Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6996 by Mordred

Posted by nmsindy on March 19th, 2009


This was a marvellous crossword, many thanks, Mordred. Great clues all through, very difficult (solving time, 53 mins) but very satisfying to finish. There’s also quite a subtle Nina (hidden message not necessary for solving). I refer to this after the clue explanations.

* = anagram < = reversed


1 Michael ASP (HOD) EL


10 STROP (ports)<

11 EMIGRANTS (streaming)* &lit. A tip-top clue.

12 MAN FRIDAY (find Mary a)*

13 CHAIR First letters indicated by “primarily” ref ‘easy chair’

14 L I QUID Note this is linked to the previous clue giving the definition “really easy e.g. to convert”

15 PHLEGMY (help gym)*

18 (f)ETCHING Tricky

20 SQUAL(id) hoveL

22 G (b)IDDY

24 MAN (Island) HATT (that)* A (America) N (Eastern bank of Hudson i.e. last letter). And the whole clue gives the definition of the answer. Brilliant

25 OTOLOGIST Specialist in ears.

26 I RATE i.e. I tax, I guess

27 RE PUT (state vb, I think) E (final letter of finance)

28 MANTIS’S A Not sure if those under about 50 will know this. Dating from the days logarithms were used to aid calculation. Swept away by pocket calculators in about the 1970s.


1 AS SUME (Emus)<

2 PARANOIAC (ca I on a rap)< Five pieces and what a good surface reading!

3 OPPORTUNITY COST From economics

4 EM ENDED Me< ended = having been

6 AGRICULTURALIST (liturgical sutra)* anagram fodder not particularly linked to definition but ‘ growing’ certainly helped as letters from crossing words appeared.

7 HEN NA na = not in Scotland. hen = girl, not particularly Scottish maybe but the two can be read together, I guess

8 DES TROY S Nicely misleading as an anagram of Savoyard looked a possibility esp as crossing letters appeared. Des is really ‘of the’ in the plural rather than just ‘of’ though there is des (sorry about missing accent) meaning ‘from’


16 GAL ATIANS (a saint)* Letter from New Testament

17 PEIGNOIR (In I grope)*

19 GAMBIT bit (piece) for end (last letter) of game

20 SINATRA (a strain)*

21 AN GEL A Refers to “Angela’s Ashes” Frank McCourt’s book, also a film

23 DR (O) OP

Nina: Going in the appropriate directions in second column from left and second column from right, taking in two letters from the respective third columns are STALACTITE and STALAGMITE.

8 Responses to “Independent 6996 by Mordred”

  1. mhl says:

    Thanks for the post, nmsindy – I found this very tough. Lots of wonderful clues, though, as you point out…

    Could you possibly explain why SINATRA is “original”?

  2. Ali says:

    Totally agree Niall, this was brilliant and it was a pleasure to solve as much of it as I did. I struggled with the bottom half and admittedly fell a few short in the end. Have never come across PEIGNOIR before and foolishly dismissed the fairly obvious anagram even with all the checking letters. I’m in my early 30s, so I’ll happily accept your reasoning for me not getting MANTISSA! I completely missed the Nina too.

    As commented yesterday, it’s been a really good week of puzzles in the Indy. Kudos to setters and editor alike.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Re SINATRA, I think ‘original’ indicated the anagram, and the whole clue may have referred to his being an ‘original’ performer i.e. a major star not modelled on anyone in the past. I did not get it tho till I’d all the crossing letters.

  4. Paul B says:

    It was with a seething cauldron of bile that I sat down to enjoy … no, shurely I mean ENDURE, today’s, well, *potentially* rubbishy Independent puzzle.

    But curiously, on actual inspection of the clues, to my enormous pleasure … er, enormous CHAGRIN, it turned out that one or two of them read rather well. Plus, the bits and pieces of each of the generally excellent … um, generally APPALLING clues seemed to come from the palette of indicators and such like generally available to crossword compilers, and let’s face it, Mordred is a cut above … no, BELOW the accepted standard.

    Honestly, I’m whelmed.

  5. Simon Harris says:

    That was quite something. I found it remarkably hard but excellent. “Manhattan” was great, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many &lits in one puzzle!

    Would never have spotted that Nina, excellent work there.

  6. Richard says:

    Managed to solve it, but missed the Nina (well spotted!). Another brilliant puzzle in what’s proving to be a vintage week.

  7. eimi says:

    No pressure on Phi, then.

    Thanks to all. Glad you’re enjoying them. We aim to please.

  8. Allan_C says:

    Brilliant bit of misdirection in 26. It had to be ‘irate’ but having assumed IR (Inland Revenue) to be the taxman bit I couldn’t figure out the rest of the clue. But as for…
    Squall – Doh!
    Mantissa – Doh!
    Galatians – Doh!
    Sinatra – Doh!

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