Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1170/Math

Posted by Pierre on July 29th, 2012


There’s been a bit of discussion recently about the level of difficulty of the Indy Sunday puzzles now that we have a different setter each week.  My experience with this one was that there were enough gettable clues to give you a foothold in the puzzle; but the last four or five took me almost as long as the rest of the crossword put together.  My last in were the 25s, where the unhelpful crossing letters meant that there were lots of possible solutions.

I know Math is an Indy setter, but I can’t recall seeing him or her in a daily slot of late, so it was perhaps just that I took a while to get used to the style.  There was some good stuff here in my opinion, but I’m interested to hear what others made of it.

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


A long sentence from Greek letter is made into a book
A charade of LIFE for ‘a long sentence’, OF for ‘from’ and PI for the Greek letter that’s best known to mathematicians.  Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, which won the Booker Prize.

Beat one who acts badly on French sea
A charade of HAM and MER.

Valuable record in good cover
An insertion of REC for ‘record’ in PIOUS.  Not sure that REC is a real abbreviation, but you’ll see it on lots of audio devices.  It’ll be in a dictionary somewhere, no doubt.

10  Old lady, capturing wildebeest, shows a lot of bottle!
Funny (ha-ha, rather than peculiar) surface.  An insertion of GNU in MAM.  Not all mams are old, of course …

12  A comic kind of bird
A dd.  The Eagle was a children’s comic first published in the 1950s.

13  Weekend warriors surround wild party members at front of level crossing
An insertion of RAVERS into TA (Territorial Army, or ‘weekend warriors’) plus L for the first letter of Level.  What some folk call a ‘lift and separate’ clue, since you have to take ‘level crossing’ apart to make the clue work.

14  Check into an empty Savoy.  It’s close
An insertion of TICK for ‘check’ in SY for ‘Savoy’ emptied of its central letters.

16  Poet’s son writes to the Queen
A charade of S for ‘son’, PENS for ‘writes’ and ER for Her Maj.  Edmund SPENSER, the 16th century poet, most famous for The Faerie Queen.

19  Kit bag’s contents held by Dad’s Army‘s Arthur (formally)
Another lift and separate clue, and another poet (and playwright, of course).  Kit MARLOWE was a contemporary of Shakespeare and was killed in mysterious circumstances at the age of 29.  I had to leave this overnight before I could parse it.  I’d twigged that the LOWE bit came from Arthur LOWE, who played Captain Mainwaring in the series mentioned (‘Don’t tell him, Pike!’).  It’s A for ‘bag’s contents’ (its middle letter, in other words) in MR LOWE, which is how you would have addressed Arthur ‘formally’.

21  Mean to get home with tuppence short of a shilling
Another nice surface.  Referring back to pre-decimal times before February 1971.  A charade of IN for ‘home’ and TEN D (10d in old money), which was indeed tuppence short of a shilling (which was 12d).

23  Ducks stand in ponds and start to swim in them
‘Ducks’ as a verb is the definition. A charade of SUB for ‘stand-in’ and S for the first letter of ‘swim’ in MERES, or ‘ponds’.  Nice misdirection.

25  Quiet in the back passage!
That’s good to know.  A charade of SH! for ‘quiet’ and AFT for ‘in the back’.

26  I cry and state “We’re all under the same pressure here!”
A charade of I SOB and AR for the two-letter abbreviation for the state of Arizona.

27  Follow goal with a G’n’T cocktail
(GOAL A GNT)* with ‘cocktail’ as the anagrind.

28  Softly, with top priority, without hesitation!
[UR]GENTLY.  ‘Hesitation’ is usually ER, or UM, but UR works just as well.

29  Succulent, dark bit of breast turned and even cut in half, in the middle
A bit going on, but cleverly constructed.  The definition is ‘succulent': Math is inviting you to put EV (‘even cut in half’) in a reversal of AREOLA, the ring of dark skin surrounding human nipples.  Go on, have a look if you don’t believe me.


Made extra circuit in front of electronic light to get a little programme installed
An insertion of APP for ‘a little programme’ in LED for ‘light emitting diode’.

One soldier carrying another in a cargo ship
Another insertion: of RE for ‘Royal Engineer’ in FIGHTER.

Fruit tree is all dead?
If O LIVE then all are dead.

Chickens out of op.  Truly agitated

Sailor resorted to cannibalism.  It finally provides relief
A charade of AB ATE MEN and T for the final letter of iT.

Thelonious: first of soul brothers
I needed to look up Thelonious: it’s referring to Thelonious Monk, the US jazz pianist.  So it’s MONK plus S for the first letter of ‘soul’.

They go on … they go on walks!
A dd.

11  March to the French bar … that’s sweet!
I got fixated with putting one of the French definite articles somewhere, but it’s actually just the French word for the month of March; and of course a MARS bar is sweet.

15  Hang up near thing
A dd.

17  No pigs are running around this country
(NO PIGS ARE)* with ‘running around’ as the anagrind.

18  Breaking up?  Great!
Another dd.

20  European, say, chewed a piece of cake
A charade of E for ‘European’ and (SAY)* with ‘chewed’ as the anagrind.

21  Position is, strangely, last in line

22  Genetically modified inside; it’s a terrible shame
An insertion of GM in (ITS A)*

24  Summit by northern bay
A charade of BROW and N, with the bay being used in the ‘horse’ sense.

25  One in a suit has flat in the London area
An insertion of PAD for ‘flat’ in SE (South-East) for ‘the London area’.

A fine Sunday puzzle from Math on his or her return to the Indy.  I enjoyed solving and blogging it.

10 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1170/Math”

  1. flashling says:

    Cheers Pierre, flew through this except for the last few which held me up quite a bit, took far too long to think of AR = Arizona state, I visited it and the locals used AZ not AR. Math has been missing for a good while but thanks to him/her. Still peeling after sitting in the sun doing this and reading the paper and a book… ok and having a few beers :-)

  2. Al Dente says:

    Agree with you Pierre that this was a Sunday puzzle with more “gettable” clues. I have found some of the Sunday puzzles fairly difficult of late although I have been putting that down to just getting older(I’ll be an old girl of 73 by this time tomorrow. The Al is short for Alice). Being housebound I really look forward to the Independent puzzles and always enjoy the blogs, yours particularly. Thanks again.

  3. Pierre says:

    That’s a nice compliment, Alice, thank you! And happy birthday for tomorrow!

  4. Bamberger says:

    I am at the lower end of the ability range but I reckon I can now judge how hard a crossword is -largely based on how far I’ve got after 45 minutes.Of course sometimes I can be lucky with a hard one and unlucky with an easier one. This was about a 8/10 as I got only a handful of clues solved before giving up -and seeing the answers there weren’t many where I thought I should have got that.Thanks for the blog.

  5. Al Dente says:

    Thanks for your good wishes Pierre.

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks Pierre, and Math.
    My experience was like yours – a challenge to complete the last few (3), due to the tricky misdirections “kit bag”, “succulent…bit of breast”, “…”in ponds”.
    If I might add to MONKS, its a semi-&lit, as Thelonius is a soul brother (in American slang). Btw, a minor correction – AR is the abbrev. for Arkansas.

  7. Dormouse says:

    I thought Thelonius Monk was one of those names that “everyone” knew. I think it’s in a Terry Pratchett book where someone is having trouble with a religious group stealing things, the felonious monks.

    Whose areola do you suggest I look at?

  8. Pierre says:

    Scchua, thanks for correcting my careless error. You are right, of course: AR is Arkansas rather than Arizona, which is why flashling was confused earlier (nothing to do with the beer, obviously).

    Dormouse, that is your call. Get back to us once the investigation is complete. Or perhaps not.

  9. scchua says:

    ALOE VERA….And I thought you meant look it up in a dictionary :-)

  10. Gerald Summerlin says:

    I am going to try this puzzle. I am sure that I will enjoy every second of it.

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