Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6681/Math

Posted by neildubya on March 21st, 2008


I wonder if anyone will solve this without realising there’s a theme? There are a number of 6d 14a in the grid (highlighted in bold below) as well as in almost every clue, along with non-16d 14a and singers. In the Across clues the only ones without a thematic reference were: 1,5,12 and 18. In the Downs, the following all contained a band, singer or song: 2,3,5,7,13,16,19,20,23 and 25.  Also, 6d 14a is To get all that thematic material into a 15 x 15 puzzle and yet still be accessible to every solver is quite a feat.

1 R in BEAK,UP – I knew that BEAK was slang for a magistrate but I didn’t know it could also apply to a headmaster.
11 CINEM,A – had to stare long and hard at this one to work out what was going on: “taking every measure” means removing ALL and EM (a unit of measurement in printing) from “cALL EMinem” leaving CINEM.
12 E in FE[-n]DER – FEEDER
14 B AND S – which are the first letters of “Britney Spears”. The webmaster in me is now thinking: will we get more visits from search engines now that I’ve included that very popular search engine term in the blog? If so, I may have to figure out a way of including it in every post…
15 ([-re]HEARSES SO) – SEAHORSES. Another one that took some blank staring before I realised what “so not re-edited” was doing.
18 RADA in COLON – this is very sly and was the last one I filled in: “Statesman: introducing school for performers”. Spotted the COLON yet?
21/24 PR,I SLAM<,CREAM – PRIMAL SCREAM My favourite of all the artists name-checked in this puzzle.
28 hidden in “abOUT REm”
29 HIT in WE – “like Fab Four album” a reference to the Beatles’ White Album.
30 RIPE in STS – along with 29a this makes WHITE STRIPES
2 LA,NO I,TO ME (all going up) – I thought this was very well done indeed, although I did wonder about “my way” for TO ME. I think it’s a reference to what footballers might say when they want the ball passed to them, e.g. “to me, on me head” but that’s a little esoteric I think.Of course, for the surface “my way” must have been irresistible, especially as the melody for the song is actually from a French song called “Comme d’Habitude”.
3 KILLERS – not sure I fully understand this one: “hit makers” is the definition (in the sense of hit – to kill someone) but I’m not sure about “ability with Queen beginning to sink to bottom”. The last 5 words could give S but where does KILLER come from? I thought it might be a reference to the Queen song “Killer Queen”?
5 PLACEBO – a band I know next to nothing about except their brilliant debut hit (I think) “Nancy Boy”.
6 IN,DIE – which is the contrary of “out live”.
8 FE[-ed]ER (going up) – REEF.
13 ASH,Y
14 BE,C,K
17 SPIN,(LP AT A)* – SPINAL TAP. I thought it was a nice touch to get this one in.
19 (AMEN COR[-ner])* – ROMANCE. This is also very good as “Bend Me Shape Me” was actually a hit for Amen Corner.
23 L,US,H
26 hidden in “PEEL Sessions”

5 Responses to “Independent 6681/Math”

  1. nmsindy says:

    KILLERS I think this is SKILL ER with the S moved down. Theme meant nothing to me and this took me ages.

  2. Ali says:

    I thought this was absolutely superb from start to finish, definitely by favourite daily puzzle of the year so far. It was impressive enough that nearly every clue made reference to music in some way, and more impressive still that many of the answers were thematic. Full marks from this indie kid!

    Didn’t Math do a similar indie music-related Saturday puzzle last year?

  3. Richard Heald says:

    In addition to the acts mentioned above, in the grid I also spotted BEAT, VIEW, RIDE, AIR and BAND – granted, not all of these could be classed as indie bands, but how many were included deliberately, I wonder?

  4. Testy says:

    This is a bit strange but it appears my edition had a different clue for 18A, “Pass by old stage school close to John Denver’s son perhaps”. I think I prefer your version. I wonder why it was changed though?

    I also parsed 10A differently, ENO reversed with an anagram of “AND HE’D”. Did I have a different clue for this one too? Mine was “Eno made a comeback and he’d played just right perhaps”.

    I thought that all the clues (in my version at least) referred to music in one way or another. Impressive but a bit strained in some places.

  5. eimi says:

    Yes, Ali remembers correctly – this is Math’s second music special following 6538 in October last year. This puzzle has a lot of clues and a few clues needed shortening. I seem to have inadvertently let Neil have a copy of the Word file which had a couple of Math’s suggested shortened clues, but I was able to retain the longer original clues in the Acrosses in the published version, which explains the discrepancy.

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