Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8237 (Sat 13-April 2013) Monk

Posted by beermagnet on April 20th, 2013


Here we are with Monk again and a very nice crossword that was fun to solve with the answers falling reasonably regularly, though I slowed to a halt at the last couple.  But here’s the thing: I see no Nina or theme.

I have spent ages staring at the grid, reading across word breaks, around the perimeter, across diagonals, also googling odd answers, and counting letters … So I can tell you every answer has a least one letter that appears twice – is that a theme?  I wonder how likely that occurs by chance.  No letter F in the grid (amongst a few others missing) Significance? Likely minuscule.  Sorry to harp on but after missing the lack of letter E in the last Monk Saturday puzzle I blogged  (Indy 8237), I’m a bit sensitive on the subject

It’s going to happen again isn’t it – someone is going to point out a hidden message that I simply cannot see.



1 ACCEDER One assuming a tree covers 60% of another (7)
ACER (a tree) around CED[ar] (60% of another tree)
5 EMANATE Send out letter overseas with label back-to-front (7)
ETA (letter overseas) NAME (label) all reversed
9 INCAPABLE Possibly hammered loose cable with a pin (9)
(CABLE A PIN)* AInd: loose
10 APACE Quickly admit old man to a unit (5)
PA (old man) inside ACE (a unit)
11 SEA WALL It checks main impression about revolutionary statute (3,4)
SEAL (impression – as sealed in wax with a signet ring) around LAW<
12 THERETO Primarily take time to wrap present, needing nothing in addition (7)
T[ime] TO around HERE (present).  Regarding the clue: Can someone explain the definition that I’m assuming, er, thereto?  I thought “thereto” merely reference back to something previously mentioned.  I don’t understand the sense of completeness implied by “needing nothing more”.  Edit: Definition (underlining) corrected. The O comes from “needing nothing”.  See comments
13 SCAPA Leave already wingless lark with no tail (5)
This is [e]SCAPAd[e] for wingless lark, then also lose the D at the “tail” to leave Scapa. There is no homophone indicator to SCARPER which is definitely slang for Leave, but then I checked Chambers and there it is!   The only Scapa I know is Scapa Flow, the bay in the Orkneys, so I did not see how the definition worked till doing a bit of dictionary bashing.  Unsurprisingly this was joint last answer found.  Edit: Definition (underlining) corrected.  SCAPAd is “already wingless lark”
15 IMPLEMENT Complete tool (9)
Double Def
17 SHARPENER One taking part outside prison in which The Edge improves? (9)
PEN (prison) inside SHARER (One taking part). I liked the def. with its misleading reference to U2′s guitarist (or was Monk thinking of the Anthony Hopkins film?)
19 CUT IT Manage to interrupt appeal (3,2)
Double def. (needed all crossing letters). 1. Manage in the sense of ability.  2. Interruption of speech by saying “Cut it”; like “Cut it out”.  Edit: Definition (underlining) corrected.  The original second def. is wordplay CUT (interrupt) IT ([sex] appeal).
21 EYEBALL I cry when broadcast is not exact (7)
Homophone “I bawl”. Definition as in an approximation by eye
23 ALCOHOL Murmur about husband getting into quite hard stuff (7)
COO (murmur) about H[usband] all in ALL (quite) ? I think – how does “quite” give us ALL
25 ENEMA Guys Hospital department circulating rejected fundamental procedure? (5)
MEN (Guys) inside A & E (hospital dept.) all reversed
26 PRECIPICE Drop short summary, a gutless article (9)
PRECI[s] (summary, shortened) PI[e]CE (article, gutless)
27 ROTATOR Turner back in its original condition? (7)
Palindrome: This “turner” will be in its original state after the word “turns” is reversed (Palindrome clued similarly in the next day’s Nitsy too. These are getting more common)
28 THE NINE Muses, in the end, about missing daughter (3,4)
(IN THE EN[d])* AInd: about.  Nearest thing to a write-in in the puzzle from the Def.
1 ALIASES They are assumed to leave harbour, going about in North Sea (7)
SAIL (to leave harbour) inside SEA all reversed (going North)
2 COCOA A couple that won’t fight get together over a drink (5)
CO = Conscientious Objector twice then A
3 DOPIAZA Cook singularly unknown square meal from India (7)
DO (cook) PIA[z]ZA (a Piazza is a square, and singularly unknown tells us to lose one Z).  Dopiaza is a curry dish unknown to me without research, thus this and 13A Scapa were the last answered
4 REBELLION Defiance that’s intolerable after volunteers leave unexpectedly (9)
(INTOLERABLE – TA)* AInd: unexpectedly
5 EJECT Dismiss bride, finally caught wearing black (5)
[brid]E, then C[aught] inside JET (black)
6 ACADEME Answer arrived about extremely dismissive intellectual world (7)
A[nswer], then CAME around D[ismissiv]E
7 AMAZEMENT Wonder at prison employees breaking in (9)
MAZE (prison) MEN (employees) inside AT Famous prison – gone but not forgotten
8 EVEN OUT In 7, remove/expel all traces of sulphur and iron? (4,3)
[s]EVEN (7) OUT (remove) S is lost by the instruction expel all traces of Sulphur. Not a reference to the previous clue after all.  I know it grates but the International convention is to spell the element Sulfur now.
14 ABATEMENT Subsidence in a cellar showing a small shift? (9)
A BASEMENT with a one letter change to give a word for subsidence (I did not help myself here by mis-reading and spending much time thinking about subsistence)
16 PERMANENT Horse hair, note, found in neat stable (9)
MANE (horse hair) N[ote] insed PERT (neat)
17 SHE-BEAR Novel support for animal (3-4)
SHE (Novel – oft used in crosswords) BEAR (support)
18 PEASANT Provincial kind of game in which horse bolts (7)
P[h]EASANT H from Horse has gone, bolted from the game bird. I bought the dummy and spent a very long time thinking of sports and card games
19 COCAINE Charlie‘s 2 failing to get one over in English (7)
COCOA without the second O, then IN E[nglish]. “failing to get one” to mean leave out one random letter from a word seems a bit loose to me – but in fact I solved this before 2 down and this helped with that.  Edit: It is “failing to get one O[ver]” that indicates removing one of the Os
20 TOLUENE Tension surrounding unopened adhesive, a flammable liquid (7)
TONE (tension) around [g]LUE
22 LEPER Undesirable to hold off rising (5)
24 HAITI Nucleus of Tahitians upset a republic (5)
([ta]HITIA[ns])* AInd: upset

21 Responses to “Independent 8237 (Sat 13-April 2013) Monk”

  1. Muffyword says:

    I think 12 THERETO is HERE inside TT (primarily take time) with O (needing nothing) leaving ‘in addition’ as the definition.

    I can’t find a nina or theme either. I tried doing an anagram of all the double letters, but this got out of hand, and they don’t spell anything out if taken in order.

    Like you, I’m still suspicious..

  2. Muffyword says:

    … and CUT IT could also be parsed as ‘to interrupt’ = CUT plus (sex) appeal = IT (so only one definition?)

  3. nmsindy says:

    I think the double letters is probably the theme (cannot be too easy to achieve). I noticed it fairly early on and it helped me finish more quickly as a result. Thought they might all be vowels till hitting CUT IT and COCAINE. Like you SCAPA and DOPIAZA were my last answers.

  4. michelle says:

    Thanks for the blog, beermagnet. I definitely needed your help to parse many clues: 3d, 1a, 2d, 1d, 13a, 8d, 23a, 5a.

    I still don’t understand the parsing of ‘scapa’ = ‘leave already’. I must be using the wrong dictionaries.

    For 23a, could an example be the adverb ‘all’ = ‘completely’ = ‘quite’, e.g. “I went away and left him all/completely/quite alone.”

    I agree with muffyword@1 for the parsing of 12a & 19a.

  5. beermagnet says:

    Michelle: 13 SCAPA I incorrectly underlined ALREADY. The definition is just LEAVE. I will correct that. Scapa, or much more usually scarper, is a slang word for Leave, as when the lookout for Alf the 3 card trick merchant in 1964 East End hollers “We’d better scarper!” when he spots the Old Bill heading their way.

    MW: 12 THERETO Clearly I don’t really know how to define that conjunction word. But I certainly agree that again I have underlined too much. I will correct that.
    19 CUT IT Also here: It was stretching the phrase to make it mean the same as “Cut it out”

    NMS: I also tried anagrams from the double letters but there are simply too many vowels!

    Thanks all

  6. Thoma99 says:

    I don’t think anyone has quite pointed out that all the answers have a letter string of the form XYX.

  7. Monk says:

    Thank you for another amazingly thorough blog beermagnet, and to all for comments. Just one o/s point: to parse 19dn in the sense intended, it is necessary to state that puzzles in another place have in recent years occasionally used “O=over” as a 1-letter abbreviation (presumably derived) on the subtractive basis if [ maiden over = MO ] and [ maiden = M ] then [ MO - M = O ] implies [ over = O ]. Hence the parsing of “failing to get one over” here means “remove one of the O’s“, i.e. the “over” is not a preposition that indicates the relative positions of entry components. (I defer to Wisdenites out there to advise whether or not “O=over” has ever been used in the history of cricket.) Finally, this week’s Nina points go to Thoma99@6: unfortunately, X is not unique in each of 2dn, 6dn, 7dn and 14dn; perhaps enforcing uniqueness would have yielded too many Chamberesque words?

  8. beermagnet says:

    Thanks for popping in and confirming the XYX malarky. I’d seen that all answers had at least one letter repeated, but not the pattern.
    I see what you mean about 19 too.

  9. Paul B says:

    Malarky would have qualified I guess, BM, but what an excellent puzzle.

    I’d not considered the validity or otherwise of OVER = O, but it is hard to think of a instance where that notation is used in the score-card. If you have six dot-balls then they can be joined in the shape of an M to indicate a maiden (over, though usu. just called a ‘maiden’), or a W if a wicket is taken in said maiden, but for O alone I am … stumped.

    On the other hand, setters can choose to limit themselves to a certain list of single-letter indicators, which has the effect in my case of tightening things up quite considerably, and of forcing me to think more creatively about how I’m going to split the words up.

    In that list we have OVER(S) = O, along with nought, blood group, and old.

  10. Monk says:

    Thanks Paul@9. Memories of scoring yielded only the M and W you mention, ergo I was stumped by over=O when I first saw it: actually, it’s so unexpected that it fools me every time, hence the experimental use in this puzzle. I had no idea whatsoever that it was on the list. Perhaps I’ve got it wrong, and the source is not a cricketing one? If any one knows the (this!) story of O, please do tell.

  11. Paul B says:

    Not in (my) Collins or Chambers!

  12. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Paul B @11
    You need a newer Chambers! Under ‘O abbrev’ in both the 11th and 12th editions there is “over(s) (cricket)”.

  13. jp says:

    Mostscorebooks I’ve used have O for Overs in the Bowlers’ Analysis section. Super puzzle though people in the provinces might look aksance at being called ‘peasants’.

  14. Paul B says:

    Aha. Bona.

  15. Monk says:

    Bien je jamais, Gaufrid@9, but is it chicken or egg? How is it that (the well-known) MO and M have been around since the year dot (ball), yet O is not in pre-11th editions? Was it the crossword community that influenced the BRB, or vice versa?! No offence intended at 18dn, jp@13: “provincial (noun)” is the second entry under “peasant” in the thesaurus on the Chambers CD.

  16. Gaufrid says:

    For the benefit of those who don’t speak French, ‘Bien je jamais’ in comment #15 means ‘well I never’.

  17. Wil Ransome says:

    All very good so far as I could see. But I couldn’t see why the word “already” was used in 13ac. It seems to me that the clue would be perfectly good without it.

    Surely O = over is a common usage in bowling analyses: O, M, R, W, for overs, maidens, runs, wickets.

  18. Paul B says:

    Scapa = leave is the rhyming slang Scapa Flow = go. I really think the ‘already’ is necessary, or at least welcome, where the clue requires more than one operation.

  19. Monk says:

    Further thought inspired by beermagnet‘s blog and the comment from Will@17 reveals that “already” was indeed superfluous (albeit accurate) in 13ac, for the subtle reason that the “wingless” and “tailless” operations used either side of the operand commute. Using the notation [first] and (second) operation, one has [Wingless lark] (with no tail) = [E]SCAPA(D)[E] = SCAPA and (Wingless) [lark with no tail] = (E)SCAPA(D)[E] = SCAPA, so there is no ambiguity. The comment from Paul@18 is correct, and should always apply in the (usual?) situation that the two operations do not commute, e.g. “wingless” and “oddly”: [Wingless eagles] (oddly) = [E]A(G)L(E)[S] = AL but (Wingless) [eagles oddly] = (E)[A]G[L](E)[S] =G, so the intended result AL would require “already wingless eagles oddly” to avoid technical ambiguity.

  20. nmsindy says:

    Yes, I, also, while seeing the repeated letters all right did not notice the pattern explained by Thomas99 at #6.

    I’ve seen O = over all the time esp in the days as Wil says at #17 where you have O M R W etc. However, in this IT age of number crunching it’s a little less common with the number of balls bowled being referred to much more often and leading to more meaningful analysis at times.

  21. Wil Ransome says:

    Actually now that I look at it O seems to stand for Overs, not Over, although perhaps it can stand for either.

    Thanks Monk#17 for explaining about already. But isn’t it fair game for the setter to expect the solver to insert those brackets in the correct place, and not give any extra help? This is surely what happens all the time, for example simply in finding the correct definition: thus in 10ac [Quickly admit old man to a unit — APACE] we have to insert brackets mentally round ‘Quickly’ even though we may be tempted to think the definition is ‘Quickly admit’ and to insert the brackets round the two words.

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