Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7453 by Bannsider (Sat 4 September)

Posted by petebiddlecombe on September 11th, 2010


I found this very difficult, I think – I didn’t manage to record my solving time. The grid has 6 15-letter answers, and most of these were used for phrases that you don’t often see in crossword grids – two factors that tend to slow things down.

1 FANTASY FOOTBALL – as far as I can tell, this clue is just a cryptic definition. I can’t see any other wordplay. Blind as a bat – see comment 4. The match of “fan” in the clue to the beginning of the first word is unusual, but I don’t think it helped me much.
9 R(AMES)ES(t) – I just about remembered Mr. Ames
10 NAB=arrest,OK=fine,(sh)OV(ed)
11 W=wife,HI(R,L,W=with,1)ND – Snooker star Jimmy White = “The Whirlwind”
13 E=energy,WELL=source
14 “RIGHT, SIS SUE” = “concession from Barker Bros” – i.e. from (possibly fictional) brothers of Sue Barker – a bit of daft fun whose details passed me by when solving
16 ODE – an “autumn work” because Keats wrote an Ode to Autumn (or that’s my guess – the link was added later, so now you all know that “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” had no particular author in my memory). Reverse hidden in “moved on”
17 DEO – reversed last letters of “to be redeemed”. Anagram of the previous 3-letter answer and only one letter away from DUO, but I think these are just coincidences.
18 MOTHER-NAKED = a phrase not familiar to me, defined by “out of habit” – (to Denmark he)*
19 S(P)OON – spoon=neck=kiss and cuddle
20 RING=grin*,STAND=bear – I needed Chambers to find ringstand, but this meaning is obvious. Watch out for the alternative – “a stand for chemical vessels, with rings clamped to a vertical rod” – or maybe don’t bother – I like to see any setter find a deceptive way to use this meaning!
22 LAY=set,E.R.=”royal” (noun),ED. – “in films” is the def, but the time it just took me to find the wordplay suggests that I was happy with “set in films” and the checking letters
24 E.(VAC)U.,EE=”English twins” – I think I’ve seen Brussels=EU before, but not often enough to make it easy
25 Y(OUT(H) HOST)ELLERS – “away from home crowd” is the def. for this “Russian doll” clue
1 FIRE(WORK)D,I,SPLAY=spread – “celebratory flyers with reports” is the def., using a new variation on the chestnutty “report” indicating a loud noise
2 NIMBI = “nimby” – I wonder whether nimbi should sound like “nim-bee” or “nim-bye”, but that’s post-solve fussing. A nimbus is a halo as well as a cloud.
3 ABSOLUTE MONARCH = (labour’s no match)*,E
4 YE,S(M.)INISTER – Mrs Thatcher’s favourite sitcom
5 OWN = to have – NOW = present, with the N moved to the back. For me, “present that’s new becomes the ultimate” might have been improved by using “becoming” instead of “becomes”
6 TABLE TENNIS = (bat, net, lines),B(oard),ALL – an &lit and what seems like the first time I’ve seen this as an answer
7 (r)ANKLE=hurt,SOCK=blow (noun)
8 LEVEL=flat,HEAD=van=front,ED=boy,NESS=?=girl – I’m not sure about the girl as she’s not in the Chambers first names appendix, but this is the best sense I can make of the wordplay. Unless of course, you know different …
12 D(IS,CERN,MEN)T – DT = “backing Irish politician” as TD = Teachta Dála = Member of the Dáil
15 GOO=sentiment(DON=assume),YOU=solver
21 AZ = street map,URE = Midge
23 DUO = rev. of (l)oud

13 Responses to “Independent 7453 by Bannsider (Sat 4 September)”

  1. Allan_C says:

    This was a fairly quick solve for me, although I didn’t understand some of the clues. Such as 9a, as I hadn’t heard of Ames and was trying for ages to work in something with Idi or Amin before I thought of anything as far back as the pharaohs.
    I got 8d from checking letters, and I think I worked out the wordplay, but can’t remember it now!

  2. flashling says:

    I was pretty much stumped by this, got about six clues before giving up entirely and doing something productive instead. Bannsider always defeats me for some reason so congrats to Allan. Anax to today – deep joy he said gloomily – after his last Saturday crossword.

  3. Polly says:

    1 across is an anagram of ‘by a lot of fans at l(ength)’. I often struggle at length (enjoyably) with Bannsider but didn’t find this exceptionally hard.

  4. jmac says:

    Hi Pete, thanks for the great blog. A tough puzzle indeed.

    I think is an anagram of “by a lot of fans at l”[ength], rather than a cd.

  5. jmac says:

    Sorry Polly, missed your post, writing this remotely with an intermittent connection!

  6. Richard Heald says:

    As is often the case with Bannsider, I found this a frustrating mix of the brilliant and the not-so-brilliant. Like Pete, I thought the wordplay part of 5Dn unsound, was underwhelmed by the “Barker Bros” whimsy at 14Ac, and am still awaiting enlightenment re the “boy and girl” part of 8Dn. That said, those superb & lits for YOUTH HOSTELLERS and TABLE TENNIS BALL made it all worthwhile.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Re 8dn, I obviously didn’t work out the wordplay and then forget it (or if I did I’ve got total memory loss!) so like Pete and Richard I’m still awaiting enlightenment. Did wonder if the ‘van’ bit might be simply ‘v’ (abbreviation as in names like ‘van Beethoven’) and ‘flat’ might be ‘leaden’ but that seems to leave an unusable bunch of letters, and where’s the anagrind? Unless ‘collected’ does duty as part of the def and the anagrind – which is a bit unsatisfactory.

  8. nmsindy says:

    I enjoyed this, which I found hard, as Bannsider normally is. Re comment 7, Allan_C, I don’t think there’s any anagram element in 8D.
    Some very intricate clues. My favourites were four of the long ones, FIREWORK DISPLAY, FANTASY FOOTBALL, ABSOLUTE MONARCH and YOUTH HOSTELLERS

  9. eimi says:

    Peter has parsed 8D correctly. Ness may not be in Chambers but internet research found it as a diminutive of the names Agnes and Vanessa.

    I thought the four long answers were astonishingly good in this, as Niall has said.

  10. Bannsider says:

    Hello all: I have a friend called Ness (short for Vanessa) so didn’t think to check the Chambers names section for it, which I probably should have.

    Peter (to whom thanks for the blog as indeed I should thank all his colleagues) writes: — “present that’s new becomes the ultimate” might have been improved by using “becoming” instead of “becomes” —
    for 5 down
    In this case “that’s” is a possessive. I did wonder whether it should have an apostrophe, but reasoned that it probably should not.

  11. Bannsider says:

    Re my last comment I meant ” wondered if it should NOT have an apostrophe …” etc etc

  12. Allan_C says:

    Thanks eimi and Bannsider for the enlightenment about ‘Ness’ in 8d. A useful fact to remember in my family history research!

  13. Richard Heald says:

    Hi Bannsider, thanks for the elucidation. However, re 5Dn – I’m no grammarian, but can “that’s” REALLY be used as a possessive in this way? Wouldn’t it need to be “whose”?

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