Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,305 by Anax

Posted by Simon Harris on March 16th, 2010

Simon Harris.

A pretty tough but enjoyable themed puzzle from a Fifteensquared regular.

The theme is spelled out in a Nina across the top row, and fans of prison-based sitcoms, or perhaps just those of a certain vintage will have been in their element here.

The thematic material I can see is as follows, though there may well be more that I’ve missed. I suppose CAMERAMEN would have been involved too :)


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

9 EUPHONIUM – (ON in PHI) in (EU + [col]UM[bus]).
10 EBOLA – (A LOBE)<.
13 BARROW – BAR + ROW. I can only guess that the def. is omitted as this is thematic, and part of BARROW + CLOUGH.
15 RUN – RUN[g].
17 FAR – FA + R. If something’s a good way away, it’s far.
20 SEAMLESS – L in (SEA + MESS).
25 SLADE – dd. The prison in which Porridge is set, and a glamtastic 70s combo.
1 PELF – [gos]PEL F[orbids]. “Bread” as in “money”. A new word for your blogger, but clear from the wordplay.
2 OPTICIAN – OP + hom. of “Titian”.
5 IMPI – I’M PI.
6 DELICACY – LED< + ((C + A) in ICY).
7 GODBER – (D + B) in GOER.
8 EARTHWARDS – (HARD WATER’S)*. The def. is simply “down”.
17 FLETCHER – (T + CH) in FLEER, and &lit, in this context.
19 OUTLAY – I think this is LAYOUT with the LAY and the OUT transposed.
21 MACKAY – [p]ACK in MAY.
23 SIFT – S[o]I[l] + FT.
24 NUTS – STUN<.

26 Responses to “Independent 7,305 by Anax”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Simon
    The definition in 13ac is ‘how’.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the great blog, Simon. I saw the PORRIDGE at the top but the rest of the theme was unfamiliar to me so thanks for explaining that. I managed to solve it all nonetheless, tho it was very hard as one of course expects from Anax. Favourites FAR, SEAMLESS, ROUBLE, IMPI. I agree with you about OUTLAY.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I only managed three clues today before having to give up, so this was pretty impenetrable for someone at my level. You definitely know it’s over your horizon when you come here and still can’t work out why some of the answers are what they are (FAR, BIG WHEEL and BARROW are still a mystery if anyone could oblige).

    So no problem if other more experienced solvers had a good challenge with it, but much too hard for me today. Has Anax been eating too much spinach, perhaps? I don’t remember his last couple of puzzles being this tough …

  4. anax says:

    Hi K’sD:

    I’m really sorry that you found this so tough – it wasn’t supposed to be that way and my memory of setting it is of trying to use enough easyish clues to make the theme gettable/enjoyable. I can’t say for certain that Eimi’s decision to give it a Tuesday slot was a reflection of the difficulty level but I’d guess it will have been a consideration.

    Many thanks for the great blog Simon, and my sincere apologies to those of you who were bamboozled by the puzzle.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for your kind comments, Anax – mine weren’t meant as a criticism, as I’m sure you know. I’m definitely still on the lower part of the learning curve, but enjoying it – and I know from previous contributions that setters and editors like to have feedback.

    And on that topic, we need some of the lurkers to come out on this part of the site to let us know what they think. I don’t want to be the new kid on the block (or even on the blog) for ever!

  6. dialrib says:

    Too hard for me too (I think I managed 8 before cheating) but the blog was very helpful as usual.

    13a I vaguely remembered How as being used in place names. The Wikipedia entry for How in Cumbria says How is derived from the Old Norse word haughr meaning hill or mound (a barrow being a mound over an ancient burial place).

    17a 0 represents nothing ie (sweet) F A and 15 represents the answer to 15 = Runs = R.

    16d VIP is def. List = Heel (as in a boat listing is leaning/heeling over). AC/DC is a euphemism for bisexual, which is sometimes shortened to bi. Very loud? = GigaWatt since even a 100W speaker can be pretty loud I suppose.

  7. beermagnet says:

    I’ll de-lurk to say this one soundly defeated me too.

    I only got 8 over 2 pints at lunchtime (including a short break to glance through the paper to collect my thoughts)
    What a shame. If I’d have got enough to see the theme or Nina coming out I might’ve got more. Porridge was always one of my favourites.

    All the clues now make sense and a few I should’ve got but I’d never heard of: Pelf; Gibbet as ridicule, and in 16D I still can’t see how GW is “very loud” (Giga Watts? – not really a synonym for audio volume).

  8. Derrick Knight says:

    Thanks for the Nina, Anax. I’d have struggled without it.

  9. sidey says:

    Way beyond me too.

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for explaining those three, dialrib.

  11. walruss says:

    Indeed!! But as usual with the Indy setters you can see how the clues work. Perhaps I need to practice a bit more, but another good thematic from Indy.

  12. traintraveller says:

    This defeated me also (not so unusual though). Managed 3, and can see that some would have escaped me no matter how long I spent on it… Still, it’d be boring if they were all of the same difficulty.

  13. Quixote says:

    I wouldn’t have solved SLADE without having the Nina. Given that the Nina ought to be an add-on, I thought the clue for SLADE was a bit unfair. Ingenious clues here — so well done, Anax — but straining towards the over-complex for a daily puzzle, I’d say.

  14. Duggie says:

    Even though I spotted the Nina I couldn’t finish this without cheating but I really admired the surfaces and deceptions, some of them brilliant – one of Anax’s many strengths.

  15. Paul B says:

    Well, I was captivated, if that’s the right word. And I didn’t find it too-too difficult, even while Anax is certainly able to be as tricky as any of ’em. All in all, I’m with blogger Simon: tough-ish, but very, very good.

  16. IanN14 says:

    I always look forward to an anax puzzle, and thought this was as good as ever.
    I got Clough and Mackay early doors so set off looking into Derby County managers of the 70’s…
    Spotted the theme, and then the nina, after Fletcher.
    Just a little disappointed there was no place for my own personal favourite, Mr Hislop (Brian Glover).
    But thanks, anax.

  17. Wil Ransome says:

    As always from Anax, extremely difficult but very good. I thought 25 was going to be Slade, but my first thought was of the art school. It seems OK to me to have this sort of clue, which refers to the Nina. This is something Virgilius does quite often I think and nobody seems to mind.

    Questions have been raised about GW in 16dn, but they have never really been answered, or so it seems. Anax himself maintained a dignified silence. Surely not gigawatt? As beermagnet says, not a synonym for audio volume. And why is a goer a dramatist on project (7dn)?

  18. dialrib says:

    7d Dramatist is the def (John Godber). I guess a task that is ‘a goer’ can also be ‘on project’ (ie within the limits of the project plan).

  19. IanN14 says:

    I know it’s a horrible term, but if something’s “on project” it is a “goer”.
    Godber is the dramatist.

  20. IanN14 says:

    Oh, sorry, dialrib…

  21. anax says:

    <<>> Good morning friends. Sorry I haven’t answered queries sooner – tonight was band rehearsal night and it’s always a late one.

    GW; yes, it’s Gigawatt. Mea culpa as regards the definition I applied to it, one of those instances where I thought of a Gigawatt in terms of the output of a very powerful amp (hey – I’m a muso, I think these things) and used the question mark to show that my interpretation was on the oblique side.

    For “on project” I wasn’t using one of those awful corporate jargon whatsits – heaven forbid! I just used “on” in the sense of “going ahead”. In full, the def would be “an on project”, i.e. a project which can go ahead.

  22. sidey says:

    Nice of you to confirm everyone’s worst fears anax 😉 I’d have possibly made a better fist of it at a weekend.

  23. Allan_C says:

    Not being a Porridge (as distinct from porridge) fan I didn’t spot the nina, and it wouldn’t have helped much. I struggled with the SW corner, mainly on account of 16d – all I could think of was BIG SHOTS, defined as “VIP List” and I couldn’t see how G-shots came into it. I’d ruled out Big Wheel as all it meant to me was the London Eye, etc.

  24. opalbeetle says:

    Very tough. i thought maybe the Slade clue was STADE, (stadium, venue) for top line = for the T an L. ?

  25. Moose says:

    As usual for me Anax is impossible and if these are easy clues God help us! I agree with Kathryn’s dad even with the answers they don’t make much sense.I got 4 clues.Worst of all couldn’t stand the programme Porridge! Definitely no more Anax for me!!

  26. Nick Corney says:

    Re the clue for Slade referring to the Nina, this is a) potentially helpful, as the Nina can then illuminate the theme and b) otherwise, how are you supposed to know that there even is a Nina? To scan for one in EVERY puzzle would be tedious, so personally I side with Anax and Virgilius.

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