Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,553 / Eimi – He’s behind you!

Posted by RatkojaRiku on December 31st, 2010


An enjoyable solve from Eimi to bring this year’s batch of Indy crosswords to an end. An unannounced seasonal theme added an extra layer of entertainment to the puzzle, with the panto season now in full swing.

I met the trademark in 8 for the first time in a crossword today and wondered how many dictionaries it might have found its way into. 13 reminds us of the clueing potential of allowing the use of living celebrities, not to mention the numerous other references to popular culture in this puzzle. My favourite clue is one of the composite anagrams, 14/18A/29/5A, in that the surface reading suggests a solution very different in tone from the solution.

I also like the self-referential “Independent crossword setter” in 23, which might fox a newcomer to the Indy crossword trying to fathom the wordplay, but which is helpful “insider information” for us diehard devotees! I am sure that we devotees all are looking forward to the challenges that Eimi and the other members of his compiling team have in store for us in 2011.

*(…) indicates an anagram


1/30 BABES IN THE WOOD *([t]WO TO BE BANISHED + A); “originally abandoned” means that first letter is to be dropped from the anagram, i.e. (t)WO.; “somehow” is the anagram indicator; & lit.Babes in the Wood is a popular pantomime.
9 EERIE E (= “second note from GrEg”, i.e. second  musical note appearing in the word Greg, the first being G) + ERIE (=Lake, i.e. one of the Great Lakes of North America)
10 RING-FENCE RING (=telephone) + FENCE (=criminal)
11 CINDERELLA *(RECALLED IN); “performance” is the anagram indicator”.I take it that “girl” is to be understood in the sense of servant, making the whole clue & lit.Cinderella is a popular pantomime.
12 /20 PUSS IN BOOTS *([tax]I NO BUS STOPS); “ending for taxi” means that only the last letter is to be used; “that’s crazy” is the anagram indicator.Puss in Boots is a popular pantomime.
14 /18A/29/5A ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES *(HE HAS BATTLE OF BRITAIN + VE DAY); “confused” is the anagram indicator.Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is a popular pantomime.
16 SOLEMN SOLE (=only) + [M(ales ca)N] (=heartless males can, i.e. all but the first and last letters are to be dropped).Interesting use of “heartless”, since the technique is more usually applied to individual words rather than to a sequence of words, as is the case here.
24 CHOW Double definition:CHOW = dog, often chow-chowCHOW = food
25 SIDEWINDER Definition: snakeCryptic definition: a “side-winder”, i.e. device on the side of a watch for winding it up.
28 ENTRY VISA *(SYRIAN VET); “ordered” is the anagram indicator
31 ALADDIN A LADD (= J Arthur’s co-star in Shane) + IN; the notation as A Ladd, rather than as the fuller version Alan Ladd, reflects that of J Arthur.The reference is to the 1953 western Shane, starring Alan Ladd and Jean Arthur.Aladdin is a popular pantomime.



1 BRESCIA B (=British) + RES (=residence) + CIA (=American spies)Brescia is the second largest city in Lombardy in northern Italy.
2 BURUNDI [RUN (=to take part in race) in BUD (=friend, cf buddy)] + I (=in, i’, as in poetry)
3 SUEDE Homophone of  “swayed” (=influenced)
4 NORSEMAN *(MANNER SO); “unbecoming” is the anagram indicator
5 TINKLE Double definition:TINKLE = wee, i.e. childish word for urinationTINKLE = telephone call
6 IFFY Definition: suspect (adjective), i.e. dubious, suspicious(J)IFFY = instant (noun), i.e. moment, trice, second; “J(ustice) is not given” means the letter “j” has to be dropped.
7 VENTURE VENT (=opening) + URE (=Midge)Midge Ure is a Scottish musician, once a member of bands such as Ultravox and now pursuing a solo career.
8 STEPSON ST (=stumped, an abbreviation from a cricket scorecard) + EPSON (brand of computer printer)
13 TOMB TOM B(aker) (=Doctor Who actor); “halfway” means that half the letters only are to be used.Tom Baker played the eponymous hero of BBC’s Doctor Who from 1974 to 1981.
15 ACHE Hidden in “teACHErs”; “some” indicates a hidden answer.
18 ANCIENT Double definition:ANCIENT = very oldANCIENT = ensign, flag, standard-bearer
19 DIOPTRE OPT (=to choose) in DIRE (=very bad); “environment” indicates a container-and-contents clue.Dioptre is a unit of measurement of the power of a lens.
21 ORDERED Double definition:ORDERED = commanded, instructedORDERED = well-organised, orderly
22 SPRAY-ON SP (=starting price, abbreviation from world of betting) + RAYON (=material)Definition: “that’s easy to apply”, e.g. spray-on paint.
23 PITIED P(h)I (= “gutted Independent crossword setter”) + TIED (=bound); “gutted”, like “heartless”, means the central letter is to be dropped.Phi is a long-standing setter of the Independent cryptic crossword, his grids generally appearing on Fridays.
26 INFRA Hidden in “BenjamIN FRAnklin”
27 TYRO *(TORY); “out of order” is the anagram indicator.A tyro (or tiro) is a beginner or novice.

12 Responses to “Independent 7,553 / Eimi – He’s behind you!”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Okay, I’ll be first (maybe) then. Good puzzle, nice theme. I’ve liked Eimi’s puzzles this year, because you always get a good bit of general knowledge stuff included. Film, Italian towns, African countries … and some not half bad anagrams either.

    And a detailed and informative blog, RatkojaRiku, thank you too.

  2. PeterO says:

    In 16A, ‘heartless’ can be read as gutting a single word SOLE M[e]N.

  3. nmsindy says:

    Good fun puzzle, very much on easy side, ideal for the day. Favourite clue IFFY. Thanks for the so comprehensive blog, RatkojaRiku, and Eimi for the puzzle.

  4. Mick H says:

    Oh no it isn’t!
    Oh yes, it is!
    31ac immediately made me think Rank, though even when I was a kid J Arthur Rank lived on only as a bit of rude rhyming slang. But it was guessable even if you can’t remember who was in Shane!
    Good stuff, with some fine pantograms – and I liked 5dn.

  5. flashling says:

    He’s behind you! Boo Hiss! A nice romp which I did at 1 this morning due to insomnia, did question the I in Burundi but I’m very reliably informed I=I’=IN in Chambers. Only real quibble is PITIED as non regulars will be lost by it. Thanks for blog R and Eimi for the fun.

  6. scchua says:

    Thanks RatkojaRiku for the blog and Eimi for a (New Year) gift of a puzzle.

    The theme was easily spotted and solved, with some very nice clueing.

    Favourites were 1A 30A BABES IN THE WOOD, 11A CINDERELLA, both fine &lits, and 17D CINERAMA, a blast from the past!

    Just got home from ushering in the New Year, and whenever and however you’re celebrating, a Happy New Year to all! “We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne” and for all the crosswords in the New Year!

  7. pennes says:

    Very nice puzle and great blog; thanks to you both

  8. Allan_C says:

    … and a Happy New Year to all!

  9. Stella says:

    Happy New Year to all, but I’m at a loss to contribute anything to the blogs, since the Guardian hasn’t published a cryptic, I haven’t had the energy to tackle Araucaria’s Christmas bumper, and now I find the Indy online has nº7543, by Nestor, rather than this one :(

  10. Eileen says:

    Hi Stella

    If you didn’t do the Christmas bumper, you won’t have seen the comments re today’s puzzle. You can get it here:

  11. Eileen says:


    Or the pdf here:

  12. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks, PeterO – your interpretation of the use of heartless in 16a is doubtless more likely, i.e. more in line with convention, than my own.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

× 6 = thirty six