Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7690/Punk

Posted by John on June 9th, 2011


A good crossword as usual from Punk. The long down clue in the middle I thought told us the theme, which was confirmed by 19ac and 27ac, but there weren’t many more answers that seemed to fit with it and no doubt this was a false trail.

1 SPIRAL — (Paris)* {morta}l
5 IMPOLITE — pol(it)e beside (M1)rev.
9 FRAN(Z({B}LIS{s})Z)T — I suppose two things: that there is a Sussex village called Frant and that sleep is zz. The second seems quite likely but my gazetteer doesn’t mention Frant. However, Wikipedia tells us that it is in East Sussex.
10/28 WINE TASTER — (Weren’t Asti)*
12 INGRES{s}
14 APISH — aphis with the h moved to the back
18 IF AND WHEN — (few in hand)* — I can’t understand how this expression (or the similarly dreadful one ‘as and when’) came to be used: they simply seem to me to be wordy tautologies
19 AG(O)RA
21 EDGE IN — can’t understand this I’m afraid: where is the move? Surely not ‘wedge in’?
22 KNITWEAR — K{angaroo} (air went)*, with ‘high’ the anagram indicator
24 EDIT — (tide)rev.
26 FROST/NIXON — Jack Frost, and nothing on
27 SYRACUSE — (say cures)*
2 PUR(S)E — twenty-four carat gold is pure gold
3 R.E. N(A)ISSAN C.E. — the ‘new’ is part of the definition
4 LOL {R}ITA — laughing out loud
7 LAW{n}
8 TUNNELLER — (nun)* in teller — I think this is definition by example (which not everyone approves of) since all moles are tunnellers but not all tunnellers are moles
13 GLASGOW KISS — had never heard of it and I can’t find it in any dictionary — so far as I can see it’s glass (= attack with broken bottle) outside (go w{or}k 1’s) and a Glasgow kiss is a headbutt
15 PUFF DADDY — Duff Paddy, spoonerised
17 SWINE FLU — (sinful we)*
20 DIKTAT — (tat kid)rev.
23 ADOBE — (E bod a)rev. — an adobe, apart from being the name of a software company, is a sun-dried brick
25 BreakfasT EAten

7 Responses to “Independent 7690/Punk”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, John.

    Like you I was puzzled by 21ac but the penny’s just dropped. It’s an anagram of [n]EEDING.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John, for your explanations, a few of which I needed this morning. I thought this was a lot of fun, just about the right level of difficulty for me. GLASGOW KISS I got when I’d a few crossing letters; I think there are other regional variations as well. I liked KNITWEAR particularly.

  3. walruss says:

    Yes, this ‘false trail’ has anooyed me a bit, as I was expecting something more. Just because some of the inclusions are faintly obscure doesn’t make them Greek, I suppose?

  4. flashling says:

    Missed out on frost/nixon and adobe. Somewhere in my mind I knew adobe as a building material but it didn’t click, nor frost/nixon just about remember the film’s name but… got the frost but missing nix-on is annoying. Thanks John and Punk for the fun

  5. caretman says:

    Thanks, John, for the blog. I also didn’t see a theme despite the hint at one from 5d. I thought it was a mostly straightforward puzzle, and agree with Eileen about the parsing of 21a. FROST/NIXON was my last in mainly because I don’t catch many movies; for those who go to movies the enumeration alone may have been a giveaway.

    With regard to 18a, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that IF AND WHEN originated in legal writing (e.g., contracts or wills). If action A is going to be predicated on action B occurring first, with the action B’s occurrence being uncertain, you probably couldn’t write simply ‘do action A when action B’, since that presumes something that may not occur. If you write ‘do action A if action B’, that doesn’t say when to do it; if action B occurs but the person obligated to do action A doesn’t do it, (s)he can claim that (s)he just hasn’t done it yet, and so is not in violation of the contract. So if you want action A to occur immediately after action B, you would probably have to write ‘do action A if and when action B’. Lots of apparently redundant legal expressions have arisen similarly, usually after someone has taken advantage of language loopholes to get out of what would seem to be the plain intention of a contract.

  6. ele says:

    Thanks to John for the blog and to Punk for a good puzzle which helped while away a 2 hour journey to work this morning as my trains were kaput! I was stumped by 21ac which was the last one in, and got it wrong, as I thought it must be something to do with sidle with the s taken off which gave the not very satisfactory idle in. So thanks very much to Eileen for the real answer and explanation. Liked knitwear and Frost/Nixon.

  7. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As part of a double bill in our after-work session, we enjoyed this Punk very much. But, while it was much better clued than its Guardian counterpart today, it took us far less time.

    Just like flashling we didn’t get FROST/NIXON [that is, the second part, mainly because I split 25ac up as 5-5 instead of 5/5] and ADOBE.
    Quite refreshing to have no theme, but just good clues.
    Thanks John for the blog, and even though you convinced yourself of the thinness of there being a possible theme, I must also say that of the solutions you mentioned, SYRACUSE (27ac), is not really Greek – it’s in/on Sicily ….. :)

    While a very easy clue like 25d (TEA) is rather good, the Awards of the Day go to: 9ac (FRANZ LISZT) for the imagery, 10/28 (WINE TASTER) for another great surface, 13d (GLASGOW KISS) and the ‘Mole as nun’ in TUNNELLER (8d).

    Many thanks John and, er, John.

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