Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7226 by Mass (Sat 12 Dec 2009)

Posted by petebiddlecombe on December 17th, 2009


Solving time: about 45 late night minutes

Mass has usually been a very difficult setter for me – never quite sure why. I was going to say that this has a lot of drugs and at least a couple of doctors. I now see that every single clue has at least a medical surface meaning, if not a medical answer as well. A good example of what I remember Mass saying to me the only time I ever met him (c. 1991). His description of the setting process was “realisation of ideas, lad”. Well there must have been quite a lot of work to realise this idea. The unusual indicators and partial homophones made it difficult, but I think it’s well worth it overall.

1 B(All=wholly)Y,HOO=”who” – {Doctor = Who} is a well-worn path but I was still looking for MO, MB and the other more common doctors.
6 PUPPET – 2 defs, with the clue looking quite like a cryptic def
9 TRI(p),M – one of the few I can remember solving instantly
10 UN,(qu.)EASINESS – UN = “one local” as “un” is a dialect version of “one”
12 LANE – N=new for C=hint of cure, in lace=doctor (in another sense)
13 USAGE – of drugs = “15?”
14 A,(woun)D,DRESSED
16 SPOTLIGHT – (T=tense, OP. = operation) in SLIGHT = small
19 HEART – EAR = another (organ), in HT = “hospital transplants originally”
21 D(R)UG
23 GATHERINGS – 2 defs, linked by “showing”
25 DELIBERATE = (ear I belted)*
26 (p)ILLS
27 STEER=animal, S = “surgery’s inauguration”
28 EASTSIDE = (disease, T)*
2 A(BRAD,E)S – with “bandaged” as the container indicator
3 LAMPLIGHT – cryptic def alluding to the “lady of the lamp” description of Florence Nightingale
4 HOUSE(man)
5 OPEN AND SHUT CASE – 2 defs, one a rather brutal description of surgery
6 P.A. = “yearly”,STEUR = “stir” = rise – pushing the boundaries, but undertsandably so
7 PANEL – 2 defs
8 ESSENCE – ( SE(t) = “almost ready”) in SCENE* – another bit of boundary-pushing, with “operating” as the anagram indicator
15 SPECIFICS – 2 defs
17 PORT=left, + ENT straight from the clue
18 INGRESS = anag. of (e.g., SRN, is) – “qualified” is another unusual anagram indicator
20 REG,ALED=”ailed”
22 GUISE = “Guy’s”
24 EVENS – Eve = woman, and NHS losing its heart=19. I’d normally warn you that heart can be H from card game notation, or the middle letter(s) of a word, but here these are both the same thing.

3 Responses to “Independent 7226 by Mass (Sat 12 Dec 2009)”

  1. nmsindy says:

    This was one of the best puzzles of the year for me. Long before Ninas were invented, Mass had puzzles like this in the Indy from time to time where every clue related to one area of activity, such as medicine here. Mass is, for me, one of the greatest masters of the different meanings in the English language.
    NE corner was the trickiest. Yes, those Mass puzzles were usually hard, like this one, but I did not mind that at all.

  2. Duggie says:

    Agree with nmsindy, though with one minor quibble: I went looking for wordplay in some of the double defs. Couldn’t finish top right and thought HOUSE (4d) must refer to Hugh Laurie’s dark genius, but couldn’t see how.

  3. petebiddlecombe says:

    Not sure when Ninas were invented – I think they existed for quite a while before getting any name. The Times 75th anniversary book has a nice story about a retiring maths teacher whose colleagues wrote to the xwd ed, and a Times puzzle containing his name and other stuff specially for the occasion – in 1965!

    I too must have looked for wordplay where there wasn’t any, but for me that’s legitimate deception as long as the clue is clear when understood.

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