Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6,896/Nestor

Posted by Ali on November 21st, 2008

Ali.

It’s not often that I think that Nimrod isn’t the hardest weekday puzzle, but I really struggled with this one! I only solved 3 clues on my first pass and it took me far too long to get some of the longer down answers which help open up the grid. A nice challenge to end the week nonetheless, and there are some truly outstanding and entertaining clues in here.

Phi tomorrow then!?

Across
4 BACHELORHOOD – BACH,ROLE rev.,HOOD – A far from easy opening gambit, with ‘single’s position’ a fairly vague definition. Very good clue though
9 FIRM – Double defintion, but I needed both checking letters before I got it
10 ON THE MONEY – CD, and one of the three that went in on my first pass
11 NO WONDER – NOW ON,DER
12 SEE YOU – “C U” – Fantastic clue
13 CANNES – CAN[-i]NES – Another great clue, but it took me a long time to get it
15 DOGSBODY – D in DOGS,BOY – Very tough I thought, especially if you were struggling with 13A. Which I was!
17 ALARMIST – ALAR,MIST – Is it common knowledge that ALAR is the trade name for the plant growth regulator Daminozide!?
19 TURBOT – TURBO[-JE]T – Again, a pretty tough clue, and I’ve only just worked out the wordplay now!
22 LAMBASTE – LAMB,[-w]ASTE
24 PHENOMENON – P,HEN,OMEN,ON – Excellent clue
25 AJAR – A,JAR
26 SINGLE-HANDED – CD
Down
2 A BIT OF ALL RIGHT – A[-rea] + I,TO,FALL in BRIGHT
3 HOMEOWNER – MEOW in ONE in HR – Another great clue
4 LLOYD – Y in DOLL rev.
5 RETIRED – RITE rev. in RED
6 OVERSIGHT – Incredibly well hidden reversal in wiTH GI’S REVOlver
7 DROVE – R in DOVE
8 SECOND MORTGAGE – ‘Option for hard up 3 (i.e. homeowner)’ is the definition, but can’t quite piece this one together. Any ideas?
14 SPIDER-MAN – DERMA in SPIN – Nice clue, though I have seen variations on this before
16 BORN AGAIN – NAG in BORIN[-g]
18 TYLENOL – LONELY,T[-arget] rev – Holy cow, this is a wonderfully well written and misleading clue, but I needed every one of those 4 crossing letters. Clue of the week for me! (‘Missing company target’s first arising in relief for Wall Street’s pain?’)
21 BONUS – B,ONUS
23 MUNCH – Ho ho! Hardcore Ximeneans may want to turn a blind eye to that capital B in Bacon. Would have been a lot harder to get without ‘Norwegian’ too, but I kinda liked it

16 Responses to “Independent 6,896/Nestor”

  1. neildubya says:

    8 – I read this as “a little time” = SECOND, then MOR(T,GAG)E.

    Cracking puzzle, but as you said, pretty tough.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Very tough, very satisfying, some unfamiliar words and references that I did struggle with. Re MUNCH, I think the false capital convention is accepted by the Xim school. Was not sure if the first and last across answers, symmetrically opposite, were linked or if that was just a coincidence. A very good clue writer.

  3. Testy says:

    Is Nestor a chemist? I’d never heard of ALAR or TYLENOL and because they intersected it made them unsolvable for me.

  4. Colin Blackburn says:

    Backing up what nmsindy says, I think this idea that Ximenes did not allow up-casing of words is a commonly held misconception. From p45 of the Swallowtail reprint of Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword he writes:
    “May one use a capital, where it isn’t necessary, in order to deceive? May one abolish one, where it is, strictly speaking, needed, in order to deceive? My answer to the first question is: Yes, at a pinch; but try, if you can, to put the word first in a clue or after a full stop in the course of it. My answer to the second is: No!”
    Azed says something similar his recent book.

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    Backing up what nmsindy says, I think this idea that Ximenes did not allow up-casing of words is a commonly held misconception. From p45 of the Swallowtail reprint of Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword he writes:
    “May one use a capital, where it isn’t necessary, in order to deceive? May one abolish one, where it is, strictly speaking, needed, in order to deceive? My answer to the first question is: Yes, at a pinch; but try, if you can, to put the word first in a clue or after a full stop in the course of it. My answer to the second is: No!”
    Azed says something similar his recent book.

  6. neildubya says:

    It’s definitely worth repeating.

  7. Paul B says:

    It is definitely worth repeating.

    I certainly follow that convention where up-capping’s allowed and down- not, but as soon as I start to think about why one’s seen as fairer than the other, I come over all unnecessary. It’s more or less equally misleading, isn’t it?

  8. nmsindy says:

    While there is no black-and-white answer to this, the thinking may be that a word that starts with a capital must always do so, whereas normal words start with capitals if they are in certain positions in a sentence so e.g. the country China can never be china. But there is a element of convention involved, established by long practice, I guess.

  9. Duggie says:

    Never mind the long-standing debate on uc/lc, is it fair (or indeed Ximenean) to include a word (Tylenol) that’s not in Chambers or Collins? At least Alar is there.

  10. Al Streatfield says:

    Didn’t like TYLENOL

    There are no anagrams in it. (See my post on the Crossword Centre Message Board)

  11. nmsindy says:

    TYLENOL is in the Concise OED.

  12. NealH says:

    Bizarrely, I found this fairly easy apart from 10 across. Somehow, “money” was far too obvious and I spent ages trying to think of things like balance sheets, stock prices, credit crunches etc. I think maybe the fact that some of the other clues seemed to be alluding to the recent economic problems probably made me read more into it than was there.

    I’m not sure what the point of the “Wall Street” in 18 was, apart from adding to the financial theme. Unless I’ve missed something, it’s not part of the wordplay, so doesn’t really seem particularly justified.

    I thought 2 down was excellent.

  13. nmsindy says:

    I think the ‘Wall Street’ reference was because the word is an American usage.

  14. rightback says:

    Nmsindy – I believe the first and last across answers (BACHELORHOOD and SINGLE-HANDED) are indeed linked. There are lots of instances of ONE hidden in the grid (forwards and backwards): phENOmENOn, TylENOl, on the mONEy, one in the down unches… perhaps there is more to this.

    Incidentally, with ?A?H?????O?? and ‘Person who composed’, I put RACHMANINOFF in without a second thought, which made the top rather tricky!

  15. Colin says:

    Where is 20 across? I didn’t solve it.

  16. Gaufrid says:

    Colin
    See comment #1 here:

    http://idothei.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/i-cryptic-crossword-940-nestor/#comments

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