Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,487 by Tees

Posted by Simon Harris on October 14th, 2010

Simon Harris.

I tend to enjoy Tees’ puzzles these days, but I struggled a bit with some of this one, so it’ll be interesting to hear how other folks got on.

Spotting the Nina helped: we have TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA around the perimeter, and a reference to it in 16/9/34. There may be other thematic material but Shakespeare is not among your blogger’s strong points.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

Across
6 HATCH – H + AT + CH.
8 PLANTAIN – (L + ANT) in PAIN, which is French for bread. Pierre Gagnaire appears to be a French chef, so this is quite a nice reference. I hadn’t heard of him, but it’s easy to spot that the point is, he’s French.
10 ABLE – from the famous palindrome: Able was I, ere I saw Elba, supposedly spoken by Napoleon. “Able” isn’t intuitively the “end” of it, the front end maybe.
11 RESULTANT – SULTAN in (RE + T).
13 ODE – D in OE.
14 NORM – N OR M. N being a letter, and M being the one previous to it in the alphabet.
15 INDISCREET – I + (TEN CIDERS)*.
19 OXEN – [ri]O XEN[xem].
20 STAIR – I in STAR.
21 SEAL – dd.
23 ROYAL TRAIN – TAYLOR* + RA + IN.
26 EPEE – [fo]E + PEE.
27 GUVG + U + V.
28 DROP A BOMB – (O + PAB[l]O) in (DR + MB).
32 EDAM – D (Roman numeral for 500) in MAE< (West). The cheese that is famously made backwards.
33 ESCAPIST – IS in ASPECT*.
Down
1 THE BRONX – HEBRON in TX. A borough of New York, famous for its cheery disposition.
2 WHERE IT’S AT – (IS THE WATER)*.
3 OPUS – (SUP + 0)<.
4 GALL – G + ALL.
5 ETNA – E + ANT<.
7 THEOMANIA – THE + OMANI + A.
12 TEC – TEC. Short for detective, thus “private dick”. T is Troy, a unit of weight for things like gold, while EC is the postcode area for The City.
16/9/34 DRAMA IN THE ROUND – (UNMARRIED AND HOT)*. A reference to the Nina, as mentioned in the preamble.
17 SPRING BORN – Spoonerism of “bring spawn”.
18 RIS DE VEAU – DRIVES* + EAU. A new term for me, but eminently solveable from wordplay and checking.
22 ADELAIDE – A + DEAL* + IDE[a].
24 ORDOS – [fyod]OR DOS[toevsky]. This beat me: I’ve never heard of it, and “one for” doesn’t seem to suggest a substring to me.
25 LOP – O in LP.
29 OLAV – 0 + LAV.
30 ASIF – AS IF.
31 OTTO – I got this from the checking and the Nina, but cannot explain it at all.

20 Responses to “Independent 7,487 by Tees”

  1. Mordred says:

    I was grateful for the Nina. Without it I don’t think I’d have got ASIF. I thought the clue for NORM nicely original. I, too, had heard of neither RIS DE VEAU nor ORDOS, but the wordplay was suitably generous.

  2. Pandean says:

    31dn: I think the Italian port is Otranto, and fled=ran, so OT(RAN)TO.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Hi Simon.

    I did find this pretty difficult, but with perseverance got everything except ASIF. There were a good many that I needed your explanations for, though. I wasn’t mad about ORDOS either – it couldn’t be anything else, but the clue doesn’t quite work for me. Can’t help with OTTO.

    I liked in particular NORM, ADELAIDE and for its cheekiness, EPEE. So a toughish but solvable puzzle with a good sprinkling of wit. That’ll do for me this morning, thank you very much.

  4. jmac says:

    Thanks Simon for your helpful blog, and to Pandean for clearing up OTTO. I found this nicely judged for a weekday puzzle, i.e. not too difficult, but with plenty of inventive clueing. Thought NORM was particularly good in this respect. Also liked THE BRONX, EPEE, HATCH, and ASIF. Another very enjoyable crossword from Tees.

  5. walruss says:

    ORDOS is hidden, given by the dual use of region. I think!

  6. Duggie says:

    Superb puzzle. It must have been a real headache to achieve the Nina let alone the split reference within such a busy grid. Well done Tees!

  7. scchua says:

    Thanks Simon for the blog and Tees for a crossword which was surprisingly easy in some patches.

    As usual, I was blind to the Nina; once having started the crossword I promptly forget my intention to check for Ninas (the habit being that harder to cultivate because in those instances when I do remember to check, there are no Ninas in sight!).

    Thus 30D AS IF was one I couldn’t fill in, and I had 14A NORM wrong, being hung up on “standard letter” = FORM. After some time, I also gave up on trying to identify the Italian port after having filled in 31D OTTO. Other than that the others were gettable.

    Favourite clues were 28A DROP A BOMB, 2A WHERE IT’S AT with its disguised anagrind, which helped to un-disguise the reading of 16A,9D,34A DRAMA IN THE ROUND.

  8. scchua says:

    PS. Simon, I think you missed 27A GUV = G(ood) U(union) V(ictory)

  9. Simon Harris says:

    So I did, well spotted scchua. I managed to get my HTML in a right muddle whilst blogging this, so it’s a miracle if that’s the only foul-up. Corrected now.

  10. Ali says:

    I found this surprisingly easy, although spotting the Nina fairly early on was a big help. A very enjoyable puzzle all round

  11. walruss says:

    Is that a pun, Ali!?

  12. Stella Heath says:

    Not too much of a ‘tease’ today, though as usual I missed the Nina. For once the abundance of four-letter answers was a help, rather than a hindrance, though I guessed ‘épée’ without quite seeing why.

    I hadn’t heard of ‘ris de veau’, though it’s one of my favourite morsels here in Spain. I now know how to say ‘mollejas’ (sweetbread) in French :)

    thanks for the blog, Simon

  13. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Simon, for the blog and Tees for the pleasing puzzle in his very individual style. I found it quite easy with the Nina, when finally spotted, helping me to finish giving NORM (excellent clue) and ASIF.

  14. Sil van den Hoek says:

    As one of those that didn’t spot the Nina, I couldn’t fully unravel the lower SW.
    Otherwise not an extremely difficult crossword.

    Now being familiar with the Tees’ (and Neo’s) style, I was a bit surprised by the overdose of (one and two letter) abbreviations.
    For example, the four three-letter clues didn’t have anything else than that.
    There were really a lot of them, I can tell you.

    My favourites today: DROP A BOMB, NORM [although I did have ‘form’], THEOMANIA, DRAMA IN THE ROUND, WHERE IT’S AT and ROYAL TRAIN.
    Bloody Hell, that’s D (=many)!
    Looks like it was a good crossword … :)

    And Now For Something Completely Outrageous.
    As one from abroad I am not always sure whether some words that sound like words are really words indeed.
    So having S?R?N? ??R? in 17d, I thought, maybe it’s SPRING TERM [has something to do with May, doesn’t it? – well, maybe not], being a Spoonerism for TRING SPERM.
    ‘Tring’ sounds like a real word, doesn’t it?
    And ‘sperm’ are eggs, aren’t they?
    Of course, pointless as a broken pencil [courtesy of Blackadder] – but do I see here great potential for another Spoonerism? :) :)

    Thanks Tees.

  15. flashling says:

    Tring alas Sil is only a small town but as one who kept looking at spring lamb… Glad to see site back as last time I tried I just got error 500 messages. Still much fun here although the word play for otto lost me till I got in here.

    Phi v me tomorrow I expect, busy day expected so may be a little late, but I’ll set up a dummy for you all to tell me how to solve it! :-)

  16. Simon Harris says:

    Sil –

    Tring is a town in Hertfordshire, so there’s definite potential there ;) At least for a clue more suited to Private Eye than the Times!

  17. Allan_C says:

    I’m another of those who never spotted the nina, so it took a bit longer to solve but I got there in the end. Last to go in was ASIF, which eventually emerged from the subconscious. It featured once before in an indy crossword – quite a while ago; on that occasion it was clued with a reference to the (imho) crashingly unfunny indy strip cartoon.

  18. Simon Harris says:

    A cartoon whose ongoing publication is in no way connected to its author being married to Simon Kelner, we must assume.

    Interesting that many found AS IF tricky, I think I got lucky by happening to have a colleague by that name, so I’d considered the wordplay possibilities in advance.

  19. walruss says:

    Was this really a Nina? As the drama is literally ‘in the round’, I think it may smply be an idea.

  20. Tees says:

    I didn’t really see it as one to be honest, as my intention was indeed to have the drama in the round seen quite literally, er, mate.

    Many thanks as ever to the Bloggenvolk, and to all for kind and perceptive comments – which are, incidentally, taken as warm and generous hints. I shall therefore not under any circumstances be harbouring such as paranoid thoughts about my single- and/or double-letter indication habits within short word-forms.

    Cheers all, esp. Simon.

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