Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,827 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on November 16th, 2011


An enjoyable, to me easier-than-average puzzle from Dac today, with its characteristic array of beautifully crafted clues.

There were more propernouns – cultural/historical figures and the like – than average in today’s puzzle, I noticed, both as entries and in the wordplay; however, one way or another, either via the definition or the wordplay, I arrived at answers that I could be fairly sure were correct.

15 was new to me as a word, but it was clearly an anagram and from the letters already in the grid, it could be nothing else; I had not heard of the breed of sheepdog at 20 either.

My favourite clues today were 5 and 24 for their surfaces, as well as 12, for its deceptive wordplay around “rock singer”. I suppose even Dac is occasionally “allowed” to fall back on an old chestnut like the clue at 18.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   DEAR ME ARM (=weapon) in DEE (=river)
4   HENCHMAN CH (=chief, i.e. abbreviation) in HENMAN (=English tennis player, i.e. Tim Henman)
9   METTLE Homophone of “metal” (=copper, perhaps); “reported” is homophone indicator
10   ATYPICAL <holida>Y (“end to” means last letter only) in *(CAPITAL); “foreign” is anagram indicator
12   SCREECHER SCREE (=pieces from rock) + CHER (=singer, i.e. American recording artist and actress)
13   TORSO <deal>T + OR SO (=roughly, as in 6 or so people / roughly 6 people)
14   ON THE BREADLINE BREAD (=money) in ON THE LINE (=engaged in phone call)
17   BONNIE AND CLYDE *(DON IN N<ew> Y<ork> DEBACLE); “butchered” is anagram indicator; the definition is “a couple (i.e. romantically involved) of criminals”, i.e. the celebrity outlaws of 1930s America.
21   PRAWN R (=recipe) in PAWN (=man on board, i.e. in chess)
22   HURRICANE Homophone of “hurry” + CANE (=to beat); “we’re told” is homophone indicator
24   LADLE OUT LAD (=young male) + [<caf>E (“rear of” means last letter only) in LOUT (=hooligan)]
25   JESUIT JE (=first person in France, i.e. the French word for I) + SUIT (=to become)
26   ARRANGED RANGE (=mountains) in <h>ARD (=difficult; “for Cockney” means the initial “h” is dropped)
27   REMEDY Hidden (“some”) in “extREME DYspepsia”; & lit.
1   DUMB SHOW [SH (=silence) in DUMBO (=Disney cartoon)] + W (=with); interestingly, my version of Chambers gives dumb show as a single 8-letter word
2   ACTOR Hidden (“sequence of”) and reversed (“turning over”) in “taROT CArds”
3   MOLIERE LIE (=fiction, i.e. untruth) in MORE (=former Lord Chancellor, i.e. Sir Thomas More, at the time of Henry VIII); the reference is to French playwright Molière (1622-73)
5   ENTERTAINERS ENTER (=record, as a verb) + TAINER-S (S-TAINER=composer; “first piece as finale” means first letter moves to end of word); the reference is to English composer Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)
6   CAPITOL CA (=US state, i.e. California) + PI (=religious) + TOL (LOT=group, e.g. of items sold at auction; “taken over” indicates a reversal)
7   MCCARTNEY R (=right) in *(MY ACCENT); “unusual” is anagram indicator; the reference is to British fashion designer Stella McCartney (1971-), daughter of Sir Paul and Linda.
8   NELSON Double definition: NELSON is a “hold” in wrestling AND a “Northern town”, in Lancashire
11   CHARTERHOUSE *(OTHER) in [CHAR (=daily, i.e. cleaner) + USE (=service); “changes” is anagram indicator; the reference is to Charterhouse, an English public school in Surrey, founded on the site of a former Carthusian monastery
15   TWO-HANDER *(DOWN HEART); “trouble” is anagram indicator; here, a two-hander is a play written for two actors
16   RECENTLY [E (=European) + CENT (=money)] in RLY (=railway)
18   NANKEEN NAN (=relative) + KEEN (=eager)
19   CHINESE INÉS (=Spanish woman, i.e. a girl’s name) in CHE (=revolutionary, i.e. Che Guevara)
20   APULIA A (=top class) + PULI (=breed of sheepdog) + A; Apulia is the region around Bari in south-east Italy, known in Italian as Puglia
21   ACUTE A + C<o>U<r>T<i>E<r>; “oddly” means the odd letters (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc) only are used

9 Responses to “Independent 7,827 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Fine blog, RatkojaRiku. Needed you to explain ENTERTAINERS, otherwise all straightforward and beautifully clued as always. BONNIE AND CLYDE and SCREECHER were ones I specially liked.

    I always have a hmmm moment when I see a clue like HENCHMAN, since Tim isn’t a tennis player any more; but I never raise an eyebrow when I get ABE for ‘president’, so I don’t know why. Perhaps because Tim’s still with us, but Abe isn’t.

    Thanks to Dac for an entertaining puzzle.

  2. Allan_C says:

    Quite a quick solve this morning, although I needed the blog to explain ENTERTAINERS, CHARTERHOUSE and TWO-HANDER fully. My first guess for 26a was ARDENNES (‘ard + ennes), though I couldn’t see where ‘ennes’ could have come from, but the correct answer soon became apparent.

    Thanks, Dac and RatkojaRiku

  3. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Dac for a pleasant solve and RatkojaRiku for the blog.

    K’s Dad: I take your point about 4ac. I think Tim Henman still plays occasional exhibition matches, which ought to be enough to satisfy the fussiest of tastes, but I would be quite happy with the clue anyway.

    1dn: I thought I would look this up in the various dictionaries near at hand. Chambers 1988 and 1998 both have dumb-show hyphenated, but Collins 2000 has it as two words.

  4. NealH says:

    Fairly easy apart from 20, which was impossible if like me you’d never heard of either a Puli dog or the Apulia region of Italy. In terms of clues, it was a slightly mixed bag – some nice ones like 12 and 2, as well as a few old chestnuts like 18 and 8.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Excellent puzzle and blog – thanks, Dac and RatkojaRiku. I too found it just slightly on the easier side – my favourites today were ATYPICAL, SCREECHER, TORSO and CAPITOL. I’m afraid I can’t agree with K D’s point at #1 re Henman, surely eg Pele can be described as a footballer?

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    You’re right, nms, and I’m not saying the clue is faulty, it’s just a personal thing. And Pele was certainly a better footballer than Tim was a tennis player. And had a longer (full) name.

  7. redddevil says:

    I thought the ‘English’ made the Henman clue too obvious myself. Substituting ‘ex’ would have been better on 2 counts! Despite being a classical music fan of sorts I’ve never heard of Stainer so left entering that – otherwise obvious – answer until last. I’d heard of Puglia but not as Apulia – another of our strange English attenmpts at foreign pronunciation no doubt!
    Thanks for puzzle and blog.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    redddevil @7:

    Based on the information in Wikipedia, Apulia is the Latinised version of the original Greek name for the region. The spelling Puglia is a modern Italian variation.

    I knew of Stainer from having taken part in his best known choral work, the Crucifixion. It contains a Tenor aria “King ever glorious” which has the unfortunate line “Here in abasement”, which it is difficult not to hear as four words instead of three.

  9. Wil Ransome says:

    I always thought Tim Henman had a very bad press, K’s D@6. He’s a mild middle-class boy and he tended to talk like a politician when he was interviewed, but he couldn’t help all those dreadful Come On Tim supporters. And, like it or not, he is by far the best tennis player England has produced in the modern era.

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