Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7788 by Monk (Sat 01-Oct 2011)

Posted by beermagnet on October 8th, 2011


Is it a Double Pangram? – Yes it is!

First pass 10 answers in 10 mins which is good going for me, and by the end of the first session I was stuck with only 8 to go. I have certainly tackled tougher crossies by Monk, and tougher Prize Puzzles. But there was a reason for getting on so well with this one – Monk has acheived the remarkable feat of producing a DOUBLE Pangram using interesting but mostly accessible words.

After solving a few such as ZION and QUEEN OF SHEBA I suspected there might be a Pangram and actually went looking for answers with the tricky letters in mind. This approach helped with answers such as BLACKGUARD and ONYX. Then when I was struggling with the last few I did a count-up to conclude the Double was possible which certainly helped spot TECHNOJUNKIE. I did wonder if the triple was on, but there are only two Js (for example).

But thanks to Monk for a nice workout.

1 MOONQUAKES Maria might be somewhat moved by us (10)
Cryptic Def. The Maria here is not the girl that’s just been met, but the “seas” on the Moon
6 ATOM Very small piece of artillery turned all sign of resistance away (4)
(MO[r]TA[r])< A MORTAR is a piece of artillary. Take out all the R’s and turn it around
9 OXYGEN MASK One assisting with O2′s admission procedure? (6,4)
Cryptic Def. relying on the misdirection of the double meanings of O2. The clue is worded to suggest the concert space (previous known as the Dome) rather than the chemical symbol of Oxygen (more properly O2 with a subscript). Was I misled? Course I was.
10 ZION One is charged by an unknown state (4)
Z (unknown) ION (one is charged). Def: State. Hmm. Are we going to about whether Zion is a proper State as in political entity? No I’ll just point out this was the first I wrote in – well, pencilled in – and was happy to see it hold up.
12 TECHNOJUNKIE Practical expert, mostly genuine and no-nonsense, bound by obligation (12)
Def: Practical expert. ECH (mostly genuine) and NO JUNK (no nonsense) inside TIE (obligation) Well that sounded authoritative – I’m sure at the time I rationalised ECH from “mostly genuine” but now I’m doing the blog I can’t remember how
15 LANGUE D’OC Old language using uninitiated jargon and universal system of symbols from the east (6,3)
[s]LANG (uninitiated jargon) CODE< (universal system of symbols from the east) I’d've struggled with this one if I hadn’t being rading about Occitan / Langue d’Oc recently
17 ENNUI English news unit regularly hacked bore (5)
E[nglish] NN (news -two of ‘em) U[n]I[t] Def. bore. It was the def that gave this away very quickly
18 CHIMP Former sort of party member taps one serving member? (5)
CH (taps – Cold and Hot in this case) I (one) MP (serving member) Def. refers to the Chimps’ Tea Party, a regular 4 p.m. attraction at the London Zoo of my youth.
19 VIDEOTAPE Record time held by half of 8 and most of 24 (9)
Def: Record. Wordplay: T[ime] between VIDEO (ref 8D) and APE (most of 24A).
20 GREEN GODDESS Naive cook dodges smoke, primarily to find special fire extinguisher (5,7)
GREEN (Naive) (DODGES)* AInd: cook. S[moke] Insert joke about untrained squaddies &/or you’d have thought someone might have painted them red by now.
24 APEX Top copy with sign of error (4)
APE (copy) X
25 OSSIFEROUS It could describe spine of issues or otherwise (10)
(OF ISSUES OR)* AInd: otherwise
26 DUTY Service tax (4)
Double def.
27 WYKEHAMIST Boy in college ski team – why get worried? (10)
(SKI TEAM WHY)* AInd: get worried. An Old Boy of Winchester College is a Wykehamist, e.g. my son-in-law
1 MEOW Queen’s comment upset short ladies (4)
(WOME[n])* AInd: upset. This one really fooled me and was indeed the last answer I entered. It took a while to recall the a female cat is a queen.
2 ONYX Stone found in old and new axes (4)
O[ld] N[ew] YX (axes – cartesian coordinates)
3 QUEUE-JUMPING Waiters will be irritated by this going forward (5-7)
Interrelated Double def. one of them cryptic-ish. A “waiter” in a queue who gets jumped might get irritated, and queue-jumping is going forward.
4 ALMAH Dancing girl in Durham, lass from the south (5)
Hidden reversed in durHAM LAss. I had to check it but it’s there in Chambers: Alma/Almah – Egyptian dancing girl
5 ENSONCED Finish coating candle holder that’s fixed (9)
SCONCE (candle holder) inside END (finish). Fixed – as in “ensconced in the loo”
7 TWICKENHAM Football club needing strip instead of extreme sports venue (10)
TOTTENHAM with OTT (extreme) replaced by WICK (strip). My clue of the puzzle – how had I never noticed the large commonality of letters in these two places.
8 MONTEVIDEO Check up one old Ford model outside foreign capital (10)
VET< (check up) I (one) inside MONDEO (old Ford model). Capital of Uruguay
11 QUEEN OF SHEBA Her arrival was famously noted (5,2,5)
“The arrival of the Queen of Sheba” is one of the most familiar pieces of music by Handel.
Link to Youtube example
13 BLACKGUARD Denounce two defenders for crossing line (10)
BACK and GUARD (two defenders) around L[ine] I doubted this till it had to be as I knew Blackguard only as a noun. In Chambers I find Blackguard can be a verb meaning vituperate, thus denounce fits.
14 INSIDE LEFT Sporting position where you’d find English female and nothing else? (6,4)
The wordplay here is very unusual. E[nglish] F[emale] gives EF. EF is all that is inside LEFT. So there’s nothing but EF inside left. Geddit.
16 DEVIOUSLY You’ve slid awfully, behaving thus? (9)
(YOU’VE SLID)* AInd awfully.
21 DRIVE Urge Romeo to enter den of iniquity (5)
R[omeo] inside DIVE
22 ZORI 10 cutting leg without gold sandal (4)
OR (gold) inside ZI[on] (10A is Zion, the leg side is the “on” side (cricket term) so 10 cutting leg is ZI) DEf. sandal. Again had to check that a Zori is a shoe
23 PSST Brutal guards in exercise say this to get attention (4)
SS (Brutal guards) inside PT (exercise)

9 Responses to “Independent 7788 by Monk (Sat 01-Oct 2011)”

  1. sidey says:

    ECH[t] is the mostly genuine bit of 14, never heard of the answer so one I didn’t get. I’d spotted the pangram early but I refuse to use the device to help solve a daily puzzle, he said curmudgeonly.

    1d is pushing fairness surely as you have to find a synonym, abbreviate it and then muck about with it. Strip for wick is a bit odd too.

    Apart from that, enjoyable. Some excellent misdirection going on.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, beermagnet, and Monk. The double pangram helped me to finish what was a really difficult and challenging puzzle but all became clear in the end. V suitable for a weekend. MEOW was my last answer too – some great misdirection throughout the puzzle.
    Dicts confirm wick = strip.

  3. Allan_C says:

    Re 8dn, why is Mondeo and OLD Ford model? To the best of my knowledge it’s still a current model, or does Monk know something we don’t? Nice bit of misdirection, though, looking for T as the old model.

    Sidey @ 1, you mean 12, not 14. TECHNOJUNKIE was my last one in, once I’d spotted ECH[t] it had to start TECHNO….. so I guessed it then found confirmation in Chambers.

  4. Polly says:

    MEOW was my last entry too, mainly because I first put SNOWQUAKES (a type of cookie which my convoluted reasoning persuaded me could be one of Maria von Trapp’s favourite things) for 1a. As I struggled with 22d (my penultimate blank) I was hoping, without much conviction, that it would contain a Z to complete the double pangram. Respect to Monk: a wonderful puzzle.

    Best piece of misdirection for me was Mondeo rather than the usual T for the Ford model in 8 down.

  5. Polly says:

    Apologies for repeating what Allan_C @3 says about model T: I spent too long composing my comment…

  6. Thomas99 says:

    My last in was MEOW too. So it doesn’t just mean a camp comment (“Ooh meow! Get her!”)?

    Re 27 – Losing/lost battle I know but I only use Wykehamist to mean a pupil of Win. Coll., and Old Wykehamist to mean one of the old boys. So by my definition your daughter has a very young husband. I know the other usage is everywhere (including in Evelyn Waugh, Betjeman et al.) but you’ll humour a pedantic old Wok, I hope… And Monk used it my way. (But it’s a school, Monk, not a college; College is a house etc. etc…)

    There is an argument of course that we should actively avoid the prescribed usage for such shamefully backward and unjust institutions…

  7. Monk says:

    This is so long after the appearance of 7788 that I suspect nobody will read it; but I hope it does initiate some feedback and/or debate, if only to answer a question that has plagued me for years.

    First, many thanks to Beermagnet for a great blog and to the above solvers for their comments. I was surprised to see the double pangram eliciting any form of comment following Tees’ recent tour de force of the triple pangram (Independent 7756) that appeared after 7788 was submitted.

    The triple seemed vaguely possible as 7788 took shape, but fell short by {BJQZ}; a puzzle set for MM-C many years ago fell short by {JQX}. By “fell short“, I mean that I was constrained by a standard (Times, I think) grid with 28 lights and an average word length of 7.71, whereas the bespoke grid for 7756 had 34 lights and and a.w.l. of 6.29.

    All this is not to pour cold water on Tees’ super coup, but rather to introduce my enduring question, to wit: is a triple pangram possible in a standard grid with an a.w.l. of greater than 7 using, to quote Beermagnet, only “interesting but mostly accessible words”? I can’t help thinking that the late Mike Laws may have done this on the QT.

  8. Allan_C says:

    Interesting point, Monk. Might be a topic for discussion at a Sloggers and Betters meet. Any chance of dropping in to the Midlands one in November?

  9. Graham Pellen says:

    15A is U = universal, then CODE reversed.

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