Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7930/Monk

Posted by John on March 15th, 2012


As expected Monk has produced a good crossword with a nice range of clue-types. And also as expected I have failed to understand some of them, so what seems to be his brilliance is lost on me to some extent.

All the across clues begin with a and all the down clues with d, but quite why AD is so relevant I can’t see: it appears in one of the clues, but you might expect that with all those a words to clue. Perhaps it’s just A for Across, D for Down.

6 A NER(OI{l})D
10 ARNICA — ({M}arcian{o})* — a.i. ‘Rocky’, very nice
11 AGE GROUP — (argue GPO)*
12 ANTIDOTE — (to detain)*
13 A{rrow} G({sp}E{ar})OLD
14 ADDENDA — but I can’t quite parse this: AD is these days; E is probably the drug; finally died is no doubt D; but the depressed area? Or perhaps area is A and depressed is dn (= down), which is I bet somewhere; so it’s AD d(E)n ({die}d) a; but this seems unlikely
17 AMADEUS — made in Aus, and I suppose it is a film, although Peter Shaffer, the author of the original play might prefer to have this remembered rather than the film
20 ASIDES — dd, one of them referring to A-sides
22 ANDROIDS — another dd, one of them referring to a type of mobile phone etc
25 AERO FOIL — the bar of chocolate is the Aero, that brilliant marketing wheeze where air was sold as something desirable, and its former wrapper is foil, although is it not still foil, so why former?
26 ANNE(X)E — the French for year is année
27 ASTERN — last letters of the first six words in the clue
28 A(PE{as})LIKE
2 DE FINITE — D and E are the lower grades, and something that is finite is subject to conditions, the probably secondary meaning of the word
3 DO(RA)DO — the dead bird is the dodo, which is dead in that it is extinct — I’d thought that a dorado was a fish and also part of ‘El dorado’, but with capital it’s a constellation
4 DATE PALM — a date is someone you go out with, to palm is to bribe, and ‘that’ is a demonstrative adjective
7 DIADEM — I think this is d in (ea)rev., all in dim, although an ea, a dialect word for a river, is not common in daily cryptics
9 DOUBLE-U — there is a double u in her name
15 DOSSERS — I think this is a CD referring to the fact that someone who dosses sleeps anywhere
16 DISCOUNT — (Sid)rev. count — referring to Sid Vicious
18 DOORNAIL — ‘do or nail’ apparently, but I can’t see how the two words are connected, as you’d expect
19 DAHLIA — (ail had)rev.
21 DO(0 F)ER
23 DEALER — well a dealer is a trader, d is old money, and it looks as if d replaces ‘chief’ in a word meaning ‘exchanged’, but …
24 DEXTER — referring to Colin Dexter, and Morse is a televised antihero, so this is no doubt an &lit. — there seem to be two definitions here, since right = dexter — but I can’t see where ‘televised antihero’ comes into the wordplay

11 Responses to “Independent 7930/Monk”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Well done and thanks – they don’t get much harder. Brilliant though.

    24d – Dexter is a series about a convicted murderer who solves crimes, hence the “antihero” – triple definition.
    23d – You take leader (chief) and swap L and D (both bits of “old money” – L pounds, D pence)
    18d – Sweet of you not to know – “do” and “nail” both mean, er “copulate with”, as in the behaviour of a stud.

    For my part, I had to look up doofer. And Ea (7d), obviously…

  2. Thomas99 says:

    PS. 14 is simpler than it looks – AD plus final letters of “Died in depressed area” oustide E.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks John for the blog and Monk for a great devious puzzle. We didn’t think it was as hard as some Thursday puzzles but still a good workout for the grey matter.

    We thought that we had understood most of the clues but having checked the blog and Thomas99’s comment we realise that some of Monk’s brilliance was also lost on us! We entered ‘addenda’, first thought it was AD + D within DEAN but then realised that didn’t really work with the cryptic definition so we can’t help anymore at present. Will keep on puzzling!

    If it hadn’t been for the D’s we would have struggled with some of the later down clues.

  4. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Thomas99, we crossed on that one so we can stop thinking now.

  5. Lenny says:

    I enjoyed this grid-filling tour de force. Seeing the unfriendly grid, I immediately wrote Nina at the top of my page and underlined it twice. Nevertheless, I was halfway through before I noticed the Across-Down device. After filling in all the outstanding As and Ds the puzzle was not too difficult to finish. What particularly impressed me is that there are not really any very obscure words in the answers.

    Answering John’s query about Aero, I can’t say that I have bought one recently but all chocolate bars these days tend to be packed in plastic wrappers rather than foil.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    I enjoyed Monk’s puzzle last year based around the structure of the ethane molecule, so was expecting something to be going on with this one.

    In fact I was about to give up, but then saw that there were lots of repeated letters and like Lenny twigged the A and D connection. Without that, I don’t think I would have finished. Even with the D&A link (and I agree with you, John, that it must just be down and across) I didn’t find it easy, but it was a good challenge for a Thursday toughie. ANNEXE was my favourite today, although DO OR NAIL also raised a laugh.

    PANADOL yesterday; AERO today. We’d best give thanks for the Indy’s relaxed attitude to trademarks and hope that Phi gives us another tomorrow.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Quite easy once the A/D device was spotted, though the subtleties of some clues (e.g. 18d) passed me by.
    Got 6a straight away, remembering all those years ago when learning about atmospheric pressure and the physics teacher told us that ANEROID, as in barometer, was derived from the Greek for ‘without liquid’.
    ‘Ea’ (in the parsing of 7d) is one of the entries in many Scrabble® players’ memorised list of two-letter words.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, John, and Monk. One tends to think Nina with Monk with esp reference to ideas involving letters. So I saw the A and D idea (never thought it as being anything else than across/down) and that made it quite an easy puzzle for me esp by comparison with some prev Monk puzzles. Did not fully understand all clues tho before coming here.

  9. Thomas99 says:

    I’ve just realised that John was probably being ironic about 18d. Ah well.

  10. flashling says:

    Seeing Monk I groaned expecting a battle ahead, but then the thought of a Nina being Monk’s style, after getting a few acrosses and a couple of downs the A/D device hit me and the puzzle fell apart in front of me. Less than 20 mins today, last monk took rather longer to put it mildly. Thanks John and Monk if you’re watching.

  11. Jon88 says:

    Point of order: “Televised antihero” Dexter (24d) is a serial killer whose day job is blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department. He’s not a convicted murderer. Yet.

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