Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6443/Mass

Posted by neildubya on June 11th, 2007


The last time I blogged a Mass puzzle I introduced it thus: “A compiler I usually struggle with but not on this occasion. There are some very nice clues in this but a couple that I don’t fully understand and a couple of (I think) weak puns/cryptic defs.” Today, I can probably say that I don’t struggle with Mass anymore, I think I understand most of the clues and there more than a couple of cryptic definitions. There were some very nice clues too.

1 ESSEN(c)E – these people.
5 A,S in LACE – even if you’ve only recently started solving cryptics you probably expected “Doctor” to indicate DR or MB or MO as that’s a standard bit of crossword-ese. In this clue, however, indicates LACE, which was a nice touch I thought.
8 KIDNAPPER – cryptic def playing with the phrase “take issue”. I don’t find this particularly convincing though because although the word itself literally suggests the abduction of a child (“kid”), we apply the word to anyone who has been taken against their will.
12 GOLD BEATER – if this is right then, again, I think the cryptic def is quite weak and not very cryptic. I guess we’re supposed to be misled into thinking that “foils” is something to do with swords, when it actually refers to gold-leaf.
13 S in HARD,HIP
15 OC,TAD – funny how the simplest things can pass you by. I was fairly sure that OCTAD was the right answer but couldn’t see why “dash” = TAD. Obviously they both mean a small of amount of something.
19 BORDEAUX – “bore dough”
26 C,(WEATHER)*,L – looks like “cloudy” indicates C here but I can’t find that in the paper copy of COED or the online Chambers so I assume it appears elsewhere. Don’t think I’ve ever seen it used before but it could be a staple of advanced puzzles.
4 UP in (HEROIC)* – nicely disguised definition.
7 (COTE LIT)* – COLETIT. I guessed this, although with “Bird” as the definition and TIT in the anagram fodder it wasn’t a tricky quess. Not sure I like “with a flutter” as the anagram indicator though.
8 (HEATED DRINK)* – The surface reading “Cordial, nutty heated drink” isn’t very convincing…
10 X in (RADIO)* in PA,CAL – …but it’s excellent in this one.
16 MONOGRAM – I spent ages trying to work out the wordplay but I think it’s just a cryptic definition. Sorry to bang on like this but, again, it seems a bit weak.
20 ATHLETE – see previous clue.
21 PYCH,E – I liked this. “Prepare for ordeal” for PSYCH (as in “psych yourself up”) was surprising, for some strange reason.
24 S,WAN

2 Responses to “Independent 6443/Mass”

  1. says:

    C = Cloudy refers to charts of weather forecasts – so it was appropriate to use it here. It’s not in Concise OED and I don’t have Collins at present to check. It’s in Chambers all right. Must say I liked MONOGRAM and did think GOLD-BEATER was nicely misleading with many meanings of “foils”.

  2. says:

    Took a shade under 8, with a minute or two on 16/28 at the end – i.e. pretty easy for Mass – maybe it’s time to tweak his rating on the setters page. Although I found it difficult, I thought the two meanings of ‘characters weaving together’ made 16D a good CD – better than 12.

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7 + = twelve