Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8211 / Tyrus

Posted by Bertandjoyce on February 7th, 2013


We are celebrating our first anniversary of blogging on fifteensquared this week and it’s Thursday so we expected a somewhat difficult solve, especially when we saw that it was Tyrus who has the reputation of being one of the ‘harder’ setters.

Some of the clues (for example – 14d ,6d and 17ac) required a two-step solution which may not be to everyone’s liking and we certainly needed most, if not all of the crossing letters before we could even guess at possible answers. We hadn’t heard of 16d but we managed to parse it from the cryptic part thank goodness.

There were a number of ‘smiley’ moments as expected – 2d and 15d, plus some which really had us scratching our head as we were cleverly misdirected by the clue! The clues themselves read very smoothly and many brought a smile to our faces even before we started trying to solve them.

Tyrus also sets Inquisitor crosswords and looking back, we realised that he had set some difficult but really enjoyable puzzles for the series recently. The last Independent crossword he set was a January prize puzzle that was also great fun. We are now looking forward to next month’s offering from Tyrus!

1   Bury engineer rejected complaint
ENGULF ENG (engineer) + FLU (complaint) reversed or ‘rejected’
5   Shortly afterwards meets minister in seat of government
THE HAGUE THEn (afterwards) with last letter missing or ‘shortly’ + HAGUE (Minister – as in William Hague)
9   Writer not completely wrong
AMIS AMISs (wrong) with last letter missing or ‘not completely’
10   It’s a feature of short piece from Alexander Pope work
APOSTROPHE An anagram of SHORT + A (piece of Alexander) + POPE (the anagrind is ‘work’). The ‘ is a feature of it’s!
11   Dump in stream? Surprised it’s acceptable
JETTISON JET (stream) + anagram of IT’S (anagrind is ‘surprised’) + ON (acceptable)
12   Hurting after exercise – excellent
PEACHY ACHY (hurting) after PE (exercise)
13   Be ruthless in love, getting criticism at first
STICK AT NOTHING NOTHING (love) getting STICK (criticism) + AT at the beginning or ‘first’
17   After crash, owe two thousand – if it’s gone, it’s gone
OUT OF THE WINDOW An anagram of OWE TWO THOUSAND IF (anagrind is ‘after crash’) with SA (IT as in sex appeal) removed or ‘gone’
18   Avoid having key cut
ESCHEW ESC (key) + HEW (cut)
21   Bum of leader needs kicking
FREELOAD Anagram of OF LEADER (anagrind is ‘needs kicking’)
23   Berlin’s too awkward for stars
ORION’S BELT Anagram of BERLIN’S TOO (anagrind is ‘awkward’)
24   Attack lecher
GOAT GO AT (attack)
25   Historian’s opening chapter about old ruler
HEPTARCH H (Historian’s first letter or ‘opening’) + anagram of CHAPTER (anagrind is ‘about’)
26   About to get wrong answer
RETORT RE (about) + TORT (wrong)
2   Dump assistant
NUMBER TWO Double definition! Do we need to say more?
3   Writes puerile piece about bug
UPSET Hidden in the clue when reversed or ‘about’ wri(TES PU)erile
4   Loud female lifted man (supporter of Jack?)
FLAGSTAFF F (loud) + GAL (girl) reversed or ‘lifted’ + STAFF (man)
5   God! One Direction actually there personally – which is irritating
THORN IN THE FLESH THOR (god) + N (direction) + IN THE FLESH (be there personally). ‘One’ adds to the smooth reading and sense of the clue but is not essential. We were more familiar with the saying ‘thorn in the side’ but this phrase apparently comes from the Bible according to Chambers.
6   Recycled drinks in bar
ESTOP An anagram of TOPES (drinks). The anagrind is ‘recycled’ but we only managed to solve this clue with all the crossing letters as you have to find the synonym for ‘drinks’ first and then ‘recycle’ it. Thanks Thomas for the explanation – we missed that.
7   Love brings share of trouble?
ADORATION A DO (trouble) RATION (share)
8   Yeah – Hearts 3, United 2 in replay
UH HUH HHH (3 hearts) + UU (2 united). The ‘replay’ presumably relates to the possible order of goals in the match. Thanks Eileen – your explanation of the use of ‘replay’ is much better!
14   Ma? A violent criminal
CUTTHROAT MAw (throat) with last letter removed or ‘cut’ hence the answer. Again, we needed all the crossing letters before we could sort this one out! Thanks K’s D for pointing out the typo! I know you sent us a personal email with this info but credit due where it should be!
15   Reported one regularly popping up in town
TOWCESTER Sounds like TOASTER where toast pops up!
16   Doctor pinching seats at front, look! Be a man!
GROW A PAIR GP (doctor) around or ‘pinching’ ROW (seats)  A (first letter or front of At) + AIR (look). We guessed at this one when we had most of the crossing letters. We found it in the on-line urban dictionary!
19   Take in golfer’s opening shot
SERVE R (take) inside SEVE (golfer as in Seve Ballesteros)
20   Is touching up wife on top showing more understanding?
WISER IS + RE (touching) reversed or ‘up’ with W (wife) first or ‘on top’
22   Allowed to run off
LEGIT LEG IT (run off)


12 Responses to “Independent 8211 / Tyrus”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. This was very hard but satisfying.

    6d – not an anagram, hence not breaking the Ximenean rule against indirect anagrams. It’s re-cycled in the sense that you start TOPES at the E and go round again –
    so you can see the answer here, for instance: TOPESTOPESTOPESTOPES. I’ve seen this device before, I think, and solvers will have their own opinion about whether this kind of indirectness is “fair” or not. A lot of indirectness is accepted and uncontroversial. Nobody objects to indirect reversals, I think, but almost everyone objects to indirect anagrams.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Chuffing Nora, as they say in these parts. I know Thursday is supposed to be the ‘hard’ day in the Indy, but this hard? I was pleased to finish it with a bit of e-help, but it’s just about at the outer reaches of my solving ability.

    Good puzzle, though. Well done to B&J for parsing OUT OF THE WINDOW, ESTOP and CUTTHROAT, which I would never have done. I thought the number of multi-part clues might help get going with it, but that hope was soon dashed. GROW A PAIR is obviously some quaint northern expression (that I’ve never heard of) and OUT OF THE WINDOW didn’t jump out at me immediately either.

    TOWCESTER was very clever (God help any overseas solvers) and once I’d got the final O for 2d I was about to enter MOBILE LOO before I thought that that was far too tasteless for this setter. Then I got the proper answer, and practically had to hold back a number one from laughing so much.

    Good to see that Tyrus is maintaining his reputation for keeping in touch with popular culture with 5dn …

    Thank you to him for the puzzle – tough but fun.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    And sorry, I forgot to say happy anniversary to Bert and Joyce!

  4. flashling says:

    Estop beat me today, is a heptarch ruler or rulers since there are 7 of them? Number two was rather good.
    Congrats to B&J on their full year after agreeing to replace me, they do a much better job.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks B and J and congratulations – on both your anniversary and the great blog.

    I agree with practically every word of K’s D’s comment.

    This was a tough work-out and easily worthy of the Prize slot – great fun, though.

    I think it’s perhaps not only overseas solvers who might have problems with TOWCESTER!

    In 8dn, ‘replay’ is surely needed as the anagrind? – or I may have misunderstood your comment.

    I couldn’t have parsed CUTTHROAT without your help: I have no objection to that kind of clue – in fact, it’s one of my favourite types.

    Many thanks, Tyrus, for a most entertaining exercise.

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks for all the helpful comments and congratulations! Can honestly say that we have really enjoyed our first year – it really has added another dimension to our crossword enjoyment. So thanks to K’s D for ‘un-lurking’ us in the first place, flashling for passing the baton and Gaufrid for accepting us onto the team and for all the help he has given us over the last year.

    Joyce takes full responsibility for any errors as Bert has been busy working recently and has not had time to check the blog!

  7. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Tyrus for an entertaining puzzle and B&J for the blog. I finished in the SE corner, where seeing how 24ac worked made it easy to spot the similar device in 22dn.

    17ac: I really think the solver is being asked to do too much here for a weekday non-prize cryptic. The length of the answer and the enumeration go some way to compensating, but I would hate to see this sort of thing catch on and be used in clues for shorter answers.

    18ac: I would like to see the word “special” (or something similar) inserted before “key”. The problem with allowing “key” to clue ESC is that by the same logic, “key” could clue any single letter of the alphabet.

    2dn: An excellent double definition – two really different meanings of the answer.

    6dn: This seems fair to me. There is a big difference in degree of difficulty between finding a synonym and making a cyclic shift (as explained by Thomas @1) and having to make a full anagram of a synonym.

    8dn: I would class this as an indirect anagram, but of the benign type and a perfectly fair and good clue. If you take the view that indirect anagrams are necessarily wrong, then you need a different name for this type of device.

    14dn: Eileen @5 has perfectly expressed my reaction to this clue.

    flashling @4: A heptarch is one of a group of seven rulers, so the singular definition is correct.

  8. Rowland says:

    Indirect is indirect, but I don’t mind the ‘cycling’ idea. Maybe ‘recycled’ isn’t quite right for that motion though!! As for MAw, well, hard but again, it’s accepted I think, at least here and in the Groan-iad.


  9. Tyrus says:

    Many thanks to B&J for their excellent blog and to others for their comments.

    As indicated, the phrase at 16dn is at the cutting edge of contemporary urban slang rather as 1D are on the modern music scene, (I think). And yes, K’s D, I’m afraid I do know all their names! Slight correction to the parsing here – Row A refers to the seats in the front row.

    Congratulations on the blogging anniversary.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks for dropping by Tyrus. We did wonder about Row A as the front row.

  11. Dormouse says:

    Well, yesterday’s I thought was hard. I attempted it on a train coming back from a funeral and had a starting migraine, so I thought I did well to get about half of it.

    Today, feeling considerably better and with much more time to dedicate to the crossword I managed to get just one answer – 20dn, although I more or less guessed 4dn but didn’t have the courage to actually enter it into the grid.

    Not my best day for crossword solving.

  12. Tramp says:

    Great blog and another super puzzle by Tyrus. I also thought it very hard for a Thursday. My favourite clues are 2d and 16d (they appeal to my sense of humour!)

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