Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7823 / Radian

Posted by duncanshiell on November 11th, 2011


I have not solved many puzzles by Radian before, but I discover that he is one of the most prolific setters, in many guises – Crucible in The Guardian and Redshank in the Financial Times as well as being the weekday Daily Mail crossword setter since 2005 [source:  Best for Puzzles – Who’s who? ]

Today is Remembrance Day, the eleventh day of then eleventh month, and many crossword puzzles over the past years have used Remembrance as a theme.  This puzzle however focuses on the numerical representation of the date – 11/11/11 or ONE ONE/ ONE ONE/ ONE ONE.  There are ten clues whoe word play is missing something. The ten clues involved all lack reference to three consecutive letters ONE in their wordplay. If you solved the puzzle at 11 minutes past 11 today you were ideally placed to get all ten ONEs. I realise that 11:11 GMT 11/11/11 is some 4 hours after I have posted this blog, but some people will not look at the blog until well past 11:11

My understanding of the theme came when I solved 10 Down – EVERYONE ELSE

Omitting three letters from wordplay can produce some interesting effects, especially when the entry is only 4 letters in length.  12 Across – BONE was clued simply by B (book).  Fortunately the average length of the entries from the other nine special clues was 9.8 letters which allowed for easier solving.

There were some intricate clues – I especially liked the clue to ONE DAY which involved two exclusions of letters from different components.  I also liked the fact that most clues did not just rely on definitions lifted straight from a dictionary, but required a little bit of thinking to home in on the right answer.  I can’t even find THINCOATED in any dictionary, and could only find IN VOGUE in Chambers Thesaurus rather than the dictionary itself.

Radian required us to trawl our knowledge (in my case, fairlly limited knowledge) of foreign words – ENCORE and NOVE, although I accept that ENCORE is now a mainstream word in the English language.

There were a number of  anagram indicators in the puzzle, some of which are clear indicators – working, roughly and drunkenly, but there were also a few that the purists will say were strongly to the liberal end of usage of such indicators – ragtag, guide and misled.  However, it was clear what was required, so does purism in cluing matter if there is no doubt what the setter intends?   It would be interesting to hear other peoples’ views.

As I was solving 1 Across, I initially thought of HONEYMOONERS and realised that there were two occurences of ONE in that word.  I fairly soon reverted to the correct answer of HONEYMOONING, but it sent me thinking that Radian would have had to omit multiple occurences of ONE from wordplay if he had chosen phrases such as LET BYGONES BE BYGONES or STONE OF SCONE.  Indeed he could have gone the whole hog and tried PUT ONE‘S MONEY WHERE ONE‘S MOUTH IS or the Abba hit MONEY MONEY MONEY.  Perhaps multiple occurences are a step too far for weekday blocked crosswords.  I have certainly seen examples of multiple omissions in barred crosswords.

As with many crosswords, I learnt a bit during research to confirm some of the answers.  Mythology is not a strong point of mine so I learnt about PERSEPHONE‘s life.  I suspect I am not alone in being previously unaware of the existence of the LEONIDs meteor shower in November.  Look for it on November 17.

The fifteensquared admin page [available to bloggers] tells me that this blog is number 6000 for the website as a whole. As Gaufrid said last week, that is an impressive performance by all contributors to a website that only started five years ago

No. Clue Special Wordplay Entry
1 Loves singing praises about going on first union outing (12)


HYMNING (singing praises; ‘hymn’ is a verb as well as a noun) containing (about) (O [love, score in tennis] + O [love, again]; together OO forms ‘loves”) HONEYMOONING (going on first union outing, where ‘union’ means ‘marriage’)’
8 Busy but ready to start monopoly? (2,3,2)   ON THE GO (at the start of a game of Monopoly, all players place their tokens on the corner square marked ‘GO’) ON THE GO (busy)
9 Kylie’s not the first to entertain 5 with it (2,5)   MINOGUE (reference the singer and actress, Kylie Minogue) excluding the first letter (not the first) M containing (to entertain) V (Roman numeral for 5) IN VOGUE (fashionable; following current trends in popular taste; with it)
11 He can’t do it, working with a superficial layer (4-6)   Anagram of (working) HE CAN’T DO IT THIN-COATED (with a superficial layer)
12 Close to it is risque book (4)


B (book) BONE (if something is ‘close to the BONE‘ it is risqué [audaciously bordering on the unseemly])  I don’t know if risqué was spelt with an é in the paper.  It isn’t on the download via Crossword Solver.  I think it should be.
14 After 5 roughly we introduce a recipe for casseroles perhaps (8)   Anagram of (roughly) NOVE (the entry at 5 Down) + (WE  containing [introduce] [A + R [recipe]) OVENWARE (casseroles can be cooked in OVENWARE)
15 Eventually I’ll back off leaving paper, say (3,3)


DAILY (newspaper; paper) excluding (leaving) IL’L, itself excluding the final (back off)  L ONE DAY (eventually)
17 Bonus piece of Poulenc or Elgar (6)   Hidden word in (piece of) POULENC OR ELGAR ENCORE (an additional item as a result of audience request; bonus)
19 Number 10 at first curious about linesman? (8)   TEN (10) (at first) + N (number) + (NOSY [curious] reversed [about]) TENNYSON (reference Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet; one who writes lines [of poetry]; linesman)
22 Times regularly sent over and over again (4)   Odd letters (regularly) of SENT OVER, reversed (over again) EONS (very large division of geological times; times)
23 The wife from hell peers drunkenly into pub (10)


Anagram of (drunkenly) PEERS contained in (into) PH (Public House; pub) PERSEPHONE (daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter; husband of Hades and queen of the underworld; the wife from hell)
25 Fix game against county (3,4)   TIE (match in which one contestant or team are eliminated; game) + DOWN (reference County DOWN, Northern Ireland) TIE DOWN (fix)
26 Unique quality of timeless leafy homes (7)


NESTS (leafy homes) excluding (less) T (time) ONENESS (unique quality of)
27 Bias when revolutionary bodyguards ended lives (3-9)


(SS [Schutzstaffel; Nazi elite corps; bodyguards] + ENDED + IS [lives]) reversed (revolutionary) ONESIDEDNESS
No. Clue   Wordplay Entry
1 Ambassador input nothing to upset critical link (7)   ([NIL {nothing} + TO] contained in (input) HE [His/Her Excellency; form of address for an ambassador/ambassadress]) reversed (upset)   HOTLINE (a special telephone and teleprinter link, originally one between the Kremlin and Washington; any line of speedy communication ready for an emergency; critical link)
2 He wrote at Xmas before Cod War intervened (4,6)   NOEL (Christmas; Xmas) + (COD containing (intervened) WAR) NOEL COWARD (author, playwright, composer, actor and singer; he wrote)
3 The old old knight in ragtag army – or all of it? (8)   YE (old form of ‘the'; the old) + O (old) + (N [knight] contained in [in] an anagram of [ragtag (?)] ARMY) YEOMANRY (a cavalry volunteer force in Great Britain formed during the wars of the French Revolution, later mechanized as part of the Territorial Army; could be described as a ragtag army of old knight, i.e. ‘all of it’).
4 Offers views big tree blocked (6)   OS (outsize; big) containing (blocked) PINE (tree) OPINES (offers views)
5 Florence’s 9 halfway through this month (4)   NOVE (half of NOVEMBER [this month]) NOVE (nine in Italian [Florence])
6 Guide ignored person of African extraction (7)   Anagram of (guide [?]) IGNORED NEGROID (person of African extraction)
7 Delay in mail exercises banking personnel (12)


POST (mail) + (PT [physical training; exercise] containing [banking] MEN [personnel]) POSTPONEMENT (delay)
10 English severely misled all except us (8,4)


Anagram of (misled] (E [English] and SEVERELY) EVERYONE ELSE (all except us)
13 Reconciled, say, unlike Ikea purchases? (2,3,5)


IN PIECE (sounds like [say] IN PEACE [reconciled, one of the meanings of ‘reconcile’ is ‘pacify’)]) IN ONE PIECE (most goods purchased from Ikea involve self-assembly, so the goods do not come [unlike] IN ONE PIECE)
16 Supply cash to cover short film – objective cover (4,4)   LEND (supply cash) containing (to cover) SHOOT (film excluding the last letter [short] T) LENS HOOD (a cover for an [objective] lens)
18 Firm vote against church service (7)   CON (a vote against) + CE (Church [of England]) + RN (Royal Navy; armed service) CONCERN (business; compnay)
20 They killed Stephen, saint Rembrandt sketched originally (7)


ST (saint) + first letters of (originally) REMBRANT and SKETCHED STONERS (The Acts of the Apostles states that St Stephen was stoned to death.  Rembrandt depicted his martyrdom in his work The Stoning of Saint Stephen) 
21 Brezhnev’s name for one this month’s shower (6)


The LEONIDs is a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The LEONIDs get their name from the location of their radiant [the centre from which meteor showers appear to emanate] in the constellation Leo. The LEONIDs tend to peak in November, hence the reference to ‘this month’s shower’ in the clue. We want one of the LEONIDs, hence LEONID LEONID (first name of  LEONID BREZHNEV [1906 – 1982],  leader of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death)
24 Votes against what out-of-stock dealer has? (4)   NO ES (If a drug dealer is out-of-stock of ecstasy tables then he/she has NO Es) NOES (votes against)

24 Responses to “Independent 7823 / Radian”

  1. Ian W. says:

    Duncan, thanks for the blog. Don’t work too hard at 14a. A casseroles are cooking vessels, and so are themselves ovenware. The food cooked in one can also be called a casserole, of course.

    Ian SW3

  2. Ian W. says:

    Sorry — in changing “A casserole” into “casseroles” I inadvertently left the “A” in. Must try that preview button sometime.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Duncan.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, Like others, I had been expecting something date-related, since the setters’ schedule had been rearranged, and I thought this was a very clever treatment, with all the themed clues being free-standing and giving a clear idea of what we were looking for, once we had caught on, as I did with 1ac.

    There were some excellent clues, with lovely witty surfaces, my favourite being 23ac, followed by 14ac and 3, 7, 13 and 20 dn.

    I’m an admirer of inventive anagram indicators and I had no problem at all with the three that you mention. [What did you make of Anax’s ‘Byzantine’ on Tuesday?]. ‘Ragtag’ [Chambers ‘disorderly’] added immensely to the surface of 3dn; ‘misled’ [ibid ‘mislead: to cause to go wrong’] is quite acceptable to me; initially, I thought you perhaps had a point with ‘guide’, but,with its definitions ‘control, steer, direct’, I don’t think it’s too far from ‘order’, which is a pretty common indicator.

    [BTW, you have a wrong title for your blog.]

    Many thanks, Radian, for an excellent puzzle.

  4. duncanshiell says:


    Thanks for spotting the error in the title – corrected now. I lost quite lot of edits when proof reading this before publication this and the title disappeared as well, so I didn’t think properly when re-inserting the title. I blog more Inquisitors than Independent daily crosswords and was obviously in auto-pilot mode.

  5. Eileen says:

    Hi Duncan

    “I blog more Inquisitors than Independent daily crosswords.”

    I assumed that was the explanation: I know it’s easily done!

  6. Allan_C says:

    As Eileen says, an enjoyable solve. Thanks, Radian and Duncan.

    Once I got the (not unexpected) theme a lot of the answers fell into place without having to worry too much about the clues where wordplay was deficient, as they all had to have an O, an N and an E in them somewhere. Mildly surprised in hindsight that there weren’t 11 clues that had something missing

    Favourites? TENNYSON and IN ONE PIECE.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I was glad to have your comprehensive blog today, Duncan, because there must have been a quarter of this puzzle where I had either only the vaguest, or no, notion of the parsing. If I hadn’t been alerted to the significance of the date on the blog earlier this week, I doubt I would have finished. But I twigged what was going on with EVERYONE ELSE, and finally managed it.

    NOES and IN VOGUE were the non-themed clues that I liked especially today.

    Bit surprised that the online completion message didn’t give any clue as to what the puzzle was all about. I’m guessing that quite a few folk who haven’t discovered the delights of 225 will be scratching their heads.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Radian for an excellent puzzle and Duncan for the blog.

    I got the answer to 1ac without getting the theme, and then 10dn made everything clear.

    I think of myself as a purist and was quite happy with the three anagram leads you highlighted. “Guide” has correctly been used before the anagram fodder: the others would work for me on either side. I had actually thought that 2dn was using “intervened” as an anagram lead, for which I can find no justification whatsoever: I am glad to see that I was wrong in that.

    That just leaves the one niggle at 14ac: “we’ll introduce” has just as good a surface and is impeccable grammatically, so why use “we introduce”, which is at best doubtful in the cryptic reading?

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    In relation to Duncan’s point

    However, it was clear what was required, so does purism in cluing matter if there is no doubt what the setter intends? It would be interesting to hear other peoples’ views.

    I have given a view on the broader issue in the General Discussion section of this website

  10. Richard says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for taking the trouble to produce such a comprehensive blog.

    I’m afraid this crossword was far too much for my 35 minute lunchbreak today, but I have no complaints about any of the anagram indicators.

  11. duncanshiell says:

    Pelham @ 9

    I have responded to your comment in the General Discussion section.

    For a while, I too had ‘intervened’ on my list of more liberal anagram indicators. It was not until I was in the middle of writing the blog that I saw it was acting a containment indicator.

  12. Thomas99 says:

    Excellent! One was lost for words…

  13. scchua says:

    Thanks Duncan and Radian for an enjoyable puzzle fitting for thia day.

    I’m not sure whether anyone ha mentioned it but all the answers besides the * ones have the letters O, N and E but not in that order. Sorry if someone has already mentioned that.

  14. Pelham Barton says:

    scchua @13: Good spot. I for one (!) had missed it.

  15. duncanshiell says:

    schua @ 13

    Thanks for pointing out the occurrence of O N and E in all the entries. I certainly hadn’t sapotted that. The nearest I got was thinking to myself there were a lot of Os in the unchecked letters, but just dismissing it because ONE was in a lot of entries.

  16. flashling says:

    Not much more to add really other than thanks Duncan for the covering of my slot today, was much appreciated, it was as expected a busy day and I’d still be typing it up now.

  17. Wil Ransome says:

    Excellent crossword and blog. Very clever to get all those words in with O, N and E in them somewhere.

    My only slight doubt was the equating of lens and objective in 16dn. Surely the objective is the thing that’s being photographed, not part of the camera?

    And I felt that I was possibly missing something: OK it’s 11.11.11 and ONE features in the special answers as well as O, N and E in them all, but is it just a jamboree of ones?

  18. Pelham Barton says:

    Wil @17 re 16dn: Chambers 2008 gives “object-glass” among the meanings of objective as a noun, and then “the lens or combination of lenses at the end next to the object” as a meaning of object-glass.

  19. Lenny says:

    My grandfather was gassed in WW1. Fortunately this crossword was rather easy and I finished it without noticing the theme. I am appalled at the way that marketing men have taken over Armistice Day so that it has become equivalent to Mothers’ day, Valentine’s day and Hallowe’en. I also regret the fact that the wearing of poppies has helped to justify current military misadventures. I happened to be solving this crossword at 11am this morning in my doctor’s surgery. While everyone else stood to attention I solved 1 Across and dedicated it to my Grandfather’s memory. Sorry to be so heavy but days like this make me feel very angry.

  20. pedant says:

    23 A – of course Persephone was not the “husband of Hades”

  21. lucy says:

    Lenny, could not agree more. Apparently some women presenters have been wearing bejewelled poppies … ‘respectful but fashionable’ is probably what they would have said. Truly appalling.

  22. eimi says:

    … and as for the glittery poppies on Strictly Come Dancing: obscene. From the blood and mud of the trenches to a shiny fashion accessory.

    Very clever puzzle.

  23. duncanshiell says:

    pedant @ 23

    Perhaps I shouldn’t believe everything I read on the internet.


    PERSEPHONE was the goddess queen of the underworld, wife of the god Haides. HAIDES (Aides, Aidoneus, or Hades) was the King of the Underworld, the god of death and the dead.

  24. duncanshiell says:

    pedant @ 23

    Ah! – now I see what you mean – I can’t distinguish between ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ – Sorry!

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

four + = 13