Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6496/Nestor

Posted by neildubya on August 17th, 2007

neildubya.

Absolutely brilliant puzzle from Nestor and very possibly the hardest blocked puzzle I’ve solved in recent memory (and there have been some tough Times puzzles over the last couple of weeks). To be sure, there are a few obscure answers and some fairly recondite knowledge is needed for some of the clues but the wordplay is exceptionally fair throughout and it’s a Saturday puzzle so it’s assumed you’ll have references to hand. In a way it’s a shame it was a Saturday because otherwise I’d be recommending everyone to get a copy of the Indie and have a go at this one.

Across
6 (QUID SO HER STORY)* – DOROTHY SQUIRES, so litigious that she was banned from the High Court. I’d never heard of her so this was tough to get. I was sure that the wordplay had to be an anagram and there aren’t many names that have a Q in them so SQUIRES eventually suggested itself. I already had ?O?O??? for the first name so working out DOROTHY from there wasn’t difficult.
10 hidden reversed in “hEAL LIP APplied” – I only spotted that this was a hidden word when I had all the checking letters in place.
11 REP,(TUTEE RI)* – I knew the word REPETITEUR but thought it had a different meaning to coach or tutor so this took longer than it should have. Excellent surface reading.
13 C in THE< – another one I should have got a lot quicker as I saw the wordplay straight away but in my mind’s eye I saw it as EHCT. I (rightly) dismissed that as a possible answer but didn’t take the time to look at the other possibility: ECHT.
14 JUMB(o),LE(o) – saw JUMBLE quickly enough but couldn’t see the wordplay so I should have trusted my instincts and filed it in anyway.
16 A,L in CASS – tough. CASALS is the Spanish cellist; “Big Mama” is CASS (Cass Elliot, aka Mama Cass from the Mamas and the Papas). I didn’t know either of these but luckily my wife did.
19 SHORED,ITCH – got caught out by the definition, which I thought was just “Neighbour”.
21 B,(THIRD)*,AY
23 E,U NU,CH – “East” and “Chapter” give us E???CH, for which EUNUCH is a good candidate. From there, you just need to confirm that U NU is/was a Burmese statesman, which he was. Surface reading is a bit nonsensical.
24

D in NILES,PER AND UM – I’m a big fan of Frasier  so I knew his brother was NILES so that made this clue easy for me. Non-Frasier fans would probably find their way in to the clue at the other end though: PER AND UM is fairly easy to get, which gives ??????PERANDUM (3,11) – NIL DESPERANDUM is pretty much the only possible answer for that. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll be able to appreciate the accuracy of the surface reading.

 
Down
1 FORTHED (“forced” [strained] pronounced with a lisp),U (posh),(o)RATION – tough clue to parse.
3 W,HE,EZINES,S – brilliant clue. The surface reading is superb.
5 SR,EL,LURK< – another tough one to work out. Picking out “Zorro’s the” for EL was particularly tricky.
7 SUP(P)ER – I really liked “quieter than usual” to indicate the extra P in SUPER.
8 (CLASS TO OCCUPY H)* – brilliant &lit and possibly the toughest clue of a very tough puzzle. STAPHYLOCOCCUS is the S in MRSA.
12 TEE in R,ACKERS – I didn’t understand where ACKERS came from when I filled this in but apparently it’s a slang word for small change or coins.
15 BEL(t),IT(for TI)TLE – a nice idea but it does seem to make the surface reading a bit unconvincing.
17 COS,YUP
20 INNING – which would be the opposite of “outing” and a turn at batting in cricket.
22 hidden in “thirD REIch” – the German word for three.

7 Responses to “Independent 6496/Nestor”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a really, original, tough, puzzle, very satisfying to finish. Just one query on the blog above – in 15 down, one of the Ts is unaccounted for and it’s the only one that I did not fully understand.

  2. neildubya says:

    15D: Sorry, my mistake, I’ve added it now. It’s TITLE (“boxing prize”) with the T and I swapped around (“twisted”).

  3. nmsindy says:

    That explains it, thanks – I was trying to manipulate two BELTs – never thought of TITLE.

  4. conradcork says:

    Wasn’t Dorothy Squires once married to Roger Moore?

  5. neildubya says:

    She was. This is from her Wikipedia page:

    After her relationship with Reid ended she married British actor Roger Moore (007) in 1953 in New Jersey. Moore was twelve years her junior. The marriage lasted until 1961, when Moore left her and moved in with Luisa Mattioli, whom he was unable to marry legally until Squires granted him a divorce in 1969.

    Squires later became notorious for her involvement in court cases. She even took out a libel action against the actor Kenneth More for mistakenly referring to Luisa as Roger Moore’s “wife”. (Michael Havers acted for Kenneth More.) By 1982 she had been banned from the High Court, and had spent much of her fortune on legal fees. In 1988 she lost her home following bankruptcy proceedings.

  6. beermagnet says:

    23A I shouldn’t be, but I am amazed that there is a Burmese Stateman called “U Nu”.
    I rationalised the “UNU” in EUNUCH thinking that it referred to U Thant, who was the U.N. Sec. Gen. when I was a nipper, as “U.N. ‘U’”. (Intrigued to discover from U Thant’s Wiki page that “U” is an Burmese honorific equivalent to “Mr”.)
    I wonder which Nestor was intending?

  7. eimi says:

    I can confirm, from notes sent with the puzzle, that it was Mr Nu that Nestor had in mind.

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