Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,539/Mordred

Posted by Ali on December 14th, 2010


I’m sure I’ve blogged a Mordred puzzle before, but I can’t find it anywhere using the search. Anyhow, I’ve certainly solved a few of them and often find them to be pretty tough. This was no exception!

There are some excellent clues in here, but also one or two where I have a few doubts or niggles.

We also have a Nina, with 4 tribes (IROQUOIS, CHEYENNE, SEMINOLE and DELAWARE) intersecting in the unches towards the edges. Very impressive stuff.

10 UNTHOUGHT – I think this is [-r]UN + THOUGH + T(ime)
12 EGRET – [-r]EGRET
13 KIDDING – Cryptic def.
15 IN-TRAYS – RAY in [-b]INTS
19 SADDLED – ADDLED (off) after S(chool)
22 CONTO – CONTO is on old Portuguese coin, but not sure how we get ‘repeatedly against’
24 NO-FLY ZONE – Are we missing a definition here, or at least some reference to aircraft? This seems a bit loose to me
26 ELOPEMENT – Not sure on this one – “Hint about work trip to smithy?”
27 ELAND – China is an E(astern) LAND
28 SESSION – (John) SESSION[-s]
1 AIRSICK – Cryptic def.
2 PRIMMED – M(aiden) in PRIMED
3 CONSTRICT – Double def.
4 SQUAB – Double def.
5 PUTREFIES – (REFUSE TIP)* – A great anagram, but is ‘ON’ an anagram indicator?
6 NOOSE – E[-astwood] on SOON rev.
7 NIGERIA – (REIGN)* + IN rev.
8 ESTATE – ESTATE (standing) + S[-till]
14 GREEN BEAN – GREEN + E in BAN – I’m guessing GREEN is an Oz TU
17 EXCEEDS – Not sure on this one. Something to do with seed perhaps? – “Surpasses ace tennis player dropping lead”
20 LEOTARD – TOE rev. in LARD
21 DREADED – (Judge) DREAD + ED
23 OBELI – O(ld) B(ook) on ELI
25 FATWA – (Sort of!) hidden in FAT WAllah’s

14 Responses to “Independent 7,539/Mordred”

  1. Pandean says:

    Thanks for the blog Ali.

    The Nina also has CREE across the centre unches. As you say, very impressive altogether.

    22ac: con & to can both mean against
    24ac: I rather liked this as a cryptic definition
    26ac: I think this refers to the smithy at Gretna Green
    17dn: Exc[ellent] + Seed, with the S dropping to the bottom

  2. Handel says:

    5dn ‘on’ is used in the ‘drunk’ sense, making it ok (if a bit sneaky) as an AI

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Ali – tough but enjoyable, as you say.

    As so often, I didn’t see the Nina – had never heard of the Seminole and didn’t know Delaware was a tribe.

    In 10ac, you need to take two of the ‘3Rs’ [Reading and Writing] from ‘run through’ [go over].

  4. flashling says:

    7dn is surely REIGN* + A1 reversed, as others have said tough one this. Thanks Ali as there were a few I couldn’t explain either.

  5. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a very tough one, seeing the Nina (one expects them from Mordred) helped me to finish. I think NO-FLY ZONE is a cryptic definition, if a rather unusual one. I esp liked that and also AIRSICK, KIDDING, SADDLED. Thanks for the blog, Ali, and Mordred for the puzzle.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you Ali, and others for explanations, several of which I needed today (although I did finish it). Nina? You’re asking the wrong person, though it is very clever indeed.

    I liked it but found it hard; however eimi was gentle with us yesterday, so fair enough. I loved NO FLY ZONE and the punning KIDDING. ‘To’ for ‘against’? Hmmm. As Eileen said the other day, there just has to be one definition in one dictionary to validate it (and there no doubt is) but still hmmm. However, a small quibble in a fine, entertaining puzzle.

  7. walruss says:

    Very good, as despite the Nina the words clued are pretty straightforward. A trademark of Brian Greer (?) whom I miss as an Indy writer..

  8. pennes says:

    “Green” and “oz tu” have me baffled. any offers?

  9. BertandJoyce says:

    The clue should be read as Oz TU embargo around ‘e’. The Green ban info can be found at

    Very impressed with the Nina. Totally missed it but really liked 24A but not impressed by 8D. Overall a good solve. Thanks to Mordred and Ali.

  10. flashling says:

    BJ @9 that’s a fantasic spot, thank you. An even trickier clue than anyone else has seen. Spent quite a while about the baggy greens and their travails and where TU worked. Agree btw about 8d & 24a when I saw it. Nina seems odd with no obvious link to clues or answers. Hope Mordred will pipe up at some stage.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Usually in the Land of Nod by now (and I’m not even staying up for the cricket) but yes, well done BertandJoyce for an excellent spot. I too wondered what the motivation for the (very well disguised) Nina was.

  12. scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali.
    I have mixed thoughts on this one,some very good clues,inc.the CD at 24 across,but 2 or 3 which I thought were pretty weak – 28 across,8 and 25 down.
    I guessed GREEN BEAN but couldn’t parse it(thanks bertandjoyce).
    Pleased to say I did spot the Nina,but only after completing the puzzle – I’ve learned to look out for these things in the Indy.

  13. Ali says:

    Thanks as ever for all the corrections and pointers. Good to see that I wasn’t alone in finding this tricky. I’m still very impressed by the Nina as you’d think that the grid would throw up some fairly awful words to fit everything in, but there’s nothing too nasty here at all.

  14. Mordred says:

    My motivation for a Nina is to add a bit of spice and perhaps help solvers who do spot it. The puzzle should, however, be solvable without reference to it – therefore it doesn’t always point to a theme, although RAICH’s recent ELVIS did so very well. With this one the grid completion was difficult enough without getting relevant answers in. So pleased it was generally appreciated.

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