Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7596 by Bannsider (Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 February 2011)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on February 26th, 2011


A nicely constructed and clued puzzle, with some wonderfully diverting surface readings, and a little theme-ette (nina?) woven in as well.

The theme, not indicated by any preamble, but alluded to by the clue for 14A, was the Radio 4 Today Programme INTERVIEW on 6 December last year where James Naughtie, introducing Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, accidentally used a word which rhymes with his surname and is probably, by some conventions, the NAUGHTIEST word that can be said on the radio – or indeed used in any polite conversation. Naughtie subsequently blamed this on a SPOONERISM, although that would give ‘Heremy Junt’. This UNKIND ‘word botching’ could make Naughtie a ‘HUNT SABOTEUR’, and might have led to some LEGAL action. To add insult to injury, Andrew Marr ‘accidentally(?)’ repeated the slip when referring to it in a programme later the same day. (I’m not sure if that was ALL SAINTS DAY as well, but there may be other themed links I have missed…over to you, dear readers…)

Hard to pick any favourites – lots of excellent clues here – although 18A probably ‘bakes the tiscuit’… I was snookered for a while by 11A – I had GREEN, but was too busy trying to connect it to Damien Green, a politician who was indeed put into a spot of trouble (or, maybe, ‘framed’?) during Gordon Brown‘s administration, to make the simpler connection to the starting configuration of a snooker table. I am colour-blind, so I’ll use that as an excuse!

One slight quibble with the use of a Z in homogeniSation – creeping Americanization there? But probably necessary to get the much referred-to 17A into the picture.

Solving time – approx 30 mins, in three enjoyable and challenging sessions.

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1A HUNT SABOTEUR Militant protester unearths nothing but troubles (4, 8 ) Militant protester /
anag (i.e. troubles) of UNEARTHS + O (nothing) + BUT
9A MOUSETAIL Plant one woman removed from line in nursery? (9) (cryptic definition/&lit?) – Plant /
Item cut off blind mouse, with a carving knife, by farmer’s wife, in nursery rhyme
10A KORAN Headed on down, bringing book (5) (Holy) book /
KO (knock-out, or down) + RAN (headed, or managed)
11A GREEN Politician put on the spot by Brown (5) (Double defn.) /
GREEN being an eco-politician, or a snooker ball (initially placed on the spot next to the brown ball)
12A NINEVEH Cherish evenings going around taking in ancient city (7) Ancient city /
reversed hidden word in cherisH EVENINgs
14A NAUGHTIEST Radio 4 presenter’s introduction for Tory most risqué (10) Most risqué /
(Radio 4 presenter James) NAUGHTIE’S + T (first letter of Tory)
15A PIAF French singer, turning 17, with tiny sum of money (4) French singer /
FA (as in sweet FA, or zero – 17A) + IP (1p, tiny amount of money), reversed
17A ZERO Character you’d catch sleeping with star of Eastenders, making love (4) Love (as in tennis score) /
Z (as in sleep = catch some Zeds) + ERO (hero, or star, dropping the aitch, as an Eastender might do)
18A SPOONERISM Myself, I’d turn to bird watching … (10) (cryptic definition/&lit?) /
Dr Spooner would probably render ‘bird watching’ as ‘word botching’
20A TACKLER Wrestler with valour finally on the ropes (7) Wrestler /
TACKLE (ropes) + R (last letter of valour)
21A LEGAL Gore is seen on stage, above board (5) Above board /
LEG (stage) + AL (Gore)
23A OVETT Athlete once finished being given times for run (5) Athlete once (Steve Ovett) /
OVEr (finished) with R (run) replaced by TT (‘time’s)
24A INTERVIEW Audience wanting snowscape, perhaps – left with leaves (9) Audience /
wINTER VIEW (snowscape) minus the leftmost W (with)
25A ALL SAINTS DAY Religious festival for whch stand is arranged and covered with ease (3, 6, 3) Religious festival /
ALLAY (ease) around anag (i.e. arranged) of STAND IS
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D HOMOGENIZATION Making uniform for phoney Nazi to go home in (14) Making uniform /
anag (i.e. phoney) of NAZI TO GO HOME IN
2D NOUVEAUX RICHES Set loaded recently with cross-channel components (8, 6) (cryptic definition/&lit?) – loaded, as in rich, recently /
‘Cross-channel’ indicating the two French words making ‘nouveau riche’, pluralised to make a set of them
3D SKEAN DHU Key cut to open beach hut, mostly used for stocking weapon (5, 3) Weapon (kept in Scotsman’s stocking) /
SAND (beach) around KEy (key, cut short) + HUt (hut, mostly)
4D BLAG Robbery: person inside’s got bowled over (4) Robbery /
B (bowled) over LAG (prisoner, or one ‘inside’)
5D TALENT SPOT Scout’s article left under canvas bag (6, 4) (To) scout (verb rather than noun) /
TENTS (canvas) around A (article) + L (left), plus POT (bag, as in shoot)
6D UNKIND Hard for German with family to break that (6) Hard /
UND (German for ‘and’, or with) around KIN (family)
7D PREVAILING WIND Softly touching very poorly snake is a common howler! (10, 4) Common howler (as in howling wind) /
P (piano, softly) + RE (about, or touching) + V (very) + AILING (poorly) + WIND (snake)
8D IN THE FAMILY WAY Expecting race to stop causing an obstruction (2, 3, 6, 3) Expecting /
IN THE WAY (causing an obstruction) around FAMILY (race)
13D KIPPER TIES Person having crashed hitches in bright articles of clothing (6, 4) Bright articles of clothing /
KIPPER (person asleep, or having crashed out) + TIES (hitches, or knots)
16D CELLARET Cabinet dispensing with 17 electoral reforms (8) Cabinet /
anag (i.e. reforms) of ELECToRAL (without O, zero – 17A)
19D FLOTEL Tell of rocks lodging by oil rig (6) Lodging by oil rig, as in FLoating hOTEL /
anag (i.e. rocks) of TELL OF
22D ETUI Little box – minus the tips – regularly appearing (4) Little box /
reversed (i.e. tips) regular letters from mInUs ThE

11 Responses to “Independent 7596 by Bannsider (Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 February 2011)”

  1. jmac says:

    Thanks mc for the blog and pointing out the theme which completely passed me by. I thought this was a great puzzle with wit (SPOONERISM), clever misdirection (NINEVEH, where I spent a while trying to insert “Ur” – sorry Bannsider for thinking you would use anything so cliched), and lovely surfaces (IN THE FAMILY WAY, HOMOGENIZATION, etc). I thought the puzzle opened up nicely with the quite simple (but fun) perimeter clues, which gave me the encouragement to get to grips with some of the trickier clues inside.

  2. Allan_C says:

    Quite a tough one, took much longer than 30 minutes. Held up for a long time by 6d [very devious, I thought, “fur” (= for) or “mit” (= with) came to mind more readily than “und” in the German reference] and 12a [trying to fit something around UR – “ancient city”], also thinking the second word of 7d must be “bird” and wondering if there was a bird commonly known as a howler.
    Got there in the end, but missed the theme altogether, having forgotten all about the “14 18″

  3. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks MC for explaining what this was all about. I had no chance, not knowing the incident, the people involved or even Radio 4. Kipper Ties, Flotel, Cellaret were also blank spots until today. But I ploughed on with a bit of help and enjoyed some of the ones I solved, esp.24ac, 5d and 6d.

    In 2dn I think ‘Set’ refers to a group as in ‘Jet set’, in this case the Nouveaux Riches, rather than a set of French words.

    And in 5dn I think it is read as AL ‘in’ TENTS, i.e. ‘under canvas’, the camping term.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Yes, great puzzle, took me quite a bit more than 30 minutes. Did not spot the theme. Thought HOMOGENIZATION with a Z was OK as an fairly obvious anagram was given. Thanks, Bannsider, and mc_rapper67. Some great clues as always from Bannsider eg NOUVEAUX RICHES where I think ‘loaded’ = rich.

  5. BadHarry says:

    Sorry, but it’s the typical unfair Bannsider fare.
    Some of it, of course, is intricate and entertaining but this renders the poor bits all the more frustrating.

    Maybe there’s only 2 really annoying clues:

    In 2D, “cross-channel components” evidently means two foreign words that fit the (admittedly clever) definition. But there’s nothing cryptic about it – the two words just mean the answer, but neither is it a double definition.

    The spoonerism in 18A works in some accents though not mine. It was deemed necessary to point out that a “star” is only an “‘ero” in certain locales. Why is that not the case here, or is it that Spooner’s accent was well documented?
    But, anyway, where’s the definition? Nowhere – just two bits of word play.

    Works hard – shows flashes of genius – can do better.

  6. Scarpia says:

    Thanks mc_rapper67
    I didn’t spot the theme but I still thought this was a super puzzle.
    As usual with Bannsider this wasn’t easy.i always add to the difficulty by trying to fit fancy wordplay into clues that turn out to be quite simple cryptic definitions.
    Re.1 down – Chambers lists the ‘Z’ spelling as the first option and doesn’t suggest it is an American usage.

  7. mc_rapper67 says:

    Hi all – thanks for the comments and suggestions.

    BadHarry – I feel you are maybe being a bit harsh on Bannsider, but everybody is entitled to their opinion.

    Scarpia – thanks for pointing out that Chambers doesn’t indicate HOMOGENIZATION as an American spelling. Maybe it is just that I work for an US-owned company, and am forever fighting against those annoying missing ‘u’s in color, flavor etc., and against the tide of Zees instead of Ss. Fighting against the tide? Given the theme of this puzzle – does that make me a bit of a Canute?…

  8. Scarpia says:

    Hi mc_rapper67,
    Until recently I was the same as you and thought the Z spelling was an American usage,but in the(English) dictionaries I possess and checking online it seems that is the preferred option.The same applies to other similar words e.g. sterilize,fertilize.
    Do keep up the fight for colour,flavour etc. or before we know it four will become for,to the confusion of us all.
    These days,I think the preferred spelling of the Viking king is Knut or Cnut. :)

  9. Bannsider says:

    Thanks to mcrapper_67 for an intriguing blog – these entries are of great interest and value to us setters and all your efforts are greatly appreciated!
    I can’t remember if INTERVIEW was originaly intended as part of the “mini-theme” but if it wasn’t, it is now!

    I don’t claim any great merit for the SPOOONERISM clue, but I wonder in which accent BIRD-WATCHING is not a spoonerism of WORD-BOTCHING …
    For NOUVEAUX RICHES, an anagram was clearly called for but it would have meant two long anagrams in a row so I decided to be a bit more “lateral”.

  10. BadHarry says:

    I did wonder myself if I was being harsh but decided I wasn’t since there was so much praise from every other quarter. It’s a real shame that my colleague and I have come to associate the name Bannsider with unfair clues. He wish to address this, but it’s unlikely if no-one mentions it. It will have been noted that I also used the phrases “flashes of genius” and “intricate and entertaining” so my hope for better is not unfounded. I really liked 8D and the misdirection of 12A was wonderful but those had already been highlighted.

    As for the spoonerism, in most Scottish accents the vowel of “word” is like that of “cut” but longer. In broader Scottish accents the vowel of “bird” is like that too, but more often it’s something like that of “hiss”. There’s no problem rhyming “watching and “botching”.

  11. Bannsider says:

    Apologies mc_rapper67 – I see I misplaced the underscore in your name!

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