Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7602 (Saturday Prize Puzzle by Monk 26-02-2011)

Posted by twencelas on March 5th, 2011


A very pleasing puzzle from Monk, with some very inventive clues.  Also a lovely array of the different clueing techniques that can be used in constructing a cryptic crossword.

I failed to find anything hidden in the puzzle, but that does n’t necessarily mean there is n’t a hidden theme, though there is a high density of answers with repeated letters. Some lovely clues 4ac and 13ac certainly appealed to my sense of humour.

It’s a while since I’ve had the pleasure of tackling a Monk puzzle and hopefully it won’t be too long till another one comes along.

Key: Rev. (Reverse) DD (Double definition) * (anagram) {Definition in the clue}


1 ag (precious metal – silver) in mire (soil) = MIRAGE {Illusion}

4 Cryptic definition = EGG SPOON {Shell disposal specialist that clears a path for soldiers} with soldiers being to accompany your egg.

9 Rev. ta (volunteers) + tempt (attract) = ATTEMPT {Assault}

11 DD MONITOR {To watch and a VDU}

12 Rev. [air (display) + ott (extreme) + art (cunning)] = TRATTORIA {Foreign restaurant}

13 Cryptic definition = COMMA {One or two of us turn up to introduce speech}

14 ot (books – old testament) in met (assembled) = MOTET {Composition}

16 ice (diamonds) + lolly (ready? – As in money) = ICE LOLLY {That’ll take the heat off}

19 v (see) + ironic (dry) around b (bishop) = VIBRONIC {Particular form of shakes}

21 iMbAcKdEaR [regularly] = MAKER {I declare}

23 Homonym of Re (Note) + di (copper) = RADII

24 (slowlyeased – s)* = YELLOW SEA {Part of ocean}

26 arr (arrives) in back (champion) = BARRACK {Boo!}

27 (as lamps)* = PLASMAS {hot gases}

28 I (one) in leg (support) + Rev name (title)  = LIEGEMAN {subject}

29 triple (three times)  with last 2 as the first = LET RIP {Lose it}


1 meant (intended) + I + me (two forms of setter) = MEANTIME {In the interim}

2 (it terra)* using nova to indicate an anagram = RETRAIT {Seclusion once}

3 Rev. A mug (dial i.e. face – last letter “raised” to front) + t (last of spirit)   = GAMUT {compass}

5 gammy – y (almost maimed) + a = GAMMA {character}

6 Cryptic definition {Unexpected report from out of the blue?} = SONIC  BOOM

7  Tim (man) put on (should this have been in?) OPAL (stone) = OPTIMAL {The best}

8 norm (model) + a = NORMA {girl}

10 tern – n (tailless bird) + tian (dish) = TERTIAN {on alternate days}

15 term (call) + i (one) + ate (put away) around n (noon) = TERMINATE

17 (cola)* in esp (unusual sense) = ESCALOP {Dish}

18 (damp course – co)* = DREAMS UP {hatches}

20 Hidden “fIND OR SEcure” = INDORSE {Sanction}

22 k (king) + ash (remains) + rim (edge) = KASHMIR {somewher in Asia}

23 EmBlEm (alternately) in R/L (Both sides) = REBEL {revolutionary}

24 yak (talk idly) + ka (spirit) = YAKKA {Work down under}

25 0 (zero) rate i.e. going nowhere = ORATE {Pontificate}

16 Responses to “Independent 7602 (Saturday Prize Puzzle by Monk 26-02-2011)”

  1. Allan_C says:

    In 7d I read ‘put on’ in the sense of putting on something (garment, act, style etc), i.e. getting into it. Hence TIM got into OPAL.

    A nicely balanced crossword for a Saturday prize puzzle – not too abstruse (VIBRONIC and YAKKA might be unfamiliar to some, but are in Chambers) but not too easy either. Oddly enough I felt it would prove to be that as soon as I started it. Favourite was EGG SPOON.

    So thanks to Monk, and to Twencelas for the blog.

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks twencelas for the blog, and Monk for quite a challenge.

    Three that I still don’t get despite your blog:
    19A VIBRONIC: V = “see”, 21A MAKER = “I declare”, is it to do with the executor of a legal document, eg. a promissory note, 2D RETRAIT = “Seclusion once”, only meaning for “retrait” I have found is “portrait”.
    Re 4A EGG SPOON, seems you might have left out something, “soldiers” being those strips of toast that one dips into the yolk of one’s softboiled egg.

    Stumbled on last 2, which I think were the trickiest: 19A VIBRONIC, and 10D TERTIAN, got the TER(n) bit only. Favourites were 12A TRATTORIA, 13A COMMA and 3D GAMUT, the latter two especially tricky.

  3. scchua says:

    PS Subsequently found V = Vatican, so one question above answered.

  4. nmsindy says:

    The MAKER is from bridge, I think. Good puzzle, tough, right for a Sat. Thanks for the blog, twencelas, and Monk for the puzzle.

  5. Allan_C says:

    scchua @2&3
    ‘v’ is also an abbreviation for Latin ‘vide’, = ‘see’ (in Chambers and Collins).

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Hi scchua
    19ac I like your V=Vatican but it’s actually an abbreviation for “vide (Latin), see” (Chambers).

    2dn Chambers gives RETRAIT as an obsolete form of ‘retreat’.

    21ac Chambers also confirms nmsindy’s comment regarding MAKER – “the declarer (bridge)”.

  7. Allan_C says:

    … and Chambers has ‘retrait’ as an obsolete form (hence ‘once’ in the clue) of ‘retreat'; a retreat can be a place of seclusion as well as something you beat hastily in the face of an enemy.

  8. Allan_C says:

    Sorry, Gaufrid, you got in there while I was still typing!

  9. scchua says:

    Thanks nmsindy, Allan_C and Gaufrid. All clear now.

  10. eimi says:

    A welcome return for Monk after almost 18 months out of the setting game. There is a Nina in the Downs, which forms a personal tribute from Monk.

  11. Wanderer says:

    Thanks for the tip Eimi — it would certainly have escaped me had you not pointed it out. With a little help from Google translate I can see the tribute in Hungarian (!) as well as French, German and Spanish, but there are others which so far defeat me and Google… Thanks to twencelas and Monk.

  12. flashling says:

    OK not being conversant in most of those languages does anyone care to explain please?

  13. Wanderer says:

    words for mother. I can see mere (french) in first line down, mutter (german) in third, anya (hungarian, thanks to google) in fourth, and madre (spanish) in eighth. I would guess maes or mae, and mora, and malka probably mean mother in languages unknown to me. Lost in the second line.

  14. twencelas says:

    Good spot Wanderer as to the third column its Finnish “Aiti” – Mae is Portuguese Mor is Swedish. Malka eludes me, origin wise.

  15. Scarpia says:

    Thanks twencelas.
    I was delighted to see Monk’s name on this puzzle,a setter I have long admired,both in the Indy and the FT.
    This puzzle was up to the high standard I remember and I hope we will see more puzzles from him soon.
    I found this quite difficult to start with but once I’d made a start things fell into place nicely.
    YAKKA was new to me but quite gettable from the wordplay.
    Loved the cryptic definition at 4 across.

  16. Wil Ransome says:

    No criticism of the crossword, but I had Monk at the very top of my list of setters, and this wasn’t in my opinion better than simply very competent. Not the amazing high standard he used to set.

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