Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7676/Nimrod

Posted by John on May 24th, 2011


Just what one doesn’t want when in a hurry to get the blog done. This took me quite a long time and if it hadn’t been for the Reveal button I’d still be doing it now. Time and again I gave up, pressed Reveal, and looked at the clue for a long time before explaining it; which I failed to do in every case: some are still a mystery to me.

The theme is 6/19/18/26, by 1/29. I haven’t read the book although I saw the film in my youth and have some memory of the details of the story. Even so there are still probably one or two references that I’ve missed. At first my heart sank and I feared that after the golf of yesterday, with which I was comfortable, we were back to something the Indy has done more often, with Jam and (bi)metal(lic) and who knows what else. But evidently not, thank goodness.

Nimrod has achieved a very nice crossword. The clues, although on the hard side as one would expect from this setter, are (so far as I can see at any rate) perfectly fair and often really far easier than they look like being.

6/19/18/26 AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS — in the story it was a bet in the Reform Club, so the definition is the first three words, and it’s (on highland tour as it were y y)* around d and d
10 BIMETALLIC — Bi (call time)* — an alloy is made up of two or more metals
12/23/11 THE REFORM CLUB — where the bet was made — there (as in ‘there there’, or let me reassure you) for m club — I’m not sure about Class M but I think that is how m is clued. Is it this? Or possibly this?
13 NEVADA — (Dave)rev. in N A — Dave Gorman
14 HULL — 2 defs
17/8 MICHAEL PALIN — who also used this title for his television series — (Chaplin e-mail)* with ‘send’ as the rather unusual anagram indicator that will not be to the liking of everyone, although the jazz-ecstasy-arousing sense of ‘send’ suggests some sort of shaking around
21 TOUT — Passepar(tout) was 3/27’s valet
22 GATORS — (rats go)* — my initial thought was that surely alligators are rather large reptiles, but the ‘small’ refers to the abbreviation of the word not the size of the reptile
24 OOH — OO is a pair of spectacles, H = Henry
28 TRAFFIC JAM — (if)rev, in (craft)*, spread (= jam)
30 HEARTLESS — the rather clever idea I think is that ‘scored’ without ‘core’, i.e. heartless, is sd, which is shillings and old pence; but I can’t see how ‘heartless’ is defined by ‘one way or the other’ except in a very vague way
1/29 JULES VERNE — (revels)* in June — one is never sure about the word ‘over': sometimes it means surrounding; sometimes it is in a down clue and means coming first; sometimes (as here) it means inside. I am less than happy with either the first or the third uses, but they may be standard in crosswordese.
2 ADWARE — had never heard this word, which refers to pop-up ads, and if we are going to have a less than mainstream word at least we might be spared the trouble of explaining why a e is tab, since it seems to be dwar{f} in ae, with the definition ‘unwanted puff for users’. I certainly can’t, nor the ‘source of’, although no doubt I’ll be told it’s perfectly simple. ‘Doc, say, nearly put on tab source of unwanted puff for users’ Oh yes I suppose it’s ‘A dwar{f}’ e, where e is ecstasy or a tab source.
3/27 PHILEAS FOGG — pH 1 is I expect very acidic, but the rest of it is quite beyond me, except that Phileas Fogg was the traveller in the story. ‘Very acidic, so far obscure charges on traveller’
4 DANCE HALL — (he’s)rev. in D (can)* all
5 VISUAL AID — VI s(U AL)aid — but how the answer is defined I can’t see: I can see that one might use a visual aid at the University of Alabama since a visual aid is related to a teaching environment, but it seems a bit vague and I suspect there is a better explanation
7 RAIL — 2 defs
9 OCTAVO — this is a size of book, but I can’t see what the connection with Palin is: Michael P? Sarah P, hence Alaska? AL as KA in something? ‘Would Palin’s location offer a clue to this book?’
15 R(1 BOSOM)ES — a ribosome, according to Chambers, is ‘a small particle, found in large numbers in most cells and composed of RNA and protein, on which protein synthesis takes place’. So there you are.
16 PHO(TO GE{t})NE
25 JuliuS CALPurnia — the ‘arm-in-arm’ puts them together

16 Responses to “Independent 7676/Nimrod”

  1. flashling says:

    for 12 I saw class = form, the for in the clue being superfluous and answer 8 is PALIN leading to OCT in 9.

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks John
    I think 2dn is simply A DWAR[f] (Doc, say nearly) E (tab).
    Flasling’s covered 9dn and 3dn is: PH1 (very acidic) AS (so far) FOG (obscure) in LEG (on {cricket}).

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Also, I think the ‘one way or the other’ in 30ac is indicating that ‘scored’ is ‘heartless’ either by removing the central letters or by removing a word that means heart.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Great stuff yet again. I confess to googling to get ribosome. 30 and 3/27 were the last two I parsed – long after filling them in! Both are dizzying. Almost too good!

  5. Wanderer says:

    Thank you John and Nimrod. I have always found Nimrod/Enigmatist one of the toughest setters of all, and today was no exception. In fact I nearly gave up and retired hurt, having got nowhere near the theme, until the relatively simple GATORS and OOH gave the “GH” combination in 18d. As soon as I saw this, EIGHTY became a possibility; and as soon as the possibility entered my head, the long answer tumbled from the enumeration (and the very few crossing letters I already had).

    The slight reservation I have with this kind of crossword is that when the penny drops, it drops all too fast. I could see, for example, that the long clue was an anagram, but I didn’t bother to solve it since I was sure of the answer. Similarly, the parsing of PHILEAS FOGG was quite beyond me (thanks Gaufrid for your explanation), but it didn’t matter: the answer was clear. In the same way, THE REFORM CLUB, JULES VERNE and TOUT went in straight away, with very little thought required.

    That said, there was still plenty of stuff to hold me up for a long time. I failed on ADWARE, and HEARTLESS was a pure guess — from the crossing letters, the only possibilities I could see were the correct answer and BEARDLESS, and I struck lucky without understanding why. Now, of course, I see that it was a very clever clue. Too clever for me!

    Thank you Nimrod for a stiff challenge.

  6. Mustyx says:

    I agree with everything Wanderer says. Took ages to get the theme, and then everything fell into place too quickly. I failed on ‘ribosomes’ – never heard of them – so DNF. ‘Heartless’ was a guess. I did get ‘Adware’ – my favourite clue. It’s always good to see the setter using a modern term, rather than the outdated slang which makes up a lot of crossword references.

    Hoping for a non-themed puzzle tomorrow!

    Incidentally, I was amazed to find that, thanks to John’s intro to the blog, that the Indy publishes the puzzle on-line with the possibility of finding the solution with the ‘reveal’ button. I really think the reveal button should be dropped – it’s too tempting when you’re stuck. Will have to find a way of blocking the site!

    Small grid (bad). Serif typeface (good).

  7. caretman says:

    I agree with flashling’s and Gaufrid’s parsings at 1 and 2. There were some excellent clues here and quite the challenge! At first run through the puzzle looked nearly unsolvable with the long theme answer and several related clues which were difficult to parse. I also eventually got the theme after getting the GHT in EIGHTY and thinking in terms of bets and traveling, and then much that had been confusing was revealed. I thought 9d was an excellent clue; I had penciled the answer in from the definition without understanding the wordplay, but after getting 17/8 could see the nice wordplay. Great stuff from Nimrod!

  8. Richard Heald says:

    Surprised no-one’s yet pointed out that the top half of the grid is entirely disconnected from the bottom. Any thematic significance to this, I wonder?

  9. Thomas99 says:

    Richard Heald-
    I hadn’t noticed that. Interesting. But Nimrod has also effectively joined the two halves again by having five multi-word answers which cross the border.

  10. quodlibet says:

    5d is U(niversity) AL(abama) in VI(6) SAID (talked) with ‘about’ being the containment indicator

  11. ele says:

    Having half expected we might get a celebration of his Bobness’s 70th birthday, and seeing lots of multiword answers I was slightly disappointed to see the actual theme. Valet was the word that gave it away in 21ac. Thanks to John for explaining the wordplay to several answers, which I had to guess. Ribosome was no problem as it happens, but failed on heartless and adware. And despite flashling’s explanation, I still don’t get octavo. A fun crossword though, so thanks Nimrod – even if not a Dylan fan.

    Hope you had a good evening in the pub.

  12. John H says:

    I am a Dylan fan, as it happens, ele. But he’s only 70.

    The Reform Club was celebrating 175. And they gave me a free three-course lunch to help me celebrate with them!


  13. ele says:

    A no-brainer then. :) I did wonder what the connection could be.

  14. Mustyx says:

    ele at 11. ‘Palin’ appeared at 8ac. 8 is the clue to Octavo – a size of book made by folding each printed sheet into eight leaves (16pp)

  15. eimi says:

    I am a big Dylan fan and I had prepared a grid in which all the Across answers were albums by His Bobness, but due to pressure of work I didn’t have much time to clue it, so I deferred to my Elgarian colleague.

  16. Mustyx says:

    As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of themed crosswords, but I’d make an exception for one of my particular idols. Any chance of this puzzle appearing at some point in the future? Hope we don’t have to wait until he’s 75!

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