Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8053 by Quixote

Posted by nmsindy on August 6th, 2012


I found this quite a bit tougher than Quixote usually is, solving time 38 mins.     Very enjoyable puzzle – esp liked 27A, 8D and 20D.

* = anagram


1 BEARINGS     a  R (river) in BEINGS (people)      Took me a long time to get this in what I found was the most difficult part of the grid.    When I finally saw it, helped by crossing letters, I wondered why I’d had such difficulty.

5 SKIP    Double definition.

9 ESSEX    E (English)   S (Society)   SEX (it)

10 OFF-STREET     (set effort)*

12 COLONIAL      the “:” in the clue forms part of the wordplay here leading to COLON   I = one   A  L (lake)

13 UMBLES      New word to me that I got from the clear wordplay    ‘umble   from humble (lowly) with the h dropped    s = son       Heart, lung, liver of a deer etc

15 RESERVE PRICE     Cryptic definition punning on ‘lot’ from auctions.

17 EVER-CHANGING    In cryptic crossword language the answer could become ‘veer’ ie ever changing (with ‘changing’ an anagram indicator).     Definition: always shifting around

21 ERMINE      vermin (rodents) less v (very)  E (last letter of nice)

22 STRUMPET    S (first letter of shout)   TRUMPET

24 ESOTERICA    (a coterie’s)*

25 ISSUE    is  Sue (little woman = abbrev of Susan)

26 DIET    die (conk out)   t (time)

27 ALLERGEN   all (everyone)  (green)*


1 BASELESS      Took me ages to get this –  when (AS)  E (elevated initially ie first letter) in BLESS (praise).    Definition: idle, one of the meanings of which is ‘without basis’

2 AIX EN PROVENCE   (can vex pioneer)*

3 ICOSAHEDRA      I needed to go to reference sources for this even tho it was very obviously (ace hairdos)*.     I’d not heard (or had forgotten) the word – it’s the plural of ICOSAHEDRON which is a solid with twenty plane faces so that is what score (20) refers to in the clue.    When trying to work out what the anagram letters might lead to, I went astray by assuming that, as it seemed to be a plural (as indeed it was), it would end in S.

4 GAFF    gaffer less ER     gaff = spar (nautical)

6 KNEELS     Definition: shows deference   “Neil’s” from Neil Armstrong

7 POTASH     SAT (Saturday) and OP (work) all going upwards on H (hospital).    Definition:  (chemical) compound

8 FENCER    Cryptic definition       A ‘sporty’ type at the sport of fencing and fences between neighbours’ properties

11 TIME-CONSUMING      Somewhat similar to 17A in ‘working backwards’   as ‘consuming’ in cryptic speak could indicate a hidden answer and TIME is contained in “What I’m enjoying”      Definition: taking hours and hours

14 ARCHITRAVE   RA (artist) reversed ie set up in a down clue  CH (church)  IT  RAVE (enthusiastic reception)

16 DIAPASON    Definition:  stop as diapason = foundation-stop of an organ   Di (little woman) A  PA(father)  SON

18 GATHER    g (good)   ATHER(ton)   Mike Atherton less ton = century

19 LEGEND    leg = on (side of cricket pitch)  END (death) with an &lit touch too, I guess

20 IMPOSE     I (one)  M (maiden = maiden over from cricket)  POSE (face the camera)

23 RIAL   lair  (den) reversed.    Main monetary unit of Iran and some other countries

12 Responses to “Independent 8053 by Quixote”

  1. rowland says:

    I agree three down is a bit naughty, NMS! That I could not get from the clue, unfortunately, even though like you I could see the mechanism. But that’s a blemish on an otherwise very nice puzzle, with many a super clue. The idea using ‘time consumed’ I like best, though plenty were very good.

    Thanks for your blog, and thanks to the compiler as well.

  2. allan_c says:

    Yes,a bit of thought required, but solvable. I got colonial from the definition and the idea that it ended in AL but completely missed the punctuation mark so was at a loss to understand the clue. So thanks, nms, for the explanation – and one or two others.

    UMBLES is the origin of the expression ‘to eat humble pie’. Whilst the nobility feasted on venison the lowly serfs and villeins had to make do with a pie made from umbles. Then the initial H came in from confusion with ‘humble’.

    Some great clues, though. Favourites include ALLERGEN, ICOSAHEDRA and ARCHITRAVE.

  3. Prolixic says:

    An enjoyable crossword from Quixote. 3d did not cause me any problems.

    My only query was in relation to 6d and the designation of Neil Armstrong as “first astronaut”. The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin. Even allowing for him being a cosmonaut, the first astronaut (American) in space was Alan Shepherd. At a pinch, you could describe Neil as the leading (first) astronaut. However, given Don’s meticulous cluing and checking of facts, I must be missing something obvious!

  4. Quixote says:

    Thanks one and all. Apologies for Neil Armstrong lapse — firdt asronaut on moon or moon-walker maybe. mybe taht can be corrected before my work is repeated in i (where another of my unrepaid-for oldies appears today!).

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, nms.

    Yes, breezed through most of this one, but got stuck on the last three or four. Managed to get ICOSOHEDRA once I’d realised that it would be a Latin plural. I liked EVER-CHANGING and TIME-CONSUMING. Less keen on BEARINGS – clearly they are part of a machine, but there are lots of other parts too!

    The Neil Armstrong mini-error passed me by – once I’d got K as the first letter I just stuck it in.

    Thanks to Quixote for a pleasing start to the week – might have a flirt with his recycled one in the i later on this evening.

  6. Quixote says:

    Thanks — incidentally I was criticised in The Times last week for being too classical and not scientific enough by a man seemingly from Dorset. I believe in cultural breadth but of course you can’t get everything into one puzzle!

  7. Paul B says:

    Ah yes, people seemingly from somewhere opining on crossword websites. O me. But excellent historical information from Allan C and Prolixic today! So thanks to them both.

    I reached a high enjoyment peak with this one, which features some very nice work from daughters having painters in (3). On the incredibly shallow, so much so as to be almost meaningless, downslope, I suppose I sympathise vaguely with anyone having to find what for some would have been an unknown word via an anagram.

    But as I say: this puzzle is up here: not down there. I am from Hampshire.

  8. Cumbrian says:

    I couldn’t quite finish this without cheating, but some very nice clues – and one or two which passed me by, particularly the clever use of the colon in 12 which I couldn’t parse without the blog. I got stuck on the NE corner and had to reveal 6d, and had the same issue as others with Armstrong being the first astronaut. (For a while I was trying to work Yuri into the answer…..)
    The Red Squirrels in our garden are rodents, but would be horrified to be classed as vermin (especially as a protected species) but they might just accept the question mark in 21 as suggesting that not all rodents are vermin.

    My favourite clue was, I think, 17 probably because I felt smug for seeing it. (Despicable, I know….)

    Thanks for the puzzle and the blog.

  9. Dormouse says:

    I, too, found this a bit tough compared to the usual Monday puzzle. Didn’t get much done before heading out for the evening, and couldn’t complete it without some help. 3dn was obvious, once I’d fed the letters into an anagram solver – it was the only word – and it was a word I knew. The singular even turned up in a blog on Phi’s opera themed crossword a few months ago.

    6dn was the last one in. I was something of a space nut in the sixties, so I never even considered Neal Armstrong as “first astronaut”.

    As to squirrels (Cumbrian @8), when my brother had to pay to get a grey squirrel nest removed from the loft of his house, his view was “Squirrels are rats with good PR.”

  10. flashling says:

    Tricky for a Q. on a Monday as he was in the i, which seems to have a error in the wordplay for 13a, there’s an A missing unless I’m missing something clever. Not the walk in the park in the Indy I was expecting for Quixote on a monday, but thank you Don and NMS.

  11. flashling says:

    The i is being blogged (occasionally! but I’m trying to help now) at any assistance would be appreciated.

    Sorry this looks a bit like a spam link but isn’t meant to be. Phil

  12. OzBron says:

    Apologies for the tardiness, but I think you’ll find that it’s a Greek plural, Kathryn’s Dad (@5)!

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