Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7771/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on September 12th, 2011


Bonjour!  Slightly confused, since we had a Quixote last week and up till now he’s been fortnightly, with a range of other Indy setters giving us a Monday offering in between.  However, ours is not to reason why, to misquote Tennyson, and I’m not complaining about having to blog another very pleasing puzzle by Mr M.

Lots to enjoy here: as always with Quixote, a good range of devices to test the solver, and a couple of less common words, but very clearly signposted.  There are two or three clues where, well, let’s just say I’ve seen them before (AGOG, SHERRY, TARGET); but the Monday puzzles from this setter seem to be targeted towards newer entrants to the dark art of cryptic crosswords, so that’s fair enough, I would say, because someone will be seeing these clues for the first time today.  And there’s inventiveness elsewhere that will keep more experienced solvers engaged.  There’s one I can’t parse (situation normal), but you lot all have brains the size of small planets, so it won’t be long before it’s explained.

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


Spooner’s reported basic disease carriers in these drinking vessels
Just a personal thing, but I’m not a big fan of Spooner clues.  This one is pretty clear, though: the good Reverend might have said MERE BUGS for ‘basic disease carriers’.

Very eager making an attempt to get good
A charade of A GO and G for ‘good’.

10  What’s loosened from ground I dug
Hidden in groUND I Dug.

11  Time to tuck into sticky stuff, a stew gone wrong – or let it do this?
Quixote’s prompting you to put T for ‘time’ into GOO, ‘sticky stuff’ and follow it up with (A STEW)*.  ‘Gone wrong’ is the anagrind and it’s kind of a semi &lit thingy, I suppose.  Whatever, a good clue.

12  Drink is sin – get reticent about that
Drink is indeed sin, as attenders at S&B events know well (usually the next morning).  In this case, it’s an insertion of ERR for ‘sin’ in SHY for ‘reticent’.

13  Pole of some importance sees mother given degree, having entered institute
I got stuck a bit with this one because I’d convinced myself that MIT was the ‘institute’.  However, it’s much simpler: a charade of MA for ‘mother’ and another MA (this time for ‘degree’) in INST.

14  Smug, he, if results go the wrong way
(HE IF RESULTS GO)*  ‘The wrong way’ is the anagrind.

17  Fashionable artist – over time I’m fading away, beyond question
A charade of IN for ‘fashionable’ and CONSTABLE for ‘artist’ with an insertion of TE.  The insertion indicator is ‘over’ and the TE comes from taking IM out of T[IM]E, because that’s what you’re left with if IM is ‘fading away’.

21  Church given a second blue fancy vestment
Not a word you’re likely to drop into conversation down the pub tonight, but it’s a fair enough clue: a charade of CH for ‘church’, A S and (BLUE)*  ‘Fancy’ is the anagrind.  ‘A sleeveless vestment worn by the celebrant at the Mass or Eucharist.’  Its etymology links it back to the Latin casa for ‘house’, according to the SOED.  Goodness knows why.

22  Sailor given appropriate objective
A charade of TAR for ‘sailor’ and GET for ‘appropriate’ (in the sense of ‘steal’).

24  State control that’s loosening to become ‘semi-rigid’
One where a bit of French would be helpful. It’s (SEMI-RIGID)*; ‘loosening’ is the anagrind; and diriger in French is ‘to lead, to direct'; un dirigeant is ‘a director’.  If you didn’t know French then you’d just have to slap it in once you’d got the crossing letters, or perhaps – unlike me – you just knew it.

25  Old vessel – hole finally let in a lot of water
An insertion (‘let in’) of E for the last letter of ‘hole’ in OCAN, ‘A Phoenecian merchant ship, with masts and oars’.  Actually, I made that up.  Although that’s the kind of thing I was looking for in the dictionary, before discovering that the word doesn’t in fact exist.  It’s O for ‘old’ and CAN for ‘vessel’.  Good surface, crap initial parsing on my part.

26  Fuss yet to be dealt with
A dd.

27  Your song of mourning could be rendered as ‘thy drone’
(THY DRONE)*  ‘A song of lamentation.’


Bishop, one ensnared by trick and upset
A charade of B for ‘bishop’ and I in RUSE for ‘trick’.  ‘Upset’ in the sense of ‘she was bruised by his comments’.

Thus night is nigh – it’ll be going on for ever
I’m afraid this is ask the audience time, because I’m not seeing this.  ‘Going on for ever’ is the definition, I presume, and if something is ‘nigh’ then it means that there’s an ‘end’ to something else.  But beyond that, venez m’aider, s’il vous plaît.

Edit: thanks to Eileen for explaining that endless ‘night’ is ‘nigh’.

Our England, a gem troubling French or Spanish, say?
(OUR ENGLAND A GEM)*  ‘Troubling’ is the anagrind and le français and l’espagnol are MODERN (foreign) LANGUAGEs, or MFLs.

Lady singing?  A joke taken the wrong way
A reversal of A GAG, referencing Lady GAGA, whom setters of all persuasions seem to have fallen head over heels in love with.  Dunno why, ‘cos she dresses up in raw meat, which would be offal if you had to get up close and personal with her.  Sorry.

Nasty enforcers of law attempt to surround estate and upset old man
A charade of GO for ‘attempt’ surrounding EST for ‘estate’ and AP, a reversal of PA for ‘old man’.

Best get tears under control
(GET TEARS)*  ‘Under control’ is the anagrind.

Exceptional Christian?  Correct, one held to be unswerving
A synonym of ‘unswerving’ is a charade of ST for ‘saint’ and an insertion of A for ‘one’ in RIGHT.  STRAIGHT has a claim to fame in our wonderful language.  Stick with me to the end of the blog and I’ll tell you why if you don’t already know.

Elation won’t be a quirky actress’s desire
(ELATION WON’T BE A)*  ‘Quirky’ is the anagrind, and it’s referring to Greta Garbo’s famous request.  Except she never actually said that.  To quote the lady herself: ‘I never said, “I want to be alone.” I only said, “I want to be left alone.” There is all the difference.’  But everyone thinks that’s what she said, so we can’t really send the setter to the naughty step on this occasion.

15  Once again hire engineers, needing line repaired on street
Another surface that tells you a story; this one reads very well.  ‘Once again hire’ is the definition; it’s RE for ‘Royal Engineers’, (LINE)* and ST.  ‘Repaired’ is the anagrind.

16  Young flier I discovered in covered passage beginning to tweet
Clever stuff, and I’m going to mark this down as my favourite this morning.  It’s a charade of I inserted in ARCADE (‘a covered passage’) and T for the first letter of ‘tweet’, which in this case doesn’t mean the mindless drivel that young (and actually, not so young) people put on the internet.

18  Affected by fire – as a Somerset town is reported to be
A homophone of CHARD, population around 12,000.

19  Coleridge discarding identity, morphing into painter
(COLER[ID]GE)*  The ID for ‘identity’ needs taking out of COLERIDGE; then it’s an anagram (‘morphing’).

20  Mean one, no good, in a filthy place
An insertion of I for ‘one’ and NG for ‘no good’ in STY, a pig’s preferred residence (or a teenager’s, if my kids are anything to go by).

23  Woman letting small son off lead
Quixote’s indicating that you should take S for ‘small son’ out of LEASH.  Rachel’s sister from the Bible, which is often how you see the name clued.

As I said in the preamble, Quixote’s Monday slots are a good introduction to the Indy puzzles for less experienced solvers, and this is another example.  Oh, and STRAIGHT?  Together with STRENGTH, it’s the longest unmodified one-syllable word in English.  Some past participles, like SCREECHED, have nine letters, but that doesn’t really count.

Thank you to Quixote for an enjoyable Monday morning solve.

8 Responses to “Independent 7771/Quixote”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Pierre, and the laughs.

    I think you’ll kick yourself: endless ‘night’ is ‘nigh’. 😉

    Nice puzzle – thank you, Quixote.

  2. Pierre says:

    Thank you, Eileen. Kicking session over and blog amended.

  3. NealH says:

    I got through this one quite quickly, with mainmast being the last entry. That one was slightly tricky, I thought, because it was an unusual word and the different possibilities for institute, mother and degree. I don’t mind spoonerisms, but prefer it when swapping the initial letters actually makes the answer rather than just something that sounds like it, as in this case.

  4. flashling says:

    thanks pierre i didn’t see endless either. Mainmast was my last in as i was thinking of magnetic for pole which of course didn’t fit and delayed me somewhat in the NE. Cheers Don too for the fun.

  5. Quixote says:

    Thanks for generous feedback. I’ve clearly been bumped forward from next Monday and will presumably come back in 3 weeks.

    In my new Monday Indy role I am for the time being sticking to the Observer Everyman criteria for grids (white around the outside, 28 clues with 4 long answers, at least half the letters checking, so no lesser checking to accommodate ninas or themes). Some of the clues will be of an Everyman level of difficulty, but I shall feel free to introduce slightly trickier subsidiary indications and/or vocabulary to add a modicum of spice.

    Those who want harder puzzles in the Indy will have their tastes catered for on other days of the week and those who want harder stuff from me can look for Pasquale in The Guardian, and in The Times (where of course I am anonymous).

    Thanks again. Q

  6. nmsindy says:

    The usual pleasing puzzle from Quixote. Not too hard, and good variety in clues. My favourite was the clever definition in MAINMAST and I esp liked STRAIGHT too. Good surface too in DIRIGISME. Re NealH’s comment @3, I think that’s a rather strict view of Spoonerisms – if memory serves a dictionary example is ‘loving shepherd’ ‘shoving leopard’. Azed occasionally (and one can only be amazed at how he does it) has an entire puzzle based on Spoonerisms which can be based on swapping consonant sounds or be ‘vocalic’. Thanks for the blog, Pierre, and I certainly did not know that about ‘straight’ and ‘strength’.

  7. Rishi says:

    Ref: 21a CHASUBLE

    There is no chance of my dropping the word in conversation this evening or later but I was reminded of The Rev. Canon Chasuble, DD, a character in Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

  8. flashling says:

    Ha Rishi, that what I thought of too as I wrote it in…

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