Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,531 by Tyrus (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 04/12/10)

Posted by Simon Harris on December 11th, 2010

Simon Harris.

Tyrus puzzles are never what one might describe as “easy”, but I thought this was going to be a blogging disaster until the theme, and subsequently perimeter Nina were spotted. I still had a lot of work to do to polish things off.

For those unfamiliar with the subject matter, this classic sketch should explain things.

There’s one tiny detail of the wordplay for 15dn that I don’t follow.

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

Across
6 OLEG – [m]OLE G[overnment].
8 ODOUR – 0 + DOUR.
9 RUED – hom. of “rude”. The Sorry in the clue is a reference to another of 2/3’s series.
10 FELL ON – L[ead] in FELON.
11 BOOT HILL – BOOTH + ILL. The “general” is William Booth, so the army is in fact the Salvation Army.
12 FLEET – E[ndian] in LEFT*.
13 EMERGE – (E.G. + REME)<.
16 SOUNESS – (SONS USE)*.
18 GLASSES – L in GASSES.
20 EIGHTY – hom. of “A T”. It took me a while to explain this one. A and T are the “constituents” of the word “at”.
21 TODAY – from TOADY, with D nudged “back” (though we’ve had furious debates here in the past whether that’s backwards or forwards!)
24 LENIENCE – NEIL* + [p]ENCE.
26 MYSELF – [a]MY’S + ELF.
27 DAME – MAD< + [aussi]E.
28 RACES – SCARE*.
29 SHOO – SHOO[k].
Down
1 ULCER – LUCRE*.
2/3 RONNIE CORBETT – (ONCE ROBERT IN)* + T.
4 ARBOREAL – [c]OBRA< + REAL.
5 NEGLIGEES – EE in LEGGINGS*. Author E.E. Cummings.
7 GOLDFINCH – GOLD + FIN + CH. The “or” = GOLD is well-hidden here.
9 RAH – RA[s]H.
14 ESSAYISTS – SAY in [r]ESISTS.
15 POLICEMAN – something + ICE + MAN, but why is “Head’s brief” = POL?
17 SAYONARA – SAY + ON + A + R + A[head].
19 STRETCHST + [w]RETCH.
22 DAMASKDA + MASK.
23 FLOOR – (L in ROOF)<.
25 IRE – I + RE.

9 Responses to “Independent 7,531 by Tyrus (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 04/12/10)”

  1. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Simon. I also thought this might prove difficult, but solving the northwest quadrant first revealed enough to see and get the nina. I think re 15 down, pol is short for poll. A very entertaining puzzle, thanks Tyrus.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, Simon, and Tyrus for the puzzle. Had heard of RC of course but did not know the sketch. Nonetheless saw the words emerging in the perimeter and that helped me to finish the puzzle. RC’s birthday info with a picture appeared in the Indy’s birthday section on the day. By coincidence there was a discussion on ‘national treasure’ in relation to Phi’s Indy puzzle of yesterday.

  3. Quixote says:

    What still worries me is the phonomenon of five-letter word with only second and fourth letters checked for solvers who simply don’t know about ninas (and why should they if unlike us they aren’t in the in-club)? I relied on looking at the birthday list in The Indy and then reading around the perimeter. For me (as an insider) that was fine and I sort of enjoyed the puzzle, but for a new reader/solver used to The Telegraph or times, say? I’m not so sure.

  4. Allan_C says:

    When I got 5dn I wondered if one ought to fill in the grid in lower-case letters – as in the style of some of Cummings’ poetry. But although often referred to in print as e e cummings, apparently this was an affectation of others, not used by him. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._E._Cummings

    Enjoyed the puzzle though it took a while before the theme suddenly occurred to me. Even then I didn’t realise immediately that the second half of the nina was the homophone of the first and was trying to think of other sketches by the 2 Rs.

  5. Jan says:

    Thank you for the blog, Simon. I saw your mention of the Nina on the opening page and decided to give the crossword a go. I didn’t have much time to spare so made good use of the Reveal buttons.

    It was very enjoyable and brought good memories of the brilliant sketch which left us helpless with laughter when it was first shown.

    This is the first time that I’ve tried the Indy puzzle. It was not easy scrolling up and down on the small screen of my otherwise lovely new netbook – the big computer and monitor are in the coldest room of the house!

  6. Tyrus says:

    Thanks for the blog and comments.

    Re Don’s comment at 3, why should crosswords be set chiefly for the benefit of (possible) solvers unfamiliar with the paper’s style? What about people who like ninas – shouldn’t they also be catered for?

  7. Quixote says:

    The trouble is that unless you are into blogs etc., perimetric ninas are something you won’t know about because they are not clued. If you were to say (to compensate for underchecking) that the perimeter spells out a special message, you might spoil the fun for us insiders but you would make the diagram fairer for solvers who have no reason to suspect extra help. I once used an unfair Telegraph grid to point up my father’s centenary, but I’ve felt rather worried about the device since then. We may want to break new ground with themes, but in a normal crossword the _A_E_ syndrome isn’t to be encouraged for the sake of a them. I just feel that there is a danger that we are justifying poor diagrams for the sake of themes. My old-fashioned Ximenean view, I suppose but I doubt if I’m alone. But (hey!) we talk crosswords on this website and not about student grants, as on the Crossword Centre website — good!!

  8. Jake says:

    Once again,

    nice one Tyrus!

  9. Graham Pellen says:

    5D is EE in LEGGINGS minus one of the “G”s – “tight leggings not good”.

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