Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,803 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on October 19th, 2011


There was the usual crop of high-quality, carefully crafted clues on offer from Dac this Wednesday morning. As usual, they were as pleasurable to blog as they were to solve.

Having said that, I did find this particular one quite challenging, and I had to plug away at it from start to finish, ending up in the NE corner. At no point did I seem to solve a string of clues in quick succession.

As for my favourite clue, today, that would have to be 21, which I have encountered as a word today for the first time in a crossword; it took a long
time for me to work out how the definition was to be understood. I hadn’t come across the entry at 18 in a crossword before, or indeed the reference from popular (sporting) culture to “various women” at 4. I also rather liked the & lit. at 7.

Given the semantic link between the entries at 9 and 25, I did wonder if there might be some game shows hidden away in the grid somewhere, but I didn’t spot any and, in any case, that’s just not really Dac’s style, is it?


*(…) indicates an anagram


1   SCAM   SCA (AC’s=account’s; “given a twist” indicates a reversal) + <fil>M (“end of” means last letter only); the definition is “(the) sting”, i.e. deception
4   CONFORMED   ME (=this writer) in [CON (=right-wing, i.e. conservative) + FORD (=president, i.e. US President Gerald Ford)]
9   QUESTION MASTER   <nigh>T (“end of” means last letter only) in *(ON TIMES SQUARE); “gathering” is anagram indicator; the definition is “host” as a noun, i.e. a presenter of e.g. quiz show
11   AIRCREW   AIR (=show, as a verb) + CREW (=boasted, from the verb to crow)
12   TARIFFS   AR (=US state, i.e. Arkansas) in TIFFS (=rows, i.e. arguments)
13   IN CHARGE   INCH (=Scottish island) + <s>ARGE (=officer, i.e. sergeant; “first to go” means first letter is dropped); the definition is simply “commanding”
15   VALISE   IS in VALE<t> (=servant; “briefly” means last letter is dropped)
18   STRUTH   STRUT (=bar, i.e. rod) + H (=hot); alternative spelling of “strewth”, i.e. esp. Australian slang; the definition is “goodness gracious”
19   SCUPPERS   C<old> (“starter” means first letter only) in SUPPERS (=evening meals)
21   E-TAILER   [I in ETALE (ELATE=transport, as a verb; "returning" indicates a reversal)] + R (=river); the definition is “Amazon”, referring to the online retailer of books, etc hence “e-tailer”
23   BRAHMAN   BRA (=support) + H<u>MAN (=person; “non-U” means the letter “u” is dropped)
25   TELEVISION SHOW   I (=one) in *(NOVELIST WHOSE); “works” is anagram indicator
26   RIDERLESS   RIDER (=condition, i.e. clause in contract) –LESS (=out of)
27   LAIR   L<e>A<f>I<E>R; “parts, oddly” means that the odd letters only are used, and the even ones dropped
2   CHURR   C (=caught, i.e. on a cricket scorecard) + HURR<y> (=fly, as a verb; “tail bitten off” means last letter is dropped)
3   MISCREANT   I (one) replaces HE in MANC<he>STER, which is then anagrammatised: *(MANC-I-STER); “possibly” is anagram indicator
4   CHINWAGS   C (=about) + H (=husband) + IN (=popular) + WAGS (=various females, i.e. Wives And Girlfriends)
5   NINETY   Hidden (“consumes”) in “caNINE TYpically”
6   ON AIR   Hidden (‘”extracts from”) and reversed (“flipping”) in “WagneRIAN Operas”
7   MET OFFICE   <summerti>ME (“final stages of” means last two letters only are used) + TOFF (=swell) + ICE (=very cold conditions); & lit.
8   DORIS LESSING   DO (=achieve) + [LESS (=comparatively little) in RISING (=revolution)]; Doris Lessing (1919-) is a British writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007.
10   TAX INSPECTOR   TAXI (=vehicle) + [P (=parking) in {N (=northern) + SECTOR (=zone)}]
14   CURTAILED   CUR (=dog) + <tha>T (“ultimately” means last letter only) + AILED (=suffered)
16   APPRAISAL   A + *(PAP<e>R) + IS + A + L (=learner); “with no end of pagE” means that the letter “e” is dropped
17   SCABIOUS   SCAB (=strikebreaker) + <r>IO<t> (“at centre of” means middle letters only are used) + US (=American); scabious is any plant of the genus Scabiosa of the teasel family, long thought efficacious in treating skin disorders
20   CRUSOE   Homophone of “crew (=sailors) so (=thus)”; the reference is to castaway Robinson Crusoe in the novel by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719.
22   LAVER   LAV (=John, i.e.mslang word for lavatory) + ER (=King, i.e. Edward Rex); the reference is to Australian tennis player Rod Laver (1938-), who won Wimbledon four times in the 1960s
24   MAORI   MA<n>OR (=large house; “gutted” means the middle letter is dropped) + I (=one)


7 Responses to “Independent 7,803 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    RatkojaRiku, thank you for your helpful blog.

    Exactly the same experience as you: a good bit trickier than your usual Dac (but we have been saying that a bit recently). Needed a lot of perseverance to get there, but as always with this setter, a pleasure to solve. CHINWAGS and the clever anagrams for QUESTION MASTER and TELEVISION SHOW stood out today.

    I took 1ac to be just a reversal of ACS for ‘accounts’ plus the M, rather than ‘accountants’.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    I didn’t find this easy at all! I was totally fooled by 18a (STRUTH). “Strewth” was my first thought, and when it didn’t fit or parse I (eventually) stuck the “U” in completely mindlessly. I only understood the parsing when the online “Congratulations!” came up. It’s a clever dodge by Dac – as it’s meant to be a contraction of “God’s truth!” this must be the original spelling.

  3. NealH says:

    I thought this was a little tricky in places and didn’t spot that 9 across was an anagram until I’d got the answer. Struth was my last entry – I was also convinced it should be strewth and eventually worked it out from the wordplay, so coming back full circle to realize it was what I’d originally thought, only spelt differently. 2 down was also quite tricky – I was convinced for ages that it must be chirp.

  4. RatkojaRiku says:

    @Kathryn’s Dad – thanks for spotting that, which obviously has to be the correct reading of the clue in order for the surface to be smooth. I was sure that I had read “accountant’s” this morning, and not “account’s” – the expression “more haste, less speed” springs to mind …

  5. nmsindy says:

    Many thanks, RatkojaRiku, and Dac. Maybe I was lucky but I did not find it harder than usual for a Dac puzzle. All perfect as always. If I had to pick my two favourite clues they’d be TELEVISION SHOW (super misleading anagram), and CRUSOE (esp good surface).

    And, RatkojaRiku, if you’ve never heard of the WAGS, maybe I should go to wherever you are…

  6. mhl says:

    I haven’t done a Dac puzzle for a while, so this was a real pleasure – such lovely surface readings in every clue. The only problems for us here were CHURR (a new word) and stupidly putting in CAR INSPECTOR without accounting for the I, or apparently thinking at all :)

    My one very minor quibble here was that the “As” in 8 across broke the definition.

  7. flashling says:

    8ac MHL? didn’t get Churr new word on me, got the rest in 15 mins, gave up and read the paper, thanks RR for giving me the last one and Dac for a nice puzzle. At least after yesterday’s Anax you could get going with fairly decent definitions and normal wordplay. Not that Anax brain busters aren’t welcome.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

nine + 2 =