Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6317 / A warm welcome to Bannsider

Posted by tilsit on January 15th, 2007


Solving time: 43 minutes 

 I rushed to the paper this morning to see who would be the author of today’s challenge and was surprised to spy a new name Bannsider.  First thought is to the identity of our new tormentor and I wonder if it could be a Listener setter and genius solver.  I then start to look at the puzzle and all notions of a gentle Monday stroll are quickly evaporated.

This was a fine example of a contemporary puzzle with some excellent clues.  Once again the Indy Crossword Editor is to be commended for finding another talent.  Witty (and risqué!) clues mixed with some contemporary references.  More please!


1  FEVERFEW –  Heat = FEVER – in short supply – FEW

6  ABBA –  Only grumble with the puzzle from a pedantic point of view.  Are Abba Swedish or Swedes?

9  CINDERELLA –  Nice cryptic rewrite of the fairytale.

10  REID –  A cracking clue that would probably win first prize in an Azed contest.  Lovely & Lit.  Minister = (John) REID concerned with passports, etc.  RE – I.D.  Of course this may be quickly out of date, given his present embarrassments!

11 TRUE  – Alternative letters in To Re UsE

12  TROPHY WIFE  Another nice definition  – anagram of  HYPER-FIT WOMAN minus  MAN

13  PARAFFIN –  Pop = PA  fliers = RAF + IN with F inside.

15 THE FLY –  One of the two clues to hold me up though I could see the answer.  Eventually parse it as HE in T + FLY (as in to shoot off) 

16  MONROE  Nice to see eggs not equalling OVA, but ROE for a change.  Sun’s successor =  MON followed by TUE (Groan!)

20 MAILED FIST – as in “Velvet glove in…”  Another where I saw the soloution but had trouble parsing,  MAILED = post.  Never heard of DUKE = fist, but confirmed by Ms Bradford’s red opus.  Simon Straphanger might have had trouble with that one.

21  PELE  –  Laugh out loud clue!  Slash = PEE  with L inside.

22  ROAN –  Archbishop = ROWAN (Williams) minus W.  Would predecessors have been know by first names George, Robert, etc.  Think I am being picky.

23  READING AGE  –  READ + IN + GAGE (plum)

24 ENS – Where have I seen this before? Saturday he replied!

25 PLUS  First one I entered and for a while was wrong.  Entered TICK, but of course things proved me wrong!

26  HISSY FIT  –  The first recorded sight of this in a puzzle?  Unless of course you know better!  Nice anagram.


3  EDDIE –  Mr E Edwards – a former British sportsman – Discuss.

4  FIRST OFFENDERS –  Clever double definition  FIRST OF FENDERS =  Lead Guitars

5 WALLOON –   New top for swell – Change the first letter of BALLOON to get a famous Belgian.

6  ARROWHEAD  –  Anagram of HARDWARE plus O = Disc.

7  BRIMFUL –   Definition =  BRIMFUL  –  Anagram of FIRM inside BUL(K)  “cut down weight”. 

8  BASH STREET KIDS – One for the memory bank – from the Beano – Party =  Bash / Kids = Jokes   Street –  Way

14  AIRPLANES  –  Craft = Airplanes / Anagram of PANESAR plus I

18  SPINACH – SPIN doctors + reduced pain ACH(E)

19  ALLEGRI –  ALL + E +  GRI (George Rex I)

21  PEGGY  –  Another that held me up –   PeoplE  GoinG – on vacation  (i.e. empty in the middle) + Y.

 A most impressive debut, now please ensure that the follow up is as good!

13 Responses to “Independent 6317 / A warm welcome to Bannsider”

  1. says:

    I went against my principles and instead of solving this puzzle “blind”, looked up “River Bann” before solving. This confirmed the setter’s identity betond any doubt, and the quality of the puzzle matched my expectations, though it seemed a bit easier than his work elsewhere (not a complaint!). I’m happy that ABBA are “Swedes”.

    Who is it? I’ll let you ponder / guess for a few more hours.

  2. says:

    I’m pretty sure I know who this is – first from the pseudonym, then from the clues.

    Thanks for explaining PEGGY – I also confidently put in TICK for PLUS at first. Understood the rest – very difficult and very satisfying puzzle. Looking forward to more.

  3. says:

    ‘on vacation’ is outrageous!! I found this really tough going, and was defeated by FEVERFEW which was unknown to me (and 5dn – though apparently Poirot is Wallonian). Some really top clues though.

  4. says:

    FEVERFEW I knew just because i’d met it in xwords before. WALLOON refers generally to Belgians in the Francophone area (which includes Liege). So the clue was v precise, though it did not specify the exact replacement letter (hardly necy). H Poirot would be a (fictional) example of a Walloon.

  5. says:

    Some pedantry: only three quarters of Abba are Swedes. And I believe it’s the case that spinach has no nutritious value whatsoever, so is it a health food? (So where did Popeye REALLY get his strength from?).

    However, a fantastic puzzle with brilliant cluemanship. And I know who you are, Bannsider.

  6. says:

    Bannsider’s identity: Richard Rogan – Aragon in the Listener, and on the Times team. Richard was born in Ballymoney, which is on the River Bann. (Source: that Azed A-Z book again).

  7. says:

    One of the finest clue-writers around, as evidenced by this and his Listener in 2006 based on Samuel Beckett. This however was the first time I knew (subject to confirmation) that I was tackling him in a daily cryptic (because of the Times policy of not giving setters’ names).

  8. says:

    According to this:, spinach is very nutritional; it’s a source of vitamins A,C and E, several antioxidants and folic acid. All good stuff. It used to be thought that it had high iron content, which is why Popeye ate it.

  9. says:

    The only downside to spinach is that its high oxalic acid (the stuff that makes rhubarb leaves poisonous) content inhibits the absorption of the iron. You are better off using chard or Good King Henry, both of which have higher vitamin C levels too. (OK I know what nobody loves!)

  10. says:

    I knew my pseudonym would give me away. Thank you for kind comments.
    You may like to know that the next Bannsider puzzle was accidentally left on a plane from Kiev today(!), so I hope I can remember the clues:-)

  11. says:

    They should search the plane. It’s amazing what people leave behind. They may also find Shevchenko’s footballing ability there.

  12. says:

    Wikipedia (often wrong, of course) is clearly referring to tinned spinach. And now the truth about Popeye’s strength emerges….

  13. says:

    […] As far as I can see, which is not always far in such matters, no theme! If I’d read the comments on Bannsider’s debut I might have got one across more […]

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

9 + = thirteen