Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,433/Nimrod

Posted by Ali on August 12th, 2010


I got nowhere fast with Nimrod’s recent wedding day puzzle, and I didn’t fair much better with this one, eventually resorting to the cheat button with about 60% done.

As ever from Nimrod, there are some great, deceptive clues in here, but this was hard hard hard. And, unless there’s a Nina I’m missing, OPOPANAX is pushing it a bit for a daily puzzle if you ask me.

1 SMALL CHANGE – Cryptic/double def.
10 IF NOT – Hidden reversal in car-loT ON FIfth
13 ACMES – M(onsieur) in (CASE)*
14 YAFFLE – I think this is ELF + FAY rev.
16 OPOPANAX – “Oh Pop, an axe”
18 OVERBEAR – Not sure on this – “It tells you what to do with energy in roww to exert too much power”
20 ECZEMA – EC + (MAZE)*
23 PATEN – Another one I didn’t get – “Plate blessed by celebrant? Father if not”
24 NAPPY RASH – A nice cryptic def.
28 CHICKEN FEED – D(emocrat) replacing R(uns) in (NECKERCHIEF)* – The ‘one’ here refers to 1A, chicken feed being a small amount of money
3 LATERAL – LATER + A L(iberal)
4 CRINGE – RING in C(of)E
5 ANTITYPE – TIT (flier) in ANY P.E
7 LIVERY COMPANY – LIVERY (irritable) + COMPANY (two)
9 DEUS EX MACHINA – SEX MACHIN[-e] in (DUE A)* – A very nice clue
21 CRY WOLF – (LOWRY)* in cf.
25 ABELE – ABEL + E[-ducated]

18 Responses to “Independent 7,433/Nimrod”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    18ac – VERB (it tells you what to do) E (energy) in OAR (row)
    23ac – PA (father) TEN (if not) – ‘if not’ is the answer to 10[ac]

  2. Handel says:

    Too tough for me. Lunchtime has ended and I’ve filled in about two-thirds. Still, some really smart stuff – 28ac was satisfying once the penny dropped and 9dn was inspired. The less said about 19ac the better.

  3. Handel says:

    Meant 16ac, apologies.

  4. jmac says:

    I agree that this was quite tough but it mostly all fell into place. Thought DEUS EX MACHINA, IF NOT, and DIAMANTE, were really good. Didn’t get OPOPANAX and maybe it is a bit obscure (though no more so than many other words that crop up in crosswords) but it must be one of the funniest answers I’ve seen, which more than compensates for that.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thanks Ali – and Gaufrid for explaining the last few that I couldn’t.

    I did [eventually] get all the answers but it was a struggle – very satisfying, though.

    I missed [darn it!] the reference to ‘1’ in 28ac and TEN in 23 ac. [trying to make something from ‘pater’]. I think this latter is the first time I’ve seen a clue of this kind, where the number, rather than the solution [as in 28] of the cross-refenced clue is actually [part of] the solution. Very clever – but absolutely infuriating!

    Thinking of all the banal charades there can be [and have been] for NEWCASTLE, I think 26ac is by far the most ingenious I’ve seen – almost my favourite clue. [Does it need further explanation for non-UK residents / non football fans? I’m actually amazed that I knew it!]

    My only quibble with this excellent puzzle is 18ac: ‘it tells you what to do = VERB’ – no wonder I didn’t understand it!

  6. Stella Heath says:

    Presumably Newcastle United wear black and white and are known as the Magpies?

    What on earth is ‘opopanax’? And while we’re there, am I the only one who’s never heard of ‘abele’, or ‘yaffle’? I guessed ‘antitype’, but would be more comfortable with ‘antihero’, for example.

    Then there are the references I didn’t get: I don’t know who Lizzie Borden is, and could only surmise after the fact that 67.5º is ENE.

    Far too obscure to be fun, despite a smile for 9d.

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Stella
    Your presumption regarding the Magpies is correct.

    According to Chambers, opopanax is “a gum resin formerly used in medicine, obtained from the roots of a Persian (and S European) species of parsnip; a perfume obtained from the plant Commiphora”.

    Info on Lizzie Borden can be found here:

  8. jmac says:

    Re 6. Opoponax is a medicinal herb;

    Abele crops up in puzzles every now and the – I remember it from Bannsider not long ago.

    Lizzie Borden was tried and acquitted (many would say she was guilty) of the axe murder of her parents towards the end of the ninetenth century:

    Lizzie Borden took an axe,
    And gave her mother forty whacks,
    When she saw what she had done,
    She gave her father forty-one.

    Was a popular verse of the time.

  9. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid and jmac. The explanations make for a much better clue than I first thought. That’s the beauty of crosswords – the things you learn by doing them!

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Ali. I didn’t fare [sic!] much better than you, having to give up with just over half done after a struggle. Nimrod’s clearly at the difficult end of the daily cryptic, which I don’t mind at all; I’d rather get half of a difficult but well-constructed puzzle than complete one that’s easy but full of holes. But for me, this one had just a few too many obscurities, especially the clueing and the answer for 16ac. And of course the inclusion of The Magpies didn’t improve my mood …

    Friday 13th tomorrow then after an odd batting order this week. Hmmm …

  11. flashling says:

    Thought of Yaffle for 14ac after thinking of this:

    I’ll get the hang of links one day. Failed with a few to go. Supposedly the “glorious” twelth today so I suppose they expected a few grouses about the crossword.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    flashling, your link to Bagpuss has finally explained 14ac; I thank you and rest my case about obscurities (I liked the mice, personally).

    Your grouse pun is rubbish, but funny. I guess you’re glad that Nimrod today wasn’t your first appearance in public as a blogger?

  13. flashling says:

    Although I see a Yaffle is also a type of green woodpecker. Thanks KD always on hand with bad puns – helps for crossword solving too.

    Too bl****y right I’m glad I didn’t get this one, might have been a rather later post. Unlucky 12th for Ali.

    As for tomorrow? Suspect it’s Eimi – he’d never pull rank for a special would he?

  14. Myrvin says:

    Not for me. Too many weirdo words for a weekday.

  15. Simon Harris says:

    Too hard for me, falling some way short of Ali’s 60% despite maybe a couple of hours of enjoyment-free plodding. I’m also not sure I see a place for puzzles like this on a weekday.

    I have my own suspicions about tomorrow; almost certainly someone towards the other end of the alphabet, I’d have thought.

  16. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali.
    I found this tough – but what a super puzzle!
    Managed to complete but without understanding 18 across(thanks Gaufrid).
    Nimrod/Enigmatist must be the most inventive setter around,some of his clues are just sheer genius.
    The device used in 23 across is new to me(and very devious) but works very well.
    16 across must be a contender for funniest clue of the year.BTW Stella – I thought you might have known it from G and S.It is sung by the chorus in act 2 of The Grand Duke(Opoponax eloia).
    2 down was clever as the answer could just have easily been Verdi rather than the lesser known Monte,who is best known for his wonderfully exuberant Czardas
    Other favourites were 28 across,9 down and the superb 14 across.

  17. Ali says:

    Thanks to all for the pointers on the clues (and my spelling!). Glad I wasn’t the only one who found this tough going.

    I too have never seen the numbers device used in 23A and 28A. I’ll keep an eye out for in future!

  18. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ali. This was tough, but I got there in the end. I think there was a mini-theme with the answers in top and bottom rows both meaning the same thing.

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