Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7570/Nimrod

Posted by John on January 20th, 2011


My face fell when up came the name Nimrod. He is just terribly difficult. I can’t quite see why, because in most cases the clues can easily be explained; in fact they are often very good and I ought to enjoy it — after all, that’s why we do crosswords — for the enjoyment. But I’m afraid I find it all rather a struggle, as I did here.

Towards the end it became clear what the Nina was, quite simply (I think) ONWARDS in the top and the bottom unches and UPWARDS going upwards in the left and right unches. So my usual gripe about the lack of 50% checking of four of the answers had to be put on hold: when there is a Nina the usual “rules” can be relaxed a bit.

8 SP HERE — I think I’ve seen doubts expressed before about sp = lowdown: presumably it’s the SP that is short for starting price, and I can’t quite see why this is lowdown (and is Nimrod here? Perhaps he is in a sense, at the Indy, although I bet he isn’t there at the moment)
9 DI(ALE)CTS — the work of a brewer is to make ale, and the COD and the OED are dictionaries (= dicts)
10 DOWNSTROKE — (doesn’t work)* and a downstroke is part of handwriting (= hand)
11 AULD — laud with its leader moved towards the rear, but ‘of Edinburgh Castle’ seems to me to be a rather doubtful definition of ‘auld’
12 REAM — to ream is to enlarge the bore of a tube, and it’s RE a.m., nice clue
14 EURODOLLAR — cd, ready = money
16 A TATI ME — referring to Jacques Tati
17 CURIOSA — cu, then (a soir)rev. — very European we seem to be getting in these three clues
20 WAKE-UP CALL — a (Puck)* round {Flut}e, all in Wall, referring to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when Snout played the part of the wall — Puck and Flute are also in MND, so a very clever clue, if a little cumbersome
22 SiGN AWay — so either it’s hidden or ‘gnaw’ is half of ‘sign away’
23 P(IT)H
27 IN LIEU — I (line)* u — texting language again: we mentioned this recently
1 OP P(ON)ENT — I’m not convinced here: pent is the past tense or past participle of pen, so ‘to shut up’ (which it surely is, not just shut up)) is not ‘pent’ — it’s ‘pen’
3 WEATHER MAP — an attempt I think at an &lit., which I don’t fully get: evidently it’s an anagram (how indicated, by the way?) of (W [= West] E [= Spain] P [= Portugal] heat mar (but how?)), all very vague and I need help here
5 RATE — 2 defs
6 DEFAULTING — (at field gun)*
7 STELLA — all the quoted works are ballets, which is reversed and the b is lost
13 MATTER HORN — a horn is part of the brass in an orchestra
15 DOUGLAS FIR — dour around (flag is)*
18 SE(AM I)LES — I initially thought sea miles were some sort of counterpart to air miles, but it’s simply that a liner accumulates miles
19 M(AZ)URK A — a Polish dance made famous of course by Chopin
21 A KIM BO — could be an &lit.
24 CREW — 2 defs
25 SO {o}LD

15 Responses to “Independent 7570/Nimrod”

  1. uncle yap says:

    auld is Scottish for old, which Edinburgh Castle definitely is

    Thank you Johns for an excellent puzzle and blog respectively.

  2. uncle yap says:

    3D ins of A THERM (little heat) A (one) in W (west) E (Spain) P (Portugal)

  3. togo says:

    I’d suggest ‘auld’ is a reference to Auld Edinburgh – which is behind (I think) the castle. Beat me anyway. And missed the nina.. Thanks.

  4. togo says:

    Ps – re: auld – I think it’s the castle area, rather than the rear (which moves the ‘l’ rather than locating the answer). Still smarting from not opening my eyes to that, let’s face it, impressive (and hard to miss if I’d bothered to open my eyes) nina!

  5. flashling says:

    Good grief why do I find Nimrod so hard, got about 6 so far – most setters I can see where the clue is going but I’m staring at this with no idea how to proceed.

  6. DorothyS says:

    I loved this. So many wonderfully constructed clues with surface readings that make complete sense, STELLA, CRUISE SHIP, and AKIMBO being just a few. But the real stunner, the one that absolutely floored me, was WAKE-UP CALL. What a marvelous piece of observation! Many thanks to the setter.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Others have enjoyed the challenge, which is great, but this was just way beyond me today. Flashling’s currently beating me by some distance.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    If I can contribute something, isn’t Edinburgh called Auld Reekie? Is that something to do with it?

  9. walruss says:

    It is called that because it stank.

  10. Robi says:

    Thanks Nimrod and John. Too difficult for me and I’m too sleepy but enjoyed the blog to enlighten me.

    Not sure I fully understand 19; is the definition ‘measure’ as in: ‘2.Music for such a dance or in its rhythm, which is triple and moderately rapid, with a capricious accent on the second beat of the measure?’ Otherwise, I am in more darkness than the clue.

  11. Scarpia says:

    Thanks John.
    As usual a very tough puzzle from Nimrod.I would have struggled were it not for the Nina.Plenty of very good clues here,my particular favourites being 16,20,24 and 26 across and 15 and 19 down.
    Great stuff!

  12. scchua says:

    Late entry:
    7D STELLA No-one’s mentioned “wanting” in the clue is a reference to Tennessee William’s play “A Streetcar Named Desire”, one of whose main characters is named Stella. Too nice a point not to be shared, if a little belatedly.

  13. Allan_C says:

    Another belated response.
    Re 1 dn, I don’t see any problem. ‘To shut’ is one of those verbs where the past tense and past participle are the same as the present. So anything which is pent is shut up. As in prison – cue the well-known lines from ‘The Mikado’ – “… and make each prisoner pent/ Unwillingly represent/ A source of innocent merriment… “.
    Re 19 dn, both Chambers and Collins give ‘dance’ as a meaning of ‘measure’. Collins qualifies the meaning as archaic; Chambers adds ‘especially a slow and stately one’ (which hardly describes a mazurka).

  14. John says:

    Allan_C: So far as I can see the present is ‘pen’, and the past tense/past participle is ‘pent’ (presumably similar to penned). There is no verb ‘to pent’ (although there is the term ‘pent up’, which may be what makes one think there is). If the clue is “Work on chokes to shut up rival” then the only way I can parse this is ‘op’ on top of ‘p(on)ent’, where the ‘pent’ is a mistake and should be ‘pen’. Perhaps there’s another way that I can’t see.

  15. Allan_C says:

    John: I see your point. I saw the ‘to’ as just an inserted word making the clue read more smoothly, but looking at it again it would have read just as well without, i.e. as “Work on chokes shut up rival”.

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