Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1202/Poins

Posted by Pierre on March 10th, 2013


Poins seems to be getting a regular monthly slot in the IoS these days, and we’ve been bumping into each other on Sunday mornings these last months, which I don’t mind at all.  I got started reasonably quickly with this one, but did get held up finishing.  Some good stuff in here; just about right for the IoS prize, I thought.

If I have a criticism, it’s that this setter seems very keen on insertions (there were ten by my counting today) and a bit anagram-averse.  So a bit more variety in the clueing might be welcome.  Or maybe I’m being a bit unfair since I’ve bagged Poins on my watch a lot recently, and by the nature of producing a blog, you tend to be a bit more analytical about what’s going on.  Perhaps your average solver has just thought ‘that’s a good puzzle’ and not worried too much about its exact composition.

Any road up, here’s what I thought of it …


cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) missing

definitions are underlined


Extremely anxious before son gets first aid
A charade of AS for the outside letters of AnxiouS, S, and IST for ‘first’.

Remains occupied by Central America after Foreign Office prediction
A charade of FO for ‘foreign office’ plus an insertion of CA for ‘Central America’ in REST.

Crack on edge of record made by you
SOLVE for ‘crack’ plus R for the first letter of Record – and that’s what you are, n’est-ce pas?

10  A university teacher is introduced to cannabis largely as pleasure-seeking
An insertion of DON IS in HEM[P].  HEMP is a slang word for ‘cannabis’.  I never inhaled, honest.

12  Stuck in a relationship
A dd

13  A novelist inexperienced on the radio
Referring to Graham GREENE, best known perhaps for The Third Man and Brighton Rock.  A homophone (‘on the radio’) of GREEN for ‘inexperienced’.

15  New Leicestershire opener holding excellent catch
Leather on willow in a month or so’s time.  An insertion of AI for A1 or ‘excellent’ in N and L for the first letter of ‘Leicestershire’.   ‘ The Leicestershire police had to wait until they had sufficient evidence before they could nail/catch him.’

16  What Prospero promises to do when unimpeded by gin
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Ariel, a spirit, is freed from a tree by Prospero.  Them what know more about Shakespeare than I do will give you the details.  FREE for ‘unimpeded’ followed by SPIRIT for ‘gin’.

19  Plainly apparent without an article on work lacking restraint
An insertion of THE for ‘an article’ in OVERT for ‘plainly apparent’ on OP for ‘work’.

20  Begin with Frank
A dd.

23  A short time before Penny is found in a debauched fellow’s company
A charade of T followed by an insertion of P in ROUÉ.

25  Man almost trapped in a mine somewhere in Italy
An insertion of EDMON[D] in PIT.

27  One present of a shirt overwhelms nurse
Another insertion of TEND for ‘nurse’ in A TEE (-shirt).

28  Capital of Brown to include Irish amateur
The Albanian capital is another insertion, of IR for ‘Irish’ in TAN for ‘brown, followed by A for ‘amateur’.

29  Story heard after convert’s escape
A charade of TURN for ‘convert’ and TAIL for a homophone (‘heard’) of TALE for ‘story’.

30  Concerning this brave man falling short against an enemy from the east
HER[O] plus a reversal of FOE.


Refuse to vote for a ban -it’s wrong
(A BAN ITS)* with ‘wrong’ as the anagrind.

Only receiving Italian broadcast of game
An insertion (‘receiving’) of IT for ‘Italian’ and AIR for ‘broadcast’ in SOLE gives you the game.  It’s a card game played solo, but unless I’m suffering from false memory syndrome, I remember playing it as a young lad with pegs stuck into a board, where you had to move the pegs around to leave one in the middle. Or something like that.

Inflexible Republican leaves with an award leaving a stink
A charade of STE[R]N and CH for Companion of Honour, or ‘award’.

About to get caught out of position on the field
[c]OVER.  More cricket.  COVER is the position on the off-side at roughly 45 degrees to the batsman.  Cf EXTRA COVER, DEEP EXTRA COVER, SHORT COVER, SHORT EXTRA COVER, COVER POINT … or if you’ve lost interest already you can just skip to the end.

Unconventional priest about to withdraw self-indulgent activities
An insertion of GO in (PRIESTS)* with ‘unconventional’ as the anagrind.

Animated by a return of wickedness
A charade of A and EVIL reversed.

Trial involving politician ending in case of a violent disturbance
Yet another insertion, of MP and E for the last letter of casE in TEST.  A nod to 16ac, although I don’t think there’s a theme beyond that.

11  Scholarly study about real changes at the top
A reversal of DEN for ‘study’ underneath (REAL)* with ‘changes’ as the anagrind.

14  Popular Communist leader supporting a protest on the outskirts of Tbilisi
A synonym for ‘popular’ is C for the first letter of ‘Communist’ under TI for the outside letters of ‘TblisI’ under DEMO for ‘protest’.

17  Concerning an enquiry over soldiers sent north from base
A charade of RE for ‘concerning’ and an insertion of AT for ‘soldiers sent north’ (TA reversed) in PROBE for ‘enquiry’.  My sense of this is as a noun, but my SOED gives ‘adj: rejected or condemned as worthless, inferior or impure (rare)’.

18  Hurry to get money back after second favourite is withdrawn before Kelso’s last
Well, a bit convoluted, but it’s all there: a charade of S for ‘second’, TEP for a reversal (‘withdrawn’) of PET for ‘favourite’, O for the last letter of KelsO and another reversal of TIN for ‘money’.  Good surface, though.

19  Revealed after all others survive
Took me ages to see this, but I liked it when I did.  It’s another charade: Poins is asking you to put LAST for ‘after all others’ after OUT for ‘revealed’.  ‘Out in the open’ or ‘out’ in the sense of ‘revealing’ that you are gay, perhaps.

21  Some Huguenot Hal favoured very much
Hidden in HugueNOT HAL Favoured.

22  Counsel for Dicky Davies
(DAVIES)* with ‘dicky’ as the anagrind.  I was thinking World of Sport presenter, but his name is spelt Dickie, I think.

24  Blighter runs off with a furry animal
[R]OTTER.  I like otters.

26  Fairy queen hiding in the middle of Epping
Last clue, and my favourite this morning.  What some call a ‘lift and separate’ clue.  Nothing to do with Titania, who’s the usual Fairy Queen in Crosswordland, but an(other) insertion of ER for our current Queen in PI for the middle letters of EpPIng.

Thank you to Poins for today’s puzzle.

2 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1202/Poins”

  1. cumbrian says:

    Thanks to Poins for the puzzle, and to Pierre for the comprehensive blog. As yer average solver, I just thought ‘that’s a good puzzle’ and not worried too much about its exact composition…….. but now that you point it out, I see what you mean. However, I’m not of a sufficient standard to be too analytical of the types of clue, just pleased to solve them!

    Thanks in particular for the explanation of OUTLAST, which I couldn’t parse to my satisfaction – obvious once you explain, and very clever.

    I missed out on the interlocking 17d and 28a; I’d never heard of Tirana, and didn’t have enough letters to make a stab at it, and I wouldn’t have thought of Reprobate for “Base”, although I might have got it if I’d been able to solve Tirana. Catch-22 then.

  2. sidey says:

    I’ve made several attempts to write something about this puzzle. After some thought the best I can come up with is the setter seems to be trying too hard to get those much loved smooth surfaces to the detriment of the actual clue. For example 18d, the definition can’t really be anything but ‘Hurry’ and the 4,2,2 must make it a write-in for many so why is there so much stuff wallowing in the wake?

    Even after the thinking that all sounds dreadfully negative. It’s not that there’s anything actually wrong, it’s just not quite there.

    I’ll shut up now.

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