Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8028 (Sat 07-July 2012) Monk

Posted by beermagnet on July 14th, 2012


I think I am beginning to recognise Monk’s style.  Straight, non-thematic crosswords clued with a range of difficulty.  Some relatively accessible clues to start with, but nothing too obvious, so you can make a good start.  Then a mid range where a fair amount of thinking is required.  Finally half dozen or so really tricky clues you have to work to solve and which, when you do, provide great satisfaction.

In this grid I managed as many as 14 answers on the “1st pass” (point when all clues attempted), but these were not evenly spread – I had nothing at all in the top left quadrant.  After a pause I finally made an inroad there with 2D HAYMAKER, though this only came from imagining the K from 12A MACKEREL which I had considered earlier but couldn’t justify (I hadn’t seen the REL[y] = “bank almost” then, and still don’t fully understand how that clue works). So as usual there is one that needs more explanation: 12A

7 NEPAL A certain stone repeatedly defaced somewhere in the Himalayas (5)
[o]NE [o]PAL One of those where I reluctantly got the answer from the def + crossing letters then struggled for the wordplay
8 FACE VALUE Brave esteem, for what it’s apparently worth (4,5)
FACE (brave) VALUE (esteem) First answer in (only second read, quick start for a Saturday)
10 MRS MOP Help senior NCO to cut hair (3,3)
RSM (senior NCO) inside MOP (hair).  I can imagine this might give some people a problem.  I remember Paul using this as an answer once so was prepared
11 FANDANGO Dance also interrupting one devoted to work (8)
AND (also) inside FAN (one devoted) GO (work) Strange to find FAN again – I’d just solved 3D
12 MACKEREL Fish caught in flow by bank, almost (8)
C[aught] inside MAKE (flow ?) then REL[y] (bank, almost) How do we get MAKE from “flow”?
13 REEF Gather up a chain of rocks (4)
Double Def.  “Gather up” as in Reefing sails, and “a chain of rocks” as in what you might run your boat into.  I had trouble with this one as I thought the def. was just “rocks” and couldn’t understand what the rest of the clue was getting at
15 WHEREBY By which a question is put about before bishop (7)
WHY (question) around ERE (before) B[ishop].  Another one of the tricky last half dozen
17 JOHN DOE Old qualification secured by GI who’s unknown (4,3)
O[ld] HND (qualification, Higher National Diploma) inside JOE (GI)
20 AMIE Girlfriend I put in minor role shunned by company (4)
I inside [c]AME[o].  Noted this as my favourite clue, from the PDM when I spotted the wordplay
22 NO-GO AREA You can’t enter this part of India, held by Koreans deployed after shelling (2-2,4)
GOA (part of India) inside ([k]OREAN[s])* AInd: deployed. Note that Koreans is “shelled”, i.e. ends removed, before being anagrammed.
25 TERIYAKI In IKEA, try out one dish (8)
(IKEA TRY)* AInd: out. then I (one)
26 RUGOSE Wrinkled flower digesting decapitated insect (6)
[b]UG (decapitated insect) inside ROSE (flower)
27 SOVEREIGN Small deliveries, say, containing one new ruler (9)
S[mall] OVER (deliveries) I (one) inside E.G. (say) N[ew]
28 SLICE Cut joint without pressure (5)
1 WEHRMACHT March with the beaten Allies’ enemy (9)
(MARCH W[ith] THE)* AInd: beaten.  Tricky.  I needed most of the crossing letters before recognising the anagram fodder and then time fiddling the letters into something recognisable.
2 HAYMAKER Blow or grass? (8)
Double Def.
3 NAFF ALL Lover ascending before descent for nothing (4,3)
FAN< (lover ascending) FALL descent. I thought this “polite” version was invented by Dick Clement for use in the excellent Ronnie Barker prison sitcom “Porridge”, but this link seems to indicate it was used earlier in “Kes” and merely popularised by Norman Stanley Fletcher.
4 LEONARDO Artist on a road taken in by sign (8)
ON A RD (on a road) inside LEO (sign)
5 PARADE Show heaven is invisible (6)
6 NUDGE Remind, say, horse to get up (5)
E.G. (say) DUN (horse, say) all rev.  The “say” in the clue seems to be doing double wordplay duty (maybe taking the Monty Python suggestion: Nudge, nudge … say no more)
9 SPUR Encourage most of football team (4)
14 FORENSICS Censor is following crude study of public debate (9)
(CENSOR IS F[ollowing])* AInd: crude. One of the last I understood due to the unfamiliar definition used in the clue
16 BEE-EATER Europeans stopping one who disturbs game bird (3-5)
EE (Europeans) inside BEATER (one who disturbs game).  A bird that often inhabits crosswords (often derived from BEEF-EATER)
18 NEAR GALE Force 7 to approach prisoner about drug (4,4)
NEAR (approach) LAG< (prisoner, about) E (drug) Def. Force 7 on the Beaufort Scale
19 INNINGS Turn wife away from prizes (7)
21 MAIDEN When you get her over, you won’t score (6)
Cryptic Def. No score in a maiden over in cricket
23 GERM Shoot triggerman to the right of the heart? (4)
Hidden in trigGERMan, one space to the right of the middle of that word.  Last answer solved – why does this so often turn out to be a hidden? I was stuck thinking it was GORE with the def. being “of the heart”, i.e. blood/gore, and wordplay from GO (shoot – as in try) RE from triggerman somehow, and thus spent a while looking up rifleman regiments etc. looking for an RE abbreviation that fitted
24 BELOW Not worthy of European to break strike (5)
E[uropean] inside BLOW (Strike)

15 Responses to “Independent 8028 (Sat 07-July 2012) Monk”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. I still find Monk just about the hardest, and certainly one of the most satisfying of all the setters.

    Re MACKEREL (12a) – the dictionary tells me that when the tide is “making” it’s rising or accumulating – see The Free Dictionary online, 7th definition of Make as an intransitive verb (after 21 as a transitive one!). Hence “flow” as opposed to “ebb”?

  2. Thomas99 says:

    PS. No double duty in 6d – Dun can mean a (dun-coloured) horse.

  3. Dormouse says:

    Just couldn’t get into this at all, got just one or two clues on the first pass, and put it aside to do the Inquisitor in the magazine because I was finding that easier! After a couple of days I got just 13 answers at which point returning to the puzzle was proving pointless.

  4. MikeC says:

    Thanks beermagnet and Monk. Certainly a tough puzzle – I needed several aids and still found it a struggle. Enjoyable, nonetheless, and very well clued.

  5. nmsindy says:

    I too found this tough but very satisfying with rigorous, precise, clueing. Make = flow meant nothing to me either but I looked in Chambers and there it is – intransitive verb. Tho there is no theme here (I think!), beermagnet, Monk has been very much associated with them in previous puzzles esp ones based on particular letters of the alphabet. Favourite clue: HAYMAKER Thanks, Monk, and beermagnet.

  6. Monk says:

    Thanks to beermagnet for a very detailed blog and to all for comments. Niall @5, there is indeed a Nina that affects several answers: it should be visible above because beermagnet has kindly included the grid (how?!).

  7. Richard Heald says:

    With Monk I find it’s always worth checking the perimeter letters for potential Ninas, and sure enough in this one you’ll find the points of the compass N, E, S, W, NW, NE, SE and SW in their correct positions.

  8. Al Dente says:

    I am I bar(king) up the wrong tree or is the nina to do with King? Leon King, Dan King,Teri King,King John
    and sovereign? Or am I just barking?

  9. nmsindy says:

    Excellent spot, Richard at #7. I looked at the grid for quite a bit after Monk’s comment but never noticed that. I’ll have to admit that right through solving I thought the 5-letter entries NEPAL and SLICE with just two letters checked were there for a reason.

  10. Wil Ransome says:

    A pretty Nina, which goes some way to excusing the ‘incorrect’ checking, (nearly 43% of answers ‘wrong’). Pity, because the rest of the crossword was good. I never got the girlfriend at 20ac, putting ‘AIME’ in: it seemed like a possible word, so I was completely mucked up at 21dn, trying to find a 9-letter word HER… and of course failing. But ‘When you get maiden over’ seems a bit odd from the cricketing point of view.

  11. beermagnet says:

    I did look for a Nina, but was so convinced there wasn’t one didn’t mention that in the blog. I think I can be forgiven for not spotting that one. Not sure if I can be forgiven for not spotting it even after Monk popped up (Ta, muchly) and told us there was one. For penance I have adjusted the grid image to highlight the compass points.

    I make these images by using Crossword Solver (free from then taking a “Screen scrape” image using Alt/PrtScn copy into Microsoft Paint, to save it as a jpg which can be inserted in the blog.

  12. Monk says:

    Al @8: indeed, woof! Niall/Will @9/10: the 12 answers with less than 50% checking were deliberately aided by the Nina. I seem to recall Notabilis doing something similar “in another place”, i.e. using a peripheral Nina to help solvers with (apparent) underchecking. Richard @11: thanks again, this time for the useful info re grid images and the technicolor enhancement above.

  13. Al Dente says:

    Thanks Monk for the second opinion! All part of the fun.

  14. Rorschach says:

    Long live the Monk!

  15. Bertandjoyce says:

    We finished the puzzle but failed to see the Nina! Thanks Richard.

    Thanks to beermagnet for excellent blog and Monk for all the enjoyment!

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