Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7112 by Trees (Sat 1 Aug)

Posted by beermagnet on August 6th, 2009



That’s a new compiler I thought. Then forgot that as I stared at the clues for an immensely long time looking for inspiration. I wasn’t sure of any answers on the first pass. I couldn’t help but notice no fewer than 19 of the 28 clues began “My”. These are all theme clues but I only cracked this after a slog. I came close earlier when I scribbled HOL- next to 2D but couldn’t think of a word that fitted, and 24D led me up a blind alley (see below). It was when I saw LINDEN hidden in 22A that the light dawned. When I looked again at the setters pseudonym I felt a bit of a twit.

For every clue beginning “My” the answer is a tree or tree related.

Once this was known the tree clues didn’t seem so hard. Some are pretty obscure though and I couldn’t have finished this without “research”.

Who is Trees? Probably one (or more?) of the regular setters in disguise producing this themed devilry. I don’t know and the theme constraint here obscures the clue style, but I’ll start the ball rolling with a guess: Tees (because it’s only 1 letter different).
I hope someone lets us know – in the meantime, who do you think it is?
Now confirmed as Tees see below

8 MAHOGANY Wordplay unsure here: Is this HOG,A inside MANY or HOG,AN inside MAY or even A,HOG,AN inside MY ? Surely not the last as the “My” is not used in wordplay elsewhere. What is “the sounder”. Is that a homophone ind. somehow? Clue:
My boar one among the sounder? (8)
From Johnson comment: ‘sounder’ is a group of boars, therefore gives MANY.  Thus HOG,A inside MANY
9 ACACIA (AI)< excellent return, next to AC,AC accounts
10 PALM P,ALM[s]
11 LARTINGTON ART (work) inside LING (heather), TO N[orth] My last grid entry after rejecting the lightly pencilled Darlington and sorting out 3D. Someone tell me that’s not obscure.
12 SAPELE S.A. (world cup place), PELE (Brazilian footballer) S.A. – South Africa – I think this is most likely referring to the Rugby World Cup 1995
nmsindy points out that the finals for the round ball game are in S.A. next year
14 SIDESTEP (PEDESTRIAN – RAN)* AInd: Unexpectedly
15 THICKET THICK (group very friendly), ET (alien) A clump of trees defined by ‘My group’
17 ESSENCE C[old] inside ESSENE (Old Jewish ascetic)
20 APPLE PIE A sort of CD-ish DD. Applie pie order is perfect order (well, at least good order) and it is a pud
22 LINDEN Hidden in upheavaL IN DENmark. The Lime tree. One of the first Trees I got leading me to understand the “My = Tree” connection
23 COMPULSION (COOL PUNS I’M)* AInd: fighting
24 DATE Single Def. One of the easier clues once the theme was cracked
25 SECURE CUR (vicious dog) inside SEE (be certain, i.e. understand)
26 THALAMUS ALA[r]M (fear, with R=king leaving) inside THUS (so) One for the brainy solvers
1 CALABASH A[tomic] LAB (research facility) inside CASH
2 HOLM HOL[iday] (short break) M[ike] The Holm Oak. A clue that may have been useful in spotting the theme.
3 MALLEE MALL (shopping arcade) E[veryon]E One of several types of Eucalyptus. One of several strange trees
4 CYPRESS C[apabilit]Y, PRESS. Some of the most beautiful of the evergreens
5 SAPINDUS SAP (drain) INDUS (Asian river) Another tree that was new to me.  A genus of trees
6 MANGOSTEEN MAN (servant), GEN around (TOES)* AInd: disjointed These trees weren’t easy were they
7 SIMONE SI (Yes in italian, thus “to Berlusconi”) MONE[y] I had SISTER written in here until near the end, even justifying it with STER[ling]
13 EUCALYPTUS (CLUE SAY PUT)* AInd: in an unfamiliar way
16 ESPALIER (LAPSE)< (slip up) I.E. [caree]R A method of training fruit trees
18 CHESTNUT CHEST (case) NUT (a strange case)
19 DEVIATE [fiv]E VI (six) inside DATE (answer to 24A)
21 PROTEA PA (old man) around ROTE (mechanical procedure) The Sugarbush, another tree unknown to me
22 LONGAN LONG (lengthy) AN (article)
24 DHAK First letters in Dishonoured House Are Known. Pencilled in DHAK next to the clue early on but didn’t know the word and looking it up found a Drum which certainly confused the issue and didn’t help reveal the true tree connection.

7 Responses to “Independent 7112 by Trees (Sat 1 Aug)”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Beermagnet – you must not be a football person – 12 across – the World Cup Finals next year are in South Africa. Great blog.

  2. Mike Laws says:

    My first thought was oh no! the Indy’s getting a touch of the Grauniads. Then, Tees is playing on his pseudonym, for the sake of the theme.

    Not impressive, either way. Ninamania strikes again?

  3. Allan_C says:

    Took a while before the penny dropped about the trees, then, as beermagnet says, some research was required. Thought Lartington was a bit obscure – found it in the index to my road atlas – but its being in Teesdale might be a further clue to the identity of “Trees”.

  4. johnson says:

    Did this one with a couple of uni mates, and enjoyed it. Dunno what ‘Mike Laws’ is saying here – no Nina we could spot. Maybe he means Virgilius and Nimrod should chuck it in.

    Guess is the compiler is Tees, putting R in, and running with the ball. And as themes go, not that hard to spot!

    Reckon 1 across is clever, HOG A in MANY where the ‘many’ is the sounder, or group of boars/ pigs. Sapindus is a genus while espalier is a tree. Thicket is just ‘my group’ with very friendly = thick, and none of us had ever been to Lartington until Saturday. There were a few tough tree words in the downs but so what. The difficulty was about right for a prize puzzle, meaning it’s not as if you’re trying to do it on a bus, or with no time to access the Net. No complaints, and tight clues right through. So as long as you didn’t just guess it, you were all right with old Woody.

  5. shirley says:

    I don’t know about comment 2, as I’m always rather pleased about the latitude Indy compilers are given! They’re given it because they can be trusted to deliver, as is obvious.

    Not a Nina in sight here as noted above, but a simple themed offering from T(r)ees (it IS you?). Definitely a weekend puzzle, but a very pleasing solve with some beautifully clued words. Only slight quibble 19 down, which contravenes my ‘gratuitous use of number in clues’ policy.

    More of the same from all the ‘Ninamaniacs’, if that’s what we are to call them, including Virgilius, Nimrod and Tees, for this satisfied crosswording customer.

  6. T(r)ees says:

    Guilty, and thanks for the positive remarks. I’m also a fan of the amazing work that some of our setters are able or wont to produce under the watchful gaze of liberal Eimi, and I can’t see why things should need to change because of a whinge or two.

    As to other comments, I should have thought it fairly obvious that the idea for the theme comes from the fact that my pseudonym is only one letter away from the subject matter. That is to say, I didn’t fall victim to an arboreal fixation, set a puzzle about trees and then think, oh goodness me how fortuitous.

    Aaaanyway, thanks beermagnet for your blog – loved the link between ‘Trees’ and … a picture of a tree!

  7. beermagnet says:

    And thanks to you Tees for popping in and confirming our suspicions – and setting the beast of course.

    Johnson. Thanks for explaining 1A. I didn’t know ‘sounder’ as a group of boars, I see it has its own entry in Chambers and doesn’t come under any of the several entries for ‘sound’.
    I’ll correct that and other stuff.

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