Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7233 by Tees

Posted by NealH on December 21st, 2009


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

I found this very difficult and a few of the clues I only found by resorting to word searches. Causing particular frustration were 16 down, where I was convinced the answer must be epode-rm and 17 across where I thought of the similar but sadly not quite correct “diabolism”. However, it was worth putting up with the occasionally obscure word for some brilliant surface readings (e.g. 22, 23 and 26).

1 Bisect: Def is “half-cut” – sec in bit.
4 Spirit: DD.
9 Argo: [C]argo.
10 Possession: DD (demonic possession and possession is 9/10 of the law).
11 Sunset: CD. Although I can see the humour here, I found it a bit too vague to get easily.
12 Imitator: [E]imi + ta + to + [Observe]r.
13 Matchlock: Match + lock and a ref to the Matchlock firing mechanism, which I imagine gave a kick on firing.
15 Mine: DD.
16 Eton: E[l]ton.
17 Diablerie: Abler I in die.
21 Somewhat: (how teams)*.
22 Rattan: Rat + tan.
24 Legal limit: All I’m in leg it.
25 Over: DD (cricket over).
26 Malawi: Initial letters.
27 Haggis: Ag g in his.
1 Bermuda: This was the only one I didn’t follow at all. Obviously, Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda but I’m lost on what the narrow path and loyalist group are.
2 Spot: I think this is pot in SS. The idea seems to be that a container ship holds a container.
3 Capital: DD. As already mentioned, Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda.
5 Peewit: Wee< in pit.
6 Rosmarine: Rose around (r in main). On seeing this, I thought it had to be a word for mythical on the grounds that there can’t possibly be a legendary walrus, can there ? Can’t find a decent link to one but it’s “a fabulous sea animal which was reported to climb by means of its teeth to the tops of rocks to feed upon the dew.”
7 Twosome: Sow< in tome.
8 A Stitch in Time: Not entirely comfortable with this one either – “Sufficiently early repair saving Argo here”. I suppose the Argo reference must be something to do with the Golden Fleece.
14 Close Call: DD. I struggled a bit to justify this one, but I suppose close can be complete in the sense of “close out” and call can be justification in the sense of “there’s no call for this”.
16 Exoderm: Exode + RM.
18 Biretta: B + attire[d]*. Very clever use of most.
19 In a mess: Names in is.
20 The Law: Wealth* and a reference to the cartoon character Judge Dredd, who often claims “I am the law”.
23 Thong: &lit – hidden in cloth on goolies.

9 Responses to “Independent 7233 by Tees”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Neal
    1d is BERM (narrow path) UDA (loyalist group, Ulster Defence Association)

  2. NealH says:

    That explains why I couldn’t follow it – never heard of a berm.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    The ‘saving Argo here’ in 8d completes the saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ because ‘Argo’ is the answer at 9a.

  4. anax says:

    8d A STITCH IN TIME refers to Argo at 9 across (as in “…saves nine”).

    I found this tough too but the rewards for persevering were immense. THONG is brilliant and the almost invisible construction for IN A MESS is superb.

    Thanks Tees – great entertainment as always.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Tough, but very entertaining and some elegant clueing. Especially liked 19d and 23d.

    Thanks again for the blog, Neal – you explained several where I didn’t really understand what was going on.

  6. nmsindy says:

    I found this tough, too, with some excellent clues. Favourite, as mentioned by someone else, IN A MESS, also esp liked ETON (a fresh way of clueing that) and LEGAL LIMIT.

  7. walruss says:

    Very good. Very precise clues, which I like, and some lateral movement with the joke about ‘saves nine’. ‘How teams’ is done nicely as well. I hope the Independent’s new Russian owners to be will support the crossword!

  8. Tees says:

    I think you’ve found my devices out either in the blog (for which many thanks) or the subsequent comments. Most grateful I yam.

  9. Uncle Yap says:

    Very challenging but entertaining as well. Some very deft footwork. My favourite is “possession is 9/10th of the law”

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