Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7879/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on January 16th, 2012


People were saying on last Friday’s Indy blog that Phi’s crossword was a bit harder than usual, and that was my experience with this Monday Quixote – a few less common words and a couple of unusual devices.  All good though.  Since it’s intended as a puzzle for improving solvers, I’ve tried to give fullish explanations for those that need them.


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

Scottish island invaded by single officer
An insertion of ONE in COLL, the Inner Hebridean island.

Corrupt part of the church – almost cringe when probing it
An insertion of DUC[K] in SEE, in its churchy definition, as in the HOLY SEE.

Reason demurely, somehow making classical request to crowd
Great spot by Quixote.  It’s (REASON DEMURELY)*, with ‘somehow’ as the anagrind.  ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen …’ and all that from Mark Antony’s speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Island’s building material convict’s stolen
[CON]CRETE.  I wonder why Quixote didn’t choose another synonym like ‘lag’ instead of ‘convict’, since ‘con’ and ‘convict’ overlap.  Happen he’s being gentle with us.

10  Animals getting one garment covered in hair
Clever; took me ages to see it.  It’s I VEST in LOCK.

12  Notice hospital with rodent running round – badly run establishment?
An insertion of AD and H in MOUSE.

13  Show disapproval of group making comeback – certain stars
Had to be this – a charade of BOO and a reversal of SET – and I’d vaguely heard of it.  It’s a constellation in the northern sky where you’ll see Arcturus, the third brightest star.

16  Boring one getting removed – is removed after swapping sides
The setter’s put his foot on the cryptic gas with this one, I think.  It’s TED[I]OUS and then a swap of the sides gives you OUSTED for the second ‘removed’.

18  Herb that’s yellow that’s chucked in a mug
A less than common word: it’s OR for the ‘gold’ or ‘yellow’ tincture and (IN A MUG)* with ‘chucked’ as the anagrind.  ORIGANUM is a genus of aromatic herbs, so if you were being picky you could say that ‘herb’ as a singular isn’t a strict definition; that would apply to individual species in the genus like marjoram and oregano.

21  This berry is sticky – dull and bad inside also
Bit of a tour of the plant kingdom here.  I just about got this from the wordplay then had to verify.  It’s MAT for ‘dull’ and ILL in TOO for ‘also’.  The ‘sticky’ is just a description of the berry used in Latin American cuisine.

23  Nick lacking the honour associated with Lord Owen, say
A synonym for ‘nick’ is NOT CH, Companion of Honour, which is what the good Lord is an example of.  A nod to Nick Clegg’s lack of status, perhaps?  I’m sure he’ll find gainful employment somewhere when he loses his seat in May 2015.

24  Horrible tots I’d whacked, being keener on using extreme violence
(HORRIBLE TOTS I’D)* with ‘whacked’ as the anagram.  Call ChildLine, someone.

25  Inside pub see the man getting soaked?
An insertion of THE in BAR.  The question mark is there to suggest that the answer requires a bit of imagination to get the definition.

26  Odd bits of telly in which there’s language using few words
Another insertion.  ‘Odd bits of telly’ give you TLY; put ERSE for the Irish language into that and you’ve got your answer.


What’s offered by an ice pack after injury is minimal (if any) soothing
A dd.

Source of oil and diesel running out – any number getting stuck
As (old) cricketers well know, LINSEED is an oil, the smell of which marks the start of the new season.  It’s (DIESEL N)* with ‘running out’ as the anagrind and N for the mathematical letter for ‘any number’.

Statistic relating to a particular drug provided by top man?
A charade of NUMBER for ‘statistic’, ON for ‘relating to’ and E for Ecstasy, ‘a particular drug’ (3,4 Methylene-dioxy-N methylamphetamine, since you ask).

See a catalogue that includes country’s latest supporter of British rule?
A further charade: of LO! for ‘see’ and A LIST for ‘ a catalogue’ with Y for the last letter of ‘country’ inserted.

Character at head of Society – what that one is, contemptible!
More foot on the gas, I think.  The definition is ‘contemptible’, as in ‘You scurvy knave!’  S is the character at the head of ‘Society’, and of course S is a CURVY letter.  I couldn’t find out whether the adjective is linguistically related to the condition which results from a lack of vitamin C.

Prepare speech having taken a day off

Worry endlessly wanting drink?  Leave your motor here!
Nice surface.  It’s a charade of CAR[P] and PORT.

11  My sad shriek, bursting out with famous last words
(MY SAD SHRIEK)*   Allegedly Horatio Nelson’s dying words to Captain Thomas Hardy.

14  Rare song I transformed as arranger
A clearly indicated anagram of (RARE SONG I)*

15  Criminal has some in fear – son is terrified
Very well hidden in feAR SON IS Terrified.

17  Thus one African state unites with a fellow African state
A charade of SO for ‘thus’, MALI and A.

19  Chemical ceremony initiated by foolish person
A charade of NIT for ‘foolish person’ and RITE gives you the chemical, the sodium salt of which you will most likely have ingested this morning if you had a bacon sarnie.

20  Man on top is second subsequently
I was into AFTER territory at first, but it’s S for ‘second’ and LATER for the man (if the setter had been Anarche it would have been ‘woman’, I fancy) on top of the house putting the tiles on.

22  Bonelike structure that gets excessively hard over time
A charade of TOO for ‘excessively’ and H for ‘hard’ around T.

Many thanks to Quixote for a pleasing puzzle to start the Indy week.

10 Responses to “Independent 7879/Quixote”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thank you, Pierre, for the usual entertaining blog and Quixote for the usual enjoyable and educational puzzle: I wasn’t familiar with that Scottish island or the sticky berry.

    I enjoyed the ‘stepping on the gas’ clues and also liked LEND ME YOUR EARS and KISS ME HARDY.

  2. crypticsue says:

    I am pleased to see that it wasn’t just me and that Pierre found Quixote trickier than normal. Some very nice clues in there so thank you to Quixote and Pierre too.

  3. NealH says:

    I thought 5 and 16 were quite tricky. I took me a long time to see that the “character at the head of Society” was just referring to the S and not a coded way of saying a word for character after an S. With 16, I got the idea for the clue but was trying to find a word where I could just swap the first and last letters rather than the two halves.

  4. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, Pierre, and thanks to Quixote for an excellent puzzle.

    I’m slightly surprised that people found this trickier than normal – I normally find Quixote’s puzzles difficult, so I was very happy to get all but two here (BOÖTES and OUSTED) in a reasonable amount of time. I didn’t know the constellation and for OUSTED I was thrown by the definition neither reaching the end nor the the beginning of the clue, which (while completely fair) is relatively rare…

  5. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Quixote for an enjoyable puzzle and Pierre for the blog.

    I found this a fairly easy solve until I got to 16ac, which I could not see at all, and unfortunately there were other words that would fit the space.

    2dn: I read this as N in (DIESEL)*, with “running out” as the anagram indicator and “getting stuck” as an insertion indicator.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    I really liked the two quotation ones – both a bit &littish – Mark Antony is the comparatively “demure reasoner” in the play, I suppose, and I hadn’t thought of Nelson shrieking sadly, but it’s certainly imaginable.

    I also found 16a the hardest, but a good clue too. I enjoyed 5 as well. An enjoyable and stimulating solve overall, with a handful of really memorable ones.

  7. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Pelham, that’s how I meant to explain LINSEED.

  8. flashling says:

    Glad it wasn’t just me that struggled with 16a the only word I could see on the train that fitted was oyster! Otherwise it was fine thought 5d was OK-ish but get-able. Cheers Q/Pierre.

  9. Wil Ransome says:

    Good crossword as usual, but I’m uncomfortable with 1dn. The clue seems rather odd and it looks as if there is a mistake there, for it doesn’t really make sense — in any case it is in rather ungrammatical English. And if it’s a dd then it’s a bit feeble and I feel sure that Quixote is doing something that nobody has noticed, for how else do you explain the tortuous wording? But what?

  10. Paul B says:

    Nah, cd&d. The first half of this is a fanciful definition, since an ice pack, being just the thing for certain injuries, offers anything but what we mean by ‘cold comfort’. After that, in the definition-for-real, you say the wording seems a bit weird: however, soothing is a noun as well as an adjective, so I’m happy.

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