Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent Saturday Prize No 6855 (Monk)

Posted by bridgesong on October 10th, 2008

bridgesong.

This was my first attempt at completing an Independent prize crossword (I’m substituting for Neil, who’s on holiday). With one or two exceptions I didn’t find it too difficult, finishing all but one or two clues in the course of a day (22 across came to me in the small hours of the morning, when the penny finally dropped). I thought that on the whole it was a fair puzzle with one or two excellent clues, but I did feel that 11 and 19 across were more suited to a general knowledge crossword than to a cryptic one.  If there was a Nina, or hidden theme, then I’m afraid that I failed to detect it.

Across
1 PACIFIC *IF + ICE CA(p)
5 IN BRIEF BRIE in 1 NF
9 NONPAREIL *PAREN(t) in LION (rev.) One definition of “nonpareil” is “matchless”
10 HEART HEART(s) The reference is to the card suit
11 THE ICEMAN COMETH A play by Eugene O’Neill, with a leading character called Hope: if you haven’t heard of it, you will have found this a tough clue to solve
12 END USER *ENDURES The dreaded indirect anagram; first you have to deduce that “tolerates” means “endures” and then find an anagram.  Definitely non-Ximenean!
13 SCORPIO SCORPIO(n)
16 STRAFED FE in STRAD
18 CABARET BARE in CAT
19 BOATSWAIN’S CHAIR Another test of general knowledge; either you know this or you don’t, but there’s nothing in the clue to help you work it out
21 TARSI TARS + 1
22 HARMONICA The best clue in the puzzle, once you realise that “trap” = “mouth” (which took me a long time!)
23 YESHIVA *HAS IVY (leagu)E
24 ORKNEYS *R(iver) ON SKYE
Down
1 PINE TREES *PINTER + SEE (rev.)
2 CONTENDER CON + TENDER
3 FRANCIS OF ASSISI FRANC + IS (three times) round SOFAS A clever piece of wordplay, with a misleading reference to the compiler
4 CREAMER CREAM (the best) + ER A pedant (like me) might moan that a monogram really means a figure involving several initials woven into one, which in the case of the present Queen would involve the number II as well as the initials ER, but I don’t suppose anyone was misled. Many compilers would simply refer to the Queen and leave it at that
5 ISLANDS IS + LANDS A clever clue; Christmas and Easter (islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans) are the definition here
6 BY HOOK OR BY CROOK Not sure if I fully understand the wordplay here. A hook is an attacking stroke in cricket, and Captain Cook with an r (short for runs) is a CRook, but I can’t make “clearing over short extra” mean “OR BY”. Any suggestions?
7 INANE In a “ne” I.e. “asinine” ends with the letters n, e
8 FETCH F + ETCH
14 PURGATIVE I found this very hard, mainly because I was looking for an occupation, rather than a medicine. However, “purgative” is a noun as well as an adjective, so grammatically the clue seems sound. More the sort of thing you might find in a Cyclops clue in Private Eye, though?
15 OUTBREAKS *BRUTE in OAKS
17 DRACHMA D + RACHMA(n) The reference is to the notorious extortionate landlord of slum properties in London, Peter Rachman. Some would say that “dodgy” is putting it mildly
18 CON BRIO The reference to “bars” is nicely misleading: it’s a musical term
19 BOTHY TH(e) in BOY
20 ARRAS Hidden and reversed in “disarray”

3 Responses to “Independent Saturday Prize No 6855 (Monk)”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I think the short extra is BY(e) – cricket. Thought clue for PACIFIC was a classic – “If most of ice-cap melts, it would be raised”

  2. eimi says:

    Biographical trivia: Monk is a very good 22 Across player.

  3. bridgesong says:

    Nmsindy – thanks for your comment; I agree that by(e) makes sense. I also see that I wrongly annotated 1 across, it should of course read *IF + IC(e) CAP

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