Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1190/Poins

Posted by Pierre on December 16th, 2012


Congratulations to whoever won the prize for this offering from Poins.  I thought this was one of the toughest IoS puzzles we’ve had in a while.  That could just be me having a bad hair day, but I thought there were some tricky parsings in this one.  And I think it’s the first crossword without a full anagram that I have ever come across.

There appears to be a mini-theme around the town of Settle, in Yorkshire, unless this is just a huge coincidence (and if it’s not, then I may have missed some references).  And I also found a few of the clues to be a bit loose, although again, that could be just me not seeing what is going on.

cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)* anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed


They stick out for money to support the homeless initially
A charade of BUCK for the American slang for ‘dollar’, TEE for the golf ‘support’ and TH for the first letters of ‘the’ and ‘homeless’.

Pot plant
A dd.  GRASS and ‘pot’ are words for cannabis.

Grandma not available to collect girl
An insertion of ANN in N/A for ‘not available’.

10  Sounds expensive to maintain the earliest pit in Settle
A homophone of ‘dear’ includes T for the first letter of ‘the’ and is followed by MINE.  Settle, in the historical West Riding of Yorkshire, has never had a pit, but it seems to be providing us with a little mini-theme throughout the puzzle.

11  Not working properly until US President intervenes in failing euro
An insertion of TO and FORD in (EURO)*

12  Come apart from each piece of ribbon after time
A charade of T, EA for ‘each’ and R for the first letter of ‘ribbon’.

14  An expression of surprise over bit of Cellophane discovered in cheese roll
A ‘lift and separate’ clue: Poins is asking you to insert C for the first letter of ‘cellophane’ in OH for an ‘expression of surprise’ and then put the whole lot in BRIE.

15  A small amount found in Dutch river
A charade of D for ‘Dutch’ and the river RIBBLE, upon which Settle sits.

17  Discarded by exhausted players
A charade of OUT and CAST.

19  Fly back east leaving after a couple from Aberdeen
The definition is ‘fly’ and it’s a charade of AB for the first two letters of ‘Aberdeen’ and S[E]COND.

20  Approves of temporary living quarters
A dd.

22  Co-operating with Cuban on getting up-to-date
A charade of C for ‘Cuban’, ON and CURRENT.  For me CONCURRENT means something different; but dictionaries give the ‘co-operating with’ definition, so fair enough.

25  An unjustified belief in learning
A charade of IN and TUITION.

26  Deserter caught in the centre of Kiev is furious
An insertion of RAT for ‘deserter’ in the central letters of Kiev.

27  Praise enthusiastically without getting a great deal back
A charade of EX for ‘without’ and a reversal of LOT.

28  Meddle with English Queen’s emissary
A charade of MESS, ENG and ER for ‘Elizabeth Regina’ or ‘Queen’.


Throw away before start of game
A charade of BIN and GO.

Against getting to absolute limit
A charade of CON and STRICT for one of the synonyms for ‘absolute’.

It causes a hold-up in dealings with crowd
A simple charade of TRAFFIC and JAM.

Approve aims to capture gold ahead of Spain
An insertion of OR for ‘gold’ and S for ‘Spain’ in ENDS.

Harry Percy was one sexy leader
Not entirely sure here, but it seems to be a charade of HOT and HEAD.  Harry (Henry) Percy was Duke of Northumberland, but why he is a ‘hothead’, I can’t work out.  However, a market charter for the town of Settle was granted to one Henry Percy in 1249.

Work on reduction of colour in blood
A charade of GO and RE[D].  It’s not working/it’s not going.

Mentally acute for a beer drinking soldier
An insertion of GI in ALE.

Lead piping originally found in burn by principal
Another clue where you need to ‘lift and separate’.  The definition is ‘lead’ in its verbal sense: it’s an insertion of P for the first letter of ‘piping’ in
SEAR for ‘burn’ followed by HEAD for ‘principal’, the second use of this synonym in the down clues.

13  It may be paid for impudence over domestic’s duties
A charade of LIP and SERVICE.

14  General takes part in fierce verbal attack
BROAD is another word for ‘general’, and I suppose that a SIDE is ‘a part’?

16  Missile causes an explosion engulfing Romeo sadly
An insertion of (ROMEO)* in BANG.  I was misled initially by thinking that Romeo would be R, the letter it represents in the phonetic alphabet.

18  One on hand mostly to protect soldiers against a source of radioactivity
It’s a help that most radioactive elements end in -IUM, but this was still tricky to solve and parse.  It’s an insertion of OR (‘other ranks’) and I for ‘a’ in THUM[B].

19  Strongly contrasting details about space incorporated by performers
Another insertion, of C for ‘circa’ or ‘about’ and EN for the printers’ space in ACTS.

21  Intend to persuade volunteers to return
The definition is ‘intend’, as in ‘what are you getting at?’  Then I’m assuming it’s GET and a reversal of TA for ‘volunteers’, but how we get from GET to ‘persuade’ I’m not sure.

23  The first woman holding one of them
The possessive form of ‘they’ is yet another insertion of I for ‘one’ in THE and R for ‘Regina’ (again) for ‘Queen’, who some – not including me – would consider to be the ‘first woman’.  At least when Catherine drops the sprog it’ll have an equal chance of succeeding to the throne, unlike the present incumbent.

24  Philosopher’s works
John Stuart MILL, who on half a pint of shandy was particularly ill, if you’re a Python fan.  And another reference – I think – to Settle, which was a big textile town back in its day.  No doubt at some stage they had trouble at t’mill.

Many thanks to Poins for a tricky but enjoyable Prize Puzzle.

7 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1190/Poins”

  1. DaveB says:

    I think this is a reference to Harry “Hotspur” Percy. “Hot” = sexy, “head” = leader.

    I agree on the toughness of this one – the first IoS crossword I’ve failed to finish for a very long time. Several of the clues were a bit loose; too many instances where I had to work back from the correct answer to find the logic behind it.

  2. Wanderer says:

    Thanks to Poins for a tricky but satisfying puzzle, and to Pierre — especially for pointing out the Settle theme, which passed me by. Agree that this was tougher than most.

    I also thought of Hotspur at 5d, and even tried to justify it as the solution for a while.

    23d: the online clue is ‘The first woman’s holding one of them’. I parsed this as ‘woman’s’ = HER. So the whole clue is T (The first, or ‘first letter of The’) + HE(I)R which allows us to forget about the Queen.

  3. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Wanderer – I mistranscribed the clue for 23dn, but it doesn’t really affect the way I looked at the parsing. Yours is much better than mine, although mine kind of works. I’ll leave the error there so people know what we’re talking about.

    I understand the hot=sexy and head=leader bit of HOTHEAD, but I’m still struggling to fully understand what’s going on. Is it something to do with a HEAD being, geographically, a SPUR of land?

  4. Raich says:

    I think HOTHEAD refers to the gallant fiery character of Henry Percy in Shakespeare’s plays eg King Henry IV, Part 1 in which Poins is also a character…

  5. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Raich – a Shakespearian step too far for this blogger.

  6. Raich says:

    Fairly well-known character tho, I’d say, with a Premier League club named after him…

  7. allan_c says:

    Re 14dn, to take someone’s part is to side with them. It almost looks as if ‘takes’ is meant to do double duty except that ‘takes’ is the 3rd person singular of the verb whereas ‘side’ is anything except 3rd pers sing. I’d agree with DaveB about some of the cluing being a bit loose. But nevertheless some of it was quite ingenious, e.g. BRIOCHE.

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