Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,664 / Punk

Posted by RatkojaRiku on May 10th, 2011


Assuming that I have not got my days mixed up this week, and that I am meant to blog this one and not someone else, here we go!

This puzzle was an absolute joy to solve and truly an honour to blog, and I am not saying that just because I am a lifelong fan of 9, whose dulcet tones have kept me entertained as I have typed this blog.

The theme proved tantalisingly elusive for a good while, since the first of the thematic clues that I solved was 14/23/20, which did not lead me to 9 since I did not know they had ever covered that song – now I do, though, having just listened to it on YouTube.

Even when the penny dropped, and I was able to slot in 2/3, 8 and 9, the fun didn’t end there, as Punk had ever so ingeniously woven the various song titles into the wordplay of other non-thematic clues at 5, 7, 11 and 19, with 7 being an absolute tour de force (and my joint favourite clue together with 13). For those less familiar with the work of 9, Punk even offered a helping hand by building a hint to the theme into the clue at 15!

And as if that was not enough fun for one day, there was the cheekiness in the definitions at 13 and 24, not to mention the no-nonsense wording of 31 – all trademark Punk.

I’d be curious to know how this puzzle came about: is Punk, like myself, a diehard fan of 9? Or did he simply stumble across the song titles at 2/3 and/or 8, recognise their cryptic potential and then decide to expand them into a puzzle themed around 9? Perhaps Punk will drop in later and let us know.

Meanwhile, it’s time for me to retire, although with all those favourite tunes playing away in my head, sleep may be a long time in coming.

1 STATUE U (=widely accepted, i.e. abbreviation of universal) in STATE (=report, as a verb); the definition is, cleverly, “work that’s still”, i.e. motionless.
5 AGHAST A + GH(o)ST (=spook); “getting heart transplant” means the middle letter is replaced, in this case an “o” by an “a”.
10 OPPRESSED O (=button, in that its round shape resembles the letter “o”) + P + PRESSED (=pushed)
11 WEIGH W (=Top of the World; i.e. the entry at 2 3; “top of” means first letter only is used) + EIGH<t> (=figure; “short” means last letter is dropped.
12 DAFFODIL Hidden in “…sLID OFF A Daisy…”; “buttonholing” indicates a hidden answer; “back” indicates a reversal.
13 SEPTIC P<iddles> (“primarily” means first letter only) in CITES (=names); “withdrawn” indicates a reversal; the cheeky and well-disguised definition is “pus-sy”; i.e. containing pus.
15 YODEL “…Lessons, Everyone Delivering Only Yesterday…”; “intros” means first letters only; “backwards” indicates a reversal; Punk has cleverly tied this in with the theme in that Only Yesterday was another hit for The Carpenters.
17 DORY D or Y (= “choice of DirtY wings”, i.e. the first or the last letter of “dirty”); a dory or John Dory is a golden-yellow fish of the mackerel family.
18 MOOR Double definition: MOOR = African, as in Othello AND heath
21 TA-TA TAT (=cheap stuff) + A; the definition is “toodle-do”, i.e. the entry at 19.
22 OLDIE OL (lo=look; “about” indicates a reversal) + DIE (=fade)
24 LOCUST LOCUS (=position) + T<ease> (“beginning to” means the first letter only); the quirky definition is “stripper”, referring to the capacity of locusts to strip fields of vegetation in record time.
25 WILD WEST The definition is “cowboys here”; the solution “Wild West” presents a cryptic indication of the remainder of the clue “suggesting stew”, in that “west” is an anagram of “stew”.
28 VOILÀ OIL (=painting) in VA (=state, i.e. Virginia); the definition is “here it is”, which is voilà in French.
29 EGG BEATER E.G. (=say, i.e. for example) + GB (=British) + EATER (=apple)
30 ON EDGE DEN (=office, i.e. a private room for work) in EGO (=I); “in retirement” indicates a reversal.
31 POODLE Double definition: POODLE = dog breed AND a yes-man, sycophant, hence “one kissing another’s backside”.
2/3 TOP OF THE WORLD {[FT (=paper, i.e. Financial Times) + HEW (=cut) + OR] in TOPOL (=Israeli actor)} + <woun>D (“finally” means last letter only); the reference is to Israel actor-director Chaim Topol (1935-); the definition is “hit for The Carpenters, i.e. the entry at 9.
4 EAST INDIAN *(AN IDEA ISN’T); “unfortunately” is the anagram indicator.
5 AUDI AUDI<o> (=sound; Goodbye to Love, i.e. the entry at 8, means that the letter “o” (=love) is dropped)
6 HOWLER “Gaffe” is the true definition; “wolf”, i.e. a howler, one that howls is the whimsical definition.
7 SAINTHOOD The definition is “award for virtue”; the subsidiary part, once the entries at 14 23 20 have been substituted reads: “Breaking up is hard to do an”; *(IS H<ard> TO DO AN), with “breaking up” as the anagram indicator.
8 GOODBYE TO LOVE {[*(BODY) + ET (=alien)] in O O (=glasses, in that their lenses resemble 2 x “o”)]} in GLOVE (=gauntlet); “strange” is the anagram indicator; the definition is “hit for The Carpenters”, i.e. the entry at 9.
9 THE CARPENTERS *(CHAPTER) + ENTERS (=goes in); “new” is the anagram indicator; the reference is to Richard and Karen Carpenter, the American brother and sister pop duo of the 1970s.
14/23/20 BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO *(ANGUISH OK BIRD PARTED) + O (=love); “difficult” is the anagram indicator; the definition is “song covered by The Carpenters”, i.e. the entry at 9.
16 DEDUCTION Double definition: DEDUCTION is conclusion, from the verb “to deduce” AND cut, from the verb “to deduct”.
19 TOODLE-OO With the substitution of the entry at 8, the whole clue reads “Goodbye to Love sign to gatecrash party”: the definition is simply “Goodbye”; the wordplay is TO + O (=love) + [LEO (=sign, i.e. of the zodiac) in DO (=party)].
26 EXTOL EX (=old, i.e. former) + TOL (Lot=Biblical character; “uprising” indicates a vertical reversal.
27 HERE <w>HERE (=in what location; “is unopened” means the first letter is dropped); the definition is “present”, as in “in attendance, not absent”.

18 Responses to “Independent 7,664 / Punk”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku (and welcome back this week), I agree that this was a very fun puzzle. Many thanks to Puck!

    I enjoyed the multiple layers, how the solutions to the theme elements became parts of the wordplay to other clues. And I say this not having recognized any of the song titles but one, much less knowing that the Carpenters had covered them. Although I am of that age, I had never gotten into their music. The one song title that I did know (1 and 3 down) ended up being the one title I had to cheat by looking up the Carpenters. It was a complex construction but but deducible once the answer was known.

    A minor nit on 19d, I think it’s sign = LEO in party = DO, giving (with the TO + O) Toodle-oo rather than Toodle-do. At least on-line I got the congratulations notice with that answer in there.

  2. Uncle Yap says:

    I parsed toodle-oo slightly differently.
    Goodbye (def) TO O (love)+ ins of LEO (Zodiac sign) in DO (party)
    for TOODLE-OO
    Otherwise an impeccable blog for an extraordinarily superb puzzle
    Thank you Punk for a most entertaining puzzle

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, RatkojaRiku, for a very comprehensive and enjoyable blog. I certainly needed you to explain some of Punk’s wordplay today.

    When I first scanned the clues, all the cross-referencing suggested it would be beyond me, but the gateway clue was accessible (it pretty much had to be THE and then the anagram gave it away). The Carpenters’ music was certainly part of my younger days; Karen Carpenter’s voice was probably the greatest of her generation. So the theme suited me, and I managed it all in the end. It was one of those puzzles where you spent a few minutes at the end admiring how Punk had used some of the thematic material to clue stuff elsewhere.

    I’m not going to pick out a favourite; it was all top notch.

  4. crypticsue says:

    Like Kathryn’s Dad I did enjoy this themed crossword which reminded me of my younger days. Thanks to Punk for the great entertainment.

  5. NealH says:

    I had toodle-do for 19, since I’d never heard of toodle-oo, but one of the advantages of the doing the online rather than paper version is that you know whether the answer is correct or not through the message you get if it’s completed successfully. I probably should know the Carpenters’ songs, but couldn’t remember any of them, so the theme didn’t help me enormously and I had to figure out the song titles from the wordplay. But fortunately, the clues were mostly quite accessible, so it wasn’t too difficult a puzzle.

  6. Paul A says:

    Yes, a great puzzle, and thank you RatkojaRiku for the blog. I wondered where the ‘r’ had gone in 7d. One very minor point – shouldn’t 28a really be ‘There it is’?
    (Pedantically distinguishing between voici and voila – well I was a linguist once)

  7. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a brilliantly integrated puzzle, and I was pleased to be able to work out the song titles (mostly not familiar to me) from the wordplay. Perhaps being of a certain age I remembered BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO from Neil Sedaka further back. While I’ve not gone back to check anything perhaps the Carpenters covered it later and that’s why the clue was put like that. Favourite clue OLDIE and also the construction of SAINTHOOD and the apposite anagram fodder for Breaking up etc. Thanks, Punk, for the puzzle and RatkojaRiku for the blog.

  8. Mustyx says:

    My first Independent crossword since Miles Kington died (I’ve been doing The Times for the last few years). Enjoyed this, though didn’t like ‘Audi’ (no place for brand names in crosswords in my book) or ‘poodle’ (duplicate definition not double definition). But different rules obviously apply here, so fair enough.

  9. Ian says:

    Thanks to RatkojaRiku and Punk respectively.

    A brilliantly constructed grid crammed with memorable references to a bygone era.

    Too many clues to highlight but without question was 7dn.

    Three superb puzzles today. Brummie, this and Virgilius in the i.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    I think it must be Toodle-oo for 19d (with Uncle Yap’s parsing – the sign is Leo). I don’t think toodle-do exists, does it?

    I agree it was an enjoyable puzzle even if like me you found the band was a bit of a mystery until the very end.

  11. Mustyx says:

    No such word as toodle-do – Uncle Yap is right as always. I’ve seen LED clued as ‘light’, ‘indicator’ and even ‘tell-tale’. I think ‘sign’ may be stretching things a bit far.

  12. flashling says:

    Apart from trying to make an anagram of (CHAPTER GOES IN) (D’oh!)to begin with this went OK once I saw what PunK was up to, some very clever stuff using the answers as cryptic clues to other answers. Agree with the UY for toodle-oo.

    Other than that, welcome back after your unfortuate absense last week.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Paul A at no 6. Strictly speaking, you’re right, but there’s a significant overlap in spoken French between voici and voilà. Tu cherches ton stylo? Le voilà. Are you looking for your pen? Here it is. So I think Punk is fine with that surface.

    There was a very enjoyable Virgilius in the Indy i today, sadly the only chance we get to see him on this side these days.

  14. crypticsue says:

    Kathryn’s Dad – Virgilius sets the Sunday Telegraph Prize Cryptic every week.

  15. Thomas99 says:

    7d really is very clever – turning a song title almost directly into a cryptic clue!

  16. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Pink fo a superb puzzle.

    Got to this late after having a bug with my FT blog today, but glad I didn’t miss it. Once the theme was cracked it became plain sailing. Held back for a while as I tried to fit in GOES IN into the anagram for 9D (Doh to me too, flashling). But was saved by BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, the enumeration and the crossing R in the first word helping me. Also by coincidence I had in my FT blog ONE WAY TICKET, another Neil Sedaka original fresh in my mind, so the association was easy to make.

    All were tremendous clues, and especially liked th cryptic definitions for SEPTIC and LOCUST.

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Punk and The Carpenters – what an unlikely pair … :)
    Hated their music virtually – loved the puzzle though.
    And because I found 9d right away and because I knew all these Carpenters songs, a lot of the grid was filled rather quickly.
    So, (even) for me a rather easy crossword.
    But, for reasons given by many above, one of the best Punks I have solved so far.
    I know, Mr H’s priority is Paul, but this one was sheer excellence (too).

    Of course, 5d, 7d and 19d are the Gems of the Day, but simpler clues like the ones for STATUE, HERE or EGG BEATER are also very well written.

    Brilliant stuff and a crossword to treasure.

  18. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake at 19, although I grew up hearing toodle-do more often than toodle-oo, the former doubtless being a mispronunciation of the latter. Thanks to NealH for showing me that I’m not the only one!! The blog has been corrected accordingly.

    What’s more, I don’t think that I’d ever seen either form in writing, while toodle-pip appears quite often in crosswords. Nevertheless, like Mustyx, I did think “LED” for “sign” was stretching things a bit …

    Anyway, I am pleased that this slip on the part of the humble blogger attracted less attention overall from those posting than the sheer brilliance of Punk’s puzzle, a “crossword to treasure” as Sil van den Hoek so aptly put it.

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