Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8127/Crosophile

Posted by John on October 31st, 2012


As I, and also it seems several others, like, one can solve this straight, without having to concern ourselves with whatever Nina may be there. The clues are good and there is a nice set of surfaces.

I’d criticise the grid because of 16ac and 20ac, which have less than 50% checking, but I always do in these circumstances. Perhaps it’s forgiveable if there’s a Nina, but apart from a few references to the seasonal terrors that are in store for us this evening (FRIGHTENED, STRANGE, NERVOUS, TENDERFOOT perhaps, and no doubt one or two more that I haven’t seen) I can’t see that there is much. But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came up with far more.

1 MUTT {b}ON{e}
4 FAR-FLUNG — (Naff rug l)*
10 STRANGE — this is a rare thing in daily cryptics, a composite anagram: the letters of [I strange] are the same as those in [Tangiers], the definition is ‘rum’, the anagram indicator ‘got drunk’ — one meets these fairly regularly in Azed’s clues, particularly those he selects as prizewinning ones, where there is seldom a definition as here
11 TWITTER — 2 defs, one referring to the accounts people have on their mobile phones, where the number of characters is limited (I’m not one of the Twitterati but believe this to be the case)
12 HITS — (this)* — referring to the facts that in the 60s hit records, being vinyl, had grooves on them, also that ‘groovy’ was a very 60s word
13 PARAPHRASE — (a rap)rev. (sharp)* {ravin}e — to paraphrase is to get a meaning across another way
15 EM(BL)EM — em-spaces are bigger than en-spaces, being the width of the letter m rather than the letter n — although it seems to me that the clue would have been perfectly good, possibly better, without the ‘bigger’ [Logo needed for bigger spaces around British Library]
16 GENERAL — 2 defs, one referring to General Lee
20 DE({h}A{r}D {u}P)AN
21 RESUME — resumé really — (muse)rev. in {pictu}re
23 ADMIRATION — not sure here: it seems to be admi{nist}ration, but how nist = relationship I can’t see [Praise for management concealing relationship] Thanks Flashling yes of course admi(ratio)n
26 ZEA L — Zea is a genus of cereals of which I hadn’t heard, making this rather difficult — what function does ‘by’ have here [Corn left by fire]? — if it’s a straightforward link-word, with Zea l giving you a word meaning fire, then arguably it’s wrong, as it should be [def] by [wordplay], not the other way round — perhaps it’s to be read as “corn, left is placed by it, to give fire”
28 NERVOUS — ((oven)rev. us) around r — us = me as in “give us a clue” — def ‘stewing’
29 TRAPEZE — trap “ease”
30 PALATIAL — pal a (l ait)rev.
31 LISTED — 2 defs
1 MISCHIEF — M is chief
2 TU(RN)T AB L {bottl}E — the deck of the record player
3 0 INK — pigs live in pens — you’d think it might be sty, but Chambers says that a pen is a small enclosure, esp for animals
5 ANTEATER — teat [= dug] in (near)* — soldier ants may be killed by an anteater
6 F(R)IGHT EN({fiv}E)D
7 artfUL TRAp
8 GARDEN — (danger)*
9 BET A — def ‘A second letter’ I think, beta being the second letter of the Greek alphabet, but if that’s the case then ‘a’ is simply indicated by ‘another [letter]’, which seems a bit thin — perhaps I haven’t got it quite right [A second letter lay on top of another] Thanks Pelham Barton, of course bet a{nother}
14 TENDER FOOT — rookie = tenderfoot
17 A (M USE MEN) T{emporary}
19 WELL-READ — (lewd earl)*
22 CATNIP — (pint ac)rev.
24 MURAL — (arum)rev. l
25 {l}OATH
27 TAX I — referring to taxis being Hackney cabs

11 Responses to “Independent 8127/Crosophile”

  1. flashling says:

    23 ac John is Ratio in ADMIN

  2. John Appleton says:

    John, the T in AMUSEMENT is from T{emporary}.

    I didn’t get zeal. I tried MEAL, assuming that MEA might be fire somehow (though it’d be “left by fire” the other way around). It was the best I could do anyway; checking letters like that need something a little less obscure, I feel.

  3. allan_c says:

    I got ZEAL taking the definition to be ‘fire’, ‘zea’ being a new word to me. Not too sure about ‘by'; ‘Corn left in fire’ would be a better clue imho.

    25dn raises the question of whether it’s ‘loth’ or ‘loath’ meaning ‘reluctant’. The dictionaries can’t seem to agree; Chambers under ‘loath’ refers to the entry ‘loth’ which then gives ‘loath’ as an alternative spelling, while Collins has it the other way round. Personally I’ve always taken it that ‘loth’ is correct with ‘loath’ being a common error influenced by ‘loathe’.

    Anyway, Thanks, Crosophile and John.

  4. Pelham Barton says:

    Hi John. For 9dn, how about “top of” meaning first letter (of A[nother])?

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks John and Crosophile. Mostly straightforward, but one or two I couldn’t parse (and I still can’t understand TANGIERS – are there not two anagram indicators?).

    Good puzzle overall.

  6. allan_c says:

    K’s D @ 5. I beg to differ from John. “This” refers to the answer, i.e. STRANGE, and “rum” is an anagrind. “I got drunk with” means that the letter I is inserted in the anagram of “strange” to give “Tangiers”. At least, that’s how I parse it. It would have been clearer if the clue had “by” instead of “with”, but that wouldn’t have given such a smooth surface.

  7. Crosophile says:

    Hi all. Thanks for blog & comments.
    Re 10Ac [I got drunk with this rum in Tangiers]
    the definition is meant to be ‘this rum’ (i.e. this word that means rum). Unusual since the defn is embedded in the middle of the clue but I think/hope it’s fair [not that I’m the judge!].

  8. Paul B says:

    That’s a classic comp. anag. construction though, Crosophile old bean. Furthermore, it looked for a second like you’d past-tensed there. But that would have given you a cryptic hernia.

    Thanks for an excellent and clever puzzle.

  9. John says:

    Thanks everyone for their help. I’ve made some corrections to the blog but am still unsure about 10ac. allan_c may be correct, but on the other hand I don’t think I’m wrong. Crosophile says that the def is ‘this rum’, and he knows I suppose, but it seems to me that ‘this rum’ doesn’t really define ‘strange’.

  10. Paul B says:

    I find 10ac very easy to understand: the character ‘I’ is ‘got drunk’ (not past tense) with STRANGE, ‘this (word that is synonymous with) rum’, in TANGIERS. The word we’re after is highlighted as ‘THIS rum’ as opposed to any other synonymous possibilities.

    He’s just saying, ‘I is mixed up with the word you want, STRANGE, in TANGIERS’. Simples, and totally fair I think.

  11. Crosophile says:

    Thanks, Paul B. That’s spot on.

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4 × = twenty eight