Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6418 / Nimrod – what a carry-on!

Posted by petebiddlecombe on May 18th, 2007

petebiddlecombe.

Solving time 13:40

Overseas or younger solvers will have struggled with this, but for fans of 50s/60s British comedy, it was a very good solve and full of nostalgia as you’ll see. There are effectively two themes – Hancock’s Half Hour and the Carry On films. These are linked by Sid James and Kenneth Williams, who appeared in both. I can’t remember now exactly how the theme emerged – probably from the fairly easy clues to the film titles. “H-H-H-H-Hancock’s Half Hour” ended when I was about one year old and we still didn’t have a TV in the house (our first one was apparently bought for the Tokyo Olympics), but bits of it have seeped into Brit culture and when they do recaps of comedy history on the telly you can rely on seeing a few bits of Hancock. Hancock himself was allegedly the inspiration for the grumpiness of Dougal in the Magic Roundabout. The Carry On films were lowbrow entertainment but can still raise plenty of giggles. Much wordplay worked out while I write this, as many answers were obvious once the theme was known.

Across
7 CARRY ON – easy enough CD for an answer cross-ref’d by several other clues
8/26 AN(THONY=(p)ython*),H,AN,COCK=nonsense – Python was a nice nod to another comedy show
9/25 HALF HOUR
12 (Carry On) C,LEO – first of three clues to “Carry on (something)”. This one features possibly the best-known line in the whole series. If you don’t know it, try the “Kenneth Williams: Infamy” clip on the Downloads page here.
14 CON,N,OR – Kenneth C was a Carry On regular – his face is possibly better known than his name.
15/11 RAILWAY,CUTTINGS, EAST CHEAM=(see a match)* – I wonder whether Nimrod made any attempt to start this entry at No. 23 in the grid? (Hancock’s house number)
19 (Carry On) COWBOY
23 (Jim) DALE
27/13 KENNETH WILLIAMS – (white man links, E, L)* – the voice in the clip linked above, and “Stop messing about”. Also Sandy in “Julian and my friend Sandy”, probably the first clearly gay characters in Brit mass culture. They featured in Round the Horne, a radio show starring Kenneth Horne. My mother must have been a fan – I remember a photo of the great man himself holding me and/or my brother and a tiny Pye radio that I remember my father having in the garage with his woodworking tools. Must have been taken when he (Horne, not Dad) was on a promotional visit to a local electrical retailer.
 
Down
2 ARMFUL – referring to a line in probably the best-known HHH episode, The Blood Donor – “A pint, why that’s very nearly an armful!”.
5 THE CENCI – the last answer for me. It’s by Shelley and the theme is incest, so the clue is fairly apposite – “Play hit out about what’s within the limits of decency”.
14 CATTLE SHED – clue: “Location of lower stalls?” – a good piece of deception when the solver is thinking about the cinema.
18/24A SID(JAM)ES – owner of the best dirty laugh in the history of mankind. No really (in)decent clip of it found on the web yet, but there are tantalising snippets on the page linked above.
21 SPHINX – P.H., INXS with the S ‘promoted’. I guess the ‘with flyers’ refers to some band publicity.
24 (Carry on) JACK

5 Responses to “Independent 6418 / Nimrod – what a carry-on!”

  1. says:

    Pretty familiar with the CARRY ON films – they’d be among my favourites and I guess all the puns would appeal to the crossword world, so got thru this all right.

    Not quite so much with HANCOCK’S HALF HOUR, but one thing I wondered is the use of ANTHONY HANCOCK. I’d never heard anything but TONY HANCOCK. Not a big problem, of course. ARMFUL, I got, without understanding till now – thanks, Peter.

  2. says:

    Most commonly Tony, but in full (at least in his fictitious persona): Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock

  3. says:

    Wonderful achievement by Nimrod to get all that thematic stuff into a 15×15 blocked grid. I dare say those not into or knowing much about 60s/70/s British comedy might have been put off, but I loved it!
    I see now from Peter’s comments that Nimrod failed to get the right clue number for Railway Cuttings – I am greatly disillusioned :-)

  4. says:

    A great puzzle – excellent clues and an entertaining theme.

  5. says:

    I did try with the numbers…the starting point was the C in the middle of the two main answers. Thanks for the kind remarks guys!

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