Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1174/Poins

Posted by Pierre on August 26th, 2012


I find Poins one of the more difficult IoS setters, and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this offering.  If I’m being critical, this crossword lacked a bit of sparkle; and the large number of solutions with less than 50% checking coupled with a solver-unfriendly grid meant that I struggled to finish it in one go.  However, a second look on Sunday evening with a glass of red finally put it to bed.  For me, this was a sound enough puzzle, but without anything special to make me smile while I was solving it.

But you might have thought differently.   And as usual, I need help with parsing one of the clues.


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


Reported on hoax involving retired English vicar
An insertion (‘involving’) of E REV reversed (‘retired’) in COD for ‘hoax’.

Public knowledge at last after lowdown by artist online
This was my least favourite clue.  When I’m faced with a clue which is less than 50% checked, as a solver I always appreciate some helpful crossing letters.  ?E?E?A? certainly didn’t provide those, and ‘public’ for GENERAL wasn’t a clear signpost either.  Whatevs, it’s E for the last letter of ‘knowledgE’ after GEN for ‘lowdown’ followed by RA for ‘artist’ and L for ‘line’.

10 Nine others fancy it’s made of paste
(NINE OTHERS)* with ‘fancy’ as the anagrind.

12  Hide, safely concealed at first, in a palace on the outskirts of Essen
The definition is ‘hide safely’.  Then it’s a charade of EN for the outside letters of EsseN, followed by an insertion of C for the first letter of ‘concealed’ in SCONE, the Scottish Palace near Perth.

15  Lock up in packing case taking unusual care
An insertion of (CARE)* in IN CRATE, with ‘unusual’ as the anagrind.

19  Change course suddenly from south to west before crossing central Devon
A charade of S, W, and an insertion of V for the central letter of ‘Devon’ in ERE for the poetic word for ‘before’.

20  Epitomised by a game against Germany
A synonym of ‘epitomised’ is a charade of A, the ‘game’ of BRIDGE, and D for Deutschland, or ‘Germany’.

22  Availed oneself of letters from Feydeau’s editor
Hidden in FeydaUS EDitor.

23  Decline of French produce
A charade of DE for the French word for ‘of’ and GENERATE.

25  A French psychoanalyst almost getting model introduced to exercises to calm down
Well, if you got this from the wordplay, félicitations.  It’s an insertion of LACA[N] and T for the model T Ford in PE for ‘exercises’.  The shrink in question is Jacques Marie Émile LACAN.  And yes, of course I had to look him up online.  Psychoanalyists in my crossword vocabulary extend only to Freud, Jung and Adler.

26  Cease operating in secret in court
I think this is the right answer, since nothing else fits and it appears to be a definition of ‘cease operating'; but I’ve no idea of the parsing.


1/17/14  Fatherly advice for confused brunette on how it feels
(BRUNETTE ON HOW IT FEELS)*  For a clue that takes up a good bit of the puzzle, this was tough, even though the setter had clearly indicated an anagram (‘confused’).  As a father of two girls myself, I was looking initially for something along the lines of IF YOU CAN’T BE GOOD, BE CAREFUL, but that didn’t fit.  Then I was off into biblical territory; but in the end, when I had plenty of crossers, I teased it out and checked afterwards.  It’s from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and is Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

Bad-tempered girl dropping German

An example with not as much touching
Let this be a lesson to you/Let this be an example to you.  And if you had not too many clothes on to touch your body, you’d have LESS ON.

Call to mind right after soldiers get an award
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) are ‘soldiers'; follow this with MBE for ‘award’ and R for ‘right’ and you’ve got your answer.

Uttered after Dutch girl is overwhelmed with grief
A charade of D for ‘Dutch’ (it’ll be in a dictionary somewhere), EVA for ‘girl’ and STATED for ‘uttered’.

Tight-fisted Whistler wearing an old woman’s hairnet
‘Tight-fisted’ is the definition.  It’s an insertion of REF for ‘whistler’ in CAUL.  ‘A net or covering for the head’ (Chambers, which lists it as ‘historical’, thus explaining the ‘old’ part of the clue).  And it’s also the membrane that sometimes covers a newborn’s head, consisting of a remnant of the amnion.

It’s made by a restaurant chef originally at no more cost
A charade of C for the first letter of ‘chef’, OVER for ‘no more’ and CHARGE for ‘cost’.

13  Be in conflict with princess taken in by shrink
I suppose ‘be in conflict with’ is a reasonable definition of CONTRADICT.  It’s an insertion of DI in CONTRACT for ‘shrink’.  Please, pretty please, pretty please with a cherry on top, can we finally stop using DI for ‘princess’?  She died in a car crash a long time ago.

16  A short letter containing City director’s story
An insertion of EC for ‘City’ and D for ‘director’ in A NOTE.  EC is the postcode for the City of London.

18  Mythological creature’s dog drinking neat rum
An insertion of (NEAT)* in CUR.  The anagrind is ‘rum’.

21  Cause continuing resentment with row over the borders of Lancashire
A charade of RANK for ‘row’ and LE for the outside letters of LancashirE.

24  Over-hasty when hot after run
A charade of R for ‘run’, AS for ‘when’ and H for ‘hot’.

Many thanks to Poins for the puzzle.

5 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1174/Poins”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I think close = secret and up = in court, Pierre. Thanks to you and Poins.

  2. flashling says:

    Ta Pierre and NMS, close up had me stumped as well.

  3. Al Dente says:

    Thanks Pierre for the usual excellent blog. Had trouble with parsing 26@ myself because I kept thinking of the phrase ‘In Camera’ which is when a case is heard in secret in court, then of close-up being a type of photograph. Like nmsindy’s parsing though much more.

  4. Pierre says:

    Thanks nms for the parsing of CLOSE UP, which I’m sure is what Poins intended. Still not a great clue in my opinion: most speakers would choose CLOSE DOWN for ‘cease operating'; and although ‘close’ is given as a synonym of ‘secret’ in my thesaurus, I’m struggling to think of a sentence where they would be interchangeable. It is only eight o’clock on a Sunday morning though …

  5. allan_c says:

    I got through this without much difficulty, but only because I was doing it on Crossword Solver with frequent use of the check (not cheat!) button.

    Got 1/17/14 witout unscrambling the anagram once I got the crossing W and discovered the third word wasn’t ‘two’. And GENERAL didn’t cause any problems; I got it from the wordplay, although I would agree that ‘general’ is a rather loose synonym for ‘public’.

    But the parsing of PLACATE was beyond me, and I wasn’t too happy with CLOSE UP either.

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