Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7382 by Morph

Posted by NealH on June 14th, 2010


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

Obviously, this was written a few weeks ago when the ash cloud debacle was at its height. Inexplicably, though, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano doesn’t seem to have been included as a NINA ! Overall, I found it tough, with some that were quite hard to interpret (like 25 down) and some others which had good misdirection (like 18 down). Sadly, 2 down made it almost impossible to finish without some help, but I suppose you can forgive including a bit of Norse mythology on the grounds that it did make a good thematic clue.


9 Ragwort: Grow* in rat.
10 Leads to: (Old seats)* – using the answer to 26 as an anagram indicator.
11 Persevere: Last letters of “up the khyber” + severe (what matrons were legendarily supposed to be).
12 Above: A bov[in]e.
13 Insubordinately: (Labour destiny in)*.
15 Sultry: Lust* + yr<.
16 Skewer: Don’t follow this apart from the definition = “Run through”.
21 Strait of Messina: (into streams as if)*.
23 Twang: Gnat< around w (both the first and last letters of window being w).
24 Canvasses: DD.
26 Redrawn: Red raw + n[appy].
27 Seafood: (A dose of)*.
1 Trophies: Op h(ard) in tries.
2 Ygdrasil: (Dry slag)* around I[celand]. A reference to the giant ash tree of Norse mythology.
3 Gone: go N(orth) E(ast) – the direction you would have to travel to go from London to Norwich.
4 At heart: He in a tart.
5 Sleep in: Eels< + nip<.
6 Balalaikas: I think this is BA+ [E]l-Al +AS (three airlines) around I[ran], K[azakhstan], A[zerbaijan]. The def is “Russians pull the strings of these” (i.e. musical instruments). I wasn’t entirely sure about AS as an airline, although there is an Alaska Airlines which has IATA code AS.
7 Ashore: Ash (volcano’s output) + ore.
8 Lonely: &lit – [a]lly around one.
14 Barking mad: I think this is Barking + mad[e]. Barking was the seat that Nick Griffin of the BNP was hoping to win, but didn’t do very well in.
17 Wainscot: Hom of Wayne (Rooney) + scot.
18 Rhapsody: Deceptively hidden in “Perhaps Odysseus.
19 Volcano: I think this is an &lit of lov[e]< + can (=may)+ o[utpouring] (leading letter).
20 Amongst: M[aking] o in angst. Def = “in the middle of”.
21 Suture: Hom of suitor.
22 Rwanda: The 3 Rs are reading, writing and arithmetic, so would correctly be R, W and A.
25 Anal: An[I’m]al.

16 Responses to “Independent 7382 by Morph”

  1. Derrick Knight says:

    Nice blog, NeilH and good puzzle on the ash cloud theme. Fortunately I knew YGDRASIL which obviously helped a lot. The clue for this was superb. Nevertheless VOLCANO took me a while. I think the AS in 6down is simply AS as written in the clue.

  2. sidey says:

    skewer is Wesker with the We moved.

    I think there are only two airlines in 6d, the ‘as’ is in the wording.

    Not fun.

  3. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Neal.

    This was very enjoyable indeed, with lots of clever clues. I particularly liked 11ac and 2, 7, 14, 17, 18 and 22dn. I vaguely remembered having met 2dn [but couldn’t remember quite how to spell it!] in a crossword before and find it was in Guardian Araucaria 24,451, in August 2008.

    I had 21 dn as a homophone of ‘suit you’re’.

  4. nmsindy says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. Quite difficult with some cleverly concealed definitions. Esp liked RAGWORT, REDRAWN, AT HEART, RHAPSODY (v well concealed ‘hidden’ that was my last answer), ANAL. Had come across YGDRASIL before and the anagram made it easy enough to work out when I’d some crossing letters.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for a helpful blog, Neal – and I did need help today, not being able to finish in the NE corner (on which point, Morph, let’s at least have Black Cats instead of Canaries in the clue if you’re going to reference the NE, please).

    Unlike sidey, I enjoyed the bits I did manage; I thought there were some lovely clues, especially RAGWORT, WAINSCOT, PERSEVERE and REDRAWN. 2dn, on the other hand …

    As for the theme, I think it was Derrick recently that said that what solvers see and what setters intend can be two completely different things. With the clues and answers including ECSTACY, LUST, PASSION, MAKING LOVE, SLAG, TART, LOOSE WOMAN and DOSE OF CRABS, I thought we were heading off somewhere completely different …

  6. Derrick Knight says:

    It’s all in the mind, KD, but well spotted!

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    At my age, Derrick, it is all in the mind, trust me …

  8. walruss says:

    Yes I thought this one was pretty good too, and nice to see Odin’s Horse trotted out. In eight of the Nine Worlds around the giant ash, there isn’t any football, thank goodness.

  9. flashling says:

    Didn’t help knowing 2dn but entering it wrong and not spotting for ages…

    @KD #5 I suspect 25dn could be included in that list. I thought balalaika strings were plucked rather than pulled. Found it tough going but that could have been down to the mad Scotsman next to me shouting non sequitors and generally being a mutter nutter. Love train travel at times.

  10. jmac says:

    Scorpion included Eyjafjallajokull as a nina in a Saturday puzzle a few weeks ago.

  11. Richard Heald says:

    Surprised not to see more praise for the RWANDA clue – a tremendous piece of lateral thinking from Morph!

  12. Mick H says:

    Thanks for the blog, Neal, and all your comments. As jmac observes at 10, Scorpion beat me to the Eyjafjallajökull nina a few weeks ago, but having discovered that Ygdrasil was a Nordic ash whose branches spread around the world I had to use it while memories were fresh.

  13. rightback says:

    Some fantastic clues in this – RWANDA, SEAFOOD and RHAPSODY were my favourites.

  14. BertandJoyce says:

    Would agree with comments on RWANDA, SEAFOOD and RHAPSODY! Late night tonight though as it was tough but enjoyable.

    Can anyone explain 16A SKEWER please? NealH couldn’t see it either.

    Thanks Morph – it was worth a late night! We never start the Indie until at least 10:00pm!

  15. NealH says:

    Apparently, it is the playwright Arnold Wesker with the WE (points) at the front moved further down. I’m not a fan of using first names to identify people and I’d barely heard of him, so not much chance of following the clue.

  16. flashling says:

    Agree about using first names, but skewer was obvious from the locking letters and the clue then unravelled even to this badly read solver.

    Liked Rwanda but it came to me instantly, we seem to have had a few ?and? type answers/clues like this recently.

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