Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7758 Anax (Sat 27-Aug-2011)

Posted by beermagnet on September 3rd, 2011


When I opened the paper on my blogging Saturday my heart sank.
Anax popped up on Saturday only 2 weeks ago so I thought I might be spared.
First pass I got 6. That is quite good for me for an Anax so was misled into thinking I might get somewhere.
In the end I tackled this in several sessions. That was necessary.
Second session: I had to call a halt after another half hour or so with only 13 clues in place. I reckoned a break might do some good. 13 does not look very much in a grid with 32 lights.
Cleared my head doing the Super Suduko on the same page – that seemed absurdly easy.
Later on I had another bash and got further, but called it a day with 8 still to solve, several entered where I didn’t understand the wordplay, and a very strong suspicion I had some in wrong.  Bottom left corner looking very empty.
Searched and searched for a Nina that might help – couldn’t find one.
Next day, threw niceties to the wind and used aids to tackle the rest. As is usual in these situations when I finally got the last couple I wondered why I hadn’t seen the answer earlier.

Now I’m expecting you good folk to point out the answers I have wrong, the answers I can’t explain, and probably the obvious theme that’s completely gone over my head.


OK. I have been prompted by a friend to look again at 3D which I got completely wrong – it is the comedy BOTTOM which is the theme <link to imdb>

If I’d seen this and known the series better it might have helped with solving – I did think some answers were a little “under-defined”

The show featured:
Adrian Edmondson playing Edward “Eddie” Elizabeth Hitler (12A, 24A, 21D)
Rik Mayall playing Richard “Richie” Richard (2D)
Other characters included
Spudgun (18D)
Dave Hedgehog (6D)
It was absurdly Anarchistic (11D)
The title music was played by The Bum Notes (15D)
and the whole show was set in Hammersmith (8D)

At 11 Mafeking Parade (16D, 22D)

(Thanks to Gaufrid for spotting that last one)

1 THROB Pound note missing from the loot (5)
TH[e] ROB Def. POUND as in what your heart does when robbing the bank (allegedly). E is the note, removed from “THE ROB” from “The loot”
4 MOUTHWASH Gargle what so hum dissipates? (9)
(WHAT SO HUM)* AInd: dissipates. Def: Gargle. Like many people I guess I identified the fodder and tackled the anagram thinking “gargle” was the anagrind and the answer was going to be a sideways (due to the “?”) def of “dissipates”. Anyway, it was the first answer I gleefully entered.
9 OSCITANCE Cat is wandering in after yawning (9)
Def. Yawning. (CAT IS)* AInd: wandering, inside ONCE (after). A word that I haven’t met before and was pleased and surprised to find it in the dictionary after (eventually) decrypting the wordplay – I shouldn’t be surprised, it is close in origin to osculation etc.
10 DURUM Barrel full of superior wheat (5)
U (superior) inside DRUM (barrel) Def. Wheat. It seems likely that wheat has genetically engineered the human race to enable it to spread to vast acreages and conquer the world.
11 ANACONDAS Snakes a cheat feeds with arsenic (9)
A CON (A cheat) inside AND (with) then AS (Arsenic). The chemical symbol for Arsenic is AS beause AR was already taken by Argon
12 EDDIE Large comedian regularly needs break (5)
Alternate letters of nEeDs (ED, indicated by “regularly”) then DIE (Break) Def. Ref. Eddie Large, erstwhile comedian. I initially took that alternate letters method to its logical end and wondered who “Edbek” was. I still have trouble equating Break with Die …
13 AIDE I’ll help some comedian to return (4)
Hidden reversed in comEDIAn. Def. “I’ll help”
14 BLOOMERS Black rings around 24′s boobs (8)
Def: Boobs, as in mistakes. I put this in early on and was happy at the time, especially as it fits with 15D, bur now I’m writing the blog I find I cannot explain the M. I thought the wordplay was BL[ack] OOs (rings) around ER (Elizabeth, via 24). Maybe black only gives a single B, in which case rings might deliver LOOMS. Oh Good Grief! It is LOOPS and the answer is BLOOPERS – I would not have reconsidered this answer’s wordplay so carefully if I had not been writing this. The definition of both is very close. That shows how unnoticed errors can creep in.
17 CISLUNAR I pitched endlessly in ride between earth and moon (8)
I SLUN[g] (I pitched enlessly) inside CAR (ride). A very precise def. for this word: The region between Earth’s atmosphere and the Moon is sometimes referred to as cis-lunar space.
19 LO-FI Somewhat typical of inferior sound? (2-2)
Hidden in typicaL OF Inferior
23 INURN Bury one after the other – time to go (5)
T[ime] removed from IN TURN (one after the other). Slightly unusual word for inter.
24 ELIZABETH Female priest’s last letter to help husband (9)
ELI (priest) Z (last letter) ABET (to help) H[usband]
25 TIGHT This evening’s about to go fast (5)
TONIGHT (this evening) minus ON (about). Def. Fast, as in tied fast. The last answer I entered, and yet again one which doesn’t seem too hard in retrospect though it took all crossing letters for me to see it.
26 ILL NATURE Naff all true, in a bad way (3,6)
(ALL TRUE IN)* AInd: Naff.
28 CANE SUGAR Could bait work the wrong way as sweet stuff? (4,5)
Def. Sweet Stuff. Wordplay: ? Help please. It must be this from the crossing letters but I cannot see any “bait” or ”work” in RAGUSENAC
<Edit>  CAN (Could) the RAG (bait – as in tease) USE (work) all reversed
Thanks to several commenters for that.
29 EJECT Euro fighter potentially pierced by constant fire (5)
E[uro], C (constant) inside JET (fighter) Def. Fire, as is applied to a projectile.
1 TWO A couple of short words (3)
Hidden in shorT WOrds. This seemed such a simple hidden that I had string doubts I was missing something till the crossing letters were confirmed.
2 RICHARD Cleaner’s shut outside by man (7)
CHAR (cleaner) inside RID (shut outside).
3 BATHOS Grow out of dry comedy? (6)
I presume this is a Cryptic Definition. I tend to make that assumption when I can’t see any wordplay, especially when a question mark is involved. But I am unsure about this. Bathos is a change from serious to silly, so “growing out of comedy” seems to indicate the wrong direction unless you admit that bathos doesn’t occur until comedy is reached. Enough of this train of thought – what else fits B-T-O- and the clue?
OK. It’s BOTTOM (see preamble) and now I can see the wordplay: TT (dry) inside BOOM (grow)
4 MONODY Unhappy about name for sad poem (6)
N[ame] inside MOODY (unhappy) Def: sad poem. A monody is a threnody in the voice of one person.
5 UNEASILY A French area just doesn’t need MP lacking confidence (8)
UNE (A French) A[rea] SIMPLY minus MP (just … MP).
6 HEDGEHOG Creep into hotel to corner prickly type (8)
EDGE (creep) inside H[otel], HOG (corner, as in cornering the market). Def. Prickly type
7 ABRIDGE A leader of big band gets contract (7)
A B[ig] RIDGE (band) Def. Contract
8 HAMMERSMITH Walks over river to avoid fun part of London (11)
HAMMERS (Walks over, as in “Arsenal hammered 8-2 at Man Utd”), then MIRTH (fun) minus R[iver].
11 ANARCHISTIC Bill tackling unorthodox Christian subversive (11)
AC (Bill, account) (CHRISTIAN)* AInd: Unorthodox. Def. Subversive.
15 BUM NOTES Borrow cash for musical 14 (3,5)
BUM (Borrow) NOTES (cash, colloquial) Def. musical Bloomers
16 MAFEKING Iron parts production in African city once (8)
FE (Iron) inside (indicated by parts, as in separates parts of) MAKING (production) Def. African city once. Now Mahikeng, capital city of the North-West Province of South Africa, best known for the siege during the Second Boer War (October 1899 to May 1900).
18 SPUD GUN Small sweet, good one, providing toy (4,3)
S[mall] PUD (sweet) G[ood] ‘UN (one)
20 OVERUSE Milk not subject to rationing (7)
Double Def. (maybe?)
21 HITLER Tyrant wants gas, 5 litre (6)
H (Gas, Hydrogen) (LITRE)* AInd: 5 – Uneasily
22 PARADE Show soldier what’s done if not operational? (6)
PARA (soldier) D[on]E (Not operational = not ON) Def: show
27 EFT Electronic organ, pink again, very old (3)
E[lectronic] FT (organ, pink – the Financial Times in this case which is still printed on its distinctive paper) Def. Again, in an obsolete sense of eft, thus “very old”. No newts here just a very nice misleading clue

13 Responses to “Independent 7758 Anax (Sat 27-Aug-2011)”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    28Ac is CAN (could) + RAG (bait, or tease), USE (work) (both rev.).

    Entertaining puzzle, and blog. I can’t believe I missed the significance of Hitler, Richard, Spudgun, Hedgehog etc – straight to the bottom of the class for me!

  2. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was very hard, and I only saw the Bottom TV connection at the v end when checking if there was such a programme, this made sense of some of the answers. I think CANE SUGAR has RAG and USE (reversed) after CAN. I think you are right about OVERUSE being a double definition. Thanks, Anax and beermagnet.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks beermagnet
    Never having watched the programme in question I had to resort to Wikipedia for the thematic content and this told me that 16,22 is also relevant since Mafeking Parade was the name of the street in Hammersmith where Richie and Eddie’s flat was situated.

  4. Allan_C says:

    As did others, I completely missed the theme. Nevertheless it was solvable, and I got 3d as BOTTOM. Although I never watched the show I did at least know it was a “comedy” (my quotes).

  5. Cumbrian says:

    This one was well beyond my abilities, and I ended up making a lot of use of the “reveal” button, so thanks for the blog and extra clarifications which helped me with some of the clues that I couldn’t work out even with the answer in front of me. I also had BLOOMERS rather than BLOOPERS (all hail the “check”button for pointing out my error) and went for the OO being rings, or even boobs at one point. Although I knew of “Bottom” with Ade Edmondson, (is there another homophonic Bottom twist in 13ac?) I don’t think I ever watched it so the references in the theme were lost on me – no matter as the relevant clues didn’t need that knowledge anyway.

    I have particular issue with 12ac; not only can I not see DIE for “break”, but I also question the description of Eddie Large as “comedian”……
    Favourite was BUM NOTES.

  6. Lenny says:

    Unlike Beermagnet, my heart leaps with joy when I see an Anax puzzle, although I understand that it might sink if I faced the prospect of blogging it. I did this in two, fairly short, sessions with a lie down in a darkened room between them. All except 27 which I could not get even with a solver since I only knew Eft as a newt. Now, if only it had been a Loroso, I tell myself, I would have got it since the pink paper is littered with FT allusions. Needless to say, the theme passed over my head. Last in (apart from Eft) was Bottom, which I vaguely remembered as an obscure comedy programme but it never occurred to me that it might be the theme. Thanks for the challenge Anax, one letter wrong. I’ll get you next time.

  7. jmac says:

    I also completely missed the theme. However I did enjoy solving the puzzle which I didn’t think was unduly difficult. The NE quadrant fell very quickly followed by the SE, and it was only the unfamiliar OSCITANCE and CISLUNAR that held up the left-hand side. Lots of very clever clues. Thanks Anax and Beermagnet.

  8. superkiwigirl says:

    Thank you so much, beermagnet, for your great blog.

    What was there not to like here, unless my own inability to solve a fantastic puzzle, full of clever clues, and elegant (if tricky) surfaces.

    I found this really tough going today, and even after BOTTOM, EDDIE, and RICHARD were in place I still didn’t twig to the theme (admittedly, this wasn’t a sitcom that I watched, unlike ” the Young Ones” – now, that really was a comedy! It’s the “age thing” again I suppose …)

    Previously unknown words like OSCITANCE and CISLUNAR didn’t help the solving process (though now that I’ve encountered them I hope that they won’t be forgotten) and I thought there were some clever misdirections here – e.g. without this blog, I would never have made the connection between “5″ = “UNEASILY” = anagrind, but now it’s been explained, well, I’m full of admiration for both beermagnet and Anax.

    All in all, a wonderful puzzle, and proof that I still have to up my game considerably. Many thanks, Anax, I hope to do better next time.

  9. Pescador says:

    Re: 29ac. As an angler, I managed to solve this one by thinking that bait was RAG, but as in RAGworm. Still, got there in the end.

  10. anax says:

    Good evening all, and many thanks to beermagnet for a top blogging effort.

    The choice of theme was pretty random, although I was attracted by the idea of clueing BOTTOM as ‘comedy’ to (hopefully) point to a possible theme. It wasn’t at all surprising that MAFEKING PARADE wasn’t mentioned by beermagnet. I was a huge fan of the sitcom and had no problem listing most of the thematic candidates pre-fill, but the easily remembered stuff didn’t make for a particularly long list – I relied on Wiki for Mafeking Parade, a detail I didn’t know. The only disappointment was an ability to include DAVE

  11. anax says:

    …oops – accidentally posted that!

    The only disappointment was an inability to include DAVE (Hedgehog) as I really hoped to make some reference to endless repeats, mid-sentence commercial breaks of 5 minutes aimed at desperate stay-at-homes willing to sell their cars for £50 and take out ruinous loans at 4-digit interest rates. Hmm. Actually, maybe DAVE is a bit limiting for something so complicated. Oh well.

  12. beermagnet says:

    Ta to all for filling in the gaps, and Anax for looking in. I’m still kicking myself for not getting the theme till it was pointed out – I blame not getting BOTTOM itself at 3D – that and HAMMERSMITH would’ve been enough to set the alarm bells ringing. I loved Bottom when it first came out but haven’t seen any repeats for years. I should look out when they appear on Dave. (Mind you, I cannot get on with the adverts – I’ve just ducked out of watching Blackadder for that reason.)
    Bottom’s opening credits are very memorable, with the scuzzy duo leaning out of the window of the partially built Coca Cola building above the Tube Station in the middle of the massive Talgarth Road one-way system.
    I have often wondered if that window is still identifiable.

    I see there’s a Mafeking Avenue down the road in Brentford!

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Will I ever learn to spot a Nina and/or a concealed theme?
    I fear not.
    As an admirer of the genre (and Rik Mayall, in particular) I own all these dvd’s (and several related ones) – so therefore I should hide myself for a short while in a big hole in the ground etc. etc. [and then, of course, someone will come to my rescue shouting 'Man, get out! - some food?" ... :)]
    That said, I think I would never have made a connection between ‘Hammersmith’ and the series. The same for ‘Mafeking Parade’.

    And the crossword itself?
    Another cracker, hard but doable.
    Did I say doable?
    I couldn’t find three solutions in the SW (CISLUNAR, SPUD GUN and INURN) – probably because of all these Us :).

    And my favourites?
    Don’t know, perhaps 21d (HITLER) [the clue, that is :)], 29ac (EJECT) and the very well hidden TWO (1d) [well, I thought it was very well hidden - thought about DUO for a while but could not justify it].

    Many thanks to Beermagnet and The Setter himself, of course.

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