Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,103 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on October 3rd, 2012


I have swapped days with a fellow blogger this week, which is why I am posting today and not on Friday.

It is far from the last Wednesday of the month today, so it has to be a Dac. Overall, I found that I rattled through this one more quickly than the average Dac puzzle. There were quite a few straight anagrams and double definitions here, which probably made for a faster solve. The NW quadrant held me up at the end, especially 1A and 2. 2 was one of several references to cultural figures in today’s puzzle, all of which were familiar to me apart from 2.

My favourite clue by far was 4, for Dac’s clever spotting of the current education minister’s name in another word from the field of education. Although this was not the only highlight in the puzzle, I would have gladly solved the puzzle for the pleasure of this clue alone.


*(…) indicates an anagram

1   BIRDCAGE BIRD (homophone – “say” – of “Byrd” = composer, i.e. Englishman William Byrd) + CAGE (=another composer, i.e. American John Cage); the reference is to Birdcage Walk, a street in the City of Westminster
5   FRAPPÉ F (=loud, i.e. forte) + RAPPE<r> (=singer; “misses finale” means last letter dropped)
9   MAN ALIVE MAN (=island, i.e. Isle of Man in UK) + A (=one) + LIVE (=not recorded); Man Alive was a BBC2 documentary and current affairs series that ran from 1965 to 1981
10   VACANT CAN (=container) in VAT (=another container)
11   SCOUNDREL *(UNCLE ROD’S); “turned out” is anagram indicator
13   HOMER OM (=award, i.e. Order of Merit) in HER (=female)
14   SEED CAPITAL *(TIPS ACE DEAL); “could be the result” is anagram indicator
18   THIRD ESTATE *(DITHER) + STATE (=say); “when in trouble” is anagram indicator; the references are to the Estates of the Realm, a system of social classes dating back to the Middle Ages
21   PRESS Double definition: PRESS is both “crowd”, throng (as both noun and verb) AND “newspapermen”, print journalists
23   SOFT-LINER *(LISTEN FOR); “odd” is anagram indicator; cf hard-liner
24   ALISON IS in ALON<e> (=lonely; “endlessly” means last letter is dropped
25   REDGRAVE RED (=left-wing) + GRAVE (=serious); the reference is to English actor Michael Redgrave (1908-1985) or, indeed, to any of his three actor children, Vanessa, Corin and Lynn
26   DIETER Double definition: DIETER is a “German fellow”, i.e. a German male forename AND someone “who’s getting slimmer”, i.e. one on a diet
27   EDITRESS *(RESISTED); “change” is anagram indicator; Rosie Boycott is the former editor of the   Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Express, etc
1   BEMUSE BE MUSE (=presumably inspire, i.e. act as one of the nine muses of classical mythology)
2   RUNYON RUN (=to take control) + YON (=that, up north, e.g. yon lad, meaning that lad in northern English); the reference is to Damon Runyon (1880-1946), the American newspaperman and author
3   COLONISED [ON + IS (=island) + E (=east)] in COLD (=unfriendly)
4   GOVERNESSES R (=right) in [GOVE (=education secretary, i.e. Michael Gove) + NESSES (=heads, i.e. promontories)]
6   ROACH Double definition: ROACH is “carp”, i.e. a fish species AND “bedbug”, i.e. the American word for cockroach, since the Waldorf is a New York hotel
7   PLAYMATE [LAY (=put down) + MAT (=floor covering)] in P.E. (=gym, i.e. Physical Education)
8   ENTIRELY [N (=noon)+ TIRE (=weary, as a verb)] in ELY (=English city)
12   LUCIAN FREUD *(UNFAIR CLUE) + D (=delete); “must be revised” is anagram indicator; the reference is to British artist Lucian Freud (1922-2011)
15   PREFLIGHT REF (=judge) in PLIGHT (=trouble)
16   STOPPARD [OP (=work, i.e. opus) + P<laywrights>; “foremost among” means first letter only)] in [STAR (=actor) + D (=director)]; the reference is to British playwright Sir Tom Stoppard (1937-)
17   FIRESIDE F (=female) + I + RESIDE (=live)
19   ON SALE <c>O<u>N<t>S (“regularly” means alternate letters only are used) + ALE (=beer)
20   BRIEFS Double definition: BRIEFS means (cryptically) “supplies dope (=information) to”, informs AND “lawyers”, barristers
22   STOLE Double definition: STOLE means “took”, pinched AND “cover”, shawl

9 Responses to “Independent 8,103 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, RatkojaRiku. I found this easy to get into but tough to finish. But BEMUSE, PLAYMATE and FIRESIDE were excellent clues; and I too liked GOVERNESSES (although the clue won’t age well because hopefully the muppet won’t be in office for too much longer).

    MAN ALIVE is a bit of a blast from the past, which will have drawn a blank with anyone under 40, I guess. And EDITRESS was curiously old-fashioned: modern English, I think, tends to eschew words like POETESS and MURDERESS, and even female movie stars these days usually want to be called ACTORS rather than ACTRESSES, while STEWARDESSES are now flight attendants. GODDESS is unlikely to go away, though.

    Lovely puzzle from Dac.

    [ps you have a tiny typo in 20dn: you mean dope and not dop]

  2. yvains says:

    Thanks, Dac, and RatkojaRiku, esp. for the parsing of PLAYMATE. I liked BEMUSE, BRIEFS and STOLE, less keen on cockroach=bedbug.

  3. flashling says:

    I found this, unlike K’s D quite hard to get going but finished quite quickly, Thanks RR did wonder about roach being a triple definition, but you seem to be right.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, RR and Dac – excellent puzzle in which I was able to work the unfamiliar words out from the clear wordplay. Somewhat similar to comment #2, my favourites were BEMUSE and BRIEFS. I found the puzzle about average in difficulty for a Dac puzzle.

  5. rowland says:

    Yes, very clear wordplay in a good puzzle. ‘Resisted change’ I liked for the anagram, but there are many delights here.

    Thank you Dac, as ever, for a consistent high standard, and to RR for his nice blog. Now on to the challenge of Monk in FT!


  6. Dormouse says:

    I, too, got held up on the NE corner (although RatkojaRiku says he did, but then refers to clues in the NW – I’m confused). Then, suddenly, 10ac and 5ac came to me, which gave me 6&7dn, although I couldn’t parse them, quite.

    The references to “cultural figures” gave me no problems, but there were a few terms I wasn’t too familiar with – “seed capital” and “soft liner”. And I’d heard of “frappé”, but had no idea it was a cold drink.

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    We’re with K’sD and totally agree with comments on 4d. In fact we’d go further but it would be deemed to be offensive on this website. Can’t wait for the V to be changed to an N!

    Enjoyed the puzzle, nothing too taxing but plenty to think about.

    Thanks RR and Dac.

  8. NealH says:

    I had only the dimmest memory of Man Alive, but I played the theme music from a web site and it definitely sounds familiar, so I must have watched it at some stage. I was a bit stumped on 6 down – I hadn’t really thought of the Waldorf as a specifically American hotel. I’d always assumed it was a sort of chain like the Hilton with branches all over the place.

  9. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks to Kathryn’s Dad for spotting the typo in 20, and to Dormouse for the NW v NE issue in the intro – I did mean the NW corner, so it looks as though we were held up by different parts of the puzzle. A sense of direction has never figured amongst my strong points, by the way!

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