Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7427/Punk

Posted by John on August 5th, 2010


My impression is that we haven’t seen Punk for a while and if so he makes a welcome return. Some of these clues are memorable, if one could remember them, and my only criticism is the grid, which makes for some words with less than 50% checking (this was also a fault of the Radian crossword the other day — I forgot to mention it when I posted). I hope the Indy isn’t going back to the bad old grids. He even has some answers with the dreaded 2 out of 5 checked letters (although to be fair they are parts of longer answers, which makes the fraction a bit better, although still not adequate). Oh yes, a Nina. Bit of an afterthought. Does Punk do Ninas? Can’t see one, but if there is one that excuses the grid a bit.

10 LENIN — I think the definition is just ‘Red’, then it’s (nine l{eftie})rev., where nine is a square, and it’s a (rather good) &lit. because Lenin is laid back in Red Square
11/26 ANKLE-BITER — (learnt bike)* — Australian slang for a child, something I didn’t know, so this apparently easy anagram took ages
12 FURRY DICE — f {E}urydice around r{oundabouts} — accessory is a bit strong perhaps, although Chambers does use the word ‘non-essential’, so perhaps it’s fine
13 EGG HEADS — ‘Go to work on an egg’, the old advertising slogan that Fay Weldon possibly produced, and if you toss a coin there is a 50% chance of heads
16/15 CAMILLA PARKER BOWLES — very clever: c (remarkable Wallis {Sim}p{son})* around 0, with the question that people continue to ask
21 FLARES UP — 2 defs
25 TURBULENT — (brut)rev. (from the East), U (in film classifications, for all to see), Lent (a fast in the Christian Calendar)
29 THE(M(1K)AD)O — although I must say that my first thought was of Clyde Walcott, possibly Theo’s ancestor
1 O FLAT {hom}E  — good simple clue
3 WHEEZE — 2 defs
4 DAFFODIL — Daff{y} (lido)rev. — Manx means without a tail, maybe a bit loose but common enough in crosswords
5/2 S(PERM B)ANK — I don’t like this very much as I can’t see what the surface is saying and it seems a rather feeble way of clueing the B
6 P(LAY GO)ER — ‘per’ is ‘for each’, but ‘outstanding’ for ‘standing outside’ is a bit of a stretch
7 INFIELDERS — I({norther}N {dwar}F)I elders — II for couple is again pushing it I think — anyone who follows cricket will know that ‘short leg’ is a fielding position
8 INCENSE — 2 defs
14 GRAPEFRUIT — (figure part)* — a good clue I felt because it led me to think ‘trapezi…’, since ‘part rewritten’ is trap and a trapezi… is a geometrical figure
17 IN CLU(D)E D — ‘one of these’ is a clue
18/28 PULITZER PRIZE — (lit up)* “surprise” — not just a literary award, as ‘novel’ might have led one to believe
22 RABBIT — 2 defs, nice, although such a felicitous combination must have been seen before
23/20 PAR ROTS KETCH — referring to this
24/27 DEATH TRAP — (parted around (hat)*)rev.

33 Responses to “Independent 7427/Punk”

  1. Myrvin says:

    Thank you Punk and John.
    Stumbled through this until almost stopping in the NW corner.
    5/2 I still don’t get. And WHEEZE seems odd.
    Didn’t know Theo Walcott. Is he famous? Got it anyway.
    11/26 was a slow one. But I have heard of it, along with rug rat.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, John, for your fine blog.
    As I hardly look at grids [I just try to solve the puzzle], I didn’t have any problems with it today nor with the Radian.
    When you’re raising your eyebrows a little at seeing ‘outstanding’ for ‘being placed outside’ and the Roman ‘II’ for ‘couple’, I can understand that. However, I am perfectly alright with them: I’ve seen ‘outstanding’ several times before and ‘II’ = 2 = a couple.

    The CPB anagram was indeed clever, and initially pointed me in the wrong direction as I tried to take ‘remarkable’ as an anagrind.

    The NW part of the grid caused me some trouble because of FLASH LAMP and WHEEZE, which didn’t spring to mind quickly enough.

    Only one – in fact, a major – niggle.
    Although I liked the amusing idea behind SPERM BANK, Punk clued PERM by ‘combination’. This has happened before, maybe even by the same setter in one of his other disguises, but I still have problems with that. I don’t want to dig too deep here, but to tell my students that permutations and combinations are the same thing is something I would never do, because they aren’t.
    At the same time I remember from that previous occasion that you can read the dictionary in such a way that it might be justified.

    All in all, I enjoyed this crossword.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, John and Punk.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, which provided several smiles, eg 18/28 and 23/20 [both for the clue and reminder of the sketch – thanks for the link.]

    I thought 16/15 was stunning. I got it immediately, from the enumeration rather than the clue, which it was then a real pleasure to work out.

    Sil, when I saw your comment about permutations and combinations, I groaned inwardly, because I expected it to be double Dutch [sorry, that really was unintentional! :-)] to me, not being a Mathematician but I found this, which made perfect sense.

    [I hadn’t had any problem with the clue, not being aware of the difference.]

    I’m quite happy with ‘outstanding’ – in fact, I like it – and I saw nothing odd about WHEEZE, Myrvin – I liked that, too!

  4. Myrvin says:

    Just me then.
    I agree with Sil about PERM. But it didn’t worry me much.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, John. I found this a very tough puzzle though I got the big answer from the enumeration and surface very early on. Some excellent misdirection. Favourite clue INCLUDED closely followed by PULITZER PRIZE.

  6. Myrvin says:

    Should 1d have ‘viewed’ in it?

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    Just about scraped home with the Paul in yesterday’s Guardian, but couldn’t quite manage this Punk today. Got all the acrosses after a tussle, but there were three or four downs that I couldn’t solve (including PARROT SKETCH, which was very clever).

  8. Tokyocolin says:

    Thanks John. I enjoyed this but made harder work of this than it warranted.

    I didn’t get the Walcott reference but I was a stagehand for The Mikado as a teenager in the local Light Opera company so it came quickly to mind and I worked backwards to Theo.

    No problem with ANKLE BITERS but what are FURRY DICE?

    And are grapefruit really bitter in England?

  9. NealH says:

    I had to come back to this a couple of times before I was able to finish. Punk always seems to come up with the kind of pop culture answers that you’re very annoyed that you didn’t think of straight away. Furry Dice and Parrot Sketch were very slow coming (even after I’d got parrot from par rots). Obviously, furry dice would have been easier if I’d known who Orpheus’ wife was, but I’m glad I battled through it rather than going for the easy option of looking it up on the internet.

    I got Camilla P-B quickly, but it took me ages to realize that remarkable was part of the anagram fodder rather than the indicator. I’d have to say that most of the surface readings were pretty nonsensical but, like Araucaria in the Guardian, you can forgive that because of the inventiveness of much of the cling.

  10. NealH says:

    That was meant to say clueing. Couldn’t decide whether to go for clueing or cluing, but ended up with neither.

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Tokyocolin

    Furry dice (or fuzzy dice as they are called in the US) were a must have accessory for your Escort Mk1 or similar back in the ’70s. See:

  12. Eileen says:

    Hi NealH

    It’s CLUING: the rule is to take off the final ‘e’ before adding ‘ing’, as in ‘dine’ ‘hate’ etc. I don’t think anyone would be tempted to write ‘pursueing’, so why ‘clueing’?

    [Chambers doesn’t give the word but Collins has ‘cluing’.]

  13. NealH says:

    Yes, that’s what I thought, although some dictionaries and spell-checkers do seem to accept both.

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hmmm … since it’s a quiet afternoon and I’ve finished work, at the risk of incurring the wrath of a former English teacher and being sent to the naughty step, why does Collins give ‘queueing’ as acceptable for the present participle?

    I’m a CLUEING man; CLUING is just ugly.

  15. Mark says:

    What’s a Nina?

  16. walruss says:

    In English, clueing is fine. And so is cluing! Appreciate what you say Eileen, but ‘who are we’, et cetera!!

  17. Eileen says:

    Uh uh, I just knew I’d regret starting this! ;-) How long did it take you to find that one, K’s D?

    [Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: to me, CLUEING is ugly.]

  18. Eileen says:

    PS: you didn’t say that Collins gives ‘queuing’ as the first spelling!

    And – this is odd – it gives ‘gluing’ or ‘glueing’, too – but only ‘cluing’!

    But, if NealH has found ‘clueing’ elsewhere, I’ll concede gracefully. :-) I’ve noticed that, among contributors here, ‘clueing’ is the more popular.

  19. scchua says:

    Thanks John for the blog and Punk for the puzzle.

    Mark, you may find your answer (much better than I can explain) amongst the comments for 7422.

    A small cry of “semi-foul” if you like: having to go back into the “distant” past to a 1950’s advertising slogan for 13A, though one could get the answer without doing so.

  20. nmsindy says:

    ‘Clueing’ is spelt thus in the Concise OED. I thought those crossword setters who use it would be good at spelling, ‘cluing’ is fine too, tho I think it’s the more ugly one, maybe the appeal of ‘clueing’ is that the whole of ‘clue’ appears.

  21. jamesN says:

    It may be co-incidence but ‘leader’ in 10 could translate as ‘first clue’,which today was numbered NINE.

  22. Kathryn's Dad says:

    With apologies to Paul for using the blog for an issue completely unrelated to his (excellent) puzzle, this + or – ‘e’ for the present participle is now starting to do my head in. I blame Eileen for starting us all off on it.

    I thought it might be a one syllable/more than one syllable thing. For example, I’d always write PURSUING, RESCUING, ARGUING, SUBDUING, ISSUING. And then for one syllable verbs, I’d have QUEUEING, GLUEING, CUEING and CLUEING. But then if someone issued a writ against me, I’d write that they were SUING me.

    Confused as usual. But if someone has a better idea about how this all works, then maybe General Chat is a good place to go so we can allow others to comment here on the crossword.

  23. Myrvin says:

    So we can now have Paul arraigned because of SIDE, and Brendan because of BATMAN.
    Will there be anyone left?

  24. Myrvin says:

    Ooops – wrong blog.

  25. Eileen says:

    “I blame Eileen for starting us all off on it.”

    Hands up – you’re quite right, K’s D. This discussion has been rumbling away for quite a while now and I’ve been resisting commenting. I just wish I’d continued resisting!

    You’re quite right that this is not the right place but I’ve nothing further to add to my comment 18, I think. [I shall continue to write ‘cluing’. :-) ]

  26. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yeah, Eileen, good idea.
    Let’s write ‘cluing’, unless the setter puts some energy in it – then we write: ‘clueing’ ….. :)

  27. Scarpia says:

    Thanks John.
    I thought this was a brilliant puzzle.O.k ,a few liberties were taken by the setter but Punk/Paul has never denied being a “libertarian”.
    FURRY DICE made me laugh and 16/15,although fairly easy to solve from the enumeration was,as Eileen says,fun to work out.
    I remembered Theo(Walcott) from a previos Indie puzzle(Anax I think),so didn’t have too much trouble with that one.
    Also really liked DAFFODIL.
    Like Sil,I must say that I don’t really notice grids – especially with a puzzle as amusing as this.
    I’m in the “clueing” rather than”cluing” camp,no particular reason,it’s just the way I’ve always spelt the word.Never even considered it until I started looking at this site.

  28. flashling says:

    Struggled to get going really got CPB almost immediately, didn’t help seing bairn in the ankle biter anag, but the double answer clues soon filled up the grid. I thought wheeze was a great wheeze for a clue personally. This parrot…

  29. Quixote says:

    I enjoyed this, but did think ‘Oh no, not more b***** football!’ And to think that crosswords used to be about cricket!

  30. Paul B says:


  31. Allan_C says:

    A minor point. Isn’t it usually referred to as “Dead Parrot Sketch”?

  32. eimi says:

    Never mind that, my lad (to be said in a John Cleese voice – I’ve seen it described both with and without the ‘dead’), I coincidentally rediscovered Monty Python’s records yesterday which brought back memories and I think this is great fun, and appropriate for people who appreciate words:

  33. scarpia says:

    Thanks for the link eimi.
    When you say records do you mean the 12″ black vinyl things?
    Does that include Matching Tie and Handkerchief with it’s notorious double groove? My copy would only play 1 of the grooves unless I started a little way in to the playing surface.

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