Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6960 by Mordred

Posted by nmsindy on February 5th, 2009


In terms of time taken to solve, I found this the hardest of the year so far, 75 mins.   There’s also a Nina which I refer to after the clue explanations

* = anagram    < = reversed

1 PHOEBE   Double definition, with amusing surface

4 LEDGE R   Another excellent surface

9 I (A) MB    And another

10 ETHOLOGIST  (Hogs toilet)*

11 M (dEAD) OW    I think

12 TEA (meal)  CLOTH (felt)   &lit

19 NUMBER TEN   The number JW wears  no = number then t (last letter of replacement) and first letters of ‘even near’

15 Richard GERE, star of that film.  “Gear”

16 (t)WEAK

17 RETENTIVE   (Vet entire)*

21 OIL CLOT H(all)

22 ECLAIR   Claire’s last letter moved forward

24 TH (REEP) ENCE   Peer< (Gynt).    Ref The Threepenny Opera (Brecht)

25 BALE  l for r in bare

26 WA (TERrace)Y   18 is element

27 AT LAST   Double definition




3 BOER WAR   (bore)* raw<

5 EOLIAN  (I alone)*

6 GI (GG) (LIES) T   gg = odd letters of ‘gaga’  lies = is to be found


9 W (HITE ELEPH)ANT   (the pile he)*

14 Cate BLANCHE TT    Blanche is female lead in ASND

16 Benjamin WHISHAW    Hidden

18 ELEMENT  men for c in elect

19 VEINLET   Verified as the answer, but not understood so far “Very small part of each arm”

20 COPPER   I think the PC is Police Constable and not fully means it’s a familiar shorter term for that.

23 LIfe BRA

Nina:  which I saw emerging but confirmed only at the very end – leftmost and rightmost columns spell IM NOT THERE

9 Responses to “Independent 6960 by Mordred”

  1. Mick h says:

    I agree, this was pretty hard, though not helped by things like putting THEOLOGIST and THREEPENNY. The nina refers to the film, in which 15 and 25ac and 14 and 16dn all played Bob Dylan.
    I think 19dn was + lit, V+E(ach)+INLET, the whole being a small part of an arm (or any other bit of the body, for that matter).

  2. Derrick Knight says:

    Don’t forget Heath Ledger. Derrick

  3. nmsindy says:

    nmsindy has acknowledged his weakness re films in the past, all that is completely new to me, though a fan of Bob Dylan in the days way back.

  4. mhl says:

    I found this very tough. It’s rather odd that this theme should come up as a theme in the Independent so shortly after it was used as the basis for a puzzle in the Guardian Genius.

  5. eimi says:

    Just to clarify – Mordred submitted this puzzle in early November, before the Guardian Genius puzzle appeared. I was aware of the Guardian version, as I had rejected it when submitted for the Indy as too esoteric for a daily puzzle, relying as it did on knowledge of the film. In this case it was a Nina, not crucial to the solving of the puzzle, although I’m sure it would have made it easier for anyone who twigged it early on. I saw no reason to deprive Indy readers of a perfectly good puzzle simply because it had a Nina on the same subject as an online Guradian puzzle’s explicit theme published over two months earlier.

  6. mhl says:

    Eimi: I was just remarking that it was an odd coincidence, and wasn’t intending to suggest there was anything untoward. (I suppose I should know from reading Hugh Stephenson’s newsletter that I should explicitly make it clear that I’m not a conspiracy theorist!)

  7. eimi says:

    Obviously Bob Dylan appeals to setters, which isn’t too surprising, I suppose, as he does amazing things with words too.

  8. Al Streatfield says:

    Very difficult.

    Didn’t understand clue for PHOEBE

    Thought the clue for COPPER was weak and didn’t have much confidence in putting it in, although it couldn’t really have been anything else.

    Haven’t seen the film, so didn’t understand the nina.

    Some good clues…

    Slightly unfortunate that ETHOLOGIST could also have been THEOLOGIST and THREEPENCE would have made more sense as THREEPENNY

    NUMBER TEN required specialist knowledge of rugby

    There’s two CLOTHs in it (TEA CLOTH and OILCLOTH)

    Thought the &lit. element in TEA CLOTH was weak and the &lit. element in VEINLET was slightly weak because, as has been pointed out, VEINLETs are found in other parts of the body as well…

  9. nmsindy says:

    I should have explained PHOEBE more fully in the blog – it’s a type of bird as well as a girl’s name. I thought THREEPENCE was OK as the clue said ‘price of an opera’ i.e. leading to the noun rather than the adjective. After the theme was explained, I Googled “I’m Not There” and all the info re the film came up. Kicking myself that I did not do so before posting!

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