Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,952 / Anax

Posted by RatkojaRiku on April 10th, 2012


The pleasure and challenge of blogging an Anax had not fallen to me in a good long while, so I was excited this morning when I first set eyes on the grid. However, I was also a tad apprehensive since I am away from home at the moment, with less time and fewer works of reference at hand than would normally be the case.

The clues themed around 23/25 proved tantalisingly elusive, even though I had guessed 11 from the wordplay and sorted out the breast/bust/bosom references at 1, 5 and 18D respectively. I suspected that clothing would figure in one form or another and eventually solved the anagrams at 18A and 23/25. The expression at 23/25 was new to me, so it really was a case of working out 25 from the left-over letters.

The wordplay is characteristically tight, with every last letter being fully accounted for. I haven’t yet worked out the wordplay at 13, which is no doubt wholly fair and which I look forward to having explained to me – done, thanks! In a way, with a puzzle of this quality, it seems almost fitting for Anax to have had the last laugh.

2 was also a new word but could be satisfactorily deduced from the wordplay. My favourites today were the cheekily concise wordplay at 10 and the deceptive surface at 5. And as a Whitney fan, I just can’t resist 15!

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   CHICKEN   BREAST Wordplay: CHICKEN (=yellow, cowardly, i.e. the entry at 8 ) + BREAST (=bosom, i.e. the entry at 18D); cryptic definition: “layer cut”, i.e. a cut of meat from a layer of eggs
9   ETA <gr>ETA (=Garbo, i.e. the Swedish actress); “King George (=GR) stolen” means the letters “gr” are dropped
10   DRESS CIRCLE The word “Garbo” has to be split in two in the wordplay to give DRESS (=garb) + CIRCLE (=O)
12   LADDERED LAD (=boy) + [R (=runs) + DEED (=performance)]; “with wardrobe malfunction perhaps”, i.e. the entry at 23 25, referring here to laddered tights and stockings
13   IRONED Definition: “prepared for wardrobe”, i.e. entry at 23; wordplay: DEN (=hole) + OR (=yellow, in heraldry, i.e. entry at 8 ) + I (=one); “around” indicates reversal
15   WOWS First letters (“starts to”) of W<eep> – O<bviously> W<hitney’s> S<inging>
16   STREET LAMP TLAM (MALT=whisky; “perversely” means wrong way round, reversed) in STREEP (=actress, i.e. American actress Meryl Streep)
18   BODY-WARMER *(MY WARDROBE); WARDROBE is entry at 23; anagram indicator is MALFUNCTION, i.e. entry at 25
19   TYPO Hidden (“part of”) in “parTY POpper”
22   SESAME <u>SE<r> (“with no need for banks” means outer letters are dropped) + SAME (=not changed); the reference is to the password Open Sesame! from the Ali Baba story)
23/25   WARDROBE   MALFUNCTION *(WOULDN’T CONFIRM, A BARE); anagram indicator is BUST, i.e. entry at 5; a wardrobe malfunction is the temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered!
26   EFF E (=echo, i.e. the letter “e” in international radio communication) + FF (=very loud, i.e. fortissimo); the cryptic definition is “blind companion” as in “effing and blinding”
27   SYSTEMATISING [STEM (=flow (from), originate) in *(IT, SAY)] + SING (=pipe); “damaged” is anagram indicator
2   HEAD-DOWN   DISPLAY HEAD DOWN (=end up’s opposite, i.e. entry at 11) + D (=date) + IS + PLAY (=act as); a head-down display is a display, usually visual, mounted inside the cockpit to supplement the head-up display, hence “monitor for pilot”
3   CUDGEL CUD (=chewy stuff, as in to chew the cud) + GEL (LEG=on, i.e. side in cricket; “flipping” indicates a reversal)
4   ELEMENTARY [E (=English) + MEN (=soldiers) + TAR (=pitch)] in ELY (=see, i.e. diocese); the definition is “one precursor to secondary modern”, i.e. entry at 7
5   BUST US (=American) in BT (=calling business, i.e. British Telecom)
6   EMIGRATE <settlin>G (“finally” means last letter only) in EMIRATE (=land overseas)
7   SECONDARY  MODERN *(RECORDS – AND MONEY); “lost” is anagram indicator
8   YELLOW YE (=the old, i.e. an archaic word for the) + L (=Latin) + LOW (=near the ground); the reference is to China’s Yellow River, the 6th-longest river in the world
11   END UP *(NUDE) + P (=piano); “dancing” is anagram indicator
14   FEDERALIST FED (=given) + ERA (=time) + LIST (=register); the Federalist Party was the first American political party, founded in the 1790s
17   SWIMSUIT SWI<g> (=drink; “short” means last letter is dropped) + *(I MUST); “get out” is anagram indicator; definition is “part of summer wardrobe”, i.e. entry at 23
18   BOSOM S (=seconds) in BOOM (=bust’s opposite, i.e. entry at 5, referring to the economic expression boom or bust); the definition is BUST, i.e. entry at 5, referring to a woman’s chest
20   ONE-OFF F (=female) + FOE (=rival) + NO (=certainly not); “upset” indicates vertical reversal
21   ADONIS *(SAID NO); “unfortunately” is anagram indicator
24   SCUM C (=100) in SUM (=total); the definition is “the lowest”, as in the expression the lowest of the low

16 Responses to “Independent 7,952 / Anax”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku
    As you say, an excelent puzzle. 13ac is:
    DEN (hole) OR (8 {yellow}) I (one) reversed (around)

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for blogging, RatkojaRiku.

    I am feeling proud and slightly humbled, because I finished another Anax. Did I need a bit of gadgetry towards the end? You bet. Was it a good puzzle? You bet. When I have managed Anax in the past, it’s been because there have been enough ‘easy’ clues to get me started, and there were some of those here. But the large number of inter-related answers made it tricky, for sure, and there were several I couldn’t parse, so thank you.

    I thought the WARDROBE/BODYWARMER link was clever; and DRESS CIRCLE too.

    WARDROBE MALFUNCTION is probably best epitomised by Janet Jackson’s tit ‘accidentally’ (yer, right) coming out of her dress during the half-time entertainment for the US Superbowl in 2004. Not that I’m interested in that kind of tacky stuff, obviously.

  3. flashling says:

    I got this one out surprisingly quickly, the wordplay foe IRONED took a while to see but wow what a work this is, the anagram for 23 25 is quite briliant and somehow there’s nothing obscure in the grid itself.

    Thanks Anax for a surperb brain teaser, some very inventive stuff as ever and RR for the blog – fortunately you didn’t really need the reference books for this.

  4. Tramp says:

    Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. My favourite was 5d.

    Not a bad clue in sight.

  5. Donk says:

    Brilliant puzzle. Favourites were 5d (esp. with the linked clue of 18d) and 18a. Thanks to Anax and also to RatkojaRiku for clearing up a couple of things for me!

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    We thought about leaving the Indie until later but then we noticed who the setter was and decided to look at this over lunch instead!

    Another enjoyable solve! Really good clueing throughout and we loved the way that some of the clues interconnected but also led you in the wrong direction at times! Just what we expect from Anax!

    Thanks Anax and RR for the blog!

  7. crypticsue says:

    Superbly brilliant – really glad that I had another day off from work in order as I then was able to do a few clues, leave it to cogitate for a a bit and then return to finish off. Thanks to Anax for a great crossword and to RR for the blog.

  8. Eileen says:

    Agree with crypticsue – superbly brilliant! And hugely enjoyable.

    23/25 dawned sooner than it might otherwise have done, as Puck used it and the incident mentioned by Kathryn’s Dad as the theme of his Guardian puzzle just a couple of weeks ago:

    but I loved the treatment here, with the two stunning anagrams, and the link between 5 and 18. And the two Garbo clues … I could go on but, as Tramp says, there’s not a bad clue in sight.

    Many thanks Anax – and RatkojaRiku for a great blog.

  9. Wanderer says:

    Terrific. Nothing to add to the above, I enjoyed it as much as I always enjoy a puzzle by Anax.

    Thanks RR for explanation of SYSTEMATISING which I couldn’t parse, and to Gaufrid for IRONED, which also eluded me.

  10. Mick H says:

    Excellent – and not a Bristol Rovers supporter in sight!

  11. Mick H says:

    Er, I mean Bristol City of course! Sorry, not feeling well today.

  12. anax says:

    Good evening all. Terrific blog, RR, and many thanks to all for your lovely comments.

    And it was pretty much an accidental theme that started with the vague notion of ‘a change of clothes’ which got me thinking about items of clothing which could be anagrammed to incorporate other items of clothing. That idea came to nothing but in the process my eyes had fixed on BODY-WARMER and noticed WARDROBE was in there; hence WARDROBE ‘MALFUNCTION’ and the (better) basis for a theme. Happens to me a lot, does that – start with one idea and, in the process of its failure, something else comes along.

    K’s D unknowingly highlights a memory (or trivia) failing on my part. For some reason, thinking about the event which brought the key phrase into existence, Whitney Houston’s name popped into my head – so the 15a clue felt like an added bonus. It was of course JJ who popped the pap, and thank goodness I hadn’t tried to work more Whitney refs in. That would have been embarrassing.

  13. gnomethang says:

    Superb stuff Anax – I have missed a few of yours recently and this, whislt being a struggle, was very rewarding – articularly the 23/25 and then 5d/18d which were superb. I got it all the wrong way round by parsing SWI(g) (IMUST)* correctly which only added to the enjoyment. Thanks for the blog RR to vlear up a couple of them (13 and 26 across).

  14. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for the explanation of 13 – it’s not the first time that I have failed to spot “or” for “yellow” when blogging a puzzle.

    I am pleased to see that I was not the only one that thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle.

  15. M_Oz says:

    For some reason the Adelaide Advertiser (Australia) which publishes these crosswords 3 weeks behind the originals, does not include the name of the author (I have asked). It is a bit of a pity because we miss an aspect of the Indy cryptic which all contributors above obviously enjoy. Nearly got there with this one despite the anglo-specific “secondary modern” but was thankful for the blog for explaining several of the anwers. The euphemism “wardrobe malfunction” is a wonderful addition to the language (courtesy of Janet J. and an “outraged” US public … those poor children) … Sir Humphrey would have been impressed.

  16. Graham Pellen says:

    M_Oz, one can always type in the keywords eg “Independent”, “7952”, “fifteensquared” in Google and it will bring up “7952 by Anax” or some such, without giving away any of the answers.

    (Graham Pellen, Adelaide)

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