Never knowingly undersolved.


Posted by Ali on May 25th, 2011


There’s a mighty big pair of shoes to fill with Dac only appearing fortnightly, but I thought this was every bit as good as we’ve come to expect on a Wednesday. Nothing hugely difficult, but lots of elegant clues and a nice variety of devices. Crosophile is an excellent addition to the Indy’s already very good band of setters.

1 AD-LIBS – AD (notice) + LIB’S
4 ISOBAR – I SOB with A R[-ancour]
9 TENT – E(rath) in T.N.T
10 BANKRUPTCY – (P[-enur]Y + TURN BACK)*
11 LICHEN – [-gar]LIC + HEN[-bane]
12 BAGPIPES – A GP in BIPE[-d] + S[-ee]
13 DRESS CODE – (CROSSED)* + ED rev.
15 ETAS – SATE rev.
16 ACRE – I think this is [s]ACRE[d]
17 OSSIFYING – [din]OS[aur] + (SIGNIFY)*
25 AXLE – X (times) in ALE
26 TEEPEE – T + P
27 USHERS – PUSHERS less P(ower)
1 ATELIER – ATE (took in) + LIE (story) + R(eading)
2 LATCH – A(ir) T(raining) C(orps) in L(eft) H(and)
3 BUBONIC – Odd letters of aBoUt BrOwN mInCe
5 SHRUGS – S[-wis]H + RUGS
6 BAPTISTRY – B(ook) + APT + IS + ‘T + RY (lines)
14 SHRINKAGE – Cryptic def.
18 IGUANAS – GUANA in IS(land)
20 MYRTLE – TRY in ELM rev.
23 SHADE – HADES with last letter rising up

19 Responses to “Independent,7,677/Crosophile”

  1. Eileen says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Ali – and Crosophile for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Lots of nice clues – my favourites were BAGPIPES, ANYBODY’S GUESS and SHADE.

    I agree with your parsing of 16ac, Ali, and there’a little bit more: ACRE is a port and town in the Holy Land, much fought over in the Crusades, etc, which makes this a really good clue.

    [I’ve just looked up Crosophile and found that his real name is Chris Poole, which makes his pseudonym very clever, too.]

  2. Mustyx says:

    On the easy side, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. Every clue as elegant as you can get, with no weird vocabulary and lots to smile about. A really enjoyable lunchtime. Thanks Crosophile.

    [Chris Poole is also Charybdis in other papers]

  3. eimi says:

    I agree that Crosophile is a very good substitute for Dac, but I can assure solvers that Dac is still in three weeks out of four.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali for the blog, and Crosophile for an enjoyable puzzle.

    Favourites were 8D BAPTISTRY, 17A OSSIFYING and 24A BIPARTISAN. Re 1D ATELIER, I think it’s even more elegant, the R given by “reading or writing”, 2 of the 3Rs.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Ali, for your blog. Needed you for explanations of two or three today.

    I did this very early this morning after I got back from the S&B event – perhaps not a wise move, since my crossword brain works best in the mornings. But I just about got there, and enjoyed it (as I did the S&B, where I was pleased to make the acquaintance of a few of the usual suspects on this blog). Agree with you – this setter is a fine addition to the Indy crossword team.

    If I have a small niggle, it’s equating ATHEIST with INFIDEL. Dictionaries just about support this, but I’m one of the former, and think the latter has overtones in everyday use. The SOED’s first definition is: ‘An adherent of a religion different from one’s own: from a Christian point of view, a Muslim; from a Muslim point of view, a Christian; from a Jewish point of view, a Gentile.’ So INFIDEL means ‘non-believer (in my particular version of god)’, but that’s not quite the same thing as believing in nothing at all.

    And if you’ve ever visited the blog in Another Place, you’d know that ULSTER and Northern Ireland are not the same beast. Fine by me, but others don’t like it.

    And with TEEPEE, I’m not usually a big fan of spelling out letters like this, since there’s no convention to follow, but I did think this was a clever clue.

  6. nmsindy says:

    I too thought this was v pleasing and on the easy side. Two v small points on the blog, I think in IGUANAS that’s it’s GUAN(O) and A for Australian in IS. In SHRINKAGE, I think there is a real definition (shoplifting) in there with the excellent cryptic one.

    I think Ulster = NI is acceptable from usage just as Americans are allowed to call the UK England – dicts support these conventions and I think it’s a bit over-literal to object.

    Thanks, Crosophile, and Ali.

  7. 4across says:

    Thanks for the blog and the puzzle. some pleasing clues, but a tad on the easy side, my fastest solve by some way, or maybe i’m just in tune with crosophile.

  8. NealH says:

    Another minor piece of pedantry – a lichen is a symbiosis of a fungus and an alga. A fungus is definitely not a plant (it has its own kingdom) and it’s debateable whether an alga could be called a plant either.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    nms, Americans are definitely not allowed to call the UK England! If there’s a dictionary supporting UK = England, then sorry, but it’s wrong … we’ll be getting into a discussion about what the difference between the British Isles, The United Kingdom and Great Britain is next.

    Sorry you weren’t able to be there last night. You missed a good one.

  10. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Ali. Unlike my excursion in Another Place earlier today, I felt quite at home here. This was a fast but enjoyable solve.

    I agree vehemently with nmsindy@6. Guan(o) is bird poo. Australia contributed the A. No iguanas in Australia. And the Shrinkage/Shoplifting connection makes 14dn a clever clue. I liked 17ac as well.

    And like K’s D I was surprised to learn today that some consider me an “infidel”. Just like “from good convict stock”, a label I shall wear with pride.

  11. scchua says:

    Hi K’sD@5. Yes, I think you’re right about ATHEISTINFIDEL. In the recent 7672 Tees crossword, it was rightly clued as “No believer in robbery”.

  12. scchua says:

    Hi TokyoColin@10. It’s (linguistically) interesting that some of the Australian lizards are called “goannas”, which word must have come from dropping the first syllable in “iguanas”. What’s in a name :-)

  13. Crosophile says:

    Thanks so much for the sppreciative comments. By the way I’m an atheist too but do hope I can also carry on being an infidel!

  14. Mustyx says:

    I agree that it’s certainly NOT OK for Americans to call the UK England. I have two American dictionaries (don’t ask!) and neither of them allow this.

    As an Irish resident I feel I should clarify that:
    The whole of Northern Ireland (the British Province) is in Ulster, but not all of Ulster is in Northern Ireland.
    The whole of Ulster is, however, in northern Ireland (ie the north of the island of Ireland).
    The term ‘Britain’ does not include any part of Ireland.
    The island of Ireland is no longer considered part of the British Isles (at least not according to international geographers. The British may have their own ideas). So the answer to the classic pub quiz question ‘what’s the longest river in the British Isles?’ is probably not ‘The Shannon’.
    I for one have no objection to the Ulster clue today – in fact it was one of my favourites.
    I say all this without any kind of political or religious bias! (I’m another Infidel)

    Hope all that’s clear!!

  15. bamberger says:

    After Redshank in the FT yesterday, brought down to earth by this one. Staggered by 4across @7 calling this easy. One hours giving it my best only yielded 6 clues and looking at the answers, there were only a few more where I thought “Should have got that” . Typical difficulty for me was 12a to explain :
    I can guess that I want an instrument but do I want a stethoscope or a violin or even a legal document?
    Two . Do I get pair or brace or something else?
    Feet cut. Hmm -ft perhaps?
    Start to see -probably s
    Doctor’s -Dr? Mb? Mo? Phd, Dphil?
    No too many possibilities and without checkers as so many of the clues had several stages to them, I couldn’t get it.

    Hadn’t heard of 1d.

    Well blogged sir.

  16. Paul B says:

    Re Eileen #1 indeed – a fine pseudonym.

    Another I like a lot is Dumpynose, that of Chris Brougham. (You work it out.)

  17. germain says:

    Quite one of the more outstanding compilers around. Rapidly becoming a favourite with me.

  18. flashling says:

    Shame Chris is not pooles rather than poole crossophile would be perfect… Thanks a lot for the puzzle

  19. Paul B says:

    These are lucky men. I would have had to settle for Arnie Bogpull. Or Paul Le Boring. These are not good pseudo names. I can always do a Sloggers & Betters though: er, all go in pub?

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