Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7564 – Anax

Posted by Gaufrid on January 13th, 2011


This puzzle first appeared in the Indy ‘i’ on 3rd December last year and the day before Anax mentioned in a comment on 15² that it was a puzzle that had “a moderately unusual thematic twist”. I therefore decided to prepare a one-off blog for this ‘i’ puzzle so that people could see the type of puzzle that appears in the ‘i’ on a Friday. However, I was asked not to publish the blog at that time because the puzzle was due to appear in the main paper sometime early this year.

As it turns out, my labours were not in vain since the scheduled blogger, flashling, is busy today preparing for an interview, at which I wish him every success, and my original blog (with appropriate amendments to the first two paragraphs of the preamble) can therefore be published instead.

I thought this was a rad (see 8ac) puzzle with many neat twists and turns (not to mention a few anagrams!). One or two of the clues were difficult to parse (15ac in particular) but I got there in the end. There were so many good clues (as is typical of Anax/Loroso) that it is difficult to choose a ‘pick of the day’ but for me I think it must be 24dn, easy to solve but a lovely surface, closely followed by 7dn.

It’s a pity that the theme of each clue beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet couldn’t have been accompanied by a grid that was a pangram (only joking Anax!).      

8 RADII RAD (awesome) II (pair {two}) – according to Chambers, ‘rad’ is a (US) slang term for ‘excellent’ and ‘awesome’ can mean ‘amazing, great or impressive’ (also slang) so I think the two are close enough given the theme.
9 READDRESS READ (be a student) DR (doctor) ESS (letter)
14 NEVIS hidden reversal in ‘expenSIVE New’ – this Caribbean island.
15 LECTERN LECTER (fell) [dow]N (down, only having last) – in the film Hannibal (the sequel to The Silence of the Lambs), Hannibal Lecter masqueraded as Dr Fell.
17 RUBELLA RUB (problem) ALL (every) E (drug) reversed
19 TOPIC TO PIC[k] (to select – tail missing)
21 ECONOMIST I’M ON (referring to) reversed in E (European) COST (budget) &lit
23 AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR FAIR (just) in *(FUN ONE HEARD) – a duel.
25 SHAMBLING SHAM (knocked-off) BLING (flashy jewellery)
26 EXTOL EX (late) TO (for) L[unch] – ‘puff’ according to Chambers can mean “to extol, esp in disingenuous advertisement”.
2 ADONIS A DON (lecturer) IS
3 CICERONE ICE (kill) in CR (councillor) ONE – “a person who shows and explains the curiosities of a place to visitors and sightseers; a guide” (Chambers).
4 PROVENANCE A N (new) in PROVENCE (part of France)
5 FAST FA (nothing {as in sweet F[anny] A[dams]}) ST (way)
6 ADJOIN A DJ (radio presenter) O (ought) IN – def. ‘couple’. According to Collins, ‘ought’ is a variant of ‘nought’ and ‘O’ is another name for ‘nought’.
7 MEDIEVAL ME DIE (stop) VAL (woman)
16 CAPE FEAR APE (drill, possibly) FE (iron) in CAR (vehicle) – the title of a 1962 film (picture) and its subsequent remake.
18 BROWNIES ROW (line) IN reversed in BES[t] – I assume the ‘good’ in ‘We’re good girls’ is a reference to the ‘and does a good turn every day’ part of the Brownie Law.
20 CRIMBO M (mass) in CRIB (brothel) O (nothing)
22 IDEATE I (one) [yuppi]E in DATE (girlfriend)
24 EVIL hidden in ‘zombiE VILlage’

19 Responses to “Independent 7564 – Anax”

  1. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Gaufrid. I enjoyed this, and found it easier than most of Anax’s puzzles, but needed your post to understand LECTERN (a very difficult parsing, I thought, even as someone who has seen the film a couple of times) and CICERONE. Thanks for pointing out the alphabetical theme, as well! A very impressive puzzle.

    I’m not sure about DATE for “girlfriend” – I would have thought that one’s date was generally unlikely to be one’s girlfriend, but perhaps it has dictionary support…

    Miscounting “A”s, I had assumed that P.E. was “drill, possibly” in 16d :)

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi mhl
    I’ve no problem with girlfriend = date. Collins defines ‘date’ as “an appointment for a particular time, esp with a person to whom one is sexually or romantically attached; the person with whom the appointment is made”. Chambers has something similar.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.

    I found parts of this pretty tough, but did enjoy it. There were a lot of very good clues, and no obscurities, which would be quite an achievement. I liked CONSERVATIONIST and MEDIEVAL today. I had to have a furtle around online to get AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR. I had the AFFAIRE bit, but interestingly the phrase isn’t in the SOED. The ought = nought equivalence came up in the Guardian earlier this week.

    I didn’t get the theme, but it’s tricky to see all the clues together in the online version (he said, feebly).

    Lovely puzzle, thank you to setter.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Also meant to say that I’ve been buying the Indy i a bit recently, and have done the Friday puzzle by Phi for the last couple of weeks. Sounds like I might have a bit of a head start with one of his future contributions in the big paper?

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.

    I did this puzzle when Anax alerted us to it over a month ago and, although I finished it then, I was shocked today to find how little I remembered of how I did it! It was almost like a new puzzle.

    I do remember, though, that I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very grateful, when blogging yesterday’s Guardian Arachne, to remember that ought = nought!

    Many thanks again, Anax.

  6. nmsindy says:

    I enjoyed this. After Scorpion’s Xmas puzzle where I missed the greeting presented in first letters of clues on my blogging day, I’ve begun to read them so I saw this, but it made no difference to solving of course. I found this quite a bit easier than Anax normally is – my favourite clues were NEVIS, AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR (which I was v pleased to work out from the wordplay – had a vague recollection of the phrase), and ADONIS.

    I was never in the Brownies but what I thought of when solving was ‘Brownie points’. Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid, and Anax for the puzzle.

  7. walruss says:

    Yes, you would have to have some quite esoteric knowledge to get the Dr Fell reference, and quite frankly it was an awful film! I too rather like the duelling clue. Very good quality in the Indy all week, so far.

  8. flashling says:

    Many thanks to Gaufrid for today’s cover although unexpected when the offer came. Good job too because I doubt in a month of Sundays could I explain lectern here. But as expected with Anax this was a bit tough and did wonder for ages where the O in adjoin came from (and the first A in Cape Fear for that matter). Thanks Gaufrid and Anax for a break from my studies!

  9. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for the blog and Anax for quite a challenge.

    Completed the grid but couldn’t explain LECTERN and FAST (so can I say I completed the puzzle or not?). Liked all the long ones, CONSERVATIONIST, AFFAIRE D’HONNEUR, CROCODILE TEARS and SATISFACTORILY, which I myself couldn’t believe, I got before some of the shorter ones.

  10. Robi says:

    Finished this rather late in the day, but needed the blog for some explanations e.g.15.

    Was too dim to spot the theme!

  11. Robi says:

    P.S. Could drill in 16 be A PE??

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi scchua. To answer your question: yes, I think you completed the puzzle. That’s what I’d claim, anyway. Not sure if you’re into the game, but my analogy would be a cricketing one. If I make a fifty (an increasingly rare event these days), it still appears in the scorecard in the local rag the week after. It doesn’t say that I played and missed half a dozen times before I’d got off the mark, there were some ugly shots, and that I nearly ran myself out on 49 in a frantic attempt to get a half-century. Arriving at destination is the key; how you get there is up to you!

  13. scchua says:

    Thanks K’sD. That is one philosophical question I have about doing crosswords. The other perhaps more “shades-of-grey” question is where is the boundary between a legitimate search for answers and “cheating”. The two extremes are clear: the purist “nothing except what’s in your brain” as with crossword competitions on one hand, and pressing the “reveal” button on the other. I think both of these take the fun out of doing crosswords and learning, for mere mortals like me!

    PS. I played cricket in my schooldays but alas not well, so now I’m only an observer! But I fully understand your analogy.

  14. Robi says:

    P.P.S. Sorry, Gaufrid – didn’t follow your link to the Drill ape!

  15. flashling says:

    @Succha #9 FAST has a rather ruder explaination in UK English, not Gaufrid’s bowderised version although I’d have done the same :-) @K’s D personally it just irks me when I can see the answer but not why. I’m often irked, especially on Thursdays here.

  16. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.
    A mostly excellent puzzle from Anax,shame about 15 across which I would never have understood without the blog.I’m surprised there haven’t been any adverse comments,I think some other setters would have been slated for that type of clue.

  17. scchua says:

    flashling@15 re FAST yes, I know. Gaufrid hasn’t quite explained where the “sweet” in SFA has gone to, has he?! Though I’ve come across plain Fanny Adams before, and obviously plain FA as well! (besides in football!)

  18. Scarpia says:

    Re sweet Fanny Adams – it has a rather gruesome derivation

    I upset a poster here with this link after the sane phrase cropped up in another puzzle,but it is given in Brewers,which is generally regarded as the definitive source for this sort of phrase.

  19. anax says:

    Hello friends

    Lovely blog Gaufrid, and thanks for all your kind comments.

    I must put my hands up and admit 15a was a risk. It’s difficult to pick references to popular culture as one person’s ‘classic’ is another’s ‘bilge’ and obscurity depends on what you’re into as a reader/viewer/listener/attendee. To be honest when I found the Fell reference it was a case of some faded memory being dredged up (I don’t really do movies), and I’d probably have abandoned the idea were it not the fact that the Hannibal films (or SOTL anyway) were based on a novel, so it felt like there might be more currency than there would be had it referred to film only.

    And, of course, I needed to start the clue with F as well…

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=""> <strike> <strong>

7 − = four