Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,479/Math

Posted by Ali on October 5th, 2010


Looking back over the year, this seems to be only the 4th Math puzzle we’ve had in 2010. If last year’s stats are anything to go by, we should be due two more before the year’s out. Which is very good news for all concerned, as Math’s puzzles are consistently great. The brilliant anagram at 15D is worth the entry fee alone here, and 5D is excellent. A tough puzzle overall I thought, but hugely enjoyable.

Not sure if there’s a theme with MOTHER/FATHER, FRIEND/ENEMY, etc…?

1 ALBERT – Hidden reversal in scepTRE BLAck
11 ENEMY – MEN in YE rev.
16 FATHER – Cryptic def.
19 FRIEND – FRI(day) END, i.e. when Saturday starts.
24/20 WALLACE EDGAR – AC and GA. in (WELL-READ)*
27 GOBI – I(sland) + GOB rev. – North and South is rhyming slang for mouth
29 MOTHER – MO (second) + T(ime) + HER
3 ERNIE – Double def., ref. the Premium Bonds computer and Ernie Wise
4 TUBBY – BUT rev. + B[-u]Y
5 ACUTELY – A CUT above ELY!
7 HALMA – H(enry) + ALMA
8 BATH – BAT + H[-orse]
14/13 ONE TOO MANY – Cryptic def.
17 TEA – Cryptic def.
18 EXECRABLE – [-murdere]R in EX E CABLE
20 WITHERS – WITH + E.R + S(weden)
22 AEON – A(lfred) E(dward) + ON
23 RUDDY – Double def
24 EPSOM – The only one I can’t quite get – “County games back on course”
25 GIGOT – TO GIG rev.

30 Responses to “Independent 7,479/Math”

  1. Richard says:

    The theme is “Albert and the Lion”, a monologue made famous by Stanley Holloway

  2. Conrad Cork says:

    …and written by Marriott Edgar, if memory serves.

    (Off the subject there is a letter of mine in the Indy today.)

  3. nmsindy says:

    I think EPSOM might be from Somerset (county) and PE (games) reversed.

    V enjoyable puzzle and great blog, Ali. I was pretty sure there was a theme with names among the answers, but knew nothing about what exactly it was till coming here. Thanks for explaining GOBI.

  4. flashling says:

    @NMS that was my take on Epsom as well. 15/5/9 is a wonderful anagram.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    24dn is PE (games) reversed SOM (county {abbreviation for Somerset}).

    The theme monologue is actually called ‘The Lion and Albert’ and it was written by 21/24. 20ac was the name of the lion that ate Albert, and 29ac features in the text. The 16ac, Mr Ramsbottom, was referred to as ‘Pa’. The last line of the monologue is “To feed 23dn lions? Not me!”. The clue at 8dn is also thematic.

    The full text can be found here:

  6. Eileen says:

    And here’s Stanley Holloway’s classic rendering:

    I found this hugely enjoyable – even more so because, for once, I got the theme immediately. :-)

    Apart from the very entertaining theme, 15,5,9 is not only a brilliant angram but also a superb story-telling &lit [which made the surface look rather odd at first!] particularly with the anagram indicator ‘converted’, since in Shaw’s play, Androcles is a Christian slave.

    It’s so long since we saw a Math puzzle that I couldn’t remember quite what to expect. I wish we could see more! Many thanks – and for the blog, Ali.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    A couple of points. 24/20 is EDGAR WALLACE not WALLACE EDGAR and in 27ac GOB isn’t reversed, ‘to the west’ indicates that GOB comes before I. Finally, in 25dn only the TO is reversed otherwise you would get ‘otgig’.

    I parsed 7dn as HAL (Henry) MA (the old woman) and I think that 17dn is more a dd than a cd since TEA is a liquid as well as coming after lunch.

  8. Eileen says:

    Hi Conrad Cork

    Congratulations on getting your letter published! You make a very interesting point, which had not really occurred to me before.

    [You’ll perhaps be as pleased as me to see our home town featured in the crossword! 😉 ]

  9. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ali and Math for an enjoyable crossword.

    Re 7D: HALMA “Henry and the old woman are game”. Spent some time trying to fit “O(ld)” into it, and finally settled on “Henry” = HAL and “old woman” = “MA”, as the way to incorporate “old”.

    Almost finished before I noticed a few answers that were related but I didn’t have the knowledge to spot a theme: There was MOTHER & FATHER; FRIEND & ENEMY; people’s names ALBERT, ERNIE, WALLACE, MARRIOTT, WALLACE, ANDROCLES, & maybe TUBBY; place names LEICESTER, BATH, EPSOM. Now I know.

    Favourite clues: 24A,20A EDGAR WALLACE, I recall reading his detective novels in my schooldays; 27A GOBI which brought me into rhyming slang, and the long 15D,5A,9A ANDROCLES AND THE LION.

  10. Ali says:

    Thanks all for the corrections and pointers. I’m reasonably familiar with the monologue as it’s one of my Mum’s favourites, but when I Wikied Stanley Holloway and saw it was called ‘The Lion and Albert’. I presumed it was just coincidence. Off to have a listen now!

  11. scchua says:

    PS. Typo in my@9..of course one of the WALLACE’s should have been EDGAR.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Ali.

    Like yesterday, found this too tough and only completed about half of it. I think it was walruss (forgive me if it wasn’t) a week or so ago who said that the marriage between Nina and the Indy crossword was something he liked. I’m not against themes at all, but somehow today this wasn’t a marriage made in heaven.

    Of course, I don’t mean to say that it’s a badly constructed puzzle – the Indy crosswords seldom are – but the half I solved today didn’t give me much encouragement to carry on and finish, and I guess I’m saying that working the clues around the theme was part of the reason for that.

    Is the long across anagram so brilliant? The surface isn’t elegant, that’s for certain (not sure I’ve ever de-thorned a sole).

    So that’s the (I hope constructive) feedback from a getting-better-but-still-some-way-to-go solver today. And if someone could tell me what the chuff 16ac is about, I would appreciate it.

  13. Ali says:

    Have to admit I’ve no idea on 16A. Just putting ‘cryptic def.’ is a fairly easy cop-out when blogging clues that end in question marks!

  14. Eileen says:

    Hi K’s D

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one.

    “(not sure I’ve ever de-thorned a sole).”

    Neither have I [I’ve desplintered a few fingers] but that’s precisely what Androcles did:

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for fessing up to that, Ali – makes me feel slightly better about my own inability to finish the puzzle! One of the good things about 225 is that someone will be here soon to put us right.

  16. scchua says:

    Hi K’s Dad.
    16A: FATHER = mater (one with whom one mates) of mater (mother).

  17. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Eileen, thank you.

    My classical education is seriously lacking. Are you available for lessons?

  18. Eileen says:

    Hi Ali and K’s D

    Re 16ac; I read the question mark as showing that Math knows he’s taking a liberty using ‘mater’ as ‘one who mates’, as well as public school slang for ‘mother’. Of course, the answer should, strictly speaking, be PATER – but perhaps that’s another reason for the question mark. :-)

  19. flashling says:

    @12 KD It’s the person who mates with mother.

  20. Eileen says:

    sorry scchua – crossed again!

    K’s D – you’re on!

  21. Richard R says:

    re 16 ac. I read it as father being the one who mates with mater (mother)

  22. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, all. I will put my dunce’s hat on, crawl back under my stone and come back later to lurk and review the comments from the evening shift.

    A typical Dac tomorrow should give me the chance to get over the finishing line.

  23. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for the link @6, Eileen. It’s given me the chance to spend an amusing afternoon listening to/watching monologues which I would otherwise have missed out on, either because they’re before my time, as the Lion and Albert, or from after I came to Spain, where Rowan Atkinson is known only as Mr. Bean

  24. Conrad Cork says:

    Re Eileen at number 8. Thanks for the congratulations Eileen. It’s a longstanding bugbear of mine, and there is a chapter devoted to it in my book on jazz harmony.


  25. Colin Blackburn says:

    The theme completely passed me by although I suspected something was going on. There were some excellent anagrams and I like the breakdown of MARRIOTT.

    Interesting that in another puzzle “Mater’s mater?” could clue MOTHER-IN-LAW


  26. walruss says:

    Yes I am guilty re the Nina-Indy remark. I liked this too, with the de-thorning making perfect sense to me. Many thanks to Math, the Indy, and to Ali for his blog

  27. NealH says:

    I found this a bit easier than yesterday, although I did fail on “one too many”. I think the fact that it might have something to do with sailing immediately put me off, as that’s a subject I know nothing about (amongst many). I’m not sure I really understand the answer – is it one too many because you would normally only have three sails (sheets) on a ship? I thought the Androcles and the Lion clue was amazing – to get an anagram that also works as a description of the story is brilliant.

  28. Eileen says:

    Hi NealH

    I’m not sure of the nautical derivation but I do know that ‘three sheets in / to the wind’ means ‘drunk’. :-)

  29. Tees says:

    Mighty effort from m’colleague that really works. Great stuff, Math.

  30. sidey says:

    Sheets on a boat are ropes that control sails. A flapping (uncontrolled) sail has its sheet ‘in the wind’. A boat with three sheets in the wind is out of control.

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