Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7544 by Radian

Posted by nmsindy on December 20th, 2010


A themed puzzle from Radian as was clear from a first look at the clues with a lot of them referring to the answer at 13.

Will leave a gap so as readers won’t inadvertently see the theme.

This puzzles marks the 150th anniversary (20 December 1860) of the first Ordinance of Secession (Carolina) that led to the American Civil War.   As it happened there was an article about this that I had read in yesterday’s IoS by Rupert Cornwell so the theme came quickly enough.     Radian packed a huge amount of thematic material in, and referred to all of the secession states, I think.     That was quite an achievement.     This forced some unfamiliar words into the grid and made it quite a difficult puzzle but I got there in  the end, solving time 52 mins.

* = anagram

1 ARCADIA     r (republican) in Acadia (old French colony in N America)

5 FLORIDA    The first reference to 13 (SLAVE STATES)  reverses   A DI ROLF (Harris, by coincidence he also featured in an interview in yesterday’s IoS)

9 A  MISS     abbrev for Missouri

10 TOOL-MAKER     loo (card game) reversed in (market)*

11 DON QUIXOTE    “Idiot at inn doesn’t finish audio book”     Got this right, and verified on Indy website but can’t see the wordplay.

12 SLUR   Double definition


18 AS UGLY AS SIN         ugly for the 2nd s in ASSASSIN

21 OATH    (a hot)*

22 OPEN SESAME    This was amusing   Open Golf and sesame seed


26 SOUTH    ref  South Carolina   O (Oscar, code word) in (shut)*

27 ALA  BAMA      Obama less O

28 HEEHAWS    h (husband)  (Shawnee)* less n = name        Good definition,  ass shouts


1  AWARDS     WAR D in AS   (Middle East)   centre letters


3 DISBURSAL      S (small)   RUBS (problems)   all reversed in DIAL = ring

4 AR TEX      One of the less familiar words but gettable from the wordplay

5 FRONTIERS   R (river) in (first one)*

6 O HMS     o  = old  and alternate letters of hymns

7  INKBLOTS     (blinks to)*    used in inkblot test by ‘shrink’ = psychiatrist

8 AIRBRUSH   R in AIRBUS   H = height

14 A CAPPELLA      “Unaccompanied work lacking appeal after monarch leaves”     Another one I got right and verified on the website, but don’t understand the wordplay

15 TENNES   SEE     ref Mack Sennett

16 CAROLINA   (no racial)*

17 PUT TO SEA    Fatboy = putto    Slim’s beginning (1st letter)   EA (each)

19 VALUTA       This was my last answer    VA (Virginia)  L (pound)  UT (note – musical) A

20 TETHYS     (they)* in ST reversed.     Glad of the easy wordplay for this word which was new to me.  drink = sea, this one from prehistory

23 NORTH    (Rt Hon)*   There was a Prime Minister (PM) North once

24 GA LA     GALAHAD less HAD,  I think.

18 Responses to “Independent 7544 by Radian”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi nms
    11ac is a homophone (audio) of ‘donkey’ (idiot) ‘hote[l]’ (inn doesn’t finish).

    14dn is an anagram (work) of LAC[king] APPEAL.

    I think 19 down is A L (a pound) UT (note) all in VA.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thamks nms – and Gaufrid for the parsing of DON QUIXOTE, which I got but couldn’t explain.

    Because of the ‘seed’ [and my own preference!] I associated ‘Open’ in 22ac with tennis, rather than golf championships.

  3. Lenny says:

    Thanks NMS, I agree that Radian’s objective of getting 13 states into the grid brought about some obscurity. I got Valuta and Tethys from the wordplay but I did not even understand Tethys after I had looked it up as I missed the sea=drink allusion.

    I don’t think the Don Quitote homophone really works, even if you give it the correct Spanish pronunciation. A homophone is not a homophone if it has a letter missed off the end.

    Valuta is apparently not a currency, it is “the value of one currency in terms of its exchange rate with another” (Collins). This suggests that the wordplay and definition overlap in 19 with the definition being “a pound note in foreign currency”.

    After getting all those hard ones, I carelessly entered Blur instead of Slur.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, nmsindy, and Radian for a themed puzzle, with many cleverly worded clues.

    Spotted the theme via 23D 16D, but was stumped on the last state 19D VALUTA, even though I knew it had to be VA-.

    Favourite clues were 7D INKBLOTS and 16D CAROLINA, “deciphers” and “miscegenation” were clever anagrinds which fit very well in their respective surface readings; and the amusing 28A HEEHAWS.

    Re 11A DON QUIXOTE, I got the wordplay, and the homophonic idea was great, but I haven’t been able to find a pronunciation that rhymes the “TE” in QUIXOTE with the “te” in “hotel”. The ones I’ve found are “tee” or “tay”.

  5. Eileen says:

    Re 11ac: couldn’t the ‘doesn’t finish’ refer to both parts of the clue [i.e. neither QUIXOTE nor ‘hotel’ finishes] so that the two TEs don’t need to rhyme?

  6. Paul B says:

    Judging by the position of the homophone indicator, we should be looking for a homophone of DONKEY (at) HOTEL without the L. If that’s right, perhaps the question is whether or not the last E in the answer sounds right. I’m not quite getting DON KEYHOATAY, because ‘hotel’ isn’t pronounced ‘hoatail’ where I come from (jolly old Hampshire).

    Having said that, I thought this a most entertaining romp with some really nicely spotted detail (eg LOO for game) in the SI. Bravo Radian – keep up the (very) good work.

  7. flashling says:

    Cor what a struggle despite getting the idea of southern states quite quickly, failed on valuta, rather different to the last 2 Mondays. Thanks NMS

  8. scchua says:

    Eileen@5, well, “audio” at the end of the wordplay suggests that the idea is for the total answer to be a homophone of “donkey” + an unfinished homophone of “hotel”, or an unfinished homophone of “donkey-hotel”. One could argue that what’s intended is a homophone of “hote” (whatever that is), pronounced as “hotee” or “hotay”, which seems to be an adhoc argument.

    Or one could view it’s not a homophone but the unfinished “hote(l)” that is to be added on, but then there is a missing “h”.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi scchua

    Yes, I know it was a stretch but it made me laugh when I saw Gaufrid’s explanation and I just so wanted it to work!

    Many thanks, Radian, for a great puzzle to add to all the others!

  10. Lenny says:

    All this discussion of the homophone reminds me that I studied the Cervantes novel in my second year of grammar school. We had just finished ploughing through some Thomas Hardy so, when our English teacher announced that the next book would be Donkey Oaty I was looking forward to some light relief. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that it was a book about a deluded Spanish knight.

  11. NealH says:

    The newsagent had no copies of the Indy and the website doesn’t function at work, so I had to wait until the evening to tackle this one. It wasn’t as bad as I initially feared when I saw it was a themed puzzle. It was obvious that 13 across was something states, so that and the date pointed fairly firmly to the US Civil War. However, it took me ages to get the slave bit because I’ve always thought of them as being rebel states or confederate states.

    I needed a fair bit of help for l9 down – had to look up the missing state (Virginia) and then still couldn’t see it because I’ve never heard of “ut”. I also think Don Quixote was stretching things, although I could see what Radian was trying to do. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the puzzle and found it quite a nice level of difficulty.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, nms. I solved this one this morning before battling with the elements, and I found it quite inventive. The gateway clue was pretty clear (I had to google it to find the subject matter, but I don’t mind that) and then it was a question of looking for the eleven states. I thought this was where it got inventive, with a variety of devices used to fit them in. The rest certainly wasn’t a giveaway, but I liked HEEHAWS and AS UGLY AS SIN. Of the states, I liked ALABAMA best. Like others, I’m not convinced about DON QUIXOTE.

    I wouldn’t have finished this twelve months ago, so it’s nice to feel you’re making a bit of progress. The other thing I liked was that it made me go and do a bit of background browsing on the secession and the Civil War.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    And meant to say that the inkblots at 7dn are the brainchild of Hermann Rorschach, who’s here if you’re remotely interested:

    And forgive me if I’ve asked this before, but what happens if you have more than one brainchild?

  14. Mick H says:

    I enjoyed the Don Quixote clue, despite a sense that the homophone was a wee bit of a stretch. But on reflection, the ‘e’ in Quixote in Spanish is surely closer to ‘wet’ than ‘day’, so ‘hote-‘ is not a bad stab. Nice one!

  15. flashling says:

    Glad to see you’re not stuck on a motorway K’sD. So will we get a cheesy Christmas filled week here or will Eimi and the gang just be trying to send us nuts or crackers. :-)

    I’d prefer wine to whine… back to today (party) hats off to Radian for a job well done.

  16. Radian says:

    The homophone was I agree a bit of a liberty but irresistible – perhaps a Christmas present from the editor? I too was fascinated by the whole build-up to the Civil War, which was almost a closed book before I noticed the date. “Educate, inform and entertain” (or whatever Reith wrote) is not a bad piece of advice to try to live up to. Happy Christmas everyone. Hope to see you in the new year.

  17. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for your comment, Radian, and best festive wishes to you too. That Reith advice is not too bad, I guess. Thanks to Gaufrid for explaining the ones where I missed the wordplay and to all others who commented on the blog.

  18. scarpia says:

    Thanks nms.
    I found this pretty tough but,ultimately very satisfying.I now know more about the secession and the Civil War,so Radian’s mission to “Educate, inform and entertain” is bearing fruit.
    Many years ago my uncle kept 2 donkeys,one of which was named O’Tee, the other was (jenny)Fur; so I was quite happy with the homophone even though it was a bit strained.Also,it paired nicely with 28 across.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

7 × six =