Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6362/Nestor – You won’t be 19A-ed

Posted by neildubya on March 8th, 2007


This seemed slightly easier than Nestor’s previous puzzles but no less brilliant. Practically every clue reads perfectly and the construction of the wordplay is absolutely spot-on throughout. There’s a couple that I didn’t understand but they haven’t detracted from my enjoyment of the puzzle as a whole. If there’s a crossword heaven, I bet all the puzzles in it are like this.

1 (POSH GENT PRINCE)* – reassuringly easy anagram to get things going.
9 FLEX – not sure about this one and I don’t really understand the clue.
10 TEN,(ROLE)* in DIN – “this number” refers to the clue number. Well hidden definition.
12 BSE,R in OVER
14 (NO RAT CURED)* – “no ham” is a terrific definition and misleading in the clue’s context.
16 DU(s)TY – very clever clue which requires no knowledge of “The Simpsons”, the most common character of which is literally “s” (count ‘em). Of course, Simpsons fans will be even more impressed as Springfield is the town where the show is set.
17 YEA(r),H – nine months is three quarters of a year, hence YEA.
19 SAPP(h)O,I in DINT – more clever stuff, especially “leaving side of her” as an indicator to drop the H in SAPPHO.
22 TOWNSEND? – again not sure about this one. It could be a reference to Sue Townsend, creator of Adrian Mole but the worplay is lost on me.
25 ONCE in R,ACT,PC< – very subtle this one and I hope I’ve read it correctly. The wording of the clue is quite brilliant I think.
27 BUS,K – in contrast with the complexity of the previous clue, this one is simple but just as good.
2 HELLMAN – I’d never heard of Lillian Hellman but took a punt on LL in HE MAN when I had H?????N.
3 PIX,IE – Irish website domain names look like this
6 (R)EVE(L)
7 TALK RADIO – nice use of definitions of “tunes”, which TALK RADIO stations don’t play. Ho ho. Technically I guess this is a “cryptic definition” clue; surely even the most die-hard objector to this type of clue couldn’t object to this one?
13 P in RISE in STARCH – have only just worked out the word play in this one. Probably the only clue in the puzzle where the surface reading was, to me at least, less than convincing. But only just.
18 E,CO(N)TOUR – superb surface reading.
24 B in CAIN
26 PO(p),W

8 Responses to “Independent 6362/Nestor – You won’t be 19A-ed”

  1. says:

    More applause from here.
    9A: FLUX – from “fiat lux” = “let there be light”. If you check out the Vulgate section of ODQ (just after “THE BIBLE”), you’ll find the source of a few other Latin tags.
    22A: OWNS = has, in TEND = guard. (My last answer)

  2. says:

    Some excellent clues.

    Disagree that all of the clues read well.

    Here are some that, in my view, don’t:

    8 across. Maker’s command when only front of Fiat is showing instability. (4)
    (Very good crypticity, mind)

    10 across. Joint role played in provoking noise on this number. (10)
    (Not sure what this is intended to mean)

    14 across Pickled no rat and cured no ham (10)
    (The rather bizarre suggestion is that a meat curer might wake up with the intention of pickling a rat and curing some ham and end up doing neither!)

    25 across Show model formerly in vanguard of road performance with computer turning (7,3)
    (Again, not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean- has a generally “bolted together feel”)

    13 down More than a frisking prance’s beginning to stop upsurge in formality (5-6)
    (Agree with above comment on this, although not with the writer’s comment that it was the only one that didn’t read well)

    21 down Ultimately, radiation sickness is inescapable retribution (7)
    (Why is radiation sickness an “unescapable retribution”?)

    Al Streatfield

  3. says:

    I found this very tough, but got there in the end. It was a worthwhile journey with FLUX a lovely moment. Like Peter, TOWNSEND was my last – liked it with the misleading context of spying. Still not quite attuned to expecting living people in the grid. Some unfamiliar words, but all understood in the end as I have learnt to expect with Nestor. Re Al’s points, I do think it matters too much if surface readings are not absolutely wonderful in every single case, once the clues work cryptically. If you look at Listener and Azed clues, for example, the same can be said.

  4. says:

    Sorry, it should be “Re Al’s points, I do NOT think… “

  5. says:

    About surface readings:

    In my opinion, it is much more difficult to produce a good surface reading than it is to produce a cryptically accurate clue.

    Nevertheless, a good clue is one which contains both.

    To be satisfied with cryptic accuracy at the expense of surface creates an imbalance.


  6. says:

    I’m with Al in preferring clues with strong surface meaning. But I think there are other things to appreciate in this puzzle. Apart from a reworking of an old &lit chestnut at 5D, “second person” = Eve, Divorcee = ex, and a few easy bits like “Ulimately, radiation”, there was very little that I could whizz through by recognising common material or “setter’s tics”. For this benefit, a notch less than wonderful surface meaning for about one clue in four is a price I’m happy to pay. Originality, wit, and strong surface for every single clue really is crossword heaven.

  7. says:

    Didn’t do this puzzle… which has of course never stopped me for making a comment on anything under the sun… “radiation sickness” as “inescapable retribution” (e.g. for using any sort of nuclear weapon) makes perfect sense to me.

  8. says:

    Re. ilancaron’s point:

    From my perspective, each clue must have a self-contained meaning (unless it is connected by a run-on set of dots to the next clue). This one doesn’t because it doesn’t mention nuclear weapons.

    For instance, radiation sickness isn’t an “inescapable retribution” for using nuclear power…


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