Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7716 by Crosophile (Saturday Prize Puzzle 9 July 2011)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on July 16th, 2011


Crosophile is a new name to me – a search of the 15×15 site shows he has a few weekday Independent and Independent on Sunday cryptics under his belt, but I think this is his first Saturday prize puzzle. The general tenor of the blogs I checked out was that Crosophile puzzles tend to be at the gentler end of the solving spectrum, but with some nicely constructed clueing – and so it proved here.

With my head down and blinkers on, in ‘competition solving’ mode, I managed to rattle this off in 10 minutes or so – helped by some relatively quick and easy solves – e.g. 11A, 13A, 23A, 27A, 5D – and the fact that I spotted and was familiar with the theme running through several linked answers.

On a normal week, that would have been job done, in the post, and on to the next prize puzzle – I am a bit of a mercenary on that front(!). However, in preparing this blog I had the opportunity to re-visit and savour this puzzle at a more leisurely pace and appreciate some gems – the Mervyn Peake/Gormenghast theme, with the Titus of Titus Groan also linking to Titus Andronicus, and some lovely &lit-ish clues – 19D in particular, which caused a chuckle; 24A’s reference to the Gothic novel of the theme;  and 9D, with a ‘stupid celeb’ needing rehab.

One slight uncertainty – ‘ovates’ in 10A as ‘supplies a round’ – of applause (ovation)? – or is it referring to an oval shape?

Anyway, thank-you to Crosophile for an enjoyable puzzle, and apologies for not giving it the full attention it deserved first time round!

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1A POSTSCRIPT Sends off short review about piano in supplement (10) Supplement /
POSTS (sends off) + CRIT (short criticism, or review) including P (piano)
6A MEWS Form of address for alleycats? (4) &lit/double defn /
‘Address’ used to indicate residence – MEWS – and manner of ‘speaking’ of cats – form of ‘miaows’
10A INNOVATES Pub supplies a round and newly refreshes (9) newly refreshes /
INN (pub) + OVATES (as in ovation, a ’round’ of applause?)
11A MAEVE Irish girl’s mother, original woman some say (5) Irish girl /
MA (mother) + EVE (first woman, according to some)
12A MERVYN PEAKE Perky 11 with new novel for author of 24 (6, 5) Author (of 24) /
anag (i.e. novel) of PERKY + MAEVE (11A) + N (new)
13A OAR Blade stuck into board (3) Blade /
hidden word in bOARd
14A AWAKES Advanced with 12’s last three, 26 finally comes to life (6) comes to life /
A (advanced) + W (with) + AKE (last 3 letters of 12A) + S (last letter of 26D)
16A MERINGUE Deserving to have it binned, crustless suet pudding, perhaps (8) pudding, perhaps /
MERING (merITing, or deserving, without IT) + UE (sUEt without outside letters, or crust)
18A PANORAMA As for heading off into country, is it to see this? (8) &lit /
PANAMA (country) around OR (fOR with heading off)
20A HERALD Maybe Durrell’s first to be advanced, becoming town crier (6) town crier /
HERALD = GERALD (Durrell) with the G ‘advanced’ alphabetically to an H
23A RAT Jack returning to the desert (3) desert (as in abandon) /
RAT = TAR (Jack, or sailor) returning
24A GORMENGHAST Novel, primarily Gothic – 25’s struggles with ‘them’ (11) Novel (a bit &lit-ish as well?) /
anag (i.e. struggles) of G (first letter of gothic) + GROANS (25Ds) + THEM
27A ALONE An advance, say, unaccompanied (5) unaccompanied /
homonym of A LOAN (an advance)
28A CONSONANT For instance C or F in harmony (9) &lit/double defn /
double defn – CONSONANT as adjective = harmonious, as noun = non-vowel
29A EASY Soft pedal, say, when regularly used (4) soft /
even letters of pEdAl SaY
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D PRISM Solid and strait-laced about origin of sin (5) Solid /
PRIM (strait-laced) around S (first letter of sin)
2D SANGRIA Crooned melody when raising a drink (7) a drink /
SANG (crooned) + RIA (air, or melody, raised)
3D SAVVY Knowing labourer switches poles (5) Knowing /
SAVVY = NAVVY (labourer) changing N (north) to S (south)
4D RETYPE In reality somewhat disheartened by exercises to use keyboard again (6) use keyboard again /
RETY (REaliTY with heart removed) + PE (exercise)
5D PASSAGES Spend a long time in corridors (8) corridors /
PASS (spend, as in time) + AGES (a long time)
7D ERELONG A different role appearing in England soon (7) soon /
RELO (anag (i.e. different) of ROLE), inside ENG (England)
8D SPEARHEAD Leaders after power’s gone pear-shaped in a bad way (9) Leaders /
anag (i.e. in a bad way) of EAR-SHAPED (pear-shaped, without P – power)
9D IMBECILE I’m stupid, I am – one celeb needing rehab (8) stupid (person) /
IM (I am) + anag (i.e. rehab) of CELEB + I (one)
14D ASPARTAME A place in Greece presented to your’s truly? That’s very sweet (9) sweet(ener) /
A + SPARTA (place in Greece) + ME (your’s truly)
15D EARL GREY A PM cuppa? (4, 4) &lit/double defn /
EARL GREY being a kind of tea, and former British prime minister (1830–34)
17D AMERICAN Rickety chair’s not hard when sat in so let it be – that’ll do for US (8) (from the) US /
AMEN (so be it) around anag (i.e. rickety) of CAIR (chair, without H – hard)
19D NITROUS As an oxide it runs with oxygen, suprisingly good for a laugh (7) &lit (good for a laugh) /
anag (surprisingly) of IT RUNS + O (oxygen)
21D ARAMAIC Church goes for Ave Maria in ancient Biblical language (7) Biblical language /
ARAMAIC = ARCHAIC (ancient) with AM (Ave Maria) for CH (church)
22D TENNER A note singer’s heard (6) A (monetary) note /
£10 note, homonym of TENOR (singer)
25D GROAN Grand horse, a novel hero (5) Novel hero (of 24) /
G (grand) + ROAN (type of horse)
26D TITUS &30. Suit in court unexpectedly includes gritty bits in play (5 & 10) (Shakespeare) play /
anag (i.e. unexpectedly) of SUIT IN COURT, around SAND (gritty bits)

6 Responses to “Independent 7716 by Crosophile (Saturday Prize Puzzle 9 July 2011)”

  1. Allan_C says:

    The theme, of course, was topical with the puzzle appearing on the centenary of Peake’s birth – as I learned from the previous week’s Radio Times. Maeve was Peake’s wife, who wrote the “sequel” 26D 14A.

  2. flashling says:

    I liked this one,(well once I spelled Gormenghast correctly!) Crosophile is aka Charybdis in several other places. This was great stuff and very enjoyable.

    Thanks blogger MC_R

  3. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks for the puzzle, and the blog.

    It took me considerably longer than 10 minutes…..

    I didn’t know about Maeve, or indeed the sequel, but I did spot all three of the Gormenghast novels at 26d25d, 24ac, and 26d27ac.

  4. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks for the comments at 1, 2 and 3.

    #1. Allan_C – I hadn’t noticed the centenary link – although that explains some other Peake-related stuff elsewhere this week…or the Maeve connection.

    #2. flashling – I have done (or at least attempted) several Charybdis puzzles over the years – indeed I blogged his EV861 back in April, so in fact this is like bumping into a new/old friend!

    #3. Cumbrian …and I hadn’t spotted the link to the third novel – Titus Alone

  5. Crosophile says:

    Thanks for the blog and comments. And well done on identifying the extra bits of the theme (which was the reason for the thematic content of clues 12a and 14a).
    I gathered a couple of months back that the manuscript of Titus Awakes was only disovered by accident a couple of years ago in the attic of Peake’s house, it being the secretive work of Peake’s widow, Maeve Gilmore, based on some notes by Peake. As this was due to be published to mark his centenary I’d hoped there might be a little splash in the newspapers to coincide with this puzzle. Maybe other unfolding events pushed it off the front page!

  6. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks for the added information Crosophile – layers within layers!

    The Peake/Gormenghast theme also appeared in the Inquisitor (1185) in the Independent magazine on the same day – which probably helped those who do both puzzles…

    Not an ideal situation, maybe, but they were both very different puzzles, and you only get one chance to celebrate a centenary!

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