Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1,200/Donk

Posted by Ali on February 24th, 2013


My first Donk puzzle and I have to say this was both excellent and very tough! There are some brilliant clues here – far too many for such a new setter! – but also some that have completely defeated me. Enjoyable from the get-go to the let-go though nevertheless. If we were still doing the Clue Of The Month thing, ‘Leaves range when shot in balls’ for OREGANO would be my 2013-to-date front-runner by a comfortable distance.

1 DE-ICER – 1c in DEER
4 ODOMETER – E(uropean) MET in ODOR
10 CHESTNUTS – CH[-um] + EST(ablished) + NUTS (pair)
11 LEARN – LE + NRA rev.
12 BIRO – I ROB ‘circulating’
13 CARAVAGGIO – CARAVA[-n] + (GIG)* + 0
16 ROOT FOR – ROOT FO[-u(niversal)]R
22 STONEHENGE – This must be ONE HEN for ‘single bird’ but not sure where ‘organise’ fits in
24 WI-FI – [-yoursel]F in WII (console)
26 IDAHO – AH! in I DO
27 ADORATION – I think this is DO in A RATION
28 GRANDSON – I think this is a cryptic def, though if somebody could explain it…?
1 DECIBEL – DEC 1 + BEL[-l]
2 INEBRIATE – BRIA[-n] in 1 (TEEN)*
3 EATS – Hidden in swEATShirt
5 DESPAIR – 3 anagrams – (DIPS ARE)*, (PRAISED)*, (I SPREAD)*
6 MELBA TOAST – No idea on this one – ‘Spice a drink to accompany cheese with this?’
7 TWANG – Initial letters of Turkeys, Worryingly About Nasty Giblets
8 RANCOUR RAN + CO. + U[-nfai]R-/td>
9 KUWAIT – “Queue wait”
18/25 MASKING TAPE – Not sure on this one – ‘what sorta person is doing strip for painter?’
19 OREGANO – (RANGE)* in OO (balls)
20 WIGEON – WIG (fake shock) + (ONE)*
21 SPINNER – NN (news) in S(mall) PIER
25 OSAKA – SO rev. + A.K.A

16 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1,200/Donk”

  1. John (Paul) says:

    Privileged to meet Donk when on tour. Fine bloke indeed, and great to see he’s doing so well…

    All best,

    John (Paul)

  2. flashling says:

    Don’t KNOW who donk is, but enjoyed this.

  3. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Well Flash, I DO know who Donk is, and enjoyed it too!
    Favourite clues: 16ac, 22ac and 18d/25.
    But I guess more about that later.
    In which case I hope to see further explanations on two clues that I couldn’t fully parse (1ac, 11ac).

  4. cumbrian says:

    Sil van den Hoek @3, I’m also looking for a full explanation of 1ac and 11ac, and share your favourites, plus 28ac. Great stuff I thought.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Sil & cumbrian
    1ac is DEER (maybe does) around (without it) 1°C (just above freezing)
    11ac is LE ([Arsène] Wenger’s the {he’s French}) NRA (American gunners {National Rifle Association}) reversed (backed)

  6. Querulous says:

    Thanks Donk and Ali.

    22 It’s STAGE with the A replaced by ONE HEN
    27 It’s A then RATIO inside DON
    28 King George’s family business might be GR AND SON
    29 MET (filled) then the odd letters in dEtOuR

    6 MEL B is one of the Spice Girls
    18/25 TAPE is hidden inside “What sorta person”, hence it could be considered to be masking TAPE.

  7. Dormouse says:

    I think 6dn is Mel B for spice [girl] plus a toast for a drink. Do you eat Melba toast with cheese?

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Ali
    I seem to have beaten to it but I was going to add this:
    22ac STaGE (organise) with ONE HEN (single bird) replacing (for) the ‘a’
    27ac RATIO (relationship) in (entered into) A DON (dress {verb})
    28ac GR AND SON (King George’s family business)
    6dn MEL B (Spice [girl]) A TOAST (drink)
    18/25 ‘sorTA PErson’ is hiding, or MASKING, TAPE

  9. sidey says:

    In retrospect I can see some very clever stuff here. Far too convoluted in parts for me though. For instance, ‘cheese with this?’, ‘cheese on this?’ would work for me. Hey ho, probably be more to my taste when I’ve done a few more.

  10. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid.
    I saw that 1ac was 1C inside something, but I was focused on DEES (verb instead of noun). DEER, yes, ‘does’. Clever.
    After the explanation of 11ac, I am not sure whether ‘for starters, Wenger’s the’ means “put LE in front of”. I fear I am not completely happy with ‘starters’ as a plural, even if LE can be seen as two (plural) letters [but LE as a word is only one thing].
    And Sidey, I see your point. Perhaps, your option is better.

    But all in all, IMO once more a great puzzle from Donk who has become a real asset to Crosswordland in only a few months time!

    Thank you, Ali.

  11. Robi says:

    Good one, although I’ve only just got deer=does, doh!

    Didn’t see MASKING TAPE either. Thanks to Ali, Querulous and Gaufrid for sorting it all out.

  12. Donk says:

    Evening all,

    Many thanks to Ali for providing the blog, hope you enjoyed the trip to Wembley!

    It’s always great to hear comments from solvers, so thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to leave comments.

    I used ‘for starters’ in the sense of ‘first of all’, which is fair in my book.

    6d parses as: MEL B (Spice) A (a) TOAST (drink to)… the definition is ‘accompany cheese with this?’

    Once again, really appreciate everyone dropping in with queries – hope you all enjoyed solving it as much as I enjoyed compiling it!


  13. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Hi Donk.

    “I used ‘for starters’ in the sense of ‘first of all’, which is fair in my book”.
    Can you explain this a little further? (please)
    Still don’t get it completely.

    You’re right about 6d, so I am not with Sidey anymore. :)

    Terrific puzzle.

  14. Donk says:

    Hi Sil,

    In my 12th Ed. Chambers, ‘for starters’ is defined as ‘for a start’. It’s just a phrase I use so often that I didn’t think twice about how to defend it!


  15. Sil van den Hoek says:

    And, once more, thanks for such a good crossword.

  16. cumbrian says:

    Gaufrid@5 Many thanks for the explanations – I just couldn’t see 1C in 1ac but so obvious; another case of not analysing the clue sufficiently and falling for the clever surface. 11ac I’d forgotten that Wenger is French (if I even knew), and missed NRA; a fair clue though. Everything else fell into place, albeit with much head scratching in places.
    Many thanks to Donk for a puzzle with a good mix of chuckles, groans and Duh! moments.

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