Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7224 by Mordred

Posted by nmsindy on December 10th, 2009


Thursday is usually the toughest midweek day in the Indy.   This was hard, but not exceptionally so, 35 mins.    Top half easier than bottom half.   Very enjoyable puzzle with some intricate wordplay and excellent surfaces as I associate with Mordred.   He’s had many Ninas in the past but I don’t see one here.   (But others did – thanks to them!)

* = anagram   < = reversed


9 PROOF      O (oxygen = gas) in PROF (professor = academic)

10 AB (OM IN) ATE    abate = ease up   second over = mo<    in = batting


12 TUR(N)KEY     N = Newgate’s principal (ie first letter)

13 DECIDER   final letters of haD pelE (cried)*      Penalty shoot-out to ‘decide’ a football match level after 90 mins and extra time, eg 2006 World Cup Final between Italy and France.

14 CATERER    alternate letters of sCrAn To EaRl    ER (Queen)   scran = food giving a very good surface.

15 DICK FRANCIS   (I find cracks)*     I got this straightaway, former very successful jockey, who has produced many crime books related to the racing world, so “racy” in the surface is very good.

It is said that his (late) wife had a big role in relation the books, if I recall.

20 ARREARS      This was my favourite clue.   REAR (behind) in A and first letters of Rent Settlement making a wonderful &lit

22 ENQUIRY   (Query in)*

24 LOFT (attic) IE   superioR

26 ANALYZE     (Anna lies)*    8 is New York    which leads to the US spelling with a Z.   The use of this Z in a unchecked square led me on a renewed Nina hunt, but I still can’t see one, then thought there might be a pangram but can’t see a J or W.   Clue is totally fair.

27 FREE MASON     Another US reference with ‘defense’ leading to Perry Mason, I think, who I remember well from the small screen and never lost a case, I think.

28 NERVE    Another excellent & lit.    In the cryptic reading ‘guts’ is centre of oNe and vERy, with the VE from brave lacking support ie bra!


1 UP (United Press) (Michael) GRADE

2 CON DUCE D (Germany)



5 BOLT   Tricky double definition, thought for a long time it would be ‘a’ in something.   A roll of wallpaper and to eat (hurriedly)

6 DIURETIC     RU (Rugby Union) I (international) in CITED   (all<)

7 BA(N)KER   N = moNey essentially ie middle letter.    Another wonderful &lit clue with great use of different meanings of ‘bread’


14 CHAT ELAINE    chat = cat in French

16 CHARISMA   (Charm is a)*

17 S(HIP)YARD     of which Gdansk (Poland) is an example.    carts = drays<   ‘filled’ with fruit (hip)

18 CAL(L OF)F    I found this the trickiest of all – I think it’s fold (pen) less d = dam (from animal pedigrees) reversed in ‘calf’ (young animal).   ‘ On the contrary’ saying to put lof in calf rather than the other way round.

19 TYPE (sort)  SET (batch)    and another &lit!

21 REFLEX    hidden

23 Q (question)  U (University)  AIN’T (isn’t)

25 RISK   Double definition  – chance and (computer) game

15 Responses to “Independent 7224 by Mordred”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Not a nina as such, but there is a theme; 15ac. books.
    I can see at least 8 here…

  2. IanN14 says:

    …you’ll find them here.
    I seem to remember doing a similarly themed puzzle a while ago?

  3. fgbp says:

    I found this easy-ish but got terminally stuck on BOLT and I still don’t understand how one arrives at this answer from the clue!
    Not sure I approve of the cross-reference to the dubious 8 down to justify the unchecked Z in ANALYZE, but all-in-all a v pleasant solving experience with nice mix of harder and easier clues. Favourite clue the one for DICK FRANCIS

  4. Gaufrid says:

    I thought 5d was a rather clever triple definition: start / to eat / a roll.

  5. fgbp says:

    On seeing the answer I wondered whether BOLT might be a triple def, but I don’t think START in its own can mean BOLT. My dictionary tells me the former is a sudden flinching movement whereas BOLT is a sudden movement or dash away – both are sudden movements but of differing types. On the other hand “Start to eat” = “bolt” might just conceivably work, especially as “eat” on its own seems a bit weak for “bolt”. But I’m not sure.

  6. Gaufrid says:

    Chambers lists ‘to spring’ and ‘to dart’ under both ‘bolt’ and ‘start’ so I am happy with the td.

  7. Ben S says:

    There seems no doubt about it but I can’t see why “New York” is capital?

  8. NealH says:

    Some good deception. I thought for a long time 14 across would be an anagram of scran followed by E and R. Like Nmsindy, I thought 5 might be a word for start around A, then I thought it might be a word for to eat reversed. The “roll” meaning of bolt (a large roll of cloth from a loom) was a bit obscure, which made it fairly tricky as a td.

  9. Mick H says:

    Why is New York ‘state capital’? NY is a state, but New York is neither the capital of the USA nor of new York state (that’s Albany).You could call it ‘Capital state’ on the basis that there’s lots of money there, I suppose. Am I missing something?

  10. NealH says:

    It does have a nickname of “Capital of the World” and was formerly the capital of the US (1785-1790), but I’m not sure if that’s enough to justify it.

  11. Ali says:

    I had exactly the same experience as fgbp here. Took me about 20 minutes to to get all but BOLT, my only consolation now being that I would never have got it from that clue. Would never have spotted the Nina either. A nice puzzle nevertheless, with some great clues.

  12. eimi says:

    Apologies. I’m not sure how New York got through. It was a schoolboy error that I should have spotted. I suppose Neal at 10 has a point, but I doubt that it’s what Mordred had in mind.

  13. Derrick Knight says:

    NEW YORK was, I’m afraid, a schoolboy error. It was supposed to be a double definition. I have a blind spot about the capital of the USA. Apologies to editor and solvers alike. Mordred

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    5d as BOLT didn’t really float my boat, and I had to cheat to get it as my last one to to in; but otherwise a really enjoyable puzzle, with some delightful &lits and other thought-provoking clues. Thanks, Mordred, and don’t beat yourself up too much: if I counted up the schoolboy errors I personally make each week as a solver I’d be permanently in the naughty corner.

  15. Colin Blackburn says:

    I also thought the use of Z in ANALYZE must be a sign of a pangrammatic puzzle. Why else opt for that spelling?. There is a W in NEW YORK. The only letter missing is J and as I didn’t see BOLT I guessed at JOLT from “Start”. Of course with hindsight not part of the Nina but as I failed to see that JOLT seemed a good guess.

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