Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7334 by Hypnos

Posted by NealH on April 19th, 2010


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

I found this extremely challenging to finish, the SW corner being the worst. There were some very good clues with nice misdirection in places (e.g. 4 across, 3 down), although perhaps a few too many single character abbreviations. There were a couple of queries that I had.

1 Pasta: Sap< + ta (thanks).
4 Ryan Giggs: (Is angry)* around g[a]g. Not being a great football fan, the “at first” bit threw me, making me think it was part of the wordplay. However, a quick check on Giggs’ career reveals he did start on the left-wing but now plays in more of a midfield position.
9 Rough it: Rout around GHI (consecutive letters).
10 Devotee: The clue seems to be vote in de[tox], but I don’t know where the other E comes from.
11 Oliver Twist: (Wet Visitor)* around l (lake).
13 Sit: Sit[e] and sit as a synonym for brood (verb).
14 Tense: Te around ENS. Ref to grammatical perfect tense.
15 Up the ante: Up (= completed) + [operatio]n in theat[r]e.
17 Funicular: Particular with part replaced by fun.
19 Civet: C (Chapter) + I + vet. Civets have a distinctive smell and their musk is used in perfumes.
21 Lot: DD – this French department.
23 Creme Brulee: Rumble* + E in Cree. I’m not sure about the political correctness of referring to Native American peoples as Indians these days, but it would be a blow to crossword compilers if they couldn’t do it any more.
24 Reading: DD. This was an annoying one for me, as I thought of the answer straightaway but dismissed it initially. It must be study as an noun = reading and gloss in the sense of glossing over something.
26 Inertia: In (= favoured) + ti[n] in era.
27 Manoeuvre: Man (= staff as a verb) + oueuvre.
28 Tweak: W[oodworker] in teak.
1 Purport: R Po R in Put.
2 Sauvignon: &lit. S (=satisfactory) + u[nwinding] in Avignon.
3 Athlete: H + let in Eta<. Def = "Maybe, I run".
4 Ratatouille: (A rail outlet)*. Not quite sure why ratatouille = French cheer, other than it might cheer you up if you were hungry.
5 Aid: Aid[a].
6 Gavotte: Garotte with v (very) replacing r. Def = “old series of steps”.
7 Gates: DD referring to the Microsoft founder.
8 Sweetie: Swee[p] + tie.
12 Internecine: ([S]een in cert[a]in)* (Southern America = SA seceding i.e. being removed).
16 Novelette: N (=note) + (Steve) Ovett around le + E.
17 Fulcrum: F[o]ul + [s]crum.
18 Cocaine: Co + (Michael) Caine.
19 Correct: Corr (any of the members of the Irish group, The Corrs) + ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).
20 Tieback: Hom of Thai + back.
22 Train: DD.
25 Guv: Three single letter abbreviations – g for gauges was unfamiliar to me and I haven’t found it in any dictionaries, although U and v for United and victory come up fairly frequently.

12 Responses to “Independent 7334 by Hypnos”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I think in DEVOTEE it refers to the letter DEE. Cheer just means food, I think.
    I found this quite challenging with NE corner the hardest, favourite clues DEVOTEE and GATES. Good puzzle.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Helpful and thorough blog, Neal, thank you. I had to give up in the SW corner and found the puzzle as a whole difficult.

    Some entertaining clues mixed in with some slightly dodgy ones, I thought. 4ac will annoy the football refuseniks, but I liked it; 3dn was well-constructed; and the surface of 27ac was elegant.

    But DEE for the letter ‘d’? I suppose we have EFF for ‘f’ as in eff off, but still … Single letter abbreviations are, I guess, something you get used to as you get better at solving, but if someone could give me an example in everyday use for s = satisfactory it would increase my knowledge.

    And READING as ‘gloss’? I’m not so much annoyed, Neal, as confused. But despite a few niggles, not a bad start to the week. Over at the Grauniad, on the other hand …

  3. anax says:

    Using components such a DEE=D is fine by me. After all, a grid entry AITCH would be perfectly acceptable – merely the way in which letters of the alphabet are spelled out. Come to think of it, I seem to remember using the answer DOUBLE-U in a published puzzle are year so back.

  4. Eileen says:

    Last Friday, in the Guardian, Virgilius with his Brendan hat on clued EFFETE as ‘Affected FT, with second part changed’.

    I think I remember S – along with VG and G – on things like school reports but I can’t see it in my Collins or Chambers.

  5. NealH says:

    S for satisfactory is listed in the online free dictionary.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    S for satisfactory is indeed listed in my current edition of Collins; I was just interested to know of any current usage, or whether as solvers we’re supposed to twig single letter abbreviations as part of CrypticLand language when we’ve been exposed to them a few times, even though they’re not part of modern speech. Yes, is the answer, I presume, and fair enough.

    A for ‘orses, and all that as well.

  7. Andrew says:

    As regards 24a, a GLOSS is a variant reading of part of a text.

  8. flashling says:

    OK that was hard, are the indy compilers having a football related competition after saturday from Anax as well. If that’s not allowed as a comment please feel free to censor this.


  9. Martin H says:

    A tricky one, and very much better than today’s Guardian. Thanks, Neal, for explaining Sauvignon; I had it as a poor cd.

    One or two things I didn’t like much: Ratatouille as French cheer; Tieback as ‘close to curtains’ – a tieback doesn’t close a curtain, just the opposite, so it must be something which is near a curtain – hmmm. I know Ryan Giggs is a footballer, and I think that’s really all I should be expected to know – his current role, let alone his history used apparently as wordplay is not fair clueing. Altogether too many well-known people in this for my liking.

    DEE for D, I’m uneasy about. Yes, it’s how you say it, but AY for A, CUE for Q, SEA for C – without flagging the sound?

    ‘Reading’ as ‘gloss’ is fine. “What’s your gloss on this?” = “How do you read this (= interpret this)?”

    Funicular and Purport both very pleasing.

  10. Simon Harris says:

    Great stuff…had to give up on the SW corner myself too, though perhaps might have managed had a bit more time or courage had been available. Standout clue was SAUVIGNON.

  11. Merlyn says:

    Liked 12D, but only got a few of these. Satisfactory as S I find hard to take.

    Martin H] tieback is close meaning near, not shut. I didn’t get it, but I undertand the explanation.

    Political Correctness – I have no problem with Indian, but “American dessert” would have worked just as well

  12. Moose says:

    I found across clues easier.Didnt finish but did well (for me!).As a Scouser my pen struggled to write 4a! Top left was a mystery to me except for 9 and 11a.Top right struggled with but got more than half of clues overall

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