Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7598 / Anax

Posted by Gaufrid on February 22nd, 2011


Perhaps it’s my imagination but was this Anax somewhat easier than usual? It certainly didn’t take long to complete.

When I realised the theme I was a little concerned since I am the opposite of a chile pine (sorry, cinephile), having only been to the cinema once in the last 45+ years and that was 30 years ago. However, I needn’t have worried because the anagram at 22ac was easily unravelled and all the films are well known, even to me.

An enjoyable and not too taxing solve (once 22ac had been determined) but maybe not quite up to the usual very high standard that Anax sets, though I’m struggling to put my finger on precisely why I felt that when finishing the puzzle because there is nothing at all wrong with it. Perhaps it was just that, for me, the puzzle didn’t present as much of a challenge as I have come to expect from Anax. Of the clues, my pick of the day has to be 15dn for its totally plausible surface.

1 AFFRAY FA (nothing {as in sweet F[anny] A[dams]}) reversed R (run) in FAY (girl) – Anax likes his nothing=FA as he also used it in a puzzle I blogged just over a month ago (#7564).
5 CAMPSITE CAM (river) P (quiet) SIT (position) E[stuary]
9 STEM S[i]TE (one’s out of place) M [ine] (top of mine)
10 WALL STREET ST[o]RE (bank loses over) in WALLET (source of funds)
11 BLENHEIM PALACE *(HELP A NIMBLE) ACE (master) – initially I spent a minute or two trying to see if the clue could be parsed to give Chartwell House, then I rechecked the enumeration! Well, ‘home help’ would give ‘char’ …..
12/27 BASIC INSTINCT BA (artist) SIC (faithfully reproduced) IN C (cold) in STINT (spell) – it makes a change for ‘artist’ to lead to something other than RA, or occasionally ARA, but not all artists hold a Bachelor of Arts degree. However, if we use an alternative definition for artist of “a person who practises or is skilled in an art”, rather than simply ‘”a painter”, then it is a pleasing pun. Unless of course Anax is referring to the Burmese painter Ba Nyan or the Malian photographer Alioune Bâ.
17 STIGMATA STIG (test driver {Top Gear}) MAT (felt) A (answer)
19 ALLOY O (old) in ALLY (link)
26 ARTY hidden in ‘appeAR TYpically’
28 EXHORT EX (late) R (run) in HOT (popular)
2/25 FATAL ATTRACTION A TAL[e] (a short story) A TT (a couple of times) in FRACTION (part)
3/14 ROMANCING THE STONE ROMAN (Polanski) GT (great) HESTON (24 {actor}) in CINE (“film”)
5 CALUMET CALUM (Scottish fellow) ET (out-of-this-world {extra terrestrial})
7 SYRIA S (society) AIRY (open) reversed
11 BOB dd – Bob the Builder and s=shilling – for those too young to know pre-decimal currency, bob was a slang term for shilling.
13 AUTOMATON TOMATO (“killer” fruit) in AUN[t] (relative mostly) – I assume that Anax is referring to this film (not starring 22ac!) and its sequel.
15 TELEGRAPH LEG (on {cricket}) RAP (strike) in *(THE)
16 JAMAICAN JAM (congestion) A1 (major road) CAN (could do)
18 ABLEIST AB (salt {sailor}) E (energy) in LIST (menu) – the adjective derived from ableism, “discrimination in favour of able-bodied people”, so ‘only for the fit’.
20 YES [surger]Y [bandag]E [u]S
21 BOUNCE B (black) OUNCE (cat)
23 CARET hidden in ‘sCAR ETc’
24 ACTOR [f]ACTOR (part not female) – ‘part’ appears to be doing double duty.

18 Responses to “Independent 7598 / Anax”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid, and to Anax thanks for little mercies – a puzzle that doesn’t feel like one is going to the dentist! On the contrary, quite an enjoyable steady solve.

    23D CARET helped to break 22A, from which the other related answers followed, though I could not explain 10A WALL STREET (a quibble about WALLET, ATM and such = “source” of funds).

    Favourites were 11A BLENHEIM PALACE, 3 14 ROMANCING THE STONE, an elaborate but deducible wordplay, and 13D AUTOMATON, liked “killer” TOMATO, going back to the B movies of the 50’s.

  2. flashling says:

    Have to agree Gaufrid, can’t remeber doing an Anax quite so quickly, but having got the actor, the films fell into place largely finishing it off.

  3. anax says:

    Morning everyone from a slightly overcast Italy. Just bobbing in now while I can (internet connection is desperately slow here) and will try again later.

    Delighted to know that (so far) this one felt easier than previous puzzles. Themes aren’t familiar to all so I wanted to make it accessible.

    Really I’m just making this early call to ask if anyone might be able to scan and email a copy of the puzzle to me: anaxcrosswords at yahoo dot co dot uk, so I can give it the once-over and refresh my memory.


  4. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Anax
    Regarding the copy, consider it done.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid – and Anax, as ever, for the puzzle.

    I hesitate to say that we may have found this more straightforward than usual because we might be getting used to Anax’s ways: last time I said something like that, I seem to remember I found the next one more fiendish than ever!

    However, as scchua says, this was very enjoyable, with some great clues as usual: ROMANCING THE STONE, BOB, TELEGRAPH and I liked the link between 5 and 6dn. I’m afraid I didn’t know about the killer tomato but 13dn was a great clue.

    I think my favourite was BLENHEIM PALACE for the surface – a lovely picture! I, too, momentarily went down the Chartwell road: of course, Blenheim was not actually the home of Sir Winston [although he was born there – by accident!]

    [Thanks, Gaufrid, for unravelling the last bit of 5ac. I’d taken it as position = site and couldn’t fit in the estuary. I thought it was a bit weak that ‘site’ then cropped up again immediately in 9ac. I should have known better!]

  6. Eileen says:

    PS: I didn’t mean to question the clue for BLENHEIM PALACE. It is, of course, the family home of the Churchill family, having been given by the nation to John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough. Anax didn’t specify which Churchill!

  7. crypticsue says:

    I saw that it was an Anax and thought I was in for hard work, but like other shave said a very enjoyable relatively easy themed puzzle.

  8. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I didn’t understand several of these until I came here. Strange that everyone so far has found it relatively easy. I have no problems solving most of the Indy puzzles, but I don’t think I have ever completed one by Anax. Today was no exception. Lots of checking and then cheating to get it done, and as scchua said, it felt like a trip to the dentist. Not entirely sure why, so will keep trying and some day may discover which frequency he is on.

    And Gaufrid, it is time to go back to the cinema. It won’t hurt, I promise.

  9. shuchi says:

    Thanks Gaufrid. I enjoyed this very much, the theme was totally my thing. I loved the “(s)” in the clue for BOB and the imaginative surface for AUTOMATON. The name “Calum” and Churchill’s home were unfamiliar to me so I had a few blanks in the grid, but nothing that took away from the solving experience.

  10. walruss says:

    It was a little out of character, so to speak! for Anax this one, but as has been said pretty good, and quite fun. 3/14 I liked as I am a Polanski buff. Enjoy Italia, Mr Anax!

  11. Lenny says:

    I might have known, having completed an Anax for the first time in ages, that other people would say that it was not up to his usual standard of obscurity. I managed to finish despite not having seen any of the films mentioned. In fact, having just had a flick through his filmography, I realise that I have never seen any Michael Douglas film. I finished with Ableist, taking a long time to accept that it really is a word. And, checking Gaufrid’s blog, I see that I carelessly entered Musadet at 6. Thanks for sorting out the wordplay in the film titles Gaufrid and thanks to Anax for attempting an accessible theme.

  12. nmsindy says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle, tho I did not find it as easy as some are saying here. Will admit tho I’m not a movie buff by any means. Tho I have never seen any of the 4 films, all but one of them resonated slightly and I got them all in the end from wordplay and/or crossing letters. My favourite clue also was BLENHEIM PALACE. If there are any more of those ‘dentist’ comments, one of them might drop in here to explain how it’s all so different now.

    Thanks, Anax, for another good puzzle, and Gaufrid for the blog which explained everything.

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Good one, and my third today!
    Took me as much time as the other two (reviewed elsewhere at 15^2) together, which is still pretty short on the Scale of Anax.

    When Michael Douglas turned up (and he did very quickly), the four long film titles were of great help.
    BTW, before I saw M.D., I was playing around with anagrams.
    At one point I had “Medical Goulash” and in combination with the surface “much legal aid is free”, I thought: new product of the NHS ….? :)

    Just like Lenny, I entered “Muscadet” at 6d – only looking at the word ‘wine’ and thinking ‘that must be it’. It was not.

    Thanks Gaufrid (and Anax, of course – and please don’t take a boat trip to the other side of the Med!)

  14. bamberger says:

    Having a rare days leave I decided to have a go at this as well as the FT.

    I got actor and Michael Douglas but having very little interest in films, I didn’t get any of them though to be fair I had heard of Wall Street and maybe should have got that.

    1a I’d guess this is the sort of clue where you have to get the answer back first and then work back . There can’t be many who would think “ah yes nothing is fa, fay is a girl, r is run- obvious affray.”
    5a Ditto with cam being the river.
    11a I didn’t know this was Churchill’s House -and it’s hard if you don’t know this.
    5d Never heard of this -I’m impressed by those who have
    13d Wondered what was meant by killer fruit.I assumed it was akin to deadly nightshade
    23a Hadn’t heard of this either

    First Anax crossword I’ve knowingly attempted -might do better with a non themed one.

  15. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Gaufrid.
    I agree this was easier than some puzzles by Anax,which I think is down to the theme giving a lot of long entries and consequently many check letters.My knowledge of films is quite limited but all these were pretty well known,even to me.Good fun working out the very clever wordplay even though the films sort of slotted themselves into the grid.
    Sil,I love ‘MEDICAL GOULASH’.That will always come to mind whenever I read of Mr.Douglas!
    ABLEIST was my last,couldn’t quite believe that there was such a word.

  16. Allan_C says:

    Yes, like others, I (a) thought it was easier than some Anax offerings and (b) had to check that ‘abliest’ was a real word. But not being much of a film buff I had to google for a Michael Douglas filmography.

    And what’s the betting that sometime in the future, when we’ve all forgotten about it, Anax or some other setter will use ‘medical goulash’ as an anagram for Mr Douglas?

  17. PeeDee says:

    Thanks for the blog Gaufrid. I didn’t find this easy at all, though I’m not a regular Indy solver, and have never seen an Anax before. I got there in the end but the shilling reference in BOB eluded me (and I’m certainly old enough to remeber!).

  18. anax says:

    Way too late I know, but thanks all for your comments. The internet connection in Italy was either non-existent or very slow so now (having just got home) is my first proper chance to bob in.

    As mentioned above I did want this to be a bit easier given the “Michael who?” (for some) theme; glad to know most of you got through it without too much teeth-grinding.

    Hugs and stuff to y’all.

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