Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6639/Bannsider

Posted by neildubya on February 1st, 2008


In a comment a few weeks back, Eimi mentioned that his favourite clue of the year so far was in a forthcoming puzzle by Bannsider. Assuming this is that puzzle, then I’m none the wiser as to what that clue might be because there are at least 3 brilliant clues here (25a, 28a and 8d) and a few others that are top-notch (I’m thinking of 12a and 9d but you may have your own picks).  A great puzzle, and a joy to solve.

11 DR[-a]W,HO – I’m not sure I would have got this if I’d had to solve the clue cold but once the D went in from 6d I got it quite quickly. The definition “he’s been to many times” is a reference to the Doctor being a time-traveller.
12 TURNER PRIZE – very well disguised definition here: “one to go to work”.
16 LORD JIM – “work” is the definition (LORD JIM is a novel by Joseph Conrad); the rest of the clue is a reference to the ennoblement of ex-PMs.
21 TAG in SEEN (all reversed)
25 HARRY POTTER – how about this for a cryptic definition: “Booked trainee for spells”. Fantastic clue.
27 EX TOL[-l]
28 GAZUMPERS – if you thought the Harry Potter clue was good then try this one on for size: “Problems getting home when they’re hiking late”. Another corker. For those that are still puzzled, gazumping is the practice (in house buying) of raising the sale price at a late stage in the proceedings, usually because another buyer has made a higher offer. There’s also something called “gazundering” (which I expect we’ll see more of in the coming year) where the buyer lowers their offer just before contracts are exchanged, forcing the seller to accept in order to keep the house-buying “chain” together.
2 AUTOREPLY – don’t understand all of this one: “Prepared comeback – flash in pan maybe – then was quick to fold”. I can see the definition and PLY for “fold” but not the rest of the clue.
3 IF,FIEST[-a]
4 CR,YUP – a new phrase to me, meaning to praise (someone or thing), so the clue is an &lit I think.
5 CAMILL[-a] in MAN
7 [-si]NEWIE[-r] – this was new to me too but the wordplay made it reasonably easy.
8 (NOT ENTIRELY [-d]R[-a]W)* – another fantastic clue to savour: “One’s not entirely distraught with draw, defying odds!” – LOTTERY WINNER.
9 (AT MOST)*,I,STRESS – TOASTMISTRESS, which has the wonderful definition “good health official”.
15 PLOWRIGHT – apart from the definition I don’t understand this one: “Actress, loudly cheerful, left all contrary”.
17 JETS, R in TEAM – “Shark fighters” is a reference to the Sharks and the Jets, rival gangs in “West Side Story”.
20 hidden in “stOP HELIAnthus” – one of the moons of Uranus
22 GROMMET – sounds like “Gromit” the dog in the Wallace and Gromit animations created by Nick Park, hence “dog from Park”.
26 Y,A,ZOO – 80s pop group made up of Alison Moey and Vince Clarke (who went on to form Erasure with Andy Bell).

14 Responses to “Independent 6639/Bannsider”

  1. nmsindy says:

    AU TORE PLY Was quick (tore) – panning for gold (Au), I think.

    This was one of the best 15X15 puzzles I’ve ever done in the Indy or anywhere else. The Indy is v lucky to have Bannsider on its books.

  2. beermagnet says:

    15D PLOWRIGHT is a series of opposites from “all contrary”
    “Loudly, cheerful, left” gives P (Soft), LOW, RIGHT

  3. eimi says:

    My favourite clue was 11a, Dr Who. The disguising of the definition was wonderful, I thought. I understand that on the same day that this appeared Bannsider was also responsible for the puzzle in The Times and at least partly responsible for the appearance of a baby boy in the evening. He chose not to use 1 across as forenames. Congratulations and best wishes to Mr and Mrs Bannsider.

  4. Anon says:

    While this puzzle had many fine clues (as we would expect from one of a terrific Indy team) I think that asking the solver to get the symbol for gold (Au) from ‘flash in the pan’ is a bit unfair.

  5. Fletch says:

    Fabulous puzzle, I loved the Dr Who clue too.

  6. Bannsider says:

    Neildubya’s little bundle of joy looks so cute I felt it was only right to try for one of our own. Eimi’s right, we didn’t call him David Cameron, but we are hoping that naming him after 8 down instead will prove prophetic in the long run :-)

  7. neildubya says:

    You’re very kind. Congrats to you both, and little Lottery of course.

  8. jetdoc says:

    I don’t normally buy an Indie, but had a train journey to occupy last Saturday. I have never tried a Bannsider puzzle before, and I found this more challenging than most Listeners, and certainly a lot more challenging than the Inquisitor in the same week’s Indie magazine. Some awesome clues!

  9. R D Anderson says:

    So many blinding gems that I had to concede defeat with only 10 answers entered after my ‘normal’ completion time. After three more visits, the struggle was rewarded and my admiration complete. The man’s boundless inspiration must spring from his source – the nearest thing Ulster has to the Liffey. Its water’s clearly potent, and almost as black. Or maybe that’s the Bush.

  10. Mike Calvert says:

    First time I’ve done a Bannsider. So many outstanding clues in one xword. the Dr Who one was the last I got – really clever and defining Au as flash in the pan was really inventive. Thanks for such a challenge.

  11. Pauloz says:

    No idea on this. So many of the clues obviously suit English readers. It would be a real help from Down Under if you put in all the answers. Frankly, if all puzzles are like this then I’ll be looking elsewhere in future.

  12. nmsindy says:

    If there are clues needing further explanation, perhaps you’d quote them. In practice a puzzle in a UK publication will tend to be set in a UK context without perhaps being consciously so.

  13. neildubya says:

    I’d also add that not all Indy puzzles are this hard. This one was published on a Saturday over here, which is when you can traditionally expect a tougher challenge as it’s assumed that solvers will have access to reference materials.

    I’m sure it would be a big help to have all of the answers but it’s often too time-consuming to write up a blog containing all of them so we tennd to cherry pick the ones we find more interesting, or difficult or where we have something to say that might be useful to other solvers. Inevitably we sometimes leave out the clues that others are stuck on but as nmsindy says, all you need to do is quote the clue and someone will usually help you.

  14. delicious mark hubery says:

    Blog Hopper…

    Hi There. I’m blog hopping….

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