Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7954/Klingsor

Posted by John on April 12th, 2012


Yet another excellent workout from Klingsor this morning. Many of the clues have quite tricky constructions, but it is all perfectly fair and often very nice. As always with Klingsor — what else, when you look at his name — there are several musical references. Which is one of the better options as far as I’m concerned.

1 MA(SCAG)NI{a} — horse = heroin and a North American slang word for heroin is scag — in my innocence I didn’t know this, thinking a scag was something like a nag
5 D{esperat}E PLOY
8 RETROGRESS — I think this is something like an &lit. relying on the fact that regress and retrogress mean the same sort of thing: (rot)* in regress
9 propeR IDEntification
10 EARLY DAY MOTION — 2 defs — I’m not absolutely sure how an EDM works but this might help.
11 HE(1)RE S{etback}S
13 DEBACLE — ((cab)rev. L) in Dee
15 CHERVIL — (riche v)* l{oud} — I was unaware that cicely is a plant, thinking this was something to do with The Importance of Being Earnest, but anyway there it’s Cecily
18 ESSENCE — French art is es (tu es), rather a chestnut but still pleasant in the context of the surface, (scene)*
21 CIRCULAR LETTER — the second letter in ‘command’ is o, which is a circular letter
22 P(L)OD
23 ACROPHOBIA — I knew this was going to be a CD ending with phobia, but since I didn’t know what acrophobia was I had to cheat, and this is a major criticism of such clues: there is no second route to the answer — acrophobia is a fear of heights
24 WRASSE — (wa{t}er ss)*
25 R{etail} (EIN) VENT
1 MORPETH — (prom)rev. eth — an eth is a letter used in Old English
2 S{t}A{r} TURN IN E{xhausted}
3 AN({b}ODY)NE — innocent = anodyne seemed a bit wrong, but it’s in Chambers
4 NORMAN S{pace} — ref Greg Norman of golfing fame
5 DISCOVERS — over{t} in discs, so it’s the contrary of discs housing over
6 PART IT A — referring to Arvo Pärt, the Estonian composer — this is one of his most famous pieces and is highly recommended
7 ORDINAL — (n radio)* before (i.e. introduces) l, which is Mahler’s fourth letter — ninth is an ordinal number
12 STIPULATE — (up)rev. late, and above all this is ‘it’s’ supply, or an anagram of ‘it’s’ — def ‘demand’
17 {save}R (ERE) DOS — def ‘screen’
18 EARLOBE — ({Bo}le{ro} a bore)*, anagram indicator Ravel — I’ve only ever heard this heteronym on The Best of Sellers (near the end of The Trumpet Volunteer) — it took me some time to unravel this clue, since there are several candidate letters
20 EARHART — a{i}r in (‘involved in’) (Earth)*, the anagram indicated by ‘going around’ — the famous disappearance of Amelia Earhart

12 Responses to “Independent 7954/Klingsor”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I gave up with 1a but apart from that enjoyed this crossword – about the right level for a Thursday I’d say. Thanks to setter and blogger

  2. Wanderer says:

    I am lost in admiration for the EARHART clue. EARLY DAY MOTION made me laugh. Tremendous fun throughout, many thanks to John and Klingsor.

  3. Lenny says:

    Thanks John, I too found this an excellent workout from Klingsor. I shared your ignorance of Scag and Chervil but managed to get them from the wordplay. I did not know the phobia either but I went for aerophobia, which is a valid word meaning fear of flying. It appears to fit the CD as well as, if not better than, Acrophobia. As you suggest, this is a major criticism of CDs in general.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John, and Klingsor of course.

    Tricky in parts, especially for me the music references (I had to look in the list in my Thesaurus for MASCAGNI, but at least I had the starting letter). But a pleasing puzzle with EARLY DAY MOTION my favourite. I too put AEROPHOBIA for 23ac.

  5. anax says:

    My first opportunity actually solve a puzzle this week, and what a treat! Like others I adored the EARHART and EARLY DAY MOTION clues but the whole thing was packed with invention and humour. Top job K!

  6. flashling says:

    Indeed thanks Klingsor, Earhart – magnificient clue, I’m sure i’ve seen the second in command device recently, as for scag well I’ve had a fairly sheltered upbringing from that sort of thing but perhaps I’ve been exposed to too much cr*p US television by my other half!

    Quite a few chuckles and curses solving this, great stuff! Cheers John, not an easy one to solve let alone blog.

  7. Mike Wade says:

    6d. Confused at first as ‘arvo’ is Australian slang for afternoon!

  8. flashling says:

    @ Mike#7 I tried that route too….

  9. NealH says:

    I found this quite hard going and didn’t really enjoy all the musical stuff. 1 across was ungettable unless you’d either heard of the composer or were an expert on drug slang – it could just as easily have been Maroanni as far as I was concerned. 6 down lost me completely and I was also confused by the Australian slang meaning of arvo. Another possibility for 23 across is altophobia.

  10. Klingsor says:

    Thanks for all the feedback, epecially to John for the blog. I’m glad the arvo/Australian misdirection worked – “arvo” is another of those words I picked up during my days as an avid fan of Cell Block H!

    On CDs – these are actually my favourite type of clue by a long way. After all, it’s with the CD that the cryptic crossword began! The problem is that generally I am rubbish at writing them, so limit my use of them to when (very occasionally) real inspiration strikes, or more commonly when I can see no obvious way of defining a word without gaving the game away too easily. As with ACROPHOBIA here. I was unaware of plausible alternatives and I suppose that is one of the pitfalls of this type of clue. My admiration for Rufus in his various guises knows no bounds – he comes up with tons of them and they’re all very good.

    On music – yes, my trademark is a (classical) musical bias, and I do accept that this won’t appeal to everybody. If it’s any consolation, I struggle with the football and especially the pop references which appear in many of the other crosswords!

  11. Mick H says:

    This was hard. Arvo Part? I naturally assumed the reference would be to Arvo Kraam, the Tampere defender who got three caps for Estonia in the 1990s (thank you wikipedia).
    So 1a and 6d broke through the gaps in my musical knowledge, and like others I put AEROPHOBIA. I find CDs are often improved by added wordplay – it gives another way into the clue, while disguising the CD.
    Loved 10a though.

  12. Dormouse says:

    The composer references were easy for me – I think I heard a reference to Mascagni on Radio 3 just this morning and I’ve been listening to Pärt for over 30 years. I am acrophobic but it took a word search to get that. CHERVIL defeated me even with a word search.

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