Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7393 (Sat 26 June) – Bannsider

Posted by petebiddlecombe on July 1st, 2010


I found this very good but also very tough indeed, solved in a couple of sessions which came to about 45 minutes when I just had 24D left to complete. It took me another 5-10 minutes to tumble to the reason why DYED was the right answer. I also had one wrong answer. No complaints except the muttering at 11D – there are lots of really original clues in this puzzle, and that’s also why it’s hard (he says, awaiting the news that someone did it in 10 minutes).

1 (ga)P,RIVET=fix
5 SASHAYED – (SH! = “peace!”, AYE = agreement) in SAD = down
9 AMYL=radical – hidden backwards in ‘unruly Maoist’
10 MENDELEYEV – MEN=people, (EYE = watch, in DELV(e)) – Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev devised the periodic table of elements – Bannsider’s Russian is far better than my smattering, but I know enough to see that Mendeleyev makes sense as a transliteration, and given the number of versions of Tchaikovsky I’ve seen on records, it’s no surprise that some people spell it this way.
11 GENIE – a “wishes spirit” who lives in a bottle, lamp or similar container – I got the wrong idea about plurals (including the plural of ‘genie’) and entered GENII. I love those _X_X_ checking letter patterns!
12 VIC(H(opelessl)Y,IT.)ES – Vichyites were adherents of the puppet government which ran the unoccupied part of France from Vichy in WW2.
15 ISLE – ft. removed from ‘is left’
16 BE=live,DE(V,ILL=poorly)ED – the fact that the letters of ‘live’ are in the answer and therefore may cause confusion about the wordplay must be part of the evil setter’s intention
18 DIVE=Dodgy establishment,BO(M=figure from Rome,B)ER
20 GASP = rev. of P,SAG=sink
21 STRIP=shed articles,M=minute,I’LL=one will – a strip mill is a mill where steel is rolled into … you can guess
23 (S,T = ‘Sun tan starts’),ARK=chest – people called Arkwright have a maker of chests in their family tree, rather than a shipbuilder
25 SKUL(KING)L,Y – enjoyed ruler=KING rather than the usual ER
27 HOOD – 2 defs
28 INDY CARS = (scary din)*
29 DOWNER – another fiendish wordplay here – “In Australia” is “down under” – ban (i.e. delete) UND=”and in Germany” to get the drug. Neither of the in’s in the clue indicates containment, and ‘and’ doesn’t perform a wordplay structure role either
2 RU(M=mile,P(rofessional),ELS=golfer,TILT=lean,SKI=runner)N
3 VAL D’ISERE = (skiing) resort – (leaver is, (heade)D)* – with ‘school’ as the anagram indicator
4 TO M.B. = “where blame might be attributed” = TOMB=here in “if patient ends up here” – one of the easier clues, and one of my favourites
6 SEE = “sea” – nice to see ‘Lincoln’ not meaning ABE
7 (g)AZER,I
8 EBENEZER SCROOGE = “misery” – (been, e.g. zero score)* – an example of the extra difficulty that can be created by presenting anagram fodder in two or more separate parts
13 HAVERS – 2 defs, one based on the need to have something in order to enjoy it, or “have” and “enjoy” being synonyms in some contexts – either will do.
14 AB = jack = sailor, LOOM = weaver – out = “in flower” is the def
17 LIGHTS = settles (upon something), HOW = ‘question of way’
19 BELUGAS – G=$1000 in (bale us)* – another of the easier clues here
22 I=(electrical) current,SLAY = ice = kill – “Land cut off from Scotland by water” is the def for this home of some famous malts.
24 DYED = coloured. “How this coloured ball” therefore means “how”+DYED+”ball”. Convert “ball” to O, and you’ve got HOWDYEDO, a troublesome state of affairs or a greeting, though I can’t find dictionary confirmation of a link to Scotland
26 IRA(n) – the lyricist being Ira Gershwin – another of the easier clues

14 Responses to “Independent 7393 (Sat 26 June) – Bannsider”

  1. anax says:

    Oh yes, this was tough – the Minx and I spent a good hour or so battling with it, but at no stage were we tempted to give up; Bannsider’s clues are always rewarding if you’re prepared to persist and this was no exception. Brilliant puzzle with a wealth of glorious PDMs.

    Incidentally, Bannsider posted a message elsewhere to say a Nina is there to be found. Sadly neither of us spotted it.

  2. Quixote says:

    This was tough, but I think on this occasion I beat you both. The secret with a puzzle like this is often to head for the disguised definition and worry about the subsidiary indication afterwards (as in the Scrooge clue). One just hopes that The Indy gets a few entries from people other than fellow-setters!

  3. nmsindy says:

    This was a very difficult puzzle and also an outstandingly good puzzle. Listed a large number of clues, SASHAYED, MENDELEYEV (Collins gives that spelling), VICHYITES, ISLE, BEDEVILLED, DIVE BOMBER, STARK, SKULKINGLY, INDY CARS, DOWNER, AZERI, ABLOOM, ISLAY. My last answer was GENIE.

  4. Bannsider says:

    A hint as to the (very obscure) Nina, resides in two down clues whose surfaces have similar themes.

  5. Allan_C says:

    …the news that someone did it in 10 minutes, Pete? You must be joking!

  6. jmac says:

    I found this very hard, but as a relative novice I felt that I learned more from this puzzle and Pete’s blog than from any number of easier puzzles. Failed with MENDELEYEV but otherwise got there in the end. Many thanks to Bannsider. If I recall, the last Bannsider Nina that I didn’t spot involved Kasabian. Are we in similar territory here? A good tip from Quixote on how to tackle a puzzle like this although in my case I have to be wary of building my castle on sand.

  7. petebiddlecombe says:

    Bannsider: I can see two down clues about Russia, and two about Scotland. Also two about various races. So pretty much stumped.

    jmac: Part 2 of Quixote’s advice is to take definition-based punts on the long answers, especially multi-word ones. If you can find EBENEZER SCROOGE and some kind of def., you’re very likely to be right. Do this with four-letter words and it’s much easier to sink into that sand.

  8. Richard Heald says:

    Pete, I think the two clues about Russia may be referring to the Indie’s new owner. Not sure if there’s any more to the Nina than that.

    Took me one and a half hours to crack this, with no dictionary and with five pints of cider inside me, which may explain why I was convinced for a long time that the answer to 25 Ac was SHELKINGLY! Some cunning misdirection as always from this setter, but all of it fair.

  9. Pandean says:

    Good spot, Richard. I was looking for something Russian but not getting anywhere. Now I see LEBEDEV (the Russian owner) lurking in there via the solutions to 15 and 16 across: ISLE/BEDEVILLED. Not sure if there’s anything else to it.

  10. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Pete.
    Finished this without understanding 24 down or 29 across,so a special thanks for your explanation of those.
    I think the nina is in 15 and 16 across.I only spotted this today after reading your blog – I never spot ninas otherwise.
    I remember doing Bannsider puzzles in the Saturday Indie for the last couple of years and it seems only recently that I have struggled with them.Are they geting harder or am I getting senile?

  11. petebiddlecombe says:

    I now see that the Russian references were more explicit than the others, and lead to LEBEDEV in 15/16A, and just possibly something else no-one here has spotted yet.

  12. eimi says:

    I think this was a hard Bannsider, but the Nina may have forced some vocabulary which contributed to that. The Nina starts at PRIVET (welcome) and continues in 5, 10/11/12, 15/16, 28 and 29, although I suspect that only a KGB man would have been able to spot it :-)

  13. Bannsider says:

    Indeed so – or maybe an SVR illegal :-)

    It reads, in case anyone is confused,

    hence the odd spelling of Mendeleyev and, I am afraid, some rather over-unched entries.

  14. Polly says:

    The Scottish connection in 24 down is presumably the pronunciation ‘ye’ for ‘you’ (as in ‘afore ye go’). Eimi would once again laugh at me for taking so long to finish the puzzle, but I do the Saturday ones in tiny instalments while (e.g.) waiting for the kettle to boil, and I only polished this one off this morning (though I am up to date with all the others)! I did make two errors, while realizing that the wordplay didn’t quite fit: SUV for 6 down (Lincoln is a make of car, the range including SUVs, and UV describes waves) and MINIVIEWER for 10 across (MINI for short and VIEW for watch add up to an app for woodworkers: see I’m rather pleased with my reasoning even if it was way off-beam…

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