Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7448 by Mordred

Posted by nmsindy on August 30th, 2010


An excellent puzzle from Mordred.

It is themed on the TV sitcom Last of the Summer Wine (hereinafter LSW) which, after a record-breaking 37 years is coming to an end with the last episode shown yesterday, Sunday 29 August.      With that long record, it’s clearly a really popular and successful show.

Re the puzzle, what really impressed me, apart from everything else,  was that I did it all without seeing the theme, that became clear to me only afterwards.   I did not even spot that LAST, SUMMER and WINE  being among the answers had significance.  (Thanks to Ian for pointing out – comment no.6 – that OF THE is in there too giving LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE in full ie from hereof and them, nice touch from Mordred)     This made it a tough puzzle, time taken 54 mins .

However I had SLATE rather than ORATE for 28 across with ISLA which I could not justify for 26 down.    I’ve put the correct versions in the blog.

As it  happened, nmsindy never sat down to watch this particular TV programme and so was not familiar with the characters so may well have missed some references.   I’d be very grateful if others could draw attention to any such omissions.

This blog would have been difficult (impossible?) to write without Wikipedia which shows me that quite a few of the answers refer to the programme, there are also some references to the programme in clues.

* = anagram


1 Jessye NORMAN    Opera singer, Norman = French     Norman Clegg (13 Ac), LSW character

4 CON (Tory) FUSED (stopped working)     Nora Batty (in clue)  LSW character

9 COMPO     Trying to see what this referred to after solving the puzzle led me to the theme    LSW character played by the late (Bill) Owen for many years.  First letters of last five words with what I guess is a thematic surface (which is good).

10 CAPUCHINS    CA (about) Pearl (first letter) – not sure if Pearl (and perhaps the surface)  is another LSW reference  (in such)*

11 LAST     Double definition    shoemaker’s model

12 HISS   S (first letter of Smetana) in HIS

13 CLEGG     See 1 across       C (Tory)  L (left)  EGG (spur)    Referring to the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, I’ve seen quite a few amusing clues since the new coalition Government was formed based esp on the Lib Dems

15 HEREOF    HER (Marina’s ie 30 ac)  EOF (foe = enemy reversed)

16 THEM   This was very clever I thought.     Mordred’s last two = ED (last two letters).   Puzzles like this = themed so you’re left with ‘them’  = not us!

19 FAWN    Housing is a containment indicator here   W (with)  in FAN (cooler)

20 SUMMER  This refers to the singer Donna Summer

23 EXUDE    Ex (former spouse)  Rude (rough) less r = runs

24 INDY    windy less w (point)

25 WINE    This would have been much easier if I had seen the theme, but I eventually saw how I think it worked and it was a nice penny-dropping moment. W (from the previous) clue INE(s)    Ines = Spanish lady (before finishing)

27 OTHERNESS   (Sense Roth)*

28 ORATE  This clue is “26 telling-off is more than necessary harangue”.     26 is NORA     orate = harangue is contained in (N)ORA TElling-off

29 ERRANTRY    ER (expression of hesitation)  RAN (did take oneself off) TRY (go)

30 MARINA    LSW character    marina = harbour    not sure about the diamond reference, may relate to LSW.


1 NICELY    This was my last answer, a character in Guys and Dolls, guessed it from ‘pleasantly’ when I had the crossing letters.

2 REMASTER   REM (rapid eye movement)  (a rest)*

3 AVON    A cosmetics company  Nova (star)  reversed

5 OPPOSITE SIDES    Sites I’d  e (first letter in expect) in oppos

6 FACE CREAMS    Face (resist)   scream with s moved to the end

7 SMILER    s  miler    LSW character

8 DISAGREE     When I first saw the grid with the two answers containing most unusually three consecutive unchecked letters, I suspected a theme.  Mordred gave easy clues for those.    (rages)* in die

10 CHIEF ENGINEER    chief (arch)  engineer (contrive)     In the cryptic reading ‘supporting’ indicates position.

14 DECAHEDRON    (Enoch dared)*   A solid with ten plane faces

17 TRUE LOVE    An even easier clue than 8 down.  real = true o = love     LSW character

18 TERIYAKI    “Terry” (Wogan – TV personality)  Yak (trivial conversation) I (international)

21 Martin LUTHER    U (acceptable) for a in lather (flap)    Liked this.   LSW character

22 GENERA   (green)*  a (American)     Foggy in clue   LSW character

26 NORA    (SE)NORA    LSW character

14 Responses to “Independent 7448 by Mordred”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    I enjoyed this one. Unlike nmsindy I saw he theme almost instantly due to noticing Foggy and Batty in the clues. I hen cherry-picked clues looking for theme words I might know. I didn’t realise Truelove was a character since I’ve not seen the TV programmes for about 34 years.

    The diamond reference in 30 across is to the singer who uses the name Marina and the Diamonds.

  2. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, nms – a brilliant puzzle, I thought.

    MARINA is the love interest of Howard Sibshaw, whose wife is Pearl.

  3. Eileen says:

    And many thanks to Mordred, too, of course!

  4. Jake says:

    Nice one Mordred, I’ve become rather fond of his puzzles.
    Thanks for the blog too, nicely explained.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks nmsindy for the blog. Very enlightening. Not having seen the series either, I only suspected that there was a theme to all that name-dropping in the clues and lights, but never twigged on to it.

    Didn’t get both the related 26D and 28A. I thought latter was “SLATE” also, but couldn’t reconcile it with what I thought was 26D “ELLA” = B (bearing) from BELLA (short for Isabella).

    Thanks Mordred for a well crafted themed puzzle.

  6. IanN14 says:

    I liked this one too, even though I didn’t know too much about the programme.
    (A quick trawl through IMDb helped me with that)
    I especially liked the way Mordred managed to get the “of the” of the title (if you see what I mean) across the lights, appropriately positioned for the rest of the title.

  7. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for that, Ian, that’s very good, I’ll update the blog to cover that point.

  8. Eileen says:

    Well-spotted, as usual, IanN14 – I’d missed that!

  9. Stella says:

    Never having seen LSW or Guys and Dolls, I found this puzzle impossible to understand even once I could see the answers, and didn’t enjoy it at all.

    Sorry, Mordred, and thanks mnsindy for enlightening me. At least now I can see it is truly a clever puzzle.

  10. flashling says:

    Cor blimey! well having not watched LSW for a least 30 years this was a struggle to put it mildly without internet or other references to help, OK very clever in places, getting the topical clegg clue in as well as the theme was inspired, took ages to justify some clues in my mind, wine? well it had to be but…

    Anyway thanks NMS et al and Mordred for a taxing solve.

  11. Tokyo Colin says:

    Like Stella, I found this impossible to understand and most unenjoyable. I have never even heard of Last Summer Wine and so was fumbling around in the dark with no hope of the light ever coming on. Not a big fan of Mordred.

  12. Mike Laws says:

    I’m surprised that no one’s commented on the shortcomings of the diagram. The NW and SE corners were only linked to the rest of the diagram by a single E in both cases – hardly the most useful letter when looking for help from cross-checking.
    Then there are the triple-unches at 8 and 17 down, a complete no-no in my book, and that of any setter who cares about adequate diagram construction. It’s particularly galling because the number of thematic entries in no way justified it.

    The clues were OK for the most part, but there was nothing brilliant about this puzzle, as opposed to the series it commemorated. The kindest adjective I can think of is amateurish.

  13. Allan_C says:

    A curate’s egg as far as I was concerned – a bit too contrived in places. I realised the theme with the puzzle about half finished. Didn’t help that I initially put ‘opposing sides’ instead of ‘opposite sides’ for 5d. Favourite clue ‘Teriyaki’.

  14. walruss says:

    Why was there so much Mordred-bashing for this puzzle? I agree that the grid was a bit tricky, but the theme DID justify it, I think! No, Mordered deserves a pat on the back for a thumping good puzzle.

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