Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7825/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on November 14th, 2011


A WYSIWYG Monday puzzle from Quixote.

And if that sounds like damning with faint praise, it’s absolutely not intended that way.  This was a crossword with accurate cluing, clear definitions, a good range of devices and many pleasing surfaces.  No ninas, no themes, no pangrams, no elevenses.  Just right for a fairly gentle introduction to the Indy week.

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


Someone silly holding group’s valued possessions
An insertion of SET for ‘group’ in ASS for ‘someone silly’.

It’s going against the grain to be angry, not completely adorable
It took me ages to see this, although Quixote might as well have handed it over to me as a present, with a ribbon tied round it and the answer written on the label.  CROSS is ‘angry’ and CUT[E] is ‘not completely adorable’.

Veteran sometimes pockets money from reluctant donor
This was my favourite today.  A really clever hidden answer: it’s in veteRAN SOMetimes.

10  Bowl over lobby?
A dd.

12  Mix in the jar hard to get out
I thought initially that ‘mix’ was an anagrind, but it’s in fact the definition.  GRATE is ‘jar’ in the verbal sense.

13  The eye’s twitching after work
A charade of OP for opus or ‘work’ before TIC for ‘twitching’.

14  New York’s first huge temptation?
The surface reading might lead you to BAGEL WITH CREAM CHEESE (although that clearly wouldn’t fit) but it’s a cd.  New York is known as THE BIG APPLE, and in the creation story in Genesis (Ch3, v4), the serpent egged on Eve to give Adam the fruit of the ‘tree that gives knowledge’, which she did; and the rest is history, as they say.  ‘Forbidden fruit’ is in the language today.  But an apple isn’t actually mentioned in Genesis, so where that comes from I don’t know.  Why New York is called THE BIG APPLE is also a bit of a dispute.

18  Policeman accompanying President at night to give a sort of hand
It’s the handwriting sort of hand.  A charade of COPPER, P for ‘president’ and LATE for ‘at night’.

21  Wants to sound offhand
A homophone of ‘lax’ for ‘offhand’.  I don’t think we’ll be getting into ‘it doesn’t sound like that where I come from’ territory today.

22  Rich person displaying heavenly body, Conservative scoundrel
A charade of PLUTO, the outermost (and disputed) planet, C for ‘Conservative’ and RAT for ‘scoundrel’.

23  Butter – any said to be cheap?
I was into goat territory from the start, since ‘butter’ as the stuff you spread on your toast of a morning doesn’t have many synonyms, but it took me a good few crossing letters to see what it was.  It’s a homophone (‘said’) of ‘tup’ and ‘any’, because English being a stupidly non-phonetic language, that’s how we pronounce TWOPENNY, which is an adjective attributed to things that are ‘paltry, trifling, worthless’ (SOED).  And for newer solvers, ‘butter’ is reference to the fact that when goats are having a bad hair day, they butt you, so are ‘butters’.

24  Child unwell needs one sort of powder
A charade of CH for ‘child’, ILL for ‘unwell’ and I for ‘one’ for the powder you stick in your Chilli con Carne.

25  Electrical device dispersing rioters outside front of shop
(RIOTERS)* with an insertion of S for ‘front of shop’.  Take your pick where you put the S in.  ‘Dispersing’ is the anagrind.

26  It’s painful moving?  Get in touch about hospital
An insertion of H for ‘hospital’ in WRITE.


A little female, Sally, becoming panicky
A charade of A, F and RAID for ‘sally’.

Some chosen at Exeter for the governing body
Hidden in choSEN AT Exeter.

The sort of insensitivity that Chairman Mao was not noted for?
A cd, since The Thought of Mao Tse-Tung was widely published.

Even a king may be upset by this queen
I’d vaguely heard of this, but even with all the crossing letters in, I was unsure.  ‘A Hindu queen; a raja’s wife or widow.’  It’s a variant of RANI and is a reversal of E’EN, an archaic or poetic word for ‘even’, A and R for ‘king’ or Rex.

One woman helping another with problem makes guest room rather messy
(GUEST ROOM RATHER)*  ‘Makes messy’ is the anagrind.

Monument not cheap to get repaired
(NOT CHEAP)*  ‘To get repaired’ is the anagrind.

Fish that’s right for eating put on Queen’s platter
An insertion of R for ‘right’ in TENCH for fish, then ER for ‘Queen’ gives you ‘a flat piece of wood for cutting or serving meat’.  ‘That’s’ is ‘that has’, which indicates the insertion.

11  Prepare to become friends again
A dd.

15  Cleric heading off to America made a dangerous flight
[V]ICAR US.  ICARUS was the son of Daedalus.  He flew too close to the Sun, and came to a watery end.  As I occasionally explain to my teenage kids, sometimes, just sometimes, I know things that they don’t …

16  Artist tours with police regularly coming out
The definition is ‘artist’.  It’s (TOURS PLC)* for an anagram, ‘coming out’ of TOURS and PLC, which is ‘PoLiCe’ regularly.

17  False copies – forged, useless
A word that means ‘false’ is a charade of (COPIES)* and US for ‘useless’.  ‘Forged’ is the anagrind.

19  A jolly lot allow to be in a sort of band
A charade of A RM and LET to give you something that you wear round your arm.  ‘Jolly’ is a term for a Royal Marine or RM.

20  Walk is harsh with two at the end dropping out

22  Horse needs nothing after drink
The setter’s indicating that you should put O for ‘nothing’ after PINT for ‘drink’ to get the breed of horse that has patches of colour.

Thanks as usual to Quixote.

17 Responses to “Independent 7825/Quixote”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Pierre.

    I agree with all you say about the puzzle [thanks, Quixote], including RANSOM being my favourite clue.

    17dn took longer to get than it should have, as I had entered TUPPENNY for 23ac. [I’m sure you meant rams, rather than goats, having a bad hair day. 😉 ]

  2. flashling says:

    @Eileen I did exactly the same on 23ac

  3. nmsindy says:

    Pleasing puzzle, not too hard. My favourite was THOUGHTLESSNESS. Thanks, Pierre and Quixote.

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Quixote for an enjoyable puzzle and Pierre for the blog. For favourite clue I was with nmsindy, but I agree that 9ac was an excellent hidden clue – the answer really was hidden (at least I did not see it straight away).

    More a question of terminology than substance, but I would call both 14ac and 3dn “definition + cd”, as opposed to the “one-part” cd clues which sometimes appear.

    Bit of a grumble with 15dn which I would prefer recast as
    Cleric heading off to America: he made a dangerous flight

  5. NealH says:

    I’m afraid I put tuppenny for 23 as well, since it seemed to fit better with the sheep idea. Unfortunately, it intersected with specious, which was one of the trickier clues – the useless for us device isn’t one I would have expected Quixote to come up with. It seems more like a Nimrod or Punk invention.

    18 could also have been cop + perp + late, so policeman escorting offender would have worked and might have been more apt.

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    NealH@5 re 17dn:

    Collins (2000) has U/S Informal. abbrev. for: 1 unserviceable. 2 useless.

  7. Pierre says:

    Pelham, when I’m blogging I’m often unsure about whether to label a clue a cd, a dd, or bit of both. If it works and leads me to the answer, then I’m all right with it.

    TWOPENNY does work both ways now that you’ve pointed it out, but I was lucky enough to get it the right way round first time.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Pierre @7: I entirely agree that the most important thing about 14ac and 3dn is that they are good clues.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Pierre and Quixote.

    This was an enjoyable puzzle, with a couple of 😆 moments at 9ac and 19d.

    I didn’t know the Collins abbreviation provided by Mr. Barton, and don’t see the logic of it linguistically. I took “useless” to be US less “e”.

    Solving online on a small screen, I find it more expedient with the Indy to go from one solved clue to another crossing one, and this saved me from the “tuppenny” trap :)

    I like the alternative clue suggestions offered here.

  10. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, Quixote, for a gentle introduction to the week, though not without some thought required. 20d took a little while for the penny to drop until I had the crossing letters, and the long anagram at 6d took some working out. I also thought of 23a as ‘tuppenny’ but using the check button soon put me right.
    And thanks, Pierre, for the comprehensive blog.

    Btw, has anyone had trouble getting on to the 15squared site this afternoon?

  11. Pelham Barton says:

    Further to earlier comments on 17dn:

    It never occurred to me that US was anything other than a standard abbreviation for “useless”: one that I have known for years. I was surprised that Chambers 1998 (which I have in my office) and 2008 (which I have now checked at home) both give only “unserviceable”.

    The alternative “useless” = “use less” = “use shortened” seems to require two steps both of which I would regard as unsatisfactory. The first (an unsignalled requirement to split a clue word) is widely used, but that does not make it right.

  12. flashling says:

    @Allan_C #10 yes the site was down for a while this afternoon, database connection error, it happens once a month or so for an hour. Anyway thanks Pierre for the blog for a fairly easy one and Don much appreciated, suspect Tuesday and Thursday will be a bit trickier.

  13. Paul B says:

    Academic now, PB, though I’d agree wholeheartedly with you about your qualms with ‘use less e = us’ under other circumstances. That sounds like the sort of thing they allow in The Grauniad puzzle.

    I have always understood u/s as shorthand for ‘unserviceable’, perhaps because a good few members of my family were servicemen. They knew all that stuff, plus how to avoid the Military Police when on the bezzie run in Malta.

  14. redddevil says:

    Am I the only one with qualms about 8 down? If “that’s” is meant to be “that has” as per blog then where does the eating come in? If “eating” is the insertion indicator (as I read it) then the “that’s” and “for” sit very uneasily.
    Either way I’m not especially comfortable with it.

  15. Pelham Barton says:

    reddevil@14 re 8dn: I think you can take all of “that has … for eating” as the insertion indicator.

  16. redddevil says:

    I guess so PB but wouldn’t “to be eaten” be more correct than “for eating” or am I being too picky?

  17. Pelham Barton says:

    redddevil @16: I can agree that “to be eaten” would be more correct, and I think it also gives a good surface reading. The more relevant question to me is whether “for eating” is correct enough, and it is good enough for me, but I understand your qualms.

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