Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7714/Bannsider

Posted by John on July 7th, 2011


The other day Eimi gave the impression that there would be something difficult on Thursday. Now we see, and yes, it was difficult. There are one or two clues that don’t seem very satisfactory, and it may well be that I have failed to see something, but there are also some very nice ones.

I was all ready to moan about the Indy’s usual love of football, which appears in two clues, but this is balanced by cricket and baseball references. Also Thai boxing.

7 XENOPHOBIA — h in (I bop one x)rev. then a
9 HAUL — “hall”
10 GARDAI — the Gardai are the Irish police force (more commonly called the Garda, but this is evidently the plural), and it’s (a drag)rev. then 1
11 KAPIL DEV — ({par}k led a VIP)* — one of the great all-rounders
12 KIN(G)JOHN — john = convenience, and this is one of Shakespeare’s less well-known plays
14 RO(ONE)Y — there is one goalkeeper in a football side (although two on the field, so ‘number of goalkeepers’ seems a bit vague), Roy of the Rovers was Roy Race (as a boy I bought the Tiger when it first came out and can even now remember about Roy Race having to tidy the office, which seemed a bit odd; I wish I’d kept the comic), and Rooney is, in case you are unaware of this, a striker
15 UP FOR IT — Game = up for it, over = up, for it = awaiting punishment?
17 BIRETTA — a bi(sexual) is a tag given to someone who fancies men and women, and the retta comes from ({H}atter)rev., but two things bother me: how do we know that the bi comes before the retta, and is the definition of a bisexual good enough? [Cockney milliner returning tags given to fancy male and female headgear]
19 {beg}INNING — in baseball a period of strikes is an inning
20 BESOTTED — best round (to)rev. ed — but best is only one type of bitter, so this is a definition by example, not universally approved of (count me as one of those who dislike them) — the definition is ‘with obsession’ so all is well: there is no use of ‘with’ as a link-word (something that seems to me to be done by the looser setters)
22 JE(WELL)ER — another D by E — who said that a jeweller was a watch salesman? He might be, but not necessarily
24 A B(L)OOM
26 FETE — anagram of {hea}t {on}e {o}f {th}e — is a swimming gala a fete?
27 CENSORSHIP — (process in h{and})* — a very good &lit.
1 HaIL A PENsioner — a very clever hidden reversed, which I didn’t get easily first time round, and took some time to see just now
2 B{us} OLD — although I had b{us} re w at first and this seems quite OK if you accept that a bottle is a brew
3 THAI BOXING — (habit)* o’ XI ng
4 HARP — but I’m not sure why: it looks like h = hands, a r{eceived} p{ronunciation}, but I’m very uncomfortable with this and am probably wrong, since I can see no justification for h = hands, and also ‘a speech received’ is a rather loose way of defining received pronunciation [Hands over a speech received — that takes pluck]
5 SHALL OWE ST — but I can’t think of two sentences where ‘shallowest’ interchanges with ‘demanding less than the rest’
8 BIKIN{g} I
13 GEODIMETER — (eg)rev. ODI mete r — a Geodimeter (evidently a trade name) is I discover an instrument for measuring distances by means of a light beam
16 PINCE-NEZ — Paul Ince was no doubt at some point a team-mate of Roy Keane’s, so it’s P Ince (zen)rev.
18 OBERON — (bore no)* — Oberon was king of the fairies, so could be called a fairy’s head
21 EROTIC — (1 t{ype} o{f} r{are} e{vent})rev. c — definition ‘of the other’
23 LOCO — 2 defs
25 LOSE — but I can’t see why: it looks like {c}lose, but if it’s that then the wordplay doesn’t direct you there [Don’t get near to this Conservative]

22 Responses to “Independent 7714/Bannsider”

  1. caretman says:

    Thanks, John, for the blog; you did have your work cut out for you this week!

    As a note, each letter of the alphabet appeared once in the 26 edge cells, which helped me solve the last few clues. For 14a, I got ONE as being the typical number the goalkeeper wears rather than the number of them on the pitch. I agree that 25d is a puzzle, presumably the definition is ‘don’t get’ = LOSE, but how you get (c)LOSE is beyond me. On the other hand, I liked that several of the clues had very well hidden definitions; I particularly noted 24a in that regard. It was quite a challenging puzzle, even with the questionable portions. I enjoyed this, so thanks to Bannsider.

  2. canalonly says:

    thanks bannsider and john. bottle is nerve or courage. I thought this was quite hard and share some of your hesitations

  3. ergonaut says:

    Thanks John for the much needed explanation of several clues that had me baffled but 25d still doesn’t make sense to me!
    In 26a I think ‘gala’ is the definition and ‘swimming’ is the anagram indicator

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, John.

    As you say, this was tough going – and I, too, needed your help in interpreting a few.

    In 17ac, I think the wordplay is ATTER [Cockney milliner returning] TAGS [follows] BI [given to fancy{ing} male and female].

    I can’t fathom 25dn either.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – I’m not sure I could have handled the pressure for such a tough puzzle!

    25d was my last in, but I think it works, with slightly archaic phrasing. I read it as “Don’t get”=defition, then near is “to this, Conservative”, i.e. near is what you get when you have, alongside LOSE, a C.

    I can’t see any problem with 5d. Jeffrey Archer’s novels are the shallowest in the world; they demand less (from your brain etc.) than all the others. (Sorry Jeff – I haven’t actually read one, and the covers are storming.)

  6. Thomas99 says:

    I can’t agree with the disapproval of “definition by example”. It’s very well established (all those Trees clued by “actor” and so on) and doesn’t make the clues impossible, unless the category is too big, which in the case of Best/Bitter it isn’t. Can’t “Cameron” be clued by “Prime Minister”?? He’s only one example of one, after all. I think what is slightly difficult/unusual about “Best” is that it isn’t just one example of a bitter, but a whole group of them, but I don’t see that that makes it unfair either. It’s like cluing “deer” with “ungulate”, i.e. fine.

  7. Peter Chambers says:

    25d: How about:

    As thomas99 says: Don’t get = def

    Then, for the cryptic, substitute “this” for the answer: ie lose

    So it will then be: near (CLOSE) to lose C(onservative) = LOSE

    If right, it’s a recursive clue – you have to solve it before you can solve it

  8. Thomas99 says:

    Peter (7)
    I think you’re right. Much better.

  9. flashling says:

    Cor blimey I see what Eimi meant by a tough one today. Anax and Bannsider in the same week – no wonder the editor has left the country. Well done blogging this one John, I think I’d still writing it up now.

  10. sidey says:

    25d is Don’t get LOSE: near CLOSE to “this” [LOSE] Conservative

  11. sidey says:

    Sorry for the repetition, only four comments were visible when I wrote that.

  12. Bamberger says:

    Oh dear -got ????phobia and haul. That was it.
    This was a reality check after yesterday’s near miss.

  13. ele says:

    I gave up on this about half done. Very difficult (possibly because I was distracted by wonderful news about NoW closing down – Yay) and thanks to John for stirling work explaining the answers. I did not like 14ac at all. I don’t usually complain about footballing refs as they are usually gettable from wordplay, but this one was completely impossible – the relation of Race = Roy is obscure beyond anything. I got Kapil Dev from the wordplay, for example, as I’d at least heard of him, even though I know just about as little about cricket.

  14. ele says:

    Oops, I think that should have been sterling – before anyone elses corrects it.

  15. Bannsider says:

    Yet another attempt to set an easier puzzle fails – ah well.
    I am surprised people didn’t mention the really dodgy clue: that to OBERON. Fairy’s head? Rather unconvincing.
    Normally I am a stickler for not defining by example, but I think often it depends how closely one associates the general in the clue with the particular answer. So I hope I’d never clue “city” as “London” for example, whereas at the opposite extreme, “Engelbert” is probably ok to clue “Humperdinck”.
    As for 25d, I knew that was a bit of a swine, but with all the other easy clues … :-)
    It reminds me of a clue I once saw in an ancient book of (I think) Daily Telegraph puzzles:

    “An athlete’s first part of this can worry his this beheaded (8)”

    Answer: STRAINER (they didn’t always mess around with stuff like definitions in those days)

  16. Paul A says:

    Re 25 dn, cf this week’s Cyclops in Private Eye… “Being non-Conservative, nearer what David was to brother Ed?” (5)
    If I’d finished P.E last night this might have rung a bell

  17. 4across says:

    I was thrown a bit by my first answer 22A being REP EATER, as a watch …..
    then downhill from there. after a long struggle got there, but what a struggle.

  18. Allan_C says:

    Yes, I struggled for too long with the idea that 22a was ‘repeater’, though I couldn’t make the wordplay fit and 23d seemed to be obviously ‘loco’. But I almost got there in the end; only failed on 25d. Pity I didn’t spot the pangrammatic nature of the perimeter – I realised we had a pangram but didn’t associate it with the edges.

  19. Quixote says:

    Too hard for me in the end to finish, but I dare say I’m in the lower ability range for modern Indy solvers. NOT a day for Mr or Ms Average to become a regular reader on account of the crossword!

  20. Richard says:

    I too failed with this, having entered “repeater” for 22ac (which does seem to fit the clue at least as well as is the case in relation to several other answers in this crossword!) I consequently got nowhere with 23d. Managed the rest, but after a lot of deliberation in some cases.

  21. Bannsider says:

    Not sure you can reasonably get “REPEATER” out of “Watch salesman scoff sandwiches whole”. It works as far as “watch salesman” but then…??
    However, sorry you were misled. I really will try to ease things up a bit for next time :-)
    But then I always say that.

  22. nmsindy says:

    In most weeks, this would have been the toughest puzzle, but Anax’s from Monday I found harder. I failed on LOSE which I would have got if I’d spotted the v clever perimeter pangram. I’d spotted the pangram in the puzzle as a whole but not that there was one in the perimeter. Thanks, Bannsider, and John.

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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

− 6 = three