Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7786/Anax

Posted by John on September 29th, 2011


My apologies if this blog is on the late side. Having done the crossword by about 1 am, I managed to wipe it by mistake and when I tried to get back into the Indy website I couldn’t. Whether this was them or me I’m not sure, but at any rate I could do all I wanted to do this morning.

On the hard side as always with Anax, but I thought that this one was marginally easier than usual. Certainly there were some cracking clues.

Quite apart from the fact that many of the clues mention Blur and Oasis (something that worried me, but there was no need for concern: Anax only uses the words as sets of letters and requires no knowledge of the bands, except possibly in 17dn) the unches along the top and the bottom spell out what is I think the name of a song and the group that performs it, but aficionados of this sort of thing will be clearer than I am.

9 O R(IE)L — the football is Rugby League
10 AN X IOU SLY — def ‘with unease’
11 ARIOSOS — (or Oasis)* with ‘Blur’ as the anagram indicator — beautifully done
12 MA(CRAM)E — Mae West — I’d never thought of Macramé as particularly fancy, but according to Chambers it’s ornamental knotted threadwork
13 LI(BRAT)E — I think it’s brat = rascal, and lie = to be, with def simply Swing
15 {Oasi}S OFTEN — the closer to Oasis is its last letter
16 LOU — “loo” although the clue could equally well give Lew — arguably a weakness since you need the checker from the down clue to know which one is correct
20 PUR{e} CELL
21 nEVEr — on the edge of acceptability but just about OK: the definition is ‘She’ and ‘never’ stops (ie contains) the answer
22 G(R)OWER — I wonder how long it will be before David Gower becomes an old cricketer, such is the transitoriness of sportsmen
23 ROB {n}OTIC{e} — rob = ramp
25 DES P OIL — ‘some’ Fench = ‘des’
27 O(TAL{e} GI)A — on account of is o/a
29 OLIVE TREE — (to relieve)*
30 TH{r}ONG
1 WOMANLIKE — (male I know)* — lovely surface
2 HI-FI — not totally sure here: I think it’s h for husband, if for given (as in a maths question: ‘given x = 3 what is 2x?’ is the same as ‘if x = 3 what is 2x?’, i for one, and the definition is ‘is that clear?'; I’m fairly comfortable with the wordplay but not at all comfortable with the definition, which seems a loose way to define hi-fi.
3 A LA SKA — and Alaska is the last frontier of the USA, being farthest north and farthest west
4 TAX SHELTER — l in (The Extras)* — commercial break = tax shelter — excellent definition
5 EXAM — (max e)rev.
6 VOUCH FOR — def = Back, v ouch! (‘painful, that is’, which is the same as ‘that is painful’) “fore”
7 E S(CAPE MEN)T — OK an escapement is a watch part, but I can’t see where the ‘train’ comes in [Watch train part from East Street with some South Africans on board]
8 RYDE — “ride” (I had blithely entered ‘goer’ (“Goa”) but it was the wrong part of speech and anyway Anax would have been somewhat more imaginative with that word)
14 BELORUSSIA — {hous}e in (Blur Oasis)*
15 SUPERMODEL — so far as I can see it’s (Sue L) outside (per mod), with the definition ‘A lovely’, per = a, mod = modify (yes really, Chambers supports this) with ‘for’ as padding to help the surface
17 ALL CHANGE — I think I could parse this one last night: it’s a closed book to me now; all I can now suggest is that it’s a double definition
19 BOW LOVER — fiend = lover in the sense of ‘crossword fiend = crossword lover’
24 BHAKTI — k in (habit)* — since the word is likely to be unknown Anax kindly makes the wordplay easy: in Hinduism bhakti is devotion to a god
25 DR OP
26 BLUR Known
28 GO OF — def ‘genius? No’

18 Responses to “Independent 7786/Anax”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks John
    The wordplay in 17dn is ALL (complete) CHANGE (upheaval). The definition is ‘Oasis split’ giving ‘O as is’. ALL CHANGE would result in ‘nothing as is’.

    In 7dn, an ESCAPEMENT forms part of a watch [gear] train.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Glad to hear Chambers supports mod for modify in 15. By the way I thought it was per=”for a”, so didn’t see “for” as padding.

    Re 17d – took me a long time to see this, and I sympathize with your Porlock experience this morning. It’s that OASIS when “split” is “0 as is” = zero as it is = all change. Brilliant stuff.

    And Whatever was by Oasis; Parklife was by Blur (both were singles).

    Quite a tour de force from Anax!

  3. Thomas99 says:

    PS. – I’m sure you’re right about 2d, John. Re the definition, although we normally use hi-fi to mean the equipment, it does stand for “high fidelity”, which refers directly to the clarity of the sound. “Hi-fi sound” means, more or less, “clear sound”.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, John, and Anax for yet another stunning puzzle. Who’d have thought Blur and Oasis could lend themselves to such diversity? – brilliant cluing!

    As always, picking out ‘favourite’ clues would be invidious. I didn’t see the wordplay of 17dn [thanks Gaufrid] but that would be a strong contender.

    And – Callooh! Callay! – I saw the Nina! :-)

    [John, I disagree with you re 16ac: I’ve only ever heard Lew [Hoad and Grade] pronounced to rhyme with ‘few’.]

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, John.

    Well, I finished another Anax, so I guess that’s a further notch on the bedpost (in a figurative way, of course). But the ‘check’ button took a bit of a hammering, I have to say, because there were plenty of answers entered that I didn’t have the foggiest about. This is about as hard as I can manage at the minute, but it was good fun for all that. I was happy enough to have solved it, so I didn’t go looking for the two song titles.

    WOMANLIKE and ANXIOUSLY were the ones I particularly liked this morning.

    I’m with John on LOU, since I fell into the same trap. Aren’t LEW and LOU homophones?

  6. NealH says:

    I’m afraid I was in the Lew camp as well – got Lew Grade stuck in my head. Unless you knew the word, there was also no way of knowing whether 24 down was bhakti or bharti.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    I’ve never come across Lew pronounced differently to Lou – but then again this site does regularly throw up surprising variations in this area. It’s my father’s name and he certainly doesn’t say it Eileen’s way. His brother was John and there were jokes about them both being named after lavatories. I’m pretty sure Lew Grade (a fairly distant acquaintance of said father) didn’t say “lyoo” either.

  8. scchua says:

    Thanks John, and Anax for the challenge.

    Though I put in LOU, like K’sDad I think LEW and LOU are homophones (cf.LEWIS, if anything to go by).

    Like 24D, 28D could just as well have been GO ON(verb, to work) with the same definition. Though I saw WHATEVER, PARK LINE made just as much sense to me, not being among the “aficionados of this sort of thing” as John puts it.

    Bar 28D, enjoyed completing it.

  9. anax says:

    Hi all
    Many thanks to John for the blog and for your kind responses.
    Re 16a, have to confess LEW hadn’t occurred to me, although Eileen’s suggested pronunciation is fairly close to mine (not based on how I’ve heard, more on how I imagine it to be pronounced properly). Thankfully there was a cross-checked available to confirm the right one.
    I wouldn’t have defined GO ON as ‘work'; for me it means to continue. Whatever.
    Hope you all had fun!

  10. scchua says:

    Hi anax – how about “i go on at 8 pm at the plant”?

  11. anax says:

    Hi Scchua
    I suppose I might have risked it that way, but I’d be expecting Eimi to ask for a change. For “I go on at 8pm” the direct substitution (in my mind anyway) would be “start work” not just “work”. I’m not saying your example is wrong, only that I’d expect to be told it was too loose to be really fair/gettable.

  12. scchua says:

    Thanks for responding anax. I had forgotten to mention the other sense of “continue” = “(still) operative” = “it works!”

  13. Pelham Barton says:

    I am poking my nose in here not having solved the puzzle, but I have to raise a slight question about Gaufrid’s explanation (@1) of 17dn. I could accept “complete upheaval” as a definition for ALL CHANGE or pretty feeble wordplay, and I can accept “Oasis split” as perfectly sound wordplay, but I can not accept it as a definition. In other words, I am perfectly happy with the clue, but suggest that you (Gaufrid) have the definition and wordplay the wrong way round in your explanation.

    Anax, if you are still reading this, could you enlighten us as to your intention in this clue?

  14. anax says:

    Yes, Pelham, your interpretation is the one that was intended – ‘complete upheaval’ as the def. It took a few attempts to make the OASIS wordplay fair!

  15. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Anax @14. I should add that you did most of the hard work in constructing the clue and Gaufrid and others the rest of the hard work in solving it. I just did the easy bit of spotting that things were not quite right in the way Gaufrid had put it together.

  16. Quixote says:

    Clever stuff, which I enjoyed, and about time we had another pop theme. It’s been a couple of days.

  17. Allan_C says:

    Very slow going, but got there in the end with lots of help and without understanding some of the clues (17d in particular). It finally fell into place when I spotted the nina to give me some ‘missing’ letters.
    Favourites? VOUCH FOR and ESCAPEMENT.

  18. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Started and finished this crossword only this morning during my wake-up procedure.
    Oh, those were the days. It seems already such a long time ago when we had this rivalry (was it?) between two bands, not seen since the Beatles & the Stones. Never really liked Oasis (mainly due to their extremely dull vocals) and had a preference for the band of Damon Albarn who on Blur’s 1995 album “The Great Escape” was in a cryptic mood as one of the tracks was an anagram of his name (“Dan Abnormal”). This album also contained the track “Country House” which was cleverly used in 14d (BELORUSSIA).

    And so we come to the real strength of this crossword. The variety in which Anax uses the names of both bands. I thought that was brilliant.

    Belated thanks, John, for your blog.
    I was part of apparently a minority that was perfectly happy with LOU (16ac). Never thought of ‘Lew’ anyway, but isn’t a crossword called a crossword because cross-checking is part of the solving process? But yes, I know, some have other opinions on that [‘every clue should be (uniquely) solvable as a stand-alone clue’].
    And the other short one EVE (21ac) ‘on the edge of acceptibility’? Reading it as: “She” (definition) that the word “Never” stops [“She” is stopped by “Never”], I can’t see a problem here either.

    Great stuff!

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