Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6478/Math – (affects Monty Burns-style voice) Excellent!

Posted by neildubya on July 26th, 2007


An excellent and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Math. There’s a theme too, but you don’t need to know anything about The Simpsons in order to complete the grid as all of the thematic words are separately defined. The long-awaited Simpsons movie opens tomorrow so I’m sure the timing of this puzzle was not a coincidence. I wonder if there were any solvers who finished this and were blissfully ignorant of what was going on?

3 SPRING,FIELD – the home of the 14As. Well-hidden definition in “Dusty part of farm”.
9 GANG,LIONS – good clue. “Pack animals” looks like it might be the definition rather than parts of a charade.
10 R in BUNS – and a double definition. Don’t know why the setter wanted to give us three goes at getting this. It’s also one of the thematic answers – Monty Burns owns and runs 3A’s nuclear power plant.
11 INTRO(it) – “[sex] appeal” = IT is familiar but quite dated crossword-ese but, as my colleague has said elsewhere it’s a bit better than SA.
12 AT ONE TIME – I think I’ve got this right but I’m not 100%. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement which could be ATONE TIME? “Simultaneously” and “in the past” are the other definitions so this is another clue with 3 elements to it.
13 BART – a reference to Lionel Bart. When I filled this in (which I only did once I saw that the answer to the next clue was SIMPSON) I wasn’t sure what the rest of the clue meant but now I think that it might be to do with the fact that he composed the musical Oliver! – a shorter version of Oliver Twist. Unless anyone has a better explanation? (Edit: Yes, nmsindy has a much better explanation – see comments.)
14 M in SIP,SON – solving this one made me smell a thematic rat, especially as I’d earmarked BART for 13A.
20 hidden in “WalLIS Another” – 13A’s sister.
23 EXCEL,LENT – I thought this was really good. The whole clue is very natural sounding which makes it hard to pick out the wordplay from the definition and “fast time” is a very deceptive indicator for LENT. It’s also a thematic clue as EXCELLENT is Monty Burns’ catchphrase.
25 G in MARE – mother of 13A and 20A, wife of 26A. (Edit: Do’h! Thanks to nmsindy for correcting this. It should of course be RAM<,GE)
26 H,OM,ER – perhaps the most famous of all the 14As.
27 A,(DOESNT IT)* – good &lit.
28 (TANK A HOT ROD)* – there are 14 3As in the US and one of them is in NORTH DAKOTA but that’s not necessarily where the show is set. See here  if you’re wondering what I’m on about.
29 ABE – “Honest Abe” was a nickname of Abraham Lincoln and Abe Simpson is Homer’s dad. Not sure what “is alive”, unless it’s “a live” = “a be”?
1 MAG(G for -p)IE – youngest member of the Simpson family. G(rand) is “thousand”.
2 D(isc)O,N in STU< – “Disco Stu” is a minor character in the Simpsons and DONUTS are Homer’s favourite snack.
8 DI’S,CERN,S – CERN  is the world’s largest particle physics lab and, as they say on their home page, “where the web was born!”.
16 (WOMEN SHE)* – this was new to me but if you can have “somewhere” then why not SOMEWHEN?
17 (MEN COWER)* – nice surface reading.
20 TIT in LEGO
21 ROT in PEA

4 Responses to “Independent 6478/Math – (affects Monty Burns-style voice) Excellent!”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Helpfully today’s Indy contained a big feature on the movie which gave most of the info – I knew some of the main characters but not some of the others. I saw the theme v early on.

    13 BART is a form of baronet (“short title”)

    I think 25 is RAM

  2. nmsindy says:

    RAM (reversed) GE

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    Thanks for ABE, that was my one unentered answer though it would have been my guess. I think you are right about the wordplay. I missed the Simpsons connection with this one.

    I got 1ac and then 2dn immediately. On getting 2dn I thought that the setter had missed a chance to use Homer in the definition until I got 3ac and realised what was happening. I then rattled off the puzzle, at one point writing HOMER into the only remaining 5 letter light without looking at the clue.

    Good fun and nice to have an easy Thursday.

  4. nmsindy says:

    And the Wallis in 20 across is included, I guess, with reference to earlier Simpsons (class of ’36). Merlin used something like this in his Listener puzzle “Royal Flush” reprinted in the Azed book.

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