Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,995 / Crosophile

Posted by RatkojaRiku on May 30th, 2012


As it is the last Wednesday of the month, one would expect to find Crosophile standing in for Dac.

I found this puzzle hard to get into, perhaps because, as I realised today, I have so little experience of solving Crosophile’s puzzles. However, once I got started, I made steady progress until coming unstuck in the NE quadrant. The intersecting entries at 5, 8 and 10 were the last to be slotted into place, with the wordplay in 10 proving particularly difficult to crack.

There were unfamiliar references for me in the wordplay of 10, 11, 24 and 27, but these were gettable and were easily confirmed via dictionary and/or Wikipedia. Incidentally, the business-class jet, which I had never heard of until today, cropped up in another puzzle that I was solving this very afternoon: was this pure coincidence or has the same compiler (in different guises) used it twice in quick succession?

As for my favourite clue, I rather like the £51 device in 21, which I don’t remember having seen before, as well as the well-hidden definition in 6 and the smooth surface reading in 20.

*(…) indicates an anagram

9   PEACE Homophone (“on phone-hacking”) of “piece” (=bit)
10   CLEARANCE LEAR (=business-class jet, i.e. manufactured by Learjet) in C<h>ANCE (=opportunity); “initially hopping off for” means the letter “h” is dropped and replaced; the definition is “vacation”, in the sense of act of vacating, emptying, clearing (out)
11   EPILOGUES E (=energy) + {[I + L (=left)] in POGUES (=Irish punk band, i.e. The Pogues)}
12   FLOOR Homophone (“heard”) of “flaw” (=weak spot); the definition is “American’s story”, i.e. the US spelling of storey (floor, level)
13   SONATA SON (=child) + AT (=working (on), as in to be at it) + A
14   TORTOISE [O (=Oscar, i.e. the call sign for the letter “o” in telecommunications) + IS] in TORTE (=rich pastry)
16   ANTHROPOLOGISTS [R (=right) + OP (=work)] in ANTHOLOGISTS (=poetry collectors)
19   DIETETIC DIE (=fade away) + *(ETC + IT); “poorly” is anagram indicator
21   LIQUID LI (=51, i.e. in Roman numerals) + QUID (=£)
23   ENTER <c>ENTER (=heart of America, i.e. US spelling of “centre”); “with loss of capital” means first letter is dropped
24   NIGHTTIME *(I + TEN GMT HI); I (=one); “dicky” is anagram indicator
27   CHALLENGE C (=caught) + [ALL (=everything) in HENGE (=circular structure, i.e. back formation from Stonehenge)]
28   RANGE <st>RANGE<st> (=most peculiar); “abandoning the streets (=ST)” means that the letters “st” are dropped from front and back of word
1   SPEEDS SPEED (DEEPS=profundities; “raised” indicates vertical reversal) + <paradoxe>S (“ultimately” means last letter only); nautical speeds are expressed in knots
2   MARIONETTE *(I’M NOT A TREE); “that’s been animated” is anagram indicator
3   REPORTER REP (=republican) + ORTER (RETRO=backward-looking; “self-referentially” means the word “retro” is itself backward-looking, i.e. reversed)
4   ECRU Hidden (“some”) in “quitE CRUde”; the definition is “off colour” since ecru is off-white
5   CESSPOOL CESS (=tax, i.e. a local rate) + POOL (=game)
6   PROFIT Homophone of “prophet” (=forecaster); the (elusive) definition is “net” as a verb, i.e. gain
7   INFO Hidden (“wrapped in”) in “tINFOil”
8   FEARLESS F (=fine) + EARLESS (=hard of hearing, whimsically); the definition is “game” as an adjective, i.e. plucky, up for it
15   INSOUCIANT *(<va>CATION IN SU<n>); “relaxing” is anagram indicator; “after dropping off van” means the letters “van” are dropped from anagram
16   AUDIENCE AUDI (=car) + <f>ENCE<d> (=acquired dishonestly; “essentially” means central letters only are used); the definition is “house”, i.e. attendance at e.g. theatre
17   POIGNANT PO (=Teletubby, i.e. one of characters from children’s TV programme Teletubbies) + IGN<or>ANT (=unaware; “or wanting” means the letters “or” are dropped)
18   GLITTERY G (=good) + L – I (for o) – TTERY (=raffle); “getting second of wins for nothing (=O)” means the letter “o” is replaced by “i”
20   EERILY [I + L (=left)] in <b>EERY (=like ale; “with no head” means first letter is dropped)
22   DIESEL DIES (=conks out) + E<dgehil>L (“outskirts of” means first and last letters only)
24   TEAK TEA (=char) + K (=about a thousand bits; i.e. a unit of 1024 words, bytes or bits in IT)
26   GLEE L (=lecturer) in GEE (=expression of surprise)

9 Responses to “Independent 7,995 / Crosophile”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, perhaps I wasn’t being smarter than your average bear this morning, but this was harder than your average Crosophile, I’d say. I had a niggle with 14ac: not sure what the ‘etc’ adds to the clue for TORTOISE.

    Otherwise all seemed fair, and I did like RANGE and FEARLESS. And any puzzle that reminds me of the excellent cover for Rum, Sodomy and the Lash by The Pogues and allows me to come out and say that Laa-Laa is my favourite Tellytubby gets my vote.

  2. linxit says:

    First Crosophile puzzle for me, as I’ve only just started solving the Indy this week (apart from very occasional one-offs)!

    I found it fairly straightforward, although a couple went in without full understanding at the time (23, 28) and like the blogger CESSPOOL was my last one in, although I got CLEARANCE and FEARLESS without any trouble.

  3. crypticsue says:

    Harder than your average bear or Crosphile this morning but thank you to him and blogger too.

  4. Lenny says:

    This was hard but I do enjoy my monthly tussle with Crosophile. I’m beginning to learn his little ways. The subtraction anagram in Insouciant, the substitution in Clearance, ence as essentially acquired dishonestly, the use of barred crossword terms such as Cess.

    Part of the problem was that I solved this after a long sunny walk near Kenilworth Castle and fell asleep twice during the process (the solve, that is, not the walk). I also learned that the castle had been slighted. I look forward to meeting that term in some future solve.

  5. Dormouse says:

    I guess this was a happy medium after the first two this week: Monday solving by about two o’clock, yesterday failing to finish, today got the last two clues (5 & 8) about half an hour ago, albeit with a little electronic help.

    10ac, I guessed LEAR was going to be in there somewhere – it’s the only business jet I’ve heard of – and once I got enough checking letters I could see “clearance” would fit, and I could follow the wordplay, just couldn’t work out why it meant “vacation”.

  6. Wil Ransome says:

    ‘On phone-hacking’ as a homophone indicator? Seems pretty far-out to me. Otherwise a good crossword, but I agree that ‘etc’ seems superfluous in 14ac.

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    Well not many comments – is that because people are struggling with it? We thought it was harder than average but then wondered why because all of the clueing was fair and there were no odd words that needed a dictionary. Perhaps it was just one of those days but then we obviously weren’t alone.
    Thanks RR and Crosophile for a good workout.

  8. hounddog says:

    I didn’t think it was particularly tricky, I got all but three clues during 45 minutes or so before lunch at Lord’s with at least half my attention on the cricket. The final three fell into place when I had another look before tea.

    Surely the ‘etc’ in 14ac reflects the fact that a tortoise that ate only lettuce would be an unhealthy tortoise and they need to eat other things as well.

    I thought the ‘phone-hacking’ clue was excellently topical once the penny had dropped (it was the first of my final three and got me going again).

  9. RatkojaRiku says:

    On the etc in 14, I assumed like hounddog that the idea of the “etc” was that the tortoise’s diet comprised more than merely lettuce.

    I agree with Wil Ransome about the homophone indicator in 9 and “excused” it on grounds of topicality. I also wondered if I had actually incorrectly parsed the clue, but since no one has commented on this, I am assuming that my interpretation of it was the same as everyone else’s and, by extension, the one that the setter had in mind.

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