Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6514/Bannsider (01-09-07)

Posted by neildubya on September 7th, 2007


Very tough but lots of fun. There are a couple of things I’m not sure about here and there and one answer I can get at all (10A) but I thought this was a very fair puzzle overall with lots of interesting stuff going on.

1 (N ALBUM)* in SOME – SOMNAMBULE. “The rest pedestrian” is an excellent definition for “sleepwalker”.
6 BEE,F – this must be right but I don’t see how the F is indicated by “Finger setting off…”
8 SARI in ROO – I did wonder briefly if there might be a place called Rominio but then, a mini is a skirt, rather than a dress.
9 SMACKER – a slang term for a pound (or dollar).
10 N?O? – don’t know this one. Full clue is “Time off in the Highlands”. It could be NOON (defined by “time” maybe) I don’t know how the rest would work.
11 BEK in UZIS,TAN – the clue doesn’t say whether “one of 6 reportedly” refers to the across or down answer but it only works with 6D (BECKS), one of which (reportedly) would be BEK. “Sub-machine gunes by Browning” to indicate the rest of the word is very good.
17 DINES in KIN,CAR HIRE – excellent clue but very tough. I didn’t know where the Mearns was so I typed it into Google and KINCARDINESHIRE popped up in the first page of results.
18 SUD,DENNESS – I assume that “England captain” is supposed to be Mike DENNESS? Not exactly the first England cricket captain that springs to mind – not my mind anyway. The surface reading of the clue is excellent though – and very apt too. I liked “foam at the mouth” to indicate the initial SUD.
23 INN in SEE,J (all reversed) – another tough one. “Neddy” is slang for donkey and JENNIES are female donkeys. The hard bit for me was “get Jack” as I thought that “get” was a link word.
25 INC,ROWD(y) – “group with it” is the well hidden definition here.
27 AND,C in HUFFED – there are some nice things in this clue – “had pet” for HUFFED, “bears” to indicate the container and “paws restricted” for the definition HANDCUFFED but for me, it all leads to an unconvincing surface reading: “Had pet bears also caught with paws restricted”.
1 SPRING,B[o]OK – excellent surface reading and well-hidden definition but I don’t understand why “book fair” should be BOK.
4 BRONZED ADONIS – excellent cryptic definition.
6 BECKS – I can see this one attracting a few comments. For those of you with an aversion to popular culture, I can tell you that BECKS is the nickname of David Beckham, a professional football player formerly employed by a Spanish side called Real Madrid (hence “Real old boy”), currently making a fool of himself playing for a bunch of clowns US team called LA Galaxy and married to one Victoria Beckham nee Adams, who used to be a member of the Spice Girls, a girl band who were very big in the 90s and where her nickname was “Posh Spice” (hence “Man of 26″ – the answer to which was POSH). Don’t bother looking up BECKS in a dictionary, it won’t be there. I liked the clue, by the way.
9 (PENSION MAKES)*,D – should “change” (or “little change” as it is here) for D be pensioned off by now? Yes, I know it’s in the dictionary but decimalisation was a long time ago now. Another great surface reading.
12 I,Q[replace U with T]EST – the last one in (apart from 10A, which never went in at all) for me and one of those frustrating clues that I feel I should have got quicker.
14 RA in KATE – another good one. I suppose we all think of George when Bush is mentioned but here it’s the eccentric 80s singer/songwriter.
16 WARD in STEED – the definition “Did marshal” is hard to spot here as the clue is framed as a question.
19 U,RED,O – which makes good use of the American slang for “nothing” – “zip”.

12 Responses to “Independent 6514/Bannsider (01-09-07)”

  1. linxit says:

    10ac – Time is NOON, “off” in the Highlands is “No’ on”

  2. nmsindy says:

    I found this very tough, too. Some excellent clues. 6 across, I read as F = finger setting off (its first letter).
    10 across, I think no’ on = off no’ = not in Scotland.
    Thanks for UREDO which I did not understand.
    One doubt left – 24 down – is it ETH, and, if so, why?

  3. nmsindy says:

    I get it now, raise the e in the! to get eth (down clue)

  4. neildubya says:

    That’s how I read it, yes.

  5. petebiddlecombe says:

    About 35 minutes here, but got there. Was slightly surprised to see eth (ð Ð) = thorn (þ Þ) as I thought they each represented only one of the th- sounds in ‘thy thigh’, as they do in Icelandic – “ðy þigh”. But COD has them both representing either.

  6. petebiddlecombe says:

    More: 6A: to set off is to start, at least in a journeying context. 1D: your bok comes in two parts – B = Book, OK = fair

  7. neildubya says:

    Thanks for the clarifications everyone.

  8. Bannsider says:

    Re “thorn” I was also surprised to find that, according to COD, thorn = eth. But if it’s good enough for them :-)
    I think the setters’ union would press for retention of D for “change” although there is a limit to how long one could call it change “for pensioners” …
    I offered to change the clue to ECRU as I thought it might be too difficult but no one’s mentioned it (yet).
    I also had never heard of Mearns – judicious editorship there. When I read the clue I thought something horrendous had happened to the typsetting (or whatever is used these days)

  9. beermagnet says:

    Oy! Kate Bush isn’t “eccentric” she’s “artistic”.

    Pension off “d” for “change”? Good grief! – there’s some of us still have trouble with the new money.

    Shouldn’t IQ TEST have been (1,1,4) rather than (2,4) – I’m not sure – probably both valid, and I guess 1,1,4 would’ve been too obvious.

    Bannsider, are you telling us the crossword editor “improved” the clue for 17A without telling you?
    As I, like many no doubt, discovered, googling “Mearns” gave the game away.

    Clue for ECRU was OK – the word has appeared in crosswords before, even recently, and the “hidden” aspect of the reverse-hidden-&lit kind of thing makes it definite when you’ve seen the answer. (Needed all checked letters of course.)

  10. Bannsider says:

    I guess one isn’t really expected to be doing the puzzle with Google to hand, so these “giveaways” are probably not an issue.
    I’m not sure I’d glorify the clue to ECRU with the term &lit, but it just shows I’m a crap judge of the difficulty of most clues :-)

  11. Simon Harris says:

    Interesting to see this one crop up in the “i” yesterday, and to have to track down an ancient post just to finish it off! Quite the battle, but a pleasing solve all told.

  12. allan_c says:

    Like Simon I’ve had to track this down. I did manage to finish (and without help), apart from 14dn, but a lot of the parsing was beyond me.

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