Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,611 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 9th, 2011


No surprises over today’s setter: it’s Wednesday, so it just had to be a Dac. Similarly, no surprises about the kind of crossword in store for us: a set of perfectly sound, uncontrived clues, with smooth surface readings and a dash of cheekiness (in 2 and 17).  Much as I enjoy thematic puzzles, with lots of interconnected clues, there is a lot to be said for a back-to-basics puzzle such as this.

I solved the NW corner first, followed by SE and NE. For a while, my SW corner was empty, but when the breakthrough came, the remaining words fell into place. As for individual clues, the entry at 15 was new to me, and it took me a while to unravel the wordplay in 5, while my favourite was the smoothest of & lit. clues at 6.


1 WAGGLES GG (=goods, i.e. G x 2) in WALES (=part of the UK)
5 MOBSTER [B (=bishop) + ST (=good man, i.e. abbreviation of saint)] in *(ROME); “converted” is the anagram indicator.
9 SOMMELIER *(MERLO<t> + SEMI); “no end of” means last letter is dropped; “pétillant” (sparkling) is the rather unusual anagram indicator; & lit.; a sommelier is a wine waiter in a restaurant.
10 YIKES [I (=a) + K (=thousand pounds, as in “a 50K salary”)] in YES (=fine); the definition is “crumbs”, as an expression of surprise or dismay.
11 DEBATER RE (=about) + T (=time) + ABED (=in retirement, i.e. having gone to bed); “the reverse” means all is reversed.
13 JANITOR JAN I (=bank holiday, i.e. New Year’s Day on Jan 1) + TOR<e> (=rushed about; “endlessly” means last letter is dropped)
14 WINDSOR CASTLE Definition: “royal residence”; cryptic definition: “Barbara repeatedly”; the reference is to two Barbaras – veteran actress Barbara Windsor (1937-?) and Labour politician Barbara Castle (1910-2002).
17 DISENGAGEMENT Definition: “separation”; cryptic definition: “as announced in Feb 1981”, i.e. (Lady) Di’s engagement to Prince Charles on 24 February 1981, hence the “quite the opposite” of a separation.
21 HACKNEY HACK (=journalist) + NEY (yen=wish; “to go round” indicates a reversal)
22 TRIED ON *(EDITOR) + N (=noun); “blundered” is the anagram indicator; the cryptic definition is “briefly assumed”, i.e. put/tried on an item of clothing.
23 EXIST S<potted> (“spotted beginning”, i.e. first letter only is used) in EXIT (=doorway); the definition is quite simply “be”.
24 INELEGANT IN (=popular) + ELEG<y> (=poem; “that’s short” means last letter is dropped) + A + NT (=book collection, i.e. the New Testament).
26 TIEBACK TIE (=match, as in cup-tie) + BACK (=player, i.e. in rugby); a tieback is a “decorative strip” of cloth used to hold back a curtain.
27 PATCHED *(THE CAP) + D (=daughter); “mislaid” is the anagram indicator.
1 WASH DOWN *(HANDS WOW); “that’s unusual” is the anagram indicator.
2 GYM G<a>Y (“centre avoided by gay”, i.e. the middle letter is dropped) + M (=male); cheeky & lit.
3 LAERTES *(LEAR) + *(SET); “staggering” and “drunk” are the two anagram indicators; Laertes is the brother of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
4 SKIER I in <t>REKS (=hikes; “avoiding summit” means first letter is dropped; “uphill” indicates a vertical reversal)
5 MARIJUANA [JU<g> (=pot; “endless” means last letter is dropped) in MARIAN (=outlaw maid)] + A; the reference is to Maid Marian, the female companion of Robin Hood in English folklore.
6 BAYONET ONE in [BAY (=howl) + T (“terribly at first”, i.e. first letter only is used]; & lit.
7 TAKE THE LEAD Definition: be first; cryptic definition: “to steal (=take) some piping (=lead, as in the metal)”.
8 RESORT Hidden in “MonTROSE Recently”; “parts of” indicates hidden answer; “promoted” indicates vertical reversal.
12 BENEDICTINE EDICT (=order) in [BEN (=mountain) + IN + E]
15 RINKY-DINK Spoonerism of DINKY (=small) RINK (=skating area); according to Chambers, rinky-dink means old-fashioned, trite, cheap, chiefly in North American slang.
16 STANSTED <protester>S (“protesters finally” means last letter only is used) + [N (=new) in TASTED (=tried)]; the reference is to Stansted Airport near London.
18 SINATRA A in SINTRA (=Portuguese town); the reference is to American singer-actor Frank Sinatra (1915-1998).
19 EXIGENT E (=English) + XI (=team, of eleven players) + GENT (=fellow)
20 THREAT RE (=about) in THAT (=which, as a relative pronoun)
22 TWERP <an>TWERP (=Belgian location; “no place for an” means that “an” is dropped)
25 ASH AS (=for instance) + H (=hard)

9 Responses to “Independent 7,611 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    RatkojaRiku, thank you for another comprehensive blog.

    Beautifully constructed as always from Dac – as John (I think) said a couple of weeks ago in his blog, it’s vanilla, but tasty vanilla. It’s often hard to pick out special clues with Dac because they’re all good, but THREAT and WINDSOR CASTLE were my favourites today.

    Haven’t heard RINKY-DINK for ages. I convinced myself that it was in a 1960s’ pop song title, but I think I may be confusing it with HONKY-TONK (woman). That’s what age does for you.

    The blanket, inane, lowest common denominator, fawning media coverage of the forthcoming nuptial is doing my head in, so I will take this opportunity to add my name to the growing list of requests to let Diana Spencer rest in peace in Crosswordland. Please. The only positive thing I can think of to say about the wedding is that at least Kate is much less useful to setters.

    Fine puzzle (apart from Lady Di).

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku, and Dac for another satisfying puzzle.

    Favourites were 9A SOMMELIER, a nice surface, 14A WINDSOR CASTLE, perhaps a bit difficult for the latest generation of solvers, and 6D BAYONET, an &lit. I wonder if “pounds” in 10A YIKES is not superfluous, K = thousand anyway.

    Btw, K’sD, I remember an instrumental song called Rinky Dink in the 60s; here’s one version by Dave “Baby” Cortez
    and there was another version by Booker T and the MGs.

  3. scchua says:

    PS Sorry, it’s a tune, not a song.

  4. nmsindy says:

    I found this harder than usual from Dac, just as good as always and, like RatkojaRiku (tks for the blog), SW corner was the most difficult. V minor point – in MOBSTER, I think just ROME is anagrammed with B ST going into that. Re scchua’s point at 2, I think k = 1000 is used mainly (though, I agree, not exclusively) in the world of accounting and finance to mean a thousand pounds (or other currency) so I think Dac is right. Favourite clues today DEBATER, HACKNEY, EXIST, BAYONET, THREAT. Thanks, Dac, for the puzzle.

  5. ele says:

    Thanks to Dac for a lovely puzzle – even got rinky-dink without looking it up altho’ I never knew before what it meant – thought it just mean OK or something like that. Only had to look up portuguese towns to get 18d and not sure Sinatra is exactly a ‘legendary singer’ – first thoughts on seeing that clue turned rather to Orpheus, or perhaps I’m mixing up mythical with legendary. :) And thanks to RatkojaRiku for the blog.

  6. NealH says:

    I really struggled with the SW corner of this. Part of the problem was that I was utterly convinced that 15 down must be r???? pink on the grounds that that was the only word I could think of that was ?ink that made any sense. I thought maybe it had something to do with the colour of old photographs. Like Ele, I was expecting something mythological for 18 down and the “‘s” after journalist in 21 sent me away from the charade idea completely and I was looking for a word for wish reversed in a carriage.

  7. flashling says:

    Not much to add, usual Dac high standard and agreeing with K’sD about the thankfully lessened usage of Di, I hope our fine setters will eradicate the reference. Only soured for me by overcrowding on train making reading the clues next to impossible! Thanks R & Dac.

  8. RatkojaRiku says:

    @ nmsindy – thanks for pointing out my slightly off parsing of 5 – you are, of course, right and I have corrected the blog accordingly.

  9. Scarpia says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku.
    I found this harder than usual but as sound a puzzle as you come to expect from Dac.
    Thought SOMELLIER and BENEDICTINE were brilliant.
    Lucky for us Ms.Middleton’s name is not spelt CATE.

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