Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7830 / Punk – Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 November 2011

Posted by duncanshiell on November 26th, 2011


If there is a theme in this puzzle, I can’t spot it.  The puzzle is not a pangram.  This was simply a soundly constructed crossword with only a couple of  words or phrases that I don’t come across on a regular basis.  

The clues parsed without difficulty, with the possible exception of 1 Down, but I don’t think there is anything obscure about it.

The word I don’t use regularly is ECDYSIAST (due to my sheltered life).  Indeed, I have only come across this word in crosswords.  FEE-FAW-FUM is a variant on, for me, the more common FEE-FIE-FO-FUM.

It’s always dangerous to assess a puzzle’s difficulty on a blog site, given the range of solving skill of people who read and probably don’t comment, but, for me, this was towards the easier end of Punk’s spectrum in any of his many guises (including Paul [Guardian], Mudd  [Financial Times], Dada [Telegraph Toughie] and one of the anonymous setters in The Times)

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Pay cut appalling within firm, Irish made redundant – I smell blood! (3-3-3)

FEE (wages; pay) + (AWFUL [appalling] excluding the last letter [cut] L contained in [within] [FIRM excluding {made redundant} IR {Irish}])


FEE-FAW-FUM (expressive of bloodthirstiness in fairy tales; I smell blood)
6 A team order, self evident truth (5)

A + XI (eleven; the number of paleyers in a team in many sports) + OM (Order [of Merit])


AXIOM (self evident truth)
9 Damn rosy (5) RUDDY (euphemism for bloody; damn!) RUDDY (rosy)
10 Problem with hair nurses found behind quivering lips (5,4)

Anagram of (quivering) LIPS + TENDS (nurses)


SPLIT ENDS (ends of hairs that have split; problem with hair)
11 French region once happy to eat shortcake (7)

GAY (‘gay’ once meant happy, and still does in many peoples eyes, before its modern meaning was hijacked by the more common association with ‘homosexual’) containing (to eat) (SCONE [cake] excluding the last letter [short {cake}]) E


GASCONY (region of France)
12 Flier going through to Russian capital after Armenian capital (7)

A (first letter of [capital of] ARMENIA) + VIA (through) + TO + R (first letter of [capital of RUSSIA])


AVIATOR (flier)
13 / 19a Spooner’s friend greeting communication with animosity (4,4) MATE, HAIL! (Doctor Spooner’s intended greeting to a friend)  As a Spoonerism exchanging the leading characters of the two words, it comes out as HATE MAIL HATE [MAIL] (communication with animosity)
14 Source of documents I like was wrong, king claimed (9)

Anagram of (was wrong) I LIKE WAS containing (claimed) K (king)


WIKILEAKS (In the words of Wikipedia, with which it has no connections, WIKILEAKS  is an international self-described
not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private,
secret, and classified media from anonymous news;
source of documents)

17 A corset is tight, so cut off (9)

Anagram of (tight [drunk]) A CORSET IS


OSTRACISE (cut off)
19 See 13 above See 13 above [HATE] MAIL
21 Boisterous tot is tucking into lunch when empty (7)

(ADD [tot] + IS) contained in (tucking into) the first and last letters of [(when empty) LUNCH


LADDISH (boisterous)
23 Shackle bloke with knotted lace (7)

MAN (bloke) + anagram of (knotted) LACE


MANACLE (shackle)
24 A male sleazeball in prison vehicle (6,3)

(A + M [male] + PERV [pervert; sleazeball]) contained in CAN (prison)


CAMPER VAN (vehicle)
25 Discourteous general (5) ROUGH (rude; discourteous) ROUGH (general; as in ‘rough idea’)
26 Fat pint (5) STOUT (fat)

STOUT (you can order a pint of STOUT in a pub)

27 Doctor operates on back of heel, one’s scented (4,5)

Anagram of (doctor) OPERATES + last letter, Lof (back of) HEEL


ROSE PETAL (a ROSE PETAL has a scent)

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Search to find time? (6) FOR AGE (time)  Have I missed something here?  I cant associate ‘for’ with ‘to find’ so I think ‘to find’ is just a link. FORAGE (rummage; search for)
2 Stripper edict says to be whipped (9)

Anagram of (to be whipped) EDICT SAYS


ECDYSIAST (a striptease performer; stripper)
3 Many upset with the aggregate from now on (3,4)

Anagram of (upset) MANY + ORE (a solid, naturally-occurring [mineral] aggregate)


ANY MORE (any longer; from now on)
4 As smelt, perhaps suspicious? (5) FISHY (smelling of fish; reference ‘this story smells fishy'; as smelt) FISHY (suspicious)
5 US city where The Indy catches seabird in the distance (9)

(WE [The Independent] containing [catches] AUK [seabird]) all contained in (in) MILE (distance)


MILWAUKEE (city of the United States, the largest city in Wisconsin)
6 Other than getting sick, the Queen’s home (7)

Anagram of (other) THAN + ILL (sick)


ANTHILL (A queen ant is an adult, reproducing female ant in an ant colony; generally she will be the mother of all the other ants in that colony; queen’s home)

7 Trendy fool’s word of emphasis (5) IN (trendy) + NIT (fool) INNIT (an informal [and possibly, trendy] contraction of ‘isn’t it’, usually said forcibly; word of emphasis
8 Bit on the side, cause of road rage? (8)

MI (reference M1 motorway; road) + STRESS (physical, emotional or mental pressure) – taken together M1 STRESS could cause road rage


MISTRESS (a woman involved in an established sexual relationship with a married man, sometimes supported by him financially; a bit on the side)

14 Any one wife taking this castle of Anne Boleyn (9)

W (wife) + HIC (Latin, this) + HEVER (reference Hever castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn)


WHICHEVER (any one)
15 Actor needing gun I suspect, for battle (9) Anagram of (suspect) ACTOR and GUN I AGINCOURT (reference Battle of Agincourt [1415])
16 Boat’s securing devices, stones to capture bird (8)

ROCKS (stones) containing (securing) OWL (any member of the Strigiformes, nocturnal predacious birds; bird)


ROWLOCKS (a contrivance serving as fulcrum for an oar; securing devices on boats)

18 A fruit not hollow as food (7)

A + LIME (fruit) + (NOT excluding its central letter [hollow], O)


ALIMENT (food)
19 One catches something repeated quietly (7)

MANTRA (a word, phrase, etc, chanted or repeated inwardly in meditation) + P (piano; quietly)


MANTRAP (a trap for catching trespassers; one catches something)
20 All the novel describing a killer? (6)

Anagram of (novel) ALL THE


LETHAL (deadly; describing a killer)
22 Knight embracing male love, two-dimensional charcter with big ears (5)

(DUB [knight, as a verb to confer knighthood on] containing [embracing] M [male]) + O (love, zero score in tennis)

DU (M) B O

DUMBO (reference the [two-dimensional] cartoon character, DUMBO the elephant [with big ears])
23 Negative term in use adopted (5) Hidden word in (adopted) TERM IN USE MINUS (negative)

5 Responses to “Independent 7830 / Punk – Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 November 2011”

  1. alicehooper says:

    Thank you for this. I always enjoy Paul and I agree it was one of his more straightforward. I read 1 down as search to find time being the same as to search for age.

  2. crypticsue says:

    I too enjoy a Paul puzzle and it is nice from time to time when he is straightward even if I did struglle with the alternative to fee-fi-fo-fum and like Duncan, my sheltered lifestyle didn’t help with 2d!

  3. Lenny says:

    Thanks Duncan. I also thought that this was Punk in his most accessible mode. 1a was my last in as I needed all the checkers to get this variant on the pantomime villain’s interjection. I see that Chambers lists Fee-faw-fum ahead of the (to us) better known Fee-fi-fo-fum.

    I have been waiting for years to see Ecdysiast clued by a professional, ever since I stumbled across the word in my dictionary. For anyone who has not met it, it is a facetious formation from Ecdysis, meaning the act of casting of the skin in reptiles. I tried to clue it myself once and was attracted by the fact that Asset is contained within it. My paltry effort was “Bungled DIY caught asset stripper”.

  4. Allan_C says:

    Duncan and crypticsue, don’t worry too much about 2d. Chambers notates ‘ecdysiast’ as “facetious”. It comes from ‘ecdysis’, referring among other things to a snake sloughing its skin.

    A nice straightforward puzzle with some typical Punk/Paul touches in the clueing. And thanks, Duncan, for the comprehensive blog.

  5. Allan_C says:

    Sorry, Lenny, you posted while I was still reading and typing.

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