Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7719/Dac

Posted by John on July 13th, 2011


The typical excellent Dac crossword with nothing at all controversial. There are one or two slightly unusual words, or unusual uses at any rate, but they are clear enough from the wordplay.

1 SWEETSOP — (posts)rev. around wee — a sweetsop is the pulpy fruit of a tropical American evergreen
9 WE CAN WORK IT OUT — Dac is referring to the Beatles song of this title and uses ‘number’ in two senses
10 TEASER — (a set{t}ter)*
12 ORPH({tun}E)AN — the reference is to Little Orphan Annie
13 COPPER HEAD — a copperhead is, amongst other things, a poisonous American snake
15 SE(P)T — I was a bit unsure of this word — it is originally Irish, probably coming from ‘sect’
17 RE DO
18 SNAPDRAGON — (pans{y})* dragon
20 HIT(A)CH 1 — I’d never heard of this as a Japanese town rather than a trade name and originally coined the Japanese town Hitchai, but it does exist, even though it’s too small for Pears Cyclopedia
21 P{erformers} ODIUM
22 ALBERT EINSTEIN — (is ‘internet able’)* — why ‘old’, I wondered: obviously he was young once and we mustn’t assume from the usual picture of him that he looked like that all his life; but ‘old’ refers here to the fact that it was some time ago that he lived, I think
24 CH (E’ER) S
25 T{eacher} READING
3 secrETAry — it seems to be quite acceptable nowadays to clue a Greek letter as simply ‘letter’
5 PUR(P 0)SE
6 UNI-MP ED ED or UNI MP ED ED — I think the latter, ‘uni’ being defined as ‘higher education’, whereas in the other there would need to be a question mark or some such, since so far as I know there is no term ‘uni-MP’
7 RHODE ISLAND — (has old diner)*
8 ACT{1}ON — an acton is a stuffed jacket worn under a coat of mail, although there seem to be modern equivalents — not to be confused with the Staines jacket
14 REST CURES — curés joining rest
16 PROFUSION — (of porn I)* around US
20 HEAT H{esitate}
21 PEN {o}NE
23 TAD — (dat)rev. — digital audiotape

11 Responses to “Independent 7719/Dac”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks John, and to Dac for another of his fine puzzles.

    Favourites were 9A WE CAN WORK IT OUT, 12A ORPHEAN, and 2D WHEREFORE. SWEETSOP was a “new” name to me for a fruit I’ve always liked, under its other name of “custard apple”. It has a cousin called the “soursop”, and yes, that one’s sour. Talking of “old” (22A), there are a couple of old references – 6A: Egypt hasn’t been called UAR since 1971, and 23D: DAT technology is all but extinct (in fact it had a very short life at that time). But no complaints.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John, and to scchua for explaining the link between UAR and Egypt, which was going to be one of my questions.

    Plenty to enjoy here as always from Dac, but there were indeed one or two less common words to tease out. I wasn’t so keen on WE CAN WORK IT OUT, but did like SNAPDRAGON and WHEREFORE.

  3. Mustyx says:

    Old Einstein : One of the drawbacks of rescinding the Living Persons rule is that setters need to indicate when someone is dead.

    Agree with Scchua that 6ac needs ‘old Egypt’ or ‘Egypt once’ to make it work correctly.

    Also agree that DAT was a very short-lived technology, but fortunately one that I was familiar with.

    Good puzzle.

  4. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks John, and Dac for an enjoyable puzzle. This took a while to grind through but that is not a complaint. Better than Monday when I finished all 4 puzzles during my 45 minute commute.

    A few comments:
    A Copperhead is also an unrelated Australian poisonous snake.
    While DAT technology may have been shortlived as a consumer technology, DAT drives and tapes are still going strong for computer backups.
    Thdere are two cities referenced in the puzzle. I know Hereford as a breed of cattle but now presume there is a city after which the beasts are named. I don’t know it otherwise. But I am quite familiar with Hitachi-shi in Ibaraki-ken (shi=city) which gave its name to the industrial conglomerate. In Japanese the name is written as 3 kanji characters of which the Hitachi portion could be construed as “sunrise”.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Yes, Hereford is a city from way back – I guess you’ll have to start looking at the English football results every week… In fact I found WHEREFORE and SWEETSOP the trickiest part of this Dac puzzle, which was great as always. Favourite clues, TEASER and esp ALBERT EINSTEIN. Perhaps the ‘old’ was strictly speaking not entirely necessary but I think it added an awful lot to the misleading context in the surface and is certainly not wrong. I also read UNI and MP as entirely separate as you suggest, John, thanks for the blog.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I have just had the D’oh! moment with WE CAN WORK IT OUT. It’s a very clever clue and I withdraw my reservation about it …

  7. Cumbrian says:

    Very enjoyable – thanks Dac and John.

    SWEETSOP, ORPHEAN and SEPT were new to me but didn’t cause problems and were all accessible from the clues, although I did tentatively enter SECT with a note to self to review – all came out with the crossing 16d. ACTON was a word I dimly recalled after I’d resorted to cheating to reveal it (so no points there, then), having fallen for “suit” in the clue and missing the alternative meaning of “action”. Wearing blinkers again.
    A couple I especially liked for no particular reason were COPPERHEAD and WE CAN WORK IT OUT, but overall a nice puzzle with a consistent approach throughout.

  8. Bamberger says:

    Agonisingly close to my first ever unaided Indie solve but just couldn’t get 1a or 2d
    1a I had ???e?s?p , guessed that it was the an exotic fruit that I wanted rather than another word for sends back but never thought of tiny as wee and hadn’t heard of sweetsop
    2d I had ??e?e?o?e. I did think that I needed to start with and finish with one of news but couldn’t think of hereford out of the millions of cities UK and non UK.Why=wherefore never came to mind and wouldn’t have even if I’d sat to midnight.

    Given that I got acton, orphean and hitachi which I thought were hard, I ‘m really disappointed that I couldn’t get all the way.

    KD@2 -I really liked 9a -sorry.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I have already posted my mea culpa for 9a, Bamberger! For WHEREFORE, think the famous quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: ‘Wherefore art thou Romeo?’ She doesn’t mean ‘Where are you?'; she’s musing on why he’s from the Montagues and she’s from the Capulets. And THEREFORE can still (just) mean ‘because’ in Modern English; but WHEREFORE for ‘why?’ has disappeared.

    Keep solving (and posting)! You’ll get there eventually. If it’s any consolation, I knew 1ac had to start with SWEE… and it took a trawl through my dictionary to find the answer.

  10. flashling says:

    If it’s consolation bamburger it took me several years and then it was Aelred who was the easiest of all Indy setters. I had no 15 sq then. Keep going – look at our solutions and learn the tricks you’ll get there. OK maybe not with Nimrod or Bannsider – None of us do.

  11. ele says:

    to Bamberger@8 Good going. This was actually my first completely right one this week, all clues parsed properly, and no cheating.

    ‘Wee’ is a common synonym for tiny or small in Crosswordland – it’s a good word to remember. When I started, I made a thesaurus of some of the common alternatives that kept coming up, like all the words for sailor and loo and so on, and it was a help – when I remembered to look at it. :)
    Thanks to John for the blog – acton was my last one in and I also puzzled over why it had to be eta for some time before I saw it was inside secretary.

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