Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1185 Donk

Posted by scchua on November 11th, 2012


A new setter for me. Some ingenious, tricky and innovative definitions, eg. “He”, “someone in bed”, “emissions”, “it’s”, and so on, and some interesting and misdirecting surfaces. I found this more difficult than the usual Sunday outing, and it wouldn’t be out of place as a daily puzzle (which in fact Donk also sets). Thanks Donk. Definitions are underlined in the clues.  [[The pictures at the bottom have unidentified links with the puzzle.]]

9 Walking type following source of energy emissions (6,9)

CARBON FOOTPRINT :  FOOTPRINT(a type;an image produced by impressing or stamping, made by someone walking) placed after(following) CARBON(a source, or rather a crucial component, of energy fuels).

Answer:  The amount of carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere by the activities of an entity.

10 Journals as opposed to Kindle fare (9)

NOTEBOOKS :  NOT(as opposed to) E-BOOKS(fare from Kindle electronic readers).

11 Swimmer often cheated to some extent (5)

TENCHHidden in(to some extent) ofTEN CHeated.

Answer:  A freshwater food fish.

12 Oops, darling’s on the rocks – that’s why he’s back! (8,3)

PRODIGAL SONAnagram of(on the rocks) OOPS, DARLING. A nice WIWD(wordplay intertwined with definition) clue.

14 He is one  that could be embarrassing for American (3)

GAS :  Double defn: 1st: He is the chemical symbol for Helium, a gas; and 2nd: Flatulence in the American dialect J .

15 Well depth in ground (3)

SOD :  SO(well;to a considerable extent, as in “she’s so informed”) + D(abbrev. for “depth”, as in L x W x D measurements of 3-dimensional articles).

17 Old king looking at requiring Just for Men? (7)

GREYING :  GR(abbrev. for George Rex, any of a number of old kings of England) + EYING(looking at).

Answer:  A greying person, including old kings, could be looking at using “Just for Men”, a commercial hair colouring product. A WIWD clue.

19 It‘s time a girl’s leader (3)

TAG :  T(abbrev. for “time”) + A + G{initial letter of(…’s leader) “girl”}.

Defn:  I think, “It” can be used to refer to;label;tag something.

21 Tackle defender occasionally, boot mark showing miscalculation (3)

BOX1st and 3rd letters of(occasionally) “boot ” + X(a mark showing you have miscalculated and got it wrong).

Answer:  In a sporting match, to impede the progress of a defender by tackling him/her, though why a defender and not a forward, I don’t know, as usually it’s the defender who does the tackling.  Edit.note:  Thanks NeilW@1.  The piece of shaped equipment used in some sports, especially cricket to protect;defend the male genitals;”tackle” in slang.  An innovative definition; and we won’t go into whose genitals a box is :-) .

22 Measure shot out for teacher with issues (11)


Answer:  A play on “issues” meaning children, rather than points of dispute.

24 Two games of rugby entertaining a country (5)

RURAL :  {RU(abbrev. for the game of Rugby Union, often simply called rugby) + RL(abbrev. for Rugby League, an offshoot of rugby)} containing(entertaining) A.  Nice misdirecting surface.

Defn:  As an adjective, eg. “country folk”.

25 50 strip off against something that’s frozen RRP (4,5)

LIST PRICE :  L(Roman numeral for 50) + anagram of(off) STRIP plus(against) ICE(something that’s frozen).

Defn:  Abbrev. for “Recommended Retail Price”.

27 During ceremony, one’s put down several pounds on principle (10,5)

FOUNDATION STONE : STONE(weight of 14 pounds) placed after(on, in an across clue) FOUNDATION(a principle, the basis for something).

Answer:  Originally the first stone set in the construction of a building, which formed the reference point for the rest of the building. The term now refers to a ceremonial stone or replica to commemorate the construction.

1 Booze in Sean Connery’s shots, reportedly? (8)

SCHNAPPS :  How Sean Connery might pronounce(reportedly) “snaps”;pictures;shots, with “sh” for “s” – coincidentally just like his first name should be pronounced.

Answer:  In some European countries any strong dry spirit.

2 Collecting potholer, finally arrived at cave (6)

GROTTO :  R{last letter of(finally) “potholer”} contained in(collecting …) GOT TO(arrived at).

3 Cramming in flashy, gold teeth? (8)

GOBBLING :  Gold teeth might be described as “bling”(flashy ornaments) in the “gob”(slang for the mouth).

Answer:  Cramming into your mouth, to put it bluntly.

4 Shock for a criminal (4)

AFROAnagram of(criminal) FOR A.

5 Crew on ship Donk’s controlling (10)

POSSESSIVE :  POSSE(a crew of people;a group of friends or associates) plus(on) SS(abbrev. for steamship) + I’VE(contraction of “I have”, or “Donk (I, the writer) has” contracted to Donk’s).

Answer:  A possessive partner might very well be controlling.

6 Cuddle, grabbing sweetheart’s bottom that’s perfect (4-2)

SPOT ON :  SPOON(to cuddle;to nestle in close contact with another, specifically with the two bodies like nestled spoons or shpoons as 007 might say) containing(grabbing) last letter of(bottom, in a down clue) “sweetheart”. A graphic surface.

7 When date changes mind, stripping new thing off (8)

MIDNIGHT :  “mind” minus(stripping) “n”(abbrev. for “new”) + anagram of(off) THING. Nice misdirecting surface.

8 Impresses tech parties in retro London area (6)

ETCHESAnagram of(parties) TECH contained in(in) reversal of(retro) SE(a postcode for a London area; alternatively the part of England where London is).

13 Lack of libido when old flame’s standard dropping quickly at first (10)

ASEXUALITY :  AS(when, as in “as and when”) + EX(an old flame) + “quality”(a level or standard of excellence, especially a high one) minus(dropping) “q”{initial letter of(at first) “quality”}.

Answer:  A lack of libido might cause a lack of sexual activity, though asexuality is more often used to mean the characteristic of having no apparent sex or sex organs.

16 Practised squeezing into spandex trousers (8)

DEXTROUSHidden in(squeezing into) spanDEX TROUSers.

Answer:  An alternative spelling of “dexterous”. You might have to be to squeeze into spandex trousers. A WIWD clue.

18 Upright piano in part of India misplaced (8)

GOALPOST :  P(abbrev. for the musical instruction “piano”) contained in(in) {GOA(a state in western India) + LOST(misplaced)}. Another nice misdirecting surface.

20 Butcher red with anger discovering someone in bed (8)

GARDENERAnagram of(butcher) [RED plus(with) ANGER].

Answer:  Someone working among the flower beds.

21 Missing work as whistle-blower has temperature (6)

BEREFT :  BE REF(work as a referee, a whistle-blower) plus(has) T(abbrev. for “temperature”).

Answer:  Usually followed by “of”, as in “they were bereft of hope”.

22 Almost 50% unfortunately die in compound (6)

HALIDE :  “half”(50%) minus its last letter(almost)+ anagram of(unfortunately) DIE.

Answer:  A chemical compound that includes a halogen (chlorine, fluorine, et al), eg. sodium chloride.

23 Stand close to guitarist, right by music store (6)

TRIPOD :  T{last letter of(close to) “guitarist”} + R(abbrev. for “right”) plus(by) I-POD(the electronic music – and other digital data – store).

Defn:  A support.

26 Song at No. 1 spot bound to sell out (4)

SHOP :  S{first letter of(at No. 1 spot)”song” } + HOP(to bound, like a kangaroo). The wordplay for “S”, though making for a nice surface, seems a little back-to-front to me.

Answer:  To tell on one, especially to the police;to sell out.



17 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1185 Donk”

  1. NeilW says:

    Thanks, scchua.

    This was good fun – some excellent suggestive surfaces and amusing constructions.

    TAG – I thought the def was “leader” rather than “it’s” but can’t really justify it.

    BOX – “tackle” is slang for the male genitalia and, in cricket, a BOX is used to protect same.

  2. scchua says:

    Thanks NeilW, blog amended.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi Schua – we thought that IT referred to TAG ( or Tig) as we knew it, a children’s playground game where one person called It, chases everyone else around and when they touch someone they shout, “You’re IT,” It was very common while we were both at school!

    We loved the puzzle Donk, sorry we didn’t get round to telling you personally at Derby. There were too many really good Aha! moments to list them all.

    Thanks Schua for the blog.

  4. Bertandjoyce says:

    Apologies for the grammatical typos! Typing up on an ipad first thing in the morning when you’ve not slept well, so can’t focus properly, is not a good idea!

  5. scchua says:

    Hi BertandJoyce, my initial reaction was the game of tag/tig, “it” being the pursuer, but after much searching, I couldn’t find any reference to “it” and “tag” being synonymous. Another explanation I had thought of was “it(the pursuer)’s time” = the game, though that meant that “time” was doing double duty.

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi Schua.

    I (Joyce) found it by looking at TAG in Chambers which stated that it was also the same as TIG, the children’s game. The reference to IT was found on the TIG entry!

    Apologies again as I should have written punctuation errors before!

  7. Rorschach says:

    Hey Scchua et al.

    I think 9ac parses as CARB = source of energy ON FOOT = walking and PRINT = type.

    Another brilliant offering from the Donk. Too many good clues in this one to specify but needless to say all of the 3 letterers are top notch.

    Thanks old bean and thanks scchua for parsing a tricky one!

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Donk’s first Indy puzzle was a very good one (with, as I said then, some clues worth the price of the newspaper alone), but this one was even better.

    When I solved this puzzle about a week ago, I ticked (tupu terminology :)) 12ac (NOTEBOOKS), 4d (AFRO), 20d (GARDENER) and 23d (TRIPOD) as being outstanding/standing out.

    I was fairly sure 14ac had to be GAS, but I couldn’t fully explain it. So, thanks to scchua for enlightening me – what a jewel in the crown: “He is one” !!

    I do not like simple charades for long answers.
    Therefore 9ac (CARBON FOOTPRINT) left me cold until Rorschach opened up my eyes.
    That said, in the same category, 17ac (FOUNDATION STONE) still leaves me cold.

    But I did like 21ac in which one has to disconnect Missing/work.
    Well, in the end I could not make much sense of the surface, but even so.

    The only thing (which means one thing only :)) I didn’t like was the use of the infamous “apostrophe s” in 5d. I know, in Crosswordland clues are broken down into independent pieces, but I fear having “Donk’s” for “Donk has” where the surface tells me “Donk is” is something I am reluctant to do nowadays even if the JS Book of Crosswords justifies it.

    Great puzzle by a super talent.

  9. Rorschach says:

    JS Book of Crosswords? Hope you’re not accusing the young Ximenean of being ‘unfair’… 😉

  10. Paul B says:

    5d works for me Sil, so hold the press on that Swag-Manual.

    To conflate the surface with the cryptic reading here would produce a grammatical problem where there isn’t one (‘Crew on ship Donk has controlling’), so hockey sticks are for me still very Jolly. Some people don’t like the practice of using apostrophes in this way, and that’s a style issue, but from a technical POV I can’t fault this clue.

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Rorschach and Paul B, jolly good to see your comments.
    I know 5d’s is right from a technical POV, but what I wanted to say was that I personally do not like that “apostrophe s” is/has thingy anymore – nothing more, nothing less.
    I didn’t say it is wrong. I just don’t want to do it myself anymore – a matter of taste, I guess.
    Terrific puzzle, btw!

  12. JollySwagman says:

    Nice puzzle – amusing and nifty cluing with well-hidden defs.

    Can’t see that the ‘s thing is an issue here – I know some folk don’t like ‘s = has to juxtapose the next bit (I’m always happy with it) but setter’s for I’ve etc (similar to here) is commonplace.

    Too many rules and setters won’t be able to write fantastically entertaining puzzles – eg like this one. Well done Donk – keep ’em coming.

    Love to stop and chat but have to dash- deadlines to meet etc :-( :-)

  13. Donk says:

    Many thanks to scchua for the excellent blog and to everyone who left their comments, much appreciated! I think we’re pretty much on the money now with all the intended parsings!

    TAG – The def here does indeed refer to the playground game ‘It’
    BOX – VERY important piece of cricket gear!

    Thanks again,

  14. rowland says:

    I guess some people don’t think having the ‘s is as elegant as, maybe, not having it! It is used correctly by Donk though.


  15. scchua says:

    Thanks Donk for dropping in with your clarifications. I, like the others, look forward to your next puzzle – especially if one gets to blog it.

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Rowland et al, I think we all agree about the correctness of ‘s.
    So, in fact, what’s said about it in the posts 10-14, is a kind of non-discussion.

    But even knowing that it is correct, I do not like it, I am afraid. It’s a bit similar to using a legitimate anagram indicator that one doesn’t like. That can happen, can’t it.

    Actually, when at the start of last year Brendan (in the Guardian) published a prize crossword with the Oscars as its theme, I was so unfortunate to infuriate the setter while having no bad intentions at all. In the short email contact that followed we sorted things out easily, but there was one thing that Brendan said which I had to think of in connection with the ‘discussion’ here: “Dancing” is excellent for the surface in the NATALIE PORTMAN clue, but is not an anagram indicator I like (taste and convention play very large roles here).

    When I wrote @11: “I know 5d’s is right from a technical POV”, well, there we have a good example of the incorrect use of ‘s ….. :)

  17. Tramp says:

    First class

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