Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6967 by Tyrus

Posted by nmsindy on February 13th, 2009


I could not finish this, essentially because I’d never heard of the 39 letter phrase at the heart of  the puzzle.    However, as it bounces up on Google, I may be in a small minority in that.  Quite a hard puzzle, with some excellent clues.

* = anagram   < = reversed


1 D (EATH) RAYS    (hate)*   this took me longer to get than it should have.

6 K NO C K   on< C = a little churlish (first letter)   KK = Tyneside messiah initially – first letters of Kevin Keegan, ex-Newcastle United football manager who is known as that.

10/21/16/29/5  COME AND HAVE A GO IF YOU THINK YOU’RE HARD ENOUGH    An anagram of all the letters in the clue up to and including ‘ready’

11 CO (UT) URIER E   ut = as from Latin

12 DELI   New “Delhi”

13 TEETH   An excellent hidden

14 O BO E

15 MA(n)’S CARA


18 PU EBLO    up< = finished   (below)* less W = west   Ham with false capital allowed by crossword convention indicates the anagram, I think.

20 Hansen’s DISEASE = leprosy   (Ase side)*

22 THAI   “tie”     The only across clue I solved on first run through

23 FUNKY   cf flunky   i.e. servant doesn’t have liberal = l

25 DU FF   My favourite clue

27 CA TALOGUER  (to rule ag)*  a and g = extremely annoying – first and last letters

28 AV(o)ID

30/3   WHO ATE ALL THE PIES   (Toilet, whale shape)*     While the puzzle is full of football references, I think this is the only one appearing in an answer.    A football chant addressed at those of generous girth among the opposing team, management or supporters.


2 EMOTE   cf  remote

4 RE (C) IT   tier<

7 NAIROBI   Iberian< with o for e

8 C (ORPO) RATE    (poor)*    Great clue, with good misdirection suggesting (play in box)*

9 B US HIS MoSt    Amusing

15 MO U TH(e) WASH    Clever use of Estuary English to mislead

19 Great BR(IT)AIN

24 YARRA   array<


27 Responses to “Independent 6967 by Tyrus”

  1. Fletch says:

    Is this a new setter? I don’t recall seeing the name before.

  2. conradcork says:

    Nor me, Fletch. But what a debut!

    I didn’t work out the long anagram, but when I had the u and the h of ‘enough’ I saw what it was from the ‘definition’ and the word lengths.

    9 down is laugh aloud stuff. A great and apposite surface.

    More please.

  3. Duggie says:

    As hard a puzzle as there’s been in some time, not excluding Bannsider’s and Nimrod’s brain-frazzlers. Had I not cheated this would have taken much longer than a Saturday toughie (I doubt if I’d finish it). But all clues are fair and some answers very cleverly disguised. Struggling with the possiblity of melanin/melanie at 15A distracted me for ages. And more than a little football knowledge would have helped. Nothing old-hat here!

  4. timbo says:

    if 10,21 etc is acceptable as a solution, I find it hard to imagine what phrases wouldn’t be acceptable.
    e.g. perhaps ‘i left my cleft sticks at the laundry, this morning’ is all right.

  5. eimi says:

    I’ve never heard football fans chanting Timbo’s phrase, but, you never know, it might catch on. The chant may belong to the bad old days of football hooliganism that Millwall’s supporters are trying so hard to bring back. At least Tyrus didn’t include “You’re going to get your f***ing heads kicked in” in his football-inspired debut. 17 Across is obviously ironic, but my favourite was 20 Across.

  6. Al Streatfield says:

    Having decided I couldn’t be bothered to do this one, on the grounds that the long answer was something about Vinnie Jones and there was too much stuff about football which would have sat more easily in the Sun or the Express, something occurred to me: Is the compiler actually a repellent thug or is he (I assume it’s a he) just putting on an act?

  7. Tyro says:

    So we can’t have clues about football, the national game, but cricket seems to be fine. What utter snobbish nonsense. I enjoyed this one from my near namesake anyway. Anyone know who the new setter is?

  8. Ali says:

    Damn, I didn’t get chance to get the paper today, so missed out on this one. Had a quick look online further to the blog and am impressed by all of it. Some may disagree, but this kind of puzzle is exactly what makes the Indy crossword so good in my opinion. If this is a case of starting as you mean to go on, then more Tyrus please Eimi!

  9. eimi says:

    Thanks, Ali. Obviously we can’t please all the people all the time, but I enjoyed this, which is why I published it. I’m not overly keen on long anagrams set over a number of lights, but otherwise thought it was great fun. It has been my aim to make the Indy crossword more attractive to younger readers/solvers, although hopefully not alienating too many of the older solvers in the process.

    Tyrus is the setter also known as Lato, well-known in advanced cryptic circles for many years.

  10. Anon says:

    This was my second attempt at an Indie crossword. The last one I got two clues out. Now I’m not a great solver -once in a blue moon I get the Times or Guardian fully out -usually I get between one quarter and half out but never ever have I failed to get one clue out like today. My attempts were
    1.Dummy guns (couldn’t see wordplay but doesn’t always mean I’ve got it wrong)
    6a Guessed Keegan but got no further.
    17 Spring -a season and Spurs would cause a horse to spring
    25 Thought of Dons, ants
    8d anagram of play in box?
    15d Doctor clearly meant anagram -had to drop the e from estuary but how do I get another 3 letters -ah yes rubbish is rot

    The only one I think I should have got was 13a , the hidden word.

    The Indie just seems to be out of my league! Do people think that 10a & 30a were “fair” -ok alls fair in love , war & crosswords but you know what I mean.

  11. carl2bob says:

    Wow that was hard, 3 clues today is a new low. Loved the football chant clues but failed to solve 10a, too many variables.

    I do the Indie every day, I used to be able to finish them once every week or so, I seriously struggle now. I am a newbie, x wording for a year or so, but I wonder if my skills are getting worse or the puzzle’s getting harder.
    LOVE that there are pop culture refs in the indie and often themes (what does nina mean?) and Virgillius is the best there is. Still having less fun than I did a while back.

    Wonder what everybody else thinks

  12. Paul B says:

    Not bad for a repellent thug, I thought. Congratulations Lato, on a great debut.

    My old man said ‘be a Pompey fan’, of course.

  13. eimi says:

    I’m concerned that Carl2bob is struggling. I’ll bear that in mind. There may have been some tough puzzles lately, but hopefully that will even out. Reading the blogs here will certainly help.

    A Nina is a hidden theme, not necessary to solve the puzzle, but a great help when you find it, such as words hidden in the unchecked squares, i.e. those across squares that are not also part of a down answer.

  14. Handel says:

    We managed all but three in the end, good going after a first pass that yielded just one answer. Nice to have an unusual theme, although I for one would have enjoyed more thematic answers to give the puzzle a more complete feel. Will look forward to more Tyrus puzzles in the future.

    COD: 19dn

  15. NealH says:

    I was expecting a nice easy Phi but found this quite hard going. The main problem was that the long phrase used up so many letters on its own that there wasn’t much else to go at. It was only when I’d got enough letters to guess the long one that I was really able to get going. I managed to finish it apart from Pueblo: the ham thing was new on me and I didn’t pick up that it was an anagram. I wasn’t very keen on KK for Kevin Keegan, although I am from the North East and should probably have thought of it.

    I hadn’t heard the long phrase in football context, since I’m not a fan and don’t go to matches. However, I remembered it being used in the film Dog Soldiers. Who said you never learn anything from watching horror films ?

  16. John Peters says:

    “Toilet? Whale shape?” – doesn’t make any sense to me. I can’t see anyone addressing that to anyone
    even with a crossword’s latitude. Some excellent clues but generally too convoluted for me

  17. Fletch says:

    I am gobsmacked to discover it was Lato, thanks for that Eimi!

  18. Tyrus says:

    Many thanks for the blog and to all who took the trouble to comment.

  19. Simon Harris says:

    This was a really interesting one. For my part, I spent all morning languishing on 3 clues solved (this did have to compete with work for my attention, though), and eventually had to draft in Ciaran from the Guardian solving team to make any further progress.

    But that said, everything seemed fair and it was all enjoyable…so no complaints, but perhaps this was more suited to a Saturday?

  20. Allan_C says:

    Almost totally defeated by this one. Got 30/3 as it’s not confined to football circles, but 10 etc totally passed me by. Puzzled for a while on 24d as it was obviously ‘yarra’ but thinking of ‘arr’ (abbreviation used in music) for ‘arrangement’ and trying to think how ‘ay’ could equate to ‘go’. Just shows how one can miss the obvious!

  21. eimi says:

    Good point on the Saturday slot, Simon – I like to put the other ‘tough’ guys there. Unfortunately the layout means that the Saturday crossword (in columns) needs to be quite well-balanced in terms of clue lengths, whereas in the daily puzzle the acrosses and downs run on. This crossword would only fit on the daily template, but at least many people will have a couple of days off to recover now.

  22. Al Streatfield says:

    Re. Tyro’s comment (number 7)

    Did I say that we can’t have clues about football?

    One of my favourite clues, out of the ones I have compiled, is:

    “Out-of-form Aston Villa finally score”

    Answer: SONATA

  23. Paul B says:

    ‘Score’ is the printed form of the music rather than the thing itself, shurely?

    As a rock drummer, I may well be wrong …

  24. Richard says:

    Although I managed to complete this, I did find it very hard. I think the problem was that there were two long anagram clues (for not very well-known expressions)which spread themselves over most of the puzzle. Like Eimi, I’m not a fan of the extra-long anagram – I find them almost impossible to solve from the given letters, and have to hope for inspiration while staring at the skeletonised expression once I’ve got a few letters. Although I’m a fan of Araucaria, who appears to delight in these, I do find them more than a bit of a pain!

  25. Al Streatfield says:

    According to Chambers (2006), a SONATA is a musical composition. And also according to Chambers, a SCORE is also a musical composition of a particular kind, i.e. written down. By the time they had sonatas they were generally written down. So a SONATA is a kind of score, in the same way that a SYMPHONY is a kind of score. You wouldn’t object to the definition of COD, BASS, CARP, EEL etc. as being FISH, would you?

  26. Tyro says:

    No, because they are fish, and if you look them up in any dictionary it says they are. And I don’t think you’ve apologised for calling Tyrus a repellent thug yet.

  27. Peter Biddlecombe says:

    Probably too late for anyone to see …

    Did this as part of a catch-up on recent Indie puzzles I’ve not had time to solve. Extremely hard, partly because I missed the footieness and expected the two long anags to be BUSHISMS. Eventually saw ENOUGH as a possible last word of the longer, but then guessed “think you’re good enough” as the ending, which made things worse for a while. In the end, found them both but gave up a couple of other answers short.

    Maybe the trick with these is not to use them from new setters until they’ve had a couple of plainer puzzles, and people have had the chance to get used to their style. Or get them to use charade or other “construction kit” wordplay some of the time – this might give you a better chance of confirming part of the answer than reducing a 40-letter anagram to say 20 possible letters.

    But on football as opposed to other sporting stuff, why on earth not? I’m always pleased to see material that doesn’t come from the usual cricket, golf and a bit each of tennis & rugger. Football, snooker, darts – bring ‘em on. As they do even in the “posh people’s” Times puzzle these days.

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