Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8179/Raich

Posted by John on January 1st, 2013


A well-constructed crossword from Raich which for some reason I found a bit harder than usual.  Can’t see why now, because the clues all seem to be straightforward.

 On this particular day you’d think that there was something special in the crossword but I can see nothing.

6 ISIS — 1 sis — the Isis is the Thames as it flows through Oxford
11 STAMINA — (Nats aim)* — seems a rather odd surface whose sense is unclear to me — was it a misprint and meant to be ‘Nat aims …’, I wonder
12 MATTHEWS — t in (West Ham)* — Stanley Matthews
14 F IN {m}AL{e}
18 ABILENE — (line)* in Abe
21 MAGYARS — ({fightin}g as army)*
23 UK {b}ASE — this country at least for those buying The Indy
24 ALLSPICE — (speciall{y})*
28 InN dIeT fInAlLy
30 NaughTY ROmps
31 TE(TRAM)ETER — the question mark I suppose because a tetrameter is a line of a verse, so arguably not the whole thing, although Chambers says that a verse is amongst other things a line of metre
1 CHAR M{entions}
2 RE CIT{y} A{rsena}L
3 NEIGH{bours}
4 acTINg
5 {m}OUSE
9 B{other} A{nd} F{uss} FLING
15 MAMMAL — m [= money] (lama)rev. about m [= thousand] — Raich has done nothing wrong here: he has quite correctly said ‘Primate maybe’ since a primate is only one type of mammal. But because some setters either don’t take such trouble or take too much trouble and give the ‘maybe’ when they don’t need to, I wasn’t sure that some kind of monkey wasn’t being indicated: if the intention had been to indicate a type of monkey then ‘maybe’ would have been wrong. I shouldn’t have doubted Raich, because he does things properly. In my opinion, anyway.
16 COMMUNIST — (Mum’s tonic)*
17 ECCLES 1 A{dmire} — I was hung up for a long time on Encaenia, with its Oxford connection (6ac)
20 {mornin}G LAZIER
26 secRET, NErvelessly — hidden reversed
27 FLEE — free with l for r — the two sides left and right
29 {h}EAR{t}

8 Responses to “Independent 8179/Raich”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    A lovely puzzle from Raich to start 2013, which I enjoyed. The clear clueing meant that much of it went in pretty quickly, but I did get held up on the last few, including UKASE, which I didn’t know. Stupidly, my last one in was ENTER, which is staring you in the face really. I too pondered briefly over the surface for STAMINA. The cleverly constructed FLEE and COLLEEN were my favourites this morning.

    Thanks to Raich.

  2. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Raich for a pleasantly straightforward puzzle and John for the blog. I worked down the eastern half first and fortunately the sequence 31ac-27dn-28ac went in smoothly enough, but I still do not like grids that so nearly split into two.

    11ac: I think the surface works well as “Nat[ionalist]s aim for change …”

  3. hounddog says:

    Nothing special? Plenty of 1953 references: Coronation, the Matthews Final, Everest, the ‘Magical Magyars’ and no doubt others I’ve missed.

  4. crypticsue says:

    Thanks to Raich for a very nice anniversary puzzle to start the year and to John for the blog.

  5. allan_c says:

    I thought this was relatively easy from Raich (not that he ever, in my experience, sets fiendish puzzles), solved in two passes – but the theme passed me by. One or two parsings escaped me, so thanks, John, for the blog.
    UKASE was possibly obscure for some; the word was lurking in my subconscious though I couldn’t remember what it meant. With the ending ‘-ase’ it always sounds to me as if it ought to be the name of an enzyme. It’s actually Russian in origin, from Tsarist days.
    Thanks, too, to Raich.

  6. Bryan says:

    Many thanks John and Raich.

    Very enjoyable but I was amazed to see ECCLES in a crossy as I was married there a very long time ago.

    I didn’t think anyone else was even aware of the place.

    Small world!

  7. Raich says:

    Many thanks, John, for the excellent blog and to all for their comments. Yes, hounddog you’ve spotted everything – unfortunately it was just a small number of years too early for ‘Hound Dog’.

    The Collins dict knows about Eccles so you’re not alone, Bryan.

    Finally may I congratulate John on winning the latest edition of the prestigious Azed monthly clue-writing competition with a superb clue for PICAROON!

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Started off at a fast pace and then ground to a halt with two left to go. We had to check ukase which was clear from the clueing but couldn’t parse ANIMAL for 15d! Then the penny dropped!

    We thought we were on the way to a pangram when UKASE went in after GLAZIER but there are a number of letters short.

    We completely missed the theme unfortunately but the perculiar grid should have warned us that something more was going on.

    Thanks John and obviously congratulations are in order! Thanks Raich for a good start to the year.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

nine × 1 =