Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6950/Tees (Prize Puzzle 24-01-09)

Posted by neildubya on January 30th, 2009


A very enjoyable puzzle which I found pretty tough in places. I doubt I would have got 10 at all without Google and I’m still not sure about 4. Good fun though – my favourite clues were 26, 27, 1d and 9.

6 hidden in “wiFES Success” – as in “FESS up”
10 MILE(TU)S – Tough. Had to Google Gloriosus to discover that “Miles Gloriosus” (literally “famous or boastful soldier”) is a stock character from the comedy of classical Rome. “You to Hadrian” is TU (“you” in Latin) and MILETUS was an ancient city on the coast of what is now Turkey.
11 MONTAG[-u]E – the Montagues were one of the families in Romeo and Juliet (along with the Capulets). I was a bit puzzled over the use of “rapidly” in the definition but one of the uses of MONTAGE is to condense events that have taken place over a long period of time so perhaps that was what Tees was suggesting.
12 (USED TO MAN)* – NOT AMUSED. “Mrs Brown” is of course Queen Victoria.
13 E(MEN)D
14 NO,NET – I think you have to read the clue as “Online link denied – this (ie NO NET)instrumental…” to make it work, which would explain the exclamation mark.
18 WISECRACK – a reference to (Eric) Morecambe and (Ernie) Wise. Not completely sure but I think it’s a cryptic def as a joke in Ernie’s name would be a “Wise crack”.
21 US,PRU< – the insurance company is the Prudential, colloquially known as the Pru.
24 R,IN TIN TIN – RIN TIN TIN was 50s US childrens TV programme about the adventures of a young orphan boy and his German Shepherd dog (hence “filmed Barker”). The Herge bit of the wordplay is easy enough – who hasn’t heard of TIN TIN? – but “take in” could be easily mistaken as a containment indicator. In fact, R is “take” as R is an abbrev for “recipe” which is the Latin word for take.
26 SP(IN OZ)A – excellent clue.
27 EX,HI[-s],BIT – another good one. “Lover dumped” is EX.
28 Y,ALE
1 IN,MAN – I really liked this one too. Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man so if you’re visiting it you’re “in Man”. John INMAN played Mr Humphries in “Are you being served”, a sitcom that is, inexplicably, wildly popular in the US.
3 AUTOMATIC P(I)LOT – I found this very tricky. The definition is “George” as this is what autopilots are sometimes referred to as. Once you’ve got that, the rest of the clue is actually pretty easy.
4 M(ISSUE)*R – I filled in MISUSER as I can’t see what else might fit but I’m not sure why this applies specifically to Alec d’Urberville.
7 E,DAVE (going up)
8 S,PART DEEP (going up) – SPEED TRAP
14 NEW JERSEY – if a jersey is new, it’s just been knitted, so “just off the Needles”.
16 A,RC – “a” is an abbreviation for “ante”.
17 E,QUI,TABLE – “disco biscuits” is slang for Ecstasy, although it’s not in the COED or Chambers Online.
19 AIR TAXI – a cryptic def I think as “Hackney” is probably a reference to Hackney Carriages (black taxis).
20 KEN(N,E)T,H – Kent is often referred to as the “garden of England” for some reason.
23 alternate letters in “fOuR fIvE aLl” – ORIEL
25 N,(SEAT)* – NATES, the buttocks, botty, arse, rear-end or hind parts.

7 Responses to “Independent 6950/Tees (Prize Puzzle 24-01-09)”

  1. beermagnet says:

    10A I had the great good fortune of visiting Miletus a while ago. I’d certainly recommend that area with Ephesus, Didymus, Miletus etc. in easy travelling range and superb Turkish hospitality. So I had no problem with the answer but did wonder if it might prove hard for others.
    3D I think George is specifically (or at least originally) the autopilot software.
    4D I took it that Alec D’Urberville rather misused Tess in Hardy’s novel.
    20D Kent is very much the Garden of Eden^H^H^Hngland for its orchards and of course beautiful hopfields.
    It was Air Taxi I was stuck on for ages – sometimes CD’s really stump me.
    Yet again I had great fun from Tees – for me, his crosswords have become “must dos”.

  2. Allan_C says:

    Thanks for the explanation of 17d. It had to be ‘equitable’ but I didn’t understand the disco biscuits bit.
    In 10a I guessed ‘Miletus’ and deduced it was ‘tu’ in ‘miles’. Having found ‘gloriosa’ as a genus of climbing plants, I looked up ‘miles’ in Chambers to see if it might be some odd name for a member of that genus, and was delighted to find instead a separate entry for ‘miles gloriosus’.
    But a great puzzle overall, and fairly easy going after some of the toughies during the week.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Great puzzle, with some really cracking clues with great misdirection. Disco biscuits is in Chambers.

  4. Allan_C says:

    I obviously need a more up to date edition of Chambers!

  5. Simon Harris says:

    Enjoyed this one too, as is typically the case with the Saturday puzzles. I also had to join the cheaty club on “Miletus”.

    I can’t help but take issue though with the deliberately misleading capitalisation, though. “Famed Barker” was one, “in Bow” at 16 was another, and there were several more. That sort of thing can be clever when it’s hidden at the start of the clue, but to simply break the laws of English just to make a clue “harder” doesn’t really seem like cricket to me.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Simon, this is crossword convention, rightly or not, not a particular feature of this excellent puzzle. A false capital is allowed. It gives extra flexibility to setters, but experienced solvers can spot it which helps towards solution. All part of the game, like everything else.

  7. Tees says:

    Thanks for the mightily kind remarks – spot the pangram, anyone?

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