Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8204 / Crosophile

Posted by duncanshiell on January 30th, 2013


This is Crosophile’s first weekday outing of the year in the Independent series.  We got our money’s-worth today with 32 clues.  My experience of blogging the Independent is that 32 clues is the exception rather than the rule.




I didn’t think there was anything particularly difficult in today’s puzzle.  Apart from GINKGOES perhaps, all the words or phrases were familiar.  My only direct experience of GINGKO involved taking an extract of the tree to combat altitude sickness when I climbed Mount Kinabalu (the highest mountain in Asia at 4,095 metres or 13,435 feet) a few years ago.  Whether it really had any effect or not I don’t know, but I didn’t suffer from altitude sickness. Kinabalu is a tourist mountain, you don’t need any special skills to climb it, but it’s an impressive view when the sun comes up.

There were a number of  homophones today which can sometimes generate comment.  Of the four, I felt more comfortable with SHARE (16 across), GROYNE (25 across) and FORKS (6 down) than I did with WHORLED (20 across), but others may have different views.

The verb ‘cut’ was used twice to indicate shortening of words in clues that were close together (11 across and 15 across), but in each case the form of the word seemed appropriate to the rest of the clue.

For 5 across, some variant of SACRIFICE kept coming to mind, before I had enough crossing letters to get SCARIFYING.

I liked the use of ‘not teetotal’ in 10 across.  At 27 across, it seemed likely that ‘neat’ was a reference to cattle, but it ook me some time to solve the clue.  ‘Merc’ at 19 was a good bit of misdirection.

The scientists got a look in today with Kelvin making an appearance at 22 down.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



Flannel or what goes with it? (4)


SOAP (flattery; flannel)


SOAP (in the bathroom SOAP and FLANNEL are often used  together) double definition




As if crying alters distressing activity (10)


Anagram of (alters) AS IF CRYING


SCARIFYNG (frightening; distressing activity)




Offensive comment by sailor (not teetotal) surrounded by water (7)


(INSULT [offensive comment] + TAR [reference Jack TAR {sailor}]) excluding (not) the TT (teetotal) at the end of INSULTand the beginning of TAR);


INSULAR (surrounded by water)




Unadulterated cut meat is appropriate (7)


PURE (unadulterated) excluding the last letter (cut) E + LOIN (meat from the lower part of an animal’s back)


PURLOIN (steal; appropriate, as a verb)




It’s important to forget wide – not many score (6)


WEIGHTY (important) excluding (to forget) W (wide, in cricket scoring notation)


EIGHTY (4 * 20 [score]; four [not many] score)




Stowing away, it’s smart to hold onto what remains (8)


STING (smart) containing (to hold) ASH (what remains)


STASHING (stowing away)




To succeed remain firm after cutting it (7)


INHERE (remain firm) excluding the last letter (after cutting) E + IT


INHERIT (succeed)




Parisian darling said to do splits (5)


SHARE (sounds like [said to] CHER (French [Parisian] for ‘darling’)


SHARE (split something among anumber of people; do splits)




Sped across top of roundabout like a Merc (5)


HIED (hastened; sped) containing (across) R (first letter of [top of] ROUNDABOUT)


HIRED (a mercenary [merc] is someone hired for money)




Sounds like globe flower’s petals are so arranged (7)


WHORLED (sounds like WORLD [globe])


WHORLED ( in botanical terms a WHORL is a group of similar members arising from the same level on a stem, and forming a circle around it; the petals of a flower display the characteristics of a WHORL)




Waters, the majority being around island (8)


(MOST [the majority] + ENS [being or existence])  containing (around) I (island)


MOISTENS (waters)




A bulwark created by privates say? (6)


GROYNE (sounds like [say] GROIN [genitals, especially testicles; privates])


GROYNE (breakwater to check erosion; bulwark)




Neat communications log from outset – outstanding bit of script (7)


L (first letter of [from outset] LOG) + OWING (outstanding) + S (first letter of [bit of] SCRIPT)


LOWINGS (sounds made by cows [neat] perhaps as a form of communication)




Ham to carve when cooked (7)


Anagram of (when cooked) TO CARVE






Return of short Romany girls – good lookers? (10)


(GYPSY [Romany] excluding the final letter [short] Y) reversed (return of) + LASSES (girls)


SPYGLASSES (small hand held binoculars which are excellent for looking at things; good lookers)




Lied about not being engaged (4)


Anagram of (about) LIED


IDLE (not doing anything; not being engaged)





Beams from sun, a long way (6)


S (sun) + MILES (a long way)


SMILES (beams)




Zulu weaponry and South Africa revolts, a long story before independence (7)

SA (South Africa) reversed (revolts) + SAGA (long story) + I (independence)


ASSAGAI ( slender spear of hard wood tipped with iron, either for hurling or for thrusting with, used in South Africa; Zulu weaponry)




Worry and fright after snark’s first vanishing (4)


SCARE (fright) excluding (vanishing) S (first letter of [first] SNARK)


CARE (worry)




16A takes in European place name (10)


RATION (SHARE [entry at 16 across]) containing (takes in) (E [European] + PUT [place])


REPUTATION (good name)




Guy on radio attacks two men at the same time? (5)


FORKS (sounds like [on radio] FAWKES [reference GUY FAWKES])


FORKS (in chess, attacks two pieces simultaneously)




One with old James on a site for WWII battle (3,4)


I (one) + W (with) + O (old) + JIM (James) + A


IWO JIMA (reference the major 1945 World War II battle for the strategic island and airfields of IWO JIMA in the Pacific Ocean)




Ornamental trees by grand print works (8)


G (grand) + INK (print; I can’t find a one to one definition of print and ink, but clearly the two words are very closely related.  The relation may be stronger when considering each word as a verb) + GOES (works)


GINKGOES (ornamental Chinese fan-leaved trees)




Not done well after student’s entered and marked (8)


L (learner; student) contained in (after .. entered) BOTCHED (not done well)


BLOTCHED (irregularly discoloured; marked)




Conservative ranks head touring Thailand for top places in navy (5-5)


C (Conservative) + ROWS (ranks) + (NESS [headland] containing [touring] T [International Vehicle Registration for Thailand])


CROW’S NESTS (elevated positions near the top of ships’ masts; top places in navy)




Paid regularly for lettuce etc sandwiches fried in the middle (8)


SALAD (traditionally the main ingredient in a SALAD has been lettuce) containing (sandwiches) RIE (the middle letters of FRIED [FRIED in the middle])


SALARIED (paid regularly)




Some want him blessed – they offer some protection (8)


THIMBLES (hidden word in [some] WANT HIM BLESSED)


THIMBLES (protective covers for fingers, used in sewing)




Trouble with fish catches and lines (7)


RAY (type of fish) contains (catches) (AIL [trouble] + W [with])


RAILWAY (lines form the basis of a RAILWAY)



Jack’s not working on this (in Saudi Arabia?) (3,4)


DRY LAND (JACK TAR is a seaman, so cannot fulfil his duties on dry DRY LAND; not sure this is strictly true in all aspects of a sailor’s work, particularly in the Royal Navy these days)


DRY LAND (Saudi Arabia is nominally a country where the consumption of alcohol is banned; a DRY LAND)




Kelvin heading off to pay bill for boiler (6)


K (symbol for Kelvin, the base SI unit of thermodynamic temperature) + SETTLE (pay bill) excluding the first letter (heading off) S


KETTLE (boiler [for hot water])




Heavyweight boxer mostly is of sound character (5)


TON (heavy weight) + ALI (reference Muhammad ALI, boxer, coincidentally a heavyweight boxer) excluding the final letter (mostly) I


TONAL [of or relating to musical sound; sound character)




Trust hard work and a bit of experience (4)


H (hard) + OP (opus; work) + E (first letter of [bit of] EXPERIENCE)


HOPE (have confidence; trust)



9 Responses to “Independent 8204 / Crosophile”

  1. flashling says:

    Thanks Duncan and Crosophile, re homophones I was quite glad the O in WHORLED was checked as otherwise I might have got myself in a twist with WHIRLED…

  2. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Duncan. If you complete this online a message comes up, “Congratulations. Did you see it?” This seems to imply a Nina but I didn’t and can’t see it!

  3. flashling says:

    Hmm did dead tree, I looked for one, but it’s too subtle for me today.

  4. duncanshiell says:

    NeilW @ 2

    I’ve had a look – I can see SNARK in the unches in row 10. There is a reference to the Vanishing of the Snark in the clue at 4 down. It’s more than likely there are some more Hunting of the Snark references hidden elsewhere.

  5. sidey says:

    The actual message on completion is Did you find it? Duncan seems to have.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    They sought it with THIMBLES, they sought it with CARE;
    They pursued it with FORKS and HOPE;
    They threatened its life with a RAILWAY-SHARE;
    They charmed it with SMILES and SOAP.

    [This stanza recurs several times in the Hunting of th Snark.]

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan, and well done to you and Thomas for spotting the Hunting of the Snark theme, which went about a million miles over the head of this solver.

    But it didn’t get in the way of an enjoyable and generally accessible puzzle. I liked very much INSULAR, LOWINGS, SPYGLASSES and RAILWAY; didn’t understand the Merc reference till I came here; and failed on FORKS, whose definition I thought was a bit obscure (but I would say that, wouldn’t I?)

    Thanks to Crosophile too.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Duncan – you saved us having to check an alternative meaning of FORKS! Bert guessed it may have something to do with chess,

    The theme also went over our heads but it was no less enjoyable for missing it.

    Thanks Crosophile for the cleverly constructed puzzle – we are very sorry we missed the links!

  9. Crosophile says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for the meticulous and visually stunning blog and spotting the snark. And well done, Thomas, on recognising the rest of the nina. I thought about having a hidden BOOJUM but it might have forced some obscurer words in the grid and would anyway have been too dangerous!

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