Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8203/Anax

Posted by John on January 29th, 2013


Yes I was right yesterday when I posted and said that I suspected the Raich crossword was easier than whatever I was going to be blogging today,  but although this was on the tricky side all was fair and Anax has done his usual good job, with plenty of very nice clues. More than other setters, it seems, he often has equivalents for words that are not precise synonyms, but are interchangeable in some sentence, so long as you can find it. This seems perfectly fair.

The theme is based on a number of different words whose abbreviation is h. Unusually I got this fairly quickly, solving 16ac on a wing and a prayer from the wordplay.

8 AD JUSTER — an ad is a plug
10 NITRIC — “nigh trick”
11 FOR K — for = ‘to be received by’
12 SOCIOPATHY — (To a psycho I)*
13 HEARTSTRINGS — I think what’s going on here is that it’s love = heartstrings (? not quite sure how) and it’s string in hearts, where hearts is an example of the quoted clues, thus a sequence in them
16 ABBREVIATION — (in bar above it)* and all of the quoted clues are linked by the device of abbreviation
20 RE(PRO)DUCED — ‘fences’ the inclusion indicator
21 DO PE — a dope is one who is simple
23 S CAR CITY — city as in ‘the smoke’, def ‘want’ — I’d always thought the word ‘smoke’ just applied to London, but according to Chambers it’s any metropolitan area
24 IN VERSE — def ‘the opposite’, ‘of’ a link-word
25 {fue}L AWFUL
1 HYDROGEN — h [7 is ‘height’] yd r (on e.g.)*
2 S TUCK — tuck = eats as a noun, if something is stuck it’s fast
5 PO N TOON — Toon is a nickname for Newcastle — even I have heard of ‘the Toon army’
6 IN TRANSIT — (art)rev. in inns, it
7 H EIGHT — 15 is ‘hospital’, so h, 8
9 RE CURRENC(i)ES — the heads of the quoted clues are all h, so they are examples of recurrences
14 REAR RANGE — rear = behind, range = cooker — an adjuster may rearrange
15 HOSPITAL — (h [= heroin] spoilt a)*, anagram indicator ‘lunatic’
17 BAD NEWS — (web and s{nare})*
18 IN DIANA — Gary, Indiana
19 HEROIN — h [= hydrogen] (ore)rev. in, def ‘junk’
21 DECAF — (faced)rev.

11 Responses to “Independent 8203/Anax”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I wouldn’t say that I found this one easy (I never find Anax easy) but it did fall into place quicker than the Raich yesterday.

    Chambers says that heartstrings in the plural means affectiona (I somehow see love as a stronger emotion, but it is the right meaning either way).

    Thanks to Anax once again for testing the old grey matter and to John for the review.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    Well, I finished it, but it took me an age and a good helping of gadgetry. I didn’t see the H link until quite near the end. Anax is a tough setter; what I find hard is the clever wordplay and the use of words in their less common meanings.

    I thought this was a clever puzzle, although for my taste a bit too much interlinking, where so many clues depend on each other.

    And I think that the black squares forming two Hs between the themed clues might be deliberate too …

    Bravo, Anax.

  3. MikeC says:

    Thanks John and Anax. Great stuff. My COD 14d – so simple but at the same time so trademark Anax (I spent a fair bit of time trying to see how I could make sense of some word or letters “behind” [after] Aga).

  4. MikeC says:

    Well spotted, K’s D. I missed the black Hs completely (so that’s normal for me, with anything Nina-ish!).

  5. flashling says:

    I believe Allan_C has recently interviewed the letter H at the Guardian blog….

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Unless he’s been leading a double life, flashling, I don’t think ‘our’ Allan_C is the Alan Connor who does the articles in Another Place. But they are well-written and entertaining, especially the interviews with the letters of the alphabet. Check them out if you haven’t already.

  7. flashling says:

    Actually I’d realised that – more a typo/muscle memory perhaps, K’sD, just find it an unlikely coincidence.

    Found this much harder than yesterday, thanks John for the unenviable job of blogging this one.

  8. Geebs says:


  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Another good head-scratcher from Anax. No nits found, apart from us! We missed the H blocks totally in the grid and having that pointed out, increases our admiration. However, we can see that linked clues don’t suit everyone but for us they add an extra dimension to the puzzle which is good occassionally.

    Thanks Anax and John for the blog!

  10. Simon Harris says:

    Terrific solve, but very hardof course. Had to enlist a chum (a former 15² blogger) to get anywhere near finished. I have a completed grid but still don’t know what hit me. Bravo to Anax, and thanks to John.

  11. allan_c says:

    flashling and K’s D @5, 6 & 7: No, definitely not me!

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