Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,563 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on January 12th, 2011


For me, Dac’s puzzles tend to be characterised by an economy of language and a smoothness of surface reading in the clues, and are reminiscent of those Guardian puzzles set by Custos (the late Alec Robins) that I cut my solving teeth on many moons ago and which really sparked off my passion for cryptic crosswords.

There are always genuinely two ways of arriving at the correct answer, with the wordplay, far from being tortuous and abstruse, pointing the solver in the direction of the solution, which can then be confirmed via the definition, with a dictionary if necessary: this was the case for me here in 26 and 16 – well, it was an atlas for the latter, not the dictionary. I have solved a few crosswords recently where the solution leapt off the page via the definition, or was basically revealed by the letters already entered in the grid, but where the wordplay was so convoluted that I eventually lost interest in working it out – this is surely not the mark of a good cryptic crossword à la Dac, although each to his own, of course.

My favourite clue here was 8: perfectly sound, smooth surface reading and totally misleading in suggesting clothing rather than home improvements!

*(…) indicates an anagram



7 VICARAGE A + RAG (=newspaper) in VICE (=wrongdoing)
9 OKAYED O (=old) + KAYED (=rebel, homophone of “Cade”); Jack Cade led a popular rebellion against King Henry VI of England in 1450.
10 PEKE Hidden in “wiPE Kennel”; “occupied by” indicates a hidden answer; peke is colloquial for a Pekinese dog.
11 DOUBLE FLAT Double definition: double flat = spacious accommodation, i.e. a large apartment AND double flat = a musical note already flat that is flattened again by a semitone.
12 BIPLANES I + PLAN in BES(t) (=first class, “mostly” meaning that not all letters are used)
13 RACKET Double definition: racket = article “used in tennis” and racket = game, i.e. scheme, as in “What’s the game? What’s going on?”
15 NEWS BROADCAST N E W S (=directions, i.e. points of the compass) + BROAD (=American female, i.e. woman in US slang) + CAST (=actors)
18 PARROT PAR (=the usual, as in “above par”, “below par”) + ROT (=rubbish)
20 PART SONG ARTS (=Garfunkel’s) in PONG (=hum); a part-song (hyphenated in Chambers) is a melody with parts in harmony, usually unaccompanied; Art Garfunkel is an American singer-songwriter, best known as half of the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel.
22 REVOLUTION NO + I (=one) + TU (=Trade Union) + LOVER (=supporter); all reversed (“backed”); & lit.
24 FIFE FI(shwi)FE (=contents removed, i.e. some of the central letters are to be dropped)
25 LE MANS MA (=mother) in LENS (=French town); Lens is a town in the department of Pas-de-Calais in northern France, while Le Mans, famous as a motorsport venue, is further west in the department of Sarthe.
26 TRAVERSE RAVERS (=noisy revellers) in TE (=note, i.e. in music); a traverse is a gallery leading from one side of a large building to another.



1 NIGERIAN I (=independence) in *(IN ANGER); “erupted” is the anagram indicator
2 SAFE-BLOWER SAFE (=oddly SnAfFlEs, i.e. odd letters only) + BLOWER (=telephone, i.e. colloquial, as in “to be on the blower/phone”)
3 WARDEN Definition: caretaker; Cryptic definition: “war den” (=Churchill’s bunker, alluding to the war rooms from which British PM Winston Churchill commanded British forces during the Second World War)
4 COLLARED *(REAL) in COLD; “suffering” is the anagram indicator. Definition is caught, i.e. arrested, nabbed.
5 GAFF F (=fine) + FAG (=smoke), all reversed (“over”); definition is “house, perhaps”, as in “Come over to my gaff/place/pad this evening”.
6 DECADE Homophone of “decayed” (=went off, i.e. rotted); “say” is the homophone indicator.
8 EMULSION PAINT IN in *(AN IMPULSE TO); “tear about” is the anagram indicator; cryptic definition: “colourful coat”, the reference being not to clothes but to a coat of paint of whatever colour!
14 CLASSIFIED Double definition: classified = kept secret, e.g. documents AND classified = arranged by class, categorised, e.g. data
16 BATHURST A + THURS (=day) in [B (=British) + T (=Tourist initially, i.e. first letter only)]; Bathurst is a city in New South Wales and is the oldest inland settlement in Australia.
17 TUNA FISH *(IT HAS FUN); “swimming about” is the anagram indicator.
19 APEXES A + P (=small amount of money, abbreviation of pence or penny) + EXES (=expenses); the definition “tips” refers not to gratuities but to summits, points (in geometry)
21 RENTAL N (=Notification initially, i.e. first letter only) in LATER (=subsequently; “raised” indicates reversal)
23 ORAL (m)ORAL (=lesson to be learnt, “marks” lost means letter ‘m’ is to be dropped)

18 Responses to “Independent 7,563 / Dac”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi RatkojaRiku
    A little finger error in 6dn methinks. I’m sure you meant to write DECADE as the answer. ;-)

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku and Dac for another enjoyable puzzle.

    Favourites were 22A REVOLUTION, 15A NEWS BROADCAST, and 12A BIPLANES all with straight forward wordplays – Dac’s style as you mention in your preamble.

    6D I think you meant the answer to be DECADE. But is there a standard pronunciation of “decade” which is homophonic with “decayed”?

  3. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku and Dac for another enjoyable puzzle.

    Favourites were 22A REVOLUTION, 15A NEWS BROADCAST, and 12A BIPLANES all with straight forward wordplays – Dac’s style as you mention in your preamble.

    6D DECADE Is there a standard pronunciation of “decade” which is homophonic with “decayed”?

  4. scchua says:

    PS Sorry about the doubling up! Thought first one didn’t get through, and second one was after I saw @1. Apologies!

  5. Gaufrid says:

    No need to apologise, it wasn’t your fault. Your first comment was intercepted by the spam filter for some reason or other. I just happened to be checking the spam folder for incorrectly intercepted comments a few seconds after you submitted the comment and so was able to retrieve it quite quickly.

  6. Kathryn'sed Dad says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for yet another informative and interesting blog.

    I found this to be the trickiest Dac I’d solved for a while. It’s all clearly clued of course, but I really struggled with the NE corner. Not helped by slapping in OBEYED, never having heard of the rebel Cade (a tad obscure, if I may be allowed a small criticism of a Dac puzzle once a decade). Talking of which, DECADE works for me since there are two pronunciations: I would say DECK-AID, but you also hear DE-CAYED from people like The Queen. Never heard of the definition of TRAVERSE until today.

    Specially liked REVOLUTION and COLLARED.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks for a very explicit blog to a good `puzzle.

    I didn’t get 5d,as I’d never heard ‘gaff’ used in that sense – the definition familiar to me would, I think, require a final ‘e’, being a French word.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry, I seem to have morphed into someone else for comment no 6. I’ll blame the spam filter.

  9. flashling says:

    Found this ok, didn’t really get the definition for traverse so thanks R. Pronunciarion of decade/decayed I always say them the same and have never heard of Bathurst but got it from the wordplay. Thanks Ratk & DAC

  10. Robi says:

    Thanks Dac and RatkojaRiku.

    This is the first time that I have tried an Independent puzzle and found it quite hard-going. Is this a typical example of the difficulty of these puzzles? I also found the grid rather small on my computer; I tried CTRL SHIFT +, but this only worked once – is there some other way of enlarging the grid?

    Once I had solved it, I wondered why I had such problems – but that is always the same with hindsight. I missed the revolutionary reversal in 22 (that makes two in one day!)

  11. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was excellent as always, thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku, and Dac for the puzzle. My favourite was PARROT. I had to think quite a bit about 22A as my first thought when I’d some crossing letters was RESOLUTION but it would not fit the wordplay. Liked the ‘colourful coat’ in 8 too.

  12. sidey says:

    Robi, if you use Windows is good, it works happily on W7 too.

  13. Robi says:

    Thanks sidey; works on my W7 system.

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Robi at no 10.

    Nice to see you over here on this blog and to hear that you’ve had a crack at your first Indy puzzle. As I said earlier, this for me was a tough Dac, but generally his Wednesday puzzles are gettable and always smoothly clued. Phi on Friday is the other regular slot as a rule – always a pleasing crossword and usually within the reach of an improving solver.

    Beyond that, there are some toughies too! But always a fair challenge and a chance to improve.

  15. Robi says:

    Thanks Kathryn’s Dad for the info. I’m not sure I will do this daily but I will have a go from-time-to-time.

  16. pennes says:

    I found this harder than the usual dac. Just noticed that that Le Mans is a car racing circuit and that there is also a famous car race at Bathurst. It is probably coincidence but Racket, double flat (puncture), revolution and also apexes (of corners)all ahve a connection to car racing.

  17. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks for pointing out the typing error in 6 – now edited out, in case anyone else reads this later. It’s amazing how often one can re-read a text before posting and still not spot an error.

    On the clue itself at 6, the homophone only works for one of the two pronunciations of decade (as has been mentioned); some of my dictionaries indicate that they are perfect homophones, others say not quite – close enough, nonetheless, for the homophone to pass muster in a cryptic crossword, I think.

    Thanks to sidey for the enlarging tip – I’ll give it a whirl myself.

    I wonder if you are right, pennes: the fact that Bathurst is not the most obvious of place names to clue might suggest that there was a theme lurking in there? Perhaps Dac will drop in and let us know?

  18. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid@5 for the explanation. In this instance, I can really say “the computer did it”!

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