Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7384/Dac

Posted by John on June 16th, 2010


As usual a nice puzzle from Dac. I may be getting old and feeble, and the fact that I did it on-screen meant that I had to get the anagrams without writing anything down, but I thought that this was a remarkably difficult crossword for Dac. Perfectly sound, of course, as you’d expect, but difficult in my opinion. Had never heard of Istria.

1 SWITCH BACK — I don’t quite get this: why is Switch a former means of payment, as it is presumably meant to be here, since I can find no other use for ‘former’?
7 DADA — (ad)rev. twice
9 I’S TRIA{l} — well it’s this, apparently
10 FOOT W(E)AR — ref. Michael Foot
11 SAFARI JACKET — (a far I. jack) in set
16 INFERNOS — infer (son)rev.
18 E(A ST)ER
19 A LIME N(T{his})ATION
22 DEADBEAT — not sure about this — I think it’s just 2 defs, feckless type and whacked
23 MINNOW — and I’m also not sure about this: a minnow is a nobody, short fur coat is min{k} and these days is now but where does the sports come in? Perhaps it’s just some sort of a filler word; if so, rather unsatisfactory in my opinion
24 MOOR — “more”
25 REDISCOVER — (Verdi score)* — a very satisfactory anagram
2 WAS SAILING — after all my attempts at something more complicated it seems to be simply this
3 knighT ERRAnt
4 HEATING ENGINEER — (earning eighteen)*
5 AFFRAYS — “a phrase”
6 KNOCK THREE TIMES — it didn’t help that I’d never heard of it; the organ is the newspaper The TImes
7 DOWN TOOLS — (old so won’t)*
8 DIAL — 1 in (lad)* which is actually (lad)rev. but as indicated is an anagram
12 HERETOFORE — “hear Two Four”
14 ICELANDER — (nicer deal)*
17 SHE {l}E{g} TED
21 EuroPE’S Old

23 Responses to “Independent 7384/Dac”

  1. Rishi says:

    I looked up Chambers which has Switch (Registered symbol) – in Britain, a system of electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS).

  2. Rishi says:

    Sorry. I realise I have not answered John’s question. While I have learnt something, I will wait to see how ‘former’ is explained.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John, I was glad to read your blog, because I thought this was difficult as well. As you say, all soundly clued, but just tough. However, enjoyed finishing it – almost, anyway, as like you I got stuck on ISTRIA.

    Switch as a payment method is still going, I think. HEATING ENGINEER took me ages – really cleverly disguised.

    And I read 23ac as MINNOW being a ‘sports nobody’ – it’s particularly used in the FA cup when a non-league side comes up against a top division outfit, as happened in 1949 when Yeovil hosted Sunderland. And we lost. But there was a nine-foot slope and it got a bit foggy towards the end.

  4. beermagnet says:

    From this Wiki:
    “In the United Kingdom, the former Switch debit card system has been re-branded as Maestro and now uses chip and PIN technology.”

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks beermagnet – that clears up Rishi’s query and my error. I think Kathryn recently got a SOLO card, so I was probably confusing it with that. Switch, Solo, they start with the same letter but apart from that are completely different words … perhaps there’s a clue there as to why I’m still not brilliant at cryptics.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyed this as always from Dac. Favourite the linking of WASSAILING with SCHOONER. Had heard of ISTRIA (was maybe lucky with that though the wordplay was friendly). Think you are right about DEADBEAT, John, in the ‘whacked’ sense it would be two words DEAD BEAT, I think.

    K’s D, re Yeovil 1949 don’t forget that game would never have been lost if, as normal in an FA Cup tie, no extra time was played in the first meeting. However because of difficult immediate postwar conditions, it was, and that’s when Yeovil scored their winner.

  7. Richard says:

    I fear that the clue for 21D also leads to “EURO” (“EUR” = part of Europe, and “O” = old), and, given that I couldn’t see why “DEADBEAT” satisfied the whole of 22A, I failed to complete this otherwise good puzzle.

  8. Duggie says:

    24A: Moor and more are far from being homophones in Scotland and NI. Otherwise the usual superb Dac stuff.

  9. Simon Harris says:

    Certainly found it tough to get started today, but things fell in quite steadily after that. ISTRIA was unfamiliar to me too, but decided it was either that or ASTRIA, which sounded less probable.

  10. nmsindy says:

    Yes, EURO was in those letters, but that would leave the definition ‘old currency’ – so I though it could not be right, but it did take me a while to find PESO. Also, while, not technically wrong, using Europe to hide Euro would not be the greatest clue ever written.

  11. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks John for an excellent blog. I am surprised and envious that you haven’t heard of the 70s pop song “Knock Three Times”. It is one of those dreadful, mawkish numbers with silly lyrics and a catchy tune that insinuates itself in one’s subconscious and erupts at inappropriate moments like a herpes virus. I thought I was rid of the damned thing but thanks to Dac, I now find myself humming the tune again. There should be a warning on the wrapper!

    In 17dn, what is the relevance of ‘drainpipe trousers’?

  12. Tokyo Colin says:

    nmsindy@10, I also entered EURO to begin with. The parsing for EURO was EUR(ope’s) O(ld), so the definition is just ‘currency’. So it works technically, but PESO is clearly superior.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Evening (or perhaps morning) Colin. I too want to start proceedings against Dac for reminding us of 6dn. Twice on the pipes? Why not just once if the answer is no? It would have saved the heartbreak of having to wait for the second clunk.

    The drainpipe trousers reference is to TEDDY BOYS, who wore them in the fifties and whose name was shortened to TEDS, which gives TED as the ending to the clue. My Dad told me about them, ‘cos I’m too young to remember, despite knowing about the 2-1 defeat in 1949.

  14. Rishi says:

    Tokyo Colin @ #11
    Teddy boys (Teds for short) were a generation of rebel teenagers some decades ago: they wore drainpipes. “female wearer of drainpipes” would be she Ted.
    I am sure someone will confirm this.

  15. NealH says:

    I’m glad other people found this one fairly tough. After struggling with yesterday’s that everyone else seemed to find really easy, I was beginning to think I was losing my crossword ability entirely. I did manage to finish it all, with deadbeat and sheeted being the last two I got. Deadbeat I still don’t really feel particularly comfortable with and sheeted I found difficult because the only subculture I could think of who might have worn drainpipe trousers were Mods, but shemoed didn’t make a lot of sense as an answer.

    I used to be a big fan of Switch and was disappointed when they changed the name to Maestro. It was yet another of those annoying “internationalisations” along the lines of Cif for Jiff and Marathon for Snickers – just because all those foreigners can’t cope with our nice solid English names.

  16. NealH says:

    Or Snickers for Marathon, even.

  17. flashling says:

    I too fell in the (Eur)o trap as Richard at #7, perhaps clever or just an accident. Probably the former. Got 1ac despite wondering about the former bit, I thought my other half still had a switch card.

    OK, OK I guessed Istria, never heard of it.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    No Guardian crossword for us today [because we don’t like solving posthumous puzzles anymore – don’t know exactly why, though].
    So, we thought, let’s do the Indy for a change [we hate this online stuff, but my workplace has a subscription to the paper].

    This was the first ever Dac we solved, but we enjoyed it immensely.
    Very precise, maybe apart from MINNOW which we didn’t get anyway.

    Dac’s extremely good [well, today, that is – because I’ve never solved a Dac before] at surfaces-with-misdirection.
    Examples: 10ac (FOOTWEAR), 4d (HEATING ENGINEER), 6d (KNOCK THREE TIMES) [‘hit number’ is just great] and 7d and 8d.
    Splendid homophone(s) in 13d (HERETOFORE).

    ISTRIA wasn’t a problem for me – I’ve been there, cycling and 40 degrees Celsius [which is even more in Fahrenheit].

    If all [or most] Indy puzzles are like this, so Clean & Clever, I (or: we) will surely doing them more often!

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Goedenavond Sil (en ook je PiC)

    Nice to see you over here as well as in Another Place. You were very friendly and supportive to me when I started contributing on 225 a while ago, so just to say thank you for that, and from what I know of your crossword preferences, you’ll enjoy Dac as well as a number of the other setters that contribute puzzles for the Indy.

    Try a few of the other setters and see what you think.

  20. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thank you Kathryn’s Dad and Rishi. I have heard of Teddy Boys but didn’t know ‘Teds’ & the drainpipe trousers connection. I was wearing nappies and short trousers in the 50s myself.

  21. Mike Laws says:

    Don’t knock Tony Orlando (the singer with Dawn) – he did the original US version of Billy Fury’s UK hit Halfway to Paradise. Dac and I are about the same age!

  22. eimi says:

    That’s as maybe, but he also has Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree to add to his charge street. He needs knocking at least twice.

  23. eimi says:

    Charge sheet, I meant to say, but I spent the night in the World’s noisiest hotel, so I’m trying to exist on 20-30 minutes’ sleep.

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