Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,928 / Radian

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 13th, 2012


Although I am familiar with Radian’s work from this and other publications as a solver, this is the first time I have blogged a puzzle of his for the Indy.

It was clear from the outset that I had a puzzle on my hands that was themed around a writer (at 10/18) and one of his works (at 5D). By solving other intersecting clues in the SW quadrant, I was able to guess the author at 18 and confirm it via the wordplay, whereupon there was really only one candidate for 5D. Radian had cleverly worked the famous Mercier quotation into the grid (at 11/20/14) and reinforced the theme (more incidentally) through a number of other entries (6, 7, 12, 26, 28 – and 24).

I particularly liked the reference to “7 Across” in 9, which held me up for a long time – was there a typo in the clue, I wondered, since 7 was a down clue? Eventually, the penny dropped! The last clue that I parsed was 1, which I had solved instantly but where the relevance of “in France” didn’t dawn on me until it was almost time to post the blog.

Furthermore, perhaps someone could confirm the wordplay in 19: is duke really “du”, since it is normally just “d” – done, thanks!

Many thanks to Radian for an enjoyable and accessible puzzle, and for reminding me that it is perhaps time for me to dust off my copy of WFG which hasn’t been touched since my university days.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   LETS GO Definition: “releases”; <g>allons (“starting off” means first letter is dropped); “Allons!” means “Let’s go!” in French
5   WARFARE FAR (RAF=flyers, i.e. Royal Air Force; “circulated” indicates reversal) in WARE (=China, e.g. Delftware)
9   VIRTUOSI *(TOURS) in VII (=7; “across” means it straddles the rest of entry); “arranged” is anagram indicator
10/18   SAMUEL BECKETT [ELBE (=European “banker”, i.e. river) in MUCK (=filth)] in *(TASTE); “poor” is anagram indicator; the reference is to Irish playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett (1906-89), who won the Nobel Prize in   Literature in 1969
11   NOTHING THIN (=weak) in NOG (=drink); the definition is “love”, as in zero score in tennis
12   ERIN Hidden (“in”) in “Lord of thE RINgs”; the definition is “Samuel Beckett (10 18)’s poetic source”, since Beckett was from Eire, referred to poetically as Erin
14   TWICE *(WIC<k>ET); “Kent opener (=K) abandons” means that first letter is dropped from anagram; “sticky” is anagram indicator
15   GUESSING [*(ISSUE) + N (=Norway)] in G G (G=government, x2); “in dispute” is anagram indicator
17   SOMBRERO ER (=Queen) in *(MOS<s> Bro<s>); “ignored tails” means that last letter of each word is dropped from anagram; “in panic” is anagram indicator
19   CHESS <du>CHESS (=his wife, i.e. of duke); Duke (=Du) left” means the letters “du” are dropped; the definition is “board meeting”, referring to the game
22   TALC Hidden (“what’s kept in”) in “hospiTAL Cupboard”; & lit.
23   REGROUP O (=circle; “inner” means inside rest of word) in [REGRUP (PURGE (=evacuate) + R (=king)]; “in retreat” indicates reversal
25   HIKERS <m>I<l>K (“regularly” means alternate letters only are used) in HERS (=woman’s)
26   DITHERED THERE (=in that place) in DID; & lit.; the characters in Waiting for Godot (=5D) certainly do plenty of dithering
27   DETRACT RAC (CAR=vehicle; “overturned” indicates reversal) in [DE (=Delaware) + TT (=races)]
28   ABSURD SUR<e> (=certain; “to be cut” means last letter is dropped) in *(BAD); “broadcast” is anagram indicator; Samuel Beckett (=10 18) was an exponent of the theatre of the absurd
2   EXIT X (=ten) in EIT (TIE=match; “over” indicates vertical reversal)
3   SATANIC SA (AS=like; “being recalled” indicates vertical reversal) + TAN (=Brown) + IC (=in charge); the definition is “like hell”
4   OPORTO PORT (=harbour) in O O (=loves; love = 0, i.e. zero, nil, x2)
5   WAITING FOR GODOT Once grid references are replaced by their entries, the clue reads: “Work by Samuel Becket in which nothing happens twice”; Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play written in French and translated into English by Samuel Beckett, premièred in 1953; theatre critic Vivian Mercier famously described it as “a play in which nothing happens, twice”
6   RESIGNED *(DESIGNER); “theatrical” is anagram indicator; the characters in Waiting for Godot (=5D) are certainly resigned to having a long wait
7   AIMLESS A + *(SMILE) + S<cenery> (“only one piece of” means first letter only); “wry” is anagram indicator; the characters in Waiting for Godot are certainly aimless
6   EYEWITNESS IT (=appeal, i.e. sex appeal, as in She’s got it!) in *(Sweeney’s); “surprisingly” is anagram indicator
13   TWO OF A KIND In poker, two of a kind is less than three of a kind or a flush; the main characters in Waiting for Godot, Vladimir and Estragon, are clearly two of a kind
16   NEBRASKA A (=America, as in USA) in *(BANKERS); “toxic” is anagram indicator
20   HAPPENS APP (=apprentice) in HENS (=egg producers)
21   ROSTRA ARTS (=faculty) + OR (=men, i.e. other ranks); “stood up” indicates vertical reversal
24   REAR <vladimi>R + EAR (=attention); incidentally, Vladimir is one of the main characters in Waiting for Godot   

11 Responses to “Independent 7,928 / Radian”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku
    Du. as an abbreviation for Duke is in Collins (but not Chambers or COED).

  2. Thomas99 says:

    What a great puzzle. By the way, 1a, which took me just as long to parse properly, is of course a (very) recurrent line in th play (“Let’s go” “We can’t” “Why not?” “We’re waiting for Godot”…), as presumably is “Allons” in the original French.

    Many thanks for the blog. Can’t help with Du I’m afraid. Of course “Du” is also the left side of Duke, so he could have done it differently, but there isn’t another departure indicator. Beckett was good at chess, by the way, put a whole game into Murphy (which made the section incomprehensible to me).

    Would SB have said Eire, I wonder? I know when he was mistaken for an Englishman in France he would say “Au contraire”, so maybe.

    Many thanks for the blog. Lucky you getting such a good one.

  3. Allan_C says:

    Nice one, Radian, and thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog – I needed it for the parsing of 1a where I had ‘g’ for ‘gallons’ and read ‘starting off’ as indicating ‘o’ but was mystified as to how ‘lets’ was clued.
    Otherwise it all went fairly smoothly mainly because I suddenly had a hunch that 5d was WAITING FOR GODOT and then all the other themed clues fell into place.

    Just wondering if there was any significance in the theme today; I googled Beckett and Waiting for Godot but couldn’t see any significant anniversaries for either author or play.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    This was indeed a good crossword, one of those ones where you see all the themed clues and think ‘how is this going to work?’ but then follow Corporal Jones’s advice and don’t panic. I’m not sure if Radian did it deliberately, but the four across clues giving you the crossing letters for BECKETT were all pretty straightforward, and that gave me for one the entry to the author.

    I sometimes get put off themed puzzles if the subject matter isn’t something I’m mad keen on, but I don’t think you can say that WAITING FOR GODOT is entirely unknown … and the clues based on the theme like DITHERED, AIMLESS and RESIGNED are pretty guessable even if you’re not that familiar with the work.

    So thank you to RatkojaRiku for a helpful blog and to Radian for the puzzle. If I’m being super-hyper-mega-extra picky, I would point out that the French for ‘let’s go’ is actually ‘allons-y’ rather than ‘allons’, and in fact ‘Allons-y’ is the last word in both Act 1 and Act 2 of the play in the original French version. But ‘Allons’ can mean ‘let’s go’ in something like ‘Allons au cinéma’, so I’ll go and get me coat now …

  5. Bertandjoyce says:

    A good work-out today so thanks to Radian for the puzzle.
    We’ve seen the play but can’t say it’s our scene – I think we only stayed for the first half of Endgame as well. All too nihilistic, especially when you are sitting in the sun as we are today!
    However, all the themed clues were clear from the cryptic part which is just as they should be in a themed crossword.
    We got ‘two of a kind’ first and looked around for Morecambe and Wise before we remembered we were looking for a writer!

    Thanks RR for the blog.

  6. Lenny says:

    Thanks to Radian for providing a crossword with a theme that I had actually heard of. I needed RR’s help to explain the wordplay to Lets Go and Regroup. I also missed the Nothing Happens Twice quotation, which was a nice touch.

  7. NealH says:

    My only criticism would be that “Lord of the Rings” suffers from the extraneous words syndrome, the “Lord of” having no part in hiding the answer (unless, of course, Beckett wrote a play called Lord, in which case it would be brilliant, but I don’t think he did). Other than that, I found this very enjoyable and a vast improvement on last Tuesday’s effort, despite not being an enormous Beckett fan.

  8. pennes says:

    A great puzzle and 1 ac joins my list of favourite clues. The theme I would say is fair, as few people wouldn’t have heard of Beckett and the play’s title and the related answers could be got without detail knowledge of the play.
    I did some research on Beckett as a prospective subject for a dissertation for a French degree; the play was written in French and one of the characters is called Estragon , which is French for tarragon

  9. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Radian, for a puzzle that was not too difficult and thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog. Re ERIN, I think it is unlikely Beckett would have said he was from Éire, unless he was speaking in the Irish language. However, the point in the blog is valid as the original derivation of ERIN, which goes way back, is from that word which is simply the Irish (Gaelic) term for Ireland and would have predated the English language.

  10. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid, for the clarification on “duke” – you clearly have a larger collection of dictionaries than I have!

    I agree with everybody about the fairness of the theme, which could clearly be termed general knowledge in this case.

  11. flashling says:

    Thanks all started new job today, the life of an IT contractor I guess, looked at this late after nine tonight, was somewhat daunted by the multiple referrals in the clues after a bit of work the waiting for godot theme hit me and it quickly fell apart, certainly less hard to do than last Tuesdays even though I’ve not seen WFG. Couldn’t fully justify LETS GO or RE-GROUP for many thanks RR for them

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