Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7657 by Quixote

Posted by nmsindy on May 2nd, 2011


Pleasing puzzle in the Quixote style, solving time 25 mins

* = anagram


1  AGHA’S   losT

4 O  LEANDER    Hero and Leander from Greek mythology

9 SUSSED    Sussex with d for x

10 FUNGUSES     Fun  G(ourmet)  USES      “?”, I guess, as mushrooms are just one example of funguses

12 GIN (trap)  OR (yellow)  MOUS(e)

13 SCULL   “skull”

14 CARDINAL NUMBER    Definition is “One possibly”    cardinal = senior priest   more petrified = number ie more numb

16 MANX SHEARWATER   (what nearer Xmas)*

20 DISCO     Hidden in ‘ScotlanD IS COld’

21 MO (Maureen)  ON  ST (street) ONE

23 LARBOARD   boar in lard    larboard is an old term for port (left side) on a ship so grateful for the straightforward wordplay here

24 C (about) A  RING    Definition:  concerned

25 DEMARCHE    (made)*  R (king)  CHE  (revolutionary)  Guevara

26 IMP    ART


1  ASSIGN    “a sign”     Delegate is a vb here

2 HOSANNA      Anna’s oh    all reversed  “going up” in a down clue.     The prophetess Anna is briefly referred to in the Gospel of St Luke (New Testament), Wikipedia tells me, but again the clue was straightforward

3  SPEAR   A  in SPAR (box vb)

5 LOUIS BLERIOT     First person to fly the English Channel (1909)      O (round)  in (bullies)*   RIOT  (to be disorderly)

6 ANGOSTURA     (a grunt so)*   A      Again grateful for straightforward wordplay  – tree bark formerly used in medicine

7 DISTURB    IS  Threaten  UR (old city)   all in db (decibel) = a bit of noise

8 RUSTLER    first letters of ‘seems terrified’ in RULER

11  COUNTER (board)  MARCH (month)

15 DISH (Good-looker)   ON  OUR

16 MEDDLED    “medalled”


18 EROTICA    E (English)  I (one) in (actor)*

19 WEIGHT   “wait”

22 SWARM    R (river)   in swam  (Did a butterfly, say)   Butterfly stroke

8 Responses to “Independent 7657 by Quixote”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, nms.

    Soundly clued and enjoyable crossword from the Don today. Pretty accessible, with the less common words clearly signposted. I have seen LARBOARD before, I’m sure in a Rufus puzzle where you are likely to get at least one nautical reference per solve. Thought MANX SHEARWATER was one of the best anagrams I’ve seen for a good while, with a great surface; CARDINAL NUMBER was also nicely misleading.

  2. bamberger says:

    Time to solve first clue 10 mins. Time to give up with no more solved 1 hour.
    I almost had 1a but thought aghast was spelled agasht so couldn’t figure wordplay.
    6d spotted it was an anagram but couldn’t see it and would never have got angostura.
    16a Same again
    23a, 25a & 17d never heard of.
    Looking at the other answers , I can’t honestly say I would got anymore if I’d spent until midnight. This is my worst attempt at any crossword since I started last September-not on the setters wavelength at all.

    25 mins is phenominal

  3. nmsindy says:

    I can assure you, bamberger, that, eight months after I began solving, I was not anywhere near completing puzzles either. I guess practice is a big part of it.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Chin up, bamberger! If I remember well, you’ve said that you completed a Guardian cryptic recently, so your first Indy can’t be far away, even if it’s not today. I know it’s hard when you can’t get a foothold in a crossword because you’re left without any help from the crossing letters.

    And nms is right: it comes with practice. You get more familiar with crosswordese (today, for example, UR for old town, CHE for revolutionary and OR for yellow). Quixote on Mondays is probably one to stick with: his clueing is always very precise and he’ll get you to the solution eventually. And for the more unusual words like DEMARCHE and LARBOARD, look really hard at the possible wordplay and then believe that the word does exist. I’d never come across DEMARCHE before today, but was able to confirm it after sticking it in.

    And keep dropping in here – I was a regular lurker when I was at your stage, finding out how clues worked, and then when I started to contribute people were very helpful with anything I didn’t understand.

  5. caretman says:

    Yes, bamberger, keep striving at it. I remember my first exposure and how I could solve almost nothing. Doing crosswords is like learning a new language; there are certain conventions to learn, certain words that commonly signal others. For example, you may not be aware of this, but apparently the only city that existed in ancient times was Ur. So with experience comes understanding of how clues work. And there’s always the pleasure when you solve a clue that was particularly hard for you since you experience the success of stretching your mental abilities. And with crosswords, we all have particular clues that challenge us, so we all experience that pleasure.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, it was about the level of difficulty I can do. It’s odd to come across 6 dn, for example, recognise it’s an anagram, and with a few letters think, “Oh, it must be ANGOSTURA.” Somehow I’ve read that word before and somehow it’s in some corner of my mind, but I haven’t the foggiest idea where I would have come across it, or why having done so I would have retained it. I really liked 14 ac for it’s well hidden (at least to me) definition, and 15 dn for the way the H in DISH ON OUR changes its pronunciation when put together. All in all a fun puzzle.

  6. bamberger says:

    Thanks all -solved all bar two of the FT Dante today but do find it frustrating when I can’t even get started on an Indie. Finding the Indie generally much harder than the FT & Guardian.

  7. ele says:

    Hi Bamberger – I think the Indie is more difficult and I’ve been doing it for years. Managed the one today though – but only after two goes at it and total time well over an hour and a half – good that it was a bank holiday. Last week couldn’t complete any at all in the commuter time I allow myself when very busy. But it does come better with practice, and some days one’s brain is just working better than others. And despite it all, I enjoy it and still look forward to seeing what the Indie’s come up to torture us with each day.

  8. redddevil says:

    Those not knowing angostura obviously don’t drink enough or would know of angostura bitters!
    That aside my only slight quibble was with ‘number’ for more petrified. To me petrified means unable to move – literally turned to stone – whilst numb means having no feeling but not immovable surely?

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