Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8061 / Dac

Posted by duncanshiell on August 15th, 2012


Dac seems to be a fixture in the Independent on a Wednesday, like Phi on a Friday, with only a few days off for each setter every year.

Once more Dac produces an enjoyable crossword puzzle.  Perhaps there are a few more obscure words or references than usual, but the wordplay is always very precise.



Dac’s clues conjure up clear images and the clues read very smoothly.  Examples that stood out for me today were Newly-built Tesco in the centre of Chard? (5,5) [CHAIN STORE], Fish caught by angler, gutted and pan-fried for starters (4) [CARP] and Wicked criminal in house (7) [HEINOUS] where I took a while to realise than the anagram indicator was criminal rather wicked.  I should have realised earlier that ‘in house’ had the required letter count thus making it clear that the anagram indicator was criminal.

The clue for ROCK STEADY had plenty of references to old-fashioned usages of the component parts – see detailed analysis below.

Baruch SPINOZA was new to me, as was DIGAMMA.

Some of the anagrams were very good – especially the ones for MAN THE LIFEBOATS and SCHOOL-LEAVERS.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Receiving money for release of captive, fellow beamed (9)


TED (man’s name; fellow) containing (receiving) RANSOM (price of redemption or reclamation; money for release of captive)


TRANSOMED ([cross]beamed)



Swimmer’s back: no time for getting dry? (5)


BATHER (swimmer) reversed (back) excluding (no) T (time)


REHAB (rehabilitation; treatment to restore to good condition such as ‘drying out’ someone with an alcohol problem)



Take a different course in religious studies, failing in art (7)


RE (religious education; religious studies) + an anagram of (failing) IN ART


RETRAIN (take a different course)



Choosing card with photo on the front (7)


PIC (picture; photo) + KING (playing card)

PIC goes before (in the front) KING

PICKING (choosing)



French city, part of Italy once (4)


LYON (hidden word in [part of] ITALY ONCE)


LYON (French city)



Newly-built Tesco in centre of Chard? (5,5)


Anagram of (newly-built) TESCO IN and HAR (middle three letters of [centre of] CHARD)


CHAIN STORE (one of a series of shops, esp department stores or supermarkets, under the same ownership or management and located in different places.  Google tells me there is a Tesco superstore in Chard, but the newly-built one seems to be just up the road in Ilminster. I guess there aren’t the right letters in Ilminster)



Some 16-year olds turned out so clever,also hot-headed at first (6-7)


Anagram of (turned out) SO CLEVER ALSO and H (first letter of [at first] HOT-HEADED)


SCHOOL-LEAVERS (children can leave school at the age of 16. Education in England is currently compulsory for all children from their fifth birthday to the last Friday in June of the school year in which they turn 16, but the upper age is set to rise in the future.)



Island’s two play areas side by side? That’s novel (9,4)


MAN’S (reference Isle of MAN) + FIELD (play area. [FIELD of play]) + PARK (another play area beside FIELD [side by side])


MANSFIELD PARK (novel by Jane Austen.  Ask people about MANSFIELD PARK in the Scottish Borders where I live, most people will say it is the home of Hawick Rugby Football Club, once a powerhouse in Scottish rugby)



Scoff twice about touring German city, one in Bavaria (10)


(SNEER [scoff] + GRUB [scoff in terms of eating], giving scoff twice) both reversed (about) containing (touring) G (German)


REGENSBURG (city in Bavaria, Germany)


Fish caught by angler, gutted and pan-fried for starters (4)


C (caught [cricket scoring notation] + AR (first and last letters of [gutted] ANGLER) + P (first letter of [for starters] PAN-FRIED)


CARP (edible freshwater fish)  &Lit clue also.



Hurry about in southern Australia with a philosophical sort (7)


(NIP [go nimbly or quickly; hurry] reversed [about] contained in [in] [S {South} + OZ {Australia}]) + A

(S (PIN<) OZ) A

SPINOZA (reference Baruch SPINOZA [1632 – 1677] a Jewish-Dutch philosopher; a philosophical sort)



Character like American momma (7)


DIG (approve; like [slang]) + AM (American) + MA (momma)


DIGAMMA (vau, the obsolete sixth letter of the Greek alphabet with the sound of our w; character)



Student’s test, one taken during break (5)


I (one) contained in (taken during) REST


RESIT (an examination [student’s test] re-taken following initial failure, often taken in the school or university holidays, hence an &Lit clue)



With yen to leave island, sounds like father will do a bunk (9)


SKYE ([Scottish] island) excluding (to leave) Y (Japanese currency) + DADDLE (sounds like DAD”LL [father will])


SKEDADDLE (run off hurriedly; do a bunk)


No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Empty touristy parts to the east of Austrian mountains (8)


TY (first and last letters of, omitting the middle letters of [empty] TOURISTY) + ROLES (parts [in plays]) + E (East)


TYROLESE (relating to the mountainous West Austrian province of TYROL)



Opposed to old church, early Christian centre (7)


ANTI (opposed to) + O (old) + CH (church)


ANTIOCH (ancient city known as the cradle of Christianity; near to the modern Turkish city of ANTAKYA)



Hitch harness ultimately to horse (4)


S (final letter of [ultimately]) HARNESS + NAG (small or inferior horse)


SNAG (problem; hitch)



Film AB, one that’s panicking about start of emergency call following Mayday? (3,3,9)


Anagram of (panicking) FILM AB ONE THAT’S containing (about) E (first letter of [start of] EMERGENCY)


MAN THE LIFEBOATS (an instruction that may follow a Mayday signal from a ship)



Double-crossing in competitive activity (9,6)


DUPLICATE (double) + BRIDGE (an example of a crossing)


DUPLICATE BRIDGE (a form of competition bridge in which each pair or four plays the same set of hands as all other pairs or fours; competitive activity)



Stick with girlfriend for a slow dance (4,6)


ROCK (Chambers gives the third meaning of  ROCK as ‘DISTAFF‘, with DISTAFF further defined as the stick that holds the bunch of flax, tow or wool in spinning; stick) + STEADY (a regular girlfriend.  I don’t think I have heard STEADY used in that way for many years)


ROCK STEADY (1960s style of dance music, orig from Jamaica, slow in tempo with a heavily stressed offbeat)



Wicked criminal in house (7)


Anagram of (criminal) IN HOUSE


HEINOUS (outrageously wicked)



Annoyed American friend, eating poultry product up (6)


BUD (buddy; [informal American word used to describe one’s pal or most constant companion; American friend) containing (eating) EGG (poultry product) reversed (up; down clue)


BUGGED (annoyed)



Vagrant unable to fight any further? (4-3-3)


DOWN AND OUT (unable to fight any further – in boxing knocked DOWN and/or knocked OUT)


DOWN-AND-OUT one rejected by society; vagrant) double definition



Aircraft’s captain on track (8)


SKIP (the captain of a rink in bowls or curling.) + LANE (a division of a running track or swimming pool for one competitor; track)


SKIPLANE (an aeroplane with skis attached to its undercarriage to enable it to take off from and land on snow and ice; aircraft)



Fool put alcoholic drink into pans (7)


GIN (alcoholic drink) contained in (put into) MUGS (pans; Chambers tells me that MUG and PAN are both synonyms for the FACE.  I knew about that definition of MUG but not for PAN)


MUGGINS (a fool)



Gangster with weapon filled with apprehension (7)


AL (reference AL Capone [gangster]) + ARMED (with weapon)


ALARMED (filled with apprehnsion)



I rub out article in foreign language, right? (6)


(A [indefinite article] contained in [in] ERSE [formerly, and still occasionally, the name given by Lowland Scots to the language of the people of the West Highlands, as being of Irish origin; sometimes used for Irish Gaelic, as opposed to Scottish Gaelic; foreign language]) + R (right)


ERASER (something that rubs out; I rub out)



Odd parts of Algerian city (4)


AGRA (letters 1, 3, 5 and 7 [odd parts] of ALGERIAN)


AGRA ([Indian] city, site of the Taj Mahal)


7 Responses to “Independent 8061 / Dac”

  1. allan_c says:

    An easy workout today (under 17 minutes) but very satisfying with Dac’s usual stylish cluing. And thanks, Duncan, for the blog; I needed your parsing of ERASER.

    In 2d I took “early Christian” to be a reference to Acts 11:26, “… the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” And in 8d I wasn’t sure if ‘American’ referred to ‘annoyed’ or ‘friend'; on balance I think you’re right, but it didn’t make any difference to solving the clue – such is the smoothness of Dac’s cluing.

  2. Wil Ransome says:

    Some lovely clues here and nothing controversial so far as I can see. In 6dn I took stick to = rock as in stick of rock.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Many thanks, Duncan and Dac. Enjoyable puzzle, not too hard. Like Wil at #2, I took stick = rock (like from seaside resorts in the past). Yes, Dac appears on Wednesdays normally, but in the fairly recent past, asked to be relieved a little (‘for good behaviour’ I think eimi said) and does not appear on the final Wed of the month. Phi appears once a week usually on a Friday.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Lovely puzzle, full of Dac’s customary elegance. Favourite today was SKEDADDLE.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  5. rowland says:

    Some tricky words in this one, but the clues were easily fathomed in each instance. Probably DUPLICATE BRIDGE my fave for the nice ‘double crossing’.

    Thanks to Dac and the amazing Duncan – what a great blog!


  6. Paul B says:

    No newly-built Tesco in Chard, eh? Well, that’s found him out.

  7. Dormouse says:

    I found this a stretch, but ultimately solvable without any aids apart from looking “duplicate bridge” up in the dictionary as I wasn’t familiar with the term. I also wasn’t familiar with “rock steady” as a type of dance, but it had to be that. I, too, took it to be “stick of rock”. Even having thought of “skiplane” for 15dn, I couldn’t see it being a word for a very long time before it clicked.

    On the whole, the most enjoyable puzzle this week, lots of clues I liked (no favourites) and just the right level of difficulty for me.

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