Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7559 / Nimrod

Posted by beermagnet on January 7th, 2011


The call goes out for a Friday sub and I stick my hand up thinking I’d get a workmanlike Phi, then Phi appears on a Thursday with an Epiphany themed doozy that gave me a real headache, so I knew I’d be in for something else. (I failed to finish the G’s Bonxie too so I did not have a good track record leading up to this.) When Nimrod appeared I let out a howl.
So past-midnight I forewent my usual tipple replacing it with large mug of coffee for a long session. I knew there would be a fair bit here I don’t fully fathom.

The top half was more accessible than the bottom – the top half took me ages, the bottom half longer. Early on, I spent a lot of effort on the 15 letter answers expecting them to be anagrams but only two of them yielded as such, though they provided the main breakthroughs.
Most answers were guessed from crossing letters plus def, then struggle to justify the wordplay, with varying success.

Come on folks, fill in the doubts and gaps for me …

Edit: Clarifications included in italics

1 HIPPOCRATIC OATH This is immediately a big gap – I can’t see the wordplay at all. I assume the def is the end of the clue after the ellipsis. I got this mostly from the crossing letters seeing that O-T- could be OATH:
In big drug dose, then discharge before surgery’s all over … is one occupying bed covered by it? (11,4)
Thanks to Gaufrid & DorothyS:
HIP (in), then {A (one) inside COT (bed)} inside {HIT (big drug dose) ARC (discharge) OP (surgery) }<
10 TRADE WINDS (DIDN’T SWEAR)* AInd: scuffle Def: Deflected blows. I think the def could be just “blows” so I’m unsure of the significance of “Deflected”
scchua tells me Trade Winds blow towards the equator, where they get deflected.
11 MAD WORLD Reversing LR (both hands) OW (that hurt) DAM (mother), then D[aughter] Def: F/Tearful hit. Ref the song by “Tears for Fears” revived with much success more recently by one hit wonder Gary Jules on the back of the spooky film Donny Darko. Loved the “F/Tearful” mechanism. (Is it too embarrassing to admit that when I had just the crossing R I struggled to justify TWO BIRDS thinking of it from a “Two birds with one stone” point of view.)
13 LAID ON Reverse NO DIAL (modern phones have this) Def: Like provisions of 4 (Caterers)
14 CANTERBURY TALES (TREBLE SANCTUARY)* AInd: after a fashion. Lovely anagram plus descriptive def: On the way, the old relations delivered. My break-through answer.
I recently saw a stage adaption of a few of the Tales – I recommend you should always make time for a bit of Chaucerian bawdiness.
16 WEAR THE TROUSERS Assuming the def is just “Boss” that leaves “moistened whips to restrain us” so I’m decoding this as: WET (moistened) ROUSERS (whips) around EARTH (us)
Why does this seem so odd?
20 UPHILL PH (bar – Public House) inside [q]UILL (writer’s profession, no question) Def: Difficult. Again, I can’t see what “profession” is adding to the clue – “writer no question” could have done surely.
Gaufrid tells us:
Under ‘quill’ Chambers gives “a pen generally, or by metonymy, the writer’s profession”
21 CABIN BOY BIN (wine store) inside AB (Sailor) inside COY (shy) Def: waiter. When I wrote this in I thought the def was Sailor – I had most of the many crossing letters so didn’t doubt it – reappraisal for the blog revealed waiter as the def – I do not equate cabin boys with waiters though I suppose they are, in between hiding in apple barrels of course.
23 MARTIAL ART (MALARIA T[emperature] RT (right))*  I was a bit worried where that second T came from.
24/9 OUTSIDES OUTS (exposes) IDES (the fateful day – Ref. J Caesar and all that) What a strange Def: Paper (not centre-spread). Second to last entered
RatkojaRiku  tells us that Chambers gives OUTSIDES as “the top and bottom quires in a ream of paper”
25 IN ALL LIKELIHOOD ILL< (bad back) inside (I HAD NOOKIE LL)* AInd: tipsy
2 INDIA Hidden in uncertaIN DIAgnosis
3 PUS P[resident] US (American) Def: matter First, and only answer solved quickly on first reading
4 CATERER (TREE)* AInd: crash, inside CAR (vehicle)
5 A HARD NUT TO CRACK Is this a Double-Def? Second half “first rate teaser” fits but I can’t fathom the first half:
First-rate alcoholic fan answering first-rate teaser (1,4,3,2,5)
Thanks to PaulB & IanN14:
A (first-rate) HARD (alcoholic – as in hard-drinking ) NUT (fan) TO (answering) CRACK (first-rate)
Def: teaser
6 IDEALLY E[nergy] inside I DALLY (I play)
7 ORIGINAL SIN (IONIAN GIRLS)* AInd: propagated.   What a great anagram
8 TADPOLE P[ower] inside DO (get by – as in “make do”) inside TALE (story)
11 MACAW CA inside MAW
12 WATER PISTOL (PIRATE)* AInd: Mad. inside LOT’S W[ife] reversed (saline column up)  Just brilliant
15 SASSY SS (vessel) inside SAY (perhaps)
17 EXPLAIN EX PLAN (old scheme) around I (2 – India)
18 HOLDALL Def: Bag. OLD (antique) inside HALL (manor house) and second half of the clue “as 6 and 25 do” that served only to confuse me no end till I realised both those answers contain ALL
19 ORBITAL BIT (a little) inside ORAL (examination)
22 OUTDO Hidden in shOUT DOwn. He does engineer the hidden word so it is split over two lines, I am now sure of it. Must be down to knowing the line length and all that. The symmetrical positioning of the two 5-letter Hiddens is also strangely pleasing and probably intentional, and probably holds some deep meaning that I’m missing too.
24 OCH OCH[e] The oche, pronounced okky, is the firing line in darts.
This was my last answer. Fitting to have started with an easy 3 letter light and ended with a nasty little niggly one. I cannot directly equate “Och” in my mind with impatience – not all the time anyway. It can be in a Rab C Nesbitt-like “Och! awa’ wi yus” (what I would probably say is “do be brief chief”), but “och” is surely just a general purpose exclamatory as in “Och aye”. (All right – it’s a fair cop, yes I have opened the scotch now I’ve got this far in the blog – Cheers!)

16 Responses to “Independent 7559 / Nimrod”

  1. Paul B says:

    Quick one for you before I go off to some dread provincial agency: A = first-rate, HARD = alcoholic (as in hard-stuff, hard-drinking maybe), NUT = fan, TO CRACK = answering (as in e.g. ‘I am ‘to crack/ answering this question). HTH.

  2. Radler says:

    Haven’t been able to fathom 1ac either, though I suspect it’s an & lit as “one occupying bed” provides “coat” as well as being part of the definition. Dose could be “hit” or alternatively drug could be “pot” or “c”

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi beermagnet
    1ac is HIP (in) A (one) in COT (bed) in HIT (big drug dose) ARC (discharge) OP (surgery) reversed.

  4. DorothyS says:

    How about this: In = HIP, then a reversal of HIT (big drug dose), ARC (discharge of the electrical variety), and OP (surgery), all covering CO(A)T, (one occupying bed). A very complicated &littish kind of clue, but only solvable by an intuitive leap from the crossing letters. Nice puzzle. Thanks for explaining 24d — had never heard of oche.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks beermagnet for the blog (sympathise with you), and thanks to Nimrod for a really challenging puzzle.

    Except for 24D OCH, I managed to complete, sort of – got many of the answers from the definitions, and then worked out the wordplays, or not, as in the case of 1A.

    Favourites were 11A MAD WORLD, where time lost looking for a homophone of F/T, 14A CANTERBURY TALES, and 25A IN ALL LIKELIHOOD.

    Re 10A TRADE WINDS – if I remember my geography lesson, these blow towards the equator, where they get deflected.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    If I drank whisky, beermagnet, I’d probably need a stiff one after this baby. I did manage it, but like scchua there were many wordplays I couldn’t fathom, and some I still can’t despite your excellent blog. For example, in 22dn, I see that it’s hidden, but where’s the indication of that? And in 20ac, how can ‘writer’s profession’ be QUILL?

    This was very challenging, so my pleasure today came from finally finishing it. I agree with you about OCH: I wouldn’t necessarily say it indicated impatience, but the SOED does give ‘expression of regret or irritation’.

    Cheers for the blog. That’ll learn you to be the first to put your hand up …

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    The ‘hidden’ indicator in 22dn is ‘It’s necessary to’ which needs to be translated into ‘an essential part of’.

    Regarding 20ac, under ‘quill’ Chambers gives “a pen generally, or by metonymy, the writer’s profession”.

  8. crypticsue says:

    Having seen this was a Nimrod, I was expecting far more of a struggle than I actually had. Very enjoyable crossword although I did need Gaufrid’s explanation for 1a.

  9. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the explanations, Gaufrid (they’re still not my favourite clues though …)

  10. IanN14 says:

    I read 5d. the same as Paul B@1 as far as NUT, but I thought the rest was TO (answering) CRACK (first rate).
    (I did have to look up “to” in Chambers, though, as I did for “arc” in 1ac.).
    By the way, Paul, what does HTH mean?

  11. beermagnet says:

    HTH Happy To Help
    That’s one I can interpret

  12. Stella says:

    Great blog, Beermagnet, and congratulations on working out the parsings. I got through this, with a couple of aha’s and a foir amount of enjoyment, but like K’sD without fully understanding.

  13. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thank you to Gaufrid and DorothyS for the help with the wordplay on 1: I got no further then “op” for surgery and even wondered about a hip op!

    As for 5, like IanN14, I needed Chambers to check ‘to’ for ‘answering’, I suppose in expressions such as “To that (comment) I would say ….”, and eventually resolved the wordplay in the same way as you did.

    Thanks, Gaufrid, for the word “metonymy”: I was wondering how I would have explained “to live by the pen/quill” if it had been my blog today!

    On 24/9, Chambers gives OUTSIDES as “the top and bottom quires in a ream of paper”, which I suppose explains why we are excluding the centre-spread! This was a new word on me, though.

    On the whole, an immensely challenging and entertaining puzzle, in my view, on a lovely – and to me new – grid with lots of long entries – thanks, Nimrod! As for my favourite clue, I couldn’t resist the sauciness in 25 :)

  14. nmsindy says:

    This puzzle was a 5 down, but I got there in the end. Thanks, beermagnet, for the blog and Nimrod of course.

  15. Paul B says:

    Agree with 5dn revisions as posted. Def thus just ‘teaser’. Oops!

  16. flashling says:

    Thanks to BM for the emergency cover. Completed this on the train but what a struggle, dodged a bullet for a blog here.

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