Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8108/Anax

Posted by John on October 9th, 2012


As always from Anax a beautifully-constructed workout. My goodness it was difficult, though. I found it as hard as anything this setter has produced, although it is none the worse for that. It all seems perfectly sound, though.

It took a long time to get going because of the repeated references to other clues, which until you have them makes it all very difficult. I’m not a fan of this type of thing, but was quite happy with it once I was afloat. Anax has found a number of words of Indian origin that have made their way into the language — I’ve indicated what Chambers says is the derivation, but haven’t been able to reproduce the more unusual Hindi and Sanskrit characters.

9 LACQUER — (equal)* parts, i.e. separates into two parts, so that c{ountry} can be inserted, then r — not wordplay I’d come across and very nice, with the misdirection of ‘roughly equal parts’ — [Neither Chambers nor the Oxford dictionaries seem to give any Indian derivation of this, except in the word ‘lacquerware’]
11 MUSK — (sum)rev. k — [perh from Sans muska …]
12 UNCARED-FOR — car in (founder)*
14 N AT(1)ONAL — I had always thought that atonal music was music that had no key and was ‘all over the place’, and Chambers seems to support this, not the suspicion I originally had that there was a secondary meaning of ‘atonal’ referring to inability to stay on the note, although perhaps this is somewhere
16 INDIAN — inn round (aid)rev., def ‘national’
18 AMAZ(e) ON — on = flowing, and although this seems quite reasonable I can’t actually think of two sentences where they are interchangeable
19 AC OUST 1 C
22 HORN-RIMMED — (Mr Nimrod he)* — I couldn’t think what on earth was going on here before I realised that it’s a fairly obvious anagram — if the definition is ‘his glasses?’ then the parts of speech look wrong and the question mark to my mind doesn’t quite rescue it
23 {v}AGUE
26 SHAM POO — stool = poo, not what one talks about in polite society, but fair game
27 C(HERO)OT — hero in the sense of main character, so that the hero of a film is its star
28 CU SHY — as Chambers says ‘perh Hindi khush pleasant …’
29 TEST MATCH — test = assess, match = strike action (not quite sure how — you strike a match but is a match the action itself?) — def ‘national team meeting’
2 DOCKS — 2 defs
3 T(H)UG — tower to rhyme with lower — [Hindi thag cheat]
4 VER{y} AND A H — [Hindi varanda, …]
5 SHAMAN — (has)* man — [… ult from Sans srama …]
6 JUGGERNAUT — jug gut [empty] round [walls] (near)* — [Sans Jagannatha …]
7 SKINFLINT — “Flynn skint” — there seem to be quite a few actors with the surname Flynn (also at least one Flynne), but no doubt the reference is to Errol
8 SA HA{s} RAN — SA is ‘it’, sex appeal, an abbreviation that appears in crosswords far more often than in real life
13 TOPOGRAPHY — to ((go)rev. in (happy)*)
15 TEA BREAKS — at first this seemed a rather feeble CD, but with Anax there had to be more: yes of course there was: ‘tea breaks’ is an indication to make an anagram of ‘tea’, and get ‘eat’
17 SCIENCES — (CSEs nice)*
18 APHASIC — (A chap is)*
20 CHEETAH — C he (hate)rev. — [Hindi cita, …]
21 I{n} M{etal} P{ieces} ORT
25 PER M — I’m not sure if per = for or per = a, but it doesn’t matter

14 Responses to “Independent 8108/Anax”

  1. JollySwagman says:

    Thanks John and Anax. Nice theme – quite a tough workout, but pleasantly free of obscurity. I went down more blind alleys than I could count. Had 16a and quite a few of the themesters in before twigging 21d.

    Atonal – I agree – I’ve done a lot of music and never come across that meaning – tonality is having a tonic (without gin) – intonation is about tuning. In the latter case the more gin the better it sounds to the player, but not always the listener.

    11a got me. I wanted km for kilometre but if you pull the k from eg kph then it’s just k, so I suppose that’s OK.

  2. crypticsue says:

    Because of the nice theme, I didn’t find this quite as tough an Anax as usual. It did take quite a bit of muttering but overall very enjoyable. Shame there was no room for jodhpurs! Thanks to John and Anax.

  3. Conrad Cork says:

    …or bungalow

    Fantastic stuff though. Nice one John, too.

    (I recall a Goodness Gracious Me where Mr India said that not only was shampoo and Indian word but ‘also, conditioner!’)

  4. Jan says:

    Phew! Thank you, John, I chuckled at your 8d.

    Thank goodness I had time to spare today. But I do admire Anax’s crosswords and was determined to finish it. Internet help was employed extensively to find words of Indian origin.

    First of the 16 21s was CHEETAH and then JUGGERNAUT which didn’t help at all.

    I think a little hint of a definition would have helped, rather than just, ‘INDIAN IMPORT’, leaving us to decipher the wordplay which, in Anax fashion, was quite obscure in places. I would not have solved 26, 27 and 28 across without research into words of Indian origin which I did enjoy but would never have bothered with if I was short of time.

    26 … cleaner put on stool
    27 … film star in bed smokes
    28 … easy copper shot

  5. Jan says:

    I forgot to say that I loved the clue at 6a.

  6. Klingsor says:

    I don’t think flat/atonal in 14 across are meant to be synonyms (they’re not). If you speak in a flat voice you speak in a toneless voice and this is a whimsical suggestion that atonal could be taken to mean “without tone” – hence the ? next to flat at the end of the clue. I may be way off the mark of course.

    Great stuff as always from Anax. SHAMPOO and JUGGERNAUT were my two favourite clues and it was a very interesting little theme. And no, I’m not just saying this because Anax mentioned certain Wagnerian characters in his last puzzle…honest.

  7. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was a magnificent puzzle – and, indeed, educational. It took me quite a while to find the IMPORT part of 16 21. What was especially pleasing was that I was able (eventually) to work out all the answers without consulting anything and, despite the absence of definitions, had no real doubt about any of them before coming here to verify as the wordplay clueing was so precise with some excellent misdirection. There were some very clever and amusing clues – in particular I liked SHAMPOO, THUG and TEA BREAKS. Many thanks, Anax, and John for the blog.

  8. flashling says:

    Now that was tough, like NMS took a while to see IMPORT despite getting Indian quite quickly, cheers to John for some explanations that I knew the answer had to be right, but was too lazy to fully parse and Anax, for a bit of a mental pounding.

  9. JollySwagman says:

    @K #6

    “I may be way off the mark of course.”

    No -I think you hit the mail on the head. Why else the QM?

  10. JollySwagman says:

    @K #6

    “I may be way off the mark of course.”

    No -I think you hit the nail `on the head. Why else the QM?

  11. anax says:

    Evening everyone. Thanks John for a typically ace blog and to all for your kind comments.

    Looks like any major quibbles have been addressed, but I must ackowledge Jan’s point about whether or not the thematic entries deserved more definition than they were given. It was concern when the puzzle was submitted, and I was secretly glad when the clues were allowed to stand as they were, as adding extra definitional pointers would have made them unwieldy. As it was, the ‘definition’ idea (that each answer had a linguistic something in common) felt attractive enough to be left unmolested.

    Best wishes all!

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Anax for a good workout!

    We also took a while to get 21d and were then amazed at the origin of some of the thematic answers especially 26ac, 6d and 3d.

    Great stuff as always and amazingly we finished it this evening after our usual late start. We only used the dictionary to check the origin of a number of answers out of interest.

    Thanks John for the blog. This must have taken a bit of sorting out!

  13. Donk says:

    Many thanks to Anax and John for the puzzle and explanations. I enjoyed the puzzle on completion but found it incredibly difficult with so many essentially undefined answers.

    I had to take a moment before putting in 26a just to make sure my filthy mind hadn’t conjured up something that wasn’t meant to be!

  14. shuchi says:

    I got a print of this puzzle the day it was published and it took me about 4 sittings to finish it. Being Indian I should have probably fared well with this puzzle – didn’t happen! I cottoned on to INDIAN IMPORT early on but struggled with the answers. It was a very satisfying workout ultimately, not least because I learned new things about my native language.

    I didn’t know MUSK came from Sanskrit. The bigger surprise was CUSHY from ‘khushi’ – the Hindi word is very common. Incidentally the opposite of ‘khushi’ = ‘gum’ (sorrow), people pun about eating gum to dispel gum.

    CHEETAH and THUG were familiar, they are used identically in Hindi. SHAMPOO has changed meaning – the origin ‘champi/champna’ (massage) is not used in the same sense. In fact there is no equivalent for SHAMPOO in Hindi, we treat the word as if it is an import from English!

    Thank you Anax, this was a delight to solve.

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