Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1206/Kairos

Posted by Pierre on April 7th, 2013


I haven’t blogged a Kairos puzzle before, but having had a brief look in the Fifteensquared archive I see he made his Indy debut earlier this year.  I enjoyed tussling with this one, but I can’t remember when I last had to bury my head in the dictionary for so long when solving and blogging an IoS puzzle.  There are two clues I can’t explain: I’m pretty sure that one is faulty, and the other may be too.  I’m sure someone will put me right if I haven’t understood them properly.




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

definitions are underlined


Disclose porter’s cunning on board ship
An insertion of CRAFT for ‘cunning’ in AIR for ‘disclose’ and CARRIER for ‘porter’.

Master butler smashed a glass
(M BUTLER)*  M as in Master of Arts or similar.

10  Drinks brewed by superior French wine producer
I liked this clue a lot, although it took me a while to see it.  It’s simple, but misleading: a charade of CHA and TEA for ‘drinks brewed’ followed by U for ‘superior’.  U and non-U – blame Nancy Mitford.

11  Have an affair with duke’s partner
A charade of D and ALLY.  I don’t recognise this definition: for me, DALLY means to flirt or to trifle with, which unless I’ve not led a sufficiently sheltered existence is not quite the same as having an affair.

12  Passed through East Germany following a van?
A charade of (Ford) TRANSIT, E and D for ‘Germany’.

13  Light green potash ICI manufactured
(POTASH ICI)*  As well as being a nut, it’s also the colour resembling that of its kernel.  Good surface.

15  Plot involving Wimbledon champion, it’s said
A homophone of Steffi GRAF, the seven time Wimbledon women’s singles winner.

16  European Economic Community workers return leaving behind new anchor
A reversal (‘return’) of EEC ME[N]. I wasn’t mad keen on the definition here.  MC or ‘Master of Ceremonies’ is a compère, but ‘anchor’?  If you must, I suppose.

18  I am quick texting you off the cuff
A charade of I’M PROMPT and U for textspeak for ‘you’.  Some setters are nowadays using U in this way without signalling that it’s the text version of the pronoun.

20  Extreme problems as Spurs play football without wingers
Hidden in SpurS PLAY FOOTball.  My SOED hyphenates it, but Collins gives it as one word, so fair enough.  It’s a condition where the feet are turned outwards, hence ‘extreme problems’.

23  Quiet man pursues tailless dog
MUT[T] and ED.  I’m not a big fan of cluing ‘man’ in this way, but I’d better get used to it.

24  Raced back with old Prince to find aquatic mammal
Once I’d remembered how to spell it, this was straightforward: a reversal of RAN, W for ‘with’ and HAL for old Prince Henry.  They look scary, but in fact the male’s helical tusk, an elongated left canine tooth, is thought to be a secondary sexual characteristic, like the peacock’s tail.  Must make foreplay a bit painful, though.

25  Oddly your mum is regularly merry and more delectable
I can’t quite make this work.  YUMM is the odd letters of YoUrMuM and ER is ‘regularly’ mErRy, but how we get the I, I don’t know.  It can’t be part of the ‘oddly’ bit, since that would give us an S and not an I.  Perhaps the clue is faulty?

26  Defines optional version as ‘bloody-minded
(DEFINES OPTIONAL)*  Clever anagram.


Some pills worker and I push down soldiers
A clever charade of ANT, I, DEPRESS and ANTS.  Gold star to Kairos for getting both the usual definitions of ANT into the same clue.

City developer rebuilt our slum
(OUR SLUM)* with ‘rebuilt’ as the anagrind.  Together with REMUS, he allegedly founded Rome.

Republican nation includes English ballad in event
An insertion of E and LAY in R RACE. Lay: ‘a narrative poem; a song’ (SOED).

Cardinal writing to welcome rector
It’s an insertion of R for ‘rector’ in FIST for ‘writing’, but FIRST is an ordinal, and not a cardinal number.  So I think this is the second clue to be faulty, but would be happy to be proved wrong.

Excited man gets a bear back
I thought at first this might be a Trap of Some Sort, as Pooh might have said; but it wasn’t.  It’s just a charade of COCK, A and a reversal of POOH, the bear of  little brain.

Birds I raised in Yemeni capital
This is a tough clue by IoS standards, I think.  Since this is a down clue, Kairos is asking you to move the I in RAILS one position upwards.  The RIAL is the Yemeni currency or ‘capital’ and RAILS are a family of birds including the coot and the moorhen.  Here is the obligatory Pierre bird link.

Popular time to welcome the return of mating sloth
There’s been a bit of parsing to be done with this puzzle.  IN for ‘popular’ plus an insertion of IT reversed in ERA.  IT in its ‘sexual intercourse’ definition, thus ‘mating’.

Having a hunch game’s supported
A charade of ROUND for ‘game’ as in ’round of golf’, I suppose, and SHOULDERED for ‘supported’.

14  Riff-raff stop independent institute holding vote over opposition leader
The wordplay is complicated so it’s a good job the definition and the enumeration made it obvious.  My SOED gives HO as ‘halt, pause, limit’, thus ‘stop'; then we’ve got two I’s for ‘independent’ and ‘institute’ around POLL for ‘vote’ and O for the first letter of ‘opposition’.  Phew.  Good surface though.

15  Attendant embroidered monograms

17  Church Latin exam’s hypnotic
Not a common word, perhaps, but clearly clued: CH, L and ORAL.  Trichloroacetaldehyde, or CHLORAL, is a liquid which is used as a hypnotic.

19  Pavarotti dropping bible off for loyalist
More ingenious cluing.  (P[AV]AROTTI)* with ‘off’ as the anagrind and ‘dropping’ as the removal indicator.  AV is the King James Authorised Version of the Bible.

21  Brute‘s shout of joy
A dd.

22  Disorder hit my glands
(HIT MY)* for the plural of THYMUS.

Thank you to Kairos for an entertaining puzzle, just slightly spoiled – if I am right – by the erroneous definition in 4dn and the erroneous wordplay in 25ac.

10 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1206/Kairos”

  1. nmsindy says:

    I think maybe FIRST = cardinal ie important and that the I in YUMMIER is from “IS”. In HOI POLLOI, I think it’s O = over (cricket) and I – institute.

  2. Otis says:

    Only a thought but with regards to 25 across wouldn’t the “I” come from “I” being the odd letter of “is” if you carry on the logic of talking the odd letters (1st and 3rd) of both “your” and “mum”?

  3. Otis says:

    Sorry Nmsindy, you beat me to it while I was gathering my thoughts!

  4. michelle says:

    Thanks for the blog, Pierre.

    I enjoyed this puzzle, with my favourites being GRAPH, YAHOO, COCK-A-HOOP, IMPROMPTU, NARWHAL, AIRCRAFT CARRIER & ANTIDEPRESSANTS.

    I was unable to parse 25a, 10a, 4d & 6d.

    After reading this blog, I looked up ‘fist’ in Collins and found a definition for ‘fist’ or ‘index’ to be “a printer’s mark (shaped like a square) used to indicate notes, paragraphs, etc.” Could this be a synonym for ‘writing’ in the clue for 4d?

    I can agree with nmsindy@1 & Otis@2 regarding the parsing of 25a.

    Regarding 11a, I am fine with ‘dally’ = ‘have an affair’, and I have always thought of a ‘dalliance’ as ‘a love affair’. Oxford Dictionaries online version defines ‘dally’ as ” (dally with) have a casual romantic or sexual liaison with”. But Collins defines it as “to deal frivolously or lightly with; trifle; toy’.

  5. Pierre says:

    Thanks for comments so far. Well, I withdraw ‘faulty’. But you need to look at the clue for YUMMIER in a slightly unusual way to get your answer; and FIRST as a synonym for ‘cardinal’ is pretty remote (I am struggling to think of a sentence where I could substitute one for the other).

    I’m not sure how O could be ‘over’ in HOI POLLOI, nms – how would ‘opposition leader’ fit in then?

  6. nmsindy says:

    Yes, Pierre @#5, I agree with you about HOI POLLOI – my earlier comment at #1 was, well, faulty.

  7. michelle says:


    Could this be an example? Ref Collins, ‘first’ is a synonym for ‘cardinal’, e.g. “As a salesman, your cardinal/first rule is to do everything you can to satisfy the customer.”

    Or, “It is time to go back to first/cardinal principles”.

  8. Pierre says:

    I guess so, Michelle – both those would make sense. There’s nothing that says that a setter can’t use remote synonyms, as long as they are synonyms. And these two are. Just.

  9. Paul B says:

    Re 25 the logic is indeed carried through, where the first character of each of the words used is the first ‘odd’ letter needed, i.e. we’re not required to see YOURMUMIS as a string. Then we get ER from ‘regularly merry’ in a straightforward manner, though presumably the same conditions would apply were there any other fodder words needed to complete the answer. Who knows.

    However, a clue was sent back to me a couple of weeks ago because, while correct, the way I’d written it made it look like it *could* be a mistake. An interesting POV, in this context.

  10. Kairos says:

    A belated thank you to Pierre for the care and attention given to blogging the crossword and to all for their comments. In relation to “cardinal”, I was thinking of the “cardinal rule of…” or “first rule of…”.

    Thank you too to Paul B for an interesting viewpoint on clues that could be interpreted in one of two ways – one worth remembering.

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