Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7620 by Nimrod – Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 March 2011

Posted by duncanshiell on March 26th, 2011


I was able to fill the grid on the Saturday the puzzle appeared but this was a puzzle that I kept returning to during the week, mainly to try and understand the wordplay in about half a dozen clues.




On completion of the grid, I couldn’t see the all the wordplay in ANTHOZOA, CRÈME DE LA CRÈME, TIME AND A HALF,  BRAIN TEASER and ABATTOIR.  The definitions were very clear.  Often the remaining intransigent wordplays come to mind I write the first draft of a blog, but even that didn’t work for this puzzle.  It was only when I walked to get a paper on Friday, with a copy of the completed puzzle in my hands, that I finally cracked it.  I live nearly 20 minutes walk away from the nearest paper shop, so I have plenty of time to think when I walk on quiet small town pavements

I am still not entirely sure about the wordplay for ANTHOZOA, and my interpretation of ABATTOIR might be a bit iffy, but I am now fairly happy about the rest.

For CRÈME DE LA CRÈME, I spent a long time thinking E-MERC was the green car, and there seemed to be two of them.  For 14 across it was the ‘AND A HALF‘ that gave me trouble.

I felt this was a tough puzzle with perhaps more cryptic definitions than is usual in a puzzle by Nimrod. There were a lot of question-marks and p’perhaps’ in the clues which tend to idnicate cryptic definitions and off-the-wall ideas as far as I am concerned. nbsp;There was certainly need for lateral thinking in many of the clues, e.g.

5a ‘self-descriptive Dorset’,

3d ‘Summons J’,

4d where Nimrod is not the setter,

7d ‘dry 18?’ where 18 was not a reference to another entry,

the use of M1 in 9d, and

16d ‘having taken-off perhaps’ implying ‘airborne’ meaning AIR contains something. This is what I consider my rather iffy interpretation of part of the clue. I doubt if Ximenes or Azed would use ‘airborne’ in this way, but I thought it was rather clever. Apologies if I have misinterpreted this clue completely.

This was very satisfying to complete, but quite frustrating at times trying to fathom out the wordplay.

Clue Wordplay Entry
1 A note admitting small number to revolutionise a class in Biology (8) A + N (note) + THO’ (admitting [short for 'though']) + (OZ [ounce; minute quantity; small number {?}] reversed [to revolutionise]) + A ANTHOZOA (a class of coelenterates including sea anemones; a class in Biology)
5 Self-descriptive Dorset post needs to be done and dusted (6) Anagram (SORTED which is the answer, hence self descriptive) of DORSET; (also the post needs to be SORTED [before delivery in DORSET or after collection in DORSET for delivery elsewhere]) SORTED (done and dusted;
10 / 11 The very best green car turned over when members of EEC intervene (5,2,2,5) (EMERALD [green] + MERC [Mercedes; car]) reversed (turned over) with the letters E, E and C [members of EEC) added (intervene) to form positions 5, 7 and 10 in the answer CRÈME DE LA CRÈME (the very best)
12 Lacking observation treading in fresh cowpats: hard to have a good time here? (9) (TREADING excluding [lacking] READING [observation] contained in (in) an anagram (fresh) of COWPATS) + H (hard) STOPWATCH (a good time for a sportsman may be recorded on a STOPWATCH)
13 After fans’ displeasure team-talk’s primary objective (5) BOOS (fans display displeasure by BOOing) + first letter of (primary) TEAM-TALK BOOST (the primary objective of a team-talk after fans’ booing may well be designed to BOOST confidence) ‘primary’ seems to be doing double duty, although I suppose that ‘objective’ alone could be the descriptor for BOOST in this context.
14 Incentive to get sentence despatched? (4,3,1,4) TIME (prison sentence) + AND A HALF (half of ‘SENTENCE is SENT [despatched]) TIME AND A HALF (offering payment at TIME AND A HALF may be used as an incentive to attract volunteers to work unsocial hours or holidays)
17 Difficult to break in the clothiers at the monastery? (5-7) HABIT-FORMING (clothiers at the monastery will form habits for the Monks) HABIT-FORMING ([of a drug] such as a taker will find it difficult or impossible to stop using)
20 Atlas maybe depicting SA in brown (5) IT (Sex Appeal [SA]) contained in (in) TAN (brown)  TITAN (Atlas was the TITAN who held up the heavens on his shoulders in Greek mythology)
21 By bottle room one acts on impulse (5,4) NERVE (bottle in the sense of courage) + CELL (room) NERVE CELL (a nerve cell reacts to impulses [from the brain])
22 / 24 Seat apparently affording windbreak (7,7) WHOOPEE CUSHION (a cushion that looks normal and ideal to sit on; a seat apparently) WHOOPEE CUSHION (a rubber cushion that makes a noise like the breaking of wind when sat on; a windbreak))
25 Delivery from Galway or Kerry (6) Hidden word in (from) GALWAY OR KERRY YORKER (a ball bowled in cricket [a delivery] designed to pitch on the popping crease, pass under the bat and hit the wicket)
26 Nothing left in safe? (3,5) ALL RIGHT (nothing left) ALL RIGHT (safe)


Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Do without island address (6) ACT (do) containing (without, in its sense of ‘outwith’) COS (Greek island) I think the local spelling is KOS, but COS seems to be an acceptable alternative. ACCOST (address [accost is being used as a noun here))
2 TV danger area where penalty may be incurred (3,3) THE BOX (reference 'penalty area' or 'penalty box 'in football) THE BOX (television)
3 Literally destroyed on account of Summons J? (11) OVER (on account of) + WRIT (summons) + TEN (J is the 10th letter of the alphabet) OVERWRITTEN (to type over and replace, literally [written work] destroyed)
4 Public green described by Nimrod as "obtainable without licence" (4-3-7) OVERT (public) + (HUNTER [reference Nimrod the Hunter, not Nimrod the setter] containing (described by) ECO [prefix denoting environmentally friendly; green]) OVER-THE-COUNTER (drugs legally sold directly to the customer; obtainable without licence)
6 Force-fed killer-whale? (3) Hidden word (fed) in FORCE ORC (killer whale)
7 Dry 18? (8) TEETOTAL (there are 18 holes on most golf course, hence the TOTAL number of TEEs is 18) TEETOTAL (abstaining from alcoholic drink; dry)
8 Are you a taxidermist or colouring agent? (8) D’YE (do you? [are you?]) + STUFF (do you stuff?; [are you] a taxidermist?) DYESTUFF (colouring agent)
9 Order me to get halal in car up M1 thus? (14) Anagram (order) of ME HALAL IN CAR UP ALPHANUMERICAL (M1 is an alphanumeric)
13 Difficult? It is and isn’t free from difficulty and it’s too cool almost to comprehend (5-6) BRRR (imitative of shivering; too cool) excluding the final letter (almost) R containing (to include [comprehend]) (AIN’T [colloquial form of is not; isn't] + EASE [free from difficulty])   BRAIN-TEASER (a BRAIN-TEASER is difficult)
15 Direction of escape for runner wanting time for city? (8) CHATAWAY (reference Sir Christopher Chataway, athlete of the 1950s and 1960s who helped Roger Bannister achieve the first sub 4 minute mile.  Chataway was also a television presenter and politician) with C (city) replaced by (wanting … for …) T (time) THATAWAY (direction of escape, as in ‘he/she went thataway’)
16 Having taken-off perhaps fly-by-night’s heading for place of execution (8) (BAT [a nocturnal flying mammal; fly-by-night] + TO [heading for]) contained in (borne) AIR (AIRBORNE [having taken-off]) ABATTOIR (place of execution)
18 Singer assisted this London side? (6) SE (South East; London area) + WING (side) SINGER (reference the Singer sewing machine)
19 Alien purpose to dominate earth? (6) PLAN (purpose) + ET (extraterrestrial; alien) In this down clue, I think ‘dominate’ is used to indicate that PLAN comes above ET PLANET (Earth is a PLANET)
23 It’s easy to confuse a chatterer (3) PIE (an easy thing; a chatterer) PIE (to confuse) triple definition

7 Responses to “Independent 7620 by Nimrod – Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 March 2011”

  1. jmac says:

    Thanks for the great blog Duncan. As you say, the difficulty with this puzzle was in the parsing rather than the solving – the long answers filled the grid and there were several easy clues around the perimeter. I think that in BOOST the “primary” just refers to the letter T rather than the definition. Loved WHOOPEE CUSHION, TEETOTAL, and OVER THE COUNTER. Thought the parsing of 14 ac. was maybe a bit too clever by half but the only clue that I have any real issue with is 1 across where the answer (for me) was quite obscure and the parsing is quite opaque. Thanks Nimrod for a super puzzle.

  2. ele says:

    Found this really difficult to get finished and picked at it all week – last answer 1ac only went in at midnight last night in desperation, as although I happened to be familiar with the word couldn’t at all see how it worked out. So many thanks Duncan for working that one out. I think oz is a little unfair for ‘a small number’ but otherwise the clues seemed very fair – once you’d got them. Thanks to Nimrod.

  3. nmsindy says:

    This was very hard, and there were some particularly good clues, I thought, eg STOPWATCH, BOOST (agree it’s BOOS Team-talk, with an &lit type definition ie the whole clue), HABIT-FORMING, OVERWRITTEN, OVER-THE-COUNTER, TEETOTAL, DYESTUFF, SEWING and PLANET. Thanks Nimrod and Duncan.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks Duncan for your usual complete blog, and Nimrod for the puzzle.

    Some really devious clueing here, and could only complete up to last two: 1A ANTHOZOA: no way this non-biologist, despite knowing it’s a biological class could come up with it (would have been different if it was “arthropod”), let alone fathom the parsing, and 18D SEWING: completely misdirected into which end of the clue was the definition, though I must say I found SE=”London” or even SE WING=”London side” a bit unsatisfactory. The only parsing I couldn’t get from the answers was ABATTOIR, so thanks.

    Favourites were 21A NERVE CELL, 4D OVER THE COUNTER and 7D TEETOTAL.

  5. flashling says:

    Well I was well beat by this, perhaps it’s just a general fear of seeing Nimrod and giving up. I just don’t get his mindset it appears. Thanks Duncan. /Flash

  6. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Duncan for your clear and informative blog.
    I really liked this puzzle,though it was very tough,as you would expect from Nimrod.
    I managed to complete but couldn’t parse 1 across,which I only got from a word search.Tried many ways including THO(usand) for small number or Z for zero but none would quite work.Your reading does work but I don’t think it is a great way of cluing an uncommon (Greek)word.
    ABBATTOIR,I thought was fine.Like you say ‘having taken off’ denotes being in the air,so really just an insertion indicator.

  7. Paul B says:

    Collins has among its defs for OUNCE (not OZ, which – obviously – is the shortened form) ‘a small portion or amount’, which explains it pretty well. THO’ & THO are given as variant spellings, so that bit seems okay too.

    I’m sure we’d love to have got the b*s&a$d on that one, but not really possible.

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