Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,875 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on January 11th, 2012


Another crop of concisely worded, sound clues with silky smooth surface readings – one would expect nothing else of Dac, of course. As Ali mentioned in his Dac blog last week, let’s hope we have another fifty or so of his puzzles in store for us in 2012!

Overall, this fell into place for me more quickly than the average Dac, despite a few hold-ups in the NE corner. Although the entries at 6 and 7 were unfamiliar to me, they were eminently gettable from the wordplay.

My clues of the day have to be 1D and 15 for their smooth surfaces, not to mention 2 for its original way of removing an initial letter.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   VERACITY VERA (=Miles, say, i.e. the American actress Vera Miles) + CITY (=Edinburgh)
5   ACT ONE ACTON (=part of Greater London) + E (=East); the definition is “bit of drama”, i.e. part of a play
9   CONDONED DONE (=agreed, i.e. interjection used when a deal is clinched) in [CON (=conservative) + D (=democrat)]
10   BUST-UP BUS (=public transport) + TU (=group of workers, i.e.Trade Union) + P<ick> (“beginning to” means first letter only)
12   TWENTY-ONE WENT (=travelled) in TY<r>RONE (=part of Northern Ireland; “without resistance” (=R) means letter “r” is dropped)
13   TONNE Hidden (“boxes”) in “LisTON NErvously”
INN (=hotel) in *(PLASTERED); “drunk” is anagram indicator
18   MEDIA
ME (=this person) + DIAS (SAID=spoke; “about” indicates reversal) + {[U (=university) + D (=degree)] in TIES (=restrictions)}
21   LIMBO B<and> (“leader” means first letter only) in LIMO (=luxury car)
22   NECTARINE *(TA<v>ERN + NICE); “not very (=V)” means letter “v” is dropped from anagram; “cooked” is anagram indicator
24   CLEVER C<hick> (“first” means first letter only) + LEVER (=bar, as in crowbar)
25   FIDDLING Double definition: FIDDLING is “cooking the books”, falsifying accounts AND “petty”, trivial, minor
26   TREATS TR (=Turkey, i.e. in International Vehicle Registration) + EATS (=snacks, perhaps)
27   INUNDATE NUN (=sister, i.e. religious) in [I’D (=I had) + ATE (=worried)]
1   VACATE [CA (=about, i.e. circa) in VAT (=container)] + <warehouse>E (“rear of” means last letter only)
2   RANKER <f>RANKER (=more likely to tell the truth; “when cover’s blown” means top (=first) letter is dropped); the definition is “tommy” as in soldier, private
3   CLOUT C (=college) + LOUT (=yobbo)
4   THE
*(NO THEME + NOT SO); “not so” is anagram indicator; the (cryptic) definition is “(gem of a) novel”, where the reference is to the novel The Moonstone (1868) by English writer Wilkie Collins
6   COURTELLE [OUR + TELL (=William, i.e. the Swiss folk hero)] in CE (=this French, i.e. the French word for this); courtelle is a synthetic, acrylic, wool-like fabric
7   OSTINATO *(<radi>O STATION); “at end of” means last letter only; “broadcast” is anagram indicator; from the Italian for stubborn, an ostinato is a motif or phrase persistently repeated in the same musical voice
8   ESPRESSO Hidden (“can’t go without”) in TheatrE’S PRESS Officer”
11   REPRODUCTION PRO (=expert) in REDUCTION (=drop)
15   IN A MOMENT INAMO (OMANI=middle-eastern; “revolutionary” indicates reversal) + MEN (=soldier) + T<unisia> (“capital” means capital, i.e. first, letter only)
16   IMPLICIT IMP (=mischief-maker) + LICIT (=within the law)
17   ADAM BEDE BED (=base, as a noun) in [A + DAME (=lady)]; the cryptic definition is “character brought to book”, referring to the eponymous hero of the novel Adam Bede (1859) by English writer George Eliot
19   MINIMA MINIM (=note, i.e. in music) + A (=adult)
20   BEAGLE B (=black, as in HB) + EAGLE (=comic, i.e. the British children’s comic launched in 1950)
23   ADD-ON AD (=notice, i.e. advert) + DON (=teacher)

15 Responses to “Independent 7,875 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Lovely puzzle as always on a Wednesday from Dac. Without being facetious, I might as well copy and paste my comments from previous weeks. I too liked IN A MOMENT, but it was all good.

    I think B for ‘black’ in BEAGLE is a recognised abbreviation: I always think of it as B&W for black and white photos.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  2. eimi says:

    I’m afraid you won’t get 50+ puzzles out of Dac, as he’s got time off for good behaviour – he has the last Wednesday of each month off.

    @1 B is allowed as an abbreviation because of the classification of pencil leads – otherwise I’d accept W for white, which I don’t, because it only means white when linked to B.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Yes, v little to say except that it was another great puzzle, totally fair, and, for pretty much similar reasons, nothing to add to RatkojaRiku’s great blog.

  4. flashling says:

    @Eimi #2 I’ve often seen W=white in chess columns… Struggled a little with the NW corner for some reason, The Moonstones being unknown to me and didn’t see tommy=ranker, oh well.

  5. Bamberger says:

    Contrary to others I thought this had too many obscurities.

    1a If you had sat me down and asked to make a list of Miles Surname or First name Miles , Vera would never have come up. Simply never heard of her and nor had any of my colleagues.
    17a Adam who? Bookish colleague had heard of him
    4d I hadn’t heard of it and I asked a bookish colleague of mine. Blank look.
    7d Unless you are musical I don’t see how you can get this

    I also thought 2&6d were pretty obscure.

  6. eimi says:

    None of your colleagues has ever seen Psycho, Bamberger? The Moonstone? You are kidding, aren’t you?

  7. Bamberger says:

    No -not kidding at all.

    On googling I see that Psycho is 1960 -over 50 years ago. I’ve heard of the name but never watched it.Even if my colleagues have seen Psycho (and I ‘m home now) clearly the name of an actress didn’t stick.

    I think crosswordland assumes everyone is interested in and knows lots about literature. I see that Flashling also hadn’t heard of the Moonstone either.

    Bring on the science!

  8. eimi says:

    Fair enough, but isn’t it good to learn new things? If you’re ever doing a quiz and “Which novel is generally considered the first detective novel in English” comes up, you can thank Dac. I’d never heard of courtelle, but I have now.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Following the Bamberger/eimi discussion, I shall add the following before I have my tea and open a bottle of red.

    I too had no idea that the VERA was the Miles from Psycho; but if you have a V for your starting letter then that’s what the answer had to be and if you can be bothered to look it up then you’ll be able to parse it fully. Fifteensquared is a great site, but it makes you lazy in one way, because you know that the blogger will always explain it to you.

    I too had never come across THE MOONSTONE; but again, it can’t be much else. ADAM BEDE might not be the best known novel ever (although it’s not unknown), and if there’s a (4,4) answer with ‘book’ or ‘novel’ as the answer, it’s usually my first port of call.

    I suppose the thing about cryptics is that it’s best to have knowledge that’s five miles wide and five foot deep. But as eimi says, if you learn something …

  10. DorothyS says:

    Bamberger @7

    I think it’s good that you’re making an effort to solve cryptic crosswords, but you seem to resent it when a puzzle expects you to know about anything you’re not already familiar with. Maybe it’s time you and your colleagues expanded your horizons just a bit. Plenty of interesting people lived more than 50 years ago and quite a few interesting things happened before you were born. If you’re interested in science, would you dump Galileo or Newton for being pre-1960?

  11. nmsindy says:

    Also, Bamberger, I guess we should not lose sight of the fact that each crossword clue (with the odd exception) gives the solver two ways of getting to the answer ie definition and wordplay. If you get either you are there – after that it is perhaps checking and verification. Also I would not be too influenced by those bright speed solvers – look into a dict to see if a word that might be the answer, you think, is in fact correct or is even a word.

    And BTW if you wanted to read a good book, Adam Bede is worth a look…

  12. Wil Ransome says:

    And to add to nms@10, if you ever want to see a good film then see Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. One of the best ever.

    Checking this out on Imdb, I see that Vera Miles also was in The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, another of the best ever.

  13. Allan_C says:

    “Bring on the science” says Bamberger. Well, as RatkojaRiku notes in the blog, Courtelle is a synthetic fibre, developed through scientific research – and btw the name is a registered trademark.

    I liked the gently misleading surface to 5a, Acton being on the west side of London (even though there’s a tube station called East Acton!)

  14. DorothyS says:

    And I’ll put a word in for Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, which I happened to be re-reading around the time some self-righteous, born-again ‘Christian’ minister here in the US was planning to burn a pile of Korans, without any regard whatsoever for the backlash that was sure to follow. I came across this passage, spoken by one Drusilla Clack, a 19th-century version of the same type:

    Once self-supported by conscience, once embarked on a career of manifest usefulness, the true Christian never yields. Neither public nor private influences produce the slightest effect on us, when we have once got our mission. Taxation may be the consequence of a mission; riots may be the consequence of a mission; wars may be the consequence of a mission: we go on with our work, irrespective of every human consideration which moves the world outside us. We are above reason; we are beyond ridicule; we see with nobody’s eyes, we hear with nobody’s ears, we feel with nobody’s hearts, but our own. Glorious, glorious privilege! And how is it earned? Ah, my friends, you may spare yourselves the useless inquiry! We are the only people who can earn it–for we are the only people who are always right.

  15. eimi says:

    Amen to that. Keep at it, Bamberger – it’s a very rewarding learning experience. Et, en passant, come on you Spurs!

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