Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7912 / Tees

Posted by duncanshiell on February 23rd, 2012


Tees regularly produces crosswords that have attractions for beginners, while also catering for the more experienced solvers.




This was a crossword with a good mix of clues, some with basic constructions, such as BAD PATCH, THE MIKADO and IGNORAMUS and some with more complex construction such as MASSACRE and PETER O’TOOLE.  The use of ‘His’ and ‘As’ as definitions was entertaining and challenging for a while until the penny dropped.

There was need for a bit of general knowledge today – geography, airports, cricket, light opera, symbols, films, flora & fauna and history, with flora and symbols being combined in one case.  I hadn’t heard of the ONEIDA people before today, but the wordplay was fairly clear.  I had heard of Mount Ida (from a previous crossword).

I have got a couple of pedantic little niggles which I describe in the detail below, but that’s partly because I always look for such things to enable me to waffle on about them in the blog.

Finally, I note that the two successive answers across the lower half of the grid show ARSENAL TALENT.  I suspect one or two solvers may take issue with that juxtaposition at the moment.  Perhaps Tees is an ARSENAL fan.  I know one of my fellow Indy bloggers will have taken great delight in the cup result for Sunderland v ARSENAL last weekend.


No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Money left on account last from Abbey (6) LEG (on; the ‘on side’ in cricket is also termed the ‘leg side’) + AC (account) + Y (final letter of [last from] ABBEY) LEGACY (money left)  Money, of course, is just one form of legacy; there are others, e.g. property.
4 Service engineer admitting car tampered with causes slaughter (8)

(MASS [service] + E [engineer {?}.  I can’t find a dictionary {Chambers, Collins, Shorter Oxford, Oxford Dictionary of English} that gives E on its own as an abbreviation for engineer.  However, it does appear as such in my Penguin Dictionary of Abbreviations {published in 2000}. I realise that E is used for engineer in a  number of compund abbreviatios, such as CE {Civil Engineer} or ME {Mechanical Engineer}) containing (admitting) an anagram of (tampered with) CAR  


MASSACRE (slaughter)
10 Kid at home composed for comic opera (3,6) Anagram of (composed) KID AT HOME THE MIKADO (comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan)
11 Old runner in form comes to an airport (5) O (old) + HARE (runner; the bed of a hare is known as a form) O’HARE (international airport [Chicago])
12 Law means to Krays ‘wincers and wasters’ (3)

Middle letters (means) A C and T of KRAYS WINCERS and WASTERS  Chambers does give one definition for ‘mean’ as ‘a middle state or position’, but I’ve never seen it used as an indicator of the middle value in a list, such as a list of letters in a word.  The term ‘median’ is used more often in mathematics or other scientific references to denote the middle value of a set.  I also wondered whether the phrase ‘wincers and wasters’ had any specific relavance to the Kray twins but I can’t find any references.

ACT (law)
13 Evil or otherwise unexpected development in novel (6,5) Anagram of (otherwise) EVIL OR + TWIST (unexpected development) OLIVER TWIST (novel by Charles Dickens, 200 years old this year and already widely featured in thematic crosswords in the early period of 2012)
14 Solitary mountain people (6) ONE (single; solitary) + IDA (reference Mount IDA, a sacred mountain in Greek mythology.  Apparently there were two such Mountains, one is in current day Turkey and one on the island of Crete [Greece].  If you type ‘Mount IDA‘ into Google Earth it takes you to Mount IDA, Arkansas) ONEIDA (the ‘People of the Upright Stone’ a Native American people)
16 Demanding information held by pro-euthanasia group (7)

GEN (information) contained in (held by) EXIT (on its website EXIT International describes itself as a leading end-of-life choices [voluntary euthanasia/assisted suicide] information & advocacy organisation.)


EXIGENT (urgent; demanding)
19 Wenger unable to reach final – everyone gutted for the team (7)

ARSENE [reference ARSENE Wenger, manager of Arsenal football club [at the time of writing this blog]) excluding the final letter [unable to reach final] E + first and last letters [gutted] A and L of ALL


ARSENAL ([football] team)
20 Gift of story books (6) TALE (story) + NT ([books of the] New Testament) TALENT (gift)
22 Pair carried through teleport reset by Terminator in wormhole, finding start (5,6)

([O and O – another cricketing reference I think;  a batsman who scores O in each innings is said to have got a pair] contained in [carried through] an anagram of [reset] TELEPORT ) + E (final letter of [terminator] WORMHOLE)


PETER O’TOOLE ([film] star)
25 Small old man in town for his health! (3) S (small) + PA (father; old man) SPA (a place with a mineral spring, said to have healing qualities)
26 Carry mark for clan symbol (5) TOTE (carry) + M (mark; former German currency) TOTEM (clan symbol)
27 European with ground sees wild flower as national symbol (9) E (European) + an anagram of (ground) SEES WILD EDELWEISS (alpine flower, regarded as a national symbol in Switzerland.  Also important in Austria, particularly as portrayed in The Sound of Music)
28 Bottom-pinching party-giver with most husky voice (8) HOST (party-giver) containing (pinching) ARSE (bottom) HOARSEST (most husky voice)
29 One sets up home having accommodated 5 in sink (6) ( I + NEST [set up home; ‘nest’ can be a verb]) containing (having accommodated) V (Roman numeral for 5) INVEST (sink, as in putting money into something)
1 Enough to cause death allowed by antagonistic computer (6) LET (allowed) + HAL (the antagonistic computer in the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey) LETHAL (enough to cause death, as in a ‘lethal’ dose)
2 His egg is tern product (9) Anagram of (product) EGG IS TERN GREETINGS (hi! is a greeting, his refers to more than one hi)
3 Carbon monoxide with breathable gases inhaled in busy city (5) CO (chemical formula for carbon monoxide) containing (inhaled) AIR (breathable gases) CAIRO (busy city, capital of Egypt)
5 As populous place here is to be Devonian perhaps, home to this writer? (5-9) Anagram of (perhaps) TO BE DEVONIAN containing (home to) ME (this writer) ABOVE-MENTIONED (reference to CAIRO, the populous place that is the answer to the previous clue)
6 Poor Law or this in legal spectacular (4,5) Anagram of (poor) LAW OR THIS

SHOW TRIAL (a trial at which the opportunity to expose the accused to public opprobrium is given priority over the impartial prosecution of justice; legal spectacular)

7 Furry animal, leopard say, keeping duck on island (5)

(CAT [a leopard is a type of {big} cat] containing [keeping] O [duck]) + I (island)

C (O) AT I

COATI (an animal related to the racoon; furry animal)  I imagine a fantasy crossword land is awash with COATIs as the animal is a frequent answer.  I rarely come across them elsewhere.

Toothless animal retreat occupies small place in land (8)

DEN (animal retreat) replacing (occupies … place) S (small) in ESTATE (a piece of land)

EDENTATE (toothless)
9 As for example Athenian landlords? (7,7) CAPITAL (Athens is the capital of Greece) + LETTERS (landlords) CAPITAL LETTER (A is an examples of a CAPITAL LETTER.  As means more than one A)
15 Fool on air smug somehow (9) Anagram of (somehow) ON AIR SMUG IGNORAMUS (fool)
17 Sea eagles brought over piece of antler for girl (9) ERNES (sea eagles) + TINE (a point of a deer’s horn; piece of antler) ERNESTINE (girl’s name, but I can’t say I have ever met one with that name)
18 Terrible time with length going from site of hair loss (3,5) BALD PATCH (site of hair loss) excluding (going from) L (length) BAD PATCH (terrible time)
21 Dog takes course of action to capture donkey (6) BET (I think these is based on ‘to place a BET‘ as an action that takes place on a race course; course of action?) containing (capture) ASS (donkey) BASSET (breed of dog; BASSET hound)
23 Swimmer partakes of elite training (5) Hidden word in (partakes of) ELITE TRAINING TETRA (any of various species of tropical freshwater fish of the genus Characidea)
24 Sides in England get three points for Northumbrian king (5) ED (first and last letters of [sides of] ENGLAND) + WIN (in many sports, teams get three points for a win) EDWIN (King of olden Northumbria, born 586 – died 632 [or 633, Wikipedia gives both])

10 Responses to “Independent 7912 / Tees”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the comprehensive blog, Duncan. Second day running I haven’t managed to finish – couldn’t see ONEIDA at all, although as you say, it’s clearly enough signposted. A mixture of easyish and hard, I found, which is fair enough. I had no idea with the parsings of ACT, GREETINGS, ABOVE-MENTIONED and CAPITAL LETTERS, and wouldn’t have had if I had stared at them for the rest of the morning, so thanks for explaining those. The two Os in O’TOOLE are indeed the cricketing reference to a pair of ducks in a four-innings cricket match; get out first ball twice and you’ve bagged a king pair.

    There was plenty to enjoy here, but HOARSEST was my favourite. I’m sure it’s been done before, but it made me smile.

    I can confirm from previous exchanges that Tees most certainly is not an Arsenal fan, preferring to devote his passion to some Saintly south coast outfit who are in danger of returning to the Premier League (that will be just for three seasons, though – autumn, winter and spring …) But thanks for mentioning The Lads’ magnificent cup victory. I expect nms and I were shouting at the telly at the same time.

    I’ll stop waffling about footie now before I get in trouble with Gaufrid.

  2. Tees says:

    Hi Duncan – great blog for which many thanks. Typo at 15dn, but hardly a whopper.

    Defending some of the usage: e = engineer in Chambers C21, but I see it isn’t in the proper book – have to watch that little habit of theirs; mean = ‘midway position’ (Chambers) & ‘middle point’ (Collins); bet = ‘choice of action (Chambers) & ‘course of action’ (Collins) as in ‘your best bet’.


  3. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Duncan and Tees, this was good fun although I failed at ACT and O’HARE. Like you, I wondered if ‘wincers and wasters’ was a set phrase, so I googled it and found…. a reference to your blog.

    I thought ABOVE-MENTIONED was very clever when I realised it referred to CAIRO. Spent some time looking for a Northumbrian king called EDWEN, as I assumed the three points were West, East and North. Thanks for explaining the sporting reference – D’oh.

    Our fantasy crossword wildlife park would not be complete without a sprinkling of Ratels, Ounces and even Edentata…

  4. duncanshiell says:

    K’s Dad @1

    Having lived and worked in the home town of the Saints for over 20 years,from 1989 to 2010, I have visited The Dell and St Mary’s on many occasions and fully expect Southampton to be playing in the Premiership for many a year in future!

    Tees @ 2

    Thanks for pointing out the typo – now corrected

    I’ve got a copy of Chambers 21st Century, but I can’t remember when I last looked at it. It never seemed to have the word I wanted when I did look at it, so I reverted to the normal Chambers. I’ll try and remember to look in the 21 st Century version in future.

  5. Tees says:

    Well, I could be hoist with my own petard if I don’t try to dissuade you from that. But I wish Chambers would be consistent!

  6. nmsindy says:

    Many thanks, Duncan, and Tees. I too found this a mixture of quite easy and quite tricky clues, with the novelty and invention one associates with Tees’ puzzles. While I did solve it correctly, there were quite a few references where I needed your explanation. Maybe it’s a sign of doing a lot of crosswords, but I got CAPITAL LETTERS straightaway. Guess in 19A the ‘unable to reach final’ may be with an eye to their chances of overturning a 0-4 deficit against Milan to stay in the Champions League. Yes, to beat them was good, but I’m sure they would remind you they made the same long journey the week before and won in the Premier League, if a little luckily, and then had their Milan trip in between. Anyway, the man ultimately responsible for all the Indy puzzles, will be the next to hope Arsenal will be beaten – this coming Sunday. Favourite clue, BAD PATCH.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Nice one from Tees. Completed the grid without fully understanding all the clues, so thanks, Duncan, for the blog. I like your caveat about Wenger being manager “at the time of writing”

  8. flashling says:

    What a mixed bag, lots of obvious stuff and some really mean and nasty stuff, Oneida was just plain obscure to us Brits, my personal favourite after staring at it, seeing the anagram was greetings. I swore and laughed when I twigged on that, well played sir.

    Grand blog as ever Duncan and thanks PB for the brain stretch.

  9. Chris says:

    I have to confess interpreting ‘pair’ as referring to the word as in ‘to grow a pair’, in which case it refers to a pair of balls, with the obvious visible match. Maybe that’s too naughty but it makes more sense to me than the cricket connection…

  10. Allan_C says:

    Wanderer @3: Don’t forget the Ais in the fantasy wildlife park. They’d have to be in the plural of course. Possible clue: Sloths settled in Barra Island (3) – but I’m sure there are some much better ones out there.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

3 × four =