Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,409/Anax

Posted by Ali on July 15th, 2010


Don’t think I’ve had to blog an Anax before, but I’ve been a fan of his puzzles since his arrival on the Indy scene round about this time last year. This kept up the good streak and was characteristically tricksy, though not impossible. There’s a nice message in the left and right unches and more than a hatful of excellent clues. All in all, a hugely enjoyable 5D!

1 THADDEUS – ADD + E[-dess] in THUS
6 GERMAN – (MAR)* in GEN – Clever use of Jan as the definition
10 THEO – THE (‘not just any’) + O(ld) – Arguably an &lit. Unless you’re Fabio Capello, who clearly thinks he’s no great shakes
11 ESTUARY ENGLISH – Cryptic def.
12 RABELAIS – RAIS[-e] about ABEL – ‘Cut up’ is fantastic here
15 ARLOTT – A + RL (Rugby League, i.e. ‘game’) + O.T.T (too far) – Former England cricketer and TMS stalwart John. The definition is very generous here, although I think it needs to be
16 ESPIED – E.S.P + I.E.D
18 CENOTAPH – Hidden in serviCE NOT A PHoto’s
20 REFECTORY TABLE – I think the anagram fodder here is FE (iron) + C(hancellor’s) + T(o) O(pen) + BARREL YET!
23 IDLE – L[-uggag]E after I.D
24 OSTRICHISM – (HISTORIC)* + SM (Sergeant Major) – A new word for me, but I like it!
25 SYNTAX – S[ill]Y + N(ew) TAX
26 OBDURATE – (BREAD OUT)* – Is ‘for the birds’ an anagrind?
2 HOURS – [-eac]H + OURS
3 DELOUSE – L.E.D rev. on OUSE
4 EMBARRAS DU CHOIX – (SUCH A BROADER MIX)* – An excellent anagram, semi &lit.
5 SOLVE – SOLE (only) about V (five)
7 RETRIAL – I think this is an anagram of MATERIAL minus the M (indicated by ‘fringing short’), with ‘dress’ as the anagrind
8 AMENHOTEP – AMEN (truly) + HOT (sexy) + E.P (old thing playing) – Very hard. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cheat on this one!
13 ASSUREDLY – ASS (behind) + U(nited) + REDLY (as Liverpool appear)
14 SIC – “Sick”
17 IFFIEST – IF (given) + FIEST[-a]
19 TEACHER – EACH in ThEy’Re
21 OUTDO – UTD. in 0-0
22 LISZT – LIT around S[-an morit]Z

17 Responses to “Independent 7,409/Anax”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    I had a slightly different parsing for 20ac: FE (iron) C[hancellor] TO in *(BARREL YET). I think that ‘…’s first’ gives the first letter of the preceding word and ‘open’ is an insertion indicator.

    For 7dn I had: TRI[m] (short dress) in REAL (material) with ‘fringing’ as the insertion indicator.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    “Only about five to do this successfully”?
    I wasn’t one of them because THEO was one step too far for me [but then I’m in good company … :)]. And to be honest, I find it (just like yesterday’s Oldham) a bit loose.
    And Jan for a German? Some Germans are called Jan, maybe, but it is a very Dutch name, the most common one [meaning John]. But the clue was clever, that’s true.

    Having said that, this was a truly wonderful crossword.
    I can hardly believe that in this puzzle nearly every single clue is a little masterpiece [although anax himself would probably be the first to relativise, I guess].

    So many different devices [and sometimes unusual ones like the anagrind in 26ac (‘for the birds’ – I see bread being ‘crumbled’), just chosen to make the surface better].
    I was especially impressed by both long, appropriate anagrams.


    [thank you, Ali, for the blog – and I agree with Gaufrid on what he says in #1]

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Oh, I did miss the message along the borders.
    A shame, because I would have got THEO then …. :)

  4. Martin H says:

    Excellent – the first anax that I’ve done, so I look forward to more. I missed the hidden message until I read the blog – (thanks Ali for that, and for parsing 3) – there were however a number of sport references, not normally my strong point, but I thought OUTDO was particularly nice.

    EP’s are not necessarily old, unless extended play CD’s are never referred to by their initials, or unless you are so far ahead of most of us that recorded music on any form of support is now outdated.

    I still can’t see the definition of HOURS.

    I didn’t get Thaddeus or delouse – no fault of the clueing – so like Sil I’m not among the five, but much prefer to miss out on a quality puzzle like this, than dutifully fill in all the words on a second-rater as if I was doing a questionnaire.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Martin
    “I still can’t see the definition of HOURS.”

    It is ‘some day, perhaps’ in which ‘some’ needs to be read as ‘part of’.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Found this tough, but was chuffed to be able to finish it eventually, albeit with a wordsearch online for AMENHOTEP. Shedloads of good clues here, so I’m not going to pick just one out, except for 6dn, which was brilliant. OSTRICHISM? Okay, if you say so (it is a good word, though). Jan made a change from Otto for our stereotypical German, and nice to be reminded of Mr Arlott. Not so sure that THEO as a clue for ‘footballer’ will go down well with non-footie solvers though – I’d confidently slapped in BEST, which knackered me for a while in that corner.

    I’d say EMBARRAS DE (rather than DU) CHOIX, and Collins confirms it; but online dictionaries do give the alternative.

    With the hidden message, is this a non-Nina puzzle or not? I think we should be told.

    Super puzzle, thank you Anax – you can be the torrent of flying mammal wee today.

  7. nmsindy says:

    Count me as another who pencilled in BEST with about 90% certainty. The Nina (can you have a Nina without a theme? Seems you can, this proves) helped me finish. Tougher than average Indy, but easier than average Anax for me.

  8. sidey says:

    Theo Paphitis?

  9. Richard says:

    Brilliant, though it didn’t become solvable until I realised there wasn’t a theme. Mind you, judging by the difficulty of what we’ve had so far this week (excluding the Virgilius), I dread to think what’s coming on Saturday – Bannsider on speed, perhaps?

  10. Paul B says:

    Dear Anax, I love you. Although, to be fair, I only got out of hospital an hour or two ago, and aren’t those drugs they give you just incredible? Derived from flying mammal wee they are, K’sD.


  11. Simon Harris says:

    I also wrote in BEST which made an already tough solve almost intractable. Spotted the Nina late into a second sitting, though, and finally prevailed, albeit with a couple not fully understood.

  12. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali.
    Another super puzzle which made a very late bedtime for me last night(or should I say this morning).
    Working through the clues from the beginning I drew a blank until reaching 14 down and knew that this was going to be tough.Filled in the SE corner first then got the wonderful anagram at 6 down which gave me check letters for the NE corner(had to look up the Pharaoh on Wiki).The two long across answers gave check letters which enabled me to fill in the left hand side of the puzzle,albeit with a fair bit of head scratching.I knew it must be Rabelais but it took me a long time to grasp the wordplay,which I thought was brilliant, for it’s brevity if nothing else!
    My only (very minor)quibble is for 13 across – “ass” for behind is an Americanism,”arse” being the correct synonym.I can forgive the use though in such a good clue.

    Two stunning puzzles so far in the Indie this week,plus one in the F.T. I just hope the Guardian can come up with a couple of crackers to finish the week off nicely.

  13. anax says:

    Many, many thanks to you all.

    I feel a bit guilty about the alternative answer BEST at 10a – I hadn’t even considered it. Arguably the first bit of the clue would have been a slightly loose way of wording the def but it’s very easy to see why the answer would be so tempting.

  14. Grace says:

    Hi, I’m new to cryptic solving, and found this one very hard.

    Can anyone explain 9a, 11a, and 25a to me? I don’t understand where HULL and TAX come from in the clues, plus, what do you mean by ‘cryptic definition’?

    Hope this isn’t too lowbrow for you clever people, thanks for your help.

  15. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Grace
    This was certainly not a puzzle for beginners!

    9ac A BA[d] (mostly bad) in HULL (covering) LOO (toilet) – ‘to hide’ is the insertion indicator and a ‘hull’ is “a husk or outer covering”.

    11ac The mouth [of a river] is called an estuary and ‘Estuary English’ is “a form of English influenced by Cockney, spoken in the Thames Estuary and surrounding areas”.

    25ac S[ill]Y (extremely silly) N (new) TAX (test) – ‘tax’ and ‘test’ are interchangable in expresions such as ‘to tax/test one’s patience’.

    See here for descriptions of clue types including ‘cryptic definition':

  16. Grace says:

    Thanks so much for that, I understand now. I never realised a hull was an outer covering, always think of it as the inside of a fruit for some reason.

  17. dram says:

    Tackled on a long flight with no access to the internet, this was a struggle but a very enjoyable one. I have noticed that anax is very fond of subtle container indicators so I think Gaufrid is right for 7d.

    I thought this was going to be a pangram but j,k,w are missing… the message in the unches more than makes up for that!

    Loved 6a and 10a especially. Many thanks, Anax.

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