Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7651 / Nestor

Posted by Gaufrid on April 25th, 2011


A generally straightforward puzzle though I needed on-line assistance to work out part of the parsing in 6dn and 14ac had me completely beaten but I think I have now worked out the wordplay (I could well be wrong so any other suggestions would be welcome).

I would also be interested to hear what others thought about the fairness of this clue given that the answer had to be obtained from T?A?.

1 DAMSEL DAMS (blocks) EL (US train) – an allusion to the damsel in distress seen tied to a railway track in old silent movies.
9 ALL-CLEAR L[imited] L[iability] C[ompany] in A LEAR (a jet manufacturer)
10 BALLROOM ALL (everyone) in BROOM (sweep)
11 DOGLEG OGLE (salacious look) in DG (Director-General)
12 MODISTE D (departs) in MOIST (lightly watered) [crep]E – a professedly fashionable dressmaker or milliner (Chambers)
14 THAW I had to use the ‘reveal’ option to get this answer and then struggled to parse the clue. I think the wordplay is ‘happened to see’ = SAW so ‘happened to thee’ = THAW, with the definition being ‘perchance wilt (archaic for ‘perhaps will’), after winter’
15 PLAINNESS IN (fashionable) in PLANES (fliers) S (society)
16 USER *(SURE) &lit
18 INDY if you add ‘w’ (wife) to INDY you get ‘windy’ (blowing a lot) – the name of a series of car races, the most famous being the Indianapolis 500.
19 EUPHEMISM hidden in ‘closE-UP, HEM IS Model’s’
20 TALC A (article) in TLC (pampering) &lit
22 EMAILED EM (wide character {printing}) AILED (was poorly)
23 BRUTUS RUT (daily grind) in BUS (means of movement for many)
25 AVIATRIX V (velocity) in *(AIR TAXI)
26 UNENDING N (northern) E (European) in [f]UNDING (finance (with origin obscured))
27 MERMAN RM (soldier at sea {Royal Marine}) in MEAN (skilful)
2 ALARMS RM (identical soldier) in ALAS (worse luck)
3 SELF-DEPRECATING *(PERFECT DENIAL) in SG (specific gravity)
4 LOOK SNAPPY K (potassium) SNAP (energy) in LOOPY (bananas)
5 DAME EDNA EVERAGE *(A NEED) EVER (always) in DAMAGE (injury)
6 GLAD double def. – ‘glad’ is short for gladiolus. Never having seen 5dn perform, I had to resort to this BBC article to provide me with the connection. The ‘style notes’ include “A gladioli thrust skyward like a floral sceptre conveys majesty”, though how you can have ‘a gladioli’ is beyond me (the associated picture shows only a single gladiolus).
8 LAKELAND  L (left) AKELA ([cub] pack leader) N[onplusse]D
13 DECIMALISM DEC 1 (start of last month) MALI’S (African republic’s) M (millions)
17 SEAFRONT AFRO (High Barnet (and wide)) in SENT (transmitted) – ‘barnet’ is an informal term for hair or hairstyle, originating from the Cockney rhyming slang Barnet Fair, a famous horse fair once held at Barnet, Hertfordshire, and an afro hairstyle could be described as being both high and wide.
21 EDWINA *(WADE IN) – Edwina Currie, she of ‘salmonella in eggs’ fame.
24 SPIV VIPS (big cheeses) reversed

17 Responses to “Independent 7651 / Nestor”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.

    This solver found it anything but straightforward! For me it was a hard one, but I managed everything except FLAG, THAW and INDY. The last one is fair; I just couldn’t see it. The other two are, imho, a bit too convoluted. As you say, if you’ve got T?A?, then give me a break with a more obvious clue. And GLAD? Hmmm.

    Which was a pity, because the rest of it was tough but enjoyable. EUPHEMISM was brilliantly concealed, and MERMAN and AVIATRIX were clever too.

    I don’t understand the EL for US train, or how DECIMALISM can ‘support the US dollar’, if someone could oblige.

    And I think you’re being coy, Gaufrid. Edwina Currie is undoubtedly best known for bonking the then Prime Minister John Major.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    El is an informal American term for ‘elevated railroad.

    Chambers defines DECIMALISM as “use or advocacy of a decimal system”. I’m happy to equate ‘advocacy’ with ‘support’ and all dollars (US wasn’t in this clue BTW) are part of a decimal currency system.

    I wasn’t being coy, I just remembered the eggs and forgot the other.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Gaufrid.

    I think your explanation of 14ac is very ingenious but I still can’t quite get my head round it. It’s one of the weirdest clues I’ve seen, I think.

    Apart from that, I thought it was a pretty fair, challenging puzzle – although I think 4dn is rather weak: SNAP and SNAPPY are rather too close in meaning.

    Like K’s D, I liked EUPHEMISM and AVIATRIX and also FLIGHT SIMULATOR.

    [And, for me, the subsequent story was so preposterously hard to believe that it made me forget all about the eggs!]

  4. crypticsue says:

    Like K’s Dad, I found these extremely tough going – the straightforward were definitely outweighed by the 14as. Just nice to have the extra time on a Bank Holiday to continue the fight, had I been at work, I don’t think I would have got to the end of it without coming here for help.

  5. scchua says:

    Thanks Gaufrid for the blog, and Nestor for a good workout. Maybe not so straightforward clueing with 14A THAW – I did think of THEE-THAW (after deciding it couldn’t be anything but THAW) and was looking hard for a lisp-indicator:).

    Favourites were 11A DOGLEG – liked the connection between “salacious” and “kink”y; 20A TALC – concisely cryptic – liked the double definition of “pampering” = TLC and “diapering” from the commercial name of the product used for the same; and 12D DECIMALISM.

  6. bamberger says:

    My quest to solve an Indie unaided continues. Stuck at a pony rally, two hours yielded only 10a,21d& 24d.
    1a El=US train is not something I have come across before either within or without crosswordland
    11a I could only think of leer and with DG, I got ledger which neither fitted kink nor was the right way round ie dg wasn’t on the outside.
    12a Didn’t know what a couturier was and modiste doesn’t ring any bells either.
    14a Very tough
    19a Disappointed to have missed the hidden word
    17d I knew barnet fair=hair but I think it is a quantum leap to then get afro.
    Glad to see it was a hard one and not just me.

  7. caretman says:

    Thanks to Gaufrid for the blog, and to Nestor for the challenge. I found this one a good workout but not as hard as some of the others who have commented so far (I usually figure that if *I* can solve it, it can’t be too hard). I was proud that I even got 17 dn, although only by checking wikipedia on Barnet and seeing the rhyming slang link there; otherwise I’m sure it would have stymied me. 24 dn was new to me and I could only get it by systematically trying combinations of letters; once it was found I could understand the wordplay so it was definitely fair. I actually liked the 14 ac clue in some undefinable way, maybe because of the lateral thinking required to solve it. My favorite clue was 20 ac, a very smooth &lit (although I didn’t see the need for the question mark).

  8. nmsindy says:

    This was good as always from Nestor, maybe a harder one than for a normal Monday as it’s a holiday in the UK. I think you’re right about the wordplay to THAW, Gaufrid, thanks. I did wonder tho if the definition part is just ‘Perchance wilt after winter’ ie thaw but far from sure, with ‘wilt’ and ‘thaw’ being similar in meaning. Thanks, Nestor and Gaufrid.

  9. flashling says:

    Stuggled with this and couldn’t see THAW. With that wedding on Friday was this meant to be the Thursday toughie and Eimi’s shuffled to accomodate it? Rare to see Gaufrid asking for help! Thanks all.

  10. Gaufrid says:

    Hi nmsindy @8
    I did consider your possible interpretation for the definition part of 14ac but ruled it out as I do not see ‘thaw’ as being synonymous with ‘wilt’. None of the dictionary definitions that I checked had any similarity for the two words nor are they connected in Chambers Thesaurus.

  11. PeeDee says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, very tough I thought. I hadn’t got clue about 14ac, it took a while to catch on, even after your explanation.

    I just dropeed in to try an Indy for a change, are they always this tough?

  12. Gaufrid says:

    Hi PeeDee
    This one was towards the tougher end of the Indy spectrum. Normally the Monday puzzle is at the easier end but presumably Eimi decided that we might have a bit more time to spare on a Bank Holiday.

  13. redddevil says:

    Be nice if Nestor could confirm – or otherwise – the parsing of 14 as I’m still not comfortable with it.

  14. Nestor says:

    The wordplay for 14A is indeed “thaw” = “happened to thee” (ie lisped form of “saw” = “happened to see”). The definition is “perchance wilt, after winter”. COED defines “wilt” = “become limp through [loss of water,] heat, [or disease]” and “thaw” = “become [liquid or] soft as a result of warming up”, so there’s some overlap of meaning. “Perchance” indicates the iffiness of the definition and “after winter” bolsters it.

  15. flashling says:

    Well you got it past Eimi but good grief, iffiness doesn’t quite cover this one though.

  16. Nestor says:

    I’m not going to get into a slanging match, but this is not a case of tricking Eimi into publishing something flawed. I contend that “perchance wilt, after winter” is a perfectly acceptable (cryptic) definition for the verb “thaw”, as I explained.

  17. flashling says:

    Apologies Nestor not trying to create a flame war at all, just musing after taking medicinal painkillers and my judgement was impaired. Please don’t take it personally, slanging match not sought, it’s not my style, jokey maybe. Anyway peace and thanks for the feedback and puzzle. P

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