Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7301 by Punk

Posted by nmsindy on March 11th, 2010


This was very good indeed.

nmsindy has admitted to weaknesses esp films but is prepared to admit to a strength, football, which was v helpful here.    Solving time, 50 mins.

Thematic words 13 and 20 (BACK and FORWARD) linked to each other of  course.  Great stuff!   Many thanks to Punk for a wonderful puzzle.

A minor licence the setter took, which in the light of needs of the theme was completely acceptable, is that 12 and 15 would be generally regarded as midfielders rather than forwards.

* = anagram   < = reversed


1/6  MICHAEL OWEN   (Meanwhile co)*   England player, now with Man United.

5 CO (RRUP) T    Tom’s sound asleep =purr!   purr< ie back

10 PELE    half of animal going BACK = elep(hant)<      One of the greatest players of all time from Brazil, World Cup winner at age 17 in Sweden 1958 when Brazil won the trophy for the first of their record 5 times.     Only time a South American team won it in Europe (or vice versa).

11 A LIME N TA(R)Y    Got this one fairly early on.

12 Diego MARADONA  (a not a ram)<     Argentine player generally bracketed with 10 as being the greatest ever.

13 BACK   Double definition, far from obvious at first

16 STRIP CARTOON   (carrots in pot)*    This was my breakthrough in this puzzle.     Peanuts is a well known early example of a strip cartoon.

19 RIO FERDIN AND    England’s captain after you know you was dismissed.   Surface reading suggests a lack of confidence in him from the setter’s viewpoint!     England’s back = D (last letter) with (inferior)* giving RIO FERDIN   AND = also

23 PE(R)T     I thought this was brilliant.

24 TOP SPEED     (deep spot)<

27 RONALD (IN H)O        Two very famous players here, Ronaldo (late of Man Utd, now Real Madrid) from Portugal, and Ronaldinho from Brazil, now playing with AC Milan after a spell with Barcelona.     There’s also an earlier Ronaldo who, inter alia, scored both goals when Brazil won the World Cup for the 5th time in 2002 in Japan and played for Real Madrid.

29 SHOT   Double definition, again not too obvious.

31 LOW TIDE   (lido wet)*   This took me ages to get, but it’s so obvious when you see it.


2 I C ECAP   pace<

3 HE E-HAWS   (was he)*    One of the very few solved on first run through

4 ERATO    Hidden, Muse of love poetry

7 RE TRACT   = Take back, seeing this was a big help to cracking the theme

8 PAR   rap<

9 DISAPPOINTING     Laugh out loud cryptic definition with a straight definition as well.

14 KOOK    is the same when reversed ie flipped

16 K AKA   Brazilian player, now with Real Madrid.   Back’s back = K   AKA = also called (also known as)

17 RARE    Laugh out loud double definition with tip-top surface

18 WI(M)P(e)

20 FOR(WAR)D    Henry Ford

21 DEPOSIT   (top side)*

22 SECOND  Double definition

25/30 PAOLO MALDINI     O LO MAL(D)I in (pain)*     Italian defender, recently retired

26 Sir Anthony EDEN    Double definition

28 OVA   “Over”

11 Responses to “Independent 7301 by Punk”

  1. Ali says:

    A great blog for a great puzzle. It took me ages to spot the theme and I got off to a horrendous start by ignoring the enumeration and entering CARTOON STRIP at 16A as my first answer. I was also convinced that 25/30 must be PIANO… until I finally cottoned on to the MICHAEL OWEN anagram and it all fell into place.

    Really enjoyable stuff. Cheers Niall (and Punk!)

  2. eimi says:

    Incidentally, on a sporty tangent, Punk is running in this year’s London Marathon on behalf of Sense, the charity for the Deaf and Blind. If anyone wishes to sponsor him they can do so here:

  3. Punk says:

    Thank you eimi, and to you ali and nmsindy.

    I would love a little help with my sponsorship, and it’s for a wonderful cause. So please drop by via the link.

    Thank you again.


  4. pat says:

    Sorry – this was horrific.

  5. Derrick Knight says:

    I don’t normally like puzzles which hinge on the answers to one clue. Either you get it quickly and the rest is a doddle; or you don’t and are continually frustrated. Like Niall, I found 7 down a big help. Here we had 2 answers to work on, the answer to 7 making 20 fairly deducible. Unlike Niall, I know very little about football, but you can’t miss the headlines as you are making your way to the puzzle page, so I was able to get the names, with an uneducated guess at Paolo Maldini, who, probably as Niall has explained hasn’t made recent headlines. So yes, dammit, I enjoyed this one.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I wouldn’t say horrific, but certainly a tough puzzle and one for the more experienced and competent solvers, which is fair enough.

    The difficulty for your Joe Average solver like me is that the two gateway clues were really tough. As nms has said, 13ac was far from obvious (though completely fair) and 20dn … well, let’s just say it was beyond me. And then the problem is that most of the other clues, to lapse into Ronglish, rely on you solving these two early doors.

    So I cheated on 13 and 20, found the football theme, then being a footie fan like nms, entered most of the footballers without understanding the wordplay.

    But hats off to Punk for 17dn, a great clue, and good luck with the Marathon.

  7. NealH says:

    I got there in the end with this one, but it wasn’t pretty. Annoyingly, I thought of back quite early on for 13 across, but didn’t see how it could mean champion. It wasn’t until much later that the idea of champion as a verb dawned on me. The main problem was that so many of the answers were names of footballers and, until you knew that was what you were looking for, it was almost impossible to work them out from the enumeration. I was also hampered by the fact that, with another Six Nations weekend coming up, I was convinced that some of the answers must be Rugby backs and forwards.

    My only real objection is the clue to 20 which relied on us associating Henry with Ford. Mentally, I tend to give up when someone just gives me a first name because I reason that there have probably been several million people called Henry, quite a few of them famous, so picking out Henry Ford in particular will be close to impossible. Other than that, most of clues were basically sound and there wasn’t anything I didn’t understand.

  8. IanN14 says:

    Oh thanks a lot, K’s D.
    You’ve had me going back through all this again, when I should have been getting on with some work…
    (Probably best avoided if you’re not keen on football).

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Great site, Ian. I’m missing him already.

  10. Bullfrog says:

    This was my first Indy crossword for some years, having only just realised that they’re available free online (The Grauniad is my regular fix). A good, challenging puzzle, and I thought it a nice touch to have Pele wearing the number 10!

  11. Merlyn says:

    Not being a football fan I found it quite tough – after getting back and forward, I was thinking of them as going things to words (like reversals) rather than positions. Google’s ‘fuzzy logic’ search function (“did you mean Kaka?”) was quite useful for some of the names.

    Is there any kind of ‘rule’ about how soon words are repeated: Heehaw and Retract both in Independent 7,295 by Mordred on March 4th?

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