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

eight − = 4