Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,667/Nimrod – Be afraid…

Posted by Ali on May 13th, 2011


As soon as Phi appeared yesterday, I guessed that we’d be in for some sort of date-related puzzle today, and this certainly didn’t disappoint.

I found this very tough from the start and was slightly misled by assuming that the perimeter message started in the top left corner with AT RISK… Once I’d solved a few more, I saw TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIC emerging, but was still puzzled by an F and 2 Gs. A quick Google led me to FRIGGATRISKAIDEKAPHOBIC (fear of Friday 13th). That certainly helped with other clues, but I’d be telling porkies if I said I finished this completely unaided

The constraints put on the grid entries by the perimeter word meant that there was a couple of lesser-known words – e.g. AMNIOTE and LEXEMES, both of which were new to me – but there were some great clues here, 2D and 4D being my pick of the bunch.

9 AMNIOTE – A(merican) + (ON TIME)*
10 GRIT – Hidden in studyinG RITa
11 BELLADONNA – Can’t quite work this one out. Something involving LABEL ON N(ew), but not sure where the final A comes from
12 INTERBREED – I NEED around centre of mistER BRown
14 FIJI – IF rev. + I (current) J(urge) rev.
16 RADICES – RA (Royal Artillery, i.e. Army)+ DICES (takes great risk)
17 OUR LORD – Middle letters of hOURLy wORDs
19 FENS – F[-lat] + ENS (being), &lit.
25 SILK – I think this is a double def
26 LEXEMES – LEX (Latin for law) + (SEEM)*
27 STIGMA – T(ime) in SIGMA
1 AESTHETICS – (IT TEACHES)* + taSte, &lit.
2 TOMB – TOM B(aker), the Doctor Who who followed Jon P(ertwee)!
3 RALLIER – R(esistance) + ALLIER
5 SO-SO – SO (very) x 2
6 KEEN – Double def.
8 AIR INTAKE – A1 (top notch) + A in (TINKER)*
14 FELLOWSHIP – FE (iron) + (H(ospital) + PILLOWS)*
15 JERUSALEM – ER (Queen) + U(niversity) + SALEM (rugby team) in J.M (Barrie)
22 TALC – Hidden in digiTAL Crystal
23 TAXI – TAX on 1
24 SASH – S.A.S + H(earts)

21 Responses to “Independent 7,667/Nimrod – Be afraid…”

  1. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, Ali and Nimrod

    Hurrah – I got the Nina! [But only at the end, after being surprised that there was no reference to the date.]

    Favourite clues: INS AND OUTS and JERUSALEM

    26ac is S[hilling] + ILK [kind]

  2. Eileen says:

    Sorry – 25ac, of course

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Be very afraid in my case, Ali …

    I won’t say my heart sinks when I see Nimrod’s name appear, because it’s only a crossword after all. But let’s just say that I start his puzzles more in hope than expectation. However, I did finish this apart from two: RADICES and FENS, which I just couldn’t see.

    Because I haven’t had much success with this setter so far, I haven’t been able to appreciate his clueing and wit, but today I really liked INTERBREED and DOLLS HOUSE.

    It’s funny what different folk find easy or difficult: AMNIOTE and LEXEME I got on the first run through, but I was glad of the blog for the explanation of several other clues.

    I saw that there was a perimeter nina, but couldn’t get it till coming here. Nice puzzle, so thank you to blogger and setter.

  4. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Ali and Nimrod. Very tough as you say. I also failed on RADICES. And although I saw AT RISK and PHOBIC in the perimeter, I failed to connect them up.

    I read BELLADONNA as an anagram of LABEL+ON+DNA, with “information” as the reference to DNA, but I still can’t really make it work.

  5. crypticsue says:

    The usual tough challenge – I failed on 9a. Usual sense of satisfaction when the ‘tussle’ was done.

  6. nmsindy says:

    This was very tough but I got there in the end, seeing the full Nina, which I think is FRIGGATRISKAIDEKAPHOBICS only at the very end when the possibility of AT RISK appeared and then I saw PHOBIC – it was clever to put those two real words (phrases) in the top and bottom rows as extracts from the Nina word. Not sure about BELLADONNA but thought back-to-front tag might be LABEL becoming BEL LA. Thanks, Ali, and Nimrod.

  7. Pelham Barton says:

    I read 11ac as
    Back-to-front tag = BELL/A (stretching back-to-front to mean moving the whole syllable)
    bearing = containing (at point marked by / above)
    information = AD
    on = ON
    new = N
    plant = definition

    For clarity, the answer builds up as BELL(AD ON N) A

  8. Mustyx says:

    I struggled with this, and like others only got ‘at risk’ and ‘phobic’ as ninas – never heard of friggatriskaidekaphobics. (neither has the spellchecker I notice). I had the same parsing as Pelham Barton on Belladonna, but didn’t like ad=information (although I spent my life in advertising). Had to use dictionary to confirm lexemes and amniote, Stared at ra?l?e? for about ten minutes before finally seeing rallier (thinking somehow it should be rallyer which of course it isn’t). Didn’t get Radices at all so DNF. Very clever puzzle, but not one to do on the train to work!

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    Mustyx @8:

    Glad we agree on BELLADONNA. Chambers 1998 gives the second definition of advertisement as “a public notice, usu with the purpose of informing and/or changing public attitudes and behaviour (colloq short form ad or advert)”. That is good enough for me.

  10. caretman says:

    Quite a tough puzzle, and like Ali I can’t say I did it unaided. I liked LEXEMES as I could see the roots and so had confidence it was right, and I thought the wordplay leading to OUR LORD was good. But of course I’m going to pick out the clues I could solve readily. If my skill at solving were better I might have better appreciated some of the other clues. I could get about 3/4 of the clues on my own and needed pattern matching to help with the remainder. But an excellent challenge from Nimrod, with a well constructed Nina as well.

  11. Richard Palmer says:

    I really enjoyed this. I thought there were more relatively easy clues than usual for Nimrod and made good early progress but struggled to finish it. I was expecting a Nina and AT RISK and PHOBIC stood out. I found TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA in Bradford’s Lists and guessed there would be something to do with Frig, the Norse goddess that Friday is named after, so I could finally get FENS and RADICES.

  12. Thomas99 says:

    Perhaps this is as good a time to ask as any –
    Why is it called a “Nina”?
    What exactly does it mean? Just something around the edge, or is the definition broader?

    Today’s Nina was outrageously clever and I was nowhere near spotting it.
    I think my favourite clue is 2d – but as usual there are quite a few contenders.

  13. Gaufrid says:

    Thomas99 @12
    See the FAQ page.

  14. Thomas99 says:

    Aha! Thanks, Gaufrid.

  15. flashling says:

    Nimrod warned me he was on today so was prepared for a tough fight and got one, thanks Nimrod for the puzzle and thanks to unlucky Ali.

  16. Mick H says:

    What a great Nina – someone had fun coining that one. Frigging tricky psychedelica I call it.
    I wonder if TOMB gave many people problems. Being of a similar age to Nimrod, I quite quickly thought of Jon Pertwee and knew Tom Baker came next, but only because that switch came at the point when I was glued to Doctor Who every Saturday evening.

  17. bamberger says:

    I got well over half way with but even with more time I don’t think I would have got amniote, radices and lexemes. How did I miss the hidden word at 22d?

    Thanks for the blog

  18. Pelham Barton says:

    bamberger @17:

    That is the essence of a good hidden clue, and why I dislike the alternative term “embedded”.

  19. Wanderer says:

    Thank you to Pelham Barton and Mustyx for your explanations of BELLADONNA. Much better than my feeble offering at 4. Some of this went over my head, but I greatly enjoyed it.

  20. Quixote says:

    Fun — and relatively easy for a Nimrod after I woke up on Saturday.
    Go for his cryptic definitions, that’s my advice. RADICES the last one in and I only understood the FRIGGA bit after coming here. The Telegraph Toughie by the same setter on a similar theme was quite a bit harder. Well done, colleague!

  21. Allan_C says:

    Seems like a lot of us got the ‘triskaidekaphobic’ part of the nina and then were stumped. I was trying to make it into “A triskaidekaphobic’s –igg” having got everything except 16a and 19a.

    When Z, then X and K emerged fairly early I wondered if we were going to have a pangram for the third day in a row.


Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

seven − = 3