Fifteensquared

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Independent 6368/Nimrod — Think!

Posted by Colin Blackburn on March 15th, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

After Tuesday’s breeze, for me, today’s puzzle was a nightmare. I bought the paper late, just couldn’t get into the puzzle and ended up having to cheat (TEA) to finish it with two clues still leaving me puzzled. The one big answer didn’t come to me until quite late on despite having a copy of Michael Nyman’s interpretation of it on my CD shelves.

Nimrod is clearly very clever but I just didn’t appreciate it today, this is a puzzle I would have probably cast aside quite early if not for the blog.

Across
4 BIT — double def.
9 TAPIOCA — (CAPITA(l) + O)*
10 AXILLAR — MAXILLARY – MY — I got a bit bogged down in trying to fit AXILLAE in and subtract ME rather than MY.
11 ELITE — thE LITErature
12/13/14/15 THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT — cryptic def. — a work by the neurologist Oliver Sacks, later turned into a piece of music by Nyman. For all its importance in the grid I think the clue let it down.
19 TRAVELS — T + RAVEL’S — I liked this clue very much.
20 HOSANNA — SAN in (A+NOH)< — noh is a Japanese theatre that crops up now and then in crosswords. The Spanish for saint is San, think of place names.
22 MAILBOX — 1 in (LAMB)* + OX — I liked this too, using anagram as an anagram indicator is very cheeky.
23 TITHE — T(IT)HE
24 HIS NIBS — cryptic def.
25 VOCALIC — VO(C+AL)IC(e)
26 ONE — ON E — a nice use of “on e” for taking drugs.
Down
1 STREAM OF THOUGHT — (FOR TOUGHEST MATH) — I got the anagram, math rather than maths made it obvious, but I’ve not come across the term before.
2 OPTICS — double def. — spirit dispensers in pubs.
3 COME TO THINK OF IT — (TOOK HINT IF)* in COMET — excellent partial anagram
4 BARTOK — BAR(TO)K
5 TAKE THAT — double def. — Bartok, Ravel, Nyman and Take That all in one puzzle.
6 VITAL STATISTICS — ? — I can see the definition, “The measure of a woman,” but that’s all.

Thanks to BenIngton V + (STATIST in ITALICS)
7 BLOW PIPE — B(LOW+PIP)E —”Tube that’s offensive” is a nicely hidden definition.
8 CROOKED SIXPENCE — CROOKED + (SPECIE)* + ? — I can see bits of this clue and realise that Roman roads weren’t crooked but again I’m stumped.

Thanks to nmsindy. Illegal specie is the definition. The rest is more or less a cryptic definition.
16 RESPONSE — RE + S(PONS)E — PONS = bridge.
17 THAT IS SO — THAT IS + SO — to wit = that is.
20 MOTIVE — double def.
21 BOTTLE — double def.

9 Responses to “Independent 6368/Nimrod — Think!”

  1. says:

    My two “not understood” clues are the same as yours i.e. CROOKED SIXPENCE and VITAL STATISTICS. Re the former, it’s a nursery rhyme and definition may be “illegal specie” and the CROOK may be the criminal but I could not get further. In the other the V may be against, but the rest has thrown me. Guess they must be right, though. However, there was some very good stuff and Nimrod is Nimrod. Like you, liked TRAVELS and MAILBOX. Also HIS NIBS. Brand loyalty will make me battle through, and I’ve never regretted this. It was difficult, but I got there which gave satisfaction.

  2. says:

    What was the actual phrasing of the two clues? I don’t get the Independent so cannot really comment on what the clues might mean but CROOKED SIXPENCE caught my eye and made me smile at the memory.

    As nmsindy says, it crops up in a nursery rhyme and I once read a book of nursery rhymes to my (then) four year old daughter and had to explain what a ‘sixpence’ was! (she didn’t believe two and a half pence was worth anything – kids eh?)

    As ‘specie’ is coined money (among other definitions, including in kind or in similar style), “illegal specie” strongly suggests CROOKED SIXPENCE.

  3. says:

    The measure of a woman against politician (italicised in paper), cryptically speaking? (5,10)
    Illegal specie criminal found having travelled a distance – but not on Roman road? (7,8)

    A late thought that occurs is that the small amount in the second clue is maybe the opposite of Chelsea’s Roman moneybags, but this is just a wild guess.

  4. says:

    Thanks nmsindy.

    First thoughts: V (against) + STATIST (= STATESMAN/POLITICIAN) in ITALICS.

    Not got second clue yet but, as a Chelsea fan (since 1969 – yes, I remember the old Second Division days) will ignore suggestion that St Abramovich is involved….

  5. says:

    First thoughts (and last thoughts on that clue) – that’s it, BenIngton re VITAL STATISTICS. Thanks for clearing that it up.

  6. says:

    CROOKED SIXPENCE: I guess I am so blinded by deceptive cryptic definitions/clues that I fail to see the obvious!

    “There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,

    He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.

    He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.

    And they all lived together in a little crooked house

    Therefore the criminal (CROOK) ‘found’ a SIXPENCE after having walked a distance (‘a crooked mile’) – and as Colin noted, Roman roads were not ‘crooked’…

  7. says:

    Was also baffled by the stats and tanner wordplays, but enjoyed finding the long phrase, and the composer was a nice bit of deception – did anyone else try S????S ?

  8. says:

    Well, I’m in some way pleased that I wasn’t the only one to find these two clues confusing. Thanks to all for the pointers, I was clearly thrown by SPECIE forming a partial anagram especially with a Roman numeral added! Why I didn’t think about the italics of politician I just don’t know.

    Yes, Peter, I did briefly look for S????S especially as BIT didn’t fall into place until quite late, for a small word.

  9. says:

    Double definition for CROOKED SIXPENCE? If anything, the ‘illegal specie’ bit is less transparent than its ostensibly cryptic other half! Hell, maybe it’s a DCD (double cryptic definition) – and naturally you’ve adequately covered the crooked ground. Like me, I’m sure you read ‘crooked man’ = criminal with the mile, as stated, crooked for having been travelled on some serpentine thoroughfare.

    In italics? I love it. We used to get such visual thoughts regularly when Enigmatist prowled the daily slots at The Guardian, and I’ve been missing them.

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