Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8109 / Dac

Posted by duncanshiell on October 10th, 2012


This was another excellent puzzle by Dac.  He really does write clues that make good sense.




I always look for Ninas and themes in puzzles that I blog, but I know I will very rarely find such things in a puzzle by Dac.  He just concentrates on producing good clues that lead to words that most of us use on a regular basis.  Inevitably there will be one or two words or phrases that have to be shoe horned into the crossing letters.  Today, I felt that NOISE ABROAD might fall into that category.  On the other hand, the clue was so smooth that perhaps it was a phrase that Dac wanted to clue and put into the grid early on.  All the other words and phrases were fairly well known to me.  I came across MARSHALSEA recently watching a bit of an adaption of one of Charles Dickensworks on television.

I had to do some research on the film Un Chien Andalou to confirm the reference to EYEBALL.  I liked the misdirection of rambler at 3d.  Other clues I enjoyed were those for BELLADONNA (14a ), GRANOLA (22a), and FILMABLE (16d).  I expect there was an uprising somewhere in 1051.

The only parsing I have struggled with slightly is at 7d AGA SAGA.  I struggle a bit with relating the final three letters AGA to ‘reprint almost’.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Ultimately getting very thin?  Probably not, if this (6)


G (last letter of [ultimately] GETTING) + REEDY (resembling a reed; very thin)


GREEDY (if you are GREEDY you are probably not going to end up thin)


4 Officials releasing last two characters from prison (8)

MARSHALSEA (reference MARSHALSEA prison situated on the south bank of the River Thames in Southwark, now part of London. From the 14th century until it closed in 1842, it housed men under court martial for crimes at sea, including those accused of "unnatural crimes", political figures and intellectuals accused of sedition – and most famously London’s debtors. Charles Dickens’ father was imprisoned as a debtor in MARSHALSEA and Little Dorrit has a number of scenes set in the prison) excluding (releasing) EA the last two characters

MARSHALS (officals of various types)

Old theatre company makes comeback without cancelling La Scala artiste (5,6)


O +(REP [repertory theatre] reversed [makes comeback] containing [without; outwith] ERASING [cancelling])


OPERA SINGER (La Scala in Milan is an Opera House, so many of its artistes are OPERA SINGERs)



Poster boy unclothed?  That creates a fuss (3)


AD (advertisement; poster) + O (middle letter of, stripping off the outside letters [unclothed] BOY)


ADO (fuss)



Café serving hot peas puréed (7)


Anagram of (puréed) HOT PEAS


TEASHOP (café)



Commission components for mate (7)


MAN and DATE are two vital components in developing a relationship towards finding a mate

Afternote: the simpler and more elegant parsing of M AND DATE being the component parts of the word MATE seems far better than my rather strained effort. Thanks to all who have suggested it

MANDATE (charge, instruction; commission) – I suppose we should be looking at equality but WOMANDATE isn’t a word that dictionaries recognise.



The Spanish kid visiting German city to get a drug (10)


(EL [‘the’ in Spanish] + LAD [child; kid]) contained in [visiting] BONN [German city]) + A


BELLADONNA (the drug prepared from deadly nightshade)



Place for storing wine, mostly a sparkling variety (4)


CAVE (a place for storing wine) excluding the final letter (mostly) E + A


CAVA (a white sparkling wine, similar to Champagne)



Marine creature seen during sea crossing, on way back (4)


ORCA (hidden word in (seen during) SEA CROSSING) reversed (on way back)


ORCA (killer whale; marine creature)



In wild social, girl smokes (10)


Anagram of (wild) SOCIAL GIRL


CIGARILLOS (small cigars; smokes)



Old woman with bowl regularly given a type of cereal (7)


GRAN (old woman) + OL (letters 2 and 4 [regularly] of BOWL) + A


GRANOLA ( type of crunchy breakfast cereal made with mixed grain, oats, dried fruit, nuts, etc, and honey or brown sugar)



One million people heading for the south-east? Great! (7)


I (one) + M (million) + MEN (people) + SE (South East)


IMMENSE (vast; enormous; great)



Worthless items, stationery boxes (3)


TAT (hidden word in [boxes] STATIONERY)


TAT (worthless items)



Report first lady of America has crossed the water? (5,6)


(NO I [number one; first] + BROAD [a woman, or sometimes a prostitute {offensive Amercian slang}; lady of America]) containing (has crossed) SEA (water)


NOISE ABROAD (tell everyone; report)



Sorry little money, so to speak, is put towards accommodation (8)


PENI (sounds like [so to speak] PENNY [little money]) + TENT (accommodation)


PENITENT (contrite; sorry)



Brought before law man, worker complained (6)


BEE (worker) + FED (Federal Agent; law man)


BEEFED (complained)



With nothing, nothing in stomach, leave home (2,3)


(O [nothing] + O [nothing]) contained in (in) GUT (stomach)

G (O O) UT

GO OUT (leave home)



It was cut in Un Chien Andalou, I shout out loud (7)


EYEBALL (sounds like [loud]  I BAWL [I shout out])


EYEBALL (one of the key sequences in the film Un Chien Andalou involves the cutting out of an EYEBALL)



Treat rambler, perhaps showing no signs of life near bog (8)


DEAD (showing no signs of life) + HEAD (ships toilet; ‘bog’ is also a slang word for lavatory or toilet)


DEADHEAD (remove the withered heads of flowers from e.g. a rambling rose [treat rambler])



Gravitate nervously round university crew keen on rowing (13)


Anagram of (nervously) GRAVITATE containing (round) ( U [university] + MEN [crew])


ARGUMENTATIVE (keen on having a row)



Season well (6)


SPRING (one of the four seasons of the year)


SPRING (an outflow of water from the earth; well OR well up) double definition



Book a great success – reprint almost complete (3,4)


A + GAS (something delightful; impressive; great success) + AGAIN (reprint?) excluding the final two letters [almost complete] IN  I’m not entirely happy with AGAIN as a definition of ‘reprint’, nor am I happy dropping two letters rather than one for ‘almost complete’, but I can’t think of an alternative.  I hope someone can suggest a better parsing. Afternote: Kathryn’s dad has ridden to the rescue at comment 1 below> The AGA at the end is a ‘reprint’ of A GAS excluding the final letter (almost complete) S


AGA SAGA (a popular novel in a rural middle-class setting; book)



Rock singer, fishy sort (5,4)


STONE (rock) + BASS (singer with a very low voice)


STONE BASS (a large marine perch of the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Tasman Sea; fishy sort)



Playing piano, visitor includes Mozart prelude, unrehearsed piece (13)


Anagram of (playing) PIANO VISITOR containing (includes) M (first letter of [prelude] MOZART)


IMPROVISATION (unrehearsed piece)



Raised matter of uncouth union members being employed by oil company (7,2)

(ROUGH [uncouth] + TU [Trade Union; union members]) contained in (being employed by) BP (oil company; BP used to stand for British Petroleum, but in this global branding era, I think the company is now just known as BP)


BROUGHT UP (raised matter)



Story about 1051 uprising likely to become a movie (6)


FABLE (story) containing (about) (MLI [roman numerals for 1051] reversed [uprising; down clue])


FILMABLE (capable of becoming a movie)


18 Class act being performed in resort (7) CL (class) + ACT + ON (being performed) CLACTON [ON SEA] (seaside resort in Essex)

Cricketer out of form for some time? (4,3)


LONG OFF (off [form] for some time)


LONG OFF (a fielding position in cricket) double definition



Contralto and tenor performing?  I could provide musical accompaniment (6)


C (contralto) + an anagram of (performing) TENOR


CORNET (musical instrument that could provide accompaniment for a contralto)



Stopped Miliband and Balls securing election in the end (5)


(ED [Miliband] + ED [Balls] – British Labour politicians [leader and shadow chancellor respectively]) containing (securing) N (last letter of [in the end] ELECTION)

E (N) D ED

ENDED (stopped)


10 Responses to “Independent 8109 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Duncan. You are right, this was another excellent puzzle from Dac – seldom any bells and whistles, but always a sound crossword with plenty to enjoy. BELLADONNA was clever, I thought, and I was pleased to remember MARSHALSEA to give me MARSHALS.

    AGA SAGA is A GAS A GA[S], with the second A GAS being ‘almost complete’.

  2. duncanshiell says:

    Kathryn’s dad @ 2

    Thanks for solving my problem with 7 down. I have updated the blog.

  3. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks, Dac and Duncan. The eyeball in Un Chien Andalou is of course not cut out, just cut across.

  4. allan_c says:

    Yes, an excellent offering from Dac and relatively easy after the last two days.
    I concur with K’s D on the parsing of AGA SAGA – but I couldn’t parse ADO (I thought of ‘Adonis’ as a ‘poster boy’ but couldn’t equate the removal of ‘nis’ with ‘unclothed’), so thanks, Duncan, for that.
    Re 3dn, I always thought the ship’s toilet was ‘heads’ but I see that under ‘head’ Chambers just says “often in plural”.

  5. Paul A says:

    13a – I parsed it as ‘M’ and ‘Ate’, being the components of ‘mate’

  6. MaleficOpus says:

    Thanks Dac and Duncan.

    I needed your explanation for NOISE ABROAD, which I wrote in without understanding.
    I did, however, parse MANDATE simply as M AND ATE, which seems fairer.

  7. rowland says:

    My only even vaguealy negative though with this was the use of ‘in the end’ at 24. Otherwise what a great puzzle! Here is the master of smooth surfaces, and I loved every minute of the 20 I spent on it!

    Great stuff Dac and Duncan.

  8. duncanshiell says:

    Paul A @ 5 and MaleficOpus@6

    Thanks for the improved parsing of <MANDATE. I’ve updated the blog.

  9. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Dac and Duncan. I found this a bit harder than usual for a Dac puzzle with the NE corner the hardest – possibly because of some less familiar (to me) answers. All completely fair with, as others have said, excellent surface readings all through.

  10. Dormouse says:

    Got it all eventually, and I think I was able to parse every clue. I quickly noticed that “deadhead” and “deathcap” could both fit the crossing letters for 3dn, and I could fit neither to either definition or wordplay for a very long time – it was nearly the last one in. Needed a word search for 7dn, which was a phrase I was vaguely familiar with, and that gave me the final crossing letter for 15dn.

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