Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8256/Quixote

Posted by Pierre on April 1st, 2013


A puzzle from Quixote that was full of non-Ximenean constructions, loose cluing and obscure definitions.  What’s the world coming to?

What’s the date again?  There is a nod to it across the top row, but I can’t see anything further than that.  In this avatar, the Don doesn’t often – or indeed ever – do themed stuff, so I’m reasonably confident that I haven’t missed anything.  No particular favourites this morning; just a bunch of well-constructed clues using a variety of devices.  A puzzle I’d definitely recommend to newish or improving cryptic solvers.  Plenty of anagrams to get you going; a solver-friendly grid; and clear, faultless cluing, with some nice science-based clues as a bank holiday bonus.


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

definitions are underlined


Exceptionally peculiar English copper doing a bunk now
Given the topical nature of the puzzle, the definition is ‘now’, so if and when this gets recycled in the Indy i, it could confuse people.  It’s (P[ECU]LIAR)* with ‘exceptionally’ as the anagrind.

WC Fields originally taken the wrong way as twit
Once APRIL went in, this couldn’t be much else today.  A reversal (‘taken the wrong way’) of LOO and F for the first letter of Fields.

Noah so demanding about non-matching agricultural pair
(NOAH SO DEMANDING)* with ‘about’ as the anagrind.  Nice surface reading.

11  Jack or one of a dozen others getting accommodation in the Home Counties?
An insertion of PAD for ‘accommodation’ in SE for ‘South East’ or ‘Home Counties’.  And a Jack, together with a dozen other cards, makes up the suit of spades.

12  Cool genie, magical, from an age long gone
(COOL GENIE)*  ‘Magical’ is the anagrind and it’s the geological period which started about 34 million years ago, during which the Alps began to be formed by the coming together of the African and Eurasian plates.

13  Spear carried by Matabele is terrifying
Never heard of it myself, but it’s hidden in MatabeLE IS TERrifying.  It’s a pronged implement for spearing fish.

15  Leg muscle’s first thing seen in country fellow of great strength
An insertion of ON for ‘leg’ in cricket and M for the first letter of ‘muscle’ in IRAN.

17  Increases enclosures by river
A charade of the river DEE and PENS.

19  The criminal in charge, gangster to become moral
A charade of (THE)* IC and AL (Capone).

21  Fiddling with metal object with security devices attached?  Not unknown
I had to ponder the parsing of this for a while before I twigged it.  It’s TIN for the metallic element with atomic number 50 and symbol Sn followed by KE[Y]RING.  Clever.

24  Sound correct – it’s what an author must do
A homophone of ‘right’.

25  The way someone may get ‘screwed up’?
A cd.  Quixote doesn’t often do cds.

26  Vehicle is guided – one lost

27  Lake in middle of Cheltenham enveloping a house
An insertion of A HO in the middle letters of ChelTEnham gives you the lake that forms part of the border between California and Nevada.

Organic compound contaminated iced tea brought round in the morning
(ICED TEA)* around AM.  The anagrind is ‘contaminated’.  CH3CONH2, since you ask.

Chemical fissure which gets filled in with time
More chemistry.  Quixote’s inviting you to insert AGE into RENT.

Look round territory, mostly plain
Another insertion: of LAN[D] for ‘territory, mostly’ in LO! for ‘look’.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies

Soldiers in an old company may be seen running through South America
A charade of OR for ‘other ranks’ or ‘soldiers’, IN, O and CO for the South American river, but more importantly, this early recycler.

BBC boss hiding in shelter – a rocky situation
An insertion of DG for ‘Director General’ in LEE.

Brings together old canoeists for reunion

Something put into food that’s ‘moreish’, not cold

10  Cabbages and bits of lettuce perhaps voiced in song
A homophone (‘voiced’) of ‘greens’ and ‘leaves’.  The traditional English song.

14  Most neglected and filthy places circumvented by track
Another insertion: of STIES in RUT.

16  One chum engaging another to concoct a plot
Another surface I liked, and another insertion: of CHINA in MATE.  CHINA is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘mate’ – china plate.

18  Scuffle with a thousand coming out about tax being put up
And another insertion: this time of VAT for ‘tax’ in [M]ELEE.

20  Place with famous parsonage and hospital having a valuable quality
A charade of H for ‘hospital’, A and WORTH gives you the location of the parsonage where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë did much of their writing.

22  Claws making mover unlikely to hurry, beginning to end
The setter is asking you to transfer the first letter of SNAIL to the end.

23  Good tirade makes one yield
A charade of G and RANT.

A gentle but enjoyable puzzle from Quixote for Easter Monday/April Fool’s Day.  Thanks to him, and hope you all didn’t have a poisson d’avril stuck on you today.  I wonder what the Indy’s spoof story was today?  I solved this online as usual, so don’t know.

9 Responses to “Independent 8256/Quixote”

  1. allan_c says:

    My experience of 1ac and 4ac was the other way round – I didn’t get APRIL at first but as soon as I saw FOOL at 4ac it was obvious.

    Never heard of LEISTER either, but guessed it had to be hidden so it soon became obvious.

    Otherwise all pretty straightforward, though I couldn’t parse ACETAMIDE satisfactorily – “in the morning” misled me into thinking that A and M had to enclose something.

    Thanks, Quixote, for a gentle Bank Holiday diversion – and Pierre for the blog.

  2. David S says:

    In the printed version of the crossword the clues to 1 and 27 across and 4 and 26 across have been switched. This threw me for a while.

    Otherwise it was a good steady solve.

    Thank you for the blog, Pierre.

  3. David S says:

    Looking at your blog more closely, all four clues to the misplaced words are different in the paper. They include words indicating that their answers are misplaced.

    A very nice print only April Fool!

  4. Pierre says:

    Thanks for that, David. I wonder why solvers of the online version weren’t treated to the same thing?

  5. eimi says:

    Because the online software automatically links the clue to the answer light it wasn’t possible.

  6. ewwo says:

    The online solvers had it easy then. I never got over the problem caused by writing in Tahoe first! I guess I was fooled!

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    I did the print version, with 1 and 4 placed in 26 and 27 and vice versa. Realised that the top two answers were APRIL and FOOL, but couldn’t think why, and couldn’t get the bottom two and gave up, thinking that the April Fool was to have two insoluble answers there.

    So I was completely thrown, but fair cop. All very good. A dangerous day — The Times also had its version of the April Fool, reprinting, with different clues, some answers from a recent prize competition so that the solution was there in front of you. This had no effect on me because I never did the puzzle of March 23rd.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Pierre.

    We couldn’t work out why SLED didn’t fit for 4ac as we had different checking letters from 5d and 6d. It was only when we solved a few more early down clues that the penny dropped! Good fun and there has to be the occasional bonus for people who pay for the dead tree version!

    Thanks Quixote – you never disappoint us.

  9. pennes says:

    I left this last night thinking I’d finish it today but failed to do so. Much as I like Quixote’s puzzles I thought moving clues around was a bit off. I spent ages trying to fit words into the wrong letters and after coming here I don’t really rate it as a joke either . Quixote is however a fair setter and no-one else is grumbling so I’d better shut up.

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