Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8180 / Dac

Posted by duncanshiell on January 2nd, 2013


Dac continues in 2013, as he has done throughout 2012, with a well constructed challenge for the commuter on the Clapham omnibus.




Dac doesn’t do themes or tricks or pangrams; he just produces good crosswords with clues that conjure up clear pictures and the key words in the clue fit in with the picture being created.  I liked the golf allusion in 2 across.  I also liked the use of ‘expelled’ in 10 across.  The use of storm-battered to indicate an anagram in a clue about protection from the weather was also very good.

In one of those coincidences that crop up every so often, ASTARTE at 2 down also occurs as an entry in my Inquisitor blog that was published earlier today.  It was clued completely differently in each puzzle (‘a vedette vacuous theatre goddess’ in the Inquisitor – A + STAR + TE)

The one clue which I am not sure about is the one at 26a for TRYSTS   I thought that the use of Bash Street Kids was very clever, but I am unsure about the tense of ‘dates’ at the end of the clue.  As Kids is plural shouldn’t the associated verb be ‘date’?  I realise we need Kids to get the S and we need ‘dates’ to get the plural TRYSTS. Afternote: I’ll retire gracefully on this one after the comments at 1 and 3 below and accept that the whole phrase Bash Street Kids is the singular form describing the comic strip and ‘dates’ in this case means ‘becomes old fashioned’.


No. Clue Wordplay Entry



They work hard on Greek course (8)


GR (Greek) + AFTERS (in a meal, the dessert or other course following a main course)


GRAFTERS (people who work hard)




Good shot! Birdie at start of round (6)


SNIPE (bird) + R (first letter of [start of] ROUND)


SNIPER (one who can shoot targets accurately from a distance; good shot)




It is apparent during a piano duet, possibly (8)


IT contained in (is apparent during) (A + an anagram of [possibly] [P {piano} and DUET])

A (PT (IT) UDE*)

APTITUDE (natural ability or readiness to learn, both of which may well be present during a performance of a piano duet)  &Lit clue




Mean ultimately to have ambassador expelled (6)


IN THE END (ultimately) excluding (expelled) HE (His Excellency, the form of address for an ambassador)


INTEND (mean)




Miscreant and heartless prisoner forming such a team? (8,2,5)


Anagram of (forming) MISCREANT and (PRISONER excluding the middle two letters [heartless] SO)


PARTNERS IN CRIME (a team of criminals, which could well be formed of a miscreant and a prisoner, heartless or otherwise) &Lit clue




Bitter berries starting to appear on tree (5)


ACER (tree related to a maple) + B (first letter of [starting] BERRIES)


ACERB (bitter)




Precise account given by cleric (8)


AC (account) + CURATE (cleric)


ACCURATE (precise)




Taking the plunge after endless delightful booze (6,2)


DIVINE (delightful) excluding the final letter (endless) E + GIN (booze)


DIVING IN (taking the plunge)




Italian banker has billions invested in bank (5)


B (billions) contained in (invested in) TIER (bank)


TIBER (river [a river has banks, hence banker] in Italy, flowing into the sea near Rome)




Storm-battered Brighton, we read, installed a form of protection against the elements (15)

Anagram of (storm-battered) BRIGHTON WE READ containing (installed) A


WEATHERBOARDING (thin boards placed overlapping to keep out rain; the exterior covering of a wall or roof; a form of protection against the elements)




Corrupted wife taken into bed (6)


RIB (wife, reference Bible Genesis 2, 21-23) contained in (taken into) BED


BRIBED (influenced by [usually illegal] offer of gain; corrupted)




What can be obtained from Italian deli? Pâté can’t surprisingly (8)


Anagram of (surprisingly) PÂTE CAN’T


PANCETTA (Italian variety of cured pork, often on sale in a delicatessan)




Bash Street Kids ultimately dates (6)


TRY (attempt; bash) + ST (street) + S (last letter of [ultimately] KIDS)


TRYSTS (appointments to meet; dates)




Bum getting whacked (8)


DEADBEAT (down-and-out; bum)


DEADBEAT (exhausted; whacked)  double definition





Relative receives a politician, one from old Scottish region (8)


GRAN (relative) containing (receives) ( A + MP [Member of Parliament; politician] + I [one])


GRAMPIAN (local government region of Scotland from 1975 to 1996)




Goddess’s origin revealed in article on Egypt (7)


START (origin) contained in (revealed in) (A [indefinite article] + E [Egypt [in Collins, but not in Chambers])


ASTARTE (Phoenician Goddess of love)




Giant bird starts to attack nestlings (5)


TIT (bird) + AN (first letters of [starts to] ATTACK and NESTLINGS)


TITAN (anything gigantic; giant)




Writer, one travelling with old woman to part of France (5,7)


RIDER (one travelling) + HAG (old woman) + GARD (Department of Southern France)


RIDER HAGGARD (reference Sir Henry RIDER HAGGARD  [1856 – 1925], English writer of adventure novels)




Measure of gold could get you in a trance (4-5)


Anagram of (could get you) IN A TRANCE


NINE-CARAT (measure of proportion of gold in an alloy)




Anticipate pint container for drink to be served up (7)


PT (pint) containing (container for) CIDER [drink] reversed [served up; down clue])


PREDICT (anticipate)




Chap has wish to do right, being upstanding (6)


(YEN [desire; wish] + DO + R [right]) all reversed (being upstanding; down clue)


RODNEY (man’s name; chap)




Stuck with the blues recording being played well into the night? (12)


DISC (recording) + ON (being played) + SO LATE (well into the night)


DISCONSOLATE (very sad; stuck with the blues)




Who might have entitlement to be in top class? (9)


RIGHT (entitlement) contained in (to be in) BEST (top class)


BRIGHTEST (the BRIGHTEST pupil may well have an entitlement to be in the top class) &Lit clue




French tramp not initially smelling nice (8)


FR (French) + VAGRANT (tramp) excluding the first letter (not initially) V


FRAGRANT (sweet-scented; smelling nice)




Being silly, and in a state about it (7)


IN + A + (NY [New York; American state] containing [about] IT)


INANITY (silliness; [being] silly)




Stand up as blister bursts (7)


Anagram of (bursts) BLISTER


BRISTLE (stand erect; stand up)




Might penny-farthing be seen as so cheap? (3-3)


TWO-BIT (an old fashioned bicycle constructed of TWO main BITs, a big wheel and a small wheel). Afternote: MikeC’s comment at 1 below gives a much better explanation where he points out that penny and farthing are both coins (bits), so the bicycle is constructed of TWO BITs


TWO-BIT (cheap)




Entering motorway maybe one went at speed (5)


ACE (one) contained in (entering) RD (road, which may be a motorway)


RACED (went at speed)



10 Responses to “Independent 8180 / Dac”

  1. MikeC says:

    Thanks d and D. Agreed, a well-crafted crossword, and helpful blog. For 21d, I thought the penny and the farthing were both coins (bits, as in threepenny bit), hence two-bit. Re 26a, I also paused a moment – but then I thought “Bash Street Kids” is the title of a comic strip (ie, is singular, matching “dates”).

  2. duncanshiell says:

    MikeC @ 1

    Thanks for the much better explanation of 21d – I have updated the blog.

    On 26a, you are probably right there as well, but the surface still jars a bit.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan. I would count myself in the Clapham Omnibus brigade – ie, your average solver – and I always appreciate Dac’s puzzles. They’re accessible, well-clued, and enjoyable. ASTARTE was the only unfamiliar word this morning.

    TRYSTS was my favourite clue – I think Mike’s right about it being a comic strip, and therefore singular.

  4. Rowland says:

    26A looks okay to me too, no grammar problems there. Great puzzle too, shows today’s Guardian lad how to write well and simply, IMO.


  5. rhotician says:

    “shows today’s Guardian lad how to write well and simply” is insulting and inappropriate here. Very bad manners.

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    We enjoyed the puzzle in Another Place as well as this offering from Dac. Mind you, we always enjoy a Dac.

    Thanks Duncan for the blog and Dac for another great puzzle.

  7. Rowland says:

    Not really Rhotician. It is a plain fact that this puzzle is written well by comparison to the other one, but it is my opinion, I will accept. I just don’t like the untidiness of yesterday’s Guardian one, that’s all, and here in Dac is an example of some really neat clueing.

  8. rhotician says:

    Yes really Rowland. Your original comment is not in keeping with points 1 and 3 of Site Policy.

    “It is a plain fact that … , but it is my opinion” is plainly contradictory. Really!

  9. Rowland says:

    Well, you can be right if it makes you feel better. Do you live at 12 Acacia Avenue I wonder. In Tunbridge Wells!!

  10. SueG says:

    Duncan, I’m very grateful for your detailed explanations given in the wordplay. I’m new to this type of crossword, and by reading the blogs daily, I have a clearer understanding of how to solve them. I’m in Australia and cannot connect with some of the local references, unless a full explanation has been blogged.

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