Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7735/Punk

Posted by Pierre on August 1st, 2011


A wealth of wit, a soupçon of smut, and a cracking cruciverbal Monday morning.  Mr Halpern’s moseyed into town.

After the trauma of finding that I had to blog Anax a few weeks ago, I was a bit apprehensive when I saw Punk’s name on today’s crossword, because he can do toughies too.  But it turned out to be a reasonably straightforward and very pleasing puzzle, with only a few of the final solutions holding me up.  I’ll 22ac and get on with the explanations.


cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  missing letter


Bullet finally piercing beast, one dead
An insertion of T for the last letter of ‘bullet’ in APE for ‘beast’, followed by ACE for ‘one’.

Pipe smoker, English, stuffing pet
I was chuffed to get this one from the wordplay, having never come across the term before.  The definition is ‘an American Indian tobacco pipe, smoked as a sign of peace'; it’s LUM plus E for English in CAT.  LUM is a Northern English/Scottish word for ‘chimney’, apparently coming ultimately from the Latin ‘lumen’ for ‘light’, in the sense of light coming down your chimney, I suppose.  There’s a Scottish expression ‘Lang may yer lum reek’, ‘Long may your chimney smoke’, which is used to wish someone long life and happiness.

11  Cucumbers may be experiencing a problem
A dd.

12  Idiot’s display behind catching ringleader
Brilliant …. lmao, as young people would text.  It’s MOON for ‘display behind’ with the inclusion of R for ‘ringleader’.  Good job I don’t do pictures in my blogs.

13  What not to do on a high wire?  You’re kidding!
Another dd.

15  Compound France’s 10-0 reverse with England’s opener
A charade: you need to reverse DIX O (French for ‘ten’, plus 0) and then add E for ‘England’s opener’.  Oxides are compounds of oxygen with another element, the best known of which is probably Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas.  Although Hydrogen Oxide might give it a run for its money if it wasn’t better known as water.

16  Fruit basket – in which jokes get caught?
A kind of cd, or – appropriately – pun.  If jokes got caught, it might be in a PUN NET.

17  Twit is after cold drink
A charade of C for cold, ASS for ‘twit’ and IS.  Cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur which when mixed with dry white wine gives you kir; if money’s no object, you can mix it with champagne and enjoy kir royale.  Santé!

21  Beginners in army activities really get hurt – ouch!
Clearly signposted as the first letters of Army Activities Really Get Hurt.  So clearly signposted that it was my last one in, muppet that I am.

22  For example, Monroe nobbled, nudge nudge, wink wink!
A charade of SAY (for example) and (MONROE)*  ‘Nobbled’ is the anagrind.  Reminded me of the Monty Python sketch.

23  Fragile friend?
A dd cum cd, or whatever.  CHINA is cockney rhyming slang for ‘friend’ (china plate = mate), and of course if you drop it, it’ll break.

24  Shape in lass, guy hideous
(IN LASS GUY)*  ‘Shape’ is the anagrind.

26  Bloody noon in the shade
An insertion of N for ‘noon’ in VIOLET.

27  Nation’s succeeding principle, principally for old state
A charade of P for the first letter of ‘principle’ and RUSSIA.


A short pass in Washington winning tennis tournament
The international men’s tennis tournament is an insertion of A plus VIS (short VISA) in DC for ‘Washington’ and UP for ‘winning’ (as in ‘England are up in the series against India’ … yessss).

Club for ‘gentlemen’ offering gyrating harem in strip – no fumbling!
(HAREM IN STRIP NO)*  Classic Punk clue.  ‘Fumbling’ is the anagrind, and apparently SPEARMINT RHINO is a gentlemen’s club in Tottenham Court Road, London, and according to its website ‘a world leader in upscale adult entertainment’.  That’d be a porn joint, then.  Only got this when it couldn’t be anything else, because my existence has been sheltered and I evidently don’t move in the same social circles as Punk. Where I live, the Women’s Institute fur coat and no knickers night at the village hall on the first Tuesday of every month is as exciting as it gets.

Island partial to cruciverbalism
Hidden in cruciverBALIsm.

Short break prescribed, speaking of minor ailment?
A homophone of ‘wee cough’.

Believes book to be full of fungus
An insertion of CEP for ‘fungus’, or mushroom, in ACTS, a book of the bible.

Cartoon dog bites cartoon cat opening mother’s tinned food
The animated canine and feline pets are PLUTO (Mickey Mouse’s mate) and TOM (Jerry’s tormentor); Punk’s inviting you to put the cat into MA for ‘mother’ and then put the whole thing into the dog, if you see what I mean.

Average limits divided by 200 immediately
An insertion (‘divided’) of TON and C (‘two hundred(s)) in AE, the outside letters of ‘average’.

10  Film director casting minor actresses
Great surface.  (MINOR ACTRESSES)*  I’m not massively into film, but even I’d heard of him.  Taxi Driver (‘You talkin’ to me?’) and The Last Temptation of Christ are probably his best-known works, but those who know more about the man than I do might disagree.

14  In the sky, about time, gale finally blew
‘Blew’ is the definition; it’s an insertion of T for ‘time’, and E for ‘gale finally’, in OVERHEAD.

18  Grand people set out popular method
The manufacturers of the famous grand piano: it’s (SET)*, IN for ‘popular’ and WAY.

19  Prime Minister has cocked up, about to resign
An insertion of QUIT for ‘resign’ in (HAS)*  ‘Cocked up’ is the anagrind.  If only this were true …

20  Giant – as opposed to giiant, you might say?
A creative clue from Punk.  CYCLOPS is the one-eyed monster from classical mythology.  So he’s a one-eyed (one i), as opposed to a two-eyed (two i’s) giant.  Which reminds me of my lad’s favourite joke when he was little:

Q  What do you call a deer with no eyes?
A  No idea

Q  What do you call a deer with no eyes who’s not moving?
A  Still no idea

21  A Conservative in great fondness for recess
A plus C in LOVE.

25  Touch on a bar
A plus BUT, in the sense of ‘all bar one’, for example.

Plenty of smiles in an enjoyable but accessible puzzle to start the week – thank you to the setter, who if I’ve read the Fifteensquared runes correctly, got hitched at the weekend.  If he drops in to the blog on returning from his nuptials: Lang may yer lum reek!

8 Responses to “Independent 7735/Punk”

  1. flashling says:

    Indeed congratulations to Punk & his Missus. Flew though this couldn’t get answers in quick enough. Re 2dn I used to walk past the place on my way to work, never been in there – honest :-)

    Thanks Pierre for the blog, hmm is 3d where the honeymoon is?

  2. Cumbrian says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed both Punk’s puzzle and Pierre’s blog, so many thanks to both. CALUMET was a new one to me as well, but accessible from the wordplay, and I’d never heard of SPEARMINT RHINO; in fact after googling it I possibly spent more time reading about the place than I spent on the crossword.
    I’m not sure if SAY NO MORE would make sense without recalling the Python sketch (how long ago was it?), but it’s still very clear in my memory. I think my favourite was probably MORON for the use of “display behind”.

  3. NealH says:

    I think a few people would plump for Raging Bull and GoodFellas as better known than Last Temptation, although that was very controversial with some religious types at the time.

    I got through this fairly efficiently as well, although I wasn’t particularly keen on 20 down (seemed a bit gimmicky). But 19 down was good (shame it wasn’t a more recent PM), as were 21 and 12.

  4. walruss says:

    Good stuff! I’ve just returned from a week’s meditative retreat, so calm I am as a millpond. So far. It was nice to get the Indy done after the usual fare from the Guardian! Best clue probably PLUTO and TOM. Thanks all.

  5. caretman says:

    Thanks, Pierre, for the blog!

    On this side of the water, CALUMET is not an uncommon word. It’s even the name of several towns and counties, including one county in the state I grew up in. For me, PUNNET was the new word, but clear once I discovered it. My feeling of ‘chuffiness’ was when I unscrambled SPEARMINT RHINO from the anagram and a handful of crossing letters and then found that that really was the answer.

    I add my congratulations to Punk on his nuptials and thanks for the puzzle.

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Pierre and Puck for a load of chuckles and one 😆 (22ac)

    6d eluded me for a while, as where I live I’m more used to seeing them alongside other fruit and veg.

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    Yes congratulations to Punk on his nuptials. The usual nice puzzle from him, but I had two quibbles:

    Is ‘Nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ really a definition of ‘Say no more’ (22ac)? I got it because I happened to be around at the time of the Monty Python sketch, but has that really become so well-known that it’s part of everyone’s general knowledge now? And are plum tomatoes (6dn) tinned food? Surely a plum tomato is a type of tomato and it may or may not be tinned? But perhaps I’m ignorant on this point.

  8. Allan_C says:

    Yes, a nice one from Punk. A real groan when I got PUNNET.

    Wil @ 7, I’m with you there about plum tomatoes; I guess the ‘tinned’ was inserted to go with ‘opening’. Cue for debate on unnecessary words in clues?

    Favourites? PUNNET as aforesaid, also MORON.

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