Never knowingly undersolved.

Indy 7578 (Sat 29-Jan) Anax

Posted by beermagnet on February 5th, 2011


Congrats to Anax for a stonking puzzle that no doubt had a few in Derby scratching their collective heads over their pints. While I was struggling over this, I could imagine them all downing glass after glass waiting for someone to bring out the Twister sheet.

At first I thought I was doing quite well for an Anax. I slapped in half-dozen answers before grinding to a halt – normally it’s less than that – but unfortunately I had put in a couple of duff answers. I ground out a few more answers till I had most of the top half in place, but scant inroads in the bottom half which the curious 16/21 cordoned off.

It wasn’t till I realised, from the answer lengths, that 16/21 was an anagram of 26, 7, 20 and 6, and the significance of 3 22 3 SIXTY  something CELEBRATION (I didn’t understand 22D YEARS for ages) that 16/21 appeared. I’ve got to give this my clue of the grid award for the sense of achievement on solving, though it is obviously not a clue you could use in isolation and I am really saying thanks for the whole grid construction.

Even then, the rest of the bottom half was tough and included at least three new words for me and some novel wordplay.

Some wordplay still hanging unexplained in a couple of clues – 11A, 12A and probably 15D

[Correcting edits applied after comment 14]

In the same way that PeeDee did on last week’s Guardian Prize blog I’ve put the clue in so that it appears when placing the mouse near the clue number. I think this is a great addition to blogs where the crossword is probably not at hand.

1 EXCUSE-ME CD In an “Excuse-me” dance people may cut in, so partners swap (I suppose this was before Naked Twister was invented.)
5 ANADEM A N[ew] (MADE)* Def. fillet I had heard of an anadem elsewhere but tying that def up with fillet took a bit of research
9 RELAXED L[ost] AXE inside RED Def. Easy
10 INVADED IN (popular) V[ictory] (DEAD)* AInd: exceited Def. Was occupier. First answer in.
11 HUB U (OK for children {? This must be some element of txtspk or similar I don’t know} as in film classification U=Universal “suitable for children”)  inside HB (pencil) Def. Eye
Last answer, and one that caused trouble early on as I had written in YEP thinking it was hidden in eYE Pencil, indicated by ‘cases’ and Def. OK for children.
12 YELLOW RIVER YELL (shout) OWRIVER ??? Def. Hwang Ho
Pleased to have written this in before checking that it was correct from the def. but I still can’t see the wordplay
YELL (shout), WRI[t] (clipped order), to block (container ind) OVER (upper).
Thanks Polly/Gaufrid
14 TRANSGRESSIONS (SINS AREN’T GROSS)* AInd: Sins. I was very happy when I fiddled out this anagram after nearly giving up thinking there were too few vowels. At that time I marked this as my favourite clue.
16/21 DIAMOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY (IN A WORD DAD SAYING “NEVER MIND”)* AInd: About. Def: sixty years celebration.
The centrepiece of the puzzle and a puzzle in its own right with the clue made up of cross references to other answers.
23 ADO Def: trouble. And only as I do this blog after describing 16/21 above do understand the wordplay 8-0 Another crossref to answer 8 Modern = AD 0=O Now I can groan.
24 INLAWRY IN (Home) L[ife] AWRY (wrong?) I’m not sure the “?” is strictly necessary. Interesting word that I had to check to confirm surprisingly not in my Chambers but seems pretty clear here
26 IN A WORD ROWAN< inside I’D Def: to the Point
27 GIGOLO I GO (I drive) inside GL, then O round Def: Escort
28 PROSTYLE ST[one] Y[ard] inside PROLE (poor man) Def: portico. Another “bottom hlaf” answer that needed a dictionary check
1 EARSHOT E (oriental) A (SHORT)* AInd: ridiculously. Def: Attention span? This held me up longer than anything in the puzzle. Clearly (now!) the wordplay isn’t that hard but after sidetracked by the erroneous 11A (Yep/Hub) and even after confirming the initial E which is likely “oriental” I was hung up thinking the whole clue was some sort of Cryptic Def mainly because of that final question mark “?” ! Again, is it an unnecessary “?” ? It probably wasn’t meant to mislead in this way, after all “attention span” is a somewhat sideways (though excellent) way of defining earshot, thus probably justifies the “?” So I suppose it says more about the solving process involving an easily misled punter
2 CELEBRATION CEREBRATION (hard thinking) swap R for L Def: Jolly. As I solved this I couldn’t help thinking of a cohort of like-minded crossword aficionados swapping Cerebration for Celebration in the Midlands while I fretted about what to say in this blog (probably playing Naked Twister by that time)
3 SIXTY IX (nine) inside STY (pen) Def: Number
4 MODULAR ([s]LUM ROAD)* AInd: demolished. Def: possibly blocked? Is this another unnecessary “?”? Doesn’t “possibly” provide enough doubt?
6 NEVER MIND VERMIN (rats, mice, etc.) inside DEN< (nest) Is a den a nest? Def: Don’t worry. The “about” in the clue is the reverse indicator for DEN. Admission: Before checking, I wondered about the spare “about”, thinking Nest gave NED directly from the French – but that is Nid. Never mind, I’ve been in worse trouble for knowing too little French
7 DAD A (article) inside DD (large chest – in the Katy Price sense)
8 MODERN MOD (army bosses) E (electronic) RN (service – Royal Navy) Def: New
10 IRONS CD – Fire Irons consist of poker, brush, shovel, tongs etc.
Not a CD – this clue was much more than that, and now Duggie has pointed it out I should’ve given this much more praise.
F[ir]E and F[lam]E give FE twice. Chemical symbol for Iron, thus IRONS – what a great device making this a brilliant &Lit!
13 VINDICATORY V[ery] (DICTIONARY)* AInd: poor. Another I wrote in incorrectly initially (vindicating) through insufficient anagram checking.
15 SEMIVOWEL The W of the word WORDS is a semivowel, apparently. This is an &Lit clue but for a long time it looked like just a Single Def
17 NERVY RV (camper van – Recreational Vehicle) inside YEN< (wanting – Rev.Ind: wheels)
18 WEARIER W[ith] E[nergy] IE (that is) inside A RR (a posh car – Rolls Royce)
19 GEORDIE G[ood] E[nglish] OR DIE (“do ? makes reckless” – reckless as in “do or die”) For ages I took reckless as an Anagrind and wondered what we were supposed to use as the fodder.
20 SAYING AY (always) inside SING (pipe) Def: Saw, as in adage
22 YEARS YEA! (of course!) R’S (a castle’s – castle in chess = Rook = R)

18 Responses to “Indy 7578 (Sat 29-Jan) Anax”

  1. jmac says:

    Hi Beermagnet, Thanks for the blog. in 11 across “u” refers to the film classification “U” as being a film suitable for viewing by children. Failed on “inlawry” but a very enjoyable puzzle made easier thsn it might have been by the multi-numbered solution.

  2. kloot says:

    I found this very hard and didn’t finish it. At one point I wanted to take an ax’ to it! However- as always with Anax- the solutions are elegant and fair.

    Thanks for the blog Beermagnet which cleared up some of my omissions.

    I couldn’t make the event but from the photos a good time was had by all!!!

  3. Eileen says:

    A very good time – and a fair few of us initially had YEP for 11ac!

    Welcome to the club, beermagnet, and thanks for the blog – and Anax, too, of course, for a fun puzzle.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, beermagnet for a fine blog which brought back happy memories of last week.

    I can do alcohol, and I can do crosswords (sometimes), but not at the same time; so I had a crack at this before setting off. I couldn’t quite finish it: I was firmly convinced that 11ac was YEP, so couldn’t manage the NW corner since I’d never heard of EXCUSE ME. But I enjoyed the puzzle. The long clue is very cleverly done, and like you I particularly admired TRANSGRESSIONS. IN A WORD was my other favourite clue.

    Sadly, we never got round to Naked Twister. I’ll bring the mat and dice next year and see what happens when the beer kicks in.

    Thank you to Anax for a tough but fair puzzle (and of course to him and Jayne for coming last Saturday).

  5. Allan_C says:

    Got part way with it at the event but had to finish it later. I thought 5a had to be ‘anadem'; I did find it in Chambers, but thanks for the link to Luciferous Logolepsy – that may come in very useful in future. Thanks too for the explanations of 10d and 17d.

  6. Duggie says:

    Beermagnet: In the explanation of 10D should you perhaps explicitly mention the ‘fringes of fire and flame’ i.e. Fe = iron(s). This makes it a brilliant &lit.
    Great puzzle overall with so many sparkling clues but, like you, I still can’t see the wordplay in 12A Yellow River.

  7. scchua says:

    Thanks beermagnet for the blog, and Anax for a fairly challenging puzzle (sober or otherwise).

    Things got going after cracking 16,21,26,7,20,6,3,22,2. Starting with SIXTY, NEVER MIND, and YEARS, it all sort of came together almost simultaneously. Thus “fairly” challenging instead of “very”.

    Favourite clues were 1D EARSHOT, a really cryptic definition, 7D DAD for its cheekiness (an aha! moment), and 2D CELEBRATION.

    My shot at the wordplay for 12A YELLOW RIVER “clipped” YEL(l) followed by LOWRIVER, which is a consequence of blocking the “upper” reaches of the river.

    Re your comment about 4D MODULAR. I think that possibly the “possibly” is another anagrind for ROAD, and the definition is simply “blocked”. Re 10A INVADED, is there a possible type in the clue, since INVADED goes with “was occupied”, and not “was occupier” (which would give INVADER). For some time after putting INVADED, I wasn’t sure about it.

  8. Polly says:

    Along with countless others I filled in YEP for 11 across straight away, thinking ‘Blimey, this is far too easy for Anax’.

    12 across: YELL for shout, WRI(t) for clipped order, to block (container ind) OVER (= upper).

  9. Gaufrid says:

    Hi beermagnet, Duggie & scchua
    The wordplay for 12ac is YELL (shout) WRI[t] (clipped order) in OVER (upper).

  10. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid (and Polly).

  11. anax says:

    Dear Beermagnet
    What a sensational blog! I can’t thank you enough for the time you’ve evidently put into this – I genuinely feel humbled by your efforts.

    I’m glad Polly got in there first with the YELLOW RIVER breakdown; it was quite a tough one (not the greatest set of letters to play with) and I feared it might flummox many.

    11a was a funny one. I had absolutely no idea of the possible alternative answer until it was mentioned to me in Derby and for a while toyed with the idea of a future puzzle deliberately having both answers, with identical clues. But I won’t; YEP as an alternative to YES is a word I use often enough and I’m many years beyond being a child. Pity really – it would have been a pleasing little stunt to play but, in retrospect, not a patch on that 9-letter one Alberich/Klingsor did some months ago.

    Thank you all for your kind comments as always, but I’ll keep bobbing in occasionally as I’m sure someone will hurl abuse at some point! 11a makes me feel as if I may deserve it.

  12. Eileen says:

    “11a makes me feel as if I may deserve it.”

    Absolutely not, Anax! It was just reassuring [and amusing] to find that the first two people I spoke to [Conrad, with whom I shared the train journey] and Peter, who met us off the train, and, subsequently, others, had initially done the same thing. I’d been thinking I’d been getting not too bad at Anax crosswords and when I saw ‘cases’, I thought, ‘I know where this one’s going’ – wrong! [but still right, in a way. :-) ] You’re just still one step ahead!

    Anyway, it was lovely to meet you – and, of course, Jayne. Thanks so much for coming.

    A bientôt!

  13. Lenny says:

    Thanks Beermagnet and Anax.I used to think that doing an Anax crossword was like having dentistry without an anaesthetic. After some practice, it is like having teeth pulled with an overdose of nitrous oxide. I feel quite euphoric about it but I am still left with the gaps.
    Today I managed everything except the bottom two: Gigolo and Prostyle. There is no logical explanation for this, apart from fatigue, since I managed much more obscure answers further up.

  14. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a very good puzzle – did most of it in Birmingham while waiting for the train to Derby then finished it – apart from one word (PROSTYLE) that I had to check later – in the Waterfall in Derby when I was the very first to arrive there for the event, shortly after 10 AM. And, yep, I had YEP pencilled in from the very start. Thanks for the blog, beermagnet, tho (reference comment #3) it’s by no means a début here for you. Thanks, Anax, for the puzzle and it was a pleasure to meet you once again in Derby.

  15. beermagnet says:

    Thanks to everyone for the comments. Some edits have been applied.

    jmac: U = OK (suitable) for children – of course – how could I miss that – I suspect that was weariness.

    KD: I wish I had happy memories of last week – I really should have made more effort to get up there, but, y’know, North of Watford, Dragons etc. etc.
    Alcohol and Crosswords: It’s like darts (for me), it takes a pint or two to get the throwing arm/braincells in gear, too much and aim goes entirely (and you can’t get home).

    Duggie: You’re so right, that IRONS Clue should be given the recognition it deserves – see edit.

    scchua’s YEL[l], LOW RIVER looks promising but the Polly/Gaufrid decode must be the intention – edited.

    4D MODULAR: I would certainly assign the “possibly” to the definition part of the clue, else there would be too many anagrinds, and a def. of simply “blocked?” is a little terse. The superfluous “?” is only a minor query.

    10A INVADED (“was occupier”): The way I see it, if you were an occupier then you were an invader, but you had invaded.

    Anax: No need to be sorry about the YEP/HUB confusion, that’s what crossing letters are for.
    I can’t imagine how many of the scant few I’ve written in on today’s grid are actually right (I’ve got to the stage of pencilling in anything that comes to mind in the hope it might spark something in a crossing lght – I read in the news something about Nimrod being decommissioned – looks to me like he’s fighting back.)
    Tell me – was there a Diamond Wedding that this grid was celebrating – or was it a wedding involving a diamond geezer?

  16. flashling says:

    Whilst initially lightly putting yep, wasn’t happy and then got 1 & 2down – in fact hub was the last I solved. Re BM #15 I’ve got 8 so far of today’s, goodnees knows what Nimrod’s been on recently. Thanks again Anax btw, a diamond geezer I’m sure.

  17. anax says:

    Hello again friends – quick dip in before hitting the sack.

    There was no story behind the theme. DIAMOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY was just something I’d been playing around with, trying to find a good cognate anagram for a forum. Nothing came of it, but some of the ideas looked ripe for use in a puzzle.

  18. Jan says:

    Thanks, Beermagnet, for an excellent blog and to Anax for a great puzzle. I actually managed to finish this one without Gaufrid’s help!

    How anybody managed to solve anything in Derby is a wonder – I was far too busy nattering. Mine were saved for the train journey home and bedtime relaxation.

    I couldn’t find INLAWRY in Chambers and was too lazy to look online, so thank you for the link. For me, RV has yet to become a familiar term, so I couldn’t explain NERVY – again, thanks.

    I agree with all the favourite clues mentioned. I particularly liked IRONS – wish Jeremy could have been squeezed in. :)

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