Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,497 by Tyrus

Posted by Simon Harris on October 26th, 2010

Simon Harris.

Cripes. This was very good indeed, but a really tough one to blog, not unlike my previous encounter with Tyrus. With a bit of help, I think I’ve managed to explain things, but could easily be wrong in places. Still, some cracking clues and surface readings today.

There’s a sort of mini-theme going on, with Rod Hull and Emu cropping up in a couple of places, so I wonder if there may be other references that I’ve missed.

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

Across
1 JAPES – PA< in JES[t].
4 SMARTASS – I think here we have “at Yale” to signify “the US version of this word”, and the point that it’s oxymoronic to talk of someone being both “smart” and an “ass”.
8 CURVE BALL – (BRUCE + V[i]LLA)*. It took me ages to spot this one; I think the smooth surface reading seduced me into completely missing the anagram.
9 ROSS – dd. Diana Ross of “and the Supremes” fame, plus Ross County, who may not be entirely familiar to international readers.
11 IRRUPTIONIR + RU + P + INTO*. This is a great clue.
12 OXLIP – 0 + X + LIP.
13 TIDE – hom. of “tied”.
14 LEERS – LE[p]ERS.
16 MOA – (A [t]OM)<. A moa looks a bit like an extinct 15ac, so I wonder if that's coincidental.
18 EVE – EVE[n].
19 LET UP – two definitions, one cryptic: if your “let” or lease is “up”, you might need to get moving.
22 CREW – hom. of “Crewe”.
24 ORTON – [n]ORTON. The playwright is Joe Orton, while the chat show host is Graham Norton.
26 MRS MERTON – hom. of “misses” + (Paul) Merton. Bit of a blast from the past, this one.
27 HULL – three definitions here: shell, city and of course Rod Hull of “and Emu” fame.
28 LOWLANDER – cd.
29/4D SPRINGER SPANIEL – (GRANNIE’S SLIPPER)*. Great surface reading.
30 PARKY – [s]PARKY.
Down
1 JACK-IN-THE-BOX – another def. + cd.
2 PARTRIDGE – (PIG TARRED)*.
3 SLEEPY – LEE in SPY.
5 ALLENDE – ALL + END + E. Solved from wordplay, as the only Allende I could think of is a novelist. I think we’re dealing with this chap today. Intriguingly, the two turn out to be first cousins once removed.
6 TORTOISE – (TO + IS) in TORE.
7 SISAL – IS< + SAL. The "Reveal" button can take some credit here: the diminutive "Sal" for "Sarah" didn't spring to mind, and sisal didn’t ring a bell.
10 OPRAH WINFREY – this is from (PAID FOR HENRY)*, but with W (wife) in for D (day), so (PAI[d] FOR HENRY + W)*.
15 EMU – [th]E MU[sical]. I think the “assailant” thing is a reference to Michael Parkinson, and this interview.
16 MARY TUDOR – (ARMY ROUT[e]D)*. E is East, thus “a quarter” in the compassy, geographical kind of sense.
17 LLANELLI – L + LANE + ILL<.
20 TIME LAG – (GAL + EMIT)<. I suspect I'm not the only one who spent time wondering what could be made from (GIRL + LET)*.
21 POST-WAR – (PORT WAS)*.
23 DECAMP – funny one this: I think it’s D + [servic]E + CA + MP. If so, that’s “fine” in the musical sense, i.e. the “end” of something. Readers may have better suggestions, of course.
25 TRUMP – T[erry] + RUMP.

16 Responses to “Independent 7,497 by Tyrus”

  1. flashling says:

    There’s a lot of chat show hosts – (Alan) Partridge, (jerry) Springer, Mrs Merton, Parky (Parkinson), Oprah Winfrey. Think that’s all.

  2. Rishi says:

    I think 23d is
    D ECA< MP
    D – (D___)
    ECA – rev. of 'ace', fine service (in tennis) ['about' being rev. ind]
    MP – politician

  3. Simon Harris says:

    Well spotted, flashling and Rishi. Jonathan ROSS too, I guess. Many thanks for the clarifications.

  4. anax says:

    An astonishingly good puzzle. I almost ran out of breath with “A-ha!” moments, 2d being a clue to that of course – several answers are names, or nicknames, of talk show hosts; (Jonathan) ROSS, (Graham N)ORTON, MRS MERTON, (Rod) HULL, (Jerry) SPRINGER, PARKY (Michael Parkinson), (Alan) PARTRIDGE, OPRAH WINFREY; maybe one or two others I’ve missed?

    Brilliant work from Tyrus, and a marvellous blog Simon.

  5. Paul A says:

    13 Ac – should be TIDE

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, Simon. I was pleased to finish this – the SE corner held me up for ages. I vaguely recognised that there were a few TV personalities in there, but this was probably one where even if you did recognise the theme it wouldn’t help you that much.

    It was indeed an enjoyable puzzle. I especially liked JACK-IN-THE-BOX, IRRUPTION and TRUMP. I wasn’t convinced about clueing OPRAH WINFREY as ‘rich American’, but then the theme in this case would have helped me had I spotted it.

    Two moments of spookiness today. SISAL is also an answer in today’s Grauniad crossword by Paul. And I managed yesterday to slip in a comment about Sunderland’s magnificent win over Villa, and today we have a clue at 8ac with their redoubtable manager Steve Bruce and said team forming the wordplay.

    Just needs Dac tomorrow to use the River Wear for a clue and I’ll be on a hat-trick.

  7. scchua says:

    Thanks Simon for the blog and Tyrus for a TV themed crossword specifically (British and American) talk shows. Perhaps a big clue was in 13A where “shows” is otherwise seemingly superfluous.

    Besides those mentioned already, there was 8A (CURVE) BALL, Michael, whose show didn’t quite make it. If one includes TV personalities, then there’s also TRUMP the Apprentice.

    Favourites were 6D TORTOISE, 1D JACK IN THE BOX, 16A MOA.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Very enjoyable with some excellent clues. Though not particularly familiar with the shows referred to was able to solve it all somewhat faster than some previous Tyrus Indy puzzles. Thanks for the blog, Simon.

  9. Colin Blackburn says:

    Fantastic puzzle and yet I completely missed the theme. Even MRS MERTON and OPRAH didn’t activate any synapses! Best bit is I didn’t need to know and the clues were outstanding anyway.

  10. Tyrus says:

    Thanks to Simon for the blog and to everyone who took the trouble to comment.

    Re 10D, Oprah has apparently been ranked as the richest African American of the 20th century.

  11. Ali says:

    A belter of a puzzle. Found the top half much harder than the bottom, but loved the chat show theme. I also made a mess of 30A (and couldn’t then get 23D) by putting in HARTY, but it was Grace Jones who attacked him, not Emu!

  12. redddevil says:

    My parents used to call certain types of string sisal when I were a lad. They were generally made up of lots of separate small fibres so perhaps genuine.

    On a separate note can I ask those more ‘in-the-know’ whther in general any word in a clue can be taken to mean just its initial letter – such as ‘tense’ in the moa clue above – or is there some hidden rule which says which can and can’t be?
    Thanks

  13. anax says:

    Hi redddevil.

    Setters can’t use “any” word to indicate a single letter – it has to be a dictionary-supported abbreviation; the question is which dictionary. Oddly, The Times (which we associate with puzzles at the harder end of the spectrum) gives its setters a very limited list of acceptable abbreviations, while the Telegraph (generally easier puzzles) seems to allow a much more generous choice, many of which appear very obscure. Over time, after perhaps a year or two of solving, you become familiar with which abbreviations are sanctioned within the various crossword series.

  14. Colin Blackburn says:

    …and in this case, redtdevil, t = tense is an abbreviation used in grammar to mean verb tense.

  15. gnomethang says:

    I picked this up on my iPhone havionbg run out of other puzzles today and found it stunningly good. Hats off to the setter for some lovely surface readings and plenty of laughs along the way. Springer Spaniel is a gem.

  16. redddevil says:

    yes I realised t was from grammar but in these days of abbreviations almost every word is abbreviated in some medium or other (IMHO!).

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