Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,674 by Anax (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 21/05/11)

Posted by Simon Harris on May 28th, 2011

Simon Harris.

I had been thinking it was about time that Anax and I crossed paths, and here we are. No complaints from me: Anax is one of the very finest setters around, and no mistake.

After Anax’s generous tribute to the Fifteensquared solvers back at 7,588, this one is dedicated to many of the setters in the Independent stable, perhaps with the various upcoming Sloggers and Betters events in mind. I think this would not have befuddled newcomers unduly, though they might have wondered who all these strangely-named folks were!

Overall, a thorough workout as one might expect, though perhaps relatively straightforward compared to some Anaxes that we’ve seen. That said, I had to cheat a bit to finish it off, of course, and there are one or two bits and bobs that I can’t quite explain.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

1 RIP OFF – P[ian]O in RIFF.
4 ATHERTON – AT + HE + R + TON. When I saw the “cricketer” defintion I fretted that I almost certainly wouldn’t have heard of the chap in question, but Mike Atherton was a big name, and was a bit of a local hero up in Lancashire, where I grew up.
10 PROGRAMO in (P[unk] R[adian] G[low-worm] R[aich] A[nd] M[onk]).
12 SAINT BERNARDS – (BANNSIDER’S ART)*. The definition seems to be “Barry likes”, but I’m afraid I don’t know what that means.
14 TRANSFORM – (R + ANS + FOR[k]) in TM.
16 TRONC – ORT< + N + C.
17 OBESEOBE‘S + E[imi].
24 PHILEAS – HI in PLEAS[e]. Is “please” equivalent to “desire”? I’m not sure that I’m not missing something here.
26 SETTER – TT (“Ts”) in SEER.
1 REPOSITION – [p]REPOSITION. The “on e.g.” was well hidden, I thought.
2 PROXIMA CENTAURI – PRO + XI + MACE + (A TURIN)*. This one fell in quickly from the checking letters and the “star” def, but the wordplay took some thinking about. I rather enjoy these long charades, but very few setters seem to use them, I’m not sure why.
5 TURIN – RUT< + IN.
6 ELGAR – ([materia]L in RAGE)<. A reference to Edward Elgar, of whose Enigma Variations “Nimrod” was one. Composers aren’t my strong point, but I’ve been reading up on Elgar and Vaughan Williams recently, so I got lucky here.
8 NORM – [scorpio]N OR M[ordred].
9 EMPERORS – EM + PER + OR + S[uit].
20 E-MAIL – (AM I)* in EL.
21 NEEDY – NÉE + D[erb]Y. Derby being the setting of a recent, and very successful, S&B, I believe.
22 QUIP – Q[uixote’s] U[sual] I[ndependent] P[uzzles].


14 Responses to “Independent 7,674 by Anax (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 21/05/11)”

  1. flashling says:

    Excellent puzzle as always from Anax, did crosophile join too late to be included? Didn’t need to cheat on this as I did the dead tree version last week, but I’m not claiming it was easy.

    Thanks Simon/anax

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    It turns out, at least from Wikipedia… “Barry der Menschenretter (1800–1814), also known as Barry, was a dog of a breed which was later called the St. Bernard.” I didn’t know that until just now and was in the same position as you having filled in the grid.

    Very enjoyable puzzles and definitely on the easier side for a Saturday (though by no means a doddle.)

  3. superkiwigirl says:

    Thanks Simon and Anax.

    I found this one of the most enjoyable puzzles that I’ve done recently and thought there were some excellent surfaces, especially 2d. As usual, I learned a couple of words in SADDUCEAN and THEANTHROPISM, though not sure that I’ll remember this latter one for very long (and I think that even Bryan will be hard pressed too work this one into his conversations!)

    As for 12A the solution is simply “Barry” who was the most famous of all the St Bernard rescue dogs and whose mummified corpse is (reputedly) on display at the museum in the monastery at the top of the alpine pass between Switzerland and Italy (I’ve also heard it said that his body is kept in a museum near Berne). Until last year we had our own St. Bernard “Berry” who was born at the monastery kennels, so this clue wasreal touch of nostalgia for me.

    Thanks finally to all those of you who kindly welcomed me to 15 2 – flashling, I hope you are feeling better today. And Walruss, I’m no longer a real kiwi I’m afraid, but have been resident in France for a good while now.

  4. superkiwigirl says:

    Sorry 12a is of course “Barry likes” – written in too much haste!

  5. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was excellent from Anax. ELGAR was particularly good with great misdirection as Nimrod is of course one of the Indy setters. I thought the SETTER clue involving Tees was brilliant as were REPOSITION and ECONOMISER. Thanks for the blog, Simon, and Anax for the puzzle.

  6. Allan_C says:

    Simon, re 24a, I suppose ‘please’ added to the end of a request could indicate desire but, like you, I found the clue a bit tenuous. But a great puzzle from Anax and I liked the variety of ways in which the setters’ names were worked in, particularly with ‘Morph’ as a definition.
    19a held me up for some time, thinking it must begin ‘Theo….’ Also 11a until I found it in Chambers with the annotation “mil. slang”.

  7. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Simon for the blog, and Anax for the crossword. Unlike you I did not find this “perhaps relatively straightforward compared to some Anaxes that we’ve seen” — on the contrary, I found it one of the most difficult puzzles I’ve ever attempted! It took me forever, and I loved every second of it. Very challenging, beautiful use of the setters in the clues, and a delight to complete.

  8. scchua says:

    Thanks Simon and Anax.
    This was easier than I first feared upon seeing “Anax”. Nice to have included all those setter pseudonyms in. Favourites were 1A RIP OFF, vg misleading defn, 14A TRANSFORM and 2D PROXIMA CENTAURI.

  9. Tees says:

    Oh god I feel like that Muttley with a medal from that Dick Dastardly. OMG thanks Anax! And in such a good puzzle!

    And now, for the Champions League Fin … ahh, no, sod it: iPlayer for a re-run of The Shadow Line, episode four. Gatehouse. Mmm.

  10. lenny says:

    I normally do these puzzles in about 30 minutes but I was quite happy to be detained for 1h 40 by this delightful offering from Anax. Anax is a self-confessed Xim and it certainly showed in this puzzle. Although it was incredibly difficult, at the end I had no quibbles and I understood all the wordplay. On the way I learnt that Barry was a St Bernards and that Rag–fair is slang for a kit inspection. I imagine everyone enjoyed this except, perhaps, a few of my Welsh friends.

  11. Simon Harris says:

    Hah, yes, that’s a fair point, Lenny. I was minded to mention the “Welsh” thing, but decided against it, as surely Anax meant no ill and really it’s just an old-fashioned term like any other.

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. It’s very telling how much affection an Anax puzzle tends to bring out in readers. I think he’s a very generous setter, in that he works very hard both to challenge and to entertain us, and solvers seem to respond well to that – kind of like the way football fans respond to a venerable manager or heroic center back that you know supports your team deep in his blood. Bravo.

  12. anax says:

    Hello friends

    Wow! This is a better response than I expected, to be honest. Using setter names in clues can look a bit incestuous, but I was attracted to the idea of fitting in as many as I could in as many different ways as I could; I must thank some of my colleagues for having definable pseudonyms!

    1a wasn’t designed to be in any way offensive, but I’m saddened that the clue is erroneous – or rather the enumeration is. It should have been (3,3) but Crossword Compiler has a funny way of ignoring amended punctuation. It’s something I should have spotted and I’m very grateful it didn’t spoil anyone’s fun.

    My visit to Wikipedia to look for some background info for 12a was spurred by one of my WordWeb dictionaries showing ‘Barry’ as a definition; it puzzled me (thought it might have been a mistake) but I was surprised to see how strongly that name is associated with the brandy-toting pooch. Apparently, Barry is even an alternative name for the breed itself. Well, if a TV channel can be called Dave, why not?

    Huge thanks to all of you for your very kind comments and to Simon for a super blog. I really do hope bloggers (and commenters) know that us on the other side of the process really do appreciate the efforts you put in, even if some of us don’t make a habit of coming online to say so.

  13. One other setter says:

    Yes, it’s not technophobia so much as alcoholism.

  14. theminx says:

    he he he….Superb puzzle.

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