Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6,930 by Mordred

Posted by Simon Harris on January 1st, 2009

Simon Harris.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

The New Year presents us with an enjoyable puzzle from a less regular setter. There’s some really good clueing in there, and while there were a couple of obscure words, and a couple where the wordplay eluded me, progress was greatly helped by the thoughtful Nina around the edge of the grid.

8 ROTH – presumably Philip Roth, hom. of “wrath”.
9 TRILATERAL – LATER in TRIAL. Excellent surface reading.
10 AORTAL – RTA in LOA[-d]<.
11 EREMITES – cd. An eremite is a (typically religious) recluse or hermit.
12 EPICYCLE – EPIC “overlapping” CYCLE. A new word for me, and one which I will endeavour to slip into conversation.
14 BOLERO – BRO “accepts” OLE.
16 YELP – YE + LP.
17 FLUTE – F + LUTE.
18 MAIL – I’m not sure I follow the wordplay, but I can’t see it being anything else.
19 WEIRDO – hom. of Wear + DO.
21 BREZHNEV – I think this is ZH “packing” BREN, + the base of the natural logarithm + V. One notes that Brezhnev was Ukrainian rather than Russian.
23 EXEGESIS – EX + EG + [-gen]ESIS.
26 CURIAE – CURIE “takes in” A.
27 NATURAL GAS – simple charade.
28 JEER – JEER[-a] being an alternative name for cumin.
1 IONOSPHERE – I don’t see all of the wordplay, but I’m sure it’s there.
3 ITALIC – dd.
6 AERIAL – AIR< in LEA<.
7 LAME – [-footbal]L A ME[-diocre].
13 EXURB – BRUXE[-lles]<.
17 FOOLSCAP – A cap for fools!
18 MAHARAJA – M, H, R and J “each suppported by” A.
20 RIGS UP – RI[-n]GS UP.
22 ENCASH – dd.
24 X-RAY – Nice one. “by” = X, “man” = Man Ray.
25 SAGA – First letters of Seductive, Afterwards, Grotesque and Angelina.

10 Responses to “Independent 6,930 by Mordred”

  1. Geoff Moss says:

    18a MAIL[boat] – a ‘packet’ is ship or vessel employed in carrying packets of letters, ie a mailboat

    1d atmosphere (mood) with atm (cash dispenser) changed to ion (part with charge)

  2. Eileen says:

    Geoff Moss: I knew you were good at crosswords but didn’t know you had such prodigious foresight!!

  3. beermagnet says:

    This puzzle was available online yesterday morning before the correct Dac puzzle was uploaded. I suspect that is somehow the reason for Geoff’s apparent time travel. I did it yesterday morning unaware of the mistake. The Nina on the circumference was picked out in a delicate light blue shade. It certainly helped indicate the Nina without necessitating a preamble, and the Nina certainly helped me – e.g. I got BREZHNEV mainly from the V and still wondered about that “Intermittently, a Czech” delivering ZH. Unfortunately that shading isn’t showing on today’s online version.
    I haven’t got the paper yet today – does that have shading, preamble or nothing?

  4. Geoff Moss says:

    Beermagnet is right. This blog was originally posted yesterday and, being up early, I added my comment. It was subsequently found that a mistake had been made and that the puzzle on the Indy website was the one intended for today. This blog was therefore rescheduled accordingly and my original comment remained with it.

  5. Eileen says:

    So you’re not really the next Dr Who, then Geoff? What a disappointment!

  6. eimi says:

    Happy New Year to all. To respond to a comment made yesterday on the Guardian puzzle’s blog, I’m not in the habit of making Ninas explicit, and I’ve no intention of dumbing down (which I hope nmsindy’s analysis of last year’s puzzles bears out to some extent, if we’re harder than the Times), but as the Nina in this case was intended as a message to all solvers, and there are some solvers who wouldn’t know what a Nina was or where to look for it, I decided to make use of the colour available in the online version – I couldn’t find an easy way of doing the same in the printed version (and, by the way, I’m making an early bid for the longest sentence on fifteensquared this year). I’m also hoping it may encourage such solvers to look for such things in future puzzles.

  7. nmsindy says:

    Tough puzzle, excellent wishes reciprocated. I think EREMITES is more than a cryptic definition i.e set i mere all reversed &lit.

  8. Colin Blackburn says:

    19ac I think that when I looked at this puzzle I thought there was an error here rather than a homophone. However, as I do the puzzle on-line I no longer have the clue to hand to confirm that it was probably me not seeing the indicator.

  9. Barbara says:

    Re: Brezhnev
    It’s not reasonable to expect even the most intelligent solvers to know that “base e” is a mathematical constant, unless one has taken an advanced post-graduate course in mathematics.
    I googled it but I confess I didn’t understand the article, nor did learn what “e” is used for.
    Fortunately I’ll never need to know.

  10. nmsindy says:

    Barbara, e = base has been a staple in crosswords for a long while back. Agreed however that you see it less today. With calculators and computers, maybe people are less familiar with it now, but I think those studying advanced post-graduate courses in mathematics would be studying far more abstruse items which I’d hope never to see in puzzles.

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