Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1118: Crosophile

Posted by jetdoc on July 24th, 2011


Abject apologies again for the delay — knowing all the other pressures on my time over the past week, I should really have organised a swap for this one; but I thought I’d be able to fit it in.

I did have a brilliant day at Lord’s yesterday, however, and would not have curtailed it even for important blogging duties.

1 STAIR RODS Heavy rain on flight?
Double definition — “It’s raining stair rods”; rods for holding a stair carpet in place on a flight of stairs
6 SASHA Showy way of walking not unknown in a Russian girl
SASHAY, without Y (unknown quantity in algebraic notation)
9 DECLARE Announce you’re not in real suffering after last month
DEC[ember] = last month; *(real). Definition is ‘Announce you’re not in’ — to declare in cricket is to terminate your side’s innings before everyone is out, to put the other side in to bat.
10 SCRAPER Jailbreaker heading off’s right to be inside — he’s a bad man on the fiddle
[E]SCAPER; R = right. This could be someone who plays the fiddle badly.
11 CAPES Cloaks that cover heads
Double definition
12 SPEAKEASY High point surrounded by waters? Yes originally a bar, but not officially
PEAK = high point; surrounded by SEAS; Y = yes originally. An illegal drinking establishment
13 IMPERIAL I am one in danger from a mighty power
IM = I am; A = one; in PERIL.
15 MOTORS Goes fast and makes fast time coming in
T = time; in MOORS = makes fast
18 ENRICH Couple leave children’s centre working to make endowment
Remove LD, the two middle letters, from ‘children’; then ‘working’ is an anagram indicator; ‘make endowment’ is the definition.
20 WASTEBIN Its contents are best sorted and put inside cart
(*best); in WAIN = cart
23 ASCENSION A rise for Mary as a bit of compensation and time off for stress
AS; C = a bit of compensation; [t]ENSION = ‘time (T) off for stress. I am probably being totally thick here, but I don’t get the definition part of this clue — there might be a reference to the Assumption of Mary, but otherwise I don’t know how she fits into it; Ascension Day in the Christian calendar commemorates the ascension to heaven of Jesus.
24 LIANG Ounce seen in Brazilian gapó
Hidden in ‘Brazilian gapó’. A Chinese ounce or tael, a unit of weight and formerly of currency
25 BRIOCHE Verve exhibited with revolutionary sort of roll
BRIO = verve; CHE Guevara
26 NOVELLA The whole SW region (bar a bit of Dorset) recalled in piece of fiction
ALL [D]EVON, reversed (D, a bit of Devon, being removed). I rather like this clue.
27 TOYER A flirt, she’s ending links with disreputable Tory
E = she’s ending; with *(Tory)
28 DISASTERS Show contempt for flowers — dreadful things
dis = Show contempt for; asters = flowers
1 SEDUCTIVE Divest and cue shot that’s sexy
*(Divest cue), with ‘shot’ as the anagram indicator
2 ALCOPOP Adult left piano in a confined place — it’s harder than it looks
A = Adult; L = left; P = piano; in COOP = a confined place. Alcopops are more strongly alcoholic than they might appear.
3 REAMS Lots of paper is boring
Double definition — a ream is 500 sheets of paper; to ream is to enlarge the bore of.
4 OVERSEAS Love poetry like ‘Crossing The Water’?
O = love; VERSE = poetry; AS = like
5 SASSED Was pert and trespassed, but not pert on way back
6 STRIKE OUT Perfect bowl’s no longer in office — remove the evidence
STRIKE = in tenpin bowling the knocking down of all the pins with the first ball bowled, or the score resulting from this; OUT = no longer in office. To remove (testimony, an action, etc) from the record
7 SOPRANO As piano flowed, nothing for singer
SO = as (as in ‘none so fair’); P = piano; RAN = flowed; O = nothing
8 ARRAY One river fish or an orderly group?
A = one; R = river; RAY = fish
14 RACING CAR One of the fast 15 — if into GT it’d be adorning farm vehicle
If into GT, it would be ‘gracing cart’. Amusing clue.
16 SANDGLASS It might measure start and finish of simmering, young lady
S AND A = start and finish of ‘simmering’; LASS = young lady
17 EARNINGS Start off from knowledge and a bit of sagacity is what comes in
[L]EARNING = knowledge without its start; S = bit of sagacity
19 RECTIFY Ref’s mix-up with City is put right
*(ref city)
21 BRAILLE Reading this, can’t you see what’s wrong in the Bank of Scotland?
ILL = what’s wrong; in BRAE = in Scotland, a sloping bank of a river or seashore. ‘Reading this, can’t you see’ is the definition. Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle.
22 BIG END Grand finale in 14
Part of a car, I believe
23 ABBOT Prelate’s a couple of books (part of bible)
A BB = a couple of books; OT = Old Testament (part of bible)
24 LIVES Concocted stuff about VIPs principally for biogs
LIES = concocted stuff; V = VIPs principally

9 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1118: Crosophile”

  1. Wanderer says:

    Thanks jetdoc for the blog, and to crosophile for the puzzle.

    There are still things going on here which I don’t understand. Hidden in the across rows of the completed grid is a nina which reads “Elevator… to Eden… of Angels”. I scratched my head wondering what this might mean, and came up with “Stairway to Heaven”. But then nothing else came. Stair is there in 1a, and I wondered if the Mary/Ascension clue might have something to do with it. Would be v grateful if someone can put me out of my misery!

    One comment on 6a, SASHA: I was lucky enough to live and work in Moscow and other parts of the former Soviet Union for many years in the 1990s and 2000s. I had a lot of friends, colleagues, acquaintances etc called Sasha — it is a very common name — and they were all male! Sasha is the diminutive form of Alexander and is a boy’s name.

  2. jetdoc says:

    In my haste, I didn’t spot the nina. I can’t find any other components in the unches. I have just googled ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and I see it was released on 8 November 1971, so that doesn’t shed any light on it. Curiouser and curiouser…

  3. Wanderer says:

    Thanks for replying, jetdoc, and I am glad you had a great day at Lord’s. I am jealous!

    I have my doubts about elevator=stairway; but still, in the row starting at 25a (BRIOCHE NOVELLA) we have the elements which make up both HEAVEN and HELL. Which may or may not be relevant.

    Back to SASHA — I am aware, of course, that it is a girl’s name in many places. In fact one B. Obama of Washington DC has a daughter by that name. But it is the designation of “Russian girl” that makes me suspect a blip.

    Crosophile please come to the rescue!

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, jetdoc – and Happy Anniversary to you and John!

    I was looking forward to the blog, to see what you made of Mary’s ‘Ascension’, which mystified me, too, as. on the face of it, it’s wrong. But the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ just makes it, as you say, curiouser and curiouser. [It almost goes without saying that I missed the nina. :-( ]

    As Wanderer says, help, please, Crosophile!

    21dn was definitely my favourite clue!

  5. jetdoc says:

    Thanks, Eileen. It has been a tiring, but fun, few days.

    Crosophile definitely needs to enlighten us.

  6. Crosophile says:

    Thanks for the blog, Jetdoc (glad you enjoyed the cricket) and congrats on the anniversary (coincidentally my 60th birthday!) and thanks for the comments. And sorry everyone for the mystifying nina.
    I took Sasha (or Sacha, I see) from the appendix to Chambers as a Russian diminutive of Alexandra (rather than the alternative Alexander).
    As for my ‘assumption’ that assumption was the same as ascension, my apologies for getting this wrong. I hadn’t realised the distinction and have probably now blown my last slim chance of making it to heaven!
    As for the nina, I hadn’t really expected this to be noticed, not anticipating the astuteness of such as Wanderer. I’d recently discovered that a contemporary of mine from schooldays was in a band called LIVES (24d) OF ANGELS and that they had an album called ELEVATOR TO EDEN with tracks that included IMPERIAL MOTORS and ASCENSION and I thought it would be fun to work a puzzle around all this. My apologies for any bafflement caused! The stairway to heaven link is ingenious and not deliberate on my part though I now wish I’d thought of it.

  7. jetdoc says:

    Thanks, Crosophile. Happy birthday for last Saturday.

  8. Wanderer says:

    Thanks for explaining the nina, Crosophile!

  9. nmsindy says:

    Many thanks for the puzzle, Crosophile, which had some excellent clues. Thanks for the blog, Jetdoc, and good to see that the anniversary (best wishes to you both once again!) coincided with some pretty special cricket which I know is a big interest of yours and indeed something I follow also. Thanks, too, Crosophile, for explaining the theme to us, tho it was not necessary to see this to solve the puzzle.

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