Fifteensquared

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Independent 6286/Nimrod – Hat trick

Posted by rightback on December 8th, 2006

rightback.

Solving time: 14:20, of which 5 mins on 8ac and 1dn.

Nimrod continues his recent theme of epic constructions today: just 22 clues in this puzzle, which includes six crossing 15-letter words and five cryptic definitions (11ac, 12ac, 19ac, 15dn and 18dn).

8ac was the first clue I looked at, and I wrote in lightly ‘IS THAT SO’ from ‘really?‘ and the enumeration (2, 4, 2), but didn’t make anything of the wordplay. I got none of the 6 long answers on first look, but after 9 minutes I was left only with 1dn. I went back to 8ac but just could not fathom the wordplay, which left me with a dubious second letter of 1dn, and I came up with a dubious answer.

Beginners’ tips of the day: ‘when’ = AS, ‘yokel’ = HICK, ‘vermouth’ = IT.

* = anagram.

Across
8 IS THAT SO – the clue is “Will touring Derby top brass name three, really?” (2, 4, 2)) but if this answer is correct then the wordplay defeats me. The best I can do is 1ST HATS (as in, the makers (‘top brass’?) of Derby hats might do some kind of tour of hat-making factories and name their first (i.e. favourite) three hats) + O (= really), with some kind of &lit reading for the definition, but that’s as much as I can make of it: suggestions welcome!
9 H + EAT UP (= absorb)
10 F (= female) + AS (= when) + CIA (= intelligence men)
12 JEEPERS CREEPERS – an American expression of surprise which is apparently a euphemism for ‘Jesus (Christ)’.
18 IT (= Italian Vermouth) TAKES ALL SORTS
16 BULLDOG (= clip) + (RUM MON[day]) inside DD (= Doctor of Divinity) – I knew the name Bulldog Drummond but not who he was.
20 HEELED – double defn, fighting cocks wear spurs. The surface refers to Spurs (Tottenham Hotspur FC), who took the name Hotspur from the historical (and Shakespeare) character Harry Hotspur, and whose badge features a cockerel because of the connection with spurs.
21 A(R)MOUR
22 “ROAD EASIER”
Down
1 [s]E[a]SCAPE (?) – not at all sure about this, not least because I’m not convinced by the crossing letter from 8ac. I think ‘issue’ can mean ‘escape’ in the verbal sense of ‘leak’, and I think the wordplay is S.A. (= ‘it’) removed from SEASCAPE (= main picture) – but normally a substraction in which there is a split would be indicated as such, for example by ‘in sections’ in the clue.
2 P (= priest) inside ICKE, all inside CHA[pel] – the ‘self-styled Son of God (sic)’ is David Icke, who thinks the world is being run by reptilian humanoids (sic).
3 (OF TINY CREATURES)* – a terrific anagram which I completely missed on first look.
4 DOM (= brother), HICK (= yokel) and TARRY (= to wait) with the first letters rotated!
5 LAUGH inside CHARLESTON – I didn’t know this name but the wordplay was straightforward.
6 SAT + RAP – apparently ‘a viceroy or governor of an ancient Persian province’.
14 (A TURN)* inside TRY
15 OHMMETER – cryptic definition, the ohm is the unit of electrical resistance.
17 LOOK + ON (acceptable)

3 Responses to “Independent 6286/Nimrod – Hat trick”

  1. says:

    8 Across is correct. The wordplay is IS TO (will) going around HATS, of which derby, top and brass are three examples. Very Nimrod.

  2. says:

    Nimrod I find the hardest of the weekly regulars in the Indy by a long way. And this was even harder than his average – finally battled through it in 51 mins, not helped by having Look in at first for Look on so armour was the last I found.

    Worth it all for 4 down when I understood what was going on.

    Re the contemporary references we’ve been warned to expect, was surprised to be unearthing BULLDOG DRUMMOND and CHARLES LAUGHTON from some deep mental recess. IS THAT SO? was the first I got from definition, but did not understand till now. Thanks, Eimi.

  3. says:

    I didn’t understand all the wordplays but enjoyed this puzzle. Happy with Drummond and Laughton as they made 15-letter answers not remembered from previous puzzles – only Tom Dick and Harry seemed familiar, of the 6. Enjoyed other clues, and ICKE was a lovely idea. Now waiting for an “odd letters checked” grid with 24 answers, 4 long ones in each direction. Some Indie setter is probably working on it already.

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