Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,731 / Crosophile

Posted by RatkojaRiku on July 27th, 2011


Crosophile had the edge over me this morning, I have to say. Having only blogged one of his puzzles until today, I have not yet fully fathomed how this setter’s mind works. Perhaps end-of-term fatigue is setting in for me on the solving front as well as on the work front.

In  any case, I am confident that I have correctly completed the grid, although I need help explaining part of the wordplay in 11 (as indicated by my triple question mark) and all the wordplay in 3 (reversal of cafe appears to be part of it). I have been staring at the letters in 3 for so long now that I just can’t see the wood for the trees, so I look forward to being enlightened and to correcting the blog accordingly. I am also rather ashamed to admit that I had to search Chambers to find 7A, having been blinded by a wrong answer to this clue since almost my first perusal of the puzzle.

On the positive side, the brilliantly hidden definition in 13 was a highlight for me, as were the & lit. at 17, the less common letter at the intersection of 6 and 9 and the misleading reference to a month of the year in 24.


*(…) indicates an anagram


6 GNOME Reversed and hidden (“smuggling back”) in  “scarEMONGers”
7 CARDINALS Double definition: CARDINALS are “Church dignitaries” AND “sixes” and “sevens”, i.e. cardinal numbers.
9 ZESTIER Z (=final letter) + <caus>ES (“causES” couple finally, i.e. last two letters) + TIER (=row)
10 EMBARGO O (=ring) + GRAB (=snatch) + ME (=Crosophile, i.e. compiler of this puzzle); “back” indicates reversal; the definition is “restraint”, as in restraint of princes.
11 BARCELONA BAR (=bank’s collateral???) + CE (=church) + *(LOAN); “dodgy” is anagram indicator
12 CYCLE Hidden (“some”) in “proficienCY CLEarly”; & lit.
13 FANCY THAT T<affeta> (“a sample of” means first letter only) in [FANCY (=ornate) + HAT (=headgear)]; the cleverly hidden definition is simply “My!” (as an exclamation)
19 CLOSE Double definition: CLOSE is “near”, not far AND “the end”, finish
20 ELABORATE ELAB (BALE=bundle; “over” indicates reversal) + O (=zero) + RATE (=levy)
22 AQUARIA A (=acceleration) + QUA (=in capacity of) + RIA (AIR=gas; “returnable” indicates reversal)
24 ALMANAC ALM<s> (=charity; “receives cut” means last letter is dropped) + A (=adult) + NAC (CAN=may, i.e. modal verb not month; “returns” indicates reversal); the definition is “annual”, as a noun.
25 SOLAR WIND SO (=very) + [WIN (=success) in LARD (=fat, as a noun); a solar wind is made of fast travelling, charged particles emitted by the sun, hence “output of local star”.
26 IBSEN NESBI<t> (=children’s author, i.e. Edith Nesbit (1858-1924), author of The Railway Children, etc; “aborted” means last letter dropped); “comeback” indicates reversal; the reference is to Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), author of  A Doll’s House, etc.
1 TONSURE TON (=not; “over” indicates reversal) + SURE (=certain)
2 DELIBERATE Definition: “on purpose”, intentional; cryptic definition: reincarcerate = de-liberate; i.e. again deprive of liberty
3 ARTEFACT Definition: “it’s a designer thing”, i.e. a crafted object; wordplay:??? CAFE + TRAT (=restaurant, i.e. abbreviation of trattoria); “upcoming” indicates vertical reversal; “head right down” means first letter of reversed entry (a “t”) becomes last letter.
4 LIMB Hidden (“needs to hold”) in “tree-cLIMBer”; & lit.
5 RAT RACE RA (=of an artist, used attributively) + TRACE (=mark)
6 GAZEBO GAZE (=long look) + B (=book) + O’ (=of, i.e. abbreviation in poetry)
7 CARGO CAR (=vehicle) + GO (=make a move)
8 SMOKER MOKE (=donkey) in SR (=Spaniard, i.e. abbreviation of Señor)
12 COAT OF MAIL Cryptic definition relying on two meanings of MAIL: “post”, letters AND chain “mail”, armour.
14 CLEMATIS C (=about, i.e. circa) + L (=fifty, in Roman numerals) + EMAT (TAME=not wild, of animal; “about” indicates reversal) + IS (=Iceland, in IVR)
15 OCEANS *(C (=sound of sea, i.e. homophone) + ON SEA); “churning” is anagram indicator.
16 SOLUBLE S<peakers> (“first of” means first letter only) + <v>OLUBLE (=loquacious”; “not Very” means the letter “v” is dropped)
17 GARNISH N<osh> (“bit of” means first letter only) in GARISH (=colourful, over the top); & lit.
18 DEACON CO (=company) in DEAN (=church official); the definition is “another one”, i.e. another church official.
21 AWARD A (=academy) + WARD (=hospital unit)
23 RARE Double definition: RARE is “bloody”, uncooked (of steak) AND “unusual”, uncommon

10 Responses to “Independent 7,731 / Crosophile”

  1. dialrib says:

    3 Reversal of CAFE TRAT(toria) with the head (now a T) moved to tthe bottom.

  2. flashling says:

    I think the Bar is just from Gold Bars that banks take as collateral, Dialrib @1 has the same idea as me for artefact. Didn’t help myself by not fully reading 6d and entering gander=garden*.

    13a is quite nice, took me ages to get it but my first reacrion was that MY was the definition.

    Thanks RR and Crosophile.

  3. Crosophile says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku.
    “I have not yet fully fathomed how this setter’s mind works.”
    Don’t worry; nor have I!

    Dialrib and Flashling are right about ARTEFACT.
    re 11, collateral = ‘side by side’ so is merely misleading padding to help the surface reading. So
    City bank’s collateral with church before dodgy loan =
    ……. BAR ………….+……………. CE ……..+……. LOAN*

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, RatkojaRiku.

    Got ARTEFACT without the slightest reason why; still don’t understand where the BAR in BARCELONA is coming from ; and wasn’t mad keen on CARDINALS.

    But overall this was a really enjoyable puzzle. DELIBERATE was cleverly thought out, and IBSEN too. Plenty of variety in the clueing which kept me engaged, although I noticed that there were no full anagrams, which is a bit unusual, I guess.

    Good stuff from Crosophile today, thank you.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku and Crosophile.

    This was the easiest of the Big 3 today (still struggling with Araucaria). Favourites were 25A SOLAR WIND (my scientific inclination), 16A SOLUBLE and 11A BARCELONA. Hi K’sD@4 BAR = “bank”, as in “sandbank” = “sandbar”, ie. a raised ridge of material.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, scchua, that makes sense of course.

  7. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks, Crosophile and scchua, for the explanation of “bar” in 11.

    Thanks, dialrib and flashling, for unpicking 3 for me: I have never come across the abbreviated form of trattoria, so I would never have correctly parsed this clue unaided.

  8. Cumbrian says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog, and to Crosophile for an entertaining, if tough, puzzle. I came back to this at times over the course of the day and managed to complete it without cheating, and without understanding some of the answers; I struggled with ARTEFACT, BARCELONA and AQUARIA as I missed QUA for “in capacity of” and got myself fixed on measures of volume for a while.
    My favourite was FANCY THAT, and because I convinced myself it was heading for a pangram I tried valiantly (and stupidly!) to make TAX fit for LEVY in 20ac. Duh……

  9. ele says:

    Got off to a very good start with this one and then hit the buffers, including AQUARIA, which I failed on too, but overall a very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Crosophile and RR. Liked 4d as well as others already mentioned.

    One tiny peeve – what’s a colon doing after the question mark in 16d? I thought it had to be part of the wordplay at first as it’s completely wrong as punctuation.

  10. redddevil says:

    Didn’t enjoy this one. Not really happy with clues for 3 or 4 down (when has a trattoria ever been a trat?). Also not heard of qua and not sure where the ‘at’ fits in for 7a. Oh well just not my thng I suppose.

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