Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6598/Bannsider

Posted by neildubya on December 14th, 2007

neildubya.

A very good (and tough in places) puzzle with an unusual theme: the top and bottom rows read OUR COUNTRY WEE ONE ENGLAND NIL. See 21a for a full explanation as to what this means. I think OUR COUNTY WEE is a reference to the Northern Ireland fanzine “Our Wee Country”. As an Englishman, this puzzle dug up some hitherto deeply buried memories for me, although I have to say that recent results have demonstrated that England were more than capable of sinking far lower than being beaten by 17a. Great puzzle, though.

Across
1 [-h]OUR
3 R in COUNTRY – “Wilts[hire]” is very deceptive and “sticks” is a hard-ish-but-fair definition to spot.
10 Z in MAIN – a new word to me but seemed like a confident guess.
11 NI,A WAG< – one of the last couple to go in and I stumbled upon the answer rather than actually work it out. Sir GAWAIN was a Knight of the Round Table and “a future Mrs [Wayne] Rooney” would be a WAG (Wives and Girlfriends).
12 RAPTURES? – is this right? Full clue is “Delights in unusual exercises – bend and stretch briefly”.
15 (EMAIL INFECTION)*,ME – ONCE IN A LIFETIME. This was the first clue I solved and it made me wonder briefly if we were in for a Talking Heads theme. That said, there’s a chance that it could be related to the puzzle’s actual theme.
17 NORTH,(NIL DEER RAN)* – NORTHERN IRELAND. And the theme starts to reveal itself slowly…
21 ROBINS,ON – excellent clue I thought. The definition is especially good: “person posing on TV”, a reference to Anne ROBINSON. It’s also a thematic answer, given that Paul ROBINSON was in goal and 22a by David Healey when 29a played 17a in a World Cup qualifier in 2005.
22 B,EATEN – “eton”. The neat touch in this clue is “7th of September”. Cryptically, it indicates B but that was also the date of the match mentioned above.
27 INFLAMING – I still don’t really understand this one: “Adding spark to obscure Florida dynasty”. Florida is FL (or FLA?) and dynasty might be MING so where does IN come from?
28 ON,E – short but sweet.
29 [w]EN[t],GLAND
 
Down
1 WING,T in OO – very tough. “Through” is about a hard a definition to spot as they come.
2 RESEW – I was baffled by this for ages but I wonder if it’s something to do with the proverb, “a stitch in time saves nine”? The full clue is “Do nine times the repair work after untimely first effort”.
5 I in (WITH YEAST)* – THE WAY IT IS.
8 hidden reversed in “seES SAM NEver” – another hard-to-spot definition: “as one”.
14 (INDOOR)* in GANG – new to me but easy wordplay and checking letters helped.
16 initial letters of “Complaining About Remaining On Bench – often used as a substitute for chocolate (“bar”).
23 T[-rag]E[-d]IAN – another tough one, and the last one I filled in, after confirming with Google.
24 OFF,A – I think this is indicated by “from nothing” but I’ll need convincing on that.

8 Responses to “Independent 6598/Bannsider”

  1. nmsindy says:

    RAPTURES PT U in RARE Stretch. Like you, I don’t fully understand INFLAMING. Agree with you about RESEW – easier for older solvers, I guess. V good puzzle, hard.

  2. Bannsider says:

    Just a couple (or three) things:
    GAWA is the Green and White Army, IN RAPTURES at you-know-what.
    I’ve actually lived through 2 such victories, but many won’t have lived through any home wins given the last was in the 1920s.
    27 across: IN can mean obscure as in an in-joke for example.
    24 down: It’s OF FA

  3. Testy says:

    Are there any other cases where IN can mean obscure because I’m not entirely convinced by the in-joke example?

    I agree that an in-joke is an obscure joke but the IN in in-joke (Wow, three in’s in a row!) is just indicating that it is a joke shared within a group. The fact that other people will, as a result, find it obscure does not, to my mind, mean that “in” and “obscure” are synonymous. The English football team is a rubbish football team but that doesn’t mean that “English” and “rubbish” are synonyms….does it? ;-)

  4. Colin Blackburn says:

    21A could, just, refer to Robert Robinson: Ask The Family, Call My Bluff, etc.

    Colin

  5. Bannsider says:

    Re 21 ac – the clue originally referred to a radio poser as well, but was edited out, presumably because RR is no longer on Brian of Britain either.
    Testy is right to say that the IN=OBSCURE is somewhat tenuous. It’s a meaning by extension, I suppose you could say in its defence.
    As for England being a synomym for rubbish, well I couldn’t possibly comment …
    But I’m looking forward to the Tommy Coopello jokes :-)

  6. Bannsider says:

    Re 21 ac – the clue originally referred to a radio poser as well, but was edited out, presumably because RR is no longer on Brain of Britain either.
    Testy is right to say that the IN=OBSCURE is somewhat tenuous. It’s a meaning by extension, I suppose you could say in its defence.
    As for England being a synomym for rubbish, well I couldn’t possibly comment …
    But I’m looking forward to the Tommy Coopello jokes :-)

  7. Bannsider says:

    Spot the difference betwen the last 2 posts …

  8. PaulB says:

    I claim my prize. But who is Brian of Britain, exactly?

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=""> <strike> <strong>


seven + 6 =