Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7484 by Mordred

Posted by nmsindy on October 11th, 2010


Quite a tough and enjoyable puzzle from Mordred, some quite easy clues to start with but then it got much harder with the lower half of the grid especially quite difficult.    Solving time, 40 mins.    Mordred puzzles often have a theme or Nina.   I can’t see anything here apart from noting that there are some names in the grid which may mean something.   As always, would be very happy if anything I missed was pointed out.    There are quite a few references to TV programmes and I may have missed some more.

* = anagram


8 POLICE     Lop = cut (reversed)   ice = diamonds

9 OLD    Gold less g = good

10 LILY     lion less on = playing and first letters of lick you.     This refers to TV character Lily Savage  (Paul O Grady). I think

11 SLIGHTNESS    (things less)*

12 NOTE    Eton reversed

13 BONSAI      A1 = excellent      bonze = Buddhist priest, I think

16 SUNSHADE    (has)* in (dunes)*

17 CARLTON    (clot ran)*   long-established Conservative club in London

18 MARTINA     Tennis player M Navratilova,   IN in another tennis playing lady  MARTA Marrero

22 EPHEMERA    EP (record)  HEM (list = border) ERA (period)


26 GROW      I liked this which I did not spot for ages – hidden reversal in neW ORGan

27 RHETORICAL   R (runs, cricket) (the car oil)*

30 WEAR      swear not starting

31 EAT    TEA (meal) with T (starter) moved to the end

32 GEORGE     George Best, former footballer


1 KOHL       Helmut   KO (stun) H L     Unity Chancellor

2 KING     Refers, I think, to Billie Jean King, tennis player (courts)

3 NEUTRINO    N  (routine)*

4 MOREISH    “Moorish”        This was my last answer


6 PLANCHETTE     (tench)* in PLATE

7 ELATED    EL (railroad, from US) ATE D

14 OVA    Open VA (Virginia = US state)

15 SILVERWARE     This was very clever I thought and misled me for ages   silver = argentine   WAR   E

19 ALTHOUGH     Al (Gore)   THOUGH

20 NAT     tan reversed

21 BABETTE      Bart Simpson (TV cartoon character) less RT (right)   BETTE Midler (actress)

23 PORTER    Double definition

24 EARNER    learner less l, refers to Arthur Daley in TV show Minder, I think.

28 IRON     Double definition

29 ALGA    Hidden in botanicAL GArden

22 Responses to “Independent 7484 by Mordred”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    There are several “KOHLs in the grid: NAT KING “cole” and “cole” PORTER, GEORGE “cole”, KING “coal”,…

    I assume there are more.

  2. Colin Blackburn says:

    Yes, it looks like there is a LILY Cole and a MARTINA Cole too. And that should be OLD KING “coal”.

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    And BABETTE Cole, which should have been an obvious contender! Anymore?

  4. Colin Blackburn says:

    Well, if no-one else is going to comment I might add CARLTON Cole. And George Cole plays Arthur Daley whoch appears in characters and nmsindy observed. That’s it, I’m withdrawing from commenting in future until I know the whole picture! :-)

  5. Colin Blackburn says:

    Okay, I can’t resist. I thought that IRON and “coal” would go together somehow. It turns out there was a “Coal” and IRON POLICE in the US in the 19thC.

  6. Derrick Knight says:

    Weel done, Colin. Once before I said solvers could find more than setters intended. I confess to not having known about the US POLICE.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’d love to comment, Colin, but my lack of ability to spot themes/ninas/mini-themes/ghost themes is legendary already.

    I will comment on the puzzle, though. Usually when I spot Mordred on a Monday, my first thought is ‘hope there’s a Rufus in the Guardian’, because if memory serves (and it doesn’t always these days), he’s always fair but usually pretty hard. But I managed and enjoyed this today – needed to flirt a bit online towards the end, but then had the satisfaction of finishing.

    Another Indy, another theme … but there was a good sprinkling of easyish clues to get you going so it was never going to stop you solving it if you persevered. I liked in particular GROW and NEUTRINO.

    Can someone please explain two clues? Firstly, What is ‘catch’ doing in the clue for MOREISH? I presume the answer’s meant to be a homophone, so it’s a good job this isn’t the Grauniad blog. Secondly, how does ‘hem’ come to equal ‘list’ in 22ac?

    Thank you for blogging, nms. Perhaps for shy lurkers you might have pointed out that in 32ac GEORGE is a name for an autopilot in a plane. Why, I don’t know; but I do know that the reason I know is from crosswords.

  8. Colin Blackburn says:

    Derrick: Although the US police force is a little obscure it has, apparently, appeared in a Sherlock Holmes story. As Holmes is much beloved by thematic setters I put 2 and 2 together. Elementary.
    K’s D: Like you I only know that George is the name used for the autopilot from crosswords, and it wasn’t that long ago that I learned it. “catch” = “hear”, as it did you catch that? List means the border on a piece of cloth.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Have you turned Scottish, Derrick? On a trivial but slightly more serious note, those of us who are regulars here know who’s who, mostly, but can I just put in a plea that when setters contribute (which we all appreciate and enjoy) can they just sign in with their pseudonym? I remember that it confused me when I first started contributing here.

  10. scchua says:

    Whilst on the subject of trivial pleas, here’s one associated with something that sort of surprised me since when I first read the blogs, albeit comparatively recently. It’s the usage of the word “lurkers”. I may be trying to teach some grandmothers how to suck eggs, and it might have been the consensus, but to an “outsider”, the word does have a dark connotation and only serves to engender a us/them mentality, unless of course that was the intention, in which case I shall rightly shut up. (I may yet live to regret this!)

  11. nmsindy says:

    I think it’s a fairly neutral word, scchua, in common use. Would not see a problem with it.

    Many thanks to those who pointed out the theme of the puzzle that I missed.

  12. Mordred says:

    How’s this, KD?

  13. Lenny says:

    I got through this quite quickly despite the fact that all the Coles passed right over my head. Thanks Mordred and thanks to NMS for explaining the Billie Jean answer that I did not understand. I also guessed at Martina but I’m not beating myself up about that since I see that the unknown (to me) Marta Marrero only ever reached No 47 in the world rankings.
    I also guessed at Bonzai, with Bonze being at the periphery at my memory. Checking in Collins, I see that a Bon is also a pre-Buddhist priest. There appear to be different etymologies for Bon and Bonze. Anyway the wordplay here must be BON’S AI.

  14. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Good evening, Mordred! Thanks once again for an enjoyable and gettable puzzle.

    Good evening, scchua – absolutely not my intention to produce an us/them mentality on the blog. In fact, exactly the opposite: I hope contributors have seen that because I’ve learned so much from 225 I’ve actively encouraged others to come and tell us what they think, in some cases by ‘de-lurking’. ‘Lurking’ is just something I picked up from the blog – I don’t think it has any negative connotations in this context, although in another context it could, I suppose.

    And Colin, thanks for the explanation of ‘catch’ for ‘hear’. Actually I explained that myself to someone who asked the same question not long ago on the Guardian blog. I refer everyone to my bracketed comment in paragraph two line two of my earlier comment.

  15. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Scchua @10
    I agree that ‘lurker’ can have an undesired, and unintended, meaning so I think I should point out that it is being used as per Chanbers’ definition #5 for ‘lurk, ie “to use the Internet only to read, and not to send, messages (comput sl)”. Collins has something very similar.

  16. flashling says:

    Odd mix of easy and tough today. Didn’t know the EL bit for railroad in the US,learn something new I guess, so thanks to NMS for that.

    Re lurker – seems to be common really on other sites. The thing about revealing oneself and commenting is that commenting can lead to blogging…

  17. flashling says:

    Hope I haven’t put off potential commentators, please come in and join the fun, positive criticism or bewilderment is welcome. And if you fancy blogging just contact Gaufrid. So sign in, go on, you know you want to!

  18. scchua says:

    I hope this late entry (or early for me) will still be read.

    Thanks nmsindy et al for the re-assurances. Personally, I don’t need any, since I’ve long since lost my “lurker” status, and I absolutely agree with K’sDad@14 about fun and learning from the blogs (which I had no doubts about and which was not my intent to doubt). BTW, it wasn’t my intent to single you out or anyone else.
    Hi Gaufrid@15, am aware of the definition you mention, which trumps others in our context. Any sting from the original coinage has probably gone with common usage (ie. for those who regularly blog). Though there might still be a vestige according to this source that I found:

    “lurker – n.
    someone who reads the messages in an Internet new (sic) group without out (sic) responding or participating. (Sometimes considered derogatory.) : These lurkers read everything but never contribute.
    Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
    Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw Hill.”

  19. Colin Blackburn says:

    Given the errors in that definition I’m not sure I’d trust the qualification there! I don’t think I have ever heard it as a derogatory term towards lurkers themselves. It’s most derogatory usage is when another poster claims to have a groundswell of support via direct email, the “lurkers support me in email” defence.

  20. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Morning scchua @ 18. No problem, I’m enjoying your contributions to the blogs.

  21. dram says:

    Speaking as a lurker… I’m not offended! I rarely post a comment because it takes me a couple of days to get round to checking the blog to find the answers I missed, so by the time I get a chance to say ‘great crossword Mordred, and many thanks for the blog nms and the Coles Colin, the lights have been turned off and there’s no-one left.

    Hello? Hello?

  22. eimi says:

    Hello dram

    Welcome to the twilight zone

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