Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,976 / Anax

Posted by RatkojaRiku on May 8th, 2012


You can never be sure whose puzzle you’ll get as the Tuesday blogger, and I knew I was in for a challenge, and a lot of fun, when I saw it was Anax today.

Needless to say, I was not disappointed on either score, although it took me a long time to get into this one. As I hadn’t managed to solve many of the non-themed clues at that stage, I knew that my best chance of finding a way into the puzzle was via the TV show at 17/19, and once I’d found a show that fitted the letter count and the anagram (by pure guesswork, I hasten to add), the entries at 6/7, 11, 12 and 14 quickly followed. Various references to humour in other clues – 2, 5, 21, 25 – ought to have suggested an element of comedy to me, but I didn’t notice them until afterwards.

My favourite clue today was 10 for its economy of language and silky smooth surface. The “behind” at 5 and the image of Ian Hislop painting his nails at 6/7 certainly raised a smile. The use of “tackle” to indicate a container-and-contents clue at 2 was new to me.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   DILATE [L (=line) + AT (=in)] in DIE (=finish); the definition is “contract (as a verb)? No”
4   VANISHES [I (=one) + SH (=quiet)] in VANES; the definition is simply “goes”
9   WINCE WIN (=get) + C (=caught) + E (=drug)
10   ARYANISED A + RYAN (=US private, as in the film Saving Private Ryan) + IS + ED (=education); Arisierung or aryanisation was the forced expulsion of non-Aryans, mainly Jews, from aspects of public life in Nazi Germany
11   PAUL MERTON [U (=uniform) in PALM (=take)] + ERTON (NOT + RE (=about); “to retire” indicates reversal); Paul Merton is one of the two team captains on the BBC news quiz Have I Got News For You, the entry at 17 19
12   HOST HO (OH; “you must recall” indicates a reversal) + S + T (=transliteration from clue)
14   ANGUS DEAYTON AN + *(GUY AS NOTED); “noted” is entry at 24; “odd” is anagram indicator; the definition is 26 12 of 17 19, i.e. “former host of Have I Got News For You
17   HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU *(OR WHY ONE OF US GAVE IT); “up” is anagram indicator; Have I Got News For You (1990-) is a BBC comedy/quiz show based on the current week’s news
20   HOOK HO (=prostitute, in US slang) + OK (=good); the definition is “catch” as a verb
21   REDEEMABLE RE (=on) + [EM (=letter) in *(BEADLE)]; “About” is anagram indicator
22   PSYCHOSIS O’S (=love’s) in *(PHYSICS); “sort of” is anagram indicator
24   NOTED NOT (=far from) + E<mbarrasse>D (“extremely so” means the first and last letters only are used); the definition is “celebrity”, as an attributive adjective, celebrity chef/guest, etc
25   LAUGHTER UGH (“it puts me off, as an interjection) in LATER (=after)
26   FORMER FOR ME (=in my opinion) + R (=resistance)
1   DOWNPLAY PLA (ALP=mountain; “climbing” indicates reversal) in DOWNY (=fleecy)
2   LANGUAGE [U (=united) + GAG (=joke)] in LANE (=way)
3   THERMOSTAT THE + [MOST (=very) in RAT (=shop, as a verb, i.e. inform on, grass on)]
5   ANYBODY’S GUESS *(DONE BY GUYS) in ASS (=behind, as a noun, i.e. bottom); “hosts”, the entry at 12, indicates a container-and-contents clue
6/7   IAN HISLOP *(NAI<l> POLISH); “most of” means last letter dropped; “re-applied” is anagram indicator; Ian Hislop is one of the two team captains on the BBC news quiz Have I Got News For You, the entry at 17 19
8   SEDATE DAT (TAD=a bit; “put up” indicates a vertical reversal) in SEE (=picture, as a verb, i.e. visualise)
10   ARRIÈRE-PENSÉE A + RR (=bishop, i.e. right reverend) + I (=one) + ERE (=before) + PEN (=prison) + SEE (=visit)
13   PORTAMENTO [TAME (=trained) in PORN (=blue movies)] + TO; in music, a portamento is a continuous glide from one tone to another, hence “sliding movement”
15   VERBATIM [ER (=monarch) + BAT (=stick, as a noun)] in VIM (=zip, i.e. vigour)
16   ASCENDER *(AND SCREE); “rocks” is anagram indicator
18   CHAPEL CHAP (=bloke) + E<cumenica>L
23   HUH HU<s>H (=make someone calm; “without initially saying” means the letter “s” is dropped); the definition is “sorry?” as an interjection

14 Responses to “Independent 7,976 / Anax”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku, I needed you to explain quite a few today. I’m managing Anax more often than not these days, but it is a challenge still. So for me the pleasure is in finishing one of his puzzles, although there is lots to admire afterwards.

    The only problem with crosswords like this is that once you’ve got the gateway clue, then three other answers can more or less be written in if, like me, you’re a fan of the programme. But that got me a foothold to have a crack at the more difficult non-themed answers.

    Favourites today were LANGUAGE and ARRIÈRE-PENSÉE, once I’d teased it out.

  2. crypticsue says:

    Has anyone got a spare darkened room? Even with spotting the theme,I did spend an age sorting all this one out. Following their exchange of comments yesterday, will be interesting to see what Arachne thinks of the Anax! Thanks to RatkojaRiku for the explanations and to Anax for pummeling the grey matter to death – it is a very good job that I have today off as I don’t think I would have got much work done this morning!

  3. flashling says:

    Where’s everyone gone? I guessed the HIGNFY very early on which as K’sD said gave away the presenters, but it did take a while to polish this off, less thematic stuff than I’d have expected from an Anax themed puzzle.

    Anyway thanks to Anax for the puzzle and RR for t’blog which doesn’t so far seem to have the feedback it and the crossword deserve.

  4. Bertandjoyce says:

    A late entry as we have been busy all day and this puzzle took us longer than usual.

    We’re fans of Anax but some of the clues just seemed to be a bit too obscure for our liking – 25ac as one example. 5d and 10d also seemed to be trying a bit too hard. However, we did appreciate 22ac!

    We would agree with K’sD about the theme. Bert guesed it purely from the enumeration straight away and so the other related clues were entered a bit too quickly and then we ground to a halt! SE corner needed some electronic assistance at the end.

    All in all though, a good workout for the grey matter – maybe more thinking outside of the box than we were prepared for this evening.

    Thanks Anax and RR – we’re sorry that there haven’t been more comments on a challenging puzzle. Was it too challenging perhaps?

  5. Thomas99 says:

    I agree with flashling – remarkably few comments for such a good puzzle! Partly post-bank-holiday getting back to work I suppose. I found the linked clues came quickly once one had been cracked, but it was still a tough challenge. My last clue was a three-letter one! It was 23d, HUH, a lovely clue and about as hard as 3 letters can be. Lots of really polished surfaces here. I liked Arriere-pensee and Language too; favourite may be LAUGHTER (25a).Thanks to Anax and RR.

  6. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog,RatkojaRiku

    Another late entry, but it’s like buses – they’re coming thick and fast now! [My excuse is that I’ve had a friend round for a meal, which seems to have taken most of the day to prepare for. I did do the crossword first, though.]

    As I expected, no ‘anti-climax’ here, Anax! [Aren’t we lucky to get two such crackers in a row?]

    The theme was a welcome intro, especially since, like K’s D, I’m a long-time devotee. There was still lots to go at, though, as has been said.

    I agree with Thomas re HUH – my last one in, too!

    Many thanks, Anax – keep them coming!

  7. anax says:

    Oh, go on then Eileen- you can have me in the Tele tomorrow.

    As others have noted, not many comments today but not many for the other puzzles either. Perhaps it’s a Bank Holiday hangover thing.

    Thanks to RatkojaRiku and to those who have commented. I wanted a reasonably gettable theme for this one in the hope I could be more playful with the non-theme stuff. Doesn’t always work, that approach, but I hope most of you had fun with it.

  8. Wil Ransome says:

    Good as always. I knew Anax was wrong yesterday. But I had one or two doubts: how does ARYANISED = after Arisierung? Certainly after arisierung one is aryanised, but ‘aryanised’ is a conjugation of a verb and ‘after Arisierung’ is surely not verbal. So what am I missing? And I can’t see why in 21ac delivery = redeemable.

  9. Dormouse says:

    Ever had one of those days when you stare at the grid and nothing comes? 16d came fairly quickly and about half an hour later 22ac. After that, nothing for the rest of the afternoon. I then went out for the evening and thought I’d have one more try and suddenly the theme answer came to me. As has been said, that gave three more answers. And then no more. Not a good day for me. (To make matter worse, just as I got off the train home just now, it poured down and I’m still slightly damp.)

  10. JollySwagman says:

    No anti-climax here (re Indy day before) – just different – and thanks to the theme more solvable than usual – getting through to enjoying the clever cluing a bit faster.

    Needed to know the theme of course – but thanks to the kind folks who make UK telly downloadable for expats I did. Can’t imagine life in this arid wasteland without the UK telly and crossies – and the blogs of course.

    Nice hat-tip to Deayton too.

    Thanks to both concerned here.

  11. PeeDee says:

    Thank you RR. DILUTE defeated me, thanks for the explanation of PAUL MERTON too.

    Will @8 – redeemable: the definition is ‘for delivery’, can be saved, delivered from sin

  12. PeeDee says:

    …I mean DILATE of course

  13. Lancastrian Bluenose says:

    Maybe I’m being old fashioned here but I thought an underlying crossword assumption was more obscure word easier clue,more common word harder clue ?

  14. Graham Pellen says:

    2D is U in, not +, GAG.

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