Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,870 / Monk

Posted by RatkojaRiku on January 5th, 2012


I looked through my past blogs this morning to see if I had blogged a Monk before, and to my surprise, since Monk has featured on my crosswording landscape for a very long time, I had not.

Like most of my previous encounters with Monk’s work, here and elsewhere, I found this a challenge and very much a crossword that I had to chip away at from start to finish, with no flurry of answers coming at any stage. Indeed, my first read-through of the clues produced answers for 9, 13 and 23 alone. When I read the clues for 22 and 24, I wondered if there had been a typing error, but I should have known better!

In the end, I managed to solve all the clues unaided, relying on the wordplay for the words that were new to me at 7, 20 and 26. 19 nearly beat me because I had convinced myself that a technical term, e.g. a unit of measurement, was what I needed to find, and I don’t recall every seeing the ultimate entry at 19 written down anyway.

It is hard to pick out a clue of the day today, since I very much appreciated the clue construction at 14 and the tandem of clues at 22 and 24. On reflection, however, my personal favourite has to be 4, for its smooth surface, its unexpected split between definition and wordplay and its Shakespearean coinage.

Overall, a puzzle that stretched and entertained me, as well as teaching me a thing or two – thank you, Monk!

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   BIVVIED I V V I (=old cardinals, i.e. Roman numerals) in BED (=apparently trying to sleep, i.e. they are in bed); bivvied is a short form of bivouacked
8   OLIVETTI OLIVE (=green) + TT (dry, i.e. teetotal) + I (=island); the reference is to Italian electrical engineer Camillo Olivetti (1868-1943), founder of the Olivetti company, a manufacturer of computers, printers, etc
9   OMEN The sign O MEN (=no men allowed in!) might appear on the door of the ladies’ toilet
10   THE RED
*(PELTED AN<o>THER); “after nothing (=O) went missing” means that the letter “o” is dropped from the anagram; “in error” is anagram indicator; the Red Planet is Mars, hence “our of our neighbours” as Planet Earth
12   VEERED Double definition: VEERED is “tacked suddenly”, swerved AND “let out at sea”, i.e. a nautical term for paying out, releasing rope
13   TOE DANCE *(TOE DANCE); “about” is anagram indicator; a toe dance is a dance performed on tiptoes; “piggies” are toes, as in the children’s rhyme This little piggy went to market …
14   ERASURE A in [ER (=Queen, i.e. Elizabeth Regina) + SURE (=Yes)]; Monk has cleverly used the names of two 80s groups in a clue for a third such group!
15   LONG AGO A (=answer, as in Q & A) in [LONG (=tedious) + GO (=activity, as in to be on the go)]
19   HAP’ORTHS PORT (=drink) in HAHS (SHAH=old ruler; “from the east”, i.e. to be read right to left, indicates a reversal)
21   ORMOLU *(<g>L<a>MOROU<s>); “after release of gas” means that the letters “g”, “a” and “s” are dropped from the anagram; “ruined” is anagram indicator; ormolu is golf-leaf prepared for gilding bronze, hence “something decorative”
22   OLD
T<rur>O; “on vacation” means the word is “emptied”, i.e. all but first and last letters are removed; “returned” indicates reversal, to give OT = books
24   INTO IN + T<rur>O “on vacation” means the word is “emptied”, i.e. all but first and last letters are removed; the definition is “digging” as in liking, i.e. I’m really into crosswords
25   INSPIRED Double definition: INSPIRED means “drew in”, breathed in AND “brought about”, made happen
26   SIRENIA IRENI<c> (=pacific, i.e. peaceful; “mostly” means last letter is dropped) in SA (=South Africa); the Sirenia are an order of aquatic mammals now represented by the dugong and manatee
1   BUM STEER *(MUST) in BEER (=drink); “upset” is anagram indicator
*(COUNTER + VET + US); “chewed” is anagram indicator; a venture scout is a male or female member of a senior branch of the Scout organisation, formerly known as a Rover
3   INTENDER END (=death) in INTER (=bury); the definition is “one (=a person) meaning (=having the intention of)”
4   DOZENTH N<ight> (“at first” means first letter) in DOZETH (=Will’s sleeps, i.e. a Shakespearean version of dozes); the definition is simply twelfth
5   WIMPLE MP (=member, i.e. of parliament) in WILE (=trick)
6   ETON Vertical reversal (“turned up”) of NOTE (=mark, as a verb or noun)
7   LITTLE GO LITTLE (=trivial) + GO (=attempt); the Little Go (or Responsions) was formerly the first of the three examination required for an academic degree at Oxford
11   AMALGAMATION AMALGAM (=that may fill hole, i.e. a filling in dentistry) + <r>ATION<s> (=shares; “unlimited” means first and last letters are dropped)
14   ETHIOPIA E (=European) + [OP (=work) in *(HAITI)]; “volatile” is anagram indicator
16   ODOMETER METE (=measure) in *(DOOR); “broken” is anagram indicator; the definition is “one could be in a dash(board)”, since an odometer is an instrument for measuring distance travelled
17   GOLGOTHA GO (=turn) + L (=left) + GO (=turn) + [H<ospital> (“front of” means first letter only) in TA (at roundabout, i.e. reversed and placed around)]; Golgotha is said to be the place where the crucifixion of Jesus took place, hence “cross from there”
18   ISLANDS I (=one) + S (=son) + LANDS (=captures); the definition is “man and dogs, say”, referring to the Isle of Man and the Isle of Dogs
20   TISHRI *(THIS) + RI (=theological training, i.e. Religious Instruction); “complex” is anagram indicator; Tishri is the first month of the Jewish civil year and the seventh of the ecclesiastical year
23   DOSE D<r>O<w>S<i>E<r>; “regularly” means that alternate letters only are used; & lit.

19 Responses to “Independent 7,870 / Monk”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Monk for an enjoyable crossword and RR for the blog.

    17dn: I do not think your parsing quite works – the word order seems wrong for H in TA. I took “in front of” as a joining indicator and then “hospital at roundabout” to mean anagram of H AT.

    4dn: This was one of the last few I solved. By then I was surprised to see a Z in the grid. There are no Fs, Js, Ks, Xs, or Ys. I thought that Monk had used up his supply of rare letters in yesterday’s FT crossword and was deliberately avoiding them here, although the lack of Fs and Ys may just be a coincidence – as indeed may be the lack of the other letters.

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Addendum to 1: There are no Qs either.

  3. Paul B says:

    Yes, I had a quick count-up too, but it’s an f, j, k, q, x, y lipogram … er …

    I think 17D is

    GO/ L/ GO/ T(H)A <

    if that makes any sense to you: GO plus H in reversal of AT, because it's 'round' (reversed) and 'about' (going around).

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    Paul @3:

    Re 17dn, you are probably right, but – as I am sure you know – I have never been happy with the unsignalled requirement to split a clue word, so I would prefer a parsing that does have such a requirement.

    I would not normally regard the absence of rare letters as noteworthy – it was just the contrast with yesterday’s FT puzzle by the same setter that seemed interesting. Of course, the puzzles may well have been composed at completely different times.

  5. Monk says:

    To seq(PB @ i, i=1..4) :) Correct: yesterday’s “tripe” FT composed on 2/11/11 and today’s (Nina’d!) Indy on 9/8/11. Many thanks, RatkojaRiku, for super blog.

  6. togo says:

    Very helpful (and necessary!) blog – thanks. And Monk, I see two wines….am I missing more?

  7. Pelham Barton says:

    Monk @5: Thanks for dropping in. Unchecked letters in the perimeter of the grid spell VOWEL at the top and AEIOU at the bottom.

  8. RatkojaRiku says:

    I have added a word to 17 to clarify my understanding of the parsing.

    As for the Nina, I missed it completely when solving/blogging and I still haven’t spotted it!

  9. togo says:

    PB @7. Many thanks for the NINA – I obviously had recent excesses in mind with DAO and TINTO standing out too readily. Also TUN. Never mind.

  10. NealH says:

    I found this very tough. Fortunately, a very slow afternoon at work meant I could keep chipping away at it and eventually got there. Bivvied and dozenth were the last I put in. There was a lot of stuff that was new to me – little go (I lack the Oxbridge education, unfortunately), rover as an old word for an adult scout, sirenia and toe dance were all a bit obscure. However, I really enjoyed dozenth when I finally figured it out and islands was a very well thought out clue.

  11. dialrib says:

    If anybody can see today’s Nina that Monk refers to @5 then would you please point it out for me? Thanks. It’s driving me nuts.

  12. dialrib says:

    Sorry – I somehow missed recent messages.

  13. Allan_C says:

    Quite a few penny-dropping moments today, for example with BIVVIED, ERASURE and AMALGAMATION. SIRENIA was new to me but gettable from the wordplay.

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog, I needed it today to explain why some of the answers were what they obviously were.

  14. sidey says:

    Small point, shouldn’t ‘man’ and ‘dogs’ be capitalised in 18 down? Without it they don’t seem to be examples of islands at all.

  15. nmsindy says:

    Sidey at #14, I thought ‘say’ may have been put in by the setter to meet that point. Very tough puzzle indeed but totally fair as always. Thanks, Monk and RatkojaRiku.

  16. Paul B says:

    Re #8, H does not (necessarily) need to be ‘front of hospital’, since hospital, even in the ultra-strict Times Abbreviations list, equal H of itself. I’m standing by my parsing at #3!

  17. Monk says:

    Re #3,8,16 & 17dnPB #3 is correct, via the reasoning at #16. The solution note is [ go(=turn) + L + go(=turn) ] {in front of} [ H in at< ] = GO/ L/ GO/ T(H)A <

  18. Pelham Barton says:

    nms@15: I had the same thought as you in relation to 18dn, but I think “say” is needed to indicate the definition by examples, so cannot (in my book) also be a homophone indicator. I think Monk is taking a liberal view of capitalisation.

  19. Wil Ransome says:

    Nothing much to add to what PB says @18, just support for his view: ‘say’ is there because these are just two possible islands; it is not there to make the words start with capitals. Surprising that Monk has done this, and that he was allowed to get away with it.

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