Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,263 / Radian

Posted by RatkojaRiku on April 9th, 2013


It is Tuesday morning, so you can never quite be sure which compiler you will have to pit your wits against, but you can be almost sure that you will have some theme or other to grapple with.

Today, it was Radian’s turn to tantalise, and the theme of his puzzle becomes apparent upon a quick perusal of the clues, since the word “stone” figures in a great many of them. It would have been far easier/quicker no doubt to set a puzzle that simply clued e.g. a dozen or so precious stones, but that would have been far less fun to solve than one that exploits the various meanings of the word, uses “stone/rock” in the wordplay of a clue rather than as its definition, etc – many thanks, Radian, for having chosen the latter option.

As for solving the puzzle, having noticed the theme, I immediately guessed that the gentlemen at 9 would appear somewhere or other, so no surprises there, although I loved the & lit. and consider this my clue of the day. The & lit. at 29 ran it a close second, and I loved Radian’s choice of place name in his clue at 10. 3 was a new word for me, but gettable from the wordplay and from its role in 1. Having made steady progress through the puzzle, I was held up for quite a while by 24 and 25, since I only vaguely knew the name of the plants in 25; once 24 had been figured out, however, I reached for Chambers to confirm my suggested answer for 25.

I still haven’t parsed 8 to my satisfaction – “short of space?” – so any help would be appreciated – done, thanks!

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   OPAQUER OPA<l> (=entry at 27) + QUER<n> (=entry at 3); “incomplete” means last letter of each is dropped
5   OFF-PEAK O (=old) + F F (=fellows, i.e. 2 x F=fellow) + PEAK (=summit)
10   JADE AD (=commercial, i.e. advert) in JE (=in Saint-Pierre-la-Roche I, i.e. the French for “I”, the personal pronoun); Saint-Pierre-la-Roche is an actual place in Ardèche, chosen no doubt on account of the theme since pierre means stone and roche is rock!
11   UNORIGINAL [RIG (=equipment) in *(UNION)+ AL<l> (“nearly” means last letter dropped)] ; “corrupt” is anagram indicator; the definition is simply “stock”, standard, as in stock phrase
12   KERNEL RN (=sailors, i.e. Royal Navy) in KEEL (=bottom of boat)
13   LITTORAL Homophone (“sound”) of “literal” (=authentic)
14   QUARRYING QUARRY (=hunt’s goal, i.e. prey) + IN + G (=government)
16   OVATE Hidden (“partially”) in “renOVATEd”
17   CARAT R (=right) in [CA (=about, i.e. circa) + A + T (=ton)]
19   ESTRANGED E (=English) + ST (=stone, i.e. unit of weight) + RANGED (=varied)
23   PLUMBAGO P (=parking) + LUMBAGO (=complaint, i.e. ailment); plumbago is graphite, hence “lead”
24   SACRED <ma’s>SACRED (=whitewashed, i.e. trounced); “after mum’s (=ma’s) gone” means letters “mas” are dropped
26   CONTINGENT G (=golf, i.e. call sign for letter “g”) in CONTINENT (=Antarctica perhaps)
27   OPAL O (=old) + PAL (=familiar, as a noun)
28   NEOLITH *(ONE + HILT); anagram indicators are “refashioned” and “ornate”
29   WAYSIDE *(DAISY) in WE; “in different places” is anagram indicator; & lit.
2   PLATEAU PLATE (=dish) + AU (=gold); the definition is “level part of range”, i.e. of mountains
3   QUERN QUE<e>R (=odd; “energy (=E)-saving” means one letter “e” is dropped) + N (=new); a quern is a stone mill for grinding flour
4   EQUALLY E (=east) + <s>QUALLY (=stormy; “not south (=S)” means letter “s” is dropped); the definition is “just as”
6   FLINTS FLINTS<hire> (=Welsh county); “hire out” means letters “hire” are dropped
7   PRISON VAN SON in *(VIP ran); “drunk” is anagram indicator; the reference is to Dartmoor Prison
8   ADAMANT Adamant is an imaginary rock with fabulous properties; Adam Ant was a “singer in 80s”, “short of space” means the two parts of his name have been run together, with no “space” between them
9   ROLLING   STONES <la>ST<ed> (“essentially” means middle letters only) in [ROLLING (=rich, as in rolling in it) + ONES (=individuals)]
15   ROAD METAL *(TA<i>LOR-MADE); “one (=I) dumped” means letter “i” dropped from anagram, indicated by “crushing”
18   ALL GONE *(GALL<st>ONE); “stone (=ST) removed” means letters “st” are dropped; “treated” is anagram indicator
20   ROSETTA SET (=laid) in ROTA (=work schedule)
21   EMERALD EMER (REME=regiment; “returned” indicates reversal) + <c>A<l>L<e>D (“regularly” means alternate letters only used)
22   GARNET RN (=service, i.e. Royal Navy) in *(GATE); “damaged” is anagram indicator
25   CROPS <stone>CROPS (=rock plants)

10 Responses to “Independent 8,263 / Radian”

  1. michelle says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku. I needed your help to parse 6d, 25d, 21, 24 & 15.

    I also cannot parse 8d any more than you have noted above.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku
    I read ‘short of space’ in 8dn simply as an indicator to remove the space in ADAM ANT to give ADAMANT.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Super puzzle, which I was really chuffed to finish, because Radian usually sets us a tough one. Nice wandering theme, too. It was a bit of a grid divided into four quarters, but I had the impression that the setter tried to put some easyish clues into each of them, so that got me going.

    ROLLING STONES was brilliant. Of the themed clues, NEOLITH and JADE were the ones I liked best. When I finally got the latter, I said a very bad word.

    Since Radian has well and truly roughed me up this morning, I will counter weakly by saying that the use of RN as an abbreviation in both GARNET and KERNEL is a venial, if not a mortal, sin.

    Well done for blogging this one, RR.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, RatkojaRiku.

    I was irritated at having to go out first thing this morning and leave this unfinished – Radian’s name on a puzzle is always welcome – but really enjoyed finishing it when I got back.

    Like K’s D, I contributed to the blueness of the East Midlands air when I finally saw JADE, having vowed never again to be taken in by the ‘Nancy’ and ‘nice’ devices – brilliant stuff, so no hard feelings! I think that one has to be my favourite, from an interesting and ingenious bunch.

    I know not everyone likes themed puzzles but, as RR says, the varied treatment of the theme here made it eminently accessible and interesting.

    Many thanks to Radian for another treat.

  5. allan_c says:

    Well, stone the crows (sorry!) yet another themed puzzle.

    I saw 10ac almost straight away, but it sent me off on a totally irrelevant google to see if the clue was &lit-ish with a connection between St-Pierre-la-Roche and Jade. There isn’t one of course – just the meanings which RatkojaRiku has pointed out.

    I too thought the use of RN twice was a bit 11ac. On the other hand it was quite an achievement to fit three Q’s into the grid with one being a crossing letter as well. Not that I would ever say ‘opaquer’ rather than ‘more opaque’.

    Was ‘Dartmoor’ in the clue to 7dn deliberate? Rock breaking was supposedly the occupation of inmates there at one time.

    Thanks, Radian and RR

  6. flashling says:

    Maybe my mojo is failing but this took a few goes to finish, very rocky road for me. loved JADE when I saw it and did wonder if it was mined there.

    Thanks RR and Radian, not one of my better solving days.

  7. NealH says:

    I finished this in reasonable time, but was a bit lost on 24 and 25. Massacred for whitewashed is not an association that would ever occur to me, since I tend to think of whitewashing as the sort of thing Sir Humphrey Appleby does when he says “We’ll set up an inquiry into that”. 25 I find a bit confusing and too indirect.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    We finished this quicker than we expected given that it was Radian. Thankfully the theme today was fairly obvious. When we had 3 Qs and a J we did wonder where TOPAZ and ONYX would fit in for a pangram!

    We had similar doubts as others have commented already about OPAQUER and MASSACRED for whitewashed but the standard of the rest of the clues more than compensated.

    We only just managed to sort out ADAMANT as we read through the blog. We didn’t realise that it was an imaginary rock – as soon as we found out the penny dropped and a smile appeared. Thanks RR.

    Thanks also to Radian, another fun puzzle!

  9. Thomas99 says:

    Re Whitewash see Chambers:

    to beat (an opponent) so decisively in a game that he or she fails to score at all (inf)

    (And “massacre” is of course also used informally to mean “trounce”.) This meaning of whitewash is particularly common in cricket, when it means to win all the tests in a series – it’s roughly the cricket equivalent of “doing the double” etc. in football. It’s not necessarily the first definition people will think of but it’s not obscure either.

  10. RatkojaRiku says:

    I agree with Thomas99 about whitewash=massacre – it was certainly the sporting derivation of the word that I had in mind, nothing any more sinister than that.

    Thanks to Gaufrid for explaining “short of space” – why is it always so obvious when someone points it out to you?! I don’t suppose the clue actually required these three words, since spaces between component parts of the wordplay tend not to be indicated, but why not?

    I am glad other solvers seemed to have enjoyed this puzzle as much as I did.

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