Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7650 / Nimrod – Saturday Prize Puzzle 23 April 2011

Posted by duncanshiell on April 30th, 2011


Nimrod is one of the most prolific compilers at the moment, under a variety of pseudonyms.  He is also Enigmatist in the Guardian, Io in the Financial Times and Elgar in the Daily Telegraph.

Like more and more blocked crosswords these days, this puzzle had a clear theme. Most of the Down clues and two of the Across clues linked to answer at 9 down – DIARIST.  Fortunately I found 9 Down to be a fairly easy clue, so the rest of the puzzle fell fairly quickly.  I had heard of most of the DIARISTS except for HORACE WIMP although the clue was not difficult to solve once a few crossing letters were in place.

I liked the fact that many definitions were not lifted word for word from dictionaries, but were also not too cryptic.  I found the definitions to be fairly subtle requiring a bit of lateral thinking.  There was a lot to be learnt when doing the research for some of the detail in the blog.

The clue to 26 Down, SNAP was clever. It took me a while to realise that the wordplay was being described in two different ways involving three different card games. The one parsing I am not too sure is about is the one for 28/6 ANNE FRANK where I think the the E is simply clued by the word “letter”

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
7 / 1 Space 9′s Jamaican skirt kept swirling (7,5,1,4) Anagram of (swirling) JAMAICAN SKIRT KEPT CAPTAIN [JAMES T KIRK] (Diarist [9]; Reference "Captain’s Log Star Date 43128.5" [or some other date]) Captain Kirk was the Captain of the Starship Enterprise in the early series of Star Trek
8 9′s not somebody some were too proud to reject (6) Hidden word reversed (to reject) in (some) WERE TOO PROUD POOTER (Diarist [9]; Reference the Diary of a Nobody [i.e. not somebody] by George Grossmith.  The Diary is the fictitious record of Mr Charles <font color="blue")POOTER and first appeared as series of articles in Punch 1888-1889 before being published as a book in 1892)
10 No broader women left by name (2,3) WIDEST (nothing is broader [no broader] than the WIDEST) excluding (left) W (women) ID EST (that is to say; namely; by name)
11 A drop in the ocean for the BBC series (3) Hidden word in (for … series) THE BBC EBB (going back or lowering of the tide; a drop in the [level of] the ocean )
13 Trembler is an East End 9, say? (5) AS PEN (If an London East Ender wished to describe a diarist as someone who has a pen, he/she would drop the H and say  the diarist ‘AS PEN) ASPEN (the trembling poplar [tree])
14 Ol’ Blue Eyes & co, who followed a fateful tune in Hamelin? (3,4) RAT PACK (reference the Pied Piper of Hamelin who lured the rats [RAT PACK] to their death and away from the Town of Hamelin by playing magic tunes) RAT PACK (The RAT PACK was originally a group of actors centred on Humphrey Bogart, but from the 1960s the term is most commonly used to describe Frank Sinatra (Ol’ Blue Eyes), Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop)
16 Nimrod’s very happy supporter (1-4) I (Nimrod) + BEAM (smile radiantly) taken together I BEAM indicates that Nimrod (puzzle setter) is very happy

I-BEAM (a metal girder; supporter)

19 Winter sportsman’s a high chance for dismissal (5) SKIER (in cricket, a ball hit high into the air [sky] such that it is likely to be caught; a high chance for dismissal) SKIER (one who skis; winter sportsman)
20 Go on a horse (3) NAG (persistenly scold or annoy; go on) NAG (small, often inferior, horse)
21 Private’s a good shot (5) INNER (farther in; private) INNER (the target next to the bull’s eye on an archery target, hence hitting the inner is a good shot)
22 Something poisonous artist discovered in equipment (5) RA (Royal Academician; artist) contained in (discovered in) KIT (equipment) KRAIT (deadly rock snake; something poisonous)
23 Like flatfish you installed in back of warehouse (3-4) YE (you) contained in (installed in) (DEPOT [warehouse] reversed [back of]) TOP-EYED (flatfish appear to have eyes on top of their body)  I can’t find TOP-EYED as a word in any of Collins, Chambers or the Shorter Oxford, but I feel sure the answer is right.
25 A course of salts? (5) EPSOM (Reference EPSOM horse racecourse, home of the Derby) EPSOM (EPSOM salts used as a purgative medicine)
27 E number put out of late (3) Anagram of (put out) E and NO (number) NEO (suffix indicating new, young revived in a new form; of late)
28 Sea covers east of region (5) ARAL (Reference Aral Sea in Central Asia) containing (covers) E (East) AREAL (of a region)
29 Yankee ahead of time in annual appearance (6) Y (Yankee is the code word for the letter Y in international radio communications) + EARLY (ahead of time) YEARLY (annual appearance)
30 One of a number of popes serving with pride? (7) LEO NINE (Reference Pope St Leo IX (1049-54), one of 13 Popes who took the name Leo.  Also LEONINE refers to any of the Popes Leo)) LEONINE (lionlike; reference a pride fo lions)


No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 See 7 Across See 7 Across [CAPTAIN] JAMES T KIRK
2 One flier’s busy (2,2) A  (one) + TIT (bird; flier) AT IT (occupied in a particular way; busy)
3 Newspaper 9′s career turning point nearly overwhelms top man (5,7) MILESTONE (an important event; career turning point) excluding the final letter (nearly) E containing (overwhelms) KING (ruler; top man) MILES KINGTON ([1941 - 2008], a columnist/diarist [9] for the Independent Newspaper, among other talents as a musician and broadcaster)
4 9 on record as generating Mach 1 power (6,4) Anagram of (generating) MACH 1 POWER HORACE WIMP (Reference  ’The diary [9] of HORACE WIMP’ is a track on the album [on record] Discovery by The Electric Light Orchestra.  The track was also released as a single in 1979)
5 Looking down on first sixteen characters (4) A TO P (The first letter of the alphabet is A and the sixteenth is P) ATOP (if one is ATOP something, one is looking down on others)
6 See 28 Down See 28 Down [ANNE] FRANK
9 Attack over Sun being taken in by sex writer (7) RAID (attack) reversed (over) (S [sun] contained in (taken in by) IT [sexual activity]) DIARIST (writer)
12 Film 9 suspiciously deserting job (7,5) Anagram of (suspiciously) DESERTING JOB BRIDGET JONES (Reference the book [1996] and film [2001] of BRIDGET JONES Diary [9])
15 Book 9 one man playing part without following a director (6,4) A + D (director) + (ROLE [part] containing [without; outwith] an anagram of [playing] [I {one} and MAN}]) ADRIAN MOLE (reference ‘ The Secret Diary [9] of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾’, a book by Sue Townsend.  There were also later books in a series)
17 Secretarial 9′s road taken by Quaker over the years (10) M + ONE (reference M1 motorway [road]) + ([Y {year} + Y {year}] containing (over) PENN (reference William Penn, a prominent early Quaker) MONEYPENNY (Reference, I think, to Miss Moneypenny M’s secretary [and keeper of  M's diary {9} {?}] in the James Bond books and films)
18 Radio 9′s stewed medlar s(3,4) Anagram of (stewed) MEDLARS MRS. DALE (Reference MRS. DALE‘s Diary [9], a long running [1948 - 1969] 15 minute daily (weekday) broadcast predominantly on the BBC Light Programme.  The programme was regarded as the first soap opera, but without the more lurid goings on in today’s soaps.  As I remember the show was broadcast morning and afternoon, with one being a repeat of the previous programme)
24 Capital 9 looks to the audience (5) Sounds like (to the audience) PEEPS (looks) PEPYS (reference Samuel PEPYS [1633 - 1703] a famous London diarist [9])
26 Partners at table having a quiet card-game and one of them another (4) (S [South] + N [North], partners at the table when playing Bridge + A + P (quiet); also (S [one of the partners]+ NAP [card-game]) SNAP (card-game)
28 / 6 War 9 sees a news letter (#6) on line (4,5) AN (a) + N (news) + E (letter) + F ([letter] number 6) + RANK (line) ANNE [FRANK] (reference The Diary [9] of Anne Frank (or The Diary of a Young Girl) which chronicles Anne’s hidden life in Amsterdam from 12 June 1942 to 1 Augsut 1944)

7 Responses to “Independent 7650 / Nimrod – Saturday Prize Puzzle 23 April 2011”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, Duncanshiell, and to Nimrod for a challenging puzzle. It took me the longest time to get the theme word which didn’t fall until I got 12 dn. Most of the diarists were unfamiliar to me, but as you say they were solvable from the clues and I spent some quality time reading up on them as I worked them out. I was similarly stumped by the E in 28 ac and couldn’t find any better solution than the one you came up with. But if that was what was intended, what’s to stop a future setter from writing a clue “Reading letters (8)”? But other than that, it was a very enjoyable puzzle. I really liked 8 ac and the wordplay in 17 dn.

  2. nmsindy says:

    I thought it may be EF (letter # = number 6) ie 6th in the alphabet on RANK (line) after A NN. Easier than some Nimrod puzzles, but maybe I was lucky to get DIARIST straight away. Fairly easy clues for the unfamiliar (to me in some cases) names made them easy to work out and verify after. Thanks, Nimrod and Duncan.

  3. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, Nimrod and Duncanshiell.
    One of those puzzles where the theme ‘emerges’ and you can’t think afterwards where the ‘eureka moment’ came. May have been BRIDGET JONES in this case – ‘suspiciously’ was a great anagrind.
    RAT PACK was my first to go in, from the Hamelin reference, but I had to google it to check the ol’ blue eyes reference –
    Despite being familiar with the NATO alphabet (widely used in more spheres than simply radio communication) it still doesn’t always register when it turns up in crossword clues until I’ve got the answer and think ‘of course’, as here in 29a.

  4. Polly says:

    This was a joy to do: it completely restored my faith in Nimrod after some recent struggles. I had filled in a number of the answers and realized that 9 down belonged to the genus writer before the lightbulb moment gave me the species diarist. I was intrigued to learn along the way that Star Trek’s Kirk was named in homage to our own Captain Cook, one of whose journal entries contained the statement ‘ambition leads me … farther than any other man has been before me’ – rather more elegant, if less memorable, than ‘to boldly go’.

  5. flashling says:

    I normally struggle quite badly with Nimrod, but not with this one which fell in less than a pint.

    Thanks Duncan for the blog and Nimrod for a quite pleasant solve.

  6. jmac says:

    Thanks for the blog Duncan. So many clues fell on the first parse that I had to double check that this really was a Nimrod. Good to know he can do medium/easy as well as tough. What hadn’t changed was the accuracy and inventiveness of the cluing. A very enjoyable solve.

  7. scchua says:

    Thanks Duncan for the blog and Nimrod for an enjoyable puzzle. Quite a rare animal, a Nimrod I could complete in one sitting, though by no means a pushover. Cracking the theme came with 12D BRIDGET JONES.

    Favourites were 17D MONEYPENNY, last one in, had the answer but took a few minutes to see M-One, 16A I-BEAM and 19A SKIER, 2 examples that they need not be long to be entertaining.

    Btw There was a series of books and short stories called The Moneypenny Diaries, as a spin-off from the James Bond books, and I think that’s what the clue to 17D was referring to.

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