Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6532/Monk

Posted by neildubya on September 28th, 2007


A something-for-everyone puzzle from Monk. A few easy clues to get you going, some hard ones to stretch you, a bit of innovation here and there and some good old-fashioned smut. Not forgetting the ubiquious Nina of course, which is explained below at 5D. Bravo.

1 O,C,TAN,T – knew the word but didn’t know that it could mean “a position of 45 degrees from another position, especially of the Moon from conjunction”.
5 COT,TIS< in SH
9 V,IND[i]A,LOO – excellent clue with a very appropriate surface reading!
12 DECISION – 19D is CHOC-ICE, which would be CHOICE with the C missing (“heartless”).
15 TOE,RAG[-e] – I think I’ve parsed this right. The definition is “Base one” and I think we have to read “legend” as “leg end” (i.e, TOE).
16 A in HORSE – I really liked this, even though it’s a very simple clue. Completely misleading surface.
20 ALTER,EG,O – I thought at first that”close friend” was an odd choice for the definition but having looked it up it seems that it’s spot on. I only really knew the more common meaning – “someone’s second or alternative character”.
24 (RETINA)* – NERITA. One of the last few to go in so I had ?E?I?A filled in. But, I’d also spotted the Nina by this time so I’d also filled in the initial N, giving me a choice between NETIRA and NERITA.
25 LING,EIRE (reversed) – had to suppress a schoolboy-ish snigger when I got this one. Very Cyclops.
26 L in GANDERS – my initial thought was that “looks” was going to be GLANCES and it took a while to shake that idea off.
27 SISTER – I think this is a cryptic def as “tenders” – people who tend – can be nurses and they’re managed by a SISTER.
3 (S AND E)* – very clever and interesting clue which uses a trick I don’t think I’ve seen before. The definition is “a range [of mountains]” and the wordplay asks us to jumble the middle (“essential”) letters of “odds and ends”. Put it all together and you have a great clue – cryptically sound and with a great surface: “A range of odds and ends, essentially jumbled”.
4 TEL (“let up),E,PH ONE – I found this pretty tough and I’ve only just worked out that “relief” is TEL (“let up”, which obviously only works in a down clue). On the pH scale, 1 is acid, hence PH ONE.
5 SWORD OF DAMOCLES – I think this is connected to the Nina. “Present-day extremists” might be a reference to unchecked letters running down the far left and right sides of the grid which spell out OVERHANG and HANGOVER.
7 T,ROUSSEAU – “not before time” must mean “after T”.
14 (WORN)*,I in (N AGE)* – NORWEGIAN.
19 C in CHOICE – I loved “selection box for cold” to indicate the wordplay here.
21 E,LATE – know your Cockney rhyming slang: “brown bread” is “dead”.
23 alternate letters from “ViEwEd RaSh”.

5 Responses to “Independent 6532/Monk”

  1. Testy says:

    Does “essential” fairly indicate the middle letters?

    To my mind any combination of the letters in the phrase “odds and ends” are essential to it. Is there a meaning of the word essential or essence which specifically means middle or central?

    Otherwise I think it’s a little weak. Having to spot what could be a sequence of any 5 letters in a phrase and then anagram them is going a bit too far.

    It would be OK to indicate a hidden word such as “Essentially redS AND Yellows make this colour” but a hidden anagram?

  2. Chris says:

    Weirdly, “Sword of Damocles” was also an answer in the same weekend’s Everyman crossword. I was looking at both crosswords simultaneously and, without having solved either, it occurred to me that the answer might be the same for both (same number of letters, obviously, and similarish definitions). Thus, I solved one and was able to write it in in the other!

  3. brian seddon says:

    Hi Neil

    I look forward to your weekly explanations as inevitably I’m left with a couple of answers I can’t get or answers that I can’t understand. This week toerag and 11 across had me beat….

    11a Each ram munching oats ultimately does this ?a?s ?p Could you please enlighten me?

    Cheers Brian

  4. neildubya says:

    Hi Brian

    11A It’s EATS UP = “Each” is EA, a TUP is a ram and “oats ultimately” is the last letter of “oats” (which goes inside TUP).


  5. brian seddon says:

    Thanks Neil, never in a month of Sundays…..

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