Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7882/Anax

Posted by John on January 19th, 2012


The usual outstanding crossword from Anax. Of course there are one or two about which I’m not quite sure, but that’s usual. There are some quite brilliant clues here. I’ve referred to one or two of them, but there are many others that could also have been picked out.

1 BE(JAB)ER’S — ‘bejabers’ as a synonym for ‘my’ was less than obvious to me, but it’s there in Chambers, called a ‘euphemistic alteration’ of ‘By Jesus!’
5 G LO(BA{d})L — Laughing out loud, ‘world’ as an adjective
9 LACTOVEGETARIAN — (cattle via orange)*
11 OXON — the opponents are the opponents in noughts and crosses; ‘on’ is ‘playing’ in the theatrical sense
12 A M(BASS)AD OR — def ‘voice’
14 CO{n v{ehicle}}ALESCE
17 AB(L)ATE — not a common word but perhaps more known in the form ‘ablation’ (indeed Chambers doesn’t have a heading for ‘ablate’, including it under the entry for ‘ablation’)
18 LIONISER — someone who loves something, (resin oil)rev. — presumably resin oil is aromatic grease, but there is no entry in Chambers for the term, so where does the ‘aromatic’ come from, except as something you’d more or less expect?
20 GORGEOUSLY — go (your legs)* — lovely clue, perhaps even a gorgeous one
21 S{ocialise} CUM
24 INDOMITABLENESS — (tension is blamed)*
25 LOSING — “loo zing” — another excellent clue
26 WESLEYAN — e{missar}y in (N Wales)*
1 B ILK O — referring to Sergeant Bilko, who was based at Fort Baxter — although I happened to understand this, I suspect lots of people won’t and I wonder if it’s reasonable in a daily cryptic to refer to an early American sitcom. This one was so outstanding, though, that perhaps it has attained the status of ‘classic’, so is all right.
2 JACK OF ALL TRADES — there are so many different meanings of ‘jack’ that I’m not inclined to try to work out what’s going on, particularly since I think (though am not sure) that it refers to playing cards
3 B(L)OW — an American word for ‘cocaine’
4 REED MACE — re around (Cam Dee)rev.
6 LEAF SPRING — (Frag{i}le pin’s)* — something of which I’d never heard, but plausible enough if one has a few checkers
7 BUILDING SOCIETY — (Big City delusion)* — lovely clue with an &lit. quality
8 L U NARY EAR — the lunar year lasts 354 days — never knew that but Chambers says so
10 EXAM{ple}
13 WEATHERMAN — I’m not absolutely clear here, but I think that ‘If I say’ is a homophone indicator of ‘if’, “whether”, then m{oisture} a{cross} N{orth} [If I say “Hints of moisture across North, who am I?”]
14 CHAR GR ILL — char = she does
19 QUIT{e}
22 MASON — not sure here: I think it’s ‘man’ (= piece) around ‘so’, but I can’t think of two sentences where ‘so’ can be exchanged for ‘this’ — ref Jackie Mason
23 blaZE A Little

22 Responses to “Independent 7882/Anax”

  1. crypticsue says:

    1a indeed!! I didn’t finish this one so thank you to John for his assistance with 18a and 16d. I will say that Anax with his Indy hat on does like to stretch the brain and this one certainly did that and more for me. Very enjoyable once I re-read it after exiting the darkened room.

  2. Paul A says:

    22d – Imagine holding hands apart and saying ‘it was SO big’, = THIS big…. Just a thought. V enjoyable, never seen Bejabers written down before

  3. Thomas99 says:

    Suggestions for 22d – If you insist on being this difficult/If you insist on being so difficult…
    The fish I nearly caught was about so big/The fish I nearly caught was about this big…

    Re 13 – I think Anax is using a trick that is becoming rather common in Azed clue competition submissions – sometimes even winning prizes. Hints of moisture across north simply means m, a, and n (the first letters). I still don’t really go for this technique much, but I have a history of shifting a bit on things like this. I wonder what others think.

    18a – not sure but I actually took aromatic and grease separately, guessing that a resin might be called an “aromatic” (noun). I didn’t check this though.

    Many thanks – great puzzle.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John. They say a good puzzle is one that you finish, so this was a good puzzle. I can’t always do Anax, but with a bit of perseverance I got this one, which I’m pleased about. There’s a wit and lightness of touch about many of his clues: LOSING and GORGEOUSLY were ones that stood out today.

    I think Anax has used the SO = THIS equivalence before. ‘It was so exciting/It was this exciting.’ Bit of a stretch, but that’s why the boy’s considered hard.

    In fact BILKO was my first in, although I can only just remember the sitcom. I guess if you’re stuck, there’s always t’internet to look up Fort Baxter.

    Thanks to Anax for a very enjoyable crossword.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Paul A –
    Well at least that proves we’re both “great minds…”!

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Sorry, chaps, we crossed.

  7. anax says:

    Afternoon friends.
    Beautifully blogged as ever, John – thank you so much.
    Just a note on RESIN=aromatic; yes, it’s a noun, admittedly a bit specialised. In the moulding industry a resin will be either aromatic or aliphatic. To we normals the use would be adjectival, but within the industry a resin is ‘an aromatic’ or ‘an aliphatic’.
    The SO=this examples are right. My own example would be “You do it like this” = “You do it like so”.
    The ‘weather’ homophone (‘if’) is also correct. Not the strongest tool in the box but, when you spot the &Lit potential, it’s better than torturing yourself in the hunt for alternatives!

  8. Conrad Cork says:

    K’s D @4. Lots of inexpensive Bilko DVD boxes on Amazon. They are still hilarious.

  9. MikeC says:

    Thanks John and Anax. I just about got over the finishing line here but it was tough going. I enjoy A’s puzzles but I certainly don’t find them easy. Perhaps it’s because some clues are (relatively) straightforward, while others are quite obscure. Result is, I’m never quite sure how wide to cast the net . . .

  10. flashling says:

    Anax toughie again certainly can’t claim to have sailed through this me hearty. Somewhat of a pangram too methinks. Ta John/Anax.

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Unless we missed it no-one seems to have mentioned that it’s also a pangram. We completed it but couldn’t work out the parsing for 16d and 22d so thanks to everyone.
    20a was the COD for us both.
    Thanks Anax, we really enjoy a challenge!
    Thanks John for the blog.

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    It seems we crossed, flashling! I should have typed faster!

  13. nmsindy says:

    Yes, I too found this v tough indeed. Favourite clues, SCUM (great surface), WESLEYAN, CHARGRILL. Thanks, Anax and John.

  14. Bamberger says:

    Tried this on the commute in , the commute home and at lunch. Net result -solved 2d & 23d! Well done anyone who finshed this unaided-I’m in awe.

  15. Bertandjoyce says:

    Bamberger – I wouldn’t say we did this unaided. Some of the pleasure lies in using any available tool (we have apps for Chambers dictionary and thesaurus on our ipad) to narrow down the possibilities. With another compiler, I’d say this was cheating but not with Anax. You need all the help you can get!

  16. Quixote says:

    What makes some of Anax’s clues hard for me is the dubious grammar in the components of some of his subsidiary indications. Thus in the clue for CHARGRILL (She does badly eating Greek barbecue) I would prefer either ‘She who does badly …’ or ‘One who does badly …’. This would make the clue more grammatically acceptable and (a regrettable consequence for some?)easier. All that said, tehre were some nice little touches in this puzzle (19D was lovely!).

  17. Quixote says:

    Sorry: THERE! PS 1A wasn’t bad either!

  18. flashling says:

    @Bamberber when I first started the Indy 20 odd years ago I think I went a year before getting a single Mass or Lucifer (both now sadly departed) clue. My first Anax wasn’t anything but a near washout. Don’t be disheartened, just try to remember some of the tricks of the trade we try to show here.

    Anyone else remember Aelred? Did wonder if he was Rufus in disguise.

  19. Allan_C says:

    Interestingly I solved 9 and 15 in a rather roundabout way. I guessed 9 was ‘Lactovegetarian’ and removed the letters of ‘cattle via’ to end up with ‘ogeran’, quickly resolved into ‘Orange’ from which I could then parse the clue.

    Thanks, John, for the explanation of OXON – I never thought of noughts and crosses; ‘opponents’ in a cryptic clue so often refer to certain combinations of N E S and W as bridge players – just shows that Anax should never be taken for granted or underestimated.

    K’s D; I did just what you suggested for Fort Baxter.

    Btw, does anyone know if there’s an easy way to save a partially completed online Indy? I do it by taking a screen shot and then when I come back I have to fill in the bits I’d done before by using the reveal button. I got some unintentional help today by accidentally revealing 1a instead of 1d.

  20. flashling says:

    @Allan_C see sidey’s commemt on yesterday’s Dac.

  21. Lenny says:

    I’m always pleased to finish an Anax. It probably helped that I am a 9. The &lit nature of the clue does hint at the hypocrisy of being a lactovegetarian.

  22. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, flashling. That’s solved another problem as I can now retrieve Wednesday’s Dac which I missed completely.

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