Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7746 by Anax (Saturday Prize Puzzle 13 August 2011)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on August 20th, 2011


A veritable tour de force from Anax, on my first opportunity to blog one of his puzzles.

After filling in my first five or six solves – including a laugh-out-loud moment with 5D – I twigged that they were all (so far) French words or phrases, and I started to think ‘It can’t be…’, ‘N’est pas possible…’, ‘An entire crossword en Francais?’…but then I found IGLOO at 7D and EGGS ON at 20D, to burst that bubble. But they kept on coming – at my last count an impressive 14 of 28 answers were French.

Some excellent clues: 5D reminding me of one of my favourite one-liners – “A woman (man) walked into my bar and asked for a double entendre, so I gave her (him) one…” (Boom Boom!). 9D a cleverly diverting &lit; 12A similarly so, although maybe not all will be familiar with Toy Story, and the heroic Buzz Lightyear?; it took me a while to realise the ‘male’ in 10A was an indication of M, and not part of the definition – the tall, male, ‘Masai warrior’ of a thousand documentaries being my mental association, although there must obviously be female Masai as well.

It also took a while to justify DEMELE at 1D – not in any of my immediate reference books, so a resort to l’internet was called for – and it took until writing this blog to twig (I hope) the parsing of 19D – I was convinced it must be REGALIA, but thought ‘fancy gear’ was an anagram for ‘REGA’ – leaving me floundering to justify ‘LIA’…I think I have it now…(UPDATE: or maybe not – see #9 and #10 below – LIA could be (King) Lear – spoken, or ‘state’d.)

Not sure of any particular reason for a French theme – Bastille Day on July 14th was a month earlier. Maybe the recently concluded Tour de France (hence the ‘maillot‘ in 3D)?; a jaunt across la Manche for Monsieur Anax?; or the re-discovery of an old school phrasebook?

Whatever the reason, all ‘trés enjoyable’. Zut alors, bien sur! Mercy buckets to Anax.

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1A DYNAMO A lot of switches in the same generator (6) generator /
DO (ditto, the same) around YNAM (many, a lot of, switched backwards)
4A IDEE FIXE Go short to satisfy one’s rebellious obsession (4, 4) obsession (French) /
EXI (exit, or go, cut short) + FEED (satisfy) + I (one) – all reversed, or rebellious
10A MASAI An African male in part of capital (5) an African /
M (male) + AS (in part of, acting as) + AI (excellent, A1, capital)
11A NOUVELLES Reason to guard against fashion magazine stories (9) stories (French) /
NOUS (reason) around V (versus, against) + ELLE (fashion magazine)
12A LOCAL CALL Buzz Lightyear’s complete opposite? (5, 4) &lit /
The ‘complete opposite’ of a long distance (light year) phone call (buzz) – Buzz Lightyear being a character in the film Toy Story
13A GROWN Become monarch, breaking a habit (5) become (past tense) /
GOWN (habit) including R (Rex, king or monarch)
14A PETIT DEJEUNER Favourite thing of young Parisian right for breakfast (5, 8 ) breakfast (French) /
PET (favourite) + IT (thing) + DE + JEUNE (of, and young, in French) + R
17A PASSEMENTERIE Decoration that is on sticker protecting seed (13) decoration (of beads/braids, French) /
PASTER (sticker) including SEMEN (seed) + IE (that is)
21A REIMS City centre ultimately within borders (5) City (French) /
RIMS (borders) around E (last letter of centre)
23A RENEGUING Heads for Rover garage – genuine new parts going back (9) going back /
anag (i.e. new) of R + G (heads of Rover and garage) + GENUINE (not sure where ‘parts’ comes in?)
24A TOP-TIMBER Hull member making special trip to accept award (3-6) member (part of) of hull (of boat) /
anag (i.e. special) of TRIP TO, including (accepting) MBE (award)
25A LOESS Clay, silt and earth seen in passing (5) clay/silt (deposit) /
LOSS (passing, death/bereavement) including E (earth)
26A FATHERED Produced nothing before the signal to stop (8) produced /
FA (‘sweet Fanny Adams’, nothing) + THE + RED (signal to stop)
27A MAISON Arts graduate is running fashion house (6) house (French) /
MA (Master of Arts, graduate) + IS + ON (running)
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D DEMELE Filling in made me leave debate (6) debate or argument (French) /
hidden word in maDE ME LEave
2D N’EST-CE PAS Gang space is rough isn’t it? (4-2-3) isn’t it (French) /
NEST (gang, brood) + anag (i.e. rough) of SPACE
3D MAILLOT Jersey post collection (7) Jersey (French) /
MAIL (post) + LOT (collection)
5D DOUBLE ENTENDRE I’ll give you one, as an example (6, 8 ) &lit (French) /
(What can one say? Stunned silence of admiration for this one!)
6D EPERGNE Green produce extremely unusual as addition to dining table (7) addition to dining table (French) /
anag (i.e unusual) of GREEN + PE (extreme letters of ProducE)
7D IGLOO Northern dwelling, one with good bathroom (5) Northern dwelling /
I (one) + G (good) + LOO (bathroom)
8D ELSINORE Danish city relies on train (8) Danish city /
anag (i.e. train) of RELIES ON
9D ENFANT TERRIBLE One trying issue of Paris Match? (6, 8 ) &lit (French) /
difficult (trying) child (issue) of French (Paris-ian) marriage (match)
15D NEEDINESS Want online lunch? Head round (9) want /
NESS (head-land, or cape) around E (electronic, online) + DINE (lunch)
16D APERITIF With suitable fury, old man returns drink before meal (8) drink before meal (French) /
Return of FIT (suitable) + IRE (fury) + PA (old man, father)
18D EN SUITE How’s your father blocking flow from bathroom? (2, 5) bathroom (French) /
ENSUE (flow from) around IT (sexual relations, euphemistically ‘how’s your father’)
19D REGALIA Fancy gear associated with sovereign state (7) ?&lit?/ fancy gear /
REGAL (sovereign – adjective, kinglike) + IA (Iowa, US state)

or (with thanks to MartinJ at #9 below)

REGA (anag of GEAR) + LIA (homonym of (King) Lear) – making it a proper &lit all round

or (Polly and Norman L – AND Anax below):

REGA (fancy gear) + L (sovereign, one pound, sterling) + IA (Iowa, state).

20D EGGS ON Pushes horse in front over (4, 2) pushes /
ESON (nose, or front, over) including GG (horse)
22D INPUT Mental unit welcomes positive contribution (5) contribution /
anag (i.e. mental) of UNIT, including (welcoming) P (positive)

20 Responses to “Independent 7746 by Anax (Saturday Prize Puzzle 13 August 2011)”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, mc_rapper67, for the parsing of all of those clues that puzzled me. Like you, I saw the ‘fancy gear’ = REGA and couldn’t get that false trail out of my mind. I’m sure you found the right way there. And with 18d I was sure there was some slang related to ‘how’s your father’ that was the key to understanding the wordplay but I had no idea what it was. Thanks for clearing that up.

    On 23a, (GENUINE)* parts (comes between) the R and G from the heads of Rover and garage.

    I loved 26a when I finally figured that ‘the’ = THE, but 9d was my favorite. What a great mental image it produced!

    I had a quibble with the enumeration of 2d which (online at least) was (4-2-3) rather than (4-2,3), which probably would have made it much easier to solve.

    It will be interesting to see if the recent discussion about SUI GENERIS is revived with this puzzle. I’ll have to say that since I studied French for many years in school (albeit many many years ago) I found this fairly easy. Without that background I may have been more stumped, although most of the words I expect are common knowledge.

    But thanks, Anax, and I echo the zut alors!

  2. mc_rapper67 says:

    caretman – thanks for explaining the use of ‘parts’ in 23A, and I have updated the enumeration in 2D – it was (4-2-3) in the paper version as well, and you are right, (4-2, 3) would have been more helpful.

    (I was blogging from a photo of the completed crossword, taken on my phone before I posted my entry, as I was away in a cottage in the West Country – no photocopier, no phone signal, but full strength wi-fi, which allowed me to get the blog posted!)

  3. Polly says:

    What a treat for Francophones/philes after the footie-themed puzzle of the previous week! Having hit on REGALIA without working through the clue, I too took ‘fancy gear’ to account for REGA, with L (£) representing ‘sovereign’.

    I was expecting a storm of protest such as we usually get from those who see as elitism any theme with which they aren’t familiar; it might have been slightly more justified this time… Anax, je vous salue.

  4. Tokyo Colin says:

    I don’t normally attempt Anax’s puzzles because he seems to draw heavily from a local vocabulary that I am unfamiliar with. I persevered with today’s because I picked up the French theme early which both helped and made it interesting. I filled in all the answers but needed the blog (thanks mc_rapper) to understand the parsing of several. My French is basic and very rusty, but it wasn’t the French that caused the problems. For example in 18D, I needed to know not one, but two euphemisms for sex. I can grasp one but the other is completely baffling to me. And I still don’t understand 5dn but I presume it relies on yet another sexual euphemism unknown to me.

    So in case Polly misunderstands, I am not protesting or complaining, and if I was it would certainly not be of elitism. I am merely observing that the enjoyment of an Anax crossword is inversely proportional to the distance one lives from Anax’s ‘hood. And that’s OK.

  5. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks for your excellent blog, mc_rapper67 – as you say, this is a véritable tour de force from Anax. “Horses for courses” I suppose, and given that the “footiephobes” among us had to do battle with the Wimbledon theme last week I don’t think anyone has serious cause for complaint today.

    I guess that we were all intended to fall into the “fancy gear” = REGA trap, so thank you for clearing that up. As for DEMELE, it’s not all that common a synonym for “debate or argument” in French according to my Parisien husband, though the verb “(se) démeler” (to disentangle or unravel) crops up in the French for “to pick a bone with someone”, and by extension gives the noun meaning “unpleasant dealings”.

    All in all, I found this an excellent diversion on a day here in France when the best thing to do is to shelter inside with the shutters closed: our Dept is one of several to be placed on “Orange Alert” for the heat (around 40° predicted this afternoon) whilst the roads are classified as “Red/Black” with about 600 kms of traffic jams reported by lunch time. Thanks indeed Anax for providing us with such a witty and entertaining solve.

  6. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog, mc_rapper67, and thanks to Anax for an entertaining puzzle. Re Superkiwigirl @ 5, I don’t think the comparison with the previous week’s Tyrus puzzle is entirely valid; Tyrus’ clues might have seemed a bit strange to the uninitiated (like me), but as he commented, he made them fairly straight-forward and all the vocabulary in the answers was everyday (or quotidien as Anax might say). In Anax’s puzzle, the clues generally didn’t allude to a French answer, and in some cases the answers seemed far from common usage: DEMELE, PASSEMENTERIE, and MAILLOT (only familiar to me from the Tour de France),spring to mind, although in fairness to Anax the cluing seemed at the easier end of his spectrum.

  7. superkiwigirl says:

    Hi jmac @ 6,

    Yes, I take your point. I’m undoubtedly in a special situation living in France and speaking franglais at home (my great worry is that I’ll end up in some sort of linguistic no man’s land, having forgotten a lot of my English, and not knowing enough French to replace it!)

  8. Norman L in France says:

    Thank you, mc_rapper. I’d never done an Indy crossword (Guardian and Observer for years) but this one was right up my rue. I’m not sure that REGA is a trap, because L is surely a sovereign(£) so it all fits together and makes an &lit – I think.
    I can confirm that the heat is indeed canicular in most parts of France, including the border close to Geneva.
    Not sure what they call them in other parts of the world but your name reminds me that the well-known burger purveyors McDs have come out with something called a McWrap, at least here in France. Did nobody in their sales dept try pronouncing it with a bit of extra emphasis on the “c” before unleashing it on the world?

  9. MartinJ says:

    Re 19d
    I took this to be (GEAR)* + LIA, a homophone of Lear (sovereign state)

  10. mc_rapper67 says:

    Wow – thanks for all the feedback – Anax has certainly put ‘le chat’ amongst ‘les champignons’ with this one…as long as this week’s isn’t about French footballers I think we can all relax…

    I think MartinJ at #9 has cracked the 19D conundrum – with LIA as ‘Lear’ stated (cue palm to forehead, and a Homer-esque ‘Doh…why didn’t I see that…’ I’ll update the parsing above.

    It certainly rolls off the clue a bit better – and also I chose the wrong US state abbreviation – Iowa is IA, Indiana is IN…

  11. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks mc_rapper67

    I would have thought that the correct parsing of 19dn, as Polly indicated @3, is:

    *(GEAR) L (sovereign {pound}) IA (state {Iowa}) &Lit

  12. Allan_C says:

    I have a feeling of (what is wrongly called) déja vu about this crossword. Some months ago in the thread to one blog someone complained about foreign words in Indy crosswords and, if I remember rightly, someone else – it might even have been Anax – said we might one day find a crossword full of them.

    Merci, Anax for an ingenious puzzle and mc_rapper67 for explaining the parsing of several clues that I solved without understanding, particularly 4a.

    Meilleurs voeux.

  13. anax says:

    Greetings all, and many thanks to mc_rapper for an exquisite blog.

    *GEAR + L(sovereign) + IA(Iowa – state) it was. An unusual choice for L but the sovereign was indeed the ‘pound’ (as in L,S,D) until 1914. I’d have used an alternative but this version allowed for the &lit.

    I tried to restrict the Gallic inclusions to those that have been adopted into English but it wasn’t always possible – DEMELE appeared through slightly gritted teeth but SOED acknowledges it; I appreciate jmac’s additional concerns over MAILLOT and PASSEMENTERIE but I can honestly say I had heard of these, and because most people are cleverer than me I just went for it.

    Love to all.

  14. PeterO says:

    Thank you Mc_rapper for providing the wordplay in the several cases where I could not; and to Anax for what, despite that, was a very entertaining puzzle. With clues like 5D and 9D who is to cavil?
    On very minor cavil with the blog: in 11A, the V is versus, against, not very.

  15. mc_rapper67 says:

    Or indeed – the suggestions from Polly and Norman L at #3 and #8 respectively – sorry to overlook you:

    REGA (fancy gear) + L (sovereign, 1 pound sterling) + IA (Iowa, state).

    Wheels within wheels – the beauty of the cryptic clue – maybe Anax will drop by and put us all out of our misery/suspense…

  16. mc_rapper67 says:

    Oops – he has already, the coup de grace(!) – and thanks for the minor correction from PeterO – my oversight.

    En coquille de noix (in a nutshell) – Toute suite. Fin. Au revoir!

  17. Norman L in France says:

    Apollygies, Polo
    I hadn’t seen your post at #3

  18. Paul B says:

    Put the cat amongst the mushrooms has he? Lemon curry?

    I would like to add, following a hard night’s work at the Boom Boom club, that our £ sign is an abbreviation for Libra. On the other hand, our pound weight sign LB is an abbreviation for … well, Libra.

    Southampton 1 Millwall 0.

  19. nmsindy says:

    Many thanks, mc_rapper67, for the blog and Anax for an excellent puzzle. Tough as one expects from Anax and so v satisfying to finish and v appropriate as Saturday fare. French words/phrases that are familiar in England are a relatively small number so v impressive to fit so many of them into a puzzle. Bravo!

  20. flashling says:

    Been away, great stuff from Anax, tres bien. Merci beaucoup!

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