Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8209 / Radian

Posted by duncanshiell on February 5th, 2013


Radian is a regular setter in the Independent (and also the Guardian and Financial Times under different pseudonyms. I note he is in the Guardian today as Crucible).  Radian is keen on themes in  his puzzles.




Today’s theme was based around punctuation and proof reading marks and syumbols. There was also quite a lot of cross referencing between clues which can be quite difficult to follow until you have worked out the theme.  Often in themed puzzles, the clues solve much more easily after the theme is detected, but I didn’t find this one collapsed that quickly after I detected the theme.

There was a fair bit of lateral thinking in the clues – e.g. ‘backstage’ (4 across) to indicate that you had to reverse a word meaning ‘stage’ and ‘Nancy’s what’ (13 across) to indicate the French for ‘what’.  The use of ‘man’ for an island or isle in 24 across is becoming fairly common these day.

There were a few clues where it was fairly obvious what the answer was but it took a while to see the word play  HYPHEN at 29 across fell into this category as did YEARN at 11 across.

I found this an enjoyable challenge.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



A couple of colds at hospital department could be grave (6)

A + (C [cold {water}] + C [cold {water}], to give a couple of colds) + ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat; hospital department)]


ACCENT (reference a GRAVE ACCENT, a mark indicating a pitch falling somewhat, now used for various special purposes, especially in French)




Bear backstage in Stringfellows? (7)


PUP (give birth to; bear) + (STEP [stage]  reversed [back])


PUPPETS (dolls or images moved by strings; stringfellows [if they’re male])




Mark‘s monocle is in need of repair (9)


Anagram of (in need of repair) MONOCLE IS


SEMICOLON (punctuation mark)




Note references withdrawn in Vile Bodies (5)


OBELI (reversed [withdrawn] hidden word in [in] VILE BODIES)


OBELI (dagger-signs (†) used in printing, especially in referring to footnotes [see also 17 across])




Long time needed to ring Sun newspaper’s leader (5)


YEAR (the period of time needed by the Earth to go round [ring] the Sun) + N (first letter of [leader of] NEWSPAPER)


YEARN (long)




Call dodgy dealer to guarantee no poaching? (4-5)


RING (call) + FENCE (receiver of stolen goods; dodgy dealer)


RING-FENCE (a fence continuously encircling an estate, perhaps with the aim of keeping out poachers)




Nancy’s what separates those left in bidding (7)


QUE (one of the forms of ‘what’ in French; Nancy’s what [Nancy is a city in France]) contained in (separates) REST (the remained; those left)


REQUEST (asking of a favour; bidding)




Drug courier, rear end stuffed, makes a dash (2,4)


E (Ecstasy; drug) + (MULE [a person who smuggles drugs into a country for a dealer; courier] containing [stuffed] R [first or last letter of [end] REAR)


EM RULE (in printing terminology, a dash that is one em long, used as a punctuation mark)




10 appears here for inspiring books (English) (6)

FOR containing (inspiring) (OT [Old Testament; books] + E [English])


FOOTER (information printed at the foot of a page, sometimes showing footnotes indicated by OBELI [†, 10 across] in the body of the page)




John watched and shot one over (7)


BOG (‘John’ and ‘bog’ are both slang words for a lavatory) + EYED (watched)


BOGEYED (in golf,a bogey score is 1 over par; shot one over)




Media criticism is too much for 1 Across, perhaps (9)


DIACRITIC (hidden word in [the phrase in which the entry is hidden has more letters {is too much for} than required for the letters of the entry] MEDIA CRITICISM)


DIACRITIC (a term used of marks [eg ACCENTs {1 across}, cedillas, etc] attached to letters to indicate modified sound, value, etc)




Large man, say, stocking cotton  (5)


L (large) + ISLE (reference the ISLE of Man)


LISLE (a long-stapled, hard-twisted cotton yarn)




At home taking tea outside in it? (5)


IN (at home) contained in (taking outside) CHA (tea)


CHINA (tea may well be drunk in CHINA cups)




It connects reduced current to beach (9)


AMPERAGE (current) excluding the last three letters (reduced) AGE + SAND (beach)


AMPERSAND (the character & representing ‘and'; it connects two words)




Empty spaces occupied on board (7)


IN USE (occupied) contained in (on [board]) SS (steamship – people and objects on a steamship are said to be onboard)


SINUSES (air -filled cavities; empty spaces)




One of the signs of a devil-may-care ne’er-do-well (6)

HYPHEN (one of the four HYPHENs contained in the two words DEVILMAYCARE and NE’ERDOWELL)


HYPHEN (short stroke joining two syllables or words; sign)





He allocates marks, for instance in a series (7)


SAY (for in stance) contained in (in) (A + SER [series])


ASSAYER (an ASSAY office assigns hallmarks to gold and silver articles, so an ASSAYER is one who allocates [hall]marks)




Mark rounds Cape heading north (5)


(AMMO [ammunition; rounds] + C [Cape]) reversed (heading north; down clue) where entries are written North to South)


COMMA (punctuation mark)




Boxer John’s hard going, not boxing for sure-fire victory (2,7)


NOT containing (boxing) (CONTEH’S [reference John CONTEH {British former boxer who was World Light-Heavyweight champion}] excluding [going] H [hard])


NO CONTEST (A decision by the referee to declare a boxing match invalid on the grounds that one or both of the boxers are not making serious efforts)   I would interpret that decision to mean that no-one scores a victory.  I think though that NO CONTEST has also come to mean an unbalanced competition of any kind where one side is a sure-fire victor due to the inability of other to put up any competitive resistance.




Amends last letter dispatched from pirates’home (7)


PENZANCE (reference the Gilbert & Sullivan light opera the PIRATES of PENZANCE [pirates’ home]) excluding (dispatched) Z (last letter of the alphabet)


PENANCE (an act of humiliation or punishment, either undertaken voluntarily or imposed by a priest to express or show evidence of sorrow for sin; amends)


5 / 23


Don dares comic to keep old checks for some answers here (10)


(PROF [professor; don] + an anagram of [comic] DARES) containing (to keep) O [old])


PROOF[READS] (reads to correct printed matter.  This will involve checking for the use of correct punctuation marks or the insertion of special marks uch as some of the answers in this crossword puzzle)




Always outside scrubbing wrong sign (9)


EXTERNALLY (outside) excluding (scrubbing) X (a mark [sign] that indicates that something is wrong)


ETERNALLY (for ever; always)




Rejected, sleeps over with newspaper boss (6)


KIPS (sleeps) reversed (over) + ED (editor; newspaper boss)


SPIKED (rejected, especially of a news article))




Red line in missing sign (6)


L (line) contained in (in) CARET (a proofreading mark to show where to insert something omitted; missing sign)


CLARET (a dark red colour)




2s often enclose it as cost estimate (9)


QUOTATION (COMMAs [2 downs] , usually inverted, are often used to enclose a quotation when referenced in a newspaper article or other written material)


QUOTATION (a statement of price and terms submitted to a prospective purchaser; cost estimate)




Pull up, rarely moving controls at the same time (9)


(Anagram of [moving] RARELY) contains (controls) (LUG [pull] reversed [up; down clue])


REGULARLY (at the same time each day)




They’re 16 observed disrupting US trial (7)


Anagram of (disrupting) US TRIALS


RITUALS (an often repeated [REGULARLY {16 down}] series of actions




Arm workers with book on Sporty Spice (6)


B (book) + an anagram of (sporty) SPICE


BICEPS (muscles with two heads, especially those at the front of the upper arm; arm workers)




GP needs different source of 26 (7)


DR (doctor; general practitioner [GP]) + an anagram of (different) NEEDS


DRESDEN (fine decorated CHINA [26 across] made in Saxony)




Team turned up outside court in Fiats (6)


SIDE (team) reversed (turned up; down clue) containing (outside) CT (court)


EDICTS (orders proclaimed by authority; ‘fiats’ are formal or solemn commands)




See 5 down


See 5 down




25 Wee stroke/sunstroke (5) S (sun) + LASH a (stroke of satire_

SLASH (the symbol /, an oblique line which can also be described as a wee stroke)


13 Responses to “Independent 8209 / Radian”

  1. Joan MM says:

    Re 25 Down,I took it that ‘slash’ also meant wee/have a pee/urinate!

  2. crypticsue says:

    My thoughts on this crossword exactly match Duncan’s prologue – thank you to him and to Radian too.

    Joan @1 – that’s what I thought too!!

  3. Tatrasman says:

    Since I missed the train yesterday, I would just like to say that I’m most grateful to setters like Quixote, Dac and Phi who are generally more straightforward (at least in the Indie) than those at the tougher end. After struggling and often failing with the latter, it boosts my confidence no end to complete those of the former, and continue to battle on with the Indie. It’s a shame that Flashling, Rowland and others feel the need to show off their superiority and ability to solve in such short times, thereby belittling the efforts of us lesser mortals.

  4. duncanshiell says:

    Joan MM @ 1 and crypticsue @ 2

    You are both clearly right about 25 down – my mind was obviously too pure when I wrote the blog (possibly something to do with the driven snow outside the door at the moment)

  5. crypticsue says:

    duncan@4 – so what are you saying about Joan and me 😀

    No snow in East Kent (yet!) lovely blue sky and sunshine

  6. Thomas99 says:

    The really unusual thing about 25d is that it has 3 definitions! Wee, Stroke (until fairly recently the normal British term for the punctuation mark) and “/”.

    I really enjoyed this – interesting to compare it with the same setter’s puzzle in today’s Guardian. They’re very different – this seems funnier, perhaps a bit easier, whereas the Guardian one has some deadpan, straightforward-looking clues that turn out to be fiendish (e.g. 5d).

  7. Rowland says:

    Well tatrasman I don’t think I’ve ever gone on about my solving times, which are often shamefully lonmg btw, and belittling people is not my sport. Nor is being really rude. But if you are a beginner, let me wish you luck all the same.

    As with FT today this one had many very accurate clues, and these make for a better solving experience, in my world anyway. I would call 27A a bit weaK, and also 1dn, and 24a is a criminal offence,but I don’t think there’s anything else.

  8. Raich says:

    I thought that, in 27A, maybe what was intended was AMPERE less E.

  9. allan_c says:

    A satisfying puzzle from Radian, fairly straightforward but with some nice misdirections. In 24ac my first thought was that the middle letters were D O T (name of a character in Eastenders – not that I watch it) except that I guess Radian would have been scrupulous in capitalising ‘cotton’ so that that misdirection was accidental. But in 19dn ‘Sporty Spice’ was capitalised and had me looking for the sequence M E L (Melanie from the Spice girls). And, given the theme, I spent rather a long time trying to think of the name of a sign for 6dn.

    Thanks, Radian. And thanks, Duncan, for the blog – superb as usual.

  10. Thomas99 says:

    That’s how I saw it too.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I thought this was a lot of fun, with an interesting theme that was dotted about here and there. And definitely an easier solve than the puzzle today in Another Place (but that was a good’un too).

    Didn’t see the SLASH play on words.

    If someone was hanging upside down unconscious, would they be in an inverted coma?

  12. flashling says:

    Saw the theme quite quickly but was held up on RHS for a while.

    @Tatrasman well, I can only apologise, my comment was more of a shock rather than a boast, I get bested by the Indy quite often, it’s why I do it.

    Loved the slash triple def, well played radian.

    Thanks Duncan & radian

  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Finished this crossword only today and indeed, a nice one.

    Unlike others, I found it a bit harder than that day’s Crucible.
    It has mainly to do with the fact that I find Radian’s surfaces usually less smooth or accessible (on first sight) than Crucible’s, let alone Redshank’s [who has vastly become my favourite of the three]. Radian also uses more cross-references than his alter egos which – just like in many Araucarias – makes life harder (for me).

    Despite the Q no pangram today.

    The only criticism I have is one that I share with Rowland @7.
    In 24ac ‘man’ should really be capitalised (but then it doesn’t fit in the surface, perhaps). I wouldn’t call it “a criminal offence” but it is surely against the rules of many solvers and setters alike.

    Many thanks to Radian and Duncan.

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