Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7681/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on May 30th, 2011


Quixote’s getting into his stride now with his Monday Indy slots, and I found this a pleasing puzzle which I considered to be a tad harder than his previous ones.  All fairly clued in the usual Quixotic style: in other words, when in doubt, follow the instructions.

Seems from the evidence so far that the Monday Quixotes are intended to be reasonably straightforward puzzles (no themes or particularly obscure words so far), so I’ve tried to give fullish explanations to help less experienced Indy solvers who might be attracted to the Monday crossword.  As usual I need help with parsing one of the clues.

cd  cryptic definition
dd double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator



Once I had a few crossing letters, I wanted to enter this, but couldn’t justify it.  Then the penny dropped: ‘saw’ is the definition and it’s a charade of CATCH for ‘snag’ and PHRASE as a homophone (reported) of ‘frays’.  ‘A pithy saying; a maxim; a proverb’ (SOED).


A charade of DER and IDES.  DER is one of the three definite articles in the nominative case in German; IDES is a day in the Roman calendar (in March it’s the 15th, which is when Caesar’s alleged followers indulged in a bit of backstabbing).  Beware the Ides of March and all that.


An insertion of A GG inside LARD for fat.


I got this as soon as I had the M from the down clue, because I’m familiar with the work of Margaret MEAD, the American cultural anthropologist.  But I had to look up the other definition:  the SOED says it’s now an archaic or poetic word for ‘meadow’.  And also an alcoholic drink, of course – isn’t English wonderful?


I got this, but couldn’t see it for ages.  Then the ‘follow the instructions’ advice kicked in: it’s a removal of N for Knight (in chess) and C for hundred from DENOU[NC]EMENT.  Nice clue.  The word comes from the French dénouer, to untie.




Great clue; loved this one.  The definition is ‘shop’.  Then Quixote’s asking you to imagine someone who’s sewing the TAIL back on a cuddly toy animal.  The ‘might you surmise’ is there because the solution is a bit whimsical.


A charade of LAY (as in laying a bet) and A BOUT.


This word seems to have cropped up a lot in puzzles recently.  To show that the Franco-German alliance is a coming together of equals, the setter is using one of the three French definite articles, LE, in a charade with ANT for ‘worker’ and O for ‘old’.


(TO GUESSING)*  Can’t remember seeing this one before, but it’s good, and a lovely surface.


A charade of TUB for drum and A.


A dd.


Howay man, this is a bit of a slur on sons and daughters of the north-east.  We’re not aal ogres, ye knaa. Although actually, thinking about Newcastle’s Bigg Market on a Saturday night, it’s almost an &lit.  Except most of the food and drink ends up on the pavement as diced carrot around three in the morning.  It’s (OGRE)* plus DIE[T].  GEORDIES are people like Cheryl Cole, poor lamb, whose accent’s just got her hoyed off that American show.


A charade of PERI and PAT[H]ETIC.  A PERI is a fairy-like creature from Persian mythology.  ‘To be pitied’ is PATHETIC and the four-legged creature’s making an appearance because both horse and H are terms for Heroin (I think; I’ve had a sheltered life).




A charade of CE for church, R for the first letter of ‘rock’, TAINT for blemish, and Y for mimimal (ie shortened) Yen.


ODD for ‘strange’ after T for end of haircut.  Referring to Sweeney Todd, the fictional murdering barber.  Meat pie, anyone?


I think this is HAS in the sense of ‘has/bears’ children and TEN.  The ‘down’ as part of the phrasal verb in the clue is fine, because it’s a down clue.


A charade of H for hospital and ALLOWED.  ‘Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name …’


‘Piles’ is the definition: it’s G in (RAGE)* plus Bill GATES.  ‘Frightful’ is the anagrind.


Insertion of (‘in’) A and D for ‘daughter’ in EVE.


A pretty obviously signposted (‘churned up’) anagram of (DEAR ME SOIL’S), but after I turned it into the solution I still had to think about it a bit: it’s the verbal definition of ‘cow’.  For me, ‘cow’ is more ‘intimidate’ than ‘demoralise’, but I think there’s enough of an overlap to make the clue work fine.


A charade of DETER for ‘discourage’, I for ‘one’ and ORATE for ‘speak’.


A charade of (BRAWL)* and KE (starting letters of ‘kick everyone’) inserted into (‘entering’) EAR (‘attention’).  EAR as in ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears’ from Mark Antony’s speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  Together with 7ac, this constitutes today’s mini-theme.


(UNCLE A DOG)* The anagrind is ‘wandering’ and the definition ‘An old French’.  LANGUEDOC was an old province of France; its name derives from langue d’oc, in a language that used ‘oc’ to mean ‘yes’, related to the Latin ‘hoc’.  This was in contrast to old French, the langue d’oïl’, which is related to the use of ‘oui’ for ‘yes’ in modern French.  Occitan is still spoken in the Languedoc region.


I think this is a deletion of C for ‘caught’ from BUTTERCUP, but I don’t know why. 
Edit: Thanks to Eileen for explaining this one – BUTTERCUP is a character from Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.


The definition is ‘duck’, as in cricket.  I know all about those.  It’s a deletion of E for energy from [E]NOUGH and T for ‘time’.


G as the last letter of ‘frog’ and RASP.


A dd, with the verbal and nounal variations of the word.

Thanks to Quixote for an enjoyable Bank Holiday puzzle.


9 Responses to “Independent 7681/Quixote”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for a great blog, Pierre and Quixote for an entertaining puzzle.

    I especially liked 20ac and 7 and 12dn.

    16dn is a reference to ‘Poor little Buttercup’ in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

  2. Eileen says:

    I mean ‘HMS Pinafore’ of course!

  3. Pierre says:

    Thank you, Eileen. G&S is not a strong point with me.

  4. lenny says:

    Thanks Pierre, this was an enjoyable and rather chewy offering from Quixote. There was some good misdirection and, at one stage, I was convinced that I was looking for obscure breeds of cows, ducks and dogs before I got the answers Demoralises, Nought and Languedoc.

    I was a bit confused by Languedoc since it appears to me that the definition “an old French” must refer to the language not the province, in which case I would have expected Langue d’oc with the enumeration (6,3).

  5. Pierre says:

    Hi Lenny. I wondered too about the distinction between the language and the province in LANGUEDOC, but I think for the purposes of a crossword it just about works. Quixote often drops in to the blogs of his puzzles, so if he does today perhaps he’ll put us right if we’re missing something.

  6. Quixote says:

    I concede that the enumeration should have been (6,3). I’d rather not be here but a very wet Oxford has put paid to walking plans today. Thanks for the blog.

  7. lenny says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Quixote, and for the rapid resolution of my query. Sorry about the walk. Same problem here in Solihull.

  8. flashling says:

    Thank you pierre for mead, didn’t get that and of course Quixote.

  9. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks Pierre and Quixote.

    Saved this up as an evening treat, and I wasn’t disappointed – this was a most entertaining puzzle, which I thought was full of great clues.

    Perhaps I should say “… great clues once I had worked out all the parsings” because it took me a while to see how DENOUEMENT was arrived at once it was filled in, and also for the penny to drop with LANGUEDOC. This latter is especially embarrassing as I live near Toulouse on the border between the regions of Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon, which together comprise the old area of Occitanie. I had only to step outside of the front door and look at the nearest street sign!

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