Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6500 by Nimrod – Tribute to the King

Posted by nmsindy on August 16th, 2007


A puzzle timed for the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, who to this blogger remains the King – for his earlier music and films especially. There were 7 lines of across words in the puzzle with titles of Elvis songs appearing in 6 of them – the exception being the centre row where ELVIS appeared in the middle.   It must have been quite a task to fit in down words so congrats to Nimrod on achieving it. In two down clues, while I’m fairly confident of the answers, I do not understand the wordplay, both noted below. Though I saw the theme immediately, I found it a very difficult puzzle.

Solving time: 38 mins

* = anagram < = reverse


9 BLUE (SUEDE – Britpop group) S HOES (weeds)

13 SKIP Double definition

15 ELVIS Hidden

18 PYRE Excellent cryptic definition


1 ALL B LACKS A tease this because the 15 does not refer to Elvis, but the NZ rugby union team

3 ASYSTOLE, I think – the inability of the heart to pump out blood – forced on the setter by the theme, I’d say. Do not see the wordplay though the “form of aircraft” may be STOL  “Form of aircraft yielding to cycle, having inability to empty vital fluid”


5 NIGH TCAP   Pact<

7 N?E?S    “Scratch driver’s essentials?”   Has to be NEEDS, but I don’t understand the wordplay.


12 GREENROOM   Where actors go between scenes

14 P (OT AU Fait) EU    Un peu = a little in French.   Definition is ‘stew’

16 L (4th letter of Fields) OO     A pair of ducks (cricket).     Definition = WC

17 SIR HENRY   (in sherry)*     All the four mentioned were Sir Henrys

20 N AND O O    Liked that a lot

21 WOOED   “wood”     Birnam wood from Shakepeare’s play Macbeth

22 END OFF    cf elvis(h)

23 FELT   Double definition

18 Responses to “Independent 6500 by Nimrod – Tribute to the King”

  1. fgbp says:

    ASYSTOLE: It’s EASY STOL cycling. Bravo for getting that, it eluded me completely, as did several others in the time available.
    So NIMROD has managed to get it down to 9 across clues. I await the ultimate: a single across clue with a 105-letter anagram.
    I wouldn’t put it past him!

  2. conradcork says:

    I’m afraid that for those of us who know nothing at all of Elvis beyond the name, this was a highly obscure puzzle.

  3. neildubya says:

    I had the complete opposite experience to nmsindy and Conrad as this was probably the easiest Nimrod I’ve ever done. Once I’d got ALWAYS ON MY MIND my suspicious mind (see what I did there) smelt a rat and I got the rest of the songs in a couple of minutes. The other across clues and all the downs took another 10 mins or so but I also filled in NEEDS without knowing why (still don’t) and only knew ASYSTOLE from the definition.

  4. neildubya says:

    Conrad: on the obscurity thing, do you really not know a single Elvis song, not even JAILHOUSE ROCK? I was only 4 when he died yet I knew about BLUE SUEDE SHOES, ALWAYS ON MY MIND and all the rest of them by the time I was 10 or 11. He’s possibly the greatest cultural icon of the 20th century – I thought everyone could name at least a couple of Elvis songs, along with a few Beatles numbers? I guess I was wrong…

  5. nmsindy says:

    Interesting views. which remind me of a cynical comment someone made at the time of his death – “It was a good career move”. I rarely watch films but have watched the early Elvis ones over and over – for the music mainly. The best is Jailhouse Rock (which has a strong story line too) which the last time I saw it, had been made over into colour. My Desert Island film. Some of the songs in the puzzle were a bit later, and I was not so familiar with them. Pop music was a huge part of my life at one time, then I just drifted away from it – an age thing, I’d say. I had to look up Suede when blogging the puzzle to confirm.

  6. conradcork says:


    I do actually know one Elvis song (by name). Way back in the fifties, when I was already into the jazz I have spent my life with, a schoolfriend played me a 78 of Heartbreak Hotel, and I knew it wasn’t interesting enough to go there. My kids tell me you can’t avoid ‘popular culture’ but I have managed very well, although not having a TV helps.

    ‘Greatest cultural icon of the 20th century’ – well there a lot of candidates for that, across all artistic genres. Horses for courses gentlemen.

  7. neildubya says:

    Fair enough. I did say possibly the greatest cultural icon… – as you say, there are a few to choose from.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Getting away from crosswords, perhaps, but I think the historians of the future will see the 1960s as the decade that changed everything, but America was always that little bit ahead, so maybe Elvis, emerging late 50s, was the GCI of C20 (or perhaps the 2nd half of it).

    Re Conrad’s point, I was too young to have known Heartbreak Hotel when it first came out, but, when I did hear it, it blew me over, though curiously ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT? (except for the spoken bit) is my favourite.

  9. eimi says:

    Is that in the “Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair?” version? When Elvis died John Lennon remarked that Elvis died the day he joined the army – I much prefer the Sun recordings to the post-army stuff too.

  10. Paul B says:

    The ‘scratch driver’ – a golf idea in there? I’m stumped.

  11. nmsindy says:

    Speaking as a fan, it was OK up to about 1962 (he signed the contract then to make films and did not do concerts much after that). He changed after he joined the Army but was still pretty good, but different. The last film I’d watch and watch again was Blue Hawaii.

    But ultimately Elvis is that tantalising mystery – brilliance (that we’ll never forget) but personal wreckage. Footy people – think Gazza.

  12. eimi says:

    Needs must when the Devil drives. Very tricky.

  13. petebiddlecombe says:

    Have to wonder whether Conrad has a radio either? Or maybe it’s always tuned to Radio 3. I like the idea that the same setter does puzzles on Elgar and Elvis. Reg Dwight next?

  14. conradcork says:


    I have many radios, all DAB, and am selective in my listening. There is nothing they are ‘always tuned to’.

    But I don’t live in an ivory tower (and I do know who Reg Dwight is, but wouldn’t recgnise anything of his if I heard it).

  15. Richard Palmer says:

    I only got two clues on the first pass then I got ELVIS and quickly filled in all the song titles then it fairly quickly fell into place. I didn’t understand NEEDS.

    On ‘The King’, I’m with Eimi and John Lennon. Why do all the Elvis impersonators do the awful late Elvis? Probably because they’re all 40+. The best Elvis impersonators I’ve seen were Father Ted with the three ages of Elvis.

  16. Paul B says:

    Shakespeare uses it in All’s Well that Ends Well, so it must virtually be common knowledge: “My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives”. Or in John Lydgate’s only slightly less popular Assembly of Gods, written 1420: “He must nedys go that the deuell dryves”.

    It probably means ‘sometimes events compel you to do something you’d much rather not’.

    I can’t imagine an unpossessed Nimrod, for example, wanting to write such tough clues.

  17. petebiddlecombe says:

    Conrad: “Candle in the Wind”?? But I meant to rib rather than criticise, honestly. I do a fairly good line in ivory towers myself – when a Times Jumbo setter did an REM puzzle (solvable without seeing the theme), I noticed nothing.

  18. eimi says:

    I’m beginning to wonder whether Pete might have psychic powers, as there is a Nimrod in the pipeline that refers to a song by Mr Dwight. I’m not giving anything away, as he’s mentioned in the clue, but I’ll say no more.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

7 − = four