Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8187 / Anax

Posted by Bertandjoyce on January 10th, 2013


It’s while since we had a Thursday Anax to blog and we really look forward to his offerings. This one didn’t disappoint, with some fiendishly crafted clues amongst a few relatively simple ones, an 8-word anagram and a 6-word phrase.

We know that some solvers don’t like long anagrams, and it is true that they can be a bit like Marmite – they are virtually impossible to solve without a number of crossing letters (unless the answer comes to you out of the blue), and they leave large gaps in the grid until solved. However, today’s 29-letter example at 19ac/6d/21 is cleverly constructed as a cryptic definition and we have no complaints!

We’re still puzzling over the parsing of 12ac – any comments or thoughts out there?

We’re also a bit doubtful about the use of ‘confiscating’ in 17ac – to us this word suggests removal of something, whereas the wordplay requires it to mean an inclusion.

There was some crafty misdirection and cross referencing in 20ac and 24ac, which after puzzling over them for some time we really enjoyed when the penny dropped!

The blog in Announcements on 225 asks us all to keep a look out for the clue and puzzle of the month. There were a number of clues here which could be a contender – we particularly liked 5/23, 27/28, 19/6d/21 and 8d.

1   Cheese buffet and sandwiches
FETA Hidden or ‘sandwiched’ in (buf)FET A(nd)
3   “Modern” males, in a way, “heartily” falsify accounts
STATEMENTS TATE MEN (males from Tate Modern) in ST (street, or ‘way’) + S (‘heart’ or middle letter of ‘falsify’)
9/10   Carp with bandleader’s dish
BEEF WELLINGTON BEEF (carp) + W (with) + ELLINGTON (Duke Ellington, bandleader)
12   Totally wrong? The opposite
OUTRIGHT We’re not sure about the parsing here – RIGHT is obviously the opposite of wrong, and outright can mean ‘totally’, but where does OUT come from?
13   Church takes over from 8together?
SYNCED SYN(o)D (solution to 8 Down) with O (over) replaced by CE (church)
16   A gas fire
AXE A + XE (xenon – a gas)
17   Thrash with ruler, confiscating fine supply for hydroponics
TANK-FARMING TAN (thrash) + KING (ruler) around or ‘confiscating’(?) F (fine) ARM (supply)
19/6D/21   Reason one has damn poor life today? Maybe
A FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED Anagram of REASON ONE HAS DAMN POOR LIFE TODAY (anagrind is ‘maybe’) – cryptic definition – it could be a reason for having a poor life
20   A 25, this could make 28 stop strike
RAM A + NAG (solution to 25D) + RAM (this solution) makes ‘anagram’, of which ‘post’ (solution to 28ac) and ‘stop’ is are examples.
21   See 19
See 19ac
22   Down to cover with my bad catches when diving
SWOOPS UP SUP (‘down’) around or ‘covering’ W (with) OOPS (‘my’ as an interjection when something goes wrong or ‘badly’ – we think – it is stretching it a bit!!)
24   Cringed at 23 finale in middle C
CENTIGRADE Anagram of CRINGED AT (anagrind is ‘free’ – solution to 23D) + E (‘finale’ or last letter of middle). We had ‘C’ for carbon on Monday in the middle of i.e. which had us guessing but we still took a while to figure out that the middle and C needed to be separated to solve this clue!
26   Muslim given American backing
SUFI IF (given) US (American) reversed or ‘backing’. We were not totally convinced by ‘if’ for ‘given’, but ‘given’ it’s this setter, it’s probably okay!
27/28   Sorting depot regrets burying one’s important letters?
REGISTERED POST Anagram of DEPOT REGRETS (anagrind is ‘sorting’) around or ‘burying’ I’S (one’s)
1   Upset at a fellow hiding mostly diseased tumours
FIBROMATA AT A F (fellow) round or ‘hiding’ MORBI(d) (diseased with the last letter omitted, or ‘mostly’) all reversed or ‘upset’
2   Set out to get rare rings that man shows lover
THEATREGOER Anagram of TO GET RARE (anagrind is ‘set out’) around HE (that man)
4/15   It appears acute trouble may follow it
THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE Cryptic definition – The thin end of a wedge has an acute angle. We were pleased to see a mathematical reference appearing for a change!
5/23   Strike pay includes right to be exempt from tax?
TOLL-FREE TOLL (strike) + FEE (pay) round or ‘including’ R (right)
6   See 19 ac
See 19ac
7   Head teachers
NUT Double definition – another word for Head and the National Teachers’ Union
8   Assembly ends in somebody’s approval
SYNOD SY (first and last letters, or ‘ends’ of ‘somebody’) + NOD (approval)
11   Cop shows set around farm buildings making booze
DISTILLERIES DI (Detective Inspector – cop) + SERIES (shows) around TILL (farm)
14   Black and white hair occurs if mixed with oxygen
CHIAROSCURO Anagram of HAIR OCCURS (anagrind is ‘mixed’) around O (oxygen)
15   See 4
See 4
18   Decisive moment in daring show?
GAME POINT GAME (daring) POINT (show)
21   Horse’s outline seen on mounting
PACER RECAP (outline) reversed or ‘mounted’
23   See 5
See 5
25   Horse’s tail in brown and silver
NAG N (‘tail’ or last letter of brown) + AG (silver)

11 Responses to “Independent 8187 / Anax”

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, B and J – and for the reminder to be looking out for clue / puzzle of the month – no easy task, when you get a cracker of a puzzle like this, stuffed with excellent clues! [I’d add 24ac to your list.]

    In 12ac I took it as OUT = wrong – I didn’t wade through the whole of the Chambers entry: I was satisfied when I got to ‘at fault; in error’]

    ‘Confiscate’ works for me: if a teacher confiscates a mobile phone s/he takes possession of it.

    In 22 I think OOPS = ‘my bad’, which is explained here:

    Many thanks, as always, to Anax for a tough but rewarding challenge.

  2. Eileen says:

    Re Crossword Awards: I hadn’t visited Anax’s website for a day or two and so have only just seen his [and others’] detailed and thought-provoking observations. Worth a look:

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Eileen for the two links. Neither of us had come across the use of ‘my bad’ before. We meant to add 24ac to the list of great clues so thanks for that comment too!

  4. Eileen says:

    Hi B and J

    As with so many things, I only learned it from a crossword, a while ago.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, both, for blogging, and Anax for the puzzle. I did eventually manage it (not always the case with this setter), and I’m glad I persevered, because there was some good stuff in here. I have to say my heart sank slightly when I saw the 29-letter anagram – very clever and all that, but from this solver’s point of view, not ideal, since I am never going to solve that from the fodder without a good number of crossing letters. And with Anax, crossing letters have to be worked for.

    But I liked CENTIGRADE and AXE, and THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE is smiley now that you’ve explained it (together with three or four others I couldn’t fathom).

    Slowly getting there with the Indy Thursday puzzles …

  6. Flashling says:

    Thanks dean and b&j toughest by far for me today. Got stumped by axe thinking of a sneaky hidden of aga.

  7. pennes says:

    The paper version has 19/6/21A as 18/6/21A which gives only 27 spaces for 29 letters.I suppose I could have sorted out the confusion, but Anax puzzles are tough enough without clues being muddled up and I did the FT instead.

  8. MikeC says:

    Thanks B&J and Anax. Hard work but rewarding – needed help to parse some of these!

  9. Lancastrian Bluenose says:

    Another hard crossword from Anax but always interesting !

  10. briggg says:

    Sorry to briefly interrupt today’s thread but could I urge fans of Mudd to visit the fifteensquared Announcenents page, you can navigate to it from the links top left.

  11. briggg says:

    Double apologies, that should have been Punk (who sets as Mudd in the Financial Times)

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