Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8005/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on June 11th, 2012

Pierre.

It’s Monday, it’s Quixote, and it’s the usual mix of fine surfaces, clear definitions, and polished wordplay.  Quixote was mentioned in nms’s recent survey as being one of the ‘easier’ Indy setters, and I did find this an accessible puzzle, presumably aimed at improving solvers.  I’ve tried, therefore, to give full explanations, so if you polished this off in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, look away now …  There was just one which I couldn’t quite see, and an unfortunate spelling mistake in one of the clues (in the online version, at least).  And I have wittered on a bit as usual.

Abbreviations

cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed

Across

Bishop managed church division within large organisation
BRANCH
A clearly signposted charade to give us some starting letters for the down clues. B for ‘bishop’, RAN for ‘managed’ and CH for ‘church’.

Somehow I stop before edge of precipice catching two females on dangerous slope?
OFF-PISTE
An insertion (‘catching’) of FF for ‘two females’ in (I STOP)* plus E for the last letter (‘edge’) of precipicE.  ‘Somehow’ is the anagrind.

Gather what mathematician may do to make approximation
ROUND UP
A dd.

11  Polish image that signifies a famous boundary
RUBICON
A charade of RUB for ‘polish’ and ICON for ‘image’.  I have the impression that ICONIC has shifted its meaning in the last ten years or so.  Strictly it’s to do with religious imagery, but even David Beckham is iconic these days.

12  Hard worker in church given employment as singer
CHANTEUSE
An insertion (‘in’) of H and ANT for ‘hard’ and ‘worker’ in C for ‘church’ and USE for ‘employment’.  Une CHANTEUSE is a female singer, and we’ve nicked the word from our opponents in Donetsk later on today.  Let’s hope we can nick a result.

13  Birds in castles
ROOKS
A dd, with the chess piece as the second.

14  Economic principal made to look silly by harmless wag
GRESHAM’S LAW
(HARMLESS WAG)* with ‘made to look silly’ as the anagrind.  I hadn’t heard of it, but worked it out from the anagram.  It’s too complicated to explain in words of one syllable, so if you’re that fascinated, you’ll find it here.  However, the clue has a spelling howler in it: it should of course be ‘principle’ and not ‘principal’.  Was the same spelling in the paper?

18  Supports eminence, the fellow lacking the ability to see ahead
SECOND SIGHT
I think this is a charade of SECONDS for ‘supports’ and [M]IGHT for the removal of man for ‘fellow’ from MIGHT for ‘eminence’, but am happy to be corrected.

21  Old character going around with some of the stars
DRACO
Not Mr Malfoy this time, but the constellation.  I did need the list of stars and constellations in my dog-eared Thesaurus to get this one.  It’s a reversal (‘going round’) of O for ‘old’ and CARD for ‘character’.  ‘Oooh, he’s a real card.’

22  Left-winger trapping various Tories celebrated noisily
ROISTERED
An insertion (‘trapping’) of (TORIES)* in RED for ‘left-winger’.  ‘Various’ is the anagrind.

24  Great joy when beer comes round (nothing in can)
ELATION
A charade of ELA for a reversal of ALE and an insertion of O (‘nothing’) in TIN for ‘can’.

25  Almost reluctant to stop?
GOING ON
I’m guessing that this is a cd, but I can’t really explain it.  Over to you …

26  Agent’s outside hostelry with drug where bushes may provide cover
SPINNEYS
An insertion of INN and E for ‘ecstasy’ in SPYS for ‘agent’s’.  If setters took E as often as they used it to clue ‘drug’ they’d be so spaced out that the cruciverbal world would grind to a halt.  According to one source, ‘Ecstasy (E) can lead to emotional openness, euphoria, an intense, energetic, spiritual high; and can connect people freely and openly with each other, promote deep inner thinking and analysis, or lead to a reduction in cynical or critical thoughts’.  Solving cryptic crosswords leads to the same thing, imho.  And it’s a lot less dangerous, of course.

27  Singers beginning to chant in front of Egyptian god
CHORUS
Another word for ‘choir’ or ‘singers’ is a charade of C for the first letter of ‘chant’ and HORUS, the Egyptian god of the sky.

Down

Polly’s home perhaps in Cambridge – sadly lacking room for male
BIRDCAGE
‘E’s joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.  This is an EX-PARROT!’  Quixote’s asking you to remove the M for ‘male’ from ‘Cambridge’ and then make an anagram: (CA[M]BRIDGE)*  ‘Sadly’ is the anagrind.

Mature editor penning article will be given excessive praise perhaps
ADULATED
An insertion (‘penning’) of A in ADULT ED.  Not sure why the ‘perhaps’ is there, since ‘given excessive praise’ is a perfectly good definition of ADULATED.

Trainee is bad sort – and not English!
CADET
A charade of CAD for ‘bad sort’ and ET for the Latin (ie not English) word for ‘and’.  Or indeed French.

Troubled airman finally cradled in fog making his manoeuvre to counteract weather?
FORCED LANDING
It’s (N CRADLED IN)* inserted into FOG, but isn’t ‘in’ doing double duty here?  I’ve never quite understood what the ‘rules’ are about this.

Turning up to join hundred in fights – boozy events
PUB CRAWLS
A reversal of UP followed by an insertion of C for ‘hundred’ in BRAWLS for ‘fights’.

District has second religious minister having got rid of the first
SECTOR
A charade of S and [R]ECTOR.

Man lodging in northern estate
ERNEST
Hidden in northERN ESTate.

10  Singer establishing cult may prance around
PAUL MCCARTNEY
(CULT MAY PRANCE)*

15  The man’s man full of perverse rubbish?  One sort of academic
HISTORIAN
A charade of HIS for ‘the man’s’ and IAN for ‘man’ with an insertion (‘full of’) TOR, which is ROT (‘rubbish’) reversed (‘perverse’).

16  A sort of fish repeatedly put into gelatinous substance
AGAR-AGAR
A GAR repeated gives you the vegetarian alternative to gelatine, used in cooking.

17  Trainee medics possibly taking bosses round one part of the hospital
STUDENTS
‘Trainee medics possibly’ is the definition and it’s an insertion of ENT for ‘Ear, Nose and Throat’ in STUDS for ‘bosses’.  ‘Trainees’ would have worked just as well, but the medics bit is there to give a better story-telling surface.  Otorhinolaryngology is the posh name for ENT, but personally I’ll be sticking with the acryonym.

19  Poisonous types more miserable first to last
ADDERS
Quixote’s inviting you to make the first letter of SADDER become the last.  ADDER is an interesting word: in Old English, næddre meant any snake, not just an adder; in Middle English people called the snake A NADDER (and apparently some Northern dialects have maintained this usage); then by a process the name of which I’ve forgotten, the N got stuck onto the indefinite article and it became AN ADDER.  But in French today, the slippery fellow is still un nadre.

20  Herb used to be a person without sexual preference?
WASABI
I’m sure this has been done before, but it still made me smile. If I used to fancy both boys and girls (and I firmly refute any allegations to that effect) then I WAS A BI.  WASABI is used in Japanese cuisine.  A quick butcher’s online suggests that it’s a root rather than a herb, but I’m no botanist.

23  End of skirt well up to reveal this?
THIGH
A charade of T for the last letter of skirT and HIGH for ‘well up’.

In the clues today we’ve had ‘singer’ twice, ‘church’ twice, and the last across is CHORUS.  Is this a rare Quixotic mini-theme?  I think we should be told.  Thanks to him for a smooth start to the Indy week.

13 Responses to “Independent 8005/Quixote”

  1. Eileen says:

    Morning, Pierre and thanks for the amusing blog.

    Re 18ac: I took it as [he]IGHT but your reading works, too.

    I was about to say that I couldn’t quite see 25ac, either, then just remembered that ‘going on’ can mean ‘almost’, as of an old man ‘going on ninety’.

    Thanks, Quixote, for an enjoyable puzzle.

  2. Quixote says:

    No deliberate theme, but I apologise for nodding while intending to type ‘principle’. Thanks for the review.

  3. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Eileen, for explaining GOING ON. I think your ‘height’ is a better parsing than my ‘might’, but as you say, both work.

  4. Querulous says:

    Thanks Quixote and Pierre.

    Re 5d, I think it’s (N CRADLED IN FOG)*, so the in isn’t doing double duty.

  5. eimi says:

    I nodded too, I’m afraid

  6. nmsindy says:

    Yes, pleasing puzzle, not too difficult. Favourite clues GOING ON, BIRDCAGE. Thanks, Pierre and Quixote.

  7. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Querulous at no 4, that makes perfect sense. I just got confused with FOG being the outside letters.

  8. lizard says:

    I don’t suppose there would be any chance of giving a link to the old blog for “i” readers? Or better still, opening it up again for new comments! (Sometimes it’s quite hard to trace!)

  9. Dormouse says:

    Not too difficult start to the week. Got stuck for a bit on 20dn and 21ac. For a while, the only word I could think off for 21ac was “dildo” but it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the clue. When I finally got 20, it made me smile.

    I had the “height” reading for 18ac, too.

  10. Pierre says:

    Hi lizard at no 8. There’s been a bit of confusion recently about the Indy/i puzzles. There was a short period recently when the Indy and the i puzzles were the same, but a couple of weeks or so ago they became separate beasts again, so Quixote’s crossword which I’ve blogged here today is a box-fresh puzzle. Confusingly, Quixote is also in the i today, but that’s a recycled one. Hope that answers your question.

  11. Allan_C says:

    A nice gentle start to the week – thanks, Quixote and Pierre.

    The clue to 14a has ‘principle’ in the Crossword Solver version (tho’ it could of course have been recently corrected from ‘principal’).

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    Good evening Pierre! A quick but enjoyable solve tonight so we can have an early night. Favourite clue was 1d.

    Lizard@8 Someone recently suggested googling one of the clues, you could even add the setter’s name perhaps which should enable you to find the old blog. As we don’t have the i we can’t check if it works.

    Thanks Pierre and Quixote.

  13. flashling says:

    Found this a stroll in the park, re the i’s if it had been blogged this site does have a search function in the top right corner, but the early blogs were not complete; the papers might have wanted the revenue from phone lines, perhaps the bloggers and commenters couldn’t finish it either.

    Anyway not all “i” crosswords will have a blog to help so give us the clue and I’m sure someone with give it a go.

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