Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7699/Klingsor

Posted by Pierre on June 20th, 2011


Bonjour!  And there’s a bit of that going on today, as you’ll discover if you read on …

My first Klingsor blog, of a puzzle I found difficult, but satisfying.  One that was perhaps easier to solve than to parse: on a number of occasions I was in the ‘it must be that but I don’t know why’ discomfort zone.  But any crossword that references Judas Priest and Tosca in the same grid gets my vote.

cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
[x] removal
anagrind = anagram indicator


TV comedy Addams Family’s final run?  Could be
(ADDAMS Y R)*  The Y and the R are in the anagram fodder because Y is the last letter of familY and R for run(s) comes from cricket.  A bit of a blast from the past with both series. ‘Don’t tell him, Pike!’ and ‘You rang?’ are the quotes you’ll remember if you’re old enough.  ‘Could be’ is the anagrind.

Clubs reportedly want people who’ll give a hand for pay
Okay, I put in CLIQUE because nothing else seemed to fit, but I was wrong: the definition is ‘a hired body of applauders’, and it’s C for Clubs and a homophone of ‘lack’.  It’s from the French claquer, to clap, and despite speaking French I’d never come across this expression.  Une claque is also a word for ‘a slap'; change the gender to un claque and you get ‘a knocking shop’.  We’ll move on.

Skirts attempt to create government department
A charade of MINIS for short skirts and TRY.

10  Pinches from vulnerable in backstreet
An insertion of WEAK for vulnerable in ST (street) backwards.

12  In review, “Tosca lacks middle register ultimately, Scarpia’s OK” – so very disappointed
(T A R SCARPIAS OK)*  The standard footballer’s response to a loss (as opposed to ‘over the moon’) is an anagram of T and A from ToscA lacking the middle, R for the last letter of registeR, and SCARPIAS OK.   I never knew that Scarpia was a character in Tosca (although he/she is a fairly regular contributor to Fifteensquared).  With the setter’s pseudonym being Klingsor, we’re not going to get an opera-free puzzle, are we?  ‘In review’ is the anagrind.

15  Novel’s an interminable book
More French needed.  ROMAN is French for ‘novel’ in the book sense (as in roman-à-clef) and the solution is a shortening of ROMANCE.  This has just made me realise that while modern French has abandoned the spelling of ‘clef‘ in favour of ‘clé‘, the former spelling still exists in our borrowing.

16  18’s wife brought in to explode banger in Munich?
Liked this one.  The solution to 18dn is TRAITOR, so it’s RAT plus W for wife in BURST for explode.  And BRATWURST is a German sausage or ‘banger’.

17  Insufficiency as result of early winter across the pond?
A kind of cd/play on words.  If the autumn (fall) in the USA were short, then there would be an early winter.

19  Quench thirstiness at last with water
Great surface reading.  It’s thirstinesS plus LAKE.

20  High jinks on stage entertaining duke – they always get a laugh
(JINKS ON STAGE D)*  D is for duke, ‘high’ is the anagrind and ‘entertaining’ is inviting you to add D to the anagram fodder.

22  Make coal fire light first of all?
This is based on the fact that L for light (as for example in light emitting diode, LED) when added to IGNITE for ‘fire’ makes LIGNITE, a type of coal.  But doesn’t the clue suggest that LIGNITE should be the answer?

23  Embezzle money previously gathered by church collection
More French references: an insertion (‘gathered’) of ÉCU, an old French coin, in PLATE for the collection of money in church.

25  Female takes Irishman with nothing out for a drink
A charade of SHE and R[O]RY.  Rory is a typically Irish male name, I suppose.

26  Pupils from European country second to last
Cleverly constructed.  It’s ESTONIAN for people ‘from a European country’, with the second letter S moved to be the last.  Most of the senior members of the Cabinet appear to have gone to ETON, which is worrying when you think that we’re supposed to be meritocratic.


Following mother’s request, grew a plant
A charade of DAM (mother), ASK and ROSE for ‘grew’.

Study Old English houses
A well-disguised hidden answer: it’s in OlD ENglish and ‘houses’ is the hidden indicator.

Don’t drink liqueur without the covering “Cheers!”
This is what I meant when I said it was in places easier to solve than parse: this is an insertion of TA! for ‘Cheers!’ in ABSIN, which is ABSINTHE, the disgusting liqueur without THE on the end.

Doctor’s right first off, assuming Royal Society fellows may wear these
I think this is a charade of MO for doctor, [S]TARBOARD (right, first letter removed) with the inclusion (‘assuming’) of R for Royal all followed by S for Society.  I think.

Unrefined Neanderthal’s characteristic
A dd.  This is perhaps a bit unfair to Homo neanderthalensis, which was quite an intelligent species, much more so than certain members of Homo sapiens that you can apparently see most weekends in Prague city centre on a stag or hen night.

Football player from, say, West Bromwich Albion covets Keegan’s caps
Excellent misdirection in the clue: you need to separate out (for a football fan, difficult) West and Bromwich Albion.  The solution refers to an American football player and it’s QUARTER (West, say) and the initial letters of Bromwich Albion Covets Keegan.

Piece of cake making you nauseous, no question

11 Vehicle’s been pounded by officer with everyone detained?  It’s way over our heads
I got this from the crossing letters, twigging the suggestion of a structure in space and remembering the term.  ‘Two regions partly surrounding the Earth containing intense radiation and high-energy charged particles’ (SOED).  But I can’t parse it for the life of me.  I see VAN for ‘vehicle’ and ALL for ‘everyone’, but beyond that I don’t know.  Someone will come to my rescue, no doubt.  Edit: Eileen has – for which thanks.

13  Nous sommes en Contes – half of that needs translating
Clever, clever, clever.  I put this in because it couldn’t be anything else, but wasn’t able to see it for ages because I couldn’t get the French reading out of my head.  The phrase means ‘We’re in Contes’ (Contes is a French city/district near Nice).  But the pdm was realising that the definition is ‘nous’, and it’s (SOMMES EN CON)* with ‘half of that’ indicating the CON and ‘needs translating’ being the anagrind.

14  Bob, after tearing his hair out, will be so free from anxiety
A charade of S for shilling (a bob in old money, lsd) and TRESSLESS, which is a whimsical way of saying having torn your hair out.

18  Judas Priest’s last tour avoids university after unending strike
‘Judas’ is the definition: the disciple who betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane for thirty pieces of silver, according to the Gospels.  It’s a charade of T for last of PriesT, TO[U]R (avoiding U for university) and RAI[D] (unending strike).  The ‘after’ in the clue gives you the order of the charade.  Again, pretty clear what the answer was from the crossing letters, but tough to parse.  Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band, btw.

19  Nice day?  Bring lad round to visit
More French.  It’s JOUR, for ‘day’ in Nice, France, surrounded by SON, to give you a word for visit.

21  Children – that’s sons, not daughters – get smack
A replacement of S for sons for D for daughters in KIDS, to give you a word that has the slang equivalent, ‘smack’.

24  Jana regularly pinches bottom of wing commander
Lucky wing commander, as long as there’s no RAF policy on sexual harassment.  It’s AA for the even letters of Jana, with the inclusion (‘pinching’) of G for bottom of winG.  An Ottoman title for a commander, the best known of whom was the AGA KHAN.

An enjoyable and challenging puzzle from Klingsor.  Merci mille fois!

11 Responses to “Independent 7699/Klingsor”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the super blog, Pierre, which made me laugh almost as much as the super puzzle did.

    I couldn’t see the ‘starboard’ in 4dn, so thanks for that, then I think it’s RS round it [assumed].

    Re 11dn: VAN [vehicle] ALL [everyone]ENBE [‘BEEN pounded’] LT [officer]

    Favourite clues: most of them – but especially 12, 23, ac and 3, 13, 19dn.

    I had the same thoughts about 22ac.

    Many thanks, as ever, Klingsor – I just loved it!

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Pierre
    In 15ac I thought the ‘interminable book’ was more likely to be ROMAN[s], the sixth book in the New Testament, though ROMAN[ce] also works.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    22a – I read it that lignite was “light” of i.e. lacked its first letter. I think gangsters in films sometimes riffle the protection money by their ear and say something like “Hey! This is light twenty bucks!”

    4d – Like Eileen I read “assuming” in the sartorial sense – “[s]tarboard” is assuming, i.e. putting on, RS.

    Klingsor is on record as having shifted his musical tastes from Pink Floyd to Wagner and Mahler, with Judas Priest and Tosca perhaps somewhere along the way?

    I always enjoy his puzzles and this was no exception. And I promise I’m not part of a claque!

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Pierre and Klingsor for a really enjoyable puzzle.

    I liked the multi-country tour, for in addition to France, we’ve visited the US, England, Ireland, Germany, Estonia and Italy. Favourite clues were 19D SOJOURN, 7D QUARTERBACK and 4D MORTARBOARDS (I have the same interpretation as Eileen, as I think it’s meant be read as “the Royal Society”, which is also known as the RS, and its learned fellows must very well wear or at least have mortarboards).

  5. Thomas99 says:

    On second thoughts I think 22 is an &lit in imperative form: Make lignite fire, i.e. get rid of, the first letter in light (with the whole thing the definition). That seems less tortured than my gangster theory.

  6. Pierre says:

    Thank you, Eileen, for once again riding to my rescue at 11dn. I always thought it was men who were supposed to turn up on white horses to rescue women, but perhaps I read too many fairy tales when I was little. Thanks also to Gaufrid for the (more plausible) parsing of 15ac – I was obviously stuck in French mode.

  7. nmsindy says:

    This was an excellent puzzle, thanks, Klingsor and Pierre. Pretty hard in places. Esp liked BRATWURST, SHERRY, KISS, ETONIANS, LOWBROW (which as it splits in two is not I think casting any aspersion on the Neanderthals just saying that they are small ie have a low brow). And it would be hard to dispute today that an Irishman could well be known as Rory…

  8. NealH says:

    I thought there were some brilliant clues here, although 22 was a bit difficult to fathom. It was good to see peculate not clued as the obvious [s]peculate (even though it would have been nice to see financial speculators bashed as crooks). Claque was my last answer and I only got it after trying out other options like clique etc. 13 and 19d were my favourite clues.

  9. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Pierre for your blog of another nice Klingsor puzzle.
    His trademarks are all there, especially in 18d (where you have to separate Judas and Priest – right up my street), 13d (same thing with ‘nous’ and the rest) and in 1ac and 7d (both in which ‘names’ were used for the sake of improving the surface).

    Other favourites: 16ac’s Bratwurst, 19ac (Slake), 26ac (those awful Etonians – who rule the country) and the fine 3d (Abstain).

    Sometimes I think that Klingsor goes a bit over the top, like in the overconstructed ‘Sick as a parrot’.

    Funny, Pierre, that you mention ‘Prague’ in you explanation of ‘Lowdown’ (which I didn’t like that much, btw). Deliberately?
    In 24d Klingsor uses the name Jana, which is typical Czech.
    He has settled in rather quickly there, I guess. :)

  10. flashling says:

    TY pierre had 2 goes at this got loads then stuck on RHS, second time around it fell out – the french bits worked out well for you.
    Thanks of course to Klingsor for another fine puzzle

  11. Klingsor says:

    Thanks Pierre for the nice blog and to those who made such encouraging comments. Thomas99 got the parsing of LIGNITE right at comment 5 and NMSindy is correct that the reference to Neanderthals was that they had a low/protruding forehead rather than anything else. Interesting that Pierre mentions the stag yobs in Prague – after living there for 6 years I am pleased to say that they are no longer a problem here (Neanderthals and amoebas are both far more intelligent than most of them) but as I understand it, they inflict themselves on the Baltic capitals these days. Condolences to the locals in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius.

    Again many thanks


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