Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,115 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on October 17th, 2012


A Wednesday slot in the middle of the month is surely Dac’s by right, and today is no exception.

In true Dac fashion, we are in the presence of (yet) a(nother) set of beautifully crafted, highly sound clues. However, this week’s crop of clues proved to be trickier for me than normal, since I had to work hard in the NW quadrant and even harder in the SE.

There was a distinctly continental feel to today’s puzzle, with Italian at 14 and French at 18, 20 and 26. The choice of vocabulary heightened the challenge for me: 10 was a new word for me, the reference at 13 was unfamiliar, while the words at 20 and 29 are hardly everyday words.

I am not sure that I have fully grasped how the homophone ties in with the definition in pronunciation terms at 23, so any insights would be welcome – done, thanks! My clues of the day are 14, for the inspired juxtaposition of “fish” and “sole”, 7 for its deceptive surface and 24 for its silky smooth surface.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   MAN UP MAN U (=Premier League team, i.e. Manchester United) + P (=pressure)
4   HACKED OFF Double definition: HACKED OFF is “annoyed”, browned off AND (cryptically) “given the chop”, cut off, put to the axe
9   SEX KITTEN [EX (=old) in SKIT (=parody)] + TEN (=number); a Delilah is a courtesan, temptress, i.e. “sex kitten”
10   TOE-IN *(I NOTE); “new” is anagram indicator; a toe-in is an angled adjustment to a vehicle’s front wheels to promote steering stability and equalise tyre-wear
11   EASTER [A + ST (=holy man)] in E’ER (=always, i.e. poetic form of ever)
12   DISCIPLE DISC (=storage device) + [PL (=place) in I.E. (=that is)]
14   MASCARPONE M<e>A<t>S (“oddly” means odd letters only, even letters dropped) + CARP (=fish) + ONE (=sole, i.e. only)
16   MISS Double definition
19   NO-GO NOG (=drink, e.g. eggnog) + O (=love, i.e. zero score)
20   BLANQUETTE L (=large) in BANQUETTE (=somewhere to sit, i.e. a built-in wall sofa); a blanquette is a ragout of chicken or veal made with a white sauce
22   SITS BACK SITS (=takes, e.g. an exam) + homophone (“oral”) of “bac” (=French A-level, i.e. baccalaureate)
23   BUFFET Homophone (“said”) of (Warren) Buffett (=billionaire, i.e. US investor)
26   À DEUX AD (=bill, i.e. advert) + EU (=European Union) + X (=aimed at adults, e.g. an X-rated film)
27   RECONQUER RE (=men fighting, i.e. Royal Engineers) + CON (=against) + QU ER (=rulers, i.e. “Qu” for queen and “ER” for Elizabeth Regina)
28   IN RESERVE I (=one) + N (=new) + RESERVE (=book)
29   TIGON GO (=become, i.e. turn, as in Her lips went blue) in TIN (=can); a tigon is a “cross” between a lion and a tiger
1   MISTER MEN TERM (=time) in *(NÎMES); “ruins of” is anagram indicator; the definition is “characters”, i.e. in the children’s books by Roger Hargreaves
2   NEXUS NEX<t> (=succeeding; “not quite” means last letter dropped) + US (=America)
3   PRIMEVAL [RIME (=ancient poetry) + V (=volume)] in PAL (=friend)
4   HATE Hidden (“going through”) in “cHATEau”
5   CONSIGNING CON (=right winger) + SIGNING (=new recruit to – e.g. football – team)
6   ENTICE T<ourists> (“first of” means first letter only) in [E (=east) + NICE (=French city)]
7   OVERPAINT PAIN (=smart) in OVERT (=public)
8   FENCE ENC (=enclosure, i.e. in correspondence) in FE (=iron, chemical symbol)
13   APPLE CORER Cryptic definition: a Jonathan is a variety of apple
15   SIGHTSEER Homophone (“heard”) of “site” (=place) + “sear/sere” (=dry)
17   SHEET IRON *(THERE I) in SON (=young man); “fixed” is anagram indicator
18   HUGUENOT H<adn’t> U<nderstood> (“initially” means first letters only) + *(TONGUE); “foreign” is anagram indicator
21   IBEXES X (=ten) in [I (=one) + BEE’S (=busy type’s)]
22   SWAMI SW (=Toulouse area, i.e. of France) + AMI (=friend, i.e. in French)
24   FLUNG <o>F (“half of” means one letter of two only) + LUNG (= “breather”); the definition is “cast”, thrown
25   ACME M<ountain> (“top” means first letter only) in ACE (=one, e.g. in cards)

12 Responses to “Independent 8,115 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the blog, RR. I fancy Dac might have been casting himself as the 1dn character MISTER MISCHIEF today, because like you I found this tricky in large parts.

    All good though, and specially liked SITS BACK and RECONQUER. I think your parsing of BUFFET is right: the man’s name is pronounced like BUFFET as in shake, and the food is given the French pronunciation.

    Thanks to Dac as always.

  2. eimi says:

    Bit of a cock-up on the editing front. The original clue for 23 was wrong, as it was intended as a double definition, but I discovered that Warren B had an extra T, so I tried to get round it by turning it into a homophone, but of course, as solvers have spotted, it’s the wrong pronunciation of buffet. Mea culpa.

  3. NealH says:

    Perhaps Warren Buffett has started following the example of Hyacinth Bucket from the sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.

  4. dac says:

    Nostra culpa, rather, since Mike suggested the revised clue to me and I agreed it.

  5. allan_c says:

    Another sound offering from Dac, apart from the curious incident of the clue to 23ac. And thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog – I needed it to parse DISCIPLE and OVERPAINT. But there were so many superb clues it would be invidious to pick one as CoD.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Yes, I see what the problem is now with BUFFET. I just stuck it in without really thinking too much about it.

  7. nmsindy says:

    Excellent puzzle, which I too found much much more difficult than usual for Dac. Favourite clues NO-GO, HUGUENOT, FLUNG. Many thanks RR for the blog.

    Going back quite a while, when the railway station in my home town introduced new facilities entitled, in a then newfangled way, the “Bar and Buffet”, they were pronounced by all with that t sounding.

  8. flashling says:

    Glad it wasn’t just me who made heavy weather of this of this one. Editing errors, what do you think this is, the Guardian :-)

    Thanks RR & Dac for a bit of a head scratcher in places.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I know you are only teasing, flashling, but the difference is that the editor and the compiler had been on the blog offering their mea culpas (or is that mea culpae?) by early afternoon. Now in Another Place …

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    We took longer than expected with this one but no complaints – just our brains not functioning at the right level.

    Wrote in buffet without even thinking about the spelling or the pronouciation! 5d was a late entry but perfectly reasonable when we found it!

    Thanks to Dac – always enjoyable and also to RR for the blog.

    Thanks also to Dac and Eimi for admitting the minor mishap!

  11. flashling says:

    Wot me k’sd, never not me guv, the last blog I did for the other side did contain a real howler, not sure how such an experienced setter as Paul/Puck could have made it.

    Long before Eimi took over, there were some truly appaling mistakes back in this place at times (ok the Indy not 15sq).

  12. RatkojaRiku says:

    Many thanks to setter and editor alike for ironing out the buffet(t) issue, and to fellow solvers for confessing that they too found this one a toughie!

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