Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,923 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 7th, 2012


A(nother) tidy set of exquisitely sound clues today from Dac, through which I worked more quickly than is usual for me with one of his puzzles.

I needed Wikipedia to confirm that 13 was & lit., and I really can’t believe that the married couple at 13 and 1D have graced the same puzzle by accident.

My favourites are 9, for its inspired use of the names of bands in the construction of the clue, and 17, for its smooth surface and clever misdirection.


*(…) indicates an anagram


1   SURELY SU (US=America; “in recession” indicates reversal) + RELY (=bank (on),   as verb)
4   SPILLAGE S (=small) + PILLAGE (=sack, as verb)
9   ADMIRER I (=one) + *(D:REAM) + R (=Queen); “Kinks” is anagram indicator
11   NANNIES N   (=new) + ANNIE’S (=little orphan’s, from the Broadway musical Annie)
12   FORMALITY FOR (=supporting) + MALI (=African country) + TY<rannicals> (“leaders of” means first few letters only)
13   ASHER A + SHE (=female) + <McCa>R<tney>   (“heart” means middle letter only); & lit.; the reference is to   English actress Jane Asher (1946-), who had a 5-year relationship with singer Paul McCartney in 1963-8
14   MISINFORMATION M1 (=motorway) + <vehicle>S (“ultimately” means last letter only) + IN FORMATION (=lining (up) one behind the other)
18   VEGETARIAN DISH *(GAVE A DINNER THIS); “cook” is anagram indicator
20   REBUS Hidden (“engages”) in “insecuRE BUSinessman”; the reference is to Inspector Rebus in the detective novels of Scottish writer Ian Rankin
22   EFFLUENCE FLU (=disease) in [E (=Eastern) + FENCE (=border)]
24   ENDGAME END (=goal) + GAME (=match); the reference is to the play Endgame by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, published in 1957
25   LACKEYS LACK (=need) + E (=energy) + Y<ou> S<ay> (“at the   start” means first letters only)
26   RETREATS Double definition: RE(-)TREATS means “once more negotiates” AND “withdrawals”
27   JEREMY JERE<z> (=sherry; “in short supply” means last letter is dropped) + MY; the definition is simply “boy”, i.e. a man’s name
1   SCARFE SCARF<ac>E (=Al Capone; “forgetting his initials (=AC)” means that the letters “ac” are not used; the reference is to English cartoonist Gerald Scarfe (1936-), who, incidentally, is married to Jane Asher (see 13)
2   REMARKING R.E. (=Religious Education) MARKING (=one of scripture teacher’s tasks); the definition is simply “saying”
3   LORCA *(CAROL); “composed” is anagram indicator; the reference is to Spanish writer Federico García Lorca, 1898-1936
5   PENNY DREADFUL PEN (=writer) + *(DYLAN FREUD); “translated” is anagram indicator; a penny dreadful is a cheap, sensational serial or book, hence “worthless   novel”
6   LENT A HAND LEN (=fellow, i.e. man’s name) + TA (=thanks) + HAND (=worker)
7   AMISH Hidden (“entering through”) in “MiAMI’S Harbour
8   ENSURING *(GUNNER IS); “properly trained” is anagram indicator
10   REINFORCEMENT REIN (=check) + FOR + CEMENT (=building material)
15   INTESTATE NT (=National Trust) in [I (=one) + ESTATE (=property)]
16   INSINCERE I + N (=note) + SIN (=something wrong) + CERE (homophone (“sounding”) of “seer” (=prophet))
17   OVERHEAR VER HE (EH=what, i.e. as an exclamation + REV=cleric; “brought up” indicates vertical reversal) in OAR (=row, as verb)
19   JERSEY Double definition: JERSEY means a “top”, sweater AND a “breed of   cow”
21   BIDET Homophone (“It’s said”) of BEE (=worker) + DAY (=twenty-four hours)
23   UNCLE UNCLE<an> (=smutty; “article (=an) censored” means the letters “an” are not used)

10 Responses to “Independent 7,923 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for blogging, RatkojaRiku.

    Like you, I solved this pretty quickly today. You never quite know what to comment about with Dac, because it’s all smoothly clued and entertaining. But I’ll pick out SCARFE as my favourite. Good spot of the ASHER and SCARFE connection, btw. For ENDGAME, I was thinking chess, where it’s the last ‘play’ of the game; but you are undoubtedly right with your interpretation.

    My favourite setter here and my favourite setter in Another Place today. Life is good.

  2. flashling says:

    I thought chess for 24 too, much, much more readily solvable than yesterday for which we have to thank Dac, hadn’t spotted OK didn’t know) the Scarfe/Asher link. Thought that Scarfe was a well made clue. Cheers RR for the blog, a teensy bit easier than last week’s Mordred for you.

  3. duncanshiell says:

    An uncontroversial crossword that I solved fairly quickly. Like others, I’m not sure why the SCARFE ASHER combination should be in the crossowrd today – it doesn’t appear to be either their wedding anniversary or either of their birthdays.

    I note that all the commenters so far have indicated that they solved this quite quickly. I suspect that there are others, who haven’t commented, who would find it medium or hard. The reason I raise this is that there is a comment on the Site Feedback section of this website [comment 96] that says “I wish the contributors would first put how easy or hard they found the puzzle in the preamble given before one opens up their analysis”. I know this site, quite rightly, frowns upon spoilers in the initial blog lines appearing on the home page. To my mind, a throw-away assessment of the puzzle’s difficulty without explaining reasons is also a no-no. Assessment of difficulty is very subjective. If you have to give reasons in the preamble then you are going to be very close to revealing answers.

  4. pennes says:

    Lovely crossword, no gimmicks, all solvable from my head. The references to people were fair, as the two real people have been around for a long time and Rebus is very well known from either book or TV. It wasn’t difficult, but part of that is surely the clarity of the clueing.
    A real pleasure after yesterday’s, where I have added to the many comments that over-themed crosswords can upset a lot of people , but few would be upset about a good clean and fair one

  5. nmsindy says:

    Yes, I found this a little easier than sometimes by Dac but as enjoyable as ever. I did not think beyond chess for ENDGAME. Thanks, RatkojaRiku and Dac.

    My guess (and it is only that) is that the appearance of Scarfe and Asher was a coincidence and not intentional. It was also something I did not know. And, no, I’m not expecting Dac to drop in to enlighten us…

    Re Duncan’s point above, in the early days of this site blogs had headings which could give something away – I think ‘this puzzle is easy/hard’ would be similar and should be avoided. I always thought there was a golden rule if one sees someone else doing a crossword – “Never suggest or supply an answer”.

  6. MikeC says:

    Thanks RR and Dac. Lots of neat clues here. SCARFE is probably my favourite, like K’s D. I’ll confess that I was held up for a while by 17 – HE for “what”, reversed, was ingenious. All in all, very enjoyable.

  7. dac says:

    The Scarfe/Asher connection is purely coincidental. Had I known, I might have exploited it just a little bit more!

  8. Allan_C says:

    All fairly straightforward, although I didn’t see all the subtleties in some of the clues. Strangely, I took a while to get 10d as I’d often thought ‘reinforcement’ could be clued much on those lines. And like K’s D and MikeC I liked 1d.

  9. flashling says:

    Re Dac#7 @Eimi so much for there never being coincidences in the Independent :-)

  10. Dormouse says:

    Re 11, Little Orphan Annie was a comic strip long before it was a Broadway musical – over 50 years before according to Wikipedia.

    Couldn’t work out why 17 and 23 where what they were.

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