Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7603 by Radian

Posted by nmsindy on February 28th, 2011


Tough puzzle today from Radian, solving time 48 mins.

All over the clues the phrase “1 of 20″ appeared.      Thought that when I cracked 20 after about 10 minutes, the rest of the puzzle might be easy.   Far from it!

Themed on last night’s awards, but, thankfully for nmsindy who is v weak on films absolutely no knowledge of films or film stars required.      When verifying answers on the Indy website, found they’d put in a special message for the day, to be seen when the last answer is entered, very nice touch.

Quite a tour de force from Radian!

* = anagram


1 CARBOYS       20 is OSCARS   so 1 of 20 = OSCAR     (by Oscar)*    This was a very good clue – definition “They may store acid”

5 HOSTAGE    a g in (those)*

9 R ECCE  Behold in Latin

10  RHAPSODIC     (Oscar Phi’d)*    Phi is another Indy setter/compiler

11 SACRAMENTO     This was the first of the themed clues I got, State capital of California    (Oscar meant)*

12 ONER    Name for £1.     Reversed Reno = where to split (city in Nevada noted for quick divorces).     This was a tip-top clue.

14 CHIAROSCURO     (Oscar)*  U = for all (film classification) in (choir)*

19 SCAREMONGER   m = money in (green Oscar)*

21 RACY    Hidden in reverse

22 SCORECARDS    (Oscar RE  CDs)*    RE = Engineers

25 CONSTRAIN     Definition, force   (Oscar NT)*  in

26 SAMOA    a MO in SA

27 DISARMS     a RM (Resident Magistrate) in Diss (Norfolk town well-known to solvers)

28 CO-STARS    t (tense) in (Oscars)*


1 CARUSO    U in (Oscar)*


3 OVERARCHES    (Oscar he ver)*

4 SCREE     first letters of cliff rim in see  & lit

5 HEARTH RUG    This was excellent   hear (pick up)  r (rare) in thug

6 SO-SO     Put o in lessons and remove the letters of lens

7 ADDENDUM      du(c) in (damned)*

8 ESCARGOT   (Oscar get)*

13 OSTRACISES     (Oscar sites)*

15 IRONCLADS   (Oscar d nil)*   d = finally scored (last letter)

16 OSTRACOD       (Oscar do t)*   t = first of tiny

17  VACCINES    a cc in (veins)* &lit

19 CRIMEA     This refers to Julie London’s great song fr0m the 1950s “Cry me a river”     ie “Cry me a”  homophone

20 OSCARS   (across)*

23 RUNIC     RUC = Ulster ex-police, replaced by PSNI  (Police Service of Northern Ireland)    (RUC in)*

24 STIR    (riots)* less o

10 Responses to “Independent 7603 by Radian”

  1. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for an excellent blog, nmsindy, and many more to Radian, for what I thought was a stunning puzzle.

    It made me laugh when I realised that this puzzle was not going to be what I expected, from 20dn, but I was just amazed when so many anagrams, all containing OSCAR, kept coming.

    Some wonderful clues, too, notably 5, 10, 22ac and 7, 15 and 17dn.

    A tour de force indeed and great fun to solve.

  2. Paul A says:

    23d – Could it be Ulster (NI) in ex-police (RUC)? Barracks being the indicator

  3. Lenny says:

    Thanks NMS. This was an ingenious offering from Radian which I initially found infuriating because I thought the key word was car and I could not work out why the anagrist kept on being two letters short. Eventually it all became clear and the best came at the end when I finally worked out the Cry me a river homophone.
    As per usual I managed to get one wrong. I could have been a judge but I never had the Greek, as Peter Cook almost said. If you don’t know the Greek for shell, Ostracod could have its vowels in any order. I went for the plausible star-shaped fish, Astrocod. Good with crinkle-cut chips.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, nms. Very occasionally you get a daily cryptic where the setter seems to be saying ‘look how clever this is’ rather than ‘here’s half-an-hour’s entertainment before you get on with the rest of your day’. This could have fallen into the first category but most certainly didn’t. I’m sure Radian would be too modest to say how clever this was, so I will instead.

    This was a topical, themed puzzle that was a delight. I did get the gateway clue as about my third or fourth answer, and not being mad keen on cinema thought I would struggle. But when the anagram element became clear, it turned into a not too difficult solve. What I really appreciated was the fact that there were no obscurities, although I needed the blog to understand CRIMEA.

    Probably my favourite Indy puzzle of the year so far.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks nmsindy for the blog and Radian for a well-constructed puzzle – 14 answers with (Oscar)*

    11A SACRAMENTO, an early one led me back to the OSCARS, after which it was quite straightforward. Favourites were 19A CRIMEA, which as you say referred to a great song from my time and, of course, the themed answers.

  6. NealH says:

    9 and 19 were way outside of my range of knowledge and lost me completely, but other than that I didn’t find this too difficult. I got the Oscar theme quite quickly from 28 across, which also gave away the anagram idea. Getting that many anagrams of the same thing was very good going (especially when they were all across, so there was no reliance on the same combinations of letters intersecting with each other). My favourite clues were probably the two 5s.

  7. flashling says:

    Never come oscars* 14ac before, I struggled with that, but after a bit of musing around film, director, actor or scriptwriter etc I realised the link after which it largely fell apart. Thanks NMS for the blog to confirm my workings on some clues and Radian for a nicely semi topical puzzle.

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Started this crossword tonight at work, as usual using the DTV, and was rather surprised to find quite a few answers rightaway.
    OSCARS (20d) was one of them, and already having a feeling that 1d had to be CARUSO plus seeing the anagram of SACRAMENTO (11ac) made it clear what was going on here.

    As others said, a real feat to have so many anagrammed words in the puzzle containing OSCAR.
    On the other hand, I have to say that this might be seen as the Achilles’ heel of the puzzle; there were no real surprises (as to devices, I mean) when a clue had “1 of 20″ in it.

    Which doesn’t mean that I (and from a later point onwards, we) did finish the puzzle.
    Radian decided to put CHIAROSCURO (14ac) in it. Never heard of it, though it had to be something like that [and why not “Chiorascuro’?]. The same with OSTRACOD (16d). Could easily have been ‘Astrocod’ …. So, a few clues where we got help from the Dictionary eventually.

    We failed on completing the NW.
    Never heard of CARBOYS – we were thinking of ‘cartons’ [they may store, and perhaps there would be an acid-like thing that gives us TN to combine with OSCAR, but alas].
    And because RECCE (9ac) was completely unfamiliar too, there was some faint suspicion that 3d might be ‘outmatches’ [even though Oscar wasn’t in there].

    All in all, a nice puzzle in which Radian put a lot of thought [something that I always appreciate].
    Kathryn’s Dad verdict (“Probably my favourite Indy puzzle of the year so far”) is one or two steps too far for me, but it wás very enjoyable.

    I agree with Paul A @2 about RUNIC (23d), even though from time to time people complain about NI being synonymous to Ulster (and Radian is from Northern Ireland as far as I know).

    Finally, I found it a pity that in the otherwise smiling clue 4d (SCREE) ‘see’ was part of the construction (‘look’) ánd present in the clue itself.
    But that’s only a minor quibble in a fine puzzle that was not that hard (but probably due to what called its Achilles’ heel earlier).

    Thanks Niall & Radian!

  9. Scarpia says:

    Thanks nms.
    Great puzzle from Radian.
    Took me a while to get going on this but once I twigged it was anagrams rather than something cinematic,it wasn’t too difficult.
    CRIMEA was brilliant!

  10. Allan_C says:

    Nice one, once I twigged the key to it. Interestingly at 1ac I thought of CARBOYS straightaway from the definition, and found ROCOCO and SCREE would check it, before I got as far as unravelling the theme and seeing how 1ac fitted in with it. Perbaps that comes of having been a chemist at one time.

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