Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,696/Mordred

Posted by Ali on June 16th, 2011


This was a nice challenge from Mordred. Plenty of well-hidden definitions and neat wordplay , and a number of what seem to be trademark &lits.

A few less-common words here and there – NACELLE and MARE’S TAIL were new to me – but there’s nothing going on in the grid that I can see. I do often miss Ninas though!

10 OXEYE – OX (neat) + EYE (look)
12 NACELLE – CELL in NA (Sodium) [-dichromat]E
13 PATTERN – PAT + [-s(mall)]TERN
14 E-BOAT – BOA in E.T
16 IMPLICATE – IMP (rascal) + C(aught) AT (engaged) in LIE (deception)
19 OLD STAGER – (Chris) OLD + (GETS A R(un))*
20 GREET – Double def.
22 TITLARK – TIT + LARK (2 birds)
25 HIT LIST – Double def.
27 ANTHELION – ([-fain]T HALO IN NE)* – &lit.
28 RIDGE – [-part]RIDGE
29 THREE BLIND MICE – This is (TREBLE HIND)* for THREE BLIND, but not sure how we get MICE
3 KNEEL – N (knight) in LEEK rev.
5 UNRIP – U(niversity) + [-do]N + R.I.P
7 ELATE – Hidden in sorrEL AT Epsom
9 POUNCE – P (quiet) + OUNCE (snow leopard)
15 TETE-A-TETE – TEA (meal) + TET (Vietnamese New Year) in TEE (support)
18 APERIODIC – 0 in I.D in (CAPER)*
19 OUTCAST – Cryptic def.
21 TOTTER – T[-r]OTT + E(nglish) R(uns)
23 TATER – (TREAT)* – &lit.
24 KRILL – Odd letters of KeRmIt + L(eft) + [-al]L
26 THRUM – [rhy]TH[mic] + RUM (spirit)

14 Responses to “Independent 7,696/Mordred”

  1. NealH says:

    I think 29 is an &lit, with the unwelcome visitors being mice after (treble hind)* and the whole thing being a reference to the nursery rhyme (who lost their tails, of course).

  2. lenny says:

    Thanks Ali, there were quite a few unfamiliar words for me too, including E-boat, Titlark, Anthelion and Unrip. Fortunately Mordred had made the wordplay very clear for them. I was not so keen on the two cricketers. I had just about heard of Trott but Old-stager went in on definition alone.
    I can’t parse Three blind mice either. I agree with NeilH that the unwelcome visitors are mice but I can’t see an overall definition or an anagrind and it does not seem to work even as a semi&lit.

  3. lenny says:

    On second thoughts, it does work as an &lit but that leaves cut as the anagrind,in the sense of cut up, presumably.

  4. ele says:

    Thanks Ali for the blog and explanations, esp. of 28ac. Found this medium hard and failed on 27ac. In desperation put in aetherian. Liked 1ac, 6d and 10ac. Agree with NealH on 29ac. Mice are certainly unwelcome visitors.

  5. spb says:

    Very disappointed that there is no such bird as the tithawk.

  6. nmsindy says:

    I found this a little easier than Mordred sometimes is and I enjoyed it. While not being able to put my finger on it exactly wondered if there was some sort of a theme with a lot of animals appearing in across answers eg MONKEY, OX, MARE, BOA, CAT, STAG, LION, MICE etc. Thanks Mordred and Ali.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    I share the slight disquiet about 29. I took it as an &lit too, with mice indicated by “unwelcome visitors” , which they certainly are to the farmer’s wife. But there was still the feeling that I hadn’t quite got it. I think the problem might be that the mice are “three blind mice” before as well as after “treble hind cut” – and they are more “visitors” before than after, when I’d have thought they’d be fugitives. Then again unwelcome visitors don’t really stop being unwelcome visitors even when you’ve got rid of them… All in all I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the clue, it’s just that it seems to snag a bit on something as I take it in. Hence the question mark, I suppose.

  8. dialrib says:

    In the Down answers there are OTTER and (as indicated in the clue) OUNCE. Besides the mammals we can also find TERN, CROW, TIT, LARK and TITLARK. And if we want to stretch it even further, ANT and CELL!

  9. scchua says:

    Thanks Ali for the blog and Mordred for a perhaps easier than usual puzzle.

    Yes, there seems to be an undeclared animal theme (by coincidence cf. today’s Guardian cryptic), unless it’s one big coincidence.

    I thought that 29A THREE BLIND MICE was just a cryptic definition, with “treble hind cut”=”three tails cut” as in the rhyme. But then “treble hind” is also an anagram of THREE BLIND?

    19A OLD STAGER, though I had the answer, for the parsing, I was looking for a cricketer associated with STAGE, being misled by “former”=OLD!

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Fine puzzle from Mordred – some tough clues, but enough more accessible ones to give you a chance to establish base camp on the foothills before attempting the ascent. I liked TATER, and did know NACELLE from constructing too many Airfix model planes when I was a youth. I liked TOTTER too, but only understood it after coming here. I’m keen on my cricket, and it’s a great clue, but it just seemed a bit too up-to-date!

    Thanks for the blog, Ali.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    I rambled on a bit back there without mentioning that I also thought it was an excellent puzzle. And I don’t mind the cricket references! Let’s just hope the Rose Bowl hasn’t turned into a Goldfish Bowl by the end of this test (it’s pouring now but apparently it drains very well).

  12. flashling says:

    Thanks Ali I couldn’t finish this for some reason. Thanks Mordred for the workout

  13. superkiwigirl says:

    Many thanks for the blog, Ali, and for a most enjoyable puzzle, Mordred.

    I saved this up as an after dinner treat, and wasn’t disappointed.

    Like spb @ 5 I entered tithawk before needing to try TITLARK when I failed to get my online message of congrats. And like nmsindy @6, dialrib @8, and scchua @ 9 I agree about the “wildlife” theme – in addition to the creatures already mentioned there is a hen at 17d!

  14. Ali says:

    Good to see my ability at missing themes is maintained then!

    Thanks to all for the pointers. Having spent 2 hours earlier this week mouse-proofing my flat after my pantry got raided, I agree that they’re unwelcome guests. I completely missed the ‘treble hind’ link to the nursery rhyme and I’m sometimes dubious about ‘semi’ &lit. clues as the term seems oxymoronic, but this works OK as a cryptic def.

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