Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6506/Monk — Nina!

Posted by Colin Blackburn on August 23rd, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

The football theme stands out from the clues if not the grid entries, only 9a is a footballing term. I thought that was it then I noticed the letters in the first and final columns: NINA NINA NINA NINA. Is there even more hidden that I’m not seeing? The grid blocking show rugby posts rather than football ones.

The puzzle was generally a delight to solve with some very good clues. I did, though, have to check a couple of words in Chambers and two bits of word play have left me baffled.

* = anagram
< = reversal
CD = cryptic definition
DD = double definition

Across
5 SHAGREEN — SH+AGREE+N — a new word for me, horse or donkey leather. For a while I had ‘new’ = GREEN and missed ‘get on’ = AGREE.
9 INSIDE LEFT — INSIDE+(FELT)* — not a football position that is referred to much any more.
10 TOPI — CD? — I can see why this is a high hat but is that it?
11 NEXT BEST — X in NET+BEST — the first reference to George Best, he crops up in 27a also.
12 CARBON — DD — See = C.
13 ABET —alphABET — last half of A-to-Z!!
21 IDEATE — EAT in IDE — I had to check this one too.
23 ALBINONI — N in ALBION+I — West Bromwich Albion. Albinoni was an Italian composer known primarily for a single famous adagio.
26 CHAIRWOMEN — AIR in H+W in C+OMEN — good word play combining lots of bits nicely.
28 ANTHEA — AN+THE+A — Anthea Turner, TV presenter. Well observed for the word play though.
Down
2 OUNCE — O+UNC(l)E — this crosswording cat appeared in the Times today as well.
3 ARISTOTLE — A+RIS+TO+(LET)* — I’m not sure where the RIS or ARIS comes from. Aristotle was tutored by Plato.
5 SWEET FANNY ADAMS — FANNY+ADAM in SWEETS — Sweet FA (another footballing Nina?) = very little.
7 ROTOR — CD — It’d be nice to see a palindrome clued without reference to both ways!
8 EXPLOSIVE — S in EX+PLO+I’VE
14 BLINDNESS — CD
16 EATING OUT — mOUTh — mouth is eating OUT.
17 CIVET CAT — IC< + ETC in VAT — I wrote in TIGER CUB initially and spent a while forcing the rest of the letters into TUB.
22 AWOKE — CD — nice cryptic definition to end with.

16 Responses to “Independent 6506/Monk — Nina!”

  1. bensand says:

    3D is aristo for “one privileged”

    There are a couple you’ve explained that I just wrote in though so thanks for 26A and 16D!

  2. nmsindy says:

    3 down refers to ARISTO, I think – did have the same uncertainty re TOPI. Easier than usual for Monk, esp after I saw the nina(s). Great clueing, as always.

  3. rightback says:

    10ac – “You can’t get higher than this” = TOP 1. As in, “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one.” (Brian Clough). Another, very subtle, football reference!

  4. stevenhall says:

    I think TOPI is Top 1, which is the highest ranking you can get. So ‘hat’ is a straightforward def.

  5. stevenhall says:

    Beat me to it, but I missed the football reference.

  6. stevenhall says:

    Just spotted another nice link, though perhaps not deliberate, between 3 and 15: Aristotle was Plato’s student at the Academy.

  7. George says:

    Got albinoni for the answer in today’s Indie crossword, had to be that word but we didn’t know who he was. I googled it along with ‘italian footballer’ and got your page. Not bad, indexed and found for precisely this q. on the same day. Anyway, thanks for clearing that up but we’re still on it so I’m going off to finish the rest.
    Cheers
    George

  8. dupin says:

    I love the decadent doubling of Best, v non-Ximenean in spirit.

  9. Colin Blackburn says:

    Thanks for the clarifications re ARISTOTLE and TOPI. Once I had the TO from the clue I was word-blind to ARISTO. Oddly I heard the Clough quote somewhere else recently. Very clever of Monk to weave it in. I did think he might have tried to use Hamilton Academicals in some way to clue ACADEMIA.

  10. petebiddlecombe says:

    Good fun and not that hard for a Monk. But on a day for daft mistakes (solving on the Firday), I plumped for AROSE rather than AWOKE, which doesn’t quite work well enough to be a genuine alternative answer.

  11. petebiddlecombe says:

    Oh, and that Adagio: quite possibly not actually by Albinoni at all. See this Wiki article …

  12. David Young says:

    This crossword was republished on 11 October 2012 in the Independent, as cryptic crossword no. 522 by Monk.

    I don’t understand what NINA refers to, and I feel that 12 across is very weak – see = C needs a “sounds like” indicator, doesn’t it?

  13. David Young says:

    Correction to my last post – I saw it in the i rather than in the Independent. I’d assumed the i was just a cut-down version of the Independent, but since the crossword numbering is different I suppose that can’t be the case for crosswords.

  14. Gaufrid says:

    Hi David @12&13
    The definition of a Nina can be found at the end of the FAQ page. In his preamble Colin mentions the letters in the first and last columns. Presumably these spell out something relevant to the puzzle.

    So far as I am aware most, if not all, of the puzzles in the i are recycled ones that have previously appeared in the Indy.

  15. Colin Blackburn says:

    Well, I’m very impressed on having a comment more than 5 years after I wrote the blog! I did think that the i was meant to have been synchronised with the Independent now but clearly not. But, David, how did you find the right blog?

    On @12: see is the spelling of the letter C – see (!) Chambers definition 3 of see.

    Cheers,

    Colin

  16. David Sales says:

    I am another i reader who found your blog for this puzzle. My technique for finding old 15^2 blogs is to search for an answer that I already have and which I think will have been rarely used by setters. In this case, shagreen only gave two matches.

    Thanks for your blogging efforts,
    David

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