Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7364 by Eimi

Posted by NealH on May 24th, 2010


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

Just when you thought the politicking was all over, Eimi pops up with this themed puzzle to celebrate (if that’s the right word) the new coalition and parliament. There were lots of superb clues, with the emphasis being on entertainment and good surface reading rather than difficulty.

7 Cameron: Romance*.
9 Alabama: A lab + AMA (American Medical Association). A reference to the Lib-Lab Pact of 1977-79.
10 Ezra Pound: Ezra (Biblical book) + (Stephen) Pound.
11 Liken: L + I + Ken.
12 Golden Syrup: CD (syrup being slang for a hairpiece, of course – surely not !).
13 Pro: PR (proportional representation) + o.
14 Sweet Caroline: CD/DD. Song by Neil Diamond and a ref to Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion. I did think for a while that the first word would be green. Cut apparently can be used as an informal word for a track on a record.
19 Ire: Eri[c]<.
20 Opinion Poll: Opinion + hom of “Pole”.
24 Extra: [Alternativ]e + X + [p]art[y]< (inside letters of party) + .
25 Coalition: Con around a L + it (appeal) + IO (ten). A very well constructed clue with a good, barbed surface reading.
26 Otalgia: (I got a L)*.
27 Eaglets: Eagles around T[ory]. Twin sisters Angela and Maria Eagle are the MPs for Garston & Halewood and Wallasey.
1 Amoral: Hidden in Burnham or Alexander.
2 Unguis: [F]ungus around i.
3 Panderer: (Re red + nap)<, nap being a bookies' term for a red-hot tip.
4 Gallup: CD/DD – “gall up”.
5 Backspin: Back + spin. Slice/backspin is a way of hitting the ball in games like tennis.
6 Rainbow: CD. The possible alternative to the Clegg-Cameron coalition was one involving Labour, Liberal and lots of the smaller parties – a rainbow coalition. However, the Liberals apparently wanted Brown out as a precondition for this. Obviously, brown is also a colour and doesn’t appear in the rainbow – a brilliant clue which works on so many levels.
7 Clegg: Leg in C G[reen]. College Green is actually the patch of grass outside Westminster where politicians are often interviewed.
8 Replete: Peer* around let.
15 Wheatear: What about [Farag]e + ear. A ref to Nigel Farage’s unfortunate plane crash.
16 Chitchat: Cat around hitch. Hodge is a reference not to Margaret Hodge but to Samuel Johnson’s cat.
17 Lending: L + ending.
18 Firefox: Fire + Fox – Firefox Internet browser and Liam Fox.
20 Orange: Hidden in elector angered. Here is the evidence.
21 Images: Initials of Ian Mearns + ages.
22 Oliver: Live among OR (other ranks).
23 Lines: L + Ines.

19 Responses to “Independent 7364 by Eimi”

  1. walruss says:

    Very enjoyable, this time in The Independent’s inimitable style. I think there might be quite a lot of fun yet to be had with the cockeyed parliament we’ve saddled ourselves with!

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the blog Neal, which as usual explained one or two of the wordplays for me. Not sure this will be everybody’s cup of tea, but I really liked it. As you say, given the theme some reasonably obvious answers, but the surfaces were clever and it’s clearly a box-fresh puzzle.

    Several of the clues do work on various levels – RAINBOW especially, but 7ac was good too, art imitating life and all that.

    I too had GREEN nailed on as the first part of 14ac, which held me up with our feathered friend at 15dn. And in a slightly sad, political anoraky kind of way, I didn’t have to look up any of the MP references. Which banjaxed me for a while with 16dn while I tried to work out where Margaret came into it.

    Good start to the week, thank you Mr Lilywhite.

  3. Derrick Knight says:

    Superb fun with very skilled clueing. Has set the standard for the week.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was great fun and topical, impressive to fit so much in, with 7A in particular being very amusing.

  5. Conrad Cork says:

    Masterly – and (and it does not always follow) – a joy to solve. Congratulations.

  6. sidey says:

    Excellent. Loved the dig at Brucie. The BBC should be thoroughly ashamed of Andrew Neil’s Floating **** Palace.

  7. Wideernie says:


    First post and it’s a moan. I hiked 18 miles today (training for the Pennine Way not to the papershop) and bought the paper, got home, changed and relaxed ready to do battle and find out they have the wrong grid (or the wrong clues!)in my print edition. Unhappy!

  8. Richard Palmer says:

    Very enjoyable but I don’t know what our American solvers will make of it (I believe we have some).

    The carte blanche added to the fun with the print version but I hope it’s not going to be a regular feature.

  9. eimi says:

    Thanks for the kind comments. I was trying to have a bit of fun with the political shenanigans of the past week or so, and to pay tribute to my new MP at the heart of the puzzle. I’m glad that even the seemingly incongruous appearance of Brucie was contextualised by at least one of our solvers.

    I wasn’t aware of the grid problems until I saw wideernie’s comment, as my copy was fine. I’ve since contacted the paper and apparently a sub put the wrong grid in the first print runs, affecting perhaps 30,000 copies. They will be running an apology tomorrow, but that’s not much help to those trying to solve on hard copy today.

    If wideernie or anyone else would like a PDF of the correct grid, you can email me at [email protected].

  10. flashling says:

    Got stung as well, perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen to have the paper delivered, about 5 am it arrives that’s one keen paper boy.

  11. sidey says:

    eimi, you could have themed the puzzle on all the incongruous ****s on that boat 😉

    Oh, and a pdf every day would be nice, I’d quite possibly pay for it.

  12. nmsindy says:

    They printed the grid for the concise puzzle twice, but it was not a big problem (for those with the Internet at any rate) as the correct grid was on the Indy website so I just took the info from that.

  13. Paul B says:

    Great puzzle, which due to circumstances I had to solve on a spare bit of graph paper. Still, it was fun recreating the right grid, especially considering the number of related elements it manages to contain. Splendid grid-fill very well clued, methinks.

  14. jp says:

    For some reason, I thought 10 across would start with “John” which tied in with my idea that 7 down would be Major. That all foundered when I finally remembered that his ‘unlikely partner’s’ name was Currie and so didn’t fit! A very enjoyable puzzle. I also went up a blind alley with 14 across as the only Miss Lucas I could think of was Charlotte from Pride and Prejudice.

  15. BertandJoyce says:

    Excellent puzzle to start the week.

    25 across was particularly well clued.

  16. Scarpia says:

    I thought this was o.k.,my enthusiasm being somewhat tempered by the theme.As a Channel Islander,and therefore not having a vote, I do not have a great deal of interest in U.K. politics.Saying which,I do read a couple of U.K. papers each day,so I am not completely ignorant of what goes on over there.
    I managed to complete even if I wasn’t sure of some of the politicians involved (thanks NealH for explanations).
    I’d heard ‘syrup’ for wig,but didn’t know ‘golden syrup’,so I’ve learnt something today!

    Not sure if I really like themed puzzles.If the theme is a subject that features something you have knowledge of it can make the puzzle seem very easy e.g. Phi’s recent Dickens themed puzzle for me.
    Conversely today’s.

  17. Moose says:

    Got all but 18d until I went upstairs to log on to the computer which uses Firefox! Went back down and finished triumphantly.14a first clue and favourite!

  18. Moose says:

    P.S It’s almost 5 years ago for me to do crossword.Lots of political water under the badge since then!

  19. Moose says:

    PPS For badge read bridge!

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