Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,648/Tees

Posted by Ali on April 21st, 2011


Hmmm, I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, I would have liked to have had more time at it (on a Bank Holiday for example!), but a lack of solving time is nobody’s issue but mine. On the other hand, whilst the general consensus around these parts seems to be that the key clue in puzzles like this shouldn’t be a gimme, I’m of the opinion that it also shouldn’t be too obscure, and once I’d eventually given up on 6D and cheated to get the answer, I would have hoped to have understood it. I didn’t. And still don’t, which has unavoidably marred my enjoyment of the rest of it.

In fairness to Tees, there are some great clues here and I freely admit I gave up too readily on many of them in the interests of getting the thing blogged. It was nevertheless very hard. Score one for the setter then I guess; this was a very humbling solve for me.

2 URE – UR + [-collaps]E
6 V-SIGN – Not sure on this one – “Digital message as 9 to 5?”
7 DRACULA – CARD rev. + U(nion) + L.A
9 OMEN – O(old) MEN (people)
11 EDDA – Hidden in unrememberED DAys
12 SILVER – L[-0]VE in SIR
16 VEIN – Double def., though I don’t think ‘vampire for bite…’ reads very well
17 SOFIA – A1 + F(ellow_ + OS rev.
19 EBON – Initial letters of Epimenides Becoming + ON
21 SUPERSPY – (S(ucceeded) + PREY)* after SUP
25 KISS – I’m guessing this as a nod to Ray Reardon?
26 ASHEN – AS HEN (ladybird!)
28 BITE – Double def.
29 GENTEEL – GET around N (knight) + EEL
30/24/15/1 STAKEHOLDER PENSION – Cryptic def.
31 YES – Last letters os surelY hE iS
2 UNAWARES – UNA (one Italian) + W(ith) + ARES (war god)
3 EDIT – EDIT[-h(eroin)]
4 FABRIC – FABRIC[-e(nglish)]
5 SURE AS HELL – I think this is URE (river) below S (bend) + A SHELL
6 VAMPIRE – ??? – Blackmailer is the definition, and that’s about as far as I get.
8 AUDIO – AUDI + O (wheel)
14 BUFFY – U.F.F in BY (times)
16 VIS – V (engine configuration) + IS (exists)
18 ACHINESS – IN in A (very good) CHESS
22 USING – US + (GIN)*
23 SLAYER – S(econd) LAYER
28 BRAM – B(lack) RAM (sheep)

29 Responses to “Independent 7,648/Tees”

  1. Richard says:

    My experience of this and my view of it are the same as yours…
    …I only picked up the Indie as there were no FTs at the railway station this morning.

    Thanks for the blog, Ali.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Well I really enjoyed it! Although to be honest I mainly came here to see how you parsed 6d. I had “Go to Mesrine” = VA (“go” in French) and money=prime with “dirty” as the anagram indicator giving MPIRE.

    Any thoughts from anyone else?

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    A tricky one from Tees today! I can parse 6dn for you:

    VA (go, in French) P in MIRE (dirty money!) – Jacques Mesrine was a French villain.

    5dn is actually U (bend) R (river) in SEASHELL (vacant marine accommodation) otherwise the ‘fills’ is not accounted for.

    I didn’t think that 28ac was a double def. since I couldn’t equate ‘bite’ with ‘go on about’. I parsed it as IT (what’s needed {Chambers def. 4}) in BE (go on {exist, live etc}).

    You queried 6ac which is V (five) SIGN (9[ac] {omen}).

  4. Wanderer says:

    Thomas99, I tried something similar but the problem I had was: Je vais, tu vas, il va = I go, you go, he goes. So I would have expected “Goes to Mesrine.” Pedantic I admit, but it troubled me.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks Gaufrid – that makes much more sense. Of course I really solved 6d by working backwards from the related clues, as I imagine a few others did too.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    A-level French was a long time ago, but I think “va” is also the imperative, “Go!”. It’s “va-t-en”, isn’t it?

  7. Gaufrid says:

    I have one quibble about this puzzle, 25ac is not correct. The clue should read “Nice little touch from the Green Baize 7A” since Ray Reardon’s nickname was ‘Dracula’, not ‘vampire’.

  8. Wanderer says:

    Thomas99, yes I’m sure you’re right. That clears it up then! Just a slight niggle at the time.

  9. Thomas99 says:

    But he inspired this film:

    (Of course I didn’t actually know that until a few seconds ago!)

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Thomas99
    I’ve never heard of the film but I have watched a lot of Reardon matches. If Tees is referring to the film for which you supplied a link (and it wouldn’t surprise me at all!) then I unreservedly withdraw my quibble.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    I certainly thought the vampire/dracula/Reardon theme fitted with his background (according to bestforpuzzles) as a seasoned prog-rocker. I always think that when anything doom-laden or gothic appears in his puzzles. He should know his stuff!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I really enjoyed Tees’ Indy puzzle in March, but this one left me a bit cold, I’m afraid. Which is what vampires are supposed to do, of course. The gateway clue, despite further explanations, I still don’t understand. Where is the definition? Is it ‘blackmailer’ because vampires wear black cloaks? P in MIRE for dirty money? Quoi? And one of my pet niggles was again on show: when one of the crossing letters for the gateway clue also requires you to have solved that clue, that to me is a bit unfair in a daily cryptic.

    I did in fact get VAMPIRE early on, since I got VA for ‘go’ (your reference to the imperative form is right, Thomas99, but again we’re into this argument about how much French, bla bla bla …) Then I got the M and looked in Chambers to find that the only sensible word that would fit was the answer.

    If that had led to lots of smiley moments with the themed clues, then I might have been a bit more positive about the puzzle. But the only one that made me laugh was STAKEHOLDER PENSION, which was a great play on words but gave me the impression that it was all built around that one joke.

    To quote the nina in the top and bottom rows: sure, yes, it was a clever puzzle, but I didn’t enjoy it that much despite finishing it.

    Anyway, I’ve gone on a bit. Fangs to setter and blogger today.

  13. nmsindy says:

    I think the editor has signalled Thursdays are hard. This certainly was but I got there in the end. I thought KISS might refer to the film “Kiss of the Vampire” also referring to snooker balls kissing but was not sure at all. Some very good clues and some entries a little unusual to meet the constraints of the grid. The STAKEHOLDER PENSION was a nice joke to finish it off, at least that was the answer that I finally got when solving. Thanks for the blog, Ali, and I think in a puzzle like this the gateway clue has to be hard – I got the answer first from crossing letters and definition. Thanks, Tees, for the puzzle.

  14. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    “Where is the definition? Is it ‘blackmailer’ because vampires wear black cloaks?”

    The second definition in Chambers for ‘vampire’ is “a bloodsucker, a relentless extortionate parasite or blackmailer”.

    And if your pence were in deep mud I’m sure they would be dirty.

  15. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. Okay, that works, but I’ll join Ali in saying Hmmmm …

  16. Conrad Cork says:

    Well I thought this was wonderful knockabout stuff. So thanks to Tees (again).

    On the other hand if the minor injury I sustained from falling off my chair laughing at stakeholder pension turns septic, I will be consulting my lawyers.

  17. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali, for the blog. I know what it’s like to have to blog when you haven’t it all. Thanks also to Tees, an unusual theme, but enjoyable references to it.

    Got the gateway glue backwards from 7A DRACULA, but couldn’t explain it. Kept trying to find the connection with “Mesrine”, and, pardon my French, knowing next to F.A. about French, I couldn’t get it. But the themed clues were entertaining. Favourites were 30 24 15 1 STAKEHOLDER PENSION, 5D SURE AS HELL, and 27 10 HOLY WATER. I guess 16A VEIN is to be read as “vampire going for bite drawn to vein”, though like you, I’m not sure.

  18. anax says:

    Note to self: If tackling a Tees puzzle, wait until after 8am and two cups of strong coffee.

    This was monstrously tough and – confession – I needed a handful of cheats, but this effort to put the ‘crypt’ into ‘cryptic’ worked for me; dark but deliciously entertaining stuff. Some wordplays I didn’t get, so many thanks to Ali for the blog and others for chipping in, and now I can see how they work I’m more than happy. Funny thing, you see. In ‘certain other places’ you suspect that a clue will bamboozle because there’s something unsound about it. With the Teeser (and, to be honest, the Indie series as a whole) I know that any shortcomings are likely to be mine.

    Great stuff, and no (mi)stake.

  19. Tees says:

    Well, it was almost a Bank Holiday puzzle, so it needed to be quite tough. Or even ‘bloody’ hard? No? Okay. Anyway, horrendous weather for vampires predicted for this w/e in our neighbourhood, hopefully yours too. Many thanks for blog and comments.

    I think you’ve cracked it all now, so just to confirm that yes, Dracula Reardon was parodied in a film called ‘Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire’, whereof the Kid is thought to be based on Jimmy White; BITE is indeed IT in BE, VA is indeed the imperative, mes amis; and P in MIRE is indeed the exclamation-marked ‘dirty money’.

    Have a great weekend, and enjoy all the puzzles that will undoubtedly appear.


  20. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali.
    Nothing much to add to previous comments,just surprised no one’s picked up on 12 across – silver kills werewolves not vampires :)

  21. dram says:

    Thanks everyone for the puzzle, blog and comments. As usual I solved little but learned plenty and lover ‘dirty money’ for P in MIRE.

  22. Allan_C says:

    Yes, a tough one but solveable, although 4dn nearly defeated me. One of those puzzles where you suddenly realise what it’s all about.
    Scarpia @20, I think silver bullets are generally considered effective against most physical manifestations of evil; certainly that’s implied in one of G K Chesterton’s Father Brown stories – see (although of course there was nothing supernatural about the case at all).

  23. Colin Blackburn says:

    Excellent puzzle. I managed to solve this on a train journey so it must have been easier than the usual Tees, for me. The theme helped though my way in was seeing BUFFY straight off and then working back. I slipped up on EBON as my grid seems to have EPON written in it – a poor guess. Thanks for the blog and comments for clearing up a few queries I had.

  24. Tees says:

    Well exactly, Allan_C: and werewolves themselves, it seems, were not vulnerable to attack by silver until C19, when authors decided they ought to be.

    Course here at Tees Towers we live in the shadow of the mountain ash: so no problem with the big gnashy doggy, and I can always snap off a twig to fashion meself a stake. Nope, Jehovah’s Witnesses and meter-readers are all we’ve to ward off at Tees Towers.

  25. Wil Ransome says:

    Very hard I thought, but I just about understood everything eventually. However, one clue caused me concern: 11ac “Books of past and unremembered days” = EDDA. I can’t see how this works, because the definition is surely “Books of past”. If so then where is the hidden indicator, since the only word which could be it is “of” and that’s already been used up? Or perhaps the def is “Books” in which case what is the “past and” doing except to give some information about Edda?

  26. nmsindy says:

    I think this is OK, Wil. The clue “Books of past and unremembered days” suggests to me with the “and” that you can find the “of” reference in both parts ie the definition gives ‘books of past’ = EDDA with the “and” saying it’s also hidden (indicated by ‘of’) in ‘unremembered days’

  27. Tees says:

    The idea summed up perfectly, NMS and Wil. Books of this, and (of) that.

  28. redddevil says:

    Anyone who has seen Love at First Bite will be more than aware that silver bullets don’t work on vampires….

  29. Paul B says:

    Hint: see #20.

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