Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6422/Nimrod

Posted by Colin Blackburn on May 17th, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

After a long day at work documenting code I just wasn’t ready for a Nimrod puzzle. It finally defeated me a few minutes ago when I used TEA to check the last but one answer and then guessed the last one. As usual Nimrod has provided a tremendous challenge with some excellent clues but on this occasion just too much for me. There were a couple of new words in here and some very clever word play. However, a couple of word plays left me guessing and two answers are guesses from the definitions and so may be wrong, definitely maybe.

Across
7 ROCK VIOLET — VIOL in ROCKET — I’d not heard of this plant and so almost wrote in ROSE VIOLET. The surface is a bit clunky but at least Nimrod’s avoided using the herb rocket.
8 OTIC — ? — “about auditors” and the letter pattern suggests OTIC but I might be wrong and I don’t see the word play. Word play is (n)OTIC(e) ie otic makes notice is in NE.
10 MISER — MIS(t)ER
11 TWITTERER — WIT in TT+ERE+R — (Alan) Coren is the wit here. He was editor of Punch and for a while The Listener. For me he crops up most on the News Quiz. For a short while I tried to get ALAN into the answer and even considered GILES, his son, I think, and VIC(toria), his very successful poker playing daughter?
13 OFT —(l)O(w)F(a)T — even letters. Always consider even and odd to suggest alternate letters.
15 HOURI — HOUR 1 — apparently houris are difficult to resist depending on your faith.
16 UTERI — commUTER Is— this is a very good clue. A nice twist on a hidden clue.
17 EXEMPLA — E in EX-MP + L.A. — if one has lost one’s seat one might be called an ex-MP.
18 ECHOING — O in CHIN in E.G.
19 ERATO — refrigERATOr — I’m not sure what they were but Erato was one of them and they were nine. Muses?
20 DOYEN — Z to Y in DOZEN — 12 = DOZEN rather than 12dn.
21 GAR — GAR(field) — Garfield is an animated cat once often seen in the form of a stuffed toy stuck to the back windows of cars!
22 GUATEMALA — ATE in GUM + A LA — “bears ate” is nicely confusing.
23 BESET — be prepared = be set
25 ETCH — ETC+H(andiwork) — this is an excellent clue despite me seeing it quickly. Everything is visible yet ETC is used well in the surface.
26 BOBBYSOXER — “sobby boxer” — I had to check this one in TEA. I see it now! Foreman = George Foreman, ex heavyweight champ and promoter of grilled food.
Down
1 PRIMROSE LEAGUE — PRIM+ROSE+LEAGUE — I’m sure 0.05 degrees (of arc from the earth’s centre) is a league (on the earth’s surface) but I haven’t checked. The Primrose League is a right-wing group that has cropped up before in the last six months.
2 ACTS — double def.
3 OVER THE PHONE — HEP in OVERT + H ONE — I’ve just seen the word play here. The white rook starts on square h1 on the chessboard.
4 FORTNUM AND MASON — (FUN AND + MORMONS)* — this took me longer than it should. My excuse is that London is a foreign land.
5 DEFINITELY MAYBE — (BY A MINEFIELD YET)* — nice anagram, shame there was no reference to Oasis’ first album.
6 STARVELING — (RAVEL)* in STING — new word for me. Sting is the bass player from the Police who has recently recorded an album of lute pieces by John Dowling, for which I think he has just won an award.
9 CARRIAGE RETURN — cryptic def. — a nice one at that.
12 TOUCHING BASE — cryptic def. ? — not sure about this one. I can see the definition and half of a word play, or maybe it’s just a CD? It’s simply TOUCHING + BASE
14 THE BALANCE — double def. ? — I can see the definition but not how house fits in. House of the zodiac!
24 SEXY — ? — with it = sexy? What am I missing? IT = sex appeal, with it = sexy.

11 Responses to “Independent 6422/Nimrod”

  1. says:

    OTIC is nOTICe BALANCE is LIBRA (house – Sign of the Zodiac) ERATO is one of the nine Muses. And you’ve explained a few I did not fully get.

  2. says:

    PS SEXY It = SA (Sex appeal) with it = sexy.

  3. says:

    A struggle for me too. What was the clue for 8A – I’ve forgotten. Don’t understand 24D either.

  4. says:

    Quite tricky but didn’t think it was that bad for Nimrod – 11:08, and that after a bottle of beer. Starveling: one of the mechanicals from Midsummer Night’s Dream – among the Shak. characters most worth remembering for xwd purposes.

    12D: a charade of: touching = about, base = HQ.

    Well done with 3D – very difficult wordplay!

  5. says:

    8A was “In the Newcastle area this produces announcement about auditors”

    auditors = ears about ears = otic put it(this) in NE and you get notice

  6. says:

    Thanks for all the help!

    8a I convinced myself, with announcement and auditors, that there was some dodgy homophone in there using the Geordie accent.

    3d I had the answer very quickly but saw HEP and square and tried to tie them together looking for suggestion of an antonym.

    In 6d I meant John Dowland, I was working from memory of the recent classical music awards which seemed to be seeking publicity by pitching Sting against Macca.

  7. says:

    Great wordplay and a great blog!

  8. says:

    I finished it after about an hour, or more… only finished it because I was determined not to let it spoil my 100% record of finishing Indy dailies (when trying).

    Didn’t like not being able to understand some of the cryptic parts. (I’ve never had that problem with AZED, and the clues are harder there). Also didn’t like habit of including obscurish references and (non?)phrases that aren’t in the dictionary (Chambers)- Definitely, Maybe, The Balance etc…

  9. says:

    If you’ve really never been foxed by an Azed wordplay, that’s some going! Is a fairly familiar phrase that’s also an Oasis album title really more obscure than a reference to the works of Arnold Bennett? In last week’s Azed you needed {(The) Card = Denry (Machin)} to choose between DENY and RENY for one answer. I should have remembered this, but only because it’s one that some of the Times setters keep up their sleeves.

  10. says:

    I’ve always finished AZED (when trying). Can’t remember the last time I couldn’t eventually work out any of the wordplay.

    People’s minds work in different ways.

    The reason I prefer doing AZEDs is that I know that the answers will be in Chambers except for one or two proper nouns, or one answer that is stated at the end of the clues as not appearing in C for some reason.

    I have never heard of the phrase “The Balance”, and C doesn’t include it.

    The only time I have come across “Definitely, Maybe” is in the vague past as the title of an Oasis album (a band I hate). Again C doesn’t include it.

  11. says:

    In defence of Nimrod’s use of “the Balance”, Chambers does include it as the first definition of Libra.

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