Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8265/Anax

Posted by John on April 11th, 2013


As we always expect nowadays, a thoroughly good workout from Anax that I thought was, for him, on the marginally easy side. The clues are tight and efficient and some of them quite excellent.

But I can’t work out what it’s all about. Five of the clues start with the words “One of spelt out words” and the unchecked letters across the middle spell out “divorce”. But the answers to those five clues, CUSTODY, HELL, SURPRISE, JOE and TOY seem to have little in common. The first one is related to divorce, divorce is, one might say, hell, but … One of the answers is Ramsay so it all might well be related to Gordon Ramsay and I found this news story, which at least explains JOE but to me doesn’t do much else. Oh well, I’d better get the blog posted and hope that while I’m doing it the penny will drop. (It hasn’t.)

1 JOANNA — (on a n)* in ja{m}
4 CUSTODY — “custardy”
9 FERRET — (fir tree – 1)*
10 MUCKIEST — (cum)rev. (kites)*
11 T({c}O{m}P{o}S{t})OIL
13 {s}HELL
14 APPRECIATE — 2 defs
16 BOB SKELTON — B (bloke’s not)* — had never heard of him but there you are
17 L{ight} OFT
18 O DE(SS)A{d}
20 TE(X T{h}U{s})AL
22 SUR(P({g}RI{d})S)E — and the literal interpretation of this clue no doubt refers to divorce, in the unfilled parts across the centre
25 U SELES S{erve}
1 JOE — jo{k}e
2 ACROPOLIS — a crop (silo)rev.
3 NITRO — (tin)rev. r o (a short form of nitroglycerine)
5 UNCO(‘N)CERN — ‘n = and, weird Scottish = unco
6 TWI(S)T — to be read as “ass that has s breaking it …”
7 DISTASTEFUL — the copper is D not DI, for otherwise there would be two Is, which is what I thought to begin with: it’s D then U in (as it’s felt)*
8 SMALL POTATOES — (a lot males stop)* — very nice surface
19 S{e}E{n} PAL
21 XHOSA — s in (hoax)*
24 TOY — I googled toy+chromosome and there seems to be something called a toy chromosome, but (thanks to Gaufrid) it’s to + y

14 Responses to “Independent 8265/Anax”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks John.
    The theme words are some of those spelt out in letters in the lyrics to the 1968 Tammy Wynette hit D.I.V.O.R.C.E. (and the various cover versions).

    I parsed 24 as TO (for) Y (chromosome).

  2. Anax says:

    Hi John, and many thanks for a great blog.
    Yes, Gaufrid’s right – further, the grid features the only words spelt out in the song lyric. It’s been suggested I could have gone for the Billy Connolly version. Next time maybe…

  3. flashling says:

    I kept hearing the Billy Connelly version in my head, various words were also being spelt to describe Anax too :-) Failed to parse 24 so thanks Gaufrid.

    Thanks John and Anax.

  4. Andy B says:

    Completed without aids so I agree with John that it was on the easier side for Anax, but I didn’t have a clue about the theme. Thanks to Gaufrid for the explanation. I’d never have seen it and I suspect I’m not the only one.

  5. John says:

    I had a suspicion that Anax had given us something like this, and that it wasn’t really worth my spending too long agonising over it. Would never have got it, which strangely makes me feel a bit better. But I should have been able to parse toy properly (thanks Gaufrid, done now).

  6. michelle says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle by Anax, although I suspected that I did not understand the theme with several clues including the words “one of spelt out words”. I did see the word ‘divorce’ across the middle of the grid but I was not sure how it connected to the theme.


    Of the clues I solved, I was unable to parse 10a, 5d, 7d, 22a.

    I failed to solve 26a,13a & 24d, and after seeing the answers to the latter two, I also could not parse them.

    SEPAL was a new word for me, as was BOB SKELTON which was very solvable due to the wordplay/anagram. I also learnt ‘teal’ = duck’.

    Thanks for the blog, John.

  7. crypticsue says:

    Definitely on the easy side for an Anax as I actually finished it.

    Thanks to him and John

  8. Rowland says:

    Hi all, back from my luvverly hols. Back at work though too, so meh. This an easy work out from a tough compiler but with very nice clues and theme., I will plump for the little spuds as my fave for today.


  9. Simon Harris says:

    Good stuff. Nice to finish an Anax for a change! Spotted what was going on, but it must be a decade or two since I actually heard the song, so had to wing it. Got there in the end.

    Thanks to John and Anax.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    We solved the puzzle and couldn’t fathom out the theme. We missed DIVORCE but we really should have taken longer before coming here! Too keen to get out and enjoy the sun!!

    Thanks Anax – an easier ride than expected – we saw your name and started earlier than usual ready for a long but enjoyable haul!

    Thanks John for the blog and Gaufrid for spottng the connection.

  11. Dormouse says:

    Might be easy for some, but I couldn’t complete it, even with e-searches. I’ve heard of the song, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I will creep nervously in after Dormouse to say that I too found this really tricky, and had to give up. Always good to see Anax in the Indy, will do battle next time round with a better result, hopefully.

  13. jolyn says:

    We completed the crossword but could not work out the theme as I do not know the song and for once my husband did not look for the spelt out word. Who is Bob Skelton?

  14. nmsindy says:

    jolyn@#13 – there is a link in the blog which answers that question.

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