Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7137 by Anax

Posted by NealH on August 31st, 2009


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def

A tricky bank holiday puzzle with some very good clues, 13 down being my favourite, but also a few that I was a bit uncertain about. I was held up by putting (not too unreasonably, I thought) “hair” (h + air) for 2 down. My main quibble was with 4 down, which looks to be an &lit. The definition doesn’t seem very close to the meaning of the word, but I may have misunderstood it.

4 Pip: Pi + p.
8 Reshuffle: Ruffle around E sh.
10 Omaha: (Aha mo)<.
11 Crossing sweeper: CD/DD. The first part is a reference to the football position of sweeper and crossing the ball (my knowledge of football doesn’t extend to whether there really is a position of “crossing sweeper”). After a bit of googling, I found out that Jo is a reference to a character in Dickens’ Bleak House whose profession it is.
14,16 Sundry: Not totally sure about the parsing of this. “Divers are bathing (not in water)”. Divers is obviously the definition and presumably “not in water” is dry, but I don’t know if sun can be a synonym for bathing.
15 Keep Britain Tidy: (Take pride in it by)*.
17 Dogfighting: CD.
19 Lapis Lazuli Ware: (Plaza will raise)* around u.
22 Gamer: (Re mag)<.
23 Gallantry: This seems to be all in gantry, although the phrasing of it is unusual – “Courage seen in each opening stand”. Opening must be interpreted as getting into.
24 Two: Not a 100% sure on this one either. “Number of batsmen not out for obstructing wicket”. Number of batsmen not out could be two since there are normally two in play and the rest could be to around w.
1 Cracow: Crow around a c. Hoodie for crow must be a reference to the hooded crow.
2 Guys: “Show on radio in hospital”. The hospital must be Guy’s and the “on radio” a homonym indicator to allow for that fact that there’s an apostrophe in the name. I’ve never heard of a stage show called Guys, but it may just be a short form of “Guys and Dolls”.
3,12 If anything can go wrong it will: If anything (=contrarily) + (growing cat now)* + ill.
4 Perspicaciously: Piously around (caprices)*.
5 Power Lunch: CD.
6 Hasp: Hidden in “fish a special”. Good deceptive use of catch.
7 Warranty: W + array around NT (New Testament).
9 Sporogeny: So around first letter of progeny.
13 Gobi Desert: Gob + Id est around er.
14 Soi disant: (is and so it)*.
15 Kidology: CD (little ones = kids).
18 Glenys: Glens around Y[ork].
20 Puma: (AM up)<.
21 Iran: I ran.

9 Responses to “Independent 7137 by Anax”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Neal

    Regarding 4d, the answer means clear-mindedly and a caprice is an unpredictable or unaccountable change of mind so I think the clue can be justified as an &lit.

    11a Jo is the name of the crossing sweeper in Bleak House

    14a to ‘sun’ oneself is to sunbathe so I suppose ‘are bathing’ could just about define ‘sun’

    24a I agree with your interpretation, the second half is W (wicket) in TO (for)

    2d homophone of ‘guise’ – show=pretence=guise

  2. IanN14 says:

    Well done Neal,
    I thought this was quite hard too.
    11ac. Jo is an Everton player, so quite a clever clue. I wasn’t sure about the def, so had to look it up

    I really loved 15ac, by the way.
    One of my favourite clues of the year so far…

  3. Ben Rüger says:

    In 14a divers is an archaism for sundry.



  4. Morph says:

    Nice puzzle, though 3,12 gives itself away pretty quickly if you know Sod’s law (and don’t we all!) But I must admit I guessed 15ac similarly quickly from the word lengths and thought it was just a not very CD, when in fact it’s a superb +lit. Reminds me that the message on chewing gum wrappers always used to be (English) “Keep Britain Tidy”, (French) “Gardez propre votre ville” and (German) “Haltet die Umwelt sauber” – country, town and environment, neatly summing up the most effective arena for an appeal to public-mindedness in each!

  5. Paul B says:

    Anex-cellent offering from Anax, with the amount of difficulty and intrigue judged perfectly for a Bank Holiday. Very many good clues, but am I really the only fan of the big cheese sandwiches?

  6. Eileen says:

    I didn’t know the expression POWER LUNCH but guessed it from the wordplay and crossing letters – and then thought it was great!

    I’m with Neal in having 13dn as my favourite – as well as the excellent 15ac.

    Another really clever and enjoyable puzzle from Anax [they seem to be becoming a regular feature – hurrah!].

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    Good crossword, pretty tough I thought. Several things I didn’t really see until I came here. But I’m still unclear why in 3/12 ‘if anything’ = ‘contrarily’. And I’m not really sure how dogfighting (17ac) is ‘scraps given to pets’. OK I see that dogs are pets and if they are fighting some scrapping is going on, but the ‘given to’ doesn’t seem right to me.

  8. Alberich says:

    An excellent Bank Holiday puzzle, one which took me the best part of an hour. I agree with others that 15 across is superb, along with 13 down. It didn’t help that I had GLADYS at 19 down for a while – the false A preventing me from getting the long crossing anagram. 11 across is very clever but I didn’t get the literary reference, so thanks to good old Fifteensquared for clarification. Great stuff!

  9. anax says:

    Many thanks for your kind comments, friends.

    Just to clear up a couple of points raised by Wil:

    “If anything” / “contrarily” is used in the context of, for example, “I thought this year’s event would be less ambitious than last year’s but, if anything, it was even bigger”.

    DOGFIGHTING. The grid fill forced this answer into place quite early but I thought it would have possibilities if I tied it in somehow with aerial combat. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything that hung together succinctly so tried to keep it simple. After countless wording run-throughs I eventually settled on the idea if using “given to” in its general “provided for” sense, but the jury’s evidently out as regards whether or not these two are identical! In the end, I was aware that many clues were on the tough side so opted for this pretty basic CD in the hope it would offer a starting point.

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