Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6677 – Glow-worm Time of the month?

Posted by tilsit on March 11th, 2008


Solving time: 21 minutes.  I really enjoy Glow-worm’s puzzles, both the blocked  and his barred puzzles which appear in the Listener , Inquisitor and EV canon.  Today’s was no exception with a couple of nice linked clues.  A little word of thanks to Jen for help with MELBA TOAST

 ACROSS   (*) = ANAGRAM   (CD) = Cryptic definition  (R) = Reversal

1/3  MARCH HARE  Barnet (Fair) is cockney rhyming slang for Hair, which here is used as a homophone.

4  HALF MAST  (CD)  A flag flying at half-mast marks a death.

9  GONERIL   “& Lit” clue referring to King Lear’s daughter.   IGNORE* + L (Lear’s first)

10/29  COLONEL BOGEY   COLON (Gut)  +  ELBO(W) (‘mostly’ joint) + G + E+ Y (Last three letters from outstanding, grouse, only).  Colonel Bogey was the March used in the film “The Bridge on the Rver Kwai”, composed by Kenneth Alford, with an adaptation by Malcolm Arnold used in the film.

11  BEER    A porter is a type of Stout


15/14  THE DAM BUSTERS  EDAM + BUS + REST* after TH (Thursday).  Another famous war-time march from the film of the same name, composed by Eric Coates.


18  COME TO BLOWS  Scrap here means fight.  Clue overall refers to what trumpeters do  COME TO BLOW + S (sabbath)

19  EVA  Hidden answer   –  Immense variety.

21  FIRE HOSE  This was a nice clue.  The US equivalent of a fire station is Fire House, take out U (Universal) and you get something found in one!

22  PAST    A March Past usually involved reviewing troops, etc.

26  ALL TIME  Double definition

27  PEA SOUP  PE(N) + AS+ O U P  (Oxford University Press).   An old name for a fog.

28  RADETSKY      TRADE* + SKY   The Radetsky March was composed by Johann Strauss.  A particular favourite of mine, it is always featured on the New Years’ Day Concert from Vienna, it gives me great amusement seeing all the auditorium almost on the edge of their seats wondering if it will be played and then bursting into surprised applause when it is!


1  MEGABIT  Meg(Ryan) + A BIT

2  RANGE   The end of ANGER shifts to the front.

4  HALO   HA(L)LO  –  Another nice clue.

5  LOCKER ROOM  Spooner’s chair making an appearance would be ROCKER LOOM

6  MELBA TOAST     TABLE reversed inside mast with O inside.


8 FLUENT   FLU +  E N T (Ear, Nose and Throat) Dept. 


18  CAFTAN   AFT inside CAN (slang name for bathroom) –  Usually spelt with a K, but not here.

20 AUTOPSY  SPOT inside AU + Y  PM = Post Mortem

23  ALONG    (H) ALO + NG

24  SPAY     SPA + Y

25  JAMB   Sounds like Jam (Bottleneck)

18 Responses to “Independent 6677 – Glow-worm Time of the month?”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I found it very tough to break into the theme here – after that it was easier. One I do not quite follow is BEER – 11 across. Yes, I know it’s porter “possibly” but do not get the rest. “Porter possibly on 1 across makes a strong brew” 1 across = MARCH.

  2. Testy says:

    Apparently “March Beer” is “a particularly strong beer traditionally brewed in March”. I thought that was a bit obscure.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Testy. I enjoyed this puzzle, but definitely found it tough.

  4. Wil Ransome says:

    Good thing Tilsit was blogging this and not me, for I’d have been far more critical.

    Specifically (and while I’m calling these criticisms, they may in fact simply be the result of my failure to understand):
    a) How is 9 an & lit.? The whole four words aren’t a definition of Goneril, are they?
    b) 10/29: “outstanding grouse” for GE seems a bit stretched.
    c) 19A: “of” is presumably the hidden indicator. Mmm…
    d) 26A: This seemed so tenuous that I was reluctant to write it in until I had to. “second” = “time” is an irritating example of definition by example, and the definition is unconvincing.
    e) 1D: What is “all” doing?
    f) 8D: I wasn’t convinced by “acquire”: is it a link word (if so, it’s rather an odd one)? Is the definition “Easy to acquire”? Surely not.
    g) 13D: How does “last available one” give E?

    Otherwise one or two quite nice clues, but not what we’ve come to expect on a Tuesday.

  5. Jon says:

    Even though I got 1/3 very quickly, the theme failed to dawn on me altogether and I gave up halfway through. Reviewing the answers all looks clear enough now, but at the time thought a lot of the definitions were very obscure. I thought PM as the definition for AUTOPSY was very good, obvious when you see it but well hidden in plain sight at the time.

  6. Testy says:

    a) I agree it’s not exactly &lit, it’s more of a partial &lit or a &nearly-lit/&hinting-at-lit
    b) 10/29: as Tilsit said, the GEY comes from the final letters of outstandiG grousE onlY (I can’t remember the clue exactly and it’s disappeared into the online ether but I think it had something about “finally” in it to indicate the final letters). Until I read the blog I thought like you that “outstanding grouse” was somehow trying to indicate GE.
    c) “of” is used extremely frequently to indicate hidden words and I think it is perfectly OK (“of” being synonymous with “coming from”)
    d) 26A, I thought wasn’t too bad. I admit I wasn’t too keen on the second=time thing but thought it was just about acceptible.
    e) 1D: I don’t have access to the clue now so can’t comment
    f) 8D: similarly. Although the definition was definitely just “Easy”
    g) 13D: again, if you could reproduce the clue I could try to help.

    Overall, although the puzzle didn’t set me alight and I struggled with it a bit, I thought it was reasonable.

    One of the things I was unsure about for a while was the fact that “greetings” indicated “hallo” and not “hallos” (I even wondered whether “line’s dropped” could perhaps indicate dropping “L’S” i.e. both an L and an S) but I eventually convinced myself that “greetings” does not necessarily mean more than one greeting.

  7. Testy says:

    Message for Eimi regarding my inability to comment on yesterday’s clues:

    The ability to print the puzzle and perhaps an archive (say of the last few weeks’ puzzles like the FT) would be helpful.

    Perhaps this could be borne in mind for possible future enhancements to the online puzzle.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Only guessing, but I’d say the Indy is testing the water before possibly introducing a paid-for service like the others. So you may have to think of buying the paper if you’re within reach of it!

  9. Wil Ransome says:


    You’re quite right about 10/29 – I got it wrong – apologies to Glow-worm.

    1D: “Ms Ryan’s somewhat taken by all this information” – MEGABIT
    8D: “Easy to acquire infection near hospital department” – FLUENT
    13D: “Whisky barrel – last available one in wood?” – SCOTCH PINE.

    Is “of” used “extremely frequently” as a hidden indicator? Very rarely, I’d say, and in my opinion unsoundly.

    I doubt whether the Indy will let you print the crossword, for fear of losing sales of the paper. They probably think this on-screen thing won’t reduce them too much.

  10. eimi says:

    I’d like to expand the Indy online puzzles, but obviously a printable version would have a much greater effect on paper sales. At the moment my main concern is trying to stop them putting the live prize puzzles on the site with reveal buttons. I may have to treat them like naughty children and refuse to send the files until after the closing date.

  11. Testy says:


    1D I’d say “all” is there to indicate that we are talking about a quantity of information
    8D I agree that “to acquire” only seems to be there to help the surface
    13D I think that the definition is “one in wood” (i.e. a tree that you would find in a wood) rather than just “wood”

  12. Paul B says:

    I’d like to stand up for ‘of’ as a hidden indicator on the grounds that Chambers, even in its decimanted Reference Online format (sense six), offers us ‘belonging to or FORMING A PART OF SOMETHING’.

    However, I like Wil’s forthright accusations, and if he can say why the grammar for this contraption is unsound, I will be grateful – and I for one will refrain from using this indicator!

  13. Testy says:

    No offence to Wil but I think the fact that Chambers, COED (first definition “expressing the relationship between a part and a whole”) et al would justify it is enough for me.

  14. nmsindy says:

    Dictionary definitions of OF can be a bit abstract, but I’d have no difficulty with it as a hidden indicator in the sense ‘part of’ or ‘from’.

    I think it’s in quite common usage, too.

  15. Paul B says:

    This kind of economy I picked up from Guardian compilers, with hidden indicators such as ‘from’ and ‘of’, and the ultraslim ‘Apostrophe S’ technique for a simple possessive: we might see something like

    Eric Atkin’s whip (3)

    … although it is really late, and we might like to see something better!

  16. Wil Ransome says:

    OK Paul, I suppose “of” is OK as an a.i., for the reasons you give. It seems inadequate to me – Azed never seems to use it or to allow this device to get through in the clues he quotes in his slip, but he’s not the only setter around and perhaps one shouldn’t stick to his ideas too religiously. I’d be interested to see exactly why he eschews it – perhaps someone knows where, in his slips, which are available on the net, he has done so?

  17. timbo says:

    I found this puzzle really annoying. I am surprised that the editor allows use of such obscure slang expressions in a clue – let alone a clue (1A) that is so central to the the entire puzzle.
    I couldn’t have got 1A to save my life. I suppose it is a reflection of the metropolitan bias that saturates the independent. How I long for the old Independent – it was so much
    better in the Whitham-Smith days.

  18. Testy says:


    I don’t think that 1A was obscure at all. “Barnet”, meaning hair, is surely pretty well known (even to a far northerner like myself). (Cockney) Rhyming slang is rife throughout all crosswords and has been for a long time. The Independent doesn’t use it any more than any of the other papers (with the possible exception of the FT due to its more international audience).

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

× 2 = eighteen