Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7988/Punk

Posted by John on May 22nd, 2012


The last time we had a Punk he had me as a blogger and I was less than complimentary about his puzzle — but it was pointed out that I shouldn’t have been. Not this time: he has given us a pleasant and apparently quite sound crossword.

When one solves this online, the Congratulations message at the end says “In order to enter the 2013 10/18, Punk needs to raise around £800 in support of the DeafBlind charity Sense UK. Please visit”

No doubt he has also hidden something in the final grid, but I can’t see it. It’s harder on-screen. That’s my excuse, anyway.

1 COM(MOD)E — income = in come, the old scooter-rider is a mod as in mods and rockers
10/18 LONDON MARATHON — loon around (hand not arm)*
12/11 YOU COULDN’T RUN A BATH — as last time, Punk has used an expression which although probably not in the usual places (I certainly can’t find it in Chambers, anyway) is not completely arbitrary — this took some while to parse, and even now I’m not sure: it seems to be an anagram of (unluc{k}y {m}arathon doubt), where the non-appearance of the k in unlucky is indicated by OK, which is to be interpreted as 0k, or zero k, or nothing k, or no k, and the anagram indicator is ‘possible’ — but this all seems pretty tenuous and a better interpretation would be welcomed
13 PolanD AN Eastern
14 CO UPON — upon = over (in vertical positioning) and it passes ‘company’ in the sense that it comes after it
16/29 SCOTTISH TERRIER — (Irish setter or c{a}t)*, with mongrel the anagram indicator — I had my doubts that such a dog existed, but of course it’s a Scotch Terrier or Scottie
24/22 BACK MARKER — which is a Spoonerism of ‘Mac barker’
25 GO DOWNHILL — 2 defs
27 D(IS {eviden}T)RESS
30 CHICKEN — 2 defs
2 OLOROSO — (o so Rolo)rev. — people of a certain age will remember the Rolo, which I hadn’t realised still exists, so ignore that bit about the certain age
3 MEDOC — (code M)rev. — Medoc is a red, or a red wine
4 DO N(JU{de})AN — the obscure man is Jude the Obscure
6 ANNATTO — (tan n/a)rev. to
8 TETANUS — {Independen}t (sun ate)rev., where the setter is the sun, which sets daily
9 B{icycle} RIDES
14 CAM{e}
15 PRANKSTER — k in (partners)*
17 {C}HER
19 A V(A R)ICE
20 HYGIENE — “Hi Gene” — ref Gene Kelly
21 NU(D{ancers} IS)T
22 MAWKISH — ‘first seven days’ is ‘week 1′, or ‘wk 1′, which is in M*A*S*H
23 ENLARGE — (leg near)*, with bum the anagram indicator, not a synonym for arse, as seemed likely at one stage
26 HAVOC — (ova in c{haffinc}h)rev.

23 Responses to “Independent 7988/Punk”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I didn’t solve on line but was aware that Punk’s marathon run was in aid of Sense UK. As I solved it, I became aware that this was a puzzle he must have set either just before or just after his great London marathon effort. I did wonder if 12/11 was what someone had said to him :)

    Took me a bit of cogitation but I did enjoy myself, thanks Punk and John too.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John. You parsed a few today that I couldn’t (including DON JUAN, which referred to one of my favourite Hardy novels …) I got LONDON MARATHON as one of my first answers, and did realise that there might be a mini-theme. In the end, it all came together nicely.

    Slightly off-topic, I attended a business meeting recently at the DeafBlind Conference Centre in Peterborough, where during the lunch break I was looking at the exhibition material which explains the impressive help that is on offer for people affected by this condition. Not sure that it’s exactly the same organisation that Punk wants to raise money for, but if it is, it’s a very good cause.

  3. Quixote says:

    Income = in come? Not where I come from, sorry. That said, it was a pleasant puzzle to tackle on a sunny day in a pub garden.

  4. Conrad Cork says:

    Araucaria uses the ‘in come’ device a lot. Baffling when you first see it, and blindingly obvious thereafter.

  5. Quixote says:

    Araucaria and I (while the best of pals) come from different places.

  6. Paul B says:

    We’ll be using un-fair as an anag-ind next. Well, I will.

    Very enjoyable puzzle from m’colleague, who presumably seeks some kind of reward in heaven, or website hits. Apparently the bloke, leggy Centipiddes or something, who did the very first marathon dropped dead fairly soon afterwards. As I nearly did, after my own effort, almost as long ago.

  7. Jean says:

    ‘You couldn’t run a a bath’ – v old joke made to non-athletic types.

  8. JollySwagman says:

    @Quixote #3 and #5 – isn’t it rather otiose to point out non-Ximeneanisms in non-Ximenean puzzles.

  9. Quixote says:


  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I was comfortable with ‘in come’. But the sun, the pub and the beer during solving sounds ideal. Although as I’ve said before, I can do alcohol, I can do cryptics (sometimes), but not usually at the same time.

  11. Rorschach says:

    Why is it ‘right’ to include erroneous punctuation but ‘wrong’ to miss out spaces?

  12. Paul B says:

    Shurely, after Werner Erhard (John Rosenberg) it is hard to have ‘right and wrong’.

    And yet punctuation, in a surface, is irrelevant since the surface has no meaning and, presumably as a result, by convention is ignored in crossword clues. In a clue for COLONSAY you might not feel too comfortable with this idea, but there it is.

    OTOH, ‘you need not mean what you say, but you must say what you mean’. So a compiler ‘may attempt to mislead by employing a form of words which can be taken in more than one way, and it is your fault if you take it the wrong way, but it is his fault if you can’t logically take it the right way’. And you can’t where unfair tactics, like creating one word from two in the way described passim, are deployed.

  13. NealH says:

    I think it’s a tactic that should be used with caution, as it wouldn’t be difficult to take it too far. Should plunder be used to indicate that pl appears under something? Or maybe bicycle indicates bi cycled i.e. reversed, giving ib? Or perhaps below indicates that “be” appears further down a word? It wouldn’t take much for it start getting pretty silly.

  14. flashling says:

    Doesn’t the Indy always aim for new and misleading devices? Inform, intent detailed seem fine to me – Thanks John. A thought flashed through my mind that no-one had mentioned on line completion messages recently whilst I did dead tree and lo and behold there was one apparently.

  15. Dormouse says:

    I found this hard. 10/18 was obvious from the preamble in the paper and the word division, but it took me ages to parse the actual clue. 12/11 was a phrase I didn’t know, but from crossing letters I could work out how it started and guess all but the the last word, which google provided. (I was sure the last word started with a ‘b’ and wondered if it was “You couldn’t run a bean”, which has a nice sound to it.) But a lot of the clues I could guess the answer without knowing why. I’d never heard of “oloroso” and had to do a word search for that and also for 24/22, where “back marker” was the only answer that fit. That was the last in, and about five minutes later, I finally realised why it was the answer and groaned.

  16. JollySwagman says:

    @PB #12 – Erhard eh? He made a good few quid out of EST (Erhard seminars training) and then followed the great American tradition of “let’s all sue each other” – the EST acolytes were dubbed “estholes”. Is it OK to refer to the acolytes of Ximenes as “ximholes”?

    Most of the devices described by Ximenes as “unfair to the solver” are in fact quite fair and logical as long as you know they are possibilities. Actually Ximenes did make some sort of distinction between punctuation which intentionally deceives and that which happens to deceive but is naturally there anyway; a distinction which I can’t be bothered with.

    Of course Ximenes and his ilk would have writen that as “a distinction with which I can’t be bothered” despite Fowler, Gowers, Churchill, many others having pointed out that there is actually no “rule” of English grammar against it – other than a schoolmasterly invention.

    Please setters – deceive me as you will with punctuation, word-splitting, what you will. I learnt at my father’s knee (pre-Ximenes) rule #1 for solvers: ignore all punctuation, capitalisation and word-splitting (or lack thereof) – it may be there to deceive – that’s the whole idea.

  17. JollySwagman says:

    @Flashling #14 – “indeed” was so common once that you would write the DE and ED in straight away and go looking for the middle bit.

  18. Quixote etc says:

    I see that I am not among friends here. Just call people names, and devise a swearword starting with X, that’s the idea, eh? Carry on talking among yourselves!

  19. JollySwagman says:

    It might have started out as a gibe by others but “esthole” is what they called themselves – so at least in their case their sense of humour must have survived the brainwashing.

  20. Bertandjoyce says:

    An enjoyable themed puzzle which we have only just finished – out all day yesterday.
    Whilst we respect Quixote’s views (not forgetting his excellent puzzles) we think any device such as splitting words or combining words and playing with punctuation is acceptable. It keeps the grey matter ticking over and it’s good fun working out how you’ve been deceived, usually producing a smile or a groan! All part of the enjoyment of Indy puzzles.
    Thanks Punk and John.

  21. Paul B says:

    Re 19, I think Quixote is, quite rightly, drawing attention not to ‘estholes’, but your own rather distasteful coining.

  22. JollySwagman says:

    @PB #21 I didn’t coin anything -it was a question. You brought Erhart into the discussion and the extension is rather obvious.

    Personally I would prefer the term ximhole to be reserved for the traps which over-zealous Ximenes acolytes fall into when wrongly interpreting their guru’s thoughts – and when wrongly accusing setters of sloppiness when in fact they are simply working to a different paradigm.

    That avoids any smutty misinterpretation.

    It seems to me that setters slagging the work of other setters (of which you are the worst culprit) on here must raise questions about their motives in doing that.

  23. wingate says:

    I’m with Quixote on this one. For me, non-Ximenean clue-writing is a sign of laziness more than anything else (“Never let fairness get in the way of a neat surface reading”).

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