Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7999 / Raich

Posted by Bertandjoyce on June 4th, 2012


This is our first Monday blog. Our first surprise was that the grid seemed to have a lack of crossing letters connecting the 4 corners. As we completed the grid we could see why!

We’ve not blogged Raich before but we have enjoyed the challenging Inquisitor puzzles that he has set as well as his daily offerings in the Indy. We were recently treated to a Bronte theme where we completed the grid but failed to spot some of the ninas. The theme opened up here fairly quickly and we did start looking for places to put in themed answers before working out the parsing. For this reason we thought it was a good puzzle for new solvers. We like themed puzzles though and enjoyed this one with its excellent surface readings!

In the end, all six novels written by Jane Austen featured in the grid – quite an achievement!

7 INFO Hidden in or ‘needed for’ (adm)IN FO(rm) = data
9 NORTHANGER ABBEY Anagram of BATH RERAN BYGONE (anagrind is ‘playing’) = work by Jane Austen, opening up the theme of the puzzle
10 MANSFIELD Anagram of A FILM ENDS (anagrind is ‘in riot’) = Midlands town. For those of us in Nottingham, this is the equivalent of 15d to Londoners, and subject to the same sort of jokes!
11 PARK Double definition: (a) Mungo Park, Scottish explorer of West Africa in the 1790s and early 1800s, (b) an area of open land – linked with 10a as another Jane Austen title.
12   See 4 down
13 SENSE Last letters or ‘bits’ of tediouS discoursE oN dresS codE = hearing is one of the senses
14 AB INITIO BIN (receptacle for litter) + I + TI (note) inside (g)AO(l) (centre or middle letters of gaol) = Latin phrase for ‘from the start’. Many thanks to Beginnerr for pointing out our mistake. We have amended the blog so that it is now correct!
16 SENSIBILITY S (singular) + an anagram of BY-LINE IS IT (anagrind is ‘designed to show’) = awareness – linked with 13a as another Jane Austen novel
20 BLUSTERY LUSTER (one with great desire) in BY = bullying
21 PRIDE P (quiet, in music) + RIDE (journey) = group of animals (lions)
23 EMMA ME (writer) reversed or ‘sent back’ + MA (mother) = girl’s name and the title of another Jane Austen novel
24 PREJUDICE Anagram of JUD(g)E (without the letter ‘g’, or ‘no good’ – anagrind is ‘biased’) inside or ‘brought in’ PRICE (the cost) = intolerance – linked with 21a as another Jane Austen novel
28 PERSUASION Anagram of RAISE SON UP (anagrind is ‘could lead to’) = religious faith, and the title of a sixth Jane Austen novel
29 OPTS First letters (‘first of all’) of Organisations Promoting Top Standards = chooses
1 ENGAGED ENG (England) + AGED (grew old) = busy
2 ANTI ANTI(c) (clown without the last letter, or ‘not finishing off’) = opponent
3 ORAL Odd letters or ‘pieces’ of Of ReAlLy = examination
4/12 THE FIELD Anagram of I FELT HE’D (anagrind is ‘upset’) = everybody competing – very unusual to have a three letter word with only one cross-checking letter, but probably necessary for the theme and a straightforward clue to overcome the anomaly
5 ANNALIST ANNA (girl) + LIST (roll) = someone who makes or keeps records or annals
6 NECKTIE KT (knight) in or ‘enthralled by’ an anagram of NIECE (anagrind is ‘foreign’) = clothing accessory from America (or Amercia as Mitt Romney thought we should spell it!!)
8 OASIS O (love) + AS IS (unchanging) = fertile spot
14   See 9ac
15/27 ESSEX MAN Anagram of SEX NAMES (anagrind is ‘naughty’) = uncultured guy from near London
17 EASTMOST Cryptic definition – the most easterly place will be the first to see the sun rise or ‘first light’
18 ALLEGED Anagram of LED A GEL (anagrind is ‘astray’) = dubious
19 EDUCATE CA (‘about’ or approximately) in or ‘dipping into’ ETUDE (musical work) reversed or ‘uplifted’ = train
22 RADIO AD (‘bill’ as in poster) in or ‘drawn into’ RIO (port) = set
25 RUIN RUIN(g) (regretting without the last letter, or ‘for the most part’) = loss of position
26 JANE N(ic)E (‘extremely’ or first and last letters) after JA (German for ‘yes’, or ‘agreement in Hamburg’) = lady as in ‘Lady Jane’, but also the first name of the theme writer
27   See 15d

19 Responses to “Independent 7999 / Raich”

  1. Simon Harris says:

    Thanks, Bertandjoyce, and good stuff from Raich once again. Thankfully a complete lack of familiarity with the works in question was not a hindrance, as the titles at least are fairly deeply ingrained in the public consciousness these days.

    Just one slip for me, in that I didn’t spot the unfamiliar EASTMOST from the cd.

  2. crypticsue says:

    I enjoyed putting in all the themed answers. As B&J say, this would make a nice one for new solvers. Thanks to them for the blog and to Raich for the crossword – great to meet you at last week’s S&B.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I am so theme-blind it’s not true. I just happily meandered through this one, thinking it was an entertaining and not too tricky Monday Indy solve, and was left with ?A?K for 11ac as my last answer and still couldn’t see anything. In my defence Jane Austen is my least-favourite author, but even I knew all the titles. I suppose the upside is that if I had seen something, they’d all have been write-ins.

    I thought AB INITIO and EDUCATE were cleverly constructed clues today. Thanks to B&J and to Raich.

    As an aside, the Indy i seems to have gone back to its policy of recycling old puzzles, because Raich isn’t in there today – it’s a Quixote.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Oh, and it’s no 8000 tomorrow so that’ll be the Diamond Jubilee special, then. Although no 7,500 was Anax on apples, if I remember well.

  5. Bertandjoyce says:

    We wonder if the i recycled an old puzzle because today’s had a theme – even if at least one solver missed it! Let us hope that the ex-Telegraph readers are kept happy and the Indy carries on its tradition of an excellent range of puzzles.

  6. Lenny says:

    I couldn’t spot a hidden theme if it hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. After I got Emma, I wondered why it had not been clued as a novel as per usual. After I got Jane, I thought it was a bit weak to have two girls’ names in one puzzle. Only while staring at 9 and realising that Northanger was the only possible answer did the sledgehammer finally strike home. Technically, it’s very clever of Raich to fit in all six novels and he did not have to resort to any obscure words to fill the grid.

  7. Dormouse says:

    well, for once I spotted the theme early enough to make a difference. I’d got temporarily stuck in the bottom right corner, and having got “prejudice” I looked around for somewhere to put “pride”. But I did not think to look up a list of all the Austen novels and although I had “park”, I didn’t think of “Mansfield” immediately.

    17dn was last in, and I finally found that by looking through the E section in Chambers. (For some reason, looking in a paper dictionary seems to me less like cheating than doing an e-search.)

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    We know what you mean Dormouse!

  9. Raich says:

    Many thanks, B&J, for the excellent blog and to everyone for their comments. Yes, it was very difficult to fit all six novels in the grid but I finally got there. It did entail 2 8-letter entries having just 3 crossing letters each, which is most unusual, so, as suggested in the blog, these were given very easy clues and it was good no one had a problem with them judging from the feedback. Their letter-count as two words may have helped too.

    It’s often said that if JA had a good literary agent she’d have written more than just those 6 books but, in devising the puzzle, I’d no regrets that that was not in fact the case…

  10. Beginnerr says:

    The first cryptic where I’ve truly felt I came close to doing the. Whole thing by myself! Just one question, though: I got 14a on my own but could not quite justify all the letters, and I see even in the explanation above I and N haave been accounted for twice – surely it is ITI we need to get from “I note” somehow?

  11. flashling says:

    Fine stuff from our good friend Raich. I saw the theme very early on and was looking for suitable grid entries for the rest, led to a very quick solve but very enjoyable nonetheless.

    Nowt wrong with easy puzzles – but I note NMS didn’t include Raich/Gurney in his recent timings/difficulty discussion which may have skewed the results.

    Thanks to Raich and B&J, NMSIndy was due to blog today but was busy on other duties!

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    Well done Beginnerr! We’d love to say you spotted the deliberate mistake to see who was awake but we both missed it! Many thanks we will change the blog. If you are new to 225 welcome and please drop in again!

  13. flashling says:

    @Beginnerr #11 Indeed wordplay is BIN + I + TI(tonic solfa scale think “doe a deer”) all in ABO

  14. Bertandjoyce says:

    flashling – we had ‘N’ for note originally rather than ‘TI’. Beginnerr@11 was correct in pointing out the mistake which we have now corrected!

    Hope everyone is enjoying the Bank Holiday!

  15. flashling says:

    Hey B&J anyone who does perfect blogs isn’t really trying, you should see the number of oops moments I’ve had writing up today’s FT :-)

    Nimrod to Raich is quite a change methinks.

  16. Bertandjoyce says:

    Yes- we agree wholeheartedly but there are two brains working(?) on our blogs!

  17. Wil Ransome says:

    As usual from Raich much enjoyed, although predictably I had some problems with the grid. Perhaps it was necessary to have such poor checking because otherwise Raich would not have been able to fit the titles in, but 13 answers (or only 11 if you count the two-word answers as one) have less than 50% checking, and the top left and bottom right bits are only linked to the rest of the grid by one answer. I’m not of the view that one should always have ‘correct’ checking and to hell with any themes, but it did seem that this grid was a bit weak.

  18. Raich says:

    Thanks, Wil at #17, delighted you much enjoyed the puzzle. Would not see the less than 50% checking as a problem unless solvers thereby had difficulty solving the puzzle which does not seem to have been the case. I aimed in clueing to try to achieve that given the constraints of the theme.

  19. Rorschach says:

    Felt like I spent the whole time doing (very obviously indicated) anagrams. I also find it hard to be impressed that someone can arrange a certain amount of words in a grid if I don’t enjoy filling in the grid I suppose. Each to their own!

    Thanks both all the same!

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