Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7214 by Anax – Saturday Prize Puzzle 28 November 2009

Posted by duncanshiell on December 4th, 2009


This blog was nearly a non-event when I realised on Wednesday that I had thrown out Saturday’s paper and the recycling binmen had taken it away.  Many thanks to nmsindy for coming to my rescue by providing a copy.

I thought this was an excellent crossword with some clues that needed a good deal of lateral thinking.  I find Anax has a real flair for the clue that makes you think beyond the normal crossword fare.

I also liked the use of long words and phrases throughout the puzzle.  I think it gives the setter greater scope to compose interesting clues and gives the solver greater comfort that his answer is right.  I tear out what little hair I have over puzzles where there is a surfeit of 4 letter words where the checked letters are _E_T, or _A_E, or similar combinations where there are upward of 150 possibilities.   I reckon the average entry length in this puzzle was 9.7 letters with only two 4 letter entries at the shorter end of the scale.  I had thought that the Saturday puzzle by Eimi that I blogged last month had an impressive entry length, but his average entry length was 8.6 letters, although he had nothing shorter than 5 letters.

The surfaces of the clues in this puzzle conjured some bizarre mental images. I’m not sure what OVID would make of YouTube.  I drive a motorhome quite often and people always want to get by me in the final few metres before the dual carriageway comes down to one lane, even though I can travel quite easily at the national speed limit on most single carriageway roads, so I often dream about people getting cut up getting cut up by caravans.

Many of the surfaces were excellent with splendid misdirection, eg ‘flat sound’, or ‘dodgy figures’ where I’m sure many solvers assumed that dodgy was the anagrind,  and ‘steers without wheels’ which had nothing to do with driving a car.

I think the most inventive clue was the one for SEMICIRCLE, which I hoipe I have interpreted correctly.

Finally, I am a CRUCIVERBASLIST and I am retired, but I hope I am few years off being considered a relic.

Thanks to Anax for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Wordplay Entry
1 JACKO (pop star, reference Michael Jackson) + FALL (to drop) + TRAD (traditional jazz) + ES  ( I think this is a variant on the French verb ‘etre’  to be; are, art) JACK OF ALL TRADES (being multi-talented)
9 NUM (National Union of Mineworkers; miners) contained in  (appear in) (E’ER [ever; always] + ATE [upset]) ENUMERATE (to give a list of; to catalogue)
10 AMP (amplifier, from which sound comes) contained in (through) PA (public address system; sound system) PAMPA (treeless plain in southern South America; flat)
11 O (old) + VID (short for [briefly] video, the medium used for YouTube offerings) OVID (Roman poet whose life spanned the turn from BC to AD)
12 If you combine (join) the first two letters (members) of CID you can place the I in the jaws of the C and create a character that is a mirror image of the third letter (member) of CID, viz D.  Both D and the newly created character display as an image representing a SEMICIRCLE. SEMICIRCLE (represented by D, the third element of CID)
14 (REFERENCES [relations] contained in [entering] PH [public house; pub]) + ARE PREFERENCE SHARE (shares are issued by quoted companies)
15 Anagram of (new) LABOUR LIES INNIT LIBERAL UNIONIST (a section of the Liberal Party that opposed Gladstone’s Home Rule policy (1886) and joined the Conservatives.)
17 Anagram of (suffering) ON LAST LEGS GALLSTONES (a particularly unpleasant and painful condition caused by concretion in the gall bladder or biliary ducts)
18 A (area) contained in (covered by) TLC (Tender Loving Care; love) TALC (a powder used after bathing)
20 (A [answer] + IS + SO [thus]) all reversed (in reverse) OSSIA (an Italian word meaning ‘or’ [giving an alternative in music])
21 REST (calm) containing (cut up by) TRAIN (caravan) RESTRAINT (stay)
22 Anagram of (disguises) ASSUME MISTER MEN MISMEASUREMENTS (cryptically defined as ‘dodgy figures’)


Wordplay Entry
1 JOKES (kids, in the sense of hoaxes) excluding the middle letter (gutless) K + OAP (pensioner) JOE SOAP (reference Joseph Soaper, an incompetent private detective who appeared in The Eagle comic in the 1980s)
2 Anagram of (that’s unfair) VICARS BUT RELICS CRUCIVERBALISTS (crossword addicts, i.e. us)
3 EX (without) reversed (wheels) contained in (breaking) ON (the leg side in cricket) OXEN (steers)
4 I think this is a cryptic interpretation of saying  A FAREWELL (all the best) TO ARMS (to branches) A FAREWELL TO ARMS (semi auto-biographical novel by Ernest Hemingway, written in 1929, and stocked by all good booksellers)
5 LIES (stories) containing (about) (BIG CON [major fraud] + DEN [haunt]) + ER (royal) LIEBIG CONDENSER (water-cooled glass condenser used in laboratory distillations)
6 REP (commercial traveller) + AIRS (reveals) + HOP (journey) REPAIR SHOP (a location for fixing things)
7 DEMOTION (lowering of) containing (borders) an anagram of (flummoxed) A RACIST DEMOCRATISATION (removal of inequality)
8 (I [one] contained in [separating] SAME [identical]) + SHE excluding the middle letter (heartlessly) H SIAMESE (referenmce Siamese or conjoined twins)
13 HEARTH (home) omitting the last letter (almost) H + SEASE (sounds like [from the mouth] SIEZE [take]) HEART’S-EASE (the pansy; flower)
15 (EG [for example, say] + R [runs]) contained in (through) LOOM (reference weaver’s frame) LEGROOM (gap between seats)
16 TACIT (understood) + US (reference ‘us and them’ in opposition) TACITUS (Roman historian)
19 FORM (reference ‘order form’) with the OR put ‘out of order’ to become RO.  (I haven’t explained that very well, but I think it is something along those lines) FROM (out of)

7 Responses to “Independent 7214 by Anax – Saturday Prize Puzzle 28 November 2009”

  1. Allan_C says:

    Thanks for the explanation of ‘semicircle’. It had to be that, but I couldn’t figure out why. Also, I’d forgotten the origin of ‘Joe Soap’ (a lot of people use it as an alternative to ‘Joe Bloggs’ meaning anybody) so I didn’t understand all the clue.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Duncan. I’m sure you’re right about SEMICIRCLE, I did not understand that. Favourite clue, DEMOCRATISATION. I wonder if in FORM, it is order = form rather than a reference to an order form.

  3. Paul B says:

    I think you are right, NMS. Thanks to Duncan too for a superb blog, and to Anax for another really splendid puzzle. Let there be more!

  4. Liz Wesson says:

    Thank you for putting me out of my misery. If I’d got ossia correctly, but impossible without knowledge of Italan, I would have been well on the way to cruciverbalist even though I’ve never come across the term. Still it’s nice to know what I am. The killer was CID but so clever.

  5. anax says:

    Just before this one disappears, many thanks for the superbly presented blog Duncan – I feel somewhat humbled by the effort you’ve put into it. It’s a shame that the glut of blogs usually appearing on Fridays means this (and the others) vanish from sight so rapidly.

    Liz: I’m delighted that you enjoyed the CID “thing” as I was bit nervous about using what is effectively a Rebus clue.

    On the subject of these blogs in general, I’m guessing that the design is such that it’s not possible to use a “Read more…” format, where that wording could appear after perhaps a brief intro, with the list of answers and explanations only appearing after you click the “Read more” link. It would be great were this possible, since more blogs could be accessed from each page.

  6. eimi says:

    I’d like to add my appreciation for Duncan’s highly detailed blog(s). I’ve never analysed my mean word lengths, but I’ve checked and my next is 8.85 – no match for Anax’s 9.67, though I have one, as yet unclued, weighing in at 9.9. I think if you got much higher than this some people would complain that there were too few clues.

    I agree that the format Anax suggests would be helpful, with the advantage of not acting as a spoiler for someone checking one puzzle here before tackling another. If it’s not possible to do in the main blog area, perhaps it could be achieved by the blogger including the answers as the first comment?

  7. Bill says:

    Great with anagrams which I usually get but had to use crossword solver for cruciverbalist and Liebig condenser but got enough other letters to get them.Never heard of either.Very happy with mismeasurement but Pampa.Never would have got that

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