Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7423 (Sat 31-Jul) Nestor

Posted by beermagnet on August 7th, 2010


Nother non-numerical Nestor novelty to nonplus us.
In fact this was again not as hard as many a midweek puzzle, with firm wordplay once seen.

Why do compilers end up picking words and phrases that have previously appeared?  Often memorably.  For short words with convenient letter patterns it is understandable.  The classic is EXTRA that is often seen where those common letters fall in the E-T-A pattern (not much else fits!).
In this crossword there were several cases where I thought “Hello – I’ve seen that before recently”.  (Mind you “recently” turns out to be last year rather than last week).
Surely it is not just chance that gave us Bad Hair Day and Hotel California. Nestor must’ve made a positive decision to include these. What could be the reason?

For those of you who wondered where this Indy Prize blog was yesterday, we have decided to publish it on the Saturday so that it coincides with the puzzle appearing on the Indy website:

7 THE COAST IS CLEAR Topical CD which itself became clear after a few crossing letters
10 ENHANCERS ([f]RENCH [b]EANS)* AInd: cooked
11 EAT UP [tak]EA[way] (middle of takeaway) TUP (ram) Ref: demolish. First answer in.  Given the 3-2 enumeration, ram/t-up seemed obvious
12 NAB Hidden in oN A Boys Inclusion Ind: clothes. Def: Collar. I was nabbed by the rozzers once, it was quite painful
13 TUB-THUMPERS (BUT)< (rebuffed only) MP,E (politician English) inside THURS (a day) Def: Declaimers
15 HITCHED HIT (very successful) CH[apter] ED[ited] Def: with a legal partner
16 BELIEVE (VEIL)< (screen rejected) inside BEE (work meeting) Def: Credit
18 STOCKHAUSEN (K[ing] CHAOS TUNES)* AInd: development. Lovely &Lit. My favourite clue:
Was he king in development of chaos tunes? (11)
20 ASS Def: Charlie.  A[ngel]S (angels outwardly) S[ucceeded]
22 ILIAD LIA[r] (fabulist without middle of veRse) inside I’D (one had)
23 ROCKSLIDE ROCK (Stones music) SLIDE (trombone part)
25 HOTEL CALIFORNIA (THE COOL AIR FINAL)* AInd: flapping. Something of a write-in from the exceedingly clear def: (Eagle’s hit) I thought I had seen this in several crossies, but the only one I can find here is nearly a year ago – Indy 7139 Dac (02-Sep-2009)
1 STREWN S[on], W[ife] inside TREN[d] (fashion almost) Def: haphazardly arranged
2 TOP-NOTCH T[w]O P[oliceme]N O[utwi]T C[leveris]H Def: superior
3 ASHE A SHE (a female) AS HE (like a mail) Double wordplay clue – that’s novel. Ref: Arthur Ashe. Blimey! He even has a Day named after him!
4 MISS THE BUS (BETH)* AInd: upset inside MISSUS (Wife) Def: to lose out
5 SCREAM S[pades] CREAM (pick) Def: riot. As in “It’s a scream! It’s a riot” where do I know that from?
6 BEAT GENERATION BEAT (better than) GENERATION (reason for sex)
Held myself up here by initially writing in Lost Generation despite wondering where Lost came from.  They too could be described as Bohemian writers – maybe
8 EXHIBITIONISTS (THE BOX IT IS IN IS)* AInd: broken. An anagram that leapt out at me.
9 RIPOSTE SOP< (bribe shows up) inside RITE (ceremonial form) Def: a comeback
14 BAD HAIR DAY CD Shock referring to a shock of hair. A site search with “Bad hair day” finds 3 previous usages by Brummie, Virgilius and Pasquale. This clue:
Time of dreadful shock? (3,4,3)
is almost the same clue as Pasquale’s but that is from a while ago:
Sort of time when one may have an awful shock? (3,4,3)
15 HASHISH H[orse] AS (being) H[erion] IS (constitutes) H[ard]
17 LONG SHOT LONGS (Yearns) HOT (lust)
19 KIDULT DUL[l] (mostly boring) inside KIT (equipment) Def: Young at heart.  Surprised myself by getting this on the first pass
21 SEESAW Homophone “Cease awe” Last one I got – that’s no surprise for me as it’s a homophone – works though
24 CHIP C[old] HIP (joint)

6 Responses to “Independent 7423 (Sat 31-Jul) Nestor”

  1. Allan_C says:

    A bit of a theme with tub-thumpers, exhibitionists and Stockhausen, maybe?

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, beermagnet. Very enjoyable puzzle, which, like you, I found on the easy side, in fact my quickest Nestor solve this year. Favourite clues, HITCHED and BAD HAIR DAY.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you beermagnet. Lots to entertain us here, I thought. I remember seeing BAD HAIR DAY before too, but still liked the clue; 7ac was nicely topical; and KIDULT was good too.

    Not too tricky, this one – unlike today’s …

  4. petebiddlecombe says:

    Only did this puzzle today, much more quickly than I expected for a Nestor puzzle, but I seem to remember one or two quite easy Telegraph Toughies from him (as Notabilis).

    I don’t think there’s enough repetition of old material to grumble about here – there were quite a few answers which seemed like rare visitors to crossword grids to me.

  5. Bannsider says:

    I’m astounded anyone would think that setters deliberately repeat long phrases – why would they do that? I think you may safely put any repetition down to coincidence. And it is in fact amazing how often such coincidences occur – or seem to.

  6. beermagnet says:

    I wasn’t really suggesting compilers deliberately choose long phrases that have been used before.
    I know compilers indulge in a fair amount of underhand skulduggery, but I wasn’t accusing them of this one.
    My badly worded thesis in the preamble was that it is more than just coincidence that odd phrases like BAD HAIR DAY crop up more than once. Some occur a hell of a lot more often than just by chance.
    I suspect that the reason lies in the phrases themselves.

    BAD HAIR DAY is a quirky metaphor that might raise a smile in itself, especially among people who’ve never heard it before, thus ideal for an inclusion in a puzzle.

    There’s probably a different reason for HOTEL CALIFORNIA. It is a solid 15 letter name that even someone totally ignorant of late twentieth century west coast soft rock has probably heard of. So it may be judged as within most solvers knowledge.

    Nevertheless, I would find it difficult to predict what longish phrases might end up in this “surprisingly seen recently” category. Anyway, what does it matter as long as the clues are fun.

    By the way – I used EXTRA as the prime example of an oft seen answer having seen it at the top of the list in mhl’s excellent crossy stats page: random/guardian-crossword-trivia

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