Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,730/Tees

Posted by Ali on July 26th, 2011


I had a certain sense of deja-vu with this one. Much like Phi’s recent pasta puzzle, I solved the key clue (22A) fairly early on and managed to get a fair few of the thematic across answers in, but after that it became a bit of a thesaurus hunt trying to get the more obscure dogs and the (no doubt unavoidably) tougher down clues.

This didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the puzzle though. This was an impressive construction and I do like Tees’ style a lot. You’ll not find a clue like 9A in The Times, and the Indy puzzle is all the better for it!

9 SHIBOS – SHIT BOSS less T.S (Eliot)
10 PEKE – ‘Peake’
12 SETTER – T(ee)T(otaller) in SEER
14 ALSATIAN – [-p]AL + A (note) in SAT IN
15 STARTER – Double def.
20 KEESHOND – SEEK rev. + ON (available) in H(eavy) D(uty)
22 BARKER – K[-orean] in B(ritish) ARE R(ight)
22 BLOODHOUND – I think this is 0-0 (tied game) + D[utc]H in BOUND (tricky?)
24 TOSA – TO S(outh) A(frica)!
25 BANDOG – AND (also) in BOG
26 CHOW-CHOW – H(ard) in COW x 2
1 LIFE BELT – I think this is MAN (life) + BELT (strike)
2 HEBE – [-t]HEBE[-s]
3 PAUPER – U (posh) in PAPER
4 RED MEAT – RED (Communist) + (TEAM)*
7 SONATA – ON in SATA[-n]
13 THRESHOLDS – [-whistle-bloe]R in THE SH + OLD [-colleague’]S
18 EMERSION – R.E.M in NOISE, all rev.
19 ADJUNCT – DJ C(harlie) at intervals in AUNT
21 EYLIAD – DAILY E[-xpress] rev.
22 BAD LOT – T[-he] + OLD + AB, all rev.
24 TUCK – Double def.

12 Responses to “Independent 7,730/Tees”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ali.

    Like you, I got the key clue early on and many of the others came quite easily. But, as often with a theme, [like the pasta one!] there were some obscure ones: I hadn’t heard of SHIBOS, STARTER, KEESHOND or BANDOG.

    I read 23 across as LOO [card game] D[utc]H inside BOUND [tied] but I can’t see the need for ‘tricky’.

  2. Sil van den Hoek says:

    One of my early entries was AIREDALE (8ac), as brilliant as a charade can be (but hardly ever is). I remembered that it was a kind of dog, after which the key clue (22ac) was quickly found.

    They were all there: the setter, the pointer, the alsatian, the chow-chow, even the bloodhound.
    But I couldn’t find SHIBOS (9ac), so I cheated. And it took some seconds to parse the solution. Indeed, Ali, not one for The Times – exactly what I thought at that very moment.

    I had some trouble in the NW, where I entered WOLF for 10ac (not really a barker, but a homophone for Virginia Woolfe). HEBE (2d) brought me back to earth.

    I especially liked the two consecutive reversal clues 21d and 22d – both very clever [I like the use of existing ‘titles’].
    And I thought POMERANIAN (11ac) was one of the best too – such a natural surface.

    On the other hand, I found the definition for TOSA a bit loose, but perhaps the exclamation mark at the end does the trick.
    And what is ‘Sam’ doing in the clue for 16d?

    Thank you, Ali, for the blog.
    In 23ac (BLOODHOUND) it is: {LOO (card game) + D[utc]H} inside BOUND.

    A pity that the dog of 15d (STARTER) isn’t really a breed of dogs, but we can’t have it all.

    Enjoyed it very much.
    Thanks Tees!

  3. Conrad Cork says:


    I suspect that Sam in 16d is Uncle Sam, to indicate an American spelling.

    I would never have got 9a, it not being in Chambers, and not seeing until the answer what a useless employer might be. No wonder they call him the Teeser.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Ali. I couldn’t quite manage to finish this one, with a number of the tricky down clues being too tough for me to see. But the theme was a bit of fun, despite my not being a doggy kind of person. I too appreciated the easy gateway clue, which got you going on the acrosses.

    AIREDALE and SETTER were my favourite canine clues, and although I couldn’t get SHIBOS without cheating, I knew where Tees was coming from at least!

    Sil, I think the (uncle) ‘Sam’ in 16dn is to indicate that it’s the American English spelling of ESOPHAGI; British English would have OESOPHAGI, and there are similar differences in words like FETUS/FOETUS, CELIAC/COELIAC.

    Still enjoyed it even though it beat me; thanks to Tees.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry, Conrad, we crossed.

  6. Lenny says:

    Thanks Ali, a tough one to blog. I turned to my computer to help me finish it when I had only half the answers in. This turned out to be a sound decision as, even if I had worked out Keeshond, Bandog and Eyliad from the comparatively easy wordplay, I would have concluded that they were products of my over-fertile imagination. On the brighter side, I did get Shibos from the wordplay. I don’t know what that says about me.

    Tosa is the Indy’s favourite dog, making its third appearance in a couple of months. At least I know how to spell it these days.

  7. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Ali and Tees. Difficult but fun.

    I have never played Loo (I don’t suppose anyone has since Jane Austen’s day) but I assumed that it is a card game in which one has to make tricks, hence “game, tricky”. At least that’s the best I could do…

  8. crypticsue says:

    A tricky theme, the last few stragglers of which did require the aid of lists and the interweb. As Kathryn’s Dad said, ‘enjoyable even though it did beat me’ too, thank you Tees. Not one I would have wished to have blogged, so thank you and well done to Ali.

  9. flashling says:

    The Indy’s gone to the dogs. Almost impossible to complete unaided I fear. The clue for 9ac raised a smile, but I’d never heard to the breed. Well done Ali on blogging this.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    I found this incredibly difficult. I’m not a dog person, but that certainly wasn’t the only reason. I’m still not quite sure how man=life in 1d, but that may be punch-drunkness from the effort of solving. There were some great clues, before I entered the seemingly endless twilight zone of the last few (Bandog, Eyliad, Starter, Lifebelt), none of which seemed to me quite as good as clues like Adjunct, Piano-tuner, Threshold etc. STARTER actually went in early and got scrubbed out and re-entered about 10 times. Surely he was going out of his way to be difficult this time, wasn’t he?

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks Conrad and Peter for explaining the Sam bit of 16d.
    That makes sense!

    BTW, seeing Thomas99 referring to STARTER, made me think of 15ac again.
    I hope I am right that a ‘starter (dog)’ is not a breed – unlike the others? In that case Tees could have used ‘terrier’ in that clue plus ‘miserere’ in 1d.

    But this is just nitpicking – there’s so much right in this puzzle!!

  12. Tees says:

    Maybe I should check out your rates, Sil. Are you on the cheap side? Or in Newgate Street?

    As the definition for all the dogs is BARKER, I was able to have, um, any that bark. So I wasn’t restricted to breeds, and could have STARTER, which is ‘a dog that drives out game’ (says Chambers). TERRIER might possibly have been better, but then I would have been forced to add MISERERE to EYLIAD (and possibly ESOPHAGI with its US spelling), the one admittedly obscure entry in the down clues (which I attempted to give away).

    The SHIBOS, fyi, is a cross (hence 22A cross = definition) between a Shiba-Inu and a Boston Terrier. Dog breeders just love doing things like that, apparently. LOO in B(LOO/ DH)OUND is defined as ‘game, tricky’ which is pretty close to the Chambers def.

    Sorry if this one ended up being a bit too teasy: if it helps, in a recent project I’ve undergone something of a grid-filling revelation, and I’ll be deploying what I’ve learnt from that in any future thematic puzzles I set. No, honestly, I mean it.

    Many thanks to Ali, Sil, and everyone who turned up to comment.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

4 + four =