Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7245 by Merlin

Posted by nmsindy on January 5th, 2010


An  excellent themed puzzle from Merlin,  quite hard, solving time 38 mins.

* = anagram  <  = reversed


1 CUD DIE     A horse, like many of the across answers

4 C (dUCK) OO     A fool, ditto


10 BOB TAIL    refers to the phrase rag-tag and bobtail = the rabble

11 TOUCHSTONE  (Count those)*

12 CALF   cf Calif

14 Eric A(M)BLER     Also a horse

16 PALOMINO       ditto      (main polo)*

19 DART  MOOR    (room trad)<

20 CL (Sri Lanka) OWNS    Fools

22 (l)OAFS    fools

24 WOODENTOPS    (two posed on)*    Fools,  contemptuous slang name for guardsmen

28 SUCKERS     More fools but wordplay not understood.   “Shoots Soprano sidekick’s head off”   suckers = shoots    Soprano may be S or may refer to TV series.

29 T RIGGER   Character in 7 down, also Roy Rogers’ horse and the name may have derived from that.

30 SILVER    Lone Ranger’s horse         I for O in ‘solver’!

31 JE (NNE) T     Another horse



2 DEPTH       DEPT H!    8th section


5 (j)UMBO

6 K OAL A    (a Lao k)<

7/14D   ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES    Very popular TV series.      (London’s loafy)*  Trotters = horses.     Refer to the characters in the series and the anagram fodder is brilliantly relevant so that is very good indeed.     This gives the theme with ‘fools’ and ‘horses’ in the acrosses.

8 BENT      Darren Bent footballer, plus two other definitions.     Anyone write in Best?

10 B (ANT) AM    Small combative = boxing weight    Ant from Ant and Dec (TV presenters), I think

13 BOWL    Double definition

15 EM MY    Em = space (printing)


18 BO (S) OMS     Booms appearing as themselves!     Great surface.

21 ODETTE    “Owe debt”!

23 FO(C)AL     Another clue I liked a lot

25 NA ( I   R) N

26 SORE    (Eros)<     This was my last answer

27 MERE   Double definition

20 Responses to “Independent 7245 by Merlin”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi nms – thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this a lot. 7/14 was brilliant!

    28ac I read as S[oprano] + [m]UCKERS [sidekicks].

  2. Eileen says:

    I think there’s another one: both Collins and Chambers define ‘bobtail’ as an animal with a bobbed tail but my SOED specifies a dog or horse.

  3. IanN14 says:

    I’m presuming ALL the across answers were either fools or horses?
    I think I could justify all except Ambler. (I know it can mean to walk like a horse…)
    Eclipse was certainly a famous horse.

  4. IanN14 says:

    …indicated by “coming across here” in 7/14d.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Before blogging, I looked at the HORSES entry in Bradford’s and saw AMBLER there.

  6. IanN14 says:

    Thanks nms, I’m sure you’re right, but I can’t find it in Chambers or Wiki…

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Your presumption is correct. Touchstone was another racehorse (19th century) and ‘ambler’ is defined in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) as “a horse or a person that ambles”. My later version of Webster’s gives “one that ambles, especially an ambling horse’.

  8. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, I believe you.
    I had Touchstone down as a fool…

  9. Eileen says:

    You’re right, IanN14 – it just gets better! Of course – it’s *only* fools and horses!

    SOED: AMBLER: a horse, mule etc or person that ambles
    Chambers: CALF: a stupid or loutish person
    and Touchstone is the Fool in ‘As you like it’.


  10. Eileen says:

    Sorry for all the crossings in the post!

  11. Eileen says:

    And still that’s not quite all …

    1ac – two for the price of one! CUDDIE: Chambers: a donkey; a horse; a stupid person.

  12. nmsindy says:

    Yes, I should have noticed the ALL and hunted them down further, and in particular should have remembered TOUCHSTONE from a Shakespeare play I knew quite well… As you say, the puzzle gets better.

  13. Quixote says:

    Nice one, old friend!

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you for the blog, nms, and belated congrats on your Indy debut yesterday – you produced a tough but enjoyable puzzle which eventually defeated me, but when I saw the blog I couldn’t really understand why (the mark of a well-constructed crossword, perhaps?)

    Merlin’s offering today also got the better of me, although only in the NE corner, where BANTAM and BOBTAIL were beyond my ken. But talking of the NE, great to see CUDDIE at 1ac – my first to go in after about two seconds’ thought – it’s also a term from my native North-East, although I think we spell it CUDDY. And Cuddy’s Duck is the Northumberland term for an Eider, if memory serves – after Saint Cuthbert, although what Cuthbert has to do with horses I’m not sure.

    And to make my day, Darren BENT makes an appearance at 8dn, he being the prolific striker for by far the greatest team the world has ever seen …

  15. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the congrats, Kathryn’s Dad.

    I would not dissent from the last para either.

  16. IanN14 says:

    Kathryn’s Dad,
    Sorry, but I think you’ve somehow missed the fact that Darren Bent was transferred to Sunderland in the summer…

  17. sidey says:

    I didn’t spend enough time on this and missed quite how good it was, shame. Surely most people have heard Camptown Races?

    Gwine to run all night!
    Gwine to run all day!
    I’ll bet my money on de bob-tail nag,
    Somebody bet on de bay.

  18. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Surprise me, both of you (before Gaufrid sends us into the naughty corner for being off-topic), is N14 the postcode for Tottenham by any chance? Talk to me on April 3rd around 1655 GMT when the boy will have done good …

  19. IanN14 says:

    Almost, K’s D.
    Close enough.
    April 3rd, eh? Perhaps he won’t miss a penalty this time?…

  20. Moose says:

    Bottom left tough.Love anagrams and Only fools etc. helped.Would never have gotten 19a,10a,28a and really annoyed I didn’t get 23d.Pleased with the rest though

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