Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,619/Radian

Posted by Ali on March 18th, 2011


Well I found this pretty darn tough. Most of the acrosses went in fairly easily, but the low-numbered downs were much harder and required some liberal use of the online Reveal button! And despite spotting a perimeter message forming early on, I couldn’t work out what it was.

Given that Phi was bumped up earlier in the week, I should have realised that this could be a date-sensitive puzzle. And so it is, with DO SOMETHING FUNNY FOR MONEY running around the perimeter, and plenty of NOSE references in clue answers. That’ll be because it’s Red Nose Day then. D’oh!

All that aside, this was up to Radian’s usual standard. Some nice clueing, with the nice scatalogical triple definition at 18D being my favourite.

7 OATCAKE – r[OA]d + C(lubs) in TAKE
8 POINTED – Double def.
9 FINO – Hidden in aperitiF IN Orense
12 YODELS – ODE in odd letters of YeLlS
14 AMORETTO – A (one) + MORE (extra) + OTT (excessively) rev.
16 NOEL – NO[-s]E + L(ine)
17 SNOUT – O (hole) for H (Henry) in SN HUT
18 PIES – Occasional letters of sPoIlErS
19 NOSE CONE – NOSE (snout) + (ONCE)*
21 BLOTTO – L(eft) in BOTTO[-m]
23 PLUM – PLUM[-p]
26 ENDORSE – (NEEDS + yOuR)* – Ref. the perimter message and Red Nose Day
1 RANI – Hidden in foR A NIght
2 MCDOWELL – D(ate) in M(ark) + (Simon) COWELL. Ref. the golfer
3 OKAPIS – SIP rev. after A + O.K
4 NOSED OUT – Cryptic def., I think!
5 ENTIRE – Not sure on this. I’m guessing it’s I for writer, but not sure how we get ENTRE
6 YEAR – Hidden in saY, EARth
11 SOAP OPERA – SO A POPE + RA (artist)
13 OVOLO – V(ery) L(arge) in 3 xO
15 TWEET – WEE in TT (dry)
17 SCOTSMEN – (MOST)* in SCEN[-e]
18 POOH-POOH – Triple definition
21 BIKINI – BIKIN[-g] on I(sle)
22 CALF – Odd letters of ChAp LeFt
24 UNST – UN[-re]ST

26 Responses to “Independent 7,619/Radian”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    5ac is I (writer) in ENTRÉ[e] (course reaching no conclusion)

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Ali.

    Couldn’t get anywhere with this, partly because I couldn’t get SNOUT, which I still don’t understand. Could someone please explain what the definition is, and where the ‘so weed in can’ bit comes into it?

  3. walruss says:

    Yes we would need to expect this in The Indy today! There seems to have been quite a lot of date-related stuff in the paper lately, not too much I hope. I probably like 26 the best for the refrence.

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ali.

    This was a lot of fun and hurrah! – I got the Nina, thanks to Radian having flagged it up in 26ac. Unfortunately, I forgot about having seen that earlier on, when I put SULLAGE for 26ac and held myself up for ages in that bottom corner.

    I didn’t know CARD SHARK [only ‘sharp’] but knew the peninsula must be ARDS, so got there eventually, having toyed with ‘bark’ for ‘ship’ and getting nowhere.

    Hi K’s D, re 17ac: it’s O [hole] instead of H[enry] in SN [tin] HUT.

    Many thanks to Radian for the entertainment!

  5. flashling says:

    26 is also (red nose)* Not too bad and the Nina helped quite a bit after realising it didn’t begin top left.

    Thanks Ali and Radian.

  6. Paul A says:

    17a – Think ‘Porridge’. Snout being baccy (weed) in nick (can)

  7. Eileen says:

    Sorry, K’s D, I didn’t read your query properly!

  8. Eileen says:

    I meant to say I liked the use of ‘Henry’ in 17ac, on Red Nose Day. :-)

  9. Lenny says:

    I found this very tough too. After 20 minutes I had Noel and Yodels. Fortunately, at that point I was able to enter the entire perimeter and then the rest fell out quite quickly. I managed to finish despite never having heard of the NI golfer or the NI peninsula. I think the difficulty arises from the fact that most of the definitions are phrasal and are themselves cryptic eg weed in can. Thanks for the explanations Ali and I see that I got one wrong. I went for Uist instead of Unst.

    I was a bit confused by card shark. I can’t find it in any of the three standard reference dictionaries but it does appear to be a N American variant. Thanks for the workout Radian.

  10. Richard Palmer says:

    Lenny, how on earth did you get the perimeter message from just two letters? I needed more than half the letters to get it but it helped me to finish most of the grid, though I didn’t know card shark and guessed McDowell from the wordplay.

    I think you’re right about 24 – It’s Uist (a Scottish island) not Unst (which doesn’t exist so far as I can tell). The wordplay appears to be Unrest with re and n replaced by i with isle doing double duty as the definition, but if so the whole clue is extremely dubious.

  11. Eileen says:

    Hi Richard Palmer

    Here it is!

  12. Wanderer says:

    I had to resort to google to check the existence of the Scottish island, and came across this:

    It amused me no end. Today’s crossword was too tough for me (not a criticism, just a fact!) so thanks, Ali, for your explanations.

  13. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali for the blog, and Radian for an enjoyable puzzle.

    This took a bit long than usual, but was helped a lot by the perimeter, once I’d got it after all the “nose(s)” and variants in the grid, and “…I N G F U N N Y…”.

    Favourites were 10A POSTERIOR: nice wordplay, 18D POOH-POOH: fantastic surface, not for the squeamish! and 21D BIKINI: nice definition.

  14. Lenny says:

    Hi Richard @10. I avoid Comic Relief as far as possible (difficult, since even my last refuge Radio 3 has been taken over by it today), however, even I have seen the slogan many times over the last few weeks. So, yes, I did guess it with just the NY.

    Thanks for the spirited defence of Uist but I don’t think the wordplay quite supports it. I had not heard of Unst either but it is definitely there, just above Yell.

    Did anyone else think that the triple definition at 18 needs a homophone indicator since little one’s faeces is poo? Radian is let off the hook by OED which says (usually poo) but allows the pooh variant. That’s quite enough poo for now.

  15. Thomas99 says:

    My partner has been longing to go to Unst for years. It’s as far north as the UK gets. The bus shelter website will I’m sure make her even keener. I did enjoy this crossword, which took me quite a long time to untangle (I disastrously put “rednose” instead of endorse at first).

    Like Richard Palmer (10) I am mystified as to how Lenny (9) could have got the whole perimiter from Noel and Yodels, even if he is Sir Lenworth H himself.

  16. Thomas99 says:

    Sorry about that. Cross-posting with Lenny (presumably not Henry after all).

  17. Colin Blackburn says:

    I got the perimeter message from a few letters, PLUM, BIKINI and and POOH-POOH, the wording of 26ac and realising what day it was. Very enjoyable.

  18. Radian says:

    As well as the best decorated bus shelter Unst also boasts the most northerly post office in the UK. I spent a windy week there a long time ago with nothing to do but birdwatch and drink, both of which activities may explain my red nose.

  19. ele says:

    Very tough but did just about get there in the end with the help of the nina and the theme, and some of the clues are very clever. Thanks Radian and thanks to Ali for the blog. Took ages to get 17ac snout, which was one of the last in, and like K’s D couldn’t even then see what the def. meant so thanks Paul A @6 too. Nearly got caught with Uist/Unst as well, but fortunately had heard of Unst – it sounds wonderful. 19c Nose cone was one of the first ones in, but I then wasted much time trying to relate that and 16ac noel to 17ac.

  20. NealH says:

    I’m glad other people found this tough. I got there in the end, although I initially put Uist for 24 down and was saved by the Reveal button. One thing I still don’t follow is the reference to 22 in 20. Since there are two 22s, I assume it’s not a reference to clue 22 (although that was one of the things which slowed me up in this puzzle because it convinced me that 22A must be some sort of sailor, as I had an idea in my mind of sailors wearing earrings).

  21. richard l says:

    Ear tags are identity tags worn by cattle. Therefore the reference is to 22 down.

  22. Wil Ransome says:

    Incredibly hard I thought, and it didn’t even occur to me that it was about Red Nose Day (I saw the perimeter words but assumed it was something from a song and therefore dismissed it from my mind). Some good clues, but:

    a) In 8ac presumably joints often are pointed. What on earth does this mean?

    b) 9ac has an extra word (‘typically’). I thought that in a hidden clue you weren’t allowed such things.

    c) In 10ac I’d be interested if anyone could come up with a sentence where ‘before’ and ‘prior’ are interchangeable. Certainly ‘before’ = ‘prior to’, but surely ‘prior’ is equivalent to ‘previous’.

    d) 12ac seems wrong to me, because the definition is presumably ‘high-pitched yells’, yet ‘yells’ is needed in the wordplay. Is it meant to be an &lit. where the whole clue is the definition? If so, then a pretty weak definition I think.

    e) Nobody has told us who Mrs Lovett is in 18ac.

  23. Colin Blackburn says:

    Mrs Lovett was Sweeney Todd’s accomplice.

  24. ele says:

    To Wil Ransome @22 re 8ac, the reference must be to joints in brickwork or stonework which are pointed with mortar. Took me a bit of time to realize that. Agree about your point c.

  25. Polly says:

    Unst has appeared before (sometime in the past six months or so), but I can’t remember which setter used it. I do however remember spending a good deal of time trying to force Uist to fit the wordplay in the clue before googling Unst, which wasn’t in my Times atlas.

  26. Paul B says:

    Their police station is just called ‘Unstable’.

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