Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7940/Anax

Posted by John on March 27th, 2012


An excellent offering from Anax today. It seems that he is making his crosswords a bit more accessible, without the devilish twists of wordplay that have characterised his puzzles in the past. Although, having said that, I still have failed to understand one or two of the clues, a failure that will I’m sure be easily explained.

1 A(CT)S
4 SPIN DOCTOR — (crp don’t I so)* — a good &lit.
9 COR NIC(H)E — Cor = my!, Nice is the place on the Mediterranean
10 afTER CELebrating
11 PSST — this seems to be Passat with the two a’s missing, but what this puzzle’s 17th car is about I can’t see [This is confidential – this puzzle’s 17th car abandoned by the AA]
12 LITURGICAL — l (GI C) in (ritual)*
14 SI(ER)R A — I think — A = #1 presumably
18 EA SIEST{a}
20 {e}VICTOR — referring to the radio alphabet where Whiskey comes after Victor
22 A MB AS SAD OR — if you’re as sad, you’re no happier — messenger = ambassador was not something that came instantly to mind, but it’s in Chambers
25 MINX — although I can only half-parse this: a minx is a teaser and × = times, but why min = My bit of FT again I can’t see [My bit of FT and Times teaser]
26 S(TAN Z)A — It = SA = sex appeal, a crossword (-only) staple, and the 8 refers to 8dn, which is omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet; the last letter of our alphabet is z; but I never thought of them as the same thing
27 PR(IN C)ESS — where a princess is possibly (hence the ?) an unreachable lady
28 COUNTRYMAN — count (army)* n
29 LULU — “loo loo”
2 CROSSFIRE — cross (if)rev. re
3 SENATOR — I just can’t see this — please help [Politician has a thing about keeping security people]
4 SICKLE AVE — good clue and Anax hasn’t taken the easy way out and simply written ‘an off break?’, which would be a lovely cryptic definition if you like that sort of thing: he has provided some wordplay as well and I think that’s a good thing
5 ICE — 2 defs — US criminal slang and internal combustion engine
6 DE(T)ER — the does are the female deer as in The Sound of Music
7 CORTINA — (ro{m}antic)* — I put this in on a wing and a prayer, but it was likely that Ford were going to have named their car after some exotic place rather than a part of a mushroom
8 O MEGA — def ‘the last’
13 TÊ(MP)TE D — France’s top is the tête
16 S({c}OVERE{d})IGN — at least this is what it seems to me to be: sign as in sign of the zodiac and covered = plastered
17 GROUNDSEL — (under logs)*
19 SHANNON — (has no)* around n{avigatio}n
21 COMICAL — co (claim)*
23 MET R{i}O{t}
24 ST AIR — st = street = way, sky = air
27 POM — (mop)rev.  

17 Responses to “Independent 7940/Anax”

  1. sidey says:

    Anax seems to have taken the role of Honest John the Motorists’ Friend today. He’s parked many offerings around his forecourt.

    Thanks both, good stuff.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this a lot.

    I don’t know much about cars. Did anyone find them all? I’ve just discovered the Toyota Tercel and the Chrysler Crossfire. I’m up to about 14 or 15 I think. There are presumably 17 including Passat.

    25a – My is “M'” and “bit of ft” is “in” (inch). I had to get confirmation that M can = my (and why) from another solver. Most commonly it’s found in “m’lud”. It seems kosher, although I thought he’d missed out a “half” or other reduction indicator at first.

    3d is RES (thing) reversed around NATO.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    …Actually I’ve now found them all!
    Rolls Royce CORNICHE
    Toyota TERCEL
    Ford SIERRA
    Ford MUSTANG
    Vauxhall VICTOR
    Hindustan AMBASSADOR
    Hillman MINX
    Nissan STANZA
    Austin PRINCESS
    Chrysler CROSSFIRE
    Mini METRO
    Jaguar SOVEREIGN
    Ford CORTINA
    Vauxhall OMEGA
    …and the mutilated Volkswagen PASSAT

  4. Thomas99 says:

    (Actually I think it’s a Daimler Sovereign.)

  5. Thomas99 says:

    D’oh. Missed out the Opel SENATOR.

  6. crypticsue says:

    A very enjoyable themed crossword. Thanks to Anax for some lovely user-friendly fun (I didn’t have a lot of spare time this morning so this was just right). Thanks to John too.

  7. sidey says:

    The Rootes Groundsel didn’t exactly germinate.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Anax for an entertaining puzzle and John for the blog. Favourite clue 6dn.

    14ac: I think is SIR A as the first on a list of knights.

    26ac: I agree with John that this clue is not quite right. The clue would work if “8” could mean the definition of the clue, but it is too much of a stretch to say Z = OMEGA.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    We enjoyed this and found it easier than ones with long thematic anagrams. We can see the argument about 26a but given the complexity of the puzzle we found it OK. We were suprised to see Anax on a Tuesday but can see why after finishing it.

    Given the theme, the surface reading of the clues was excellent. Love 4a in particular!

    Thanks Anax for a good solve over lunch and John for the blog.

  10. Paul A says:

    Could Sunday drivers go to church in a (Ford(?)) Liturgical?
    Sorry, missed the theme, even with PSST, and had ‘turkey’ at 10a – Bird comes in after celebrating – well, sort of fits the clue, and could be applied to a fair few cars

  11. flashling says:

    Nice stuff, didn’t know all the models alas, I note that Anax’s other half gets called the Minx…

  12. Wanderer says:

    Loved it. Suspected there was a theme quite early on, but got it wrong for ages — I thought it was going to be about publications. The FT/Times clue, then METRO nudged me towards newspapers, then VICTOR (a comic, as I remember) and (Minnie the) MINX made me think of publications in a broader sense. Took me ages to see what was going on, and the use of such non-obvious (to me) cars as AMBASSADOR, COUNTRYMAN, PRINCESS and STANZA kept the chase alive for a satisfyingly long time.

    Favourite clue not car-related at all — the brilliant SPIN DOCTOR.

    Many thanks John and Anax.

  13. Pelham Barton says:

    It occurs to me that I should comment on 20ac. I wondered if this was a clue containing two wordplay elements and no proper definition, but Chambers (2008) gives Victor as a headword in its own right as a code word for the letter V, which I think is enough to make “whiskey after this” valid as a definition rather than merely wordplay. Incidentally, the spelling “whiskey” is the only one accepted by that edition of Chambers in the relevant meaning as a code word for W.

  14. Allan_C says:

    Nice accessible offering from Anax, solved without spotting the theme (hence I didn’t understand the “17th car” reference). So thanks to John for the blog and Thomas99 for the list of models – although wasn’t there an Austin Ambassador before Hindustan took up the name?

  15. Querulous says:

    Thanks to John and Anax.

    The Lulu was a type of old cyclecar, which almost fits the theme too.

  16. anax says:

    Good evening all. Great blog as ever, John, and many thanks for all the comments.
    Well, what a strange setting experience that was. It all started with the very simple concept that a lot of car names are words with their own meanings, so it felt like there was no need to announce a theme; just bung a load of them in and see if anyone notices. The grid was almost finished, just a bit of a nightmare completing the NW corner. A bit of jiggling about and I managed to get some extra theme answers in, but it left me with the awkward -S-T at 11a. ISN’T or PSST? It had to be one of the two and it was actually a good few moments before I realised the latter could exploit PASSAT and give me the unusual opportunity to explicitly state the theme. To the unsuspecting (or even suspicious) solver it may have looked like a pre-planned quirk, but it was anything but.

  17. Dormouse says:

    Well, this non-driver found it quite a struggle, and failed to complete the top left corner. Quite a few answers I pencilled in lightly because I wasn’t sure about them. And I had “turkey”at 10ac. And “vector” for 20ac, but there my mind was thinking one thing and my hand doing another. Needless to say, I totally failed to spot the theme.

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