Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,258 / Dac

Posted by RatkojaRiku on April 3rd, 2013


It is Wednesday today, and not the last in the month, so it must be time for my regular blogging appointment with Dac.

I made swifter than normal progress through this Dac puzzle, helped by some accessible long entries that gave me lots of crossing letters. However, I ground to a halt in the top right-hand corner with 5, 7, 8 and 10. I managed to puzzle out 8 and 10 and was thus left with the intersecting entries at 5 and 7. I expect that I would have needed to resort to searching Chambers for these solutions had I not spotted that the grid would form a pangram if a “j” figured in one of the last two words. This led me to 5 and then the (as always watertight) wordplay gave me a probable solution for 7, which Chambers served to confirm.

My favourite clues today were 17 for its construction and smooth surface, 18 for its economical use of language and smooth surface, and 11 for its & lit. component; if memory serves, this is the first time I have come across a reference to the exam to clue AS-.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   CONVERSE C (=about) + <tennys>ON (“final pieces of” means last letters only) + VERSE (=poetry)
5   JERBOA JER<k> (=tug; “brief” means last letter dropped) + BOA (=dangerous snake)
9   ABSTRACT Double definition
10   PEELER Double definition: peeler is an “old, i.e. former, policeman”, from Sir Robert Peel AND (whimsically) “stripper”, i.e. something that strips bark, skin off
12   AWAY A + W (=wife) + <d>AY (“two thirds” of means 2 out of 3 letters only are used)
13   ANTIQUATED ANTI (=adversary) + [TE (=note, i.e. musical) in QUAD (=playground)]
15   TEAR ONE’S   HAIR OUT Straight definition: “be desperate”; whimsical definition: “to administer shock (=hair) treatment”
18   SOUTH   KENSINGTON *(THINKS TONGUES) + ON (=about); “will wag” is anagram indicator
19   SHEEP’S EYES SHE (=woman) + EP (=record, i.e. extended   play) + homophone (“audibly”) of “sighs”
20   FLAB L (=learner driver) in FAB (=great, i.e. fabulous)
23   CREDIT *(DIRECT); “form of” is anagram indicator
24   OPERETTA *(RATE POET); “new version” is anagram indicator
25   ASTUTE AS (=Year 12 examination, i.e. Advanced Subsidiary, taken at end of first year of A Level studies) + TUTE<e> (=pupil; “drops English (=E) finally” means letter “e” at end of word is dropped)
26   PROPOSER PRO (=no amateur) + POSER (=puzzle)
1   CHAPATTIS CHA (=tea) + homophone (“say”) of “patties” (=pies)
2   NESTA NEST (=set up home, as verb) + A
3   EZRA Hidden (“held by”) and reversed (“up”) by “pro-wAR ZEalot”; Ezra is a book of the Old Testament
4   SECOND   ELEVEN SECOND (=back, as verb) + E (=European) + <soi>L (“ultimately” means last letter only) + EVEN (=true, i.e. level, flat)
6   EXECUTIONS EX (=no longer) + *(COUNTIES); “different” is anagram indicator
7   BULL TROUT [L L (=length; “couple of” means used twice) in BUT (=only)] + ROUT (=defeat)
8   AIRED [I (=one) + RE (=about)] in AD (=commercial)
11   LIGHT   SLEEPER *(E.G. THREE PILLS); “might sort out” is anagram indicator; & lit.
14   TO THE POINT Straight definition: “relevant”; more whimsical definition: “where promontory (=point)’s visitors are going”
16   AMUSEMENT [E (=oriental, i.e. eastern) + MEN (=people)] in A MUST (=something essential); partially & lit.
17   TONY BLAIR [N (=new) in *(TO LIBYA)] + R<egime> (“leader” means first letter only)
19   SACHA S for D –ACHA (=house, of Russian fellow); “with new roof” means first letter is replaced
21   LOTUS U (=university) in LOTS (=many); the definition is “position”, i.e. in yoga
22   TRIP T<o> R<awalpindi> I<n> P<akistan> (“heads off” means first letters only)

8 Responses to “Independent 8,258 / Dac”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for blogging, RR. A delight as always from Dac, which for the most part went in pretty steadily. I don’t think I’ve had cause to criticise a Dac clue before, but I put in PULL ONES HAIR OUT, which I think works just as well; and since it’s a cd cum dd, you’ve no way of telling. However, once I’d sorted that out the rest was fine.

    JERBOA is slightly spooky. I put it in straightaway, partly because I know the word, but also because there was a bit of a kerfuffle in Another Place on Monday when Rufus clued the same word. ‘Desert springs keep it going.’ I also got that, but a number of folk were chuntering that it was too obscure.

    SHEEPS EYES and BULL TROUT I’d never come across, so was pleased to tease them both out from the wordplay.

    I agree with you, I think AS to clue the exam is the first time we’ve had that. The muppet who passes for an Education Secretary is planning to reform them, so it might end up to be the last time as well.

    Fine puzzle, thank you to the setter. Needless to say I didn’t spot the pangram.

  2. flashling says:

    K’sD you and me both with PULL rather than TEAR, failed to parse ASTUTE so thanks for that RR. Pangram went over head in a big whoosh!

  3. michelle says:

    Like K’sD I also had PULL ONE’S HAIR OUT for a while, failed to parse ASTUTE, and had a giggle when I saw JERBOA for the second time this week.

    New words for me today were BULL TROUT, SHEEP’S EYES, NESTA and ‘tutee’ = ‘pupil’.

    My favourites were FLAB, LOTUS, AMUSEMENT & LIGHT SLEEPER.

    Thanks for the blog, RR.

    By the way, what is a pangram?

  4. eXternal says:

    Make that another one who had PULL, which rather mullered up the NW for me.

    That aside, I thought that the wordplay was spot on and the surfaces exceptionally smooth. Thanks to blogger and setter

  5. Ian SW3 says:

    Michelle @3, a pangram is a crossword whose slution uses each letter of the alphabet at least once. One of the less exciting “themes,” but occasionally suspecting that there must be a Z or Q somewhere in the grid can be a help in solving.

  6. michelle says:

    thanks for that information. I’ll look at the puzzle again to see if I really understand the pangram concept.

  7. pennes says:

    Also swift progress until stuck in north east. I think 11 dn “light sleeper” deserves a mention.
    I do down clues first so the T of chipattis meant I avoided Pull one’s hair out: that is trichotillomania, but it is 16 letters long so won’t be appearing in a crossword.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    We enjoyed today’s challenge from Dac. A couple of new words for us too but as usual the excellent clueing made them solveable before checking that they really did exist.

    We can’t believe we missed the pangram, as soon as we get a Q, Z and J we normally start looking. It must be late!

    Thanks to RR and Dac.

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