Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8185 / Radian

Posted by duncanshiell on January 8th, 2013


The first Radian puzzle of 2013 was an entertaining challenge.




There were two themes woven into the clues and the entries.  Events of 30,50, 60 and 113 years ago mingled with members of, and actions associated with, four of the Cambridge spies (Guy Burgess, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt).  There was no reference to the fifth man.  I couldn’t see a strong link between 1900, 1953, 1963, 1983 and the spies, although Philby did finally defect in 1963.  I liked the way that the clue at 13 down evoked images of spying in Vienna.  In some cases references to names of individual spies in the clues did not depend on knowledge of their specific activities (e.g. GARB at 24 down), but in some other cases, more specific knowledge was required to understand the clue fully (e.g. the clue for APOSTLE at 9 across and RUSSIANS at 3 down)

Other clues that took my fancy were the use of ‘cellular network’ at 15 across and  the golfing allusion at 18 down.

After Quixote’s use of LU yesterday, we were required to have a knowledge of French today as well, but I suspect today’s knowledge was more elementary for many.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



Article on mortgages cast pall 60 years ago (3,5,4)


THE (definite article) + an anagram of (cast) MORTGAGES


THE GREAT SMOG (reference THE GREAT SMOG of the winter of 1952/53 which began in early December 1952 and lasted until March 1953.  It cast a pall over London)




Circle called "Art in Paris", a zesty lot (7)


O (shape of a circle) + RANG (called) + ES (French for ‘art’ – my French is very basic indeed; is this the old fashioned form of ‘are’ in French to equate with ‘thou art’ in English?)


ORANGES (citrus fruit; a zesty lot)




A job with the French for Burgess orginally (7)


A + POST (job) + LE (one of the French words for ‘the)’


APOSTLE (Guy Burgess was a member of the Cambridge APOSTLEs intellectual secret society debating club at University, before he became a spy)




Teachers’ bible study reform is out?  Good for them! (10)


NUT ([National Union of] Teachers) + RI (religious instruction; bible study) + an anagram of (reform) IS OUT


NUTRITIOUS (nourishing; good for you)




Roast double-agent left abandoned (4)


BLAKE (reference George BLAKE  [born 1922, still living in Russia], double-agent) excluding (abandoned) L (left)


BAKE (roast)




Wyatt had first individual listening device (8)


EARP (reference Wyatt EARP, American lawman best known for his involvement in the gunfight at the OK corral) + H (first letter of [first] HAD) + ONE (individual)


EARPHONE (listening device)



It’s adjusted to use different cellular network (6)


Anagram of (adjusted) IT’S + anagram of (different) USE


TISSUE (a collection of cells with a similar structure and particular function in an animal or plant; cellular network)




Mine host perhaps spilt a pint over Mike (6)


Anagram of (spilt) A PINT containing (over) M (Mike is the code word for the letter M in international radio communication)

PIT  (M) AN*

PITMAN (a man who work in a pit or mine, who may be your host if you visit a pit)




Car speed made compulsory 30 years ago (8)


SEAT (brand of car) + BELT (move very fast; speed)


SEATBELT (legislation to make the wearing of SEATBELTs compulsory for drivers and front seat passengers in the UK was enacted in 1983.  In 1991 it also became compulsory to wear SEATBELTs in the rear.  There are a very few exceptions.)




Ornithologist’s introduction about nesting boxes (4)

ORNI (first 4 letters of [introduction] ORNITHOLOGIST) reversed (about)


INRO (small Japanese container for pills and medicines.  INRO is both singular and plural)  Clearly ‘nesting’ in the clue is there as a link to ornithology.  ‘nest’ can also be used to describe a set of things – e.g. a nest of tables, a nest of boxes one inside each other (?)




Buzz TV chief ordered to recruit new rep (5,5)


Anagram of (ordered) TV CHIEF containing (to recruit) an anagram of (new) REP


FEVER PITCH (state of great excitement; buzz)




Result of mountains at sea?  No escaping it (7)


Anagram of (at sea) MOUNTAINS excluding (escaping it) NO


TSUNAMI (a very swiftly travelling sea wave that attains great height [mountains?], caused by an undersea earthquake or similar disturbance)




Controversial author who took Emerson’s lead (7)


Anagram of (controversial) AUTHOR containing (who took) E (first letter of [lead] EMERSON)


THOREAU (reference Henry David THOREAU [1817 – 1862] American author)




Conditions 50 yeasr ago, as opposed to the Scottish conservatives 113 years ago, say? (3,3,6)


THE BIG FREEZE (sounds like [say] THE BIG FREES which in turn can be considered the opposite of [as opposed to] THE WEE FREES which is the name given to those members of Free Church of Scotland who remained separate when the remainder of the Free Church merged with the United Presbyterian Church to form the United Free Church of Scotland in 1900 [113 years ago].  The separatists were, indeed their successors still are, very conservative in outlook)


THE BIG FREEZE (reference the very cold weather that centred on Britain from December 1962 to early March 1963)





Maclean was one characteristic old rebel at first (7)


TRAIT (characteristic) + OR (first letters of [at first] each of OLD and REBEL)


TRAITOR (betrayer; a descripition of spy Donald MACLEAN, another of the Cambridge Five spy ring)




E.g. Cowards’s idiot at 12 or Bennett;’s abroad (Burgess) (10)


ENGLISHMAN (reference Noel Coward’s song MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN go out in the midday [12] sun.  Idiot is singular so we have a single ENGLISHMAN)


ENGLISHMAN (reference Alan BENNETT‘s play AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD based on the true story of the chance meeting between the actress Coral Browne and the spy Guy BURGESS)




Amazingly, US ran SIS handlers of Blunt et al (8)


Anagram of (amazingly) US RAN SIS


RUSSIANS (the handlers of the Cambridge spies)




A coach holds a hundred?  Count on it (6)


A + (BUS [coach] containing [holds] [A + C {Roman numeral for 100}])

A B (A C) US

ABACUS (counting frame)




TV newsman broadcast over new feature of 27 (4)


SOW (broadcast) containing (over) N (new)

S (N) OW

SNOW (reference news broadcaster Jon SNOW; also SNOW was a feature of THE BIG FREEZE [27 across])




Oscar Disney lifted in America for Bandits (7)


O (OSCAR is the code word for the letter O in international radio communication) + (WALT [reference WALT Disney, animator and film mogul] reversed [lifted; down clue] contained in [in] US [America])

O (U (TLAW<) S)

OUTLAWS (bandits)




Foil argument after 4 (12)


COUNTER (ABACUS [4 down]) + POINT (the message central to an argument)


COUNTERPOINT (to set in contrast for effect; FOIL can be similarly defined as anything that serves to set off something else)




Very hard to stop team trip at the last minute (8-4)


HH (very hard in terms of a pencil) contained in (to stop) (ELEVEN [team] + TOUR [trip])


ELEVENTH-HOUR (at the last minute)




In Vienna I hid bug in worn-out recorder (10)


(TAP [bug] contained in [hid] ICH [German for I.  German is spoken in Vienna, Austria]) all contained in (in) DONE (past exhausted; worn-out)


DICTAPHONE (small tape-recorder for dictating letters)




E.g. Philby failing his footsoldiers? (8)


DEFECT (failing) + OR (other ranks; foot soldiers)


DEFECTOR (Kim Philby [physically] defected to the Soviet Union in 1963)




Finished in the long grass, missing heart of green (7)


THE ROUGH (long grass on a golf course) excluding (missing) E (central letter of [heart of] GREEN, another golfing allusion)


THROUGH (finished)




Very harsh time in former regiment (7)


T (time) contained in (in) (EX [former] + REME [Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; British army regiment])


EXTREME (very harsh)




Confess having swallowed tablets since (6)


SING (confess) containing (having swallowed) (E [ecstasy tablet] + E [another ecstasy tablet, to give tablets])


SEEING (valid shortened alternative of SEEING that; since)




Guy Burgess initially ncked Arab clothing (4)


GB (first letters [initially] of GUY and BURGESS) containing (nicked) AR (Arab)

G (AR) B

GARB (clothing)



9 Responses to “Independent 8185 / Radian”

  1. MikeC says:

    Thanks duncanshiell and Radian. French “tu es” is indeed the equivalent of “thou art”, I believe. Needed your help with parsing 13d. INRO was new to me but is probably a crossword standby (like etui?). Fun puzzle.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Fine puzzle, fine blog – thanks to both.

    Bit of a tour of the second half of the 20th century here, which was fun – no particular knowledge required (except maybe for APOSTLE, which I couldn’t fathom). Since the names of the spies were in the clues that gave you a good hint about what was going on. My kind of theme.

    A number of clever anagrams today.

  3. crypticsue says:

    Great fun indeed – just too young to remember 1a but I certainly remember the chilblains from 27a. :( Thanks to Radian and Duncan too.

  4. Wanderer says:

    Splendid fun which ticked all the right boxes for me.

    26a: Ralph Waldo Emerson was the leader of the 19C New England transcendentalist movement, of which Thoreau was a noted follower, making this a fine &lit.

    Many thanks to Radian and Duncan.

  5. allan_c says:

    I parsed 8ac slightly differently, taking ‘es’ to refer to art (or arts) as a noun, from the French ‘Licence ès lettres’, the quivalent of a BA or in some cases MA degree. Those of us old enough to remember 1ac may also remember learning French from a textbook whose author’s name had the qualifications ‘MA, L ès l’ appended.

    Thanks, Radian and Duncan.

  6. Raich says:

    My guess re ES is that Duncan is right – a bit of a crossword staple from way way back. tu es = thou art so es = (French) Art.

  7. Polly says:

    Duncan and Raich are right. The ‘ès’ in French degrees is in fact a contraction of ‘en les’ (in the); hence ‘licencié ès lettres’ is a literature graduate.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    An interesting challenge today. We completed it despite not being able to parse 9ac and 27ac. We were too lazy to search for 9ac and thought about The Wee Frees but didn’t bother looking for that either! So thanks to Duncan for spending the time doing so!

    Thanks to Radian!

  9. allan_c says:

    Thanks, Polly, for that explanation. That little ‘ès’ has always puzzled me; I couldn’t quite see how it meant art(s), since the usual word is the same as in English, found, for example in ‘Musée des Arts et Métiers’.

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