Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7668 Bannsider (Sat 14-May-2011)

Posted by beermagnet on May 21st, 2011


First session: 8 answers in 15 mins all below the half-way line.
Then I slowed down a bit ( <- understatement alert)

This was tough. Tough as any Bannsiders I’ve tackled. But enjoyable tough rather than hair pulling tough.

There are still a few aspects to wordplay that need further explanation below.

1 A STIFF UPPER LIP Hiker by border following dog with no lead, one kept by Briton? (1,5,5,3)
[m]ASTIFF (dog with no lead) UPPER (hiker – as in raising something) LIP (border) The clue the provided the breakthrough in the top half and most of the puzzle, when I eventually got it – purely from definition and letter count.
9 BUSMAN’S HOLIDAY His damn lousy break with BA? (7,7)
(HIS DAMN LOUSY + BA)* AInd: Break. Beautiful &Lit anagram clue. I tried to make Britsh something fit for a while of course.
10 SPOT CHECKS Vets unexpectedly having designs on pet dog? (4,6)
Cryptic Def. Spot being the archetypal name for a dog as per this cartoon
12 ECHO Remember to contain this sound effect between mikes (4)
? Is this a reference to feedback
13 WINIFRED Girl to make socialism a condition of electoral success? (8)
WIN IF RED (socialism a condition of electoral success – if only!  Not in deepest bluest Surrey here.  Last May 5th I kept up my unbroken record of always voting for the losing side)
15 ROTARY Race in football strip across pitch, going round and round (6)
TAR (pitch) inside ROY (Race in football strip) Roy Race is Roy of the Rovers
17 STATUA Small cheers repeatedly ringing for everyone in old cast (6)
S[mall] TA TA (cheers – as in goodbye, my usual sign-off of choice as it happens) around U (for everyone – as in Certificate U)
18 LITERACY Ability to absorb stuff that’s low-calorie and packed with spice? (8)
LITE (stuff that’s low calorie) RACY (packed with spice) Def.: Ability to absorb – ideas etc.
19 ACER Tree a banker cut down (4)
A CER[t] (a banker – certain to win)
21 MATCHMAKER Stick producer and Union organiser in one (10)
Explicit Double Def. – marriage union
23 PIG-IN-THE-MIDDLE Catching game to go with ham sandwich? (3-2-3-6)
Double Def. one of them Cryptic.  An earlier answer for me from the letter count mainly
25 BAY CITY ROLLERS Dancing erotically, Ruby’s removing posh tartan band (3,4,7)
(EROTICALLY RUBY’S – U)* AInd: Dancing. First answer entered from “tartan band” and letter count – I wasn’t surprised to read through all across clues before finding something solveable on first sight. I the interests of sanity I will not provide a link to any Rollers output.
2 SE-BAPTIST Lord of the Rings (abridged) – a small part first – one immerses oneself (2-7)
SEB ( Lord of the Rings abridged – Ref. Lord Sebastian Coe) A PT (A small part) IST (First – i.e. 1st) Unsurprisingly this required checking in Chambers but there it is on pg 1369: A person who baptises himself. Also unsurprisingly it was the last that I put in.
3 INSET Clubs no longer involved in cricket perhaps not getting the bigger picture (5)
I’m sure I understood this one when I solved it – the Def refers to a small picture. Ah yes it’s INSE[c]T Cricket is the insect C is Clubs as in suit of cards.
4 FEATHER PALM Feature of Oasis or Iron Maiden LP – a Heart composition (7,4)
FE (iron) then (M[aiden] A HEART LP)* AInd: composition. I had PALM early on but it took a while to tease out which bits of the rest of the clue to anagram to find a type of palm. There are a few palms in local gardens near my home that lasted for years up until last winter’s cold snap – now all stone dead, like my little mimosa.
5 POSTCODE LOTTERY Which implies WCs in London might be better for one’s health? (8,7)
Cryptic Def. The WCs mislead me to lavatorial musings for ages and even when Lottery looked a likely 2nd word the significance of WC as a postcode did not easily spark
6 ECO Writer keen on recycling old material? (3)
Double Def. Ref. Umberto Eco, and re-use and recycling being one of the central tenets of being green, i.e. ecological living.  I had ENO in there at first, thinking it was a hidden (in keEN On) with material as the hidden indicator, referring to Brian Eno, but was unhappy as he would be described as a musician/composer/artist rather than a (song-)writer.  So I gave it a rethink (I had plenty of time before getting the rest)
7 LEICESTER Character accepting totals for the first time arrives at fifteen (9)
No. I can’t understand this clue.  Given L-I-E-T-R nothing else but Leicester fits. Is it a Shakespeare reference that I can’t winkle out? Leicester always reminds me of “Who croaked Leicester?”
8 PEACH Grass that’s sort of green covering chestnut (5)
PEA (sort of green) CH[est] (split chestnut so “chest nut” means the nut (head) of chest – Ooow!). Def: Grass. Snitch. Reminds of Jeremy Hardy describing someone peaching to the rozzers in a 50’s RP accent
11 STRETCH LIMO Extended vehicle tax and put up fuel, bringing in millions (7,4)
STRETCH (Tax) M[illions] inside OIL<
14 INTERCITY The old express it in empty rhetoric, yet originally (9)
(IT IN R[hetori]C YET)* AInd: originally.
16 RACKETEER One maybe offering protection from noise at any time, killing volume (9)
RACKET (noise) E[v]ER
20 CLIMB Scale derived from Celsius, stepping lower and lower, but not ending in zero (5)
C[elcius] LIMB[o]
22 ABDUL Muscle European out of battle that’s often in the name of Islam (5)
AB (Muscle) DU[e]L
24 TUI Bird with wings clipped ate bug and hid (3)
[a]T[e] [b]U[g] [h]I[d] Clip the wings of these words! Here’s the bird

12 Responses to “Independent 7668 Bannsider (Sat 14-May-2011)”

  1. Richard Heald says:

    12A refers to the fact that E (= echo in the phonetic alphabet) falls between two M’s (= mike in same) in ‘reMEMber’.

    The wordplay for 7D is LETTER with ICES (= totals, US slang word meaning ‘kills’) for the first T, but I’m afraid the definition part eludes me too.

    Loved ‘Lord of the Rings’ for Seb!

  2. tor says:

    Thank you both.

    re 7d, fifteen is a square number and there is… I can’t go on.

  3. tor says:

    What on earth was I thinking, please ignore that.

  4. jmac says:

    I thought 7 dn was Lee (Chinese character) + ices (totals) + t (time) + r (first letter of 15 ac) making an &lit as Leicester are a well known Rugby Union team (or fifteen). But I could be completely wrong.

    This was one of the most enjoyable crosswords I have attempted recently, with some brilliaant clues. Thanks Bannsider & Beermagnet.

  5. Eileen says:

    Congratulations, beermagnet, on a super blog of a very hard – but ultimately satisfying – puzzle!

    Re7dn: I live in Leicester and am a Tigers supporter but iyt still took ages for this to click. I think it’s one of the most obscure clues I’ve ever seen, in both wordplay and definition.

    I think it must be the rugby team and I think the wordplay is LETTER [character] accepting ICES [totals] instead of [‘for’] the first T[ime]

    Many thanks, Bannsider, for an interesting Saturday!

  6. Bannsider says:

    Sorry about “LEICESTER”. Usually I go back over my puzzles when they appear so they’re fresh in the mind for the blogs, and I must admit when I re-read this one I did think “ooh, that’s tough!”
    Sorry Eileen, but I will now do a further letter-substitution, “north” for “church”, on LEICESTER, to come up with the team I will be supporting today in the Heineken Cup Final. Mind you if you are a Leicester supporter you may be in sympathy :-)

  7. Eileen says:

    Nice one, Bannsider – all the best! :-)

  8. nmsindy says:

    I thought this was one of Bannsider’s finest puzzles, very tough all right but made progress all the time. Understood LEICESTER as the rugby team all right (eventually). Esp liked hiker = upper in 1 across and ‘vets unexpectedly’ as a definition of SPOT CHECKS which gave such scope to mislead. Great imagination and originality, I thought, in the puzzle as a whole, and everything was completely fair. Thanks, Bannsider and beermagnet. BTW, whatever about the Heineken Cup, don’t forget another final today which will of special interest to another setter if a perimeter message of the past is any guide.

  9. Bannsider says:

    Actually I should add, re 8 down, CH is just a dictionary abbreviation for CHESTNUT (as in the horse).

    I also neglected to thank beermagnet for the excellent blog. Thank you!

  10. flashling says:

    Odd that BM I cleared the lower half in no time and struggled with the top, I too initially thought ENO but realised in the end, TY BM and the Bann man

  11. caretman says:

    Thanks, beermagnet, and the discussions explaining the definition of 7d. I put it in but had no understanding of why it might be right. Also, my experience was the opposite of beermagnet’s; 1a came right away for me from the letter count confirmed by seeing how it parsed, while the bottom took much longer. It didn’t help that in the states the game referenced in 23a is ‘pickle in the middle’, and although I had come across the phrase BAY CITY ROLLERS I hadn’t even known they were a musical band, much less tartan-clad. One clarification on beemagnet’s blog in 17a: ‘cheers’ = TA with ‘repeatedly’ meaning to duplicate it.

    This was a good, challenging puzzle which took some research for me to solve (POSTCODE LOTTERY was also unfamiliar to me) and solutions I had to check were really words (STATUA and TUI), but to me that’s a big part of the attraction of solving puzzles. So thanks, Bannsider, for the workout.

  12. Mustyx says:

    We always called it ‘piggy in the middle’ and this variation was new to me. Excellent puzzle.

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