Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6281/Nimrod – This old man …

Posted by petebiddlecombe on December 9th, 2006


This puzzle was obviously something out of the ordinary as soon as I looked at the grid and saw the ‘extended H’ shape made by black squares in the middle. Sure enough, 1/2/6/7 down are a single answer, which we may as well give here: Knick knack, paddy whack, give the dog a bone, this old man came rolling home. This is the chorus of a nursery rhyme which I’d otherwise forgotten. Apparently it’s used as a regular motif in Columbo and appears in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, the 1958 film about Gladys Aylward. The usual version seems to be “give a dog a bone”, but never mind.

Puzzles with long answers like this are often not my favourites – either you get the quote very quickly and the whole puzzle is a doddle, or you don’t, and it’s a slog. In this case I remembered “this old man came rolling home”, but it took a while to dig up the rest, and the other clues were mostly quite easy, so there was no long period of being stuck, and it worked out well for a Saturday puzzle in solving time terms, especially when the Times and Indie were both quite easy.

Solving time 13:53

10 ICECAP=(pace,CI)
11 NO WONDER – an echo of a recent Araucaria Saturday puzzle!
15 VAINLY – ref. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all”
17 SKA,T.E.S – ref. Christopher Dean, skating partner of Jayne Torvill.
18 THE DOWNS – the N and S Downs are two ranges of chalk hills facing each other across the Weald, formed from an ancient anticline – local knowledge and remnants of O-level Geography for you …
19 FAR,EWELL, ref. the Haydn symphony where the orchestra gradually leave until reduced to one desk of muted violins. 
21 BUDD,HA(s) ref. Billy Budd, opera by Britten
23 Octopuses have lots of arms, so Octopussy = ARMY
3 PROP,HE,TESS of the d’Urbervilles
13 REVIEW BODY – nice bit of silly and black humour
20 ELBA = able

2 Responses to “Independent 6281/Nimrod – This old man …”

  1. says:

    Nimrod on Fri & Sat? This trumps Phi’s Fri & Mon!

  2. says:

    Aha – I see. Sorry about that.

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