Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7217/Dac

Posted by John on December 2nd, 2009


Dac just goes on producing crosswords with clues that run so smoothly you think he must have been lucky. Well the only way he may have been lucky is in having the ability to make things appear very simple. And he goes on doing this week after week.

5 CASEMATE — 2 defs, although the word in the fellow investigator sense seems not to exist. A casemate is a small room in the thickness of a wall in a fortress.
9 S{trong} P{olitical} L{eadership} ASHDOWN — Paddy Ashdown
10 GO BY
12 AS TUTE{e} — at least I think that’s how it works — initially I’d thought it was a hidden
13 SET OUT — 2 defs
15 BAHRAINI — “bar rainy”
17 BOAT RACE — (ob)rev. a trace — the event that will soon be called the Xchanging Boat Race
19 S TITCH — S for see is where? It isn’t in the COD and I’m sure it isn’t in Chambers, won’t even bother to look, so is it in Collins? Perhaps ‘little’ goes with ‘see’, very Azedian but not something I associate with Dac
21 STABLE — 2 defs
23 KHARTOUM — “car tomb”
25 MESS — 2 defs
26 STAYCATION — stay (in coat)* — I suppose the reference to the British holiday is just that in a staycation you stay at home, but ‘this year’s’?
2 REP L{eague} ACE — beautiful surface
3 T{own} (RAN) S PORT — I’m not quite sure about “small town” to indicate its first letter — or is T somewhere an abbreviation for town?
4 CO HEN — Leonard Cohen
5 COOKED BREAKFAST — (baked cake or soft)*
6 SUNBATHES — (snubs heat)*, nice &lit.
7 Men In Gym Have Tight-fitting
8 TI(BE)TAN — the Tibetan Mastiff
16 ARISTOTLE — (is later to)*
18 OUTWEAR — 2 defs
22 BA S(1)C
24 A SCO(U)T

14 Responses to “Independent 7217/Dac”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Yes, John.
    I thought this was good, and very sound as usual, except that, as you say, the S in 19ac. seems a bit dubious.
    I’m assuming it’s S for small, ie. little?
    Not sure about that..

    9ac. and, especially, 7d. were great, though.
    26ac. I think is because it’s a recently coined word, due to the credit crunch.

  2. Draig says:

    What is the answer for 7d please?

  3. IanN14 says:

    Might (Muscle) is the answer.
    First letters (tops) of Men In Gym Have Tight.

    I’m still waiting for an explanation for 19ac. (eimi? Dac? Anyone?).
    S can’t be an abbreviation of “see”, can it?

  4. nmsindy says:

    S = see is in Collins. I thought, that, even by Dac’s exalted standards, this was a brilliant puzzle. Marked SPLASHDOWN, GOBY, BOAT RACE, STAYCATION, SUNBATHES, MIGHT, TRAVERSAL. In CASEMATE the fellow investigator is meant as wordplay, I’d say.

  5. Ali says:

    Nothing here that’s likely to make me question my view that Dac is up there with the very best of them. This was, yet again, a fantastic puzzle.

    Love the STAYCATION clue and the surface reading for MIGHT is absolutely wonderful.

  6. Conrad Cork says:


    Re your comment on 26 across. I think the significance of ‘this year’s’ is that we have only really heard of staycations this year, their new found prominence being brought about by the credit crunch.

  7. IanN14 says:

    OK, it’s in Collins. I only have Chambers.
    Does the “see” mean See, as in Ely, or see as in, erm, see? (If you s what I mean?).
    If the latter, how would you ever use it?

  8. nmsindy says:

    I guess, Ian, you’d have to ask Collins about that – I think it’s probably see ie look eg at another page for further information.

  9. nmsindy says:

    PS re Draig’s request for the answer to a clue at 2 above, the Indy website has a ‘reveal’ feature where you can see them.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Very enjoyable solve (partly because I managed to finish it). After all the fishy comments yesterday, GOBY was my last to go in, which raised a smile. Nice to see a neologism like STAYCATION get an airing – but aren’t all the answers supposed to be in a dictionary? Or does this just apply to the prize puzzles?

  11. sidey says:

    Not all answers have to be in a dictionary Kathryn’s Dad, many proper names for a start. I think Azed said something like ‘Chambers is only recommended’, or here Collins or COD.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, sidey (and sorry to let the northern contingent down over at the Grauniad by not knowing TOD). If it’s not too off-topic for everyone, recently I’ve found a number of answers (not proper names) that I managed, but which aren’t in my Collins. Is Chambers considered to be the real deal for the serious solver?

  13. sidey says:

    Chambers shouldn’t really be necessary for daily puzzles. Collins (but which one, they do about ten) and the Concise Oxford are the ones usually cited. Chambers is essential if you fancy trying the barred puzzles like Azed or Mephisto (which aren’t actually as daunting as they first seem).
    If you have a library card you can usually access the OED online but no crosswords require that.

    Sorry Gaufrid 😉

  14. nmsindy says:

    I think STAYCATION was fully justified by topicality, tho it would not have hit dictionaries yet.

    For daily puzzles, Collins is probably the best dictionary and includes proper names. The Times uses that and the Concise OED.

    The ‘advanced’ puzzles such is Inquisitor, Listener, Mephisto, Azed, Enigmatic Variations rely on Chambers because of the large number of unusual words therein which give scope to the setter while also providing a single reference point for solvers. Chambers as a matter of policy does not include proper names so another source, such as Collins, may be needed for them. Very rarely a daily puzzle might include a word only in Chambers but this would be very much the exception.

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