Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6799/Mordred

Posted by neildubya on July 31st, 2008


An impressive puzzle where every clue has a sporty feel to it (although 2 and 3 seem to be stretching things a bit). Some very clever stuff here and more than one excellent surface reading. Two clues that I can’t work out though – 1 and 14.

8 TIM in (IAN)* – INTIMA. Quite an easy clue to solve, especially in my case as I just turned to Mrs Dubya (a nurse) and said, “What part of a blood vessel contains the letters IAN and TIM?” and she told me.
9 BIRD<,BLED – an excellent clue I thought.
10 HIGH JUMP – as in, “When your father gets home you’ll be in for the HIGH JUMP”
11 WIDENS – “Wisden” with some minor adjustment.
13 EYE,GLASS – very sneaky. In a puzzle filled with sporting-related clues you’d be forgiven for thinking that “Pele” refers to the Brazilian footballer. However, “Pele’s hair” is a geological term for volcanic glass threads formed when molten material is thrown into the air and spun by the wind into hair-like strands. Of course, I knew none of this at the time and filled in EYEGLASS just because it fit with checking letters and the definition.
17 (OIL)*,VINE – new to me but not too hard to get providing you know who David VINE is.
20 A,BEY[A for O]NCE – getable from the definition which is probably just as well as I imagine that not everyone is familiar with Beyonce Knowles, former lead singer of Destiny’s Child, now a solo artist and wife of rapper Jay-Z.
22 REL[-eg]ATE
23 T,A,R,GET – I did wonder about GET for “successful return” but it can mean the return of a ball, in a game like tennis, that results in a point for the opponent.
25 SPIT,T[-r]OON
1 INCISION – can’t work out all of the wordplay here: “Cut bringing up opener’s century keeping India’s prime batting on top”. The last three words account for IN and “India’s prime” could be I but that’s about it.
5 BIG WHEEL – I guess this must be a term for Speedway races?
6 A,B[-allgam]E,D – another excellent surface reading.
14 LOVE LETTER – had to guess this as I don’t understand it: “No score, set down – that takes the biscuit”. “No score” is LOVE but I don’t see where LETTER comes from and where the definition might be.
16 (TENNIS IE)* – EINSTEIN. TENNIS is the answer at 7.
18 N[O for A]TIONAL
22 I in (NASIR)* – RAISIN.

15 Responses to “Independent 6799/Mordred”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    1d IN (batting) on top of I (India’s prime) in NOIS (No 1s, opener’s) C (century) all reversed (‘bringing up’)

  2. Geoff Moss says:

    14d LOVE (no score) LETTER (set down, as in put in writing)

    According to Collins, a ‘love letter’ is – (in Malaysia) a type of biscuit, made from eggs and rice flour and rolled into a cylinder.

  3. Geoff Moss says:

    PS I meant to mention there is probably a typo in the clue in that ‘takes’ should read ‘makes’.

  4. Fletch says:

    The surface wouldn’t really work then though would it.

  5. Geoff Moss says:

    True, but have you got a better suggestion?

  6. Paul B says:

    Whilst AFAIA it cannot mean ‘wombat’, TAKE is a word with a very great number of synonyms. ‘Necessitate’ would be just one of quite a few that would justify the usage here, and I’m convinced.

    Araucaria certainly favours it: he also uses weird ones like ‘wins’, as in

    God wins an election round (6).

  7. Fletch says:

    No Geoff, just saying it seems unlikely.

  8. Geoff Moss says:

    OK, forget the misprint. How about using the ‘to deliver’ definition of ‘take’ so that the wordplay ‘delivers’ the answer?

  9. Duggie says:

    Stop niggling! The puzzle’s brilliant, there’s no denying. Every clue a gem.

  10. Fletch says:

    I don’t regard debating how a clue works as ‘niggling’. This site isn’t just about praising puzzles, it helps people understand them.

  11. Richard Palmer says:

    Paul B: Just because Araucaria does something doesn’t make it OK. He revels in breaking the conventions of sound clueing.

  12. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was a very inventive puzzle. I thought BIG WHEEL was just an excellent cryptic definition with speedway used as it’s a sport on wheels.
    Looked for the frequent Mordred dedication or message but can’t see anything.

  13. Paul B says:

    I hope you’re not niggling, Richard! You’ll be in trouble with Duggie.

    Whilst I admire Araucaria greatly, I hope I did not contrive to suggest that everything he does should be automatically regarded as okay. On the contrary, I tend to remember those clues of his which either actually, or appear to, have something up with them. No-one I’ve ever spoken to likes ‘wins’ as a link between the SI and the def, but ‘takes’, especially as Geoff Moss defines it in 8, seems fine for Mordred here today.

    Good puzzle by an inventive thinker.

  14. Duggie says:

    Isn’t there a blogger called Testy? Can’t find him/her in any of the current blogs or in the Bloggers list. Maybe I am he?

    My complaint about niggling was a spontaneous and, on reflection, rather tetchy reaction. Apologies. Normally I enjoy all the comments, but especially those that enlighten. Araucaria’s ‘libertarianism’ has long been his trademark, and while there are times when his meanings may get stretched to breaking point or his constructions are a bit convoluted, more often than not the problem’s in the mind of the beholder. Where would we all be without him?

  15. Derrick Knight says:

    There is a dedication – more difficult to find than usual. Those who are interested may care to have a look around the central square for my future son-in-law whose parents hail from Jamaica and whose interests inspired the theme.

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