Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1105 by Raich

Posted by Uncle Yap on April 24th, 2011

Uncle Yap.

I have always found Quixote to be scrupulously fair and Ximenean so when I approached this first non-Quixote puzzle in this series, I was filled with a bit of trepidation. My fear, alas, was justified. Many of Raich’s clues, if entered in any of the rpc competitions, would have been politely but firmly rejected. There seemed to be quite a few extraneous words that were also rather obtrusive. I am not exactly enthralled by Raich.

ACROSS
7 BOOTLEG Cha of BOOTLE (North West port, Merseyside) G (first letter of gangster)
9 AFFRAY CAFF (slang for cafe, restaurant)  minus C + RAY (fish)
10 JERBOA J (Jack) + *(A BORE) for a desert rodent (family Dipodidae) that jumps on long hind legs like a kangaroo.
11 MANDRAKE MAN (soldier) + Sir Francis DRAKE 1540-1596 (old traveller) for a poisonous plant (genus Mandragora) of the potato family, formerly thought to have magical powers because of the human-like shape of its forked root
12 OIL PAINT *(INTO PAIL)
15 ERNST ER (middle letters of term) ISN’T minus I for probably Max Ernst (1891–1976) a German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. I find the word, break very obtrusive. Does it have a function?
17 YORICK YO (yore minus re) RICK (haystack) for the court jester in Hamlet
19 SIESTA *(Tassie)
21 SIREN Ins of RE (about) in SIN (evil-doing)
22 LOBBYIST *(B-list boy)
24 CHITCHAT Cha of C (Conservative) HITCH (problem) AT
26 CALLAS *(La Scala minus a) Maria Callas (1923–1977) was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century
29 EGESTS E (energy) + GESTS (sounds like jests, which is what a court jester does)
30 SNORKEL *(plonkers minus P for piano, quiet)

DOWN
1 OBOE OB (old boy, former pupil) OE (middle letters of poet)  Instrument clued as player?
2 COMB CO (company) MB (Bachelor of Medicine, doctor)
3 ALKALI ha
4 SAUNDERS Cha of SA (sex appeal) UNDER (beneath) S (society) defined as one associated with French. A quick check with Wikipedia showed some 70 notable people with that name; so I wonder which?
5 EFFRONTERY *(entry offer)
6 YANK dd
8 GAMETE GAME (ready) TE (note)
13 ICONS *(coins) I wonder why the setter didn’t trim off they’re ?
14 PRIORITISE *(Poitier Sir) what a clunky and clumsy anagram clue. It would have been so logical to knight Poitier and let him do whatever …
16 TOTES Cha of TOT (young child) ES (middle letters of desk) and I fail to see the relevance of the ellipsis (what connects 14 and 16)
18 KINSHASA Cha of KIN (relatives) S (son) HAS (owns) A (area) Can someone tell me the function of supporting?
20 PLATES Ins of LATE (delayed) in PS (post script, more to say)
23 BECKON BECK (Footballer, David Beckham minus ham, meat) ON (cricket side)
25 HIGH Sounds like Hi! (greeting)
27 LAKE First letters of lyric admired, keenly embraced – The “Lake Isle of Innisfree” is a poem written by William Butler Yeats in 1888. I find the def a tad stretched since Isle of Innisfree is also another item with its own identity
28 ALLY RALLY (some tennis) minus R (right)

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(fodder) = anagram

19 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1105 by Raich”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, Uncle Yap, for the blog and Raiche for the puzzle. I usually agree with Uncle Yap’s comments, but in this case I was rather less down on this puzzle than he was. Some of the items you had issues with I found quite acceptable:

    Re 15ac, the ‘break’ is there since (i)SNT needs to be anagrammed to NST for the clue to work. For 1dn, I’ve often heard of orchestra members identified by the instrument they play, e.g. first violin, so the definition of player = oboe didn’t bother me. For 14dn, since Poitier famously played the title role in ‘To Sir with Love’, I saw the “Sir”, set off by commas, as being an apposition and appropriate. For 18dn, it’s certainly the case that the SHASA is written under, and so can be thought of as supporting, the KIN, so I didn’t view the word as having no function in a cryptic reading of the clue. I did agree with your comment about 27dn that the definition didn’t really seem to fit, and I also thought the definition for 4dn was incredibly broad (and I didn’t catch the SA = appeal until reading your blog, although in retrospect it’s obvious). I have no idea which Saunders is intended and am curious to see if others weigh in. But all in all I thought the puzzle was fairly well clued.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    In fairness to the setter I should point out that his pseudonym is Raich, not Raiche.

    The perimeter Nina’s of famous Irishmen (O’Casey, Yeats, Heaney and Joyce) has not been mentioned in the blog.

    In 4dn the ‘French’ is Dawn French who was half of a comedy duo, the other half being Jennifer Saunders. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_and_Saunders

  3. Quixote says:

    With respect to Uncle Yap, I have to say that I didn’t find this at all bad. Time I repaid a few compliments to Raich after all his blogging for me in the IOS!

  4. dac says:

    I agree with Don: this was a very fair and enjoyable Sunday morning solve, as his IOS puzzles always were.

  5. Hypnos says:

    I thought the puzzle was both enjoyable and fairly clued. Liked the placement of the Irish literary figures around the perimeter and the additional Yeats reference in 27d. Favourite clues OIL PAINT and YORICK. Thought the comedy reference and misdirection in 4d was also clever.

  6. Jim T says:

    I enjoyed this puzzle very much. It seems to me that Uncle Yap’s antipathy was largely based on a lack of understanding.

    BTW Mid-Term Break is the title of a poem by Seamus Heaney.

  7. Wanderer says:

    Like others here, I enjoyed this more than Uncle Yap did. Thanks to Jim T for pointing out Mid-Term Break, this got me scratching my head and I discovered that The Silver Tassie (19 across) is a play by Sean O’Casey. There must be a Joyce work referenced here, but I can’t see it yet. Thanks Raich.

  8. Eileen says:

    As usual, I missed the Nina! However, I’ve discovered that O’ Casey wrote a play called ‘The silver tassie’ [see 19ac] but I haven’t been able to find any reference to Joyce [which, of course, doesn't mean there isn't one.] It must be frustrating for setters when their subtleties go unnoticed!

    I, too, enjoyed this puzzle, especially OIL PAINT and YORICK, both for its own sake and for the ‘a fellow of infinite jest’ link with 29ac. The French and Saunders clue was very amusing, I thought.

    I agree with all of caretman’s ‘defences’ and would add, re 14dn, that ‘Sir Poitier’ would not have made sense: it would need to be ‘Sir Sidney’.

  9. Eileen says:

    Sorry, Wanderer – we crossed!

  10. Wanderer says:

    Further search for a Joyce reference leads me to the interesting but presumably useless fact that an American poet, Marianne Moore, wrote a poem called The Jerboa. Otherwise the best I can do is put forward 12a, with its artist, as a possible nod to A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man. Surely someone can do better!

    Good to cross Eileen, it’s nice to know someone else has similar thoughts!

  11. Bannsider says:

    15ac: I believe “break” is an instruction to “break” the heading off. A nice touch, I though.
    13dn: “they’re” is needed because otherwise the definition, strictly speaking, does not indicate a noun.
    27dn: The definition fits nicely with the NINA and, for me at least, immediately recalled the Years poem.

    Count me among those who immediately associate “Saunders” with “French”, and also among those who ewnjoyed this.

    Just a thought: any chance poor old Raich could have his name corrected on the title – just a thought :-)

  12. Orlando says:

    I found this to be an enjoyable crossword, and I don’t understand why UY was so down on it.

    Re Wander@7: Sirens (see 21 across) is an “episode” in Joyce’s Ulysses.

  13. Gaufrid says:

    Bannsider @11
    Title corrected.

  14. Eileen says:

    Glad to see that five fellow setters enjoyed this, as I did.

    Many thanks, Raich!

  15. scchua says:

    Thanks Uncle Yap for the blog. This was my first Sunday Raich and I enjoyed it.
    Your concerns have been addressed by caretman@1, I think. I might just add that the ellipses in 14D and 16D connect the movie, as mentioned in #1, “To Sir With Love”, set in a school/classroom, to “desk” in 16D.
    Favourites were 4D SAUNDERS, for once “French” not requiring me to hit the dicts, 24A CHITCHAT and 23D BECKON. And it goes without saying, the Nina was lost on me, since I’d got used to the idea that Ninas were “Never On Sundays” and didn’t even try to look for one!

  16. Eileen says:

    Re French and Saunders:

    for those beyond our shores and /or otherwise unfamiliar – a clip with which I all too easily identify and offer as a tribute to Gaufrid, who has so often rescued me from blogging emergencies :-) :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ4A0aaaOAw

  17. caretman says:

    Thanks for the link, Eileen @16, outstanding comedy! And thanks to Gaufrid @2 for explaining Saunders and French. And one of these days I’ll remember to look for Ninas when I finish a puzzle!

  18. flashling says:

    Methinks UY was trying to get the most comments on an IOS blog, as with most I have to disagree with him. Seemed to me NMS had produced a great puzzle, Quixote had his style, well appreciated, but it was was time for a change. Perhaps Eimi should get Nimrod, Anax and Bannsider to do the Sunday rotation…

  19. Uncle Yap says:

    Nice to be back in KL after a ten-day sojourn in Taiwan, climbing their mountain paths and drinking copious quantities of their beer in the name of a healthy outdoor pursuit called hashing.

    If I had known that being critical can elicit so many responses to a prize puzzle in which interest usually pales after a week, I would have done it long ago with the FT Monday slot; which became so lonely that I gave that up some time ago.

    Okay, maybe solving and blogging away from my comfortable and familiar desktop in KL caused undue rush and haste which resulted in me failing to spot the nina or recognise Saunders vis-a-vis French. Thank Gaufrid who never ceases to amaze me with his erudition and elephantine memory.

    Perhaps my less than positive reception of this Raich puzzle can be blamed on my literary ignorance … but as the blogger, I had to be honest that I did not enjoy this quite as much as most others … and we can’t all be the same, can we?

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