Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6853 by Punk

Posted by nmsindy on October 2nd, 2008


Pleasing puzzle from this imaginative setter which I found on the easy side, but made one mistake – thank’s for explaining it below, Geoff.

* = anagram

1 SMELLING SALTS Tip-top double definition

10 LOONY Two phrases meaning this    (No – it’s LOOPY which is very good)

11 AR (AU) C ARIA A Guardian setter who needs little introduction is named (pseudonym) after this (monkey puzzle) tree.


13 SETTING Excellent double definition, raising a smile


15 DI (SPROg) VE

18 ALTERING (triangle)*

19 BAD EGG Double defintion

21 MOO RAGE More good fun

22 O C (TAG) ON

24 N EAR THING North Pole earthing

25 C RATE An old decrepit car – very good clue c = speed of light

26 HAPPY FAMILIES (if he plays pa I’m)*



3 L (AY S) ISTER (say)*

4 IRA (QI) S s (IQ) ari all reversed

5 GOATSKIN (asking to)*


7 TURN IN ONES GRAVE (Run into nerve gas)*

8 G(L)OB AL (W)ARMING w = world’s heading (first letter) gob = trap = mouth. I suspected this straightaway from the definition and enumeration. As it was in the leftmost column and intersected six across entries giving first letter, it made the rest of the puzzle much easier for me.

9 HANG S ENG IN(D)E X Another one I guessed from enumeration and definition before working it all out.

16 P (R) ACT I CAL (California)

17 UN BE (L I) EF

22 DO D GEM Dodgems at the fun fair, hence, ‘fair thing’

22 AC T UP

16 Responses to “Independent 6853 by Punk”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    10a The Indy website gives this as ‘loopy’ rather than ‘loony’, which makes a little more sense as otherwise the clue has effectively two identical definitions.

  2. Testy says:

    So good they blogged it twice

  3. neildubya says:

    My bad, as they say. I was convinced it was my turn to post to day. Ironically, I’m the one that writes the schedule so I really should have known. Anyhoo, I’ve deleted my post now.

  4. mhl says:

    Neil, I was similarly convinced that I was doing the Guardian today, having last checked the calendar on Sunday… I assumed that was my mistake, but it seems like something of a coincidence that we should both write duplicate posts today!

  5. neildubya says:

    It does seem strange but I think it was just a coincidence. Diagacht was definitely due to post today as he now shares his slot with Eileen and she posted last Wednesday (and as you know I generally try to rotate people through the week).

  6. Geoff Moss says:

    18a Neither you nor Neil (before his duplicate blog was deleted) have commented on this one. I don’t usually get hung up about parts of speech but this one sticks out like a sore thumb.

    If the anagram indicator is ‘needs adjustment’ then ‘to skew’ could (very) loosely define ‘alter’ or ‘a skew’ could be ‘alteration’ but I cannot see any way that ‘skew’ can equate to ‘altering’.

    Things get even worse if ‘skew’ is the anagrind.

  7. mhl says:

    Right – come to think of it, there are any number of ways I could have misread the calendar thinking that last week was this week, particularly since the week crossed into a new month.

    (I never realised before that Punk is Paul! I guess Punk in the Independent post-dates the publication “A-Z of Crosswords”…)

  8. nmsindy says:

    I did not think too much about the ALTERING once I saw the anagram. Looking at it again, perhaps ‘needs’ is a link word with the definition being ‘adjustment’ and ‘skew’ indicating the anagram.
    Mhl is correct, I think, re Punk in Indy post-dating the Azed book.

  9. neildubya says:

    That was how I read it too. As Geoff suggests, any other way and the clue doesn’t really work.

  10. Geoff Moss says:

    18a OK, if ‘skew’ is the anagrind, ‘needs’ simply a link word and ‘adjustment’ is the definition then we are no further forward since ‘altering’ is not a noun. The definition should therefore have been ‘adjusting’.

  11. Testy says:

    I think that you could read an ALTERING as a (pretty uncommon) gerundial noun.

  12. nmsindy says:

    The ALTERING of the clue explanation may have puzzled readers, but I guess most would have got the answer…

  13. Ali says:

    Lovely puzzle, though I was defeated by ARAUCARIA (not for the first time…!), BAD EGG and the HANG SENG part of 9D.

    Is Punk/Paul/Mudd still on the Times team as well? That’s some going!

  14. John H says:

    He was in the Times yesterday.

  15. Geoff Moss says:


    I don’t disagree but then the definition should also have been gerundial, ie ‘adjusting’. You can say “My adjusting (or altering) it was wrong” but not “My adjustment it was wrong”. It would need to be ‘adjusting’ or ‘adjustment of’.

    Anyway, enough of my appearing to be a gerund-grinder, I really ought to get a life! :-)

  16. Ali says:

    A-ha, I thought that yesterday’s Times was more entertaining than usual.

    Keep up the good work 😉

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