Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7741 by Quixote

Posted by NealH on August 8th, 2011


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

I found this a bit tougher than the usual Quixote. The presence of a few unusual words like moot, halberdier and imprest meant it was quite hard to get going, although there was nothing that was difficult in the wordplay for any of them. In a few cases like 7 down, it was just expecting the clue to be harder than it actually was that caused the trouble. 14 down was the only one I didn’t entirely follow.

1 Quantities: (Mary) Quant + i + ties.
9 Meiosis: IO with me and sis on either side.
10 Imprest: Hom of impressed.
11 Ordinary Ranks: Abbreviation (OR) hidden in Georgia.
12 Hurd: Hom of heard. Ref to Douglas Hurd.
13 Halberdier: (Ribald here)*.
15 Jive: J[azz] + I’ve.
17 Spry: Spr[a]y.
18 Baudelaire: B + Aude[n] + le around air.
20 Boaz: Boz around a. Boz was a pen name of Charles Dickens and the clue refers to his early work “Sketches by Boz”.
21 Brigandage: &lit. Badgering*.
24 Run riot: Rot around ruin*.
25 Florist: Flits* around or.
26 Chicken run: CD (hens = egg layers).
1 Quiche lorraine: (Her liquorice an)*.
2 Absorbed: Ab + sor[e] + bed.
3 Tesla: Hidden in “undergraduates laboratory”.
4 Thickhead: Hick in the ad.
5 Expo: Ex[e] + Po.
6 Smooth: Moot in sh. Moot is an old term for a meeting – fans of Lord of the Rings might know it from the Entmoot that occurs in the second book.
7 Beautification: Beatification around U.
8 Stodge: St + [d]odge.
14 Diacritic: It’s probably my lack of knowledge of how to pronounce the word but I don’t quite follow this. It’s obviously a hom of something + critic, where the something must mean “to be carried out as”.
16 Clangour: Clan + gour[mand].
17 Suborn: Sub + o(ld) + RN (Royal Navy).
19 Events: Evens around t[ime].
22 Gaffe: Gaffe[r].
23 Wish: W(ife) + is + H(usband).

19 Responses to “Independent 7741 by Quixote”

  1. Paul A says:

    14d – Die a critic

  2. nmsindy says:

    I too found this tougher than usual from Quixote – it has a pangram (every letter of alphabet used), that may be why it was a bit harder.
    Very enjoyable as always with THICKHEAD my favourite clue, thanks NealH and Quixote.

  3. crypticsue says:

    Always such a relief to find that others found a cryptic tougher than usual – there is always that moment of ‘have my little grey cells deserted me?’. As nmsindy says, very enjoyable as usual, thanks NealH and Quixote.

  4. Pierre says:

    Thank you, Neal.

    Definitely a bit harder than some of the recent Monday puzzles from Quixote, but gettable nonetheless. I found hard pretty much the same ones as you: HALBARDIER, BRIGANDAGE, IMPREST.

    I thought CHICKEN RUN was very clever and liked the two crossing science-based clues: MEIOSIS (my first one in) and TESLA. I’m not sure if Quixote does it deliberately, but there are always some ‘scientific’ answers to wrestle with in his puzzles here. MEIOSIS is the reason we’re all here on the blog today: it’s the process that results in 46 chromosomes becoming 23 so that we can all make babies, if I remember well.

    Methinks it’s a pangram?

  5. Pierre says:

    Sorry, nms, you beat me to it.

  6. Cumbrian says:

    I scored highly on General Ignorance today, with MEIOSIS and IMPREST being new to me, and not knowing that Boz was a pen name of Dickens. (I blame my favourite English master at school, who claimed never to have read Dickens, and never regretted it.)
    MEIOSIS dropped out easily from the wordplay, IMPREST with a bit more head scratching, but not knowing Boz made 20ac beyond my reach and I ended up with the reveal button. BUT – had I spotted the likelihood of a pangram, I’d have had the missing Z in 20ac and been home and dry! Spit!

  7. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Neal, and for a very enjoyable puzzle, Quixote.

    Like most, I did a fair bit of head scratching with this one this morning and I was pleased to get it out. There were three words here that were new to me (TESLA, MEIOSIS and DIACRITIC) but all were fairly clued I thought, so none actually held me up with the solve. My last one in, and the one that caused me most problems was the (very good) BEAUTIFICATION. “Doh” when the penny dropped!

    1a/1d immediately alerted me to the possibility of a pangram after the discussion regarding Phi’s “Q lipogram” on Friday – curious in the event how well synchronised was the timing of these two puzzles.


  8. caretman says:

    Thanks, Neal, for the blog.

    Although there were a couple new words for me, I thought the cluing made everything quite solvable. Fortunately, unlike Cumbrian @6, I noticed the opportunity for a pangram and that gave me the ‘Z’ that made enabled me to solve BOAZ. The one clue I didn’t understand was OTHER RANKS which was my last in and was put only from crossing letters and the word division. I had never heard the expression before, much less known that it had a standard abbreviation, so had no idea how the clue worked. As you can guess, it didn’t quite make my COD. That would be DIACRITIC.

    Thanks to Quixote for a great puzzle.

  9. walruss says:

    Can’t see why Quixote chooses to put so many difficult words in! There’s no need, as there’s no theme that I can see. Kind of difficult for its own sake, even with Q’s self-appointed task of ‘making the clues easy’, which is disappointing.

  10. Quixote says:

    Thanks for mainly encouraging comments. In answer to walruss:if a word is in a non-Chambers dictionary I think it’s fair game.

    There are at least three additional reasons why I would defend using less well-known words:

    1) To test solving skills (it is a common complaint that many puzzles can be solved mainly form definitions). I like subsidiary indications to be worked out, sometimes with the solver having the satisfaction of finding a new word. That’s me — sorry walruss!

    2) One man’s meat is another man’s poison (that can’t be helped — we all have different backgrounds)

    3) In a career of setting that spans
    decades, I need all the words I can (semi!)reasonably get hold of to avoid repeating hackneyed words with hackneyed clues recycled ad infinitum.

    I also like to produce non-thematic crosswords that celebrate the wonderful diversity of the amazing universe God has given us!

    Greetings to all!

  11. walruss says:

    Yes, but it is a daily puzzle, and we don’t all have Chambers or Collins on our desks, and definitely not on the Tube! yes if it’s a theme I don’t mind seeing a hard word or two, but yours are sometimes almost like an Guardian Azed in their content!

  12. Quixote says:

    What I would hope is that a reasonable stab could be made from the subsidiary indication, with possible final verification from a dictionary at home. For instance, TESLA (not known to all)is obvious from the hidden clue with T-S-A even if you haven’t heard of it — and if you want to can learn a bit about the unit when you get home – and the man it’s named after(an unsung engineer-physicist hero by the way who first came up with AC electricity generation). Anyway — even feedback that I disagree with is very welcome, unless if course it’s overwhelmingly supported! So thank you, the whiskered one!

  13. flashling says:

    ty Neal and Don, fun here as south london is all on fire. Deep joy.

  14. Paul B says:

    Indeed. The warmest we’ve been all summer, and I live very close to a Tesco with a cashpoint. Oh my days.

  15. flashling says:

    or lived Tees… hope I can be on line to blog tomorrow….

  16. Allan_C says:

    Perhaps it’s just because I’ve been around rather a long time so have picked up a varied vocabulary and a lot of useless knowledge, but I solved this without any help from reference sources. Nevertheless, some clues took a bit of working out. Didn’t spot that it was a pangram, though.

  17. fairforward says:

    I’m at the Sandy Balfour stage of hardly ever managing to complete a whole crosword, so please humour me – what has ‘other ranks’ got to do with Georgia? It had to be that but no idea why. I guess they are soldiers but that’s about the limit of my grasp of this clue. I got most of the rest eventuaLly (it’s now Friday!

  18. NealH says:

    OR frequently appears in crosswords clued by things like soldiers or men. It is actually an abbreviation for Other Ranks, meaning basically the non-officer classes. GeORgia contains OR, so what the clue is saying is that the abbreviated form of Other Ranks (OR) is hidden in Georgia. So the clue is really a hidden word type, but clued in an unusual and more indirect way.

  19. fairforward says:

    Thank you very much, Neal, for that speedy response – got it now! And I’ve learned a new trick too, so very satisfying altogether. Slowly slowly …

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