Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8184/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on January 7th, 2013


Another pleasing puzzle from our Monday Indy regular.  Mostly straightforward, but the last few – including one or two less familiar words – took me a while.  And there’s one where you’d most likely end up with the answer once you had the crossing letters, but which in my opinion required knowledge that would generally be beyond the ken of your solver on the Clapham Omnibus.  But plenty to savour here for the beginning and improving solver, and probably a quick coffee-time solve for those more experienced in the black arts.  And one I can’t parse, so help appreciated.

Nice to see a couple of science-based clues today, as well as a mathematical one.

Since many other bloggers seem to be moving this way, I have become ovine and underlined the definitions in the clues.

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


Married woman has caught a disease
An insertion of A in M LADY.

Wife involved in fall – there’s some stuff stolen
Another insertion, of W in SAG.

Set produced by artist and fashion designer not right
A charade of RA and DIO[R].

10  The usual question about the last bit of carpet needed for floor covering?
A charade of PAR for ‘usual’ followed by an insertion of T for the last letter of ‘carpet’ in QUERY.  Not sure why Quixote has put the question mark at the end – I think it works just as well without it.

11  Ancient one has little hesitation interrupting boy: ‘Don’t give up!’
An insertion of OLD I and ER for ‘little hesitation’ in SON.

12  Part of the body protected by gladiator sometimes
Hidden in gladiaTOR SOmetimes.

13  Ecofriendly activity – i.e. with this making ice!
Nope, this is not coming to me.  Ice is ‘diamonds’; diamonds are made of carbon?  It’s time to bring in reinforcements.

Edit: thanks to Cumbrian for explaining this one at comment number 1.

15  Thinks tragedy could possibly be a sign of good things on the morrow?
(THINKS TRAGEDY)*  ‘Could possibly be’ is the anagrind.  I liked this a lot – a clever anagram with a lovely surface.
Red sky at night, shepherds’ delight;
Red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning

19  Minister won’t keep quiet – a serious offence

20  In detail somehow without the first sign of contrast
(IN DETAIL)* around (‘without’) C for the first letter of ‘contrast’ and &litish.

22  Rope the man beginning to explore discovered in wooded area
An insertion of HE for ‘the man’ and E for the first letter of ‘explore’ in FOREST.  It sounds like a sail, but the SOED has ‘a rope by which the lee corner of a foresail is kept in place’.

23  Cautious about minimal energy – when one’s this?
An insertion of E for ‘energy’ in WARY.

24  Attractive girl read French, getting a Second
Great surface reading, but … first of all I didn’t know that LULU was an ‘attractive girl’.  It’s not in my SOED, but online dictionaries do give exactly that definition.  LU is the past participle of the French verb lire, to read (Avez-vous lu le journal aujourd’hui?  Have you read the paper today?) so is indeed ‘read French’ if you pronounce it ‘red’.  I knew that.  And if you double that, you get LULU.  But should your average solver be expected to have this level of knowledge of French?  Discuss.

25  Be awkward, as conceited young man that’s put inside
An insertion of LAY for ‘put’ in PUP for ‘conceited young man’.  You need to read ‘that’s’ as ‘that has’.


Poem written in 1050 for example
I liked this one too.  Quixote’s asking you to put ODE for ‘poem’ inside ML for the Roman numerals for 1050.

Dafter ladies or gents not so far away reportedly?
A charade of LOO and NIER for a homophone of ‘near’.

Being stripped of individual recognition, deal with depression painfully
(DEAL DEPRESSION)* with ‘painfully’ as the anagrind.

Famous Scot tethers unruly brute – it may be found at side of house
An insertion of (BRUTE)* in WATT.  The anagrind is ‘unruly’ and it’s referring to James WATT, the Scottish engineer best known for his work on the steam engine.

Chemical in body only egg can initially supply
(ONLY EGG C)*  The anagrind is ‘supply’ in its ‘supple’ adverbial sense.  GLYCOGEN is a polysaccharide that is used by animals to store energy; if its metabolism is compromised, then diabetes can be a consequence.

Pi isbeing in the spiritual realms’ maybe
Not referring to the recent film, but to our friend 3.14159 …  A dd: TRANSCENDENTAL meditation would take you – like the Fab Four – to a ‘spiritual realm’; and Pi is a transcendental number.  A dd.

Bra-destroying feminist presumably wouldn’t have this quarrel!
Well, I couldn’t possibly comment, but a feminist who had burned her bra might find it tricky to keep her BUST UP.

Flowering plant got out of bed
A dd.

13  Official register‘s showing bad man of star-like quality
New one on me, but with a few checking letters, it couldn’t be much else.  A charade of CAD and ASTRAL.  My SOED gives it as an adjective, with CADASTRE as the noun, which the surface would seem to lead to.  ‘Having reference to the extent, value and ownership of land.’

14  Led astray with fraud?  That’s terrible
(LED FRAUD)* with ‘astray’ as the anagrind.

16  An enzyme one’s found in unusual snake
More biochemistry, and why not?  A group of enzymes involved in phosphate group transfer.  An insertion of I in (SNAKE)*

17  Escape that sounds unlikely!
A dd.

18  Friend of Sarah losing her head
Never realised that SALLY was a familiar name for Sarah.  It’s [S]ALLY.

21  Runner Steve’s first sign of pain – due to this?
Steve CRAM, former middle distance runner and Son of the North precedes P for the first letter of ‘pain’.

Thanks as always to the Don for the Monday morning entertainment.

13 Responses to “Independent 8184/Quixote”

  1. Cumbrian says:

    Many thanks for the blog.
    Re 13a, I suppose that if ie captures Carbon, or C, you get ice? As someone firmly in the average Solver on the Clapham Omnibus camp, I cheated with 24, but as soon as LULU was revealed it did make sense. I might have got there, but I/m generally impatient! Favourite was 8d, but lots to like.

  2. Pierre says:

    Thanks, Cumbrian, of course that’s what it is. How can you look at a clue for so long and not see that? And I was saying it was good to have some science-based clues … D’oh!

  3. Cumbrian says:

    I didn’t see it, came to the blog for an explanation, and then the penny dropped! Who knows what weird background thought processes come into play in solving/not solving a crossword clue?

  4. sidey says:

    13a i.e. capturing carbon would give iCe, I thought setters could capitalise to deceive but not the other way round.

  5. Rowland says:

    Interesting point, sidey!


  6. JohnF says:

    15 IS a beauty, and another I know from a different variation–”sailor” rather than “shepherd”. I can vouch for its limited truth and promise as well that sheets are the lines that control sails.

  7. Pierre says:

    Cumbrian at no 3, I know what you mean. Sometimes if I’m stuck I’ll stick what I’ve got into a wordsearch, and the very act of doing that puts the answer straight into my head. Kathryn Friedlander from the University of Buckingham (who’s done a lot of work on the psychology of cryptic solving) was on BBC Radio 4 the other week talking about some of the processes involved – it was interesting, and she talked about which bits of the brain are involved. It was on the ‘listen again’ function, but I think it’s expired now.

  8. allan_c says:

    15ac goes back at least to biblical times – see Matthew xvi, 2-3.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Bon soir Pierre. We had also decided to adopt the underlining of the definition in the blog so we can also be described as ovine as ‘ewe’!

    Back to the puzzle. A few that needed checking but were clear from the wordplay. We thought 18ac was good.

    Thanks to the Don for an enjoyable start to the week and Pierre for your blog!

  10. Dormouse says:

    Re 13ac and the penny dropping only when reading the blog, this is the second time in three days that the blogger has asked for help with a clue that I’d not been able to parse and then suddenly I see it, only to find that several others have already got there.

    I failed O-level French in 1968 and have not attempted to learn it since then, but I could remember “lu” was the past participle of “lire”.

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Meant to say we liked 13ac not 18ac!

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    What I like about Quixote is that his crosswords are accessible, for some even easy(ish), while at the same time the clueing (devices, surfaces) is really in a different category compared to eg – and now I have to be careful what I say :) – what’s happening in the puzzles in my local newspaper.

    Thanks, Pierre, for your blog and to Cumbrian ((s)he was first) for explaining 13ac. A very clever idea, but I am not sure whether the (de)capitalisation of c/C is right. Quixote is (generally) a Ximenean, so, well, don’t know. But I liked the clue!

    Normally, Quixote doesn’t repeat himself in a crossword, but here we had ‘first sign of’ twice (20ac, 21d). I can’t be bothered too much, but I admit I did think ‘don’t do that again’ :).

    Good crossword.

  13. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Quixote for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and Pierre for the blog.

    13ac: I have kept quiet until now in the hope that someone else would say what I wanted to say but express it better than I can. The issue of false capitalisation relates to the fact that words sometimes have different meanings with or without initial capital letters. I do not see that issue as being at all relevant to this clue, where there is a clever construction in the word play, and I was completely happy with the clue.

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