Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7998 (Sat 02-Jun 2012) Anax

Posted by beermagnet on June 9th, 2012



That Anax, he is a “One” isn’t he ….

… and he can take that any way he likes (we had to).

Thank God for the long weekend – despite which I find myself writing this blog the day before publishing. Thinking I had plenty of time to get this solved and blogged, I savoured it (translation: spent ages stuck) and finished it sometime on Tuesday.  Then followed 3 working days within which I had to fit in 5 days worth of work, somehow.  So here I am reacquainting myself with the puzzle.

There was a small cock-up with the enumeration for 4D and 5D, swapped in the paper. I didn’t really notice till doing the blog.  Luckily I hadn’t considered the enumeration when solving Masseur, and Rattail could probably get away as (7) anyway. Corrected now online.

I see that the completion message online says “Onederful”.  Does that make the whole crossword a self-defining &Lit?

1 PALINDROME One is in top spot (10)
Def by example: TOP SPOT is one.  Does that count as an &Lit? I think so
6 RACE One is on run in this (4)
R[un] ACE &Lit. Embarrassingly this was the next to last answer I got.
10 PIANIST One is in orchestral setting? (7)
AN IS (one is) inside PIT (orchestral setting) &Lit.
11 SALERNO One is keeping right and left while going around port (7)
R[ight]inside ONE, L[eft] AS (when) all reversed
12 AIREDALE One is after a cherry 24 for dog (8)
I (one) after A, RED (cherry) ALE (beer via 24)
13 RAMIE One is captivated by headless body in plant (5)
I (one) inside [f]RAME That one took a bit of research
15 LOGICAL One is breaking record, state being consistent (7)
I (one) inside LOG (record) and CAL (state)
17 ROSANNA One is leaving 27 after backing a short kind of girl (7)
N[i]NA (I – ONE leaving Nina via 27) after A SOR[t] (A short kind) All reversed
I wrote in Rosanne before understanding the wordplay which meant 8D and the rest of that top right corner remained barren till the end
18 OVULATE One is gutted about volunteers, darling, returning to supply eggs (7)
O[n]E (one is gutted) around TA (volunteers) and LUV (darling) reversed
Early success solving this from the forgiving wordplay
20 PROPOSE One is supporting huge electronic advance (7)
PRO (one is supporting) OS (huge) E[lectronic]
21 SISAL One is gathered by girl turning over fibre (5)
I (one) inside LASS reversed
22 SOLECIST One is in court representing gaffer? (8)
SOLE (one) then IS inside CT (court).  Gaffer as in someone who makes a gaffe
25 AVIDITY One is keen to have this heartless song on video? (7)
DI[t]TY on AVI (video) I recognised AVI as an acronym for “video” but thought the I was for Interface – it ain’t: Audio_Video_Interleave
26 REPLETE One is finished after theatre rent charged (7)
REP (theatre) LET (rent) [on]E
27 NINA One is near oddly abandoned girl (4)
oNe Is NeAr alternate letter wordplay. Anax making sure there’s a leat one Nina in the grid.
28 BROWN-NOSER One is flattering client about Newsround? (5-5)
NNO (Newsround i.e. NN news, O round) inside BROWSER (client – as in software)
1 PUPA One is growing up in custody of old man (4)
UP inside PA. Hands up everyone who was looking for some kind of reversal wordplay
2 LEADING QUESTION One is asked by lawyer taking digs at queen to change into celebrity (7,8)
(DIGS AT QUEEN)* AInd: to change inside LION (celebrity) Not sure how LION is celebrity, something derived from being lionised?
3 NOISE One is sick of interference (5)
(ONE IS)* AInd: sick. Minimalist “One is” clue
4 RAT-TAIL One is depending on shock win, mostly, in game (3-4)
ATTAI[n] (win mostly) inside RL (game – Rugby League I presume?)
Shock as in hair. Very difficult. With all crossing letters this was one of the few answers that fitted. Then it took a while to justify the wordplay, and the Def (despite my own default tonsorial arrangements)
5 MASSEUR One is rubbing me around bottom, extremely unfair (7)
ME around ASS (bottom), U[nfai]R
Unfortunate Americanism creeping in – could’ve been avoided: Rubbing me over Jenny. There, sorted.
7 ACRIMONIOUSNESS One is in a scrum so might cause ill feeling (15)
(ONE IS IN A SCRUM SO)* AInd: might cause. Slightly dubious anagram indicator, but lovely fodder surface
8 EXONERATED One is in pornographic supporting role, ultimately justified? (10)
ONE inside X RATED (pornographic) underneath [rol]E
Last answer to fall, when I finally realised I had too many Es
It’s been a good many years since films have been X-rated – more than you think I bet – X changed to 18 nearly 30 years ago
9 ALFRESCO One is removed from coal fires raging outside (8)
(COAL FIRES – I)* AInd: raging
14 BLOODSTAIN One is potential evidence wasted on tabloids (10)
(ON TABLOIDS)* AInd: wasted. First answer. I was so pleased to fiddle out that anagram releasing a handful of first letters – with which like a flash, I could get nothing more
16 CHAPLAIN One is in church with an aim to welcome one? (8)
CH[urch] I inside A PLAN.  Another &Lit
19 ESSAYER One is trying to find voice in limitless desert (7)
SAY (to find voice) inside [d]ESER[t]
20 PILCROW One is in business with 3 – sign of return? (7)
¶ I inside PLC (business) ROW (Noise – via 3)  One of these: ¶
23 CAPON One is not going all the way, chasing better cock (5)
CAP (better?) ON[e] I’m not sure I can fully explain this wordplay.
24 BEER One is apparently a drink (4)
BE-ER (One is apparently).

Summary uses of “One is”:

13 Part of Def (inc 4 &Lits)
17 Part of Wordplay
7 I
2 Anagram fodder
1 AN
1 Other wordplay


19 Responses to “Independent 7998 (Sat 02-Jun 2012) Anax”

  1. Bertandjoyce says:

    One has to add one’s comment on this onederful puzzle. We oneder who one the prize this week.
    A brilliant puzzle from the master of misdirection. We were amazed at how many ways he managed to use “one is” without any loss of surface reading. Many thanks to beermagnet for the analysis and the blog, and as ever to Anax for hours of absorbing amusement last weekend. Let’s hope this week’s is as good to compensate for the forthcoming takeover of the world by those overpaid schoolboys in Poland and Ukraine!

  2. Shuchi says:

    A sensational puzzle, Anax surpassed himself with this one.

    You are not alone in getting RACE late, beermagnet. I took a long time with it too, also with NOISE which looks obvious with hindsight. RAT-TAIL and BROWN-NOSER were the hardest for me.

    2d: lion = celebrity, as in ‘literary lion’.
    23d: Your explanation looks good. cap = better (verb) i.e. outdo.

    PIANIST is a really neat &Lit.

  3. Dormouse says:

    This one certainly defeated me. Got maybe half of it by the end of Saturday (bottom left and most of top right corners), and looked at it again several times during the week without getting any more. Someone was saying last week that the prize crossword seems to alternate between very easy and very hard, and this followed the trend.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was an amazing puzzle – what a setting achievement! Definitely wise to put it in on a Saturday. I too found it very hard indeed with the only “one” I did not understand till coming here being SOLECIST. Now that you have explained it, it joins PALINDROME and RACE as my favourite clues.

    Many thanks, beermagnet and Anax.

  5. anax says:

    Hi all
    Many thanks for an excellent blog Beermagnet and to all for your comments.
    Yes, it was a bit of a challenge this one! It all started with a bostin’ clue for 1a which ended up not being used. Eimi came back with, I think, 2 or 3 minor tweaks and all was good. After sending it off I took an hour’s break from setting and did my usual round of checking for the latest news on crossword websites, including Alan Connor’s magical Guardian Crossword Blog. His weekly roundup of clues finished with a corker from the Telegraph Toughie the previous Thursday:
    One is never odd or even (10)
    Verbatim, my clue for PALINDROME in this puzzle, and absolutely coincidental. 50% of me said “Oh dammit” and 50% just staggered that two setters could independently write identical clues within (probably) a couple of weeks.

  6. crypticsue says:

    The ideal crossword for a long weekend as it took me on and off for two days to sort it out. Well done Anax on fitting in all those ‘ones’ and even more well done to Beermagnet for explaining it.

  7. Monk says:

    Nice one!

    Re 1ac and the discussion thereon, if you haven’t already seen it, check out the palindromic Bob Dylan spoof here. It’s remarkable in that the cadence of the thematic verses is maintained throughout.

  8. eimi says:

    #7 Brilliant

    Thanks for the link

    Sorry about the dead tree numeration error

  9. Paul B says:

    Good one! And that’s a corker for PALINDROME too!

  10. Lenny says:

    I suppose this is the closest that one can get in the Independent to a nod in the direction of HM’s festivities. For me though The One had to be Gwyneth Paltrow, who was the only possible answer to 20D until I did a post-solve dictionary check. Pilcrow apart, this was a slow and steady solve. After 20 minutes I only had Nina. That was one of many red herrings as there wasn’t a Nina, was there?

  11. nmsindy says:

    That’s impressive, thanks Monk at #7, or, as a former Emperor of France might have put it “Able was I ere I saw Elba”. No, I did not make that up myself but it fits.

  12. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks Anax and BM.

    Added extras (ie beyond straight themes – ninas etc) don’t do it for me – so while the “one’ trick was clever – especially getting it into every clue – what really hit me was what a fantastic puzzle it was – one where slow and steady really did win the race – and PILCROW (which I’ll never forget now) was for me the only obscurity and I managed to guess it without knowing its meaning.

    Since I’m more slow than steady (the parsing of PIANIST (nice one) only came to me 12 hours later) can anyone explain “One is apparently” for BEER – the explanation “One is apparently” didn’t quite do it for me.

    While I’m waiting maybe I’ll pour one into a glass and see if staring at the real thing stirs up the brain-cells.

  13. beermagnet says:

    JollyS: Be-er was trying to indicate that “One is” is an element of the conjugation of the verb “To be”,
    so, for instance, when “You are”, you a be-er.
    (I knew that wordplay explanation was insufficient – I also knew it would take me too long to explain it and that I would likely merely confuse the issue)

    Thanks for all the comments folks, and especially to Anax for adding to the discourse.

    I would’ve commented earlier but for some reason spent a large part of the weekend watching “Weird Al” videos – cheers Monk.

  14. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks BM – I haven’t even opened the bottle yet.

  15. nmsindy says:

    I wondered about the BEER clue too. If memory serves, another clue cross-referenced to that one, leading to ALE as part of the answer. This hinted strongly that the ?E?R was BEER. I thought it might come just from ‘one’ being a word for a ‘drink’ which eg Chambers has.

  16. JollySwagman says:

    Actually @BM #13 – when you wrote:

    so, for instance, when “You are”, you a be-er.

    I wonder whether you really meant to write:

    you are a be-er

    Ie folk who do stuff are do-ers.
    Folk who just are, are be-ers.

  17. JollySwagman says:

    And I’ll also buy nmsindy’s idea #15 – but why “apparently”?

  18. beermagnet says:

    JS, looks like you’re setting up for that old joke:

    To be is to do (Shakespeare)
    To do is to be (Niestchze)
    Do be do be do (Frank Sinatra)
    Ya ba da ba do (Fred Flintstone)

  19. Graham Pellen says:

    20A PROP = one is supporting; the second P has been missed from the blog.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

four + = 9