Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6595/Math

Posted by John on December 5th, 2007


Unfortunately I’m not the best person to be blogging this, since I have never read anything by Philip Pullman, but Google always helps. Probably I’ve missed something. It seems that this is timed to coincide with the film that is out around now, and the religious controversy surrounding it.

8 Ms Gardner is always Ava, so it’s AVA (S)TAR. I suppose an avatar is a celebrity.
10 HIT PARADE – (a dire path)*.
11 AN (ELK) rev. Is this something in the Pullman books?
12 SUB(TI)TLE. This goes with 17A to make one of the trilogy.
14/1 N(OR THE RN L)IGHTS. Another of the trilogy.
17 (FINK) rev. E. e is the base of natural logarithms.
18/6/26 A cryptic definition of the overall title of the Pullman trilogy. I wasn’t quite sure about “around here”.
19 AMBER – (bream)*. With 20, this is another of the trilogy.
20 SPYGLASS. But not sure why. You find a vodka martini in a glass, OK, but …
22 DNA rev. in CID. DNA is new (modern-day?…) evidence.
29 GO L DEN. This with 30A makes the US title of “Northern Lights”.
30 COMPASS – 2 defs.
2 BAIT? Something very clever going on here, which I can’t see.
3 DE GAULLE – (due legal)*.
4 A RY L all rev. A Pullman character.
5 AB rev. above (i.e. supported by) SALT.
8 A L(HE rev.)OUSE. Presumably the exclam makes the previous five words into a warning. It’s surely wrong if it’s a way of saying the clue is a bit cleverly-tricky. Perfectly OK, but nothing very special.
13 BR I NY. The def. is simply “The sea”.
15 E(MBE)D. Nice little topical reference.
16 CHESSMAN presumably, being (men’s cash)*, but I can’t see why a chessman is a pawn arrangement.
17 KOS HER. Almost a good clue, I think, but what is the “that” doing?
19 “Admirer” is an ANAGRAM[S] of “Married”. Here it’s a verb. This is one of the many suitable anagrams (like “schoolmaster” and “the classroom”) so beloved of would-be &lit. clue-setters.
21 LA-(DI)-DA.
23 D ES IST. OK for those with a smattering of German; not that it has to be a very big smattering here.
25 S COW, which is a type of barge (just).
28 A LAS(S).

6 Responses to “Independent 6595/Math”

  1. conradcork says:

    Since James Bond likes vodka martinis and is a spy, you could say he drinks from a spy glass.

  2. nmsindy says:

    This was very challenging as I’d never heard of the series but I got there in the end, subject to some verification. Then looked it up on the Internet after which light dawned.

    Some points: AVATAR is, I think, a screen icon (computer)
    BAIT is, I think, a double definition (re the animal and being annoying).
    PAWN is a chessman and the arrangement refers to the anagram, I think.

  3. neildubya says:

    I enjoyed this very much and found it pretty easy as I’m a big fan of the books. I have to say that once I found 14/1 I just went through the rest of the clues to see which ones (if any) would fit SUBTLE, KNIFE, AMBER and SPYGLASS. It’s a shame Math couldn’t fit Will or Daimon in though.

  4. conradcork says:

    The film Golden Compass is released today. Now we know why Dac got the Monday gig.

  5. Testy says:

    I agree with Nmsindy on his points.


    The “around here” in 18/6/26 is presumably referring to the fact that the titles of His Dark Materials were all displayed around the crossword.

    In 17D I think it should be read as “that lady” to indicate HER. Personally I wouldn’t have been happy with just “lady” giving HER. To my mind “that lady” and HER are more likely to be interchangeable than “lady” and HER.

    Looking at a few on-line references many of them seem define SCOW as a barge (try Allwords, Chambers, Wordsmyth, Infoplease, Thefreedictionary).

    I haven’t read the books but have at least heard of them which meant I got HIS DARK MATERIALS but struggled with LYRA (I thought it was probably right but had to Google to check).

  6. Colin Blackburn says:

    An avatar is a representation of oneself in a virtual world. This will often be rendered as a character on a screen hence the definition.

    I enjoyed this puzzle and got the trilogy title and saw the two alternative titles for the first volume but I didn’t notice the other two titles and so missed the SUBTLEty of the whole.

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