Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,884 by Radian (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 21/01/12)

Posted by Simon Harris on January 28th, 2012

Simon Harris.

No complaints from me about drawing another Radian puzzle to blog. This was a good one, though I seemed to race through many of the clues before becoming completely stumped on the last few, including the unfamiliar words at 4dn and 18dn.

I’m not sure if there’s a theme here. There are certainly a few references to Germany, and CHURCHILL appears among the entries, but there’s nothing I can quite put my finger on. We do have a pangram, either way.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

1 MISSPOKE – MISS + POKE. I struggled here a little, as I’d forgotten about the incident – if indeed I was aware of it at all. It’s clearly a euphemism for “lied”.
5 IN SONG – [rob]IN SON[g]. “Drunk” seems like an odd “hidden in” indicator, so I could be wrong. Either way this is a reference to the Simon & Garfunkel song from the classic film The Graduate.
9 INCISION – (NO + I + SIC + NI)<.
10 SCYTHE – S[ome] C[ons] + THEY*.
12 INST – [aga]INST. Meaning “this month”, inst is one of those funny little Latin abbreviations like ult and prox that I’m fairly sure I would never have come across were it not for cryptic crosswords.
15 CLAVIER – (A LIVE)* in [sa]CR[ed].
17 MATIZ – (ZIT + A M)<. A funny-looking little car from Korea.
18 BLUES – B[a]L[l] U[s]E[r]S.
24 JOVEV in JOE.
27 HEIFER – F[emal]E in HEIR.
28 AGERATUM – from A GERANIUM, with T[wo] replacing NI, hence “province”.
29 SALINE – LI in SANE. Clever stuff here: LI is of course 51 in Roman numerals, and it’s “in sane”, hence “mad”.
1 MAISIE – IS in MAI[n]E. Since N can be “name” in crosswords, removing it makes MAINE “nameless”, hence “anonymous”. I can’t claim to be familiar with it, but the clue refers to the book What Maisie Knew by Henry James.
2 SECHSC in SHES*. Perhaps not everyone will be familiar with the hyperbolic secant function from maths, but thankfully from the wordplay and checking letters it couldn’t be much else.
3 PISA – (A S[light] I[nclination] P[ut])< &lit.
4 KHOKHRI – (OK in (H + H)) in IRK<.
6 NICER – [empi]RE CIN[emas]<.
11 BRERBR + E.R.
14 FAQS – F[inding] A Q[uick] S[olution] &lit;.
16 EMU – [th]E MU[stard].
17 MOAT – MOA + [nigh]T.
18 BENTHOS – (ON THE)* in B[ottom feeder]S and presumably &lit.
19 FLUX – FLU + X.
20 NAIL GUN – ((I L) in Ag) in NUN.
21 WEIMAR – I’M in WEAR.
23 TIE-IN – IT< + EIN.
25 OCTET – [concer]T ETC O[ccasionally]<.
26 URGE – (G.R. in E.U.)<.

8 Responses to “Independent 7,884 by Radian (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 21/01/12)”

  1. Allan_C says:

    A totally solvable puzzle, though some words were unfamiliar and I couldn’t parse all the clues, and I was held up for a bit on 4d thinking 1a was “misspeak”. Thanks, Simon, for the blog.

    Re 5a, although “drunk” looks like an anagrind it can just as well be a “hidden in” indicator. If you have drunk something you can be said to have taken it in.

    Re BRER (11a), the older generation may remember the Brer Rabbit stories.

    14a raises the question again (a FAQ?) about abbreviations/acronyms. Should it be (4) or (1,1,1,1)?

    Yes, 18d is an &lit. Chambers defines it as “the flora and fauna of the sea bottom or lake bottom (opposed to plankton and nekton)”.

  2. Bannsider says:

    “I’m not sure if there’s a theme here. There are certainly a few references to Germany”

    There certainly are – look again! Though I have my colleague Raich to thank for spotting them for me …

  3. sidey says:

    Thank you Simon and Radian, good fun.

    Shame I can’t count in forrin though.

    Wouldn’t A funny-lloking little car be Welsh? ;^)

  4. Raich says:

    Thanks, Radian, and Simon. Yes, I spotted it but only after Bannsider said the strange grid and the fact it’s Radian means it’s likely there is something. SECHS gave me the key then. Funnily enough the first Raich puzzle (ONE TOO MANY) to appear in the Indy Weekend Mag series was also based on German. I took the precaution beforehand of running it all past a professional translator who I know, which was just as well as some challenged whether the basis of the puzzle was correct.

  5. Lenny says:

    As Allan_C says this was totally solvable. This was despite the fact that it contained a couple of abbreviations, a brand name and four words totally unknown to me: Ageratum, Benthos, Sechs and Khokhri. All the words were gettable but I needed all the checkers for my last one in, Khokhri. I can’t find it in Wiki or Google maps. There is a reference to it on an Indian website mentioning that it has a population of 835, making it perhaps the smallest place ever used as a crossword answer.

    Needless to say the hidden theme passed totally over my head, despite the frequent German hints in the other clues, since I cannot count in German. On the whole this was quite cheeky, very clever and great fun. Thanks to Radian and Simon

  6. James_M says:

    I was thrown by 4D. I figured it was EHOKHRI (OK in (H + H) in IRE), which after much Googling I discovered was a little-known historical site in Gujarat ! Too bad as it stumped me for 1A.

  7. Simon Harris says:

    That’s reassuring, James. I made exactly the same mistake, and probably found the same site as you did!

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    We also noticed the references to Germany but completely missed the hidden theme, despite learning German at school! It was fun finding them all this evening.
    4d was the last one in and like the rest of you, we needed to google it although it was obvious when you had all the checking letters.
    Thanks Simon. Thanks also to Radian. We’ll keep a better eye out for your themes in future!

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