Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7711/Anax

Posted by Pierre on July 4th, 2011


I don’t know, you offer to do a favour for a fellow blogger, and look what happens …

I got a request from nmsindy to swap Monday dates, and of course I agreed.  When I volunteered to move from the gentle slopes of blogging the Quiptic and the Everyman to the steeper precipices of the Indy, it was on the assumption that the Monday puzzles were generally pretty accessible, so there wouldn’t be that much risk of me completely embarrassing myself in public.  And today, along comes Anax.  Anax on a Monday?  What next – Greece repaying its national debt?

On my first look through, I solved precisely nothing, and was going into that waking up in a sweat at three o’clock in the morning from the nightmare where you’re in the exam room but have done no revision and can’t get any answers mode.  But I got by (with a little help from my friends) and am pleased that I stuck at it, because although it’s challenging (for me, anyway), it’s also an inventive and pleasing puzzle with some delightful touches.

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


Danish king eventually supporting the necessary supporters
A charade of FOR (‘supporting’) TIN (money, ‘the necessary’) and BRAS (‘supporters’).  It’s ‘eventually’ because FORTINBRAS only becomes King of Denmark at the end of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Country club tolerated
A charade of C for club(s) and HAD for ‘tolerated’, as in ‘I’ve had it up to here’.

10  Tyre setting restriction applied, chasing finishers in final race
Spent ages trying to work out the ‘Tyre’ bit, but of course it’s referring to the Middle Eastern City.  So Anax is prompting you to put BAN for ‘restriction’ and ON for ‘applied’ after the finishing letters of finaL racE.

11  Trident component?  Left-over parts causing delay
A PRONG is part of a Trident (in the Neptune sense).  Put L for left and O for (cricket) over in the middle and you’ve got your answer.  Nice use of ‘parts’ to indicate an insertion.

12  Crime starts to excite when you’re tough
A charade of SIN for ‘crime’ and the starting letters of Excite When You’re.

13  Sex?  For rather than against going …
One of the reasons I find Anax a hard setter is that clues like this one have the definition so well disguised.  It’s ‘going’ in this case (‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’), and is a substitution of PRO for CON in congress for ‘sex’.

15  … hammer and tongs in the casual version of it
(AND TONGS IN THE)* with ‘hammer’ (perhaps appropriately, if you’re into urban slang) as the anagrind.  A lovely, misleading surface, continuing the sexual theme, with the ellipses for once actually connecting two related clues.  Anax is never going to get the gig setting for the Church Times any time soon, I fancy.

18  Old country wine gets Madonna tipsy
A charade of MUSCAT and (MADONNA)*

20  Mess around with women in clean clothes?  Yes, in a way
Another one that took me ages to see.  It’s HASH for ‘mess’ around AND for ‘with’ and W for ‘women’.

21  Old Irish Bill assumes it’s backward country
An insertion of ‘it’s’ reversed in RUC for Royal Ulster Constabulary, the previous police force (‘Bill’) in NI, now superseded by the PFNIPSNI in fact; thanks to Radian.

24  Old woman injecting drug to numb bone marrow
The setter’s inviting you to put E and DULL in MA.  The medical term for bone marrow.  Another lovely surface.

25  In naughty game, rub the hump
(GAME RUB)*  What was I saying about the Church Times?

26  Soprano comes in to bribe detective
An insertion of S for soprano in BUY, to ‘bribe’, I think, but I’ve no idea where the ‘detective’ comes into it.  Edit: BUSY is slang for ‘detective’.  When in doubt, look in the dictionary.  Thanks to Eileen.

27  A Renault with 100mph acceleration power
A charade of MEGANE for the Renault brand, W and TON for 100mph.  The Indy seems relaxed about brand names, although some people don’t like their use.  The Newton is the unit of force required to accelerate a body with a mass of 1kg at a rate of 1 metre per second squared.  A MEGANEWTON is a million of them.


Fruity bar, nothing else
Concise, precise cluing.  A charade of FULL for ‘fruity’ and STOP for ‘bar’.  ‘Fruity’ in the wine sense, I guess.

Bird to carry off home
A charade of ROB and IN.

Chess piece in woollen ski pants is quirky idea
I felt the need for a lie down after I’d got this one.  It’s WHIM (‘a quirky idea’) in (WOOLLEN SKI)*  ‘Pants’ is the anagrind and it refers to the song from the musical Chess, by Tim Rice and the ABBA boys.

Perhaps Chelsea will have drawn German team
A charade of a Chelsea BUN and D for ‘drawn’.  ‘A German league, confederacy or association’ (SOED), so ‘team’ just about works.

Predictably take a second glance around you?
A charade of A, S for second and PERUSAL for glance around U.  I think Anax has put the question mark at the end because U is text-speak for ‘you’ .

House on very short section of US boundary
The nearest I can get to this is HO for ‘house’, O plus VER for ‘on, very’ shortened, and DAM.  But that’s most likely complete cobblers.  Edit: it’s just mostly, rather than complete, cobblers.  Gaufrid explains it at comment no 2.

Process to stop kid talking
The universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old today, and it would have taken me a further 13.7 billion years to see this.  So with a little help from my friends, I can tell you that it’s a homophone (‘talking’) of DIE for ‘stop’ and JEST for ‘kid’.

Scrap metal 4 presumably
This is one of those reverse clue thingies: an anagram (‘rough’) of METAL and BUND, the answer to 4 down.

14  Hunks – blokes entertaining English girl
An insertion of E for English in CHAPS followed by KATE for girl.  ‘Hunks’, I discovered today, is a synonym for ‘miser’.

16  Community workers side with morphing monsters
A charade of EU, MEN and (SIDE)*  ‘Morphing’ is the anagrind.  From classical mythology: ‘The hideous snake-haired monsters (usually three in number) who pursued unpunished criminals’.  Bring them back as a replacement for ASBOs, say I.

17  Being shown old news about South American Indians
A charade of O for ‘old’ and NN for ‘news’ around S for ‘South’ and CREE for ‘American Indians’.  Clever clue and great surface.

19  Enemies of US love British gangsters
Another charade of THEM and OB.  As in ‘us and them’, O for ‘love’ and B for ‘British’.

22  Your health history?
I really like the way Anax can be creative with the English language.  It’s a dd, and reminded me of Devon Malcolm’s famous quote to the South Africans after being roughed up by bouncers when he came in as a tail-ender, which wound him up to take career-best figures of 9-57 at The Oval in 1994: ‘You guys are history’.  Except that’s not exactly what he said, but Fifteensquared is too delicate a place to reveal the precise utterance …

23  It’s immature and wrong, dad admits
It’s an insertion of UP in PA.  I couldn’t see how ‘up’ could be synonymous with ‘wrong’, but a further bit of help from my friends tells me that it’s the ‘what’s up?/what’s wrong?’ equivalence.

It’s 4th of July and therefore American Independence Day, so greetings to our contributors and lurkers on the other side of the pond; but apart from two mentions of US in the cluing, I can’t see anything related.  However, given my frazzled brain, that doesn’t mean there isn’t something in there.  Many thanks to Anax for a very entertaining puzzle.

24 Responses to “Independent 7711/Anax”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi Pierre – many thanks and congratulations! [It’s always a risky business, asking for / agreeing to a swop. :-)]

    Tough going, as you say, but so rewarding, as always.

    26ac: BUSY is slang for detective – as I found out from a crossword.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Pierre
    26ac. BUSY is a slang term for ‘detective’ (see Chambers).

    7dn. I parsed this as HO (house) OVER (on) DAM[n] (very short).

  3. Pierre says:

    Thank you, my friends. Blog amended.

  4. crypticsue says:

    Just as I thought I was getting on Anax’s wavelength as I managed to solve all his last offering, along came today’s beast of a puzzle. After much muttering and cogitation, I managed all but two. Thank you to him for the brainstrain and Pierre for the helpful explanations – if I had had to blog this one, people would have been waiting for a long time for explanations.

  5. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks Pierre for the very comprehensive blog. A lot of this was a bit beyond me, even after cheating online, but on my first pass through I did get “one night stand”. Nothing else though…… not sure what that says about me? My favourite was “toast” for “Your health history?” simply because it gave me a groan and a chuckle simultaneously (a gruckle?) but plenty of clever stuff, without it being toooo clever….

    Must get my head around the use of brand and model names; I spent ages trying to forge an anagram from “Renault” and “ton”. I’m just off to copyright a new metric unit of mass, the ultratonne.

  6. Bamberger says:

    Having solved Crux in the FT today unaided, I thought I’d try this. After 30 minutes I thought 19d might be the “the mob” but couldn’t see why “them” and thought that part of trident might be prong but that was it.
    I can’t help think that it is a bit like me only skiing with those who can do breakable crust, steep chutes and ice. Challenging and rewarding for me and those that keep up but a bit self indulgent on my part and excluding the vast majoity of recreational skiers.

    Anax -how about an easier one for once, please?

  7. flashling says:

    When I opened the paper on the train this morning I did wonder who the poor sod was that would be blogging it.

    Very tough stuff from Anax this and I really struggled.

    Well Pierre you’ve been blooded now, just need to do a few Nimrod/Enigmatists… :-)

  8. Pierre says:

    Thanks for the comments so far. I did worry that I might get the response ‘What’s he chuntering on about, this was un morceau de gâteau’, but thankfully everyone else found it a toughie too.

    Bamberger, when I too was a less experienced solver, there were times when I’d only get a handful of solutions (still happens today with Nimrod, come to think of it …) The Indy certainly has a good range of difficulty across the week – keep trying with Dac on a Wednesday and Phi on a Friday for the more accessible puzzles.

    flashling, I think there’s a typo in your comment: you’ve missed the letter ‘i’ out of the fifth word of your last sentence.

  9. anax says:

    Absolutely superb blog Pierre – huge thanks to you.

    Must confess I was a bit surprised to see this appear on a Monday; by no means a true stinker but medium/hard at least. Eimi must be getting used to me and found this an easier solve. I’ll have to start making them more difficult eh?

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi again, Pierre

    Another misremembered quotation: I was going to say that you could claim, with W.E. Henley, that your head was ‘bloodied but unbowed’, but I find it’s ‘bloody’. :-(

    I well remember the exam nightmare you describe. It took decades to fade – and then was superseded, by the time I retired, by one in which I realised, as I watched my A Level students file into the exam room, that I had failed to teach them half the syllabus – and I still have that one!

    I meant to say earlier that, as usual with Anax, it’s practically impossible to pick out favourite clues but I did like the ‘Tyre setting’ in 10ac, not least because it reminded me of one of my all-time favourite Rufus clues: Gluttons may have one; Alexander the Great didn’t (5,4)

    Hi Anax

    Re your last sentence: not just yet, please! Like crypticsue, i keep thinking I’m getting there!

  11. caretman says:

    Anax, thanks for dropping in with your comments. I second Eileen’s request that you hold off a bit on making your puzzles harder. I think Eimi probably forgot to flip her calendar from June to July and thought she was making this the June 4 Saturday prize puzzle.

    As one of the contributors from the other side of the pond, I was glad I had extra time to work on this since it clearly needed it. But it was well worth the effort. I love the way so many of the definitions were well hidden. I had to keep a wide open mind as I went through the clues and be willing to try numerous different potential parsings to find the right one. SINEWY and PROGRESS were my initial way in, but the way out was long and labyrinthine. Thanks, Anax, for a very enjoyable puzzle!

    Oh, and huge thanks (and condolences and congratulations) to Pierre for explaining much of what I put in simply because nothing else fit. I really appreciate all the effort the bloggers put in to explaining the solutions to such lesser solvers as me.

  12. Pierre says:

    Thanks, caretman. Since you’re a regular contributor, I’ll spare you further embarrassment by revealing that eimi has a deep voice, facial hair and a flat chest.

  13. anax says:

    …but in all other aspects she’s lovely ;o)

  14. caretman says:

    She does sound lovely! And thanks Pierre for saving me for the future.

  15. Radian says:

    Pierre – just in case they’re checking up on me checking up on you, may I pedantically point out that Chris Patten’s “new” RUC are the PSNI.

  16. Mick H says:

    Well, I’d definitely put this on the hard side of medium-hard – my allotted commuting window wasn’t enough, so I needed a lunch-break to finish it. Some great stuff here, though – “hammer and tongs”, “enemies of US”=them, “old Irish Bill”=RUC… and I was pleased to see you=U without a homophone indicator. OK, there was a query, but for me this is part of the language now. U agree?

  17. Pierre says:

    Thanks Radian. To avoid that heavy knocking on my door in the early hours, I’ll amend my mistake. As per usual, my blog is turning out to be more edit than blog.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Another Monday, another Anax …. :)
    Well done, Pierre.
    If I were to blog this puzzle today, it would have been like this:
    get up at 9am [lucky me, today] – try to organise my braincells with a cup of coffee and, oops, an Anax – give it a go for half an hour, not much 13ac – contact my PinC, spend another hour or more to get as far as we can get – finish the puzzle (perhaps with a little bit of cheating) – write a blog. It must be after 1pm by now.
    The first post here was at 10:19am.
    Brilliant, Pierre!!

    We decided to have an extra long afternoon session in a Cambridge café, tackling first Rufus [1hr, including a lot of talking] then Anax [2hrs, hardly any talking].

    We guessed three answers: PROGRESS (13ac), DIGEST (8d) and that long one at 9d. We had it all right without understanding why.
    After reading the blog I must say that each one of them were Highlights.

    Unfortunately, we went wrong [well, it was me] in the Old Country of 18ac. I suggested that it had to be SHIRAZ AND OMAN.
    Well, there you go with ‘Euminides’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’.
    The latter was a brilliant clue. We were thinking of a four-letter chess piece inside (WOOLLEN SKI)* and ‘quirky idea’ as the definition – no!

    Typical Monday fare, wasn’t it? :)
    I know exactly what I find hard about Anax’s puzzles. In short, it is because he knows a lot more about the English language than I do, and because this is really a disadvantage when solving his crosswords.

    The MEGANEWTON (27ac) is nice. I do not like brand names as a solution, but when they are part of the construction I am usually fine with it. BTW, I don’t think the solution should be defined as a ‘power’ [although I do understand what Anax means (in the end it can be justified)], becuase power and force are not the same in Physics.

    Clue-‘coupling’ of the Day: 13 & 15ac.
    [it distracted/distraught me so much that, after having ??G?S? in 8d, I suggested , um, ‘orgasm’ …. Don’t think my PinC heard me saying it :)]

    19d (THE MOB) was great too – it’s not just ‘us and them’, but also ‘US and them’. Very subtle.

    All in all, hard work.
    But satisfying.

  19. flashling says:

    Sil I agree glad I wasn’t blogging this there’d be even more edits Pierre. Despite DEan’s rating i’d say this was in the top 5 this year including saturdays.

    Now Eimi has been exposed as a transvestite, I hate to think what will appear on Thursday after today’s easy one.

  20. caretman says:

    Hey! I didn’t mean to let the cat out of the bag, Eimi. You should have told me it was a secret!

  21. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Pierre and Anax.
    Tough stuff for a Monday,but very satisfying.
    16 down immediately brought to mind the old(ancient?)joke –

    Greek customer “Eumenides”
    Greek tailor ” Why? Euripedes”

  22. eimi says:

    Look, just because I live in Brighton, one of the few places in the country in which you can buy size 12 stilettos, doesn’t mean I’m a transvestite. In any case I’m in Italy now with my girlfriend, so can’t enter into much debate at present. But, as for Thursday: many a true word spoken in jest.

  23. flashling says:

    Ahh outing yourself as a tv lesbian Eimi :-) was harsh doing this on us for a monday – I thought you liked us a bit. If the thursday makes this look simple I’m bleeding glad it’s not my turn. Pierre I salute you. My edit count would be a lot higher I suspect and posted much later. Bravo mon frere

  24. nmsindy says:

    This was the toughest puzzle of the year so far of those I managed to solve – it was all totally fair. Thanks, Anax.

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