Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7237 (Saturday Prize Puzzle [26 December] by Radian)

Posted by duncanshiell on January 1st, 2010


A very Happy New Year to one and all.

This crossword though was all about Christmas rather than New Year.

The combined entry at 2d-7d-5a was taken from Clement C Moore’s poem ‘A visit from St Nicholas’ (December 1823).


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.’


There were other Seasonal references in complete entries – Greetings, Santa, New Year, Mottos and Aladdin; and also in part entries – Gift, Present.  Stretching the theme to breaking point some retailers may even consider that two other complete entries are relevant this year – Net Profit, Three Cheers.

I found this a pleasant solve that wasn’t too taxing – just right for a Boxing Day afternoon in front of the telly.  It didn’t take too long to crack the long entry and after that the rest of the puzzle fell fairly quickly.  I doubt if it took more than 45 minutes to solve the whole puzzle.

I often get frustrated with puzzles where there are lots of cross-references between clues and entres, but this one was fairly easily to follow.  As is usually the case with cross referencing clues, there was one number that didn’t refer to a clue, but was simply a direction to use a Roman numeral.

There were some very smooth surfaces in the clues. Many of these were seasonal which added to the enjoyment.  I particularly liked the clues to TSETSE, LEBANON, MOTTOS and E-MAIL

Finally, argue amongst yourselves whether or not ‘rooftop’ is an appropriate  indication of R.  I’m not going to comment.

Wordplay Entry
1 J (first letter of [1st] Jan) + ON + QUILT (bedding, omitting the final letter [unfinished]) JONQUIL (flower, certain species of Narcissus)
5 See 2 down A MOUSE
9 (NT [National Trust] + TIER [row]) containing (about) A (acres) NATTIER (more spruce)
10 (V [Roman numeral for 5] + IS) contained in (in) an anagram of (terribly) POOR PROVISO (condition)
11 Sounds like (picked up) SACK (17a is Santa, so Santa’s load) SAC (a pouch or bag-like structure, often used in relation to parts of the body)
12 Anagram of (sort of) (STREET + CARED) TRADE SECRET (Perhaps how Santa (17a) managed to call everywhere)
13 SEPT (In Ireland a clan or a division of a tribe [i.e. a group]) containing (in) L (left) SLEPT (what we did when 17 24, [Santa again at 17a, and 24a, ‘arrived’])
14 GREEN (environmental, excluding [endless] the final letter) + THINGS (objects, omitting [wanted] H [husband]) GREETINGS (they’re on the [Christmas] cards)
16 TEN reversed (flip) + P + FOR reversed (backing) + IT NET PROFIT (the bottom line, in accounts)
17 The wordplay  is simply the solution to other clues – ‘When he 24 2/7/5a (When he ‘arrived’ ‘not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’)’ SANTA (St Nicholas)
19 Anagram of (raucously) HERE contained in (in) another anagram (ground) of CHESTER THREE CHEERS (shouted approval)
22 First letters of (first) The English Always TEA (reputedly the favourite drink of the English)
23 NEAR (not far) containing (across) WYE (reference River Wye) NEW YEAR (it starts soon; well that was true when the puzzle was published on Boxing Day)
24 ARRIVEDERCI (farewell in Italian, reference Luciano Pavarotti, omitting 4 of the 11 letters [mostly]) ARRIVED (made it)
26 EAST reversed (to west) + EAST reversed (to west) each time omitting A (Austria) TSETSE (fly [that causes sleeping sickness])
27 BAN (bar) contained in (during) NOEL (Christmas) reversed (in recession) LEBANON (country)


Wordplay Entry
1 JESUS (seasonal birthday boy, excluding (left) US) containing (embracing) ONES JONESES (rivals as in ‘keeping up with the Joneses’)
2/7/5a Anagram of  (involves) CAUTION MORROWS UNEASE ENERVATING and TREATS NOT A CREATURE WAS [STIRRING NOT EVEN A MOUSE] (seasonal line, see poem in introduction above)
3 (IR [Irish] + U [Unionist]) all reversed (thrown up) URI (reference Uri Geller, Israeli entertainer reputedly able to bend spoons)
4 Anagram of central letters (shelled) of CAVALRY LARVA (young creature)
5 A PRESENT (what 17 (Santa) brought) containing (about) T (time) AT PRESENT (today maybe)
6 BOYZONE (Irish boy (adult now) band [group] excluding first letter [leaderless] and omitting [waste] Y (year) OZONE (irritating air; it has a pungent smell)
8 M and S (Marks & Spencer; chain store) containing OTTO (fragrant essential oil; perfume) MOTTOS (cracker contents)
12 TR (Turkey ) containing (taken) an anagram of (cooked) OUT TUTOR (to coach)
14 Anagram of (nervous) IF HE’S GOT containing (about) R (first letter of [top]) of Roof.   GIFT HORSE (what 17 [it’s him again, Santa] may bring)
15 TASS (News Agency of the former Soviet Union) containing (defended) K (first letter [top] of Krushchev) TASKS (jobs)
16 NOT IN G (If it’s a work in F then it’s NOT IN G) NOTING (noting is what a composer does)
18 A LAD containing (entertains) D (Roman numeral for 500) + IN ALADDIN (pantomime; seasonal show)
20 A (one) contained in (in) EXETER (South West city) up to but including (before…..arrives) ER (Queen) EXEAT (formal leave of absence [break])
21 Hidden word (members of), reversed (recall) in parLIAMEnt E-MAIL (may be sent to MPs to announce a recall of Parliament) &Lit clue
25 RIB (the Book of Genesis states that Eve [first woman ]was created from the rib of Adam) RIB (a curved member of the side of a ship; also a member supporting the fabric of an aeroplane wing)

7 Responses to “Independent 7237 (Saturday Prize Puzzle [26 December] by Radian)”

  1. Phi says:

    OK, I did line 1 last year, so who’s going to hang the stockings in 2010?

    Happy New Year, everyone.


  2. nmsindy says:

    Very good puzzle, quite hard, with the breakthrough being when I remembered that quote from the earlier puzzle. Favourite clues, JONESES, TSETSE, EMAIL.

  3. Radian says:

    Nice of you to make contact Phi. From the timing of your message, I expect you’re spending the hols at home. There’s many an Ulsterman and woman living the good life out there, including a wheen of my wife’s relations. (Blogmeister, this I know is off-topic, but there’s nothing quite like a setters’ get-together, however distant. Perhaps our next one – are you listening Eimi? – could be themed round an international test match.) I’ve enjoyed, along with many others clearly, your weekly puzzles during the year. Keep them coming. Duggie.

  4. Derek Lazenby says:

    Duh? This just appeared on the web site!

    Oh well, passed an otherwise boring afternoon. As at #2, hard but completed.

  5. duncanshiell says:

    Derek @ 4

    You had me worried for a split second when your comment dropped in my in-tray as today’s Indy Prize Puzzle (24/12/11) is also by Radian and I’m blogging it.

    It’s nice though to get comments 2 years after a puzzle is published!

    Perhaps the Indy is going to publish a random series of puzzles online over Christmas

  6. Bill says:

    Finished most of this.Really enjoyed it.Happy Christmas????????

  7. Bill says:

    P.s those question marks were supposed to be emoji Christmas icons!

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