Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7906/Anax

Posted by John on February 16th, 2012


Yet again, because of the vagaries of randomness, Anax has to put up with my inability to parse his clever clues. There are I’m afraid one or two that I just can’t understand, and this is obviously my fault, because all the rest of them are very good. There is virtually no point at which I raise an eyebrow and as always the crossword is excellent.

Much of it revolves around synonyms for 12ac, but no doubt there is something more.

1 PLANAR — the definition is ’12′, which is ‘two-dimensional’ and so far as I can see the rest of it is (R anal (= of ass, which is 15, although we’re not in the US and shouldn’t it be arse?) p)rev.
4 OFFENDER — an offender is a criminal, end = purpose, and you’d think that offer therefore meant ‘who kills’ (off(end)er), but does it? I suppose in a strange way it does: an offer is (?) someone who bumps people off — yes, that’s what it is: Chambers says that to off is US slang for to kill
10 LEMUR — a Madagascan speaks French, so would say that the graffiti is on the wall or sur ‘le mur’
11 ETYMOLOGY — things aren’t going well: I only have a very loose understanding of this and can’t see what’s happening [A Latin word for 'separate' is one of several]
12 TWO-DIMENSIONAL — since 19 is SOLID, this is (I won’t mean solid)* — I think I’ve commented before on the use of ‘perhaps’ as an anagram indicator: there are some who say that it shouldn’t be so used and that one should use ‘possibly’, but many setters don’t observe this very strictly
13 THREE-LEAFED — (Fe in (the leader)*
15 hAS Shot
16 SUPERFICIAL — the definition is ‘two-dimensional’, but the rest of it … [12 stock authorised on delivery] “soup official”, thanks dialrib, very nice
18 DISPATCH RIDERS — (I’d predict rash)* s (thanks Miche and K’s D), &lit., very nice
21 OILCLOTHS — (chills too)* — and here there can be no criticism of the anagram indicator — another very nice (semi) &lit, which this time has no need of the self-congratulatory exclam
22 PHI A{b}L{e}
1 POLL — dd, one of which refers to a straw poll
2 ARMY WORMS — (my marrows)* — rare term I think, but obvious enough
6 E(PO)X IED — the po is the chamber (pot) and an I.E.D., which I had to look up, is an improvised explosive device
8 ROYAL MAIL — (lay)rev. in Rom (not Roma, thanks JollySwagman), then ail (= upset)
9 BEAM ME UP SCOTTY — not sure here, but then I never was much of an expert on Star Trek, so no doubt something escapes me: ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ is a catchphrase from the programme, but the rest all seems to me to be a bit vague [A back order of Star Trek classics?]
13 TEARDROPS — tear (prods)*, referring to the term ‘to blub’, something nobody uses nowadays; they always say that they are getting ‘emotional’
14 BRI({h}AR{d} PIP)E
16 SH(ALL)OW — ‘show’ in the sense of ‘show up’
17 IN DEPT H{opeless} — but there are two 16s, although they both mean very much the same thing — was this deliberate or was it an example of the irritating way people have on a certain site (not this one) of referring to a clue by its number only, without ‘ac’ or ‘dn’?
20 FLAT — 3 defs: ‘two dimensional’, ‘rooms’, ‘exactly’

27 Responses to “Independent 7906/Anax”

  1. Joe says:

    4A: I think this is a DD, off-ender, being a coinage for someone who kills time without purpose.
    11A: Latin word for separate, ‘separ’ is an etymology of ‘Several’. Hmmm, looks a bit of GK…

  2. dialrib says:

    Thanks John and Joe (and Anax).

    16a “soup official”!

  3. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks John and Anax – a fun solve – needed your help to understand a couple.

    I read 8D the same as described but I’m left with one A too many.

    9D you’re absolutely right and of course it’s doubly famous as (like “Play it again Sam”) it was AFAIK never actually said – close many times but never those actual words.

    4A Not sure about that one – I read it as one who bumps people off so an “offer” even though it’s not a real word (in that sense).

    11A still baffled “A Latin” -> ET maybe – then what?
    or separate -> separ ate ?

  4. JollySwagman says:

    Re 8D – I think the answer there is that while ROMA is OK for gypsy, so is ROM.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, John. Now that I’m managing Anax’s Indy puzzles (some of the time, anyway) I can appreciate his style and clever constructions. I thought TEARDROPS and ROYAL MAIL were very good, but unless I’m missing something, ETYMOLOGY doesn’t really work for me.

    I think the reference to 16 in 17dn is fine, since ‘anyway’ indicates that either clue will work.

    In 18ac, you need another S for ‘succeeded’ to add to the anagram fodder, and 14ac seems to have gone AWOL. I took it to be BRA[T], which if it is, is slightly unkind on young people …

    And finally, Captain Kirk never once said ‘Beam me up, Scotty’. But everyone thinks he did, so the clue is fine.

    Thanks to Anax for a fine puzzle.

  6. MikeC says:

    Thanks John and Anax. Filled the grid today (hooray!) but I’m no wiser than anyone else on ETYMOLOGY. Re 9d, it may be worth mentioning that the alleged command referred to an order to return (Kirk) to the USS Enterprise (hence, a “back order”).

    Great puzzle!

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Should be getting on with some work, but I’ve just had a butcher’s in my twenty-year old copy of ‘Dictionary of Word Origins’. To quote: “Etymologically, ‘several’ means ‘separate’. It comes via Anglo-Norman ‘several’ from medieval Latin ‘separalis’, a derivative of Latin ‘separ’, meaning ‘separate’.”

    So now you know. Still don’t much like the clue, though …

  8. Miche says:

    Thanks, John.

    18a: *(I’D PREDICT RASH) + S (succeeded).

  9. flashling says:

    Cor blimey guv! Well done John, failed all over the shop on this, my blog would have been barer than old mother Hubbard’s cupboard after a plague of locusts. As you may guess I failed to complete this, Anax beat me fair and square. Still think etymology, is odd and suspect there’s more to it.

  10. Paul B says:

    The SCOTTY clue is just a joke about an instruction, in one form or another frequently issued to get Kirk back to the ship, is it not? Thus Kirk’s ‘back-order’.

  11. Paul B says:

    Sorry MikeC! I was (obviously) on another planet.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I think we’re all on another planet this morning, Paul B, because I’ve just realised that I repeated at comment no 5 what JollySwagman had already explained at comment no 3. I must Klingon to what little intelligence I have left. And no, I’m not a Trekkie.

  13. crypticsue says:

    That was a challenge and a half – looked at it on and off all morning, and will even admit to the application of Tippex!! I think with hindsight after the customary lie down in the darkened room I did enjoy the whole solving process, but like flashling certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be the one who blogged this one. Thanks to Anax and John.

  14. Paul A says:

    10a – shouldn’t the question either be ‘Ou sont les graffiti?’ or ‘Ou est le graffito?’ Multi-lingual clues already :-)

  15. Bertandjoyce says:

    We were really pleased to have completed this today although like everyone else we are baffled by 11a despite KD’s research! We are sure there must be something else going on.
    Groans yesterday aplenty with Paul’s offering on ‘The Other Side’ and more today with 13d, 14a, 16a and 1a. Great surface readings (apart from 11a!) as always.
    Thanks Anax, we wondered when we’d see you again. Thanks also to John for the blog.

  16. Bertandjoyce says:

    Re Paul A@14…… we started to look up ‘aumur’ in the dictionary when the penny suddenly dropped!

  17. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Whoa, this was hard – but I got there in the end [admittedly, with some dictionaries at hand].
    Many thanks, John, for your blog which I needed for some parsings (even though I failed on a couple of the same ones as you).
    [btw, in your blog 14ac is missing]

    So, 16ac (never though of a homophone), the end of 8d and 6d: I get them now. But I think 11ac is still a bit iffy.

    LEMUR (10ac) was my first entry, but I had the same initial thoughts as Bertandjoyce @16. I even think that, from a cryptic POV, it should be ‘aumur’ [which, of course, doesn't mean anything]. When you ask a Frenchman “Where is the graffiti?”, he will say “on the wall” and nót “the wall”.

    But clever stuff all along the way.
    My COD is without doubt the key clue 12ac (TWO-DIMENSIONAL).
    While I cannot be bothered about “perhaps” as the anagrind, I find this an example of exceptional cluing, the clue fabulously interwoven with 19d’s SOLID.

    Hats off to Anax!

  18. Paul B says:

    I don’t think there is anything else going on at 11A: Joe parsed it correctly (AFAICS) at #1, and K’s D, just for good measure, did it again at #7. But would anyone else agree that, although artfully constructed, the amounts to a straight definition?

  19. Paul B says:

    … ‘the CLUE amounts’ etc …

  20. Uncle Yap says:

    A superb puzzle by Anax. Love 16A and all the two-dimensional clues.

  21. Thomas99 says:

    I liked 11a, the joke being that there’s no wordplay as such (in the sense of letters being moved around etc.) and no knowledge needed other than the most basic definition of “etymology” – “the origin of a word”/”where a word comes from”. Of course it took me a long time to realise that. It turned out you didn’t even have to know the etymology of “several” or of “separate”, or indeed of “etymology” (which I don’t). As Paul B says the definition is arguably not even cryptic; it simply says that a Latin word for ‘separate’ is an etymology, i.e. possible origin, of “several”, which may or may not be news to the solver. It certainly dragged me round the houses for long enough to qualify as a cryptic clue though, even if it’s a sort of double-bluff.

    I’d still parse it “CD”, although some new category like “misleading definition” might be appropriate. I think someone’s already coined “elusive definition” which might do too.

  22. anax says:

    Hello friends – many thanks to John for the blog and to all for your comments.
    I’ll have to be somewhat brief; in Italy at the moment, hampered by a laptop with a horrid keyboard layout (symbol keys all mis-labelled) so keeping typing to a minimum.
    Yes, ETYMOLOGY is just a CD designed to mislead you into thinking of several words. The answer itself is an unfriendly bunch of letters so I just tried to play it straight and offer it as a starter clue. Didn’t quite work out that way apparently, but the solvability of CDs is guesswork anyway.
    After a couple of cold days the weather’s lovely now, verging on warm, but – sad geek as I am – I can’t wait to get home to the big monitor and adult-sized keyboard.

  23. Thomas99 says:

    Ha ha – the “starter clue” was literally my last in!

    Many thanks for clearing that up Anax, and for dropping in. It was a great puzzle.

  24. Allan_C says:

    Anax seems to have stimulated us to exchanges worthy of Another Newspaper with his “starter clue” – which was almost my last in, too, Thomas99. First in was LEMUR, accompanied by a real groan. Thanks B&J for the blog – several answers needed explanation, not just ETYMOLOGY. Several raised a smile, though, especially DISPATCH RIDERS.

  25. Kathryn's Dad says:

    We really are all on another planet today. I think you’ll find it was John’s blog, Allan!

  26. Allan_C says:

    Oops! Sorry, John and thanks K’sD. That’s what comes of catching up on the previous day’s puzzle, which was blogged by B&J. A senior moment, maybe.

  27. John says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments. Blog amended as appropriate I think. Still uncomfortable with 11ac.

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