Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,120 / Anax

Posted by RatkojaRiku on October 23rd, 2012


My apologies to readers for the later than normal posting, but there was just no way that I was going to be able to do justice to an Anax in the wee small hours of Tuesday this week.

When you see that Anax has set the crossword, you know that you will be in for a stiff challenge, and lots of entertainment, and today’s puzzle was no exception. There were many references that I needed to check post-solving, especially terms from Anax’s beloved world of music. However, all clues were solvable from the wordplay alone, so I never needed to trawl the internet or a dictionary for “something that fits”. Most interesting for me was the reference to Nidaros/Trondheim at 24, which was new to me despite my love of the Nordic countries.

Trickiest of all, and solved by myself at least very much at the business end of the puzzle, were the inter-related clues at 17, 14 and 22, a rather daring trio of clues and certainly a fantastic spot on the part of Anax. However, the NE quadrant had seemed to slot into place fairly quickly, and there had been enough of a (& lit.) hint in 27/1A/26/6 to help with cracking the long anagram, so, if he made me work hard to finish his puzzle, he had got me off to a pretty good start – perhaps lulled me into a false sense of security?!

My favourites today would probably be 9 for its smooth surface and 2 for the well-concealed definition. Curiously, the two four references in the clues to other setters – in 10, 13A, 14A and 24 – turned out not to require any inside knowledge of the Independent crossword team at all, since their function in the wordplay was quite different, but it was a nice touch for those of us for whom these are now household names.

*(…) indicates an anagram

3   GLISSANDOS   G<oa>L (“empty” means all but first and last letters are dropped) + IS + S<triated> (“initially” means first letter only) + AND (=with) + OS (=huge); glissandos are slides in music
9   HOLDS DEAR   H (=husband) + [S (=second) in OLD DEAR (=pensioner)]; the definition is “prizes”, greatly values, as a verb
11   OUTRO   *(TOUR) + O (=over, i.e. in cricket); the definition is “closing bars” (of music), cf. intro
12   TIRED   T (=time) + I (=one) + RED (=ruddy)
13   HANG ABOUT   HANGA<r> (=shed, i.e. for aircraft; “not finished” means last letter dropped) + BOUT (=fit, as a noun, e.g. a bout/fit of fever)
14   DANSEUR   Approximate (“vaguely”) homophone (“announced”) of “don (=Quixote) + sir (=teacher)”
15   INSECTA   SECT (=cult) in [IN + A (=area)]; Insecta is the insect class in taxonomy, a subphylum of arthropods, hence “bug group”
17   M PEOPLE   Homophone (“you might say”) of “MP (=politician) + PULL (=power)”; the definition is “Small group”, since Heather Small was the vocalist of M People, the 1990s house music group from Manchester
18   IDOLISE   I DO (=marriage vow) + *(LIES); “in ruins” is anagram indicator
19   ACCLIVITY   <f>A<r>C<i>C<a>L (“only every other” means alternate letters only are used) + [IT in IVY (=climber)]; an acclivity is an upward slope, hence “ascent”
21   NONET   NO (=anything but) + NET (=net)
23   IRAQI   IRA (=Republicans, i.e. Irish Republican Army) + QI (=interesting programme, i.e. the BBC quiz hosted by Stephen Fry
24   TRONDHEIM   *(NIMROD + THE); “cryptic” is anagram indicator; Nidaros is the medieval name of the Norwegian city of Trondheim, where the cathedral is still known as Nidaros Cathedral
27/1A/26/6   HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN SCORNED   *(FLAME-THROWER ON HAND, SHE CAN KILL YOU); “angrily” is anagram indicator; semi-&lit.
1   HI-HAT   HA<ve> (“halved” means two of four letters only are used) in HIT (=beat); a hi-hat is a pair of cymbals on a stand, part of a drum kit
2   TOLERANCE   OLÉ (=cry of delight, from bullfighting) in TRANCE (=ecstatic state); the definition is simply “give”, elasticity
4   LIE   L (=lake) + I.E> (=that is); the definition is “to be found”/located
5   SERENDIPITY   DIP (=bathe) in SERENITY (=peace)
7   DITTO   D (=day) + I (=one) + TTO (OTT=extreme, i.e. over the top; “climbing” indicates vertical reversal)
8   SHORTCAKE   *(AS THE ROCK); “breaks” is anagram indicator
10   SIDNEY POITIER   OI (=punk, i.e. working class subgenre of 1970s UK punk) in *(SERENDIPITY) (=the entry at 5); the reference is to American actor Sir Sidney Poitier (1927-)
13   HORSE PISTOL   A reverse approach to a double definition, where the clue (“colt”) is defined twice in the solution as “horse” and “pistol”!
14   DAMNATION   DA (=hairstyle, i.e. duck’s arse) + M NATION (=entry at 17, i.e. the letter “m” + a word for “people”); the definition is “hell” (=entry at 27)
16   CLIENTÈLE   C<orporate> (“leader” means first letter only) + LIEN (=security) + TELE (=TV)
20   CHAFF   CHA<p> (=man; “deprived of quiet (=P)” means letter “p” is dropped) + FF (=very loud)
22   TAMIL   M (=first part of 17) in TAIL (=shadow, follow, as a verb); the definition is just the second part of 17, i.e. “people”
25   OAK   A in OK (=green light, go-ahead)

15 Responses to “Independent 8,120 / Anax”

  1. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks Anax and RatkojaRiku.

    For your solution of 27ac (et al.), I think you meant to write “… like a woman scorned.”

    Lovely puzzle. 22d was too tough for me, but no complaints.

  2. flashling says:

    Dead tree version doesn’t quite match in some places.
    10 is Actor’s shout in animated 5(6.7) and 16 begins with Business.

    Good lord a tough nut to crack, took 2 proper goes at this, but bravo Anax and thamks RR for explanations to some bits that lost on me.

  3. crypticsue says:

    I took more than two goes at this but was glad I perservered. Thanks to Anax and RR too – I wouldn’t have wanted to have sorted this one out.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    This was a bit of a beast, but I did eventually manage it with a bit of e-help. I find Anax hard, because his clueing is often intricate and inventive (although always fair). Even with the back of the puzzle broken and a good few crossing letters, I was still struggling to see what was going on in some places.

    Thank you to him for the brainache and especially to RR for sorting out the blog.

  5. Eileen says:

    Lovely puzzle – tough, as has been said, though, as RR says, the long anagram was a good start.

    Lots of great clues, as always: my favourite has to be SERENDIPITY, beause it’s one of my favourite words – and to think that the addition of two more letters yields SIDNEY POITIER! Spotting that kind of thing is part of Anax’s genius – as in 24ac, too. Nice to see Quixote, Nimrod and Punk [and Shed, too, from the other side!]

    Thanks to RR for a great blog and Anax for another great puzzle.

  6. allan_c says:

    “… SERENDIPITY, beause it’s one of my favourite words – and to think that the addition of two more letters yields SIDNEY POITIER! Spotting that kind of thing is part of Anax’s genius” (Eileen @5). You might say he has the gift of serendipity!

    Certainly an educational experience today, what with Trondheim/Niðarós and Horse Pistol – and even that the plural of ‘glissando’ can be ‘glissandos’ as well as ‘glissandi’.

    Thanks, Anax and RatkojaRiku

  7. Dormouse says:

    Tough. Got there in the end, with minimal help. Googled “Nidaros” as I’d never heard the term, and that told me all I needed to know. Having got “M People” from its crossing letters, I had to google that to find if it was really a valid answer. I think I’ve heard of Heather Small from references to her in the TV show Miranda.

    Thanks for explaining 14dn. DA for a hairstyle was a new one for me, I think.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    As OAP’s we weren’t too happy about being descibed as OLD DEARS in 9ac! As Joyce remarked 27 1a 26 6!!

    Anyway, enough of our complaints – this was a really good work-out. It really woke up the grey matter and fended off dementia for a bit longer. However, given the news today about physical exercise being more effective than tricky crosswords, perhaps we were right going to the gym before we tacked this! Maybe we ought to try combining the two – can we access a water -proof version anywhere?

    Thanks Anax, excellent clueing as usual and also thanks to RR for the blog.

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi allan_c @6

    Of course, that’s what my comment was leading up to – and I was so carried away that I forgot it until immediately after I’d hit ‘Submit’! Then – rather than come back – I hoped that it was implicit and am relieved to see that it [sort of] was! 😉

    Hi B and J

    That was really depressing news to wake up, to wasn’t it? I’ve been relying on my daily crosswords for ten years to fend off – what was it again? It’s a good job it’s my walking group tomorrow! – and I did have to grin at the OLD DEARS, having failed to fit in the usual OAP! 😉

  10. anax says:

    Marvellous blog RR, and thanks to all (including any old dears) for your kind comments. Don’t worry – at 50 I feel like I’ve become something of an old dear myself; guess I’m just trying to get a feel for how comfortably the monicker fits.

    A small confession; the long anagram had been sitting around for years. At the time I only set for The Times, where split answers aren’t used, so this one just languished. Glad to have finally got it out of my system.

  11. Trebor says:

    Like most others I got the long anagram with only a few checking letters in “scorned”, which of course helps a lot. Only missed one – “Horse Pistol” – a PB for an Anax!
    Quality stuff.

  12. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks to Ian SW3 for pointing out the typo in the solution to the long anagram, now corrected; and to Eileen, for spotting more references to setters (see blog intro)!

  13. NealH says:

    I don’t think I’d have bothered with this if it weren’t for getting the long anagram straight away. Even with that, it was still a real grind to finish. I thought some of the references were too obscure – oi for a type of punk and a medieval name for Trondheim was pushing the boat a bit too far for me. My pronunciation concentrates too much on the “eeple” sound of m-people ever to see it as a homophone of “mp pull”, but I have to admit grudgingly that it just about works. Like RR, my only knowledge of Heather Small is from Miranda and I didn’t know she was in that group, so that reference was rather lost on me – I thought it must be a group with just a couple of members.

  14. Wil Ransome says:

    Very good, but my word how tough. It’s my time on this sort of crossword that tells me it’s completely pointless going to the Times Solving Championship.

    Had never heard of Nidaros but still got Trondheim as it was the only word that seemed to fit.

    For 4dn I worked out LIE pretty quickly but wasn’t sure that it was right, for although it looks vaguely correct, I couldn’t and still can’t think of sentences where ‘lie’ can be replaced by ‘to be found’. It seems that ‘lies’ is equivalent to ‘is to be found’.

  15. tipnrun says:

    Re 14D, and to avoid Dormouse at 7 getting into trouble, the “correct” title for the harstyle is “District Attorney”. The other other version is simply the popular name.

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