Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7941 / Crosophile

Posted by duncanshiell on March 28th, 2012


This was a good example of a daily puzzle.  The entries are everyday words and the clues conjured up plenty of mental images, many involving enjoyable misdirection.  I struggled a bit deconstructing the English in 1 across, but I think I have got the idea right.



There are a number of common threads running through the clues and the answers – spring, weather, crops, flora and fauna, rural countryside, hunting, [shooting], fishing and marine farming.  However it is difficult to say that there is a single rural theme to this puzzle as there was a separate thread that seemed to focus on selfishness.  

As a bit of fun, which you can ignore and move straight to the wordplay and solutions, I tried to weave the themes and entries into a short story, as follows:

The HAILSTONES stopped and the sky began to LIGHT UP.  ARISING from his ENNUI, the WORKER put on his TRAINERS and ran to EXMOUTH.

He admired the LANDMARKS bathed in SPRING SUNSHINE when the BREEZES moved the CLOUDS (NIMBI)

Near the beach, he met his daughter, a STABLELASS with whom he had a FILIAL relationship.

She was married to an ISRAELI YACHTSMAN, who was not WELL due to RENAL problems which, if ANYTHING, gave him a RUSSET complexion

Two of them sipped RIOJA and watched kites shaped like EAGLES and even one shaped like a LOCUST, while the Israeli put a SWEETENER in his coffee

At the nearby table they heard a SELFISH EGOMANIAC BRAG about his time in PRISON where he had EYEBALLed and put ARMLOCKS on the TITULAR ringleader.

I realise that there are some fairly strained sentences and allusions in there, and I wouldn’t want to try it with the words in an AZED puzzle or an Inquisitor.

Overall, this was a puzzle from Crosophile that gave me great enjoyment.  The clues did not seem to be too difficult or complex but they made sense.  The homophones though may give rise to some muttering, particularly ENNUI

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Busy bee came to take round last of nectar (6)

(WOKE [came to]  containing [round] R [recipe {Latin}; take]) + R (final letter of [last of] NECTAR)  The clue seems to invoke some fairly tortuous English to indicate R inside WOKE, but perhaps I’m missing something.


WORKER (busy bee; reference WORKER bee)
4 Footwear for wet weather in course of short cut (8)

RAIN (wet weather) contained in (in course of) TERSE (cut) excluding the final letter (short) E


TRAINERS (footwear)
10 Prominent features: Light scarring (9) LAND (alight; light) + MARKS (scarring) LANDMARKS (prominent features)
11 Red river in Europe – yes, in Berlin (5) RIO (Spanish [in Europe] for river) + JA (yes in German [Berlin]) RIOJA (a red [wine] from Spain)
12 Civil Service keeping far from quiet obfuscates (6)

CS (Civil Service) containing LOUD (far from quiet)


CLOUDS (obfuscates)
13 Brood on spherical body – it’s in orbit (7) EYE (a brood, especially of pheasants) + BALL (spherical body) EYEBALL (an EYEBALL rests in a hollow known as an orbit)
15 Annoying no-no introducing endless article: "Whatever!" (8)

ANNOYING excluding (no) NO containing (introducing) (THE excluding the final letter [endless] E)


ANYTHING (whatever)
17 Concerned with issue?  It’s first rate on reflection, in abundant supply (6)

AI (A one; first class) reversed (on reflection) contained in (in) FILL (as much as satisifies; abundant supply)


FILIAL (in the relation of a child; concerned with issue)

19 What has strong appetite to consume tips of ordinary crops? (6)

LUST (strong appetite) containing (to consume) OC (the first letters of [tips of] ORDINARY and CROPS)


LOCUST (winged insects that are highly destructive to vegetation [crops]) &Lit clue
21 Inside ring holds weaponry with concealed security feature (8)

ARMS (weaponry) containing (with concealed) LOCK (security feature)


ARMLOCKS (wrestling holds; holds inside the [wrestling] ring)
24 Nominal amount in the end to attend bizarre ritual (7)

T (final letter of [in the end] AMOUNT) contained in (to attend) an anagram of (bizarre) RITUAL


TITULAR (in name or title only; nominal)
25 Small hounds heading off – such hunters aren’t often seen on course (6) BEAGLES (small hounds) excluding the first letter (heading off) B EAGLES (hunting birds; also to score an EAGLE at golf [on course] you need to play the hole in two shots less than the par for the hole.  Certainly in my golf, EAGLES are rarely, if ever,  seen on course)
26 12 not round here reportedly (5)

NIMBI (sounds like [reportedly] NIMBY [Not In My BackYard, a person who is willing to have something occur so long as it does not affect him or her or take place in his or her locality; not round here)

NIMBI (plural of NIMBUS, [a type of cloud] 12 across)
29 We’re sent Ecstasy for popping as bribe (9) Anagram of (for popping) WE’RE SENT and E (Ecstasy drug) SWEETENER (bribe)
30 One swarm in Kent area in fine weather (8)

(UN [one; dialect, possibly in Kent] + SHIN [swarm]) contained in (in) SE (South East; Kent is in the South East of England)


SUNSHINE (fine weather)
31 Season twiglet with new filling (6)

N (new) contained in (filling) SPRIG (twiglet)


SPRING (season [of the year])
1 31 goodness (4) WELL (spring [31 across]) WELL (goodness!)
2 Have some children a loathing of kidneys? (5) Hidden word in (some) CHILDREN A LOATHING RENAL (of kidneys)
3 Former spokesman for Devon town (7) EX (former) + MOUTH (spokesman) EXMOUTH (town in Devon)
5 It might be true about ends of scarves being browny-red (6)

Anagram of (it might be) TRUE containing (about) SS (the first and last letters of [ends of] SCARVES)


RUSSET (browny-red)
6 Jew in a state is one Shakesperean protagonist turning up (7)

IS + (I [one] + LEAR [reference King LEAR, Shakesperean protagonist]) reversed (turning up; down clue)


ISRAELI (native of the Jewish state of Israel)
7 One from Middle East in prison reflecting – he thinks "it’s all about ME" (9)

OMANI (native of Oman; one from Middle East) contained in (in) (CAGE [prison] reversed [reflecting])


EGOMANIAC (one with abnormal egotism [frequent use of the pronoun I; thinking or speaking too much of oneself; the fact of having a very high opinion of onesel]; he thinks "it’s all about ME")

8 A well-balanced filly looking after others? (10) STABLE (well-balanced) + LASS (girl; filly) STABLELASS (one who looks after horses, which could well be fillies)
9 Coming up, islands in a circle (7)

IS (island) contained in (in) A RING (a circle)


ARISING (coming up)
14 Requests to draw up pitches when playing in bad weather (10) HAILS (requests to draw up, as in HAIL a bus to stop) + TONES ([musical] pitches; pitches when playing [musical instruments]) HAILSTONES (bad weather)
16 _________ may snatch when three sheets to the wind? (9) Anagram of (three sheets to the wind) MAY SNATCH YACHTSMAN (one who may snatch when drunk [three sheets to the wind])
18 Pieces of cake and French cheeses say with a drop of sherry (7) BREEZES (sounds like (say) BRIES [French cheeses] + S [first letter of {a bit of} SHERRY]) BREEZES (if something is a BREEZE it is easy; a piece of cake is also a phrase meaning ‘easy’)
20 After docking trade in seafood, like a 7 (7) SELL (trade) excluding the final (docking) L + FISH (seafood) SELFISH (thinking only of oneself in the manner of an EGOMANIAC [7 down])
22 Crazed thug needs to split lip to become happy (5,2)

Anagram of (crazed) THUG contained in (to split) LIP


LIGHT UP (become happy)
23 Soft polite refusal to serve up porridge (6)

P (pianissimo; soft) + (NO SIR [polite refusal] reversed [serve up; down clue])


PRISON (porridge; porridge can mean ‘jail’ or ‘time in jail’)
26 Weariness from playing games console say? (5) ENNUI (sounds like [say] ON WII [playing on a Wii games console]; Chambers give one variant of pronunciation as on’wë) ENNUI (weariness)
27 Upsetting appearance for crow (4) GARB (appearance [figuratively]) reversed (upsetting; down clue)) BRAG (boast; crow)

16 Responses to “Independent 7941 / Crosophile”

  1. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks Crosophile and DS – agree with your overall assessment. Some fun clues in there.

    Not sure about 1a – last in for me – defn obvious but stared at it for a while trying to work out the wordplay.

    In the end I plumped for “round” = R as in R/T – round trip – i.e. return as opposed to single in travel. Not sure about Latin for recipe but will defer to you (or almost anyone) on that subject.

    The doubt there is that single letter abbreviations isolated from bigger initialisms always seem to cause a stir.

    Thanks too for the explanation of ENNUI – as above – the defn was crying out for it but despite walking around the house saying it a thousand times i couldn’t crack the pun.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan.

    A very pleasing midweek puzzle, I thought – nothing too strenuous, but some nice clueing and a little mini-theme to reflect on the 31ac/30ac that we have this morning, at least where I live.

    I can’t quite make 1ac work, but it didn’t stop me getting it. I was okay with the homophone for ENNUI; it’s not how you pronounce it in French, but most English people would say it that way. But don’t you say NIMBI with a ‘buy’ sound at the end rather than a ‘bee’, which is how ‘nimby’ is pronounced?

    I thought STABLELASS was a clever clue and also liked LOCUST. Thanks to Crosophile.

  3. eimi says:

    The best blog ever, Duncan. Produced a lot of smiles to go with the spring sunshine.

    1A works as
    Busy bee (definition)
    came to take (woke + R)
    round (surrounding)
    last of nectar (R)

  4. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks eimi for clarifying that. I see now what DS meant – still not thrilled but googling around it seems to be standard fare in barredgridsville.

    @KD – I say nimm-bee and I’ve never heard it said differently from that.

  5. JollySwagman says:

    @KD – oops – I see now that you were referring to the pronunciation of the clouds. I just say klowds – can’t pick them apart but usually glad to see them.

  6. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Crosophile for a pleasant crossword and Duncan for the usual excellent blog. Favourite clue 15ac.

    On the issue of the homophones, I am essentially in agreement with K’s Dad @2. I have no problem with ENNUI: the pronunciation required to make the clue work is the nearest you can get with standard English sounds to the French pronunciation. I find it more difficult to defend NIMBI (although the answer was obvious enough): Collins 2000 and Chambers 2008 both give clearly distinct pronunciations for the final syllables of nimbi and Nimby. I think the clue would benefit from a looser homophone indicator such as “one might hear” or “one might say”.

  7. Crosophile says:

    Marvellous short story, Duncan, which raised a few smiles. And you weren’t far off in detecting a hidden theme.
    If you google spring breezes sunshine hailstones clouds, you might well come up with a character (5,9) lurking in the grid – especially if you include my brother ‘Geoffrey Poole’ in the search…

    Sorry about the nimBUY; I’ve been mispronouncing it all my life, though probably not on a daily basis!

  8. Thomas99 says:

    Many thanks Crosophile. I enjoyed the puzzle anyway but the secret theme adds to the fun. I finally found him (it?) – well hidden!

  9. duncanshiell says:

    I’ve just pulled into a campsite at Hawes in North Yorkshire and have been amazed to get a mobile broadband signal and read the comments on the blog. Thanks. There’s definitely plenty of SPRING SUNSHINE here.

    Crosophile @ 6 – Thanks for the info – I now detect SKALLY SKAREKROW (a variant on the title of your brother’s John & Peter’s Whistling Book: English Music for the Recorder and Piano) running diagonally up and left from the the second last S of STABLELASS up to the top row and then west using the first 4 letters of 1 Across. Definitely a hidden phrase for the family!

  10. Polly says:

    Well I never: a reference to a superb composer who for years brightened up the Manchester University music department and countless family gatherings. Although I knew Crosophile’s real name, Poole is common enough for the connection to have eluded me.

    Sorry folks – this isn’t the place for personal messages, but I felt CP should know that he’d struck a chord with one reader at least. (I’m still looking for the hidden character, though…)

  11. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Crosophile, and Duncan – some excellent clues here in a puzzle that was not too difficult overall eg STABLELASS. And I never knew until today, Duncan, that someone could have a filial relation with a daughter, but dicts confirm that indeed you can.

  12. Polly says:

    No wonder I couldn’t find it. I got SKALLY SKAREKROW but the letter count is 6,9 not 5,9!

  13. Crosophile says:

    Sorry, Polly. I used to be a maths teacher but I’ve now retired!
    I’ll direct Geoff to your kind comment @10.

  14. Allan_C says:

    Thanks to Crosophile for a pleasant workout and to Duncan for a comprehensive blog.

    JS@1: R as abbreviation for latin ‘recipe’ (= take, as Duncan explains) used to be printed on prescription forms. It was originally the start of instructions to the pharmacist – in the days when they actually made up medicines instead of being pill counters – as to what to put into “the linctus” or “the mixture” as medicine bottles used to be enigmatically labelled.

  15. pennes says:

    Only grumble was that I had stablegirl rather than stablelass and don’t see where the clue directs to one or the other. i didn’t quite finish this, but I wish I’d got nimby which was a great clue even if it turns out to be not wholly correct

  16. JollySwagman says:

    @AC #14 – yes thanks – Actually I think Rx is the usual abbreviation, because they used to but a cross through the tail of the R – but I’m still not wild – because it’s two jumps to get there without indicating that Latin is required – in a world of “In paris …” etc.

    But it seems to have become accepted convention.

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>

+ six = 15