Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,425 by Radian

Posted by Simon Harris on August 3rd, 2010

Simon Harris.

A very tough puzzle, involving several unfamiliar words, from one of my favourite setters. I came close to cheating a few times, but was eventually pleased to complete this one unaided. No doubt that’s more of a tribute to Radian’s clueing than to my own solving. The grid looks eminently Ninaish but I don’t see anything in there.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

7 ONEIRIC – EIR[e] in COIN*.
8 AT WORST – A + (ROWS* in TT). TT being the famous motorcycle races on the Isle of Man.
9 BATH – [scru]B AT H[ome].
12 BIFFO – (IF + F) in BO.
13 URGENTLY – UR + GENT + L[eake]Y.
15 RAIL – [t]RAIL.
16 TULIP – LI[ly] in PUT<.
17 FIVE – IV in Fe.
18 SIXPENCE – IS< + X + PENCE. I'm not sure what "No, a quarter" means here – it seems entirely superfluous, but perhaps I'm too young to get this one.
22 RANI – [ord]INAR[y]<.
25 MOISTENMO + (E in ISN’T*).
1 INCA – [spa]IN CA[stile]. My history isn’t great, but a quick web search suggests this to be &lit.
3 VIBRIO – VI + B. Entirely unfamiliar, and solved from wordplay, this is a bacterium of the genus Vibrio, with a slight spiral curve and [usually] one flagellum, e.g. that of cholera. So we’ll all be dropping that into conversation today, I’m sure.
4 STRUNG UP – [la]S[so] + (RUNG in PUT<).
6 ISLE – ELSI[nore]<.
14 LIVEN – V in LIEN.
16 TANAGERS – from TEENAGERS with A (Amateur) for two Es (Euros).
17 FEVERISH – F[emal]E + SHIVER*.
20 SERMON – (E + RM) in SON.
21 FRET – F[o]R [r]E[n]T.
23 NEEM – [se]E[ds[ in MEN<. Another new word, solved from wordplay.

23 Responses to “Independent 7,425 by Radian”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Simon,
    Not so much because of the grid, but all the numbers from one to ten appear, in order, in the across answers (with nine carrying over from Rani to Nectary).

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Simon. I got quite a few on the first pass, but as usual Radian proved too hard for me – I had to give up with about a quarter of the clues left, mostly the unfamiliar words where I couldn’t get enough crossing letters to help with the wordplay. All fair though – just tough.

    Sadly I am old enough to be able to explain 18ac. 10p was two shillings in old money, a quarter of which was a sixpence. I remember that sixpence bought you a sizeable poke of chips when I were a lad.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi many thanks to Radian for the entertaining puzzle and to Simon for the blog.
    Re 18a a ‘sixpence’ in old money was worth a half of a ‘shilling’ (twelve pence in old money) and a quarter of a ‘florin’ (which was two shillings, hence 24 pence). After decimalization the florin became the new 10p coin, so the old sixpence was still worth a quarter of that (2.5p in new money)!

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Simon.
    Also KD, thanks for the explanation. I got a bit distracted by the “quarter”, but fortunately it was superfluous to the solution. I knew it was a quarter of something, but my reference period was when 12p (or d, in the old LSD nomenclature) = 1 shilling, 20 shillings = 1 pound, 2s6d = half a crown, and thus sixpence and quarter didn’t fit with any of these.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks Mike, my comment crossed with yours.
    Of course, I forgot about the florin!

  6. Conrad Cork says:

    K’s D, you are younger than I thought. In my day chips were 3d 4d or 5d.

  7. Myrvin says:

    I’m sorry everyone; chips were sold by the penneth.
    Several tough words. Electronic help for me too.
    Last in was RIGHTFUL, but I didn’t spot the missing F.
    RAIL proved annoying.

  8. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Simon.
    Lovely puzzle from Radian,with one completely new word for me(VIBRIO),but quite gettable from the wordplay.
    Apart from 18 across,younger solvers might fail to understand BIFFO(or is the Beano stil going?).
    NEEM(or nim)crops up fairly often in barred puzzles,being the tree under which Lord Buddha gained enlightenment.
    I guess 16 across was probably referring to the aircraft rather than Rubin”Hurricane”Carter,but the clue works nicely either way.
    Thought EBULLIENT was brilliant and also liked the anagram at 12 down – well spotted Radian!
    Thought there must be something going on with numbers but didn’t spot them all – thanks Ian@1.

  9. Myrvin says:

    Scarpia: Bishop’s square got me the F too. Then had to guess the rest.
    All those numbers! – How clever.

  10. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Simon. Enjoyed this puzzle, noticed the numbers about half way through and that helped me finish. The theme forced some unusual words into the grid, but this did not make it harder for me than the Indy normally is because the wordplay in those cases was quite easy and the theme helped as well. Favourite clue, PRETTY.

  11. NealH says:

    A complete mental collapse on how to spell bhaji held me up a bit. I kept trying bahji and bajhi but neither seemed right. Eventually I had to go on the internet and search for onion b.. to find it. Other than that, I didn’t find it too difficult. I went searching for the NINA with about 4 left and that helped with sixpence and oneiric.

  12. Sil van den Hoek says:

    When I’m doing crosswords online [not that often, I admit], I usually start with the shorter words – in this case: 1d, 9ac, 6d and 22ac.
    And look at that! They were all hidden answers (back or forth).
    Remembered RANI from a recent Araucaria, in which it was part of a geranium.

    I must say everything fell rather quickly in place after that, even though I had never heard of VIBRIO, ONEIRIC and TANAGERS [but they were perfectly gettable].
    Maybe it went so well, because I am pretty familiar nowadays with this setter’s style [in both his aliases], so I knew where or what to look for.

    I should even have looked somewhat better, though!
    Didn’t spot the numbers [well, apart from FIVE and SEVEN, of course].
    Shame on me.

    I needed your fine blog [thank you, Simon] for the full explanation of SIXPENCE [yes, the second part is superfluous, though probably added for the surface which would otherwise point in the direction of a non-&lit] and for STRUNG UP (4d).
    The SW corner troubled me the most, although two words there, TANAGERS and PRETTY, belong to my favourites today.
    [a third one being RIGHTFUL (2d)]

    I think this was a smashing crossword, in which Radian used two or three unusual devices. “Essentially” (in 23d) for taking the middle letter is probably well-known, but I can’t remember having come across it before. And, in 21d (FRET), “occasionally” for taking a regular part of the clue, didn’t I see that in a Crucible once?
    EBULLIENT was another superb clue, NEILL backwards in TUBE, both unchanged but still well-hidden.
    The only thing with it is, that the clue reads “Neill’s taken the underground”. “A taking B” normally means ‘A then B’ or ‘B inside A’. Not here though.
    I took this as ‘Neill’s taken the tube’, so he’s literally in it now, which is – if this is what Radian means – rather unusual but amusing.

  13. Myrvin says:

    I meant to mention the reuse of RANI.
    And didn’t we have TUBE as underground recently – and backwards?

  14. walruss says:

    So THAT’S why the words got tough. Mind you, the across clues were made a lot easier by me spotting the ongoing joke. Clever stuff by Radian.

  15. Ali says:

    I’m generally not one for complaining – and this was a great puzzle – but isn’t the otherwise excellent 12D ruined by the word ‘in’? The wordplay ‘cooked in hijab’ implies use of those 2 letters as well, no?

  16. flashling says:

    Don’t get the RM for magistrates, but never been in a court. Didn’t find it too tough, a pint and a half’er after work tonight. Some new words to me like some previous commenters and didn’t have internet access whilst doing it so relied on Radian’s subsiduary bits. Age, hah we still thrupenny bits when I were a lad, bloody flybynights! OK not for long I’ll admit. Did wonder where NINE was for a second or two and thought I’d made a mistake…

  17. Simon Harris says:

    Hi Phil -

    Yeah, I had to take a leap of faith with RM as well, but I checked before blogging and was relieved to find it right there in Chambers as “Resident Magistrate” – with no further elucidation, sadly.

  18. nmsindy says:

    I suspect Radian might have been familiar with Maria Edgeworth’s 19th century book “Adventures of an Irish RM”.

  19. Wil Ransome says:

    Lots of good stuff, but I think everyone is being a bit lenient: tempo for time (OK tempo = time and time = t, but, at least in a crossword clue, it doesn’t follow that tempo = t) in 15ac, the ‘in’ in 12dn, e for euros in 23dn (who said?), and ‘taking’ as an inclusion indicator in 11dn all struck me as rather weak. And as many as four hidden or hidden reversed.

    But a very clever Nina, which I missed.

  20. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Yes, Wil, you’re probably right.
    T for ‘tempo’ and E for ‘euro’ are two of these (one letter) building stones that Radian finds quite useful, but which are both questionnable.
    I can see the euro-sign as an E [and therefore EE for euros], but … well, maybe Radian himself can tell us where to find them.

    In 11d ‘taking’ wasn’t an insertion indicator in the way it sometimes is [see my post #12] – I say ‘sometimes’, because most of the time ‘A taking B’ is ‘A then B’.
    But here it is even the other way around – which I found amusing for the reason given [that is, if that's the right reason].

    Despite all this, this puzzle had the right ‘feel’ for me.
    And I’m therefore happy to be a bit lenient.
    [not sure whether that's right or not]

  21. Myrvin says:

    OED has:
    Abbreviations: for various proper names, as Thomas, Timothy, Titus, Theresa, etc.; T Mus., tasto, tempo, tenor, tutti; T officially stamped on a letter, taxed, i.e. postage to be paid; T (Physics) = TERA-; T (Physics) = TESLA; T in a ship’s log-book, thunder; T Math., time, terms, etc.; T (Physics and Chem.) = TRITIUM; t (Physics), top or truth, a quark flavour;

    Can’t see it for TEMPO in Chambers – nor for TIME!

  22. Simon Harris says:

    T for “tempo” is confirmed by Collins. I fear that my copy predates the Euro however, though it knows all about the ECU, which is a blast from the past!

  23. Colin Blackburn says:

    Ali @15: I can accept the ‘in’ as I didn’t read it as HIJAB being ‘cooked’ but that the answer, BHAJI, was ‘cooked’ in the word HIJAB.

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