Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7480/Dac

Posted by John on October 6th, 2010


One runs out of words of praise for Dac’s crosswords: as always this is full of smooth clues with elegant surfaces.  Often they need no explanation after the answers have been broken into their parts, and this in my opinion is a plus. I’m not comfortable with two or three of the clues, but no doubt my fears are unjustified and all will be explained.

11 A(QU 1)VER
12 SKIN T{wilight}
13 LIDO CAINE — ref Sir Michael Caine — lidocaine is a US word for lignocaine (no I hadn’t heard of it either) — until I clicked on Reveal I had expected there to be a type of swimming pool called a novo
14 ME GENERATION — degeneration (= decline) with its first letter changed — I always think this type of clue is a bit of a cop-out: should we not be told just how the first letter changes?
18 INSTRUMENTAL — (m{usicians} turns in late)*
23 GR{andchildren} OWN — not quite sure here: ‘own’ = ‘have’ (rather than ‘have got’ presumably), so ‘got bigger’ should be ‘grew’ shouldn’t it? I suppose ‘have grown’ = ‘have got bigger’ so perhaps all is well and Homer hasn’t nodded
25 EX (A) MINE
26 SPEC TATE — spec = “speck”
27 woOD DESTroyed
1 EXCUSE-ME — 2 defs
3 TIGHTEN ONE’S BELT — (Note the Lib gent’s)* — an outstanding anagram: in yesterday’s Math some of the long anagrams were praised and justly so, but in my opinion this one is even better
5 HEARD — “herd”
6 CHURCH OF ENGLAND — (French could hang)* — do people worship in the Church of England? I should have thought the C of E wasn’t a building, and how else can it be ‘where people worship’?
7 LOVE-IN — 1 in (novel)*
8 DOREEN — (eer)rev. in don
9 C(EL)LARET — one of these
15 T(RUCK)IES — I found this difficult to explain because this meaning of ruck is a new one to me, but now I see from Chambers that in the rugby sense a whole lot of players are gathered together round the ball
16 ATROPINE — (rat)* on top of opine — lovely clue
19 SCORES — if you succeed in wooing you score and more than one score (= 20) is 40 or more
22 IBERT — (tribe)* — this chap

13 Responses to “Independent 7480/Dac”

  1. Rishi says:

    Re 23a First two of grandchildren have got bigger (5)
    With ‘have’ yielding OWN, “got bigger” may be taken as the def.
    “My mole has got bigger.” = “My mole has grown.”

  2. Rishi says:

    Sorry, I didn’t fully read your comment at 23a where you resolved what you first thought was a problem.

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, John (always amazes me how early you get your blogs out), and as you’ve mentioned, yet another enjoyable one from Dac.

    Favourites were the 2 long anagrams 2D and 6D. For CHURCH OF ENGLAND, I think that Dac meant this to be a pun, where “church” by itself signifies both the tangible building, and the intangible concept.

    Another favourite was 19D SCORES, which gave me one of those penny-dropping moments.

    Whether intentional or not, the clue for 21A CHOPSTICK “…., second one might be useful in Chinese restaurant” has another significance. There is not much use for one chopstick (unless it’s used as a skewer?), so “a second one” would really “be useful in Chinese restaurant”. In such case, a second “second” would have been useful in the clue!

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Morning John. Yes, thanks for the early blog – always appreciated by those like me who like to have a crack at the puzzle first thing with a mug of tea.

    As you say, fine stuff from Dac; bit harder than usual though? I was okay with CHURCH OF ENGLAND, a clever anagram, but not half as clever as TIGHTEN ONE’S BELT, which had the added advantage of not giving me the opportunity to embarrass myself in public with my lack of classical knowledge.

    I didn’t much like TRUCKIES – I was fine with the ‘ruck’ bit (‘there’s a ruck of people outside the pub’) but I’ve never heard it as a word and it ain’t in my dictionary. And is your average solver expected to know that l’été is French for summer? But shedloads of good clues elsewhere.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, John. Usual excellent puzzle from Dac, which I found on the easy side in the Indy spectrum. Favourite clues SCORES (as mentioned above), HEARD, CHOPSTICK. Was also pleased to work out the unknown (to me) LIDOCAINE from the wordplay.

  6. Simon Harris says:

    Oh well, I found this one really hard. Nearly got there, but was foiled by writing in TRUCKERS without a full understanding, thus allowing EXAMINE to get away. LIDOCAINE/number beat me hands down.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks John for clearing up a couple of doubts.

    I hadn’t heard of ‘ruck’ and assumed the large number must be ‘k’, but the rest of the answer was thereby unparsable, apart from the fact that, like Simon, I would have preferred ‘truckers’. Fortuanately, I already had 25ac.

    Being fond of medical TV series such as House, I had no problem with ‘lidocaine’ :)

  8. NealH says:

    Truckies is apparently Australian/NZ slang for a truck driver. I was torn for quite a while between truckies, truckers and truckmen, but realizing that obligations must equal ties eventually settled it.

  9. flashling says:

    A quick solve for me except truckies? ugh ugly. Not a word I’ve heard and it it still sounds wrong and I know quite a few lorry drivers who have never heard it either. I see the Oz explaination from Neal @ 8 and ruck for lots well that was lost on me too. I guess the setters do get stuck sometimes with a shape where nothing else will fit.

  10. John says:

    No although many people here think I must be one of those people who gets up bright and early I’m actually the opposite, and being retired tend to go to bed late and get up late, so if I’m feeling energetic often do the blog soon after midnight. Why is it considered so virtuous to get up early?

    I think I first became aware of the word ‘truckies’ when watching ‘Not The Nine-o-clock News’ in the early 80s.

    Am still wondering if anyone will express a view relating to my comment on 14ac.

  11. flashling says:

    John. I originally thought about my generation, but went for me on the clue, but I agree I dislike that sort of clueing. Seems lazy like setter couldn’t get the clue right and just left it. Sorry Dac!

  12. nmsindy says:

    John, no, I did not think you were an early riser, just that you might perhaps be someone who watched the puzzle change at the witching hour and started to work on it then. Maybe for those of “my generation” it was not too hard to see “me generation” was what was intended with the ‘selfish people’ definition and the enumeration of the clue – in fact I thought it was quite an easy clue.

    I’d have concerns about not indicating the letters involved in the substitution if there was possible ambiguity (which there could be sometimes) but there’s surely none here with ‘degeneration’ = decline pretty clear. A very good surface reading too, I’d have to say.

  13. flashling says:

    I must admit I thought you must have been based abroad, me to blog tomorrow, it’ll be later than this though. I might be a night bird but I wouldn’t try to blog now.

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