Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7486 – Dac

Posted by petebiddlecombe on October 13th, 2010


Delighted to make an occasional report on a weekday Indie, and to tackle a Dac puzzle well up to the usual standard. It’s not difficult but there’s lots to like.

Obviously there’s the bang-up-to-date 14A which we can’t have at the Times, but there are also umpteen elegant surface meanings, which I’d place higher as a setting achievement than one stunning clue. For those who’d like to know: 6:38.

1 C(ustome)R,EEL=fish, leaving “basket” as the formal definition, though I’m sure others got it from “fish basket”.
4 DISMISSED = pooh-poohed – and the 1997 grief proved that “Di’s missed” – by crossword setters in particular, as princess=DI is now as stale as bob=shilling or S.
9 SAINT JOAN = drama – J = Japan, in (as nation)*, with “battles” as the anagram indicator – probably as close as I’m going to get to anything to complain about
10 (loadin)G,LAZE=do nothing – nice surface about installing a modern version of Windows – in older versions, you had to do quite a lot. I know from memories installing oriental versions of 3.11 or 95 to test whether some software would work on these versions. How do you answer the installation questions in a language with a baffling character set? Run the English install on another PC and hope that the questions and answer choices are in the same order in other languages – they were, and so are the menu options should you ever need to know it. That’s enough geekdom – Ed.
11 LAND = light, A, U = posh – beginners, open your notebooks and start your surprisingly important list of carriages with landau
12 COSINE’S = “of function”, S = school
14 ED MILIBAND = (Lib-Dem and I)* for a stunning &lit/all-in-one (and a quick lesson for those who want to spell Miliband like Milligan)
16 NOUS – 2 definitions
19 T(W)IG – tig is just another name for tag.
20 HEART-THROB – T=time in (HEARTH , ROB = take)
22 C.(ALL)E.,DO = perform, (hym)N
23 CLOSER – 2 definitions, linked by a mildly sneaky past tense “made”, which might suggest “made tighter” = CLOSED for one of the defs, but definitely not for the other one
26 ANNUL = cancel – AN = English article, then rev. of L’UN = “the one in French” – I’ll plead guilty to relying entirely on the def and checking letters here
27 INPA = pain*, T = time, I, and old favourite E.N.T. – I dallied with IMPATIENT =?= nasty until understanding the trickier end of the wordplay
28 PARTRIDGE – 2 definitions – a TV family and a whimsical “crest incomplete”
29 SONIC = Video game character, SO NIC(e) = not quite so likeable – presumably an attempt to get you think of someone like Leisure Suit Larry
1 COS = lettuce type, T(L,1)EST
2 EVIAN = rev. of naive – not anag. of green
4 DR.,OP = operation = surgery
5 SUN = “daily”, D = start of dinner, OWNERS = “people having”
6 INGRID = riding* – I wasted a bit of time looking for ladies to add to UP=riding, to get ????UP = high.
7 STAGE DOOR = actor’s entrance – AGED in rev. of ROOTS = cheers
8 D = daughter, (p)RESS
13 (ABLE-BO = rev. of O.B., Elba), DIED = died – another where I skipped the wordplay details in my speed-merchant haste. To anyone about to complain about DIED sitting right there in the answer, I say (a) What about hidden words then? and (b) “Curled up and …” what?
15 MAINLINER = drug addict – (IN LINE = queueing) in MAR(t)
17 SYBARITIC = hedonistic – two synoyms worth remembering as both words crop up from time to time. I = single (i.e. one run), in (city bar’s)*
18 ATHLETES – LET = allowed, in heats*
21 H(ELL = 45 inches)ER – male novelist Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22
22 C = cold, HAM = meat, P(ie) – minor delay here trying to justify CHOMP
24 S(HE)EN – the sen was part of a Japanese yen, and certainly “copper” as a singular of coppers = “coins of low value”, whatever metal it was made from
25 EPEE – hidden in “Life peer”

19 Responses to “Independent 7486 – Dac”

  1. Mordred says:

    What hope is there for the rest of us to match Dac?!!

  2. Peter says:

    Dac is consistently brilliant. For me, the best surfaces of any setter.

  3. Peter Chambers says:

    No hope at all. The best surfaces of any setter. Every week.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Nice to see you blogging here, Peter, and thanks for your comprehensive explanations. I got most of this fairly quickly, then got held up with the last few. Needed your explanation for SHEEN, and also for INPATIENT – is this an &lit clue?

    I too flirted with CHOMP, and have always known the game as ‘tig’ (I fancy there’s a regional variation). I wondered with COSINESS whether the online version had a typo, because I was looking for a plural in ‘functions'; but your apostrophe explanation makes perfect sense.

    We keep praising Dac here every week for his puzzles and I think we’ll be doing the same today. He’s very easy on the eye: if you look back over the surfaces there’s barely one that doesn’t have real elegance. ED MILIBAND is a stupidly clever piece of clueing, if that’s not an oxymoron.

    Chin up, Mordred! I’m a big fan of all the Indy setters and as an average solver I like the different styles and levels of difficulty that you come across. Some I finish, some I don’t, but the standard’s always good and I’d rather finish two-thirds of a good puzzle than three-thirds of a clunky one.

    Anyway, that’s enough of bigging up the Indy crosswords. Eimi will be looking for a pay rise next …

  5. eimi says:

    I’m certainly looking for a pay rise for the Indy setters, which is long overdue.

    I have little to add to the praise of Dac’s puzzles in general and the Ed Miliband clue in particular. Like Mordred, I’m in awe of Dac’s ability to produce such consistently good puzzles every week. He’s also a very nice chap.

  6. petebiddlecombe says:

    Kathryn’s Dad: yes, I think 27A counts as an &lit.

    Despairing setters and would-be setters: I can only offer a revised version of my advice elsewhere to a young would-be Times champion on beating Mark Goodliffe: Keep practising, and your accumulated knowledge and experience may enable you to catch up with him one day. But it might take the odd decade or two.

  7. Noddy says:

    Really enjoyable.
    I went for Zoe Heller being female – double definition, completely forgetting about Joseph.

  8. Noddy says:

    Forgot to say – thought 14A was a stroke of genius.

  9. jmac says:

    Yes, a great puzzle from Dac, and also a great blog from Pete, helpful and informative as ever.

  10. Pete Maclean says:

    This was my first Dac and I am impressed. I missed a few (9A, 15D) so thanks for the blog.

  11. scchua says:

    Thanks Peter, and Dac for a great solve.

    Some good &lit clues and misdirections. Favourites are 20A HEART THROB, where “take” = ROB, 27A INPATIENT, a fine &lit, 5D SUNDOWNERS where “Daily” = SUN and “people having” = OWNERS and its seamless wordplay/definition, and 14A ED MILIBAND, an almost perfect &lit, with its anagrind doubling as part of the definition.

    I had one doubt: 12A COSINESS I thought that “school” = S(unday) S(chool) seemed somewhat incomplete. But Peter has set me straight.

  12. scchua says:

    Re 6D INGRID I also liked “high” as in stoned as an anagrind.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Is there something we should know about your youth, scchua? Even David Cameron’s owned up to it, and he’s Prime Minister now, for god’s sake.

  14. Tokyo Colin says:

    I really enjoyed this too. Such smooth surfaces and clever, fresh cluing/clueing. With so many excellent clues to choose from perhaps my favourite was 6dn, INGRID. Simple, elegant and reminded me of my years in the land of fjords.

    My only comment to the blog relates to 24dn. I live in Japan (obviously) and after my run tonight bathed in a “Sento”, a local public bathing house named after an old Japanese word for money. But the Sen coins were withdrawn in 1953. We don’t need to delve into antiquity for coppers = SEN. The modern day Malaysian currency is the Ringgit which is divided into 100 Sen with copper coins of very little value still in circulation.

  15. scchua says:

    Hi K’sDad, I assure you, my knowledge is not based on personal experience, though I was there at the scene (long before David Cameron). Maybe that’s why I haven’t made it to PM, only a non-lurker.

    On a subject close to your heart I’m sure: there seems to be a radio silence about last night. I’d like to say really sorry for your loss (er, draw, so it could have been worse? – smiley face here-). I guess the next thing you lose will be your manager!

    Re Tokyo Colin@14. Does anyone know which came first: sen or cent? I suspect they must have the same origin.

  16. petebiddlecombe says:

    Etymologically, the two sens are different – the Malaysian one (which I didn’t know about) does come from “cent”, but the Japanese one apparently comes from Qian, a Chinese word for money.

  17. flashling says:

    14 ac was worth the entry fee alone. For 27 i took the clue as Nasty = anagrind of (pain time I)* and a partial &lit. Very nice Dac surfaces all round as per usual.

  18. flashling says:

    Though obvious I was wrong about that…

  19. Wil Ransome says:

    The usual fantastic stuff from Dac. And what more could we want than Peter B blogging it.

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