Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7981 by Quixote

Posted by nmsindy on May 14th, 2012


Very good puzzle from Quixote.     Very good surface readings, all fair.     Straightforward wordplay for less familiar words.    On another xword blogging  site, one of the bloggers lists the (classical) music listened to while solving.   Wondered if Quixote did so while creating the grid for this as it is full of music references, mainly, though not all, classical.     But little specialised knowledge of that needed I’d say from the fairness of the clues.      I found it, even for the normally v accessible Quixote, very much on the easy side.     Solving time, 13 times, v fast indeed for me, ideal for a Monday.

* = anagram


1  BACCHANTES       Not sure if the revellers on Newcastle’s Quayside call themselves this but you never know – wordplay made it pretty easy tho.    BAC = cab (taxi) reversed (indicated by ‘back’)  CHANT (sing) couple from Essex ie its first two letters.

6 CLEF    Pun on ‘staff’ which also means musical stave.     So cryptic definition with 22 being DOCTOR OF MUSIC.    Sign shown on the staff.

9 FREEMAN        This refers, I presume, to (the late) Alan Freeman.       Whereas now 4PM on a Sunday might be associated with Premier League football for some, there was a time, initially ground-breaking, early 1960s, when the BBC had Pick of the Pops on the radio, with Alan Freeman presenting, what had before been considered hardly respectable and confined to radio programmes at night from eg the Grand Duchy.     Curiously the leading personality in the latter, Barry Alldis, and Alan Freeman both originally hailed from Oz.

Freeman = opposite to a slave

10 BREATHE      re (about) in bathe

12 VENETIAN BLIND   (invented in lab)*     One of a few v straightforward anagrams today.

14 EUROPE     definition = several countries     rue = regret (reversed = indicated by ‘about’)   optimism beginning to fade is, I think optimism = hope with the first letter removed.  Guess the surface refers to the economic and financial troubles of recent times in the area.

15 TEAR INTO     Definition:  attack       tear (sign of sadness)  in t (time) then nothing (O)

17 IN THE BAG   (hat being)*    Definition:  secured

19 MADRAS     A type of material original from Madras (India) – city now known as Chennai    mad (nutty)   artists (RAs)

22 DOCTOR OF MUSIC       Cryptic definition with pun 0n ‘noted’

24 CELESTE      A very well concealed hidden reversal  –  it goes ‘the wrong way’ in MargarET’S ELECtronic

25 RHENISH     Definition   Schumann’s Third Symphony (I confirmed this afterwards in a reference book).       It’s an anagram of Herein’s  plus H ie Schumann’s third (letter) less E ie Beethoven’s third (letter).

26 LIST    Definition:   inclination.     Homophone of Franz Liszt (Hungarian C19 composer)

27 DEPARTMENT    go (depart) soldiers (men)  t (edge of desert ie its last letter)


1 BUFF    Double definition.    Guessed it from expert.    Did not know the other definition but it’s in dicts.   buff = blow tho shown as archaic in some (apparently ‘blind man’s buff’ is the main usage now).

2 CLEAVER   A in clever (smart)

3 HYMENOPTEROUS    (Some hornet yup)*     Thanks for giving an anagram here.    After crossing letters filled up it was fairly clear where the others might go and I verified that there is indeed such a word – I won’t explain it further here, but I’m sure you can look it up if interested.    This was my final entry.

4 NINETY     Definition:  number.     IN (home)  ET (extraterrestrial = out of this world) in NY (New York = Big Apple)

5 EMBRACED    E (English)  MB (Doctor)  raced (made rapid progress).      A clue that helped to make rapid progress.    Definition:  accepted enthusiastically

7 LATVIAN   LA (Los Angeles)  TV (set)  Ian (Scot)     Latvia was part of the Soviet bloc before the fall of Communism in Europe from 1989.

8 FIELDMOUSE   (demise foul)*

11 EMBARRASSMENT  (best man Sam err)*

13 PERIODICAL   (police raid)*

16 LA BOHEME    Opera by Puccini         endless tea =   bohe(a)  in lame (unsatisfactory)

18 TACKLES     les (the French)   tack (food) first ie goes above ‘les’     Definition:  gets stuck into

20 RECEIVE     Definition:   get    RE (education about religious matters)   CE (Church – of England)   I’VE  = I have

21 SMYRNA    This is a port in Asia Minor which moved from being part of Greece to part of Turkey after the Greece-Turkey conflict soon after WW1.    It’s name was then changed to Izmir and remains so today.     Pun on ‘port’    n = noon in (Mary’s)*

23 SHOT     Definition:  go     deficient = short, not right = take the r = right out to leave shot.


8 Responses to “Independent 7981 by Quixote”

  1. Paul A says:

    21d a typo – should be SMYRNA

  2. nmsindy says:

    Tks, Paul A, blog corrected.

  3. Dormouse says:

    Got through this very quickly. 3dn I knew the term “hymenoptera” and I realised from crossing letters it was something to do with that. Then a matter of working out the anagram to see what part of speech it was.

    Not only did we have “La Boheme” on Friday, just as I entered it in the grid my e-mail pinged with an advert for a new production of that opera.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, nms.

    Yes, this one fell out nicely once I’d made a start. I was pleased to get RHENISH from the wordplay, although I vaguely recognised it afterwards. And HYMENOPTEROUS was a good anagram. I guessed the OPTER bit from other related words like LEPIDOPTERA, then the crossing letters and the rest of the anagram fodder got me there. I thought BREATHE was a clever clue.

    I know, Dormouse, with LA BOHEME – you wait ages, then two come along at once …

  5. Quixote says:

    Thanks everyone. I do like it when solvers tell me they work out the answer from the subsidiary definiton — seeing the SI and the definition coming together plausibly has always been the greatest joy as a solver and a setter. By te way, I very rarely listen to music when I set — for me it’s too much of a distraction.

  6. Jean says:

    Fun – a little too easy perhaps. Hardest clue answer for me was ‘celeste’.

  7. NealH says:

    The solving wasn’t helped by writing “Reader of Music” for 22. I would contend this makes sense than “Doctor of Music” – it’s perfectly possible to be a doctor of music without working in an academic institution, just as you could be a doctor of philosophy and work in a bank.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Quixote for an enjoyable puzzle and nms for the blog.

    Neal@7 re 22ac: You are right that Reader would be more appropriate as indicating a senior academic title, but in my experience the form used is invariably Reader “in” something, not “of”. Of course, READER IN MUSIC would fit but for the checked letters.

    Pelham Barton, Reader in Mathematical Modelling, Health Economics Unit, School of Health and Population Sciences, University of Birmingham

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