Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7710 – Saturday Prize Puzzle 2 July 2011

Posted by duncanshiell on July 9th, 2011


I found this to be at the gentler end of the Nimrod spectrum when I solved it although it became more interesting when I started to blog it and analyse the wordplay properly.

I started off in the NE corner and progressed fairly smoothly from there.

There doesn’t seem to be an obvious theme.  I wondered if there was something around the perimeter, or something involving the three letter words, but I can’t see anything.  I also wondered about film titles, something I know very little about, but again nothing.  There are films such ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ but not ‘THE KING’S ENGLISH’ or  ‘FIRST LIEUTENANT.

My preference is usually for clues where there are lots of component parts rather than cryptic definitions, so there was much to enjoy here, my favourites being those for WASHING-UP LIQUID and QUADRANGLE.  I have noted minor queries against KING SALMON and FAR EASTERN but that’s probably me being thick.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
5 Lay Glasgow kiss on aficionado (3)

NUT (to butt with the head; a Glasgow kiss is a head-butt)

NUT (a person with an obsessive interest; aficionado) double definition
8 Escape tropical bird dog scrambling over top of hedge (5,3,2) (TOUCAN [tropical bird] + anagram of [scrambling] DOG) containing (over) first letter (top of) H of HEDGE TOUCH AND GO (narrow escape)
9 If you’re PM, presumably this is a leader of devotion (4) If you are PM (post meridiem) then perhaps I’M (I am) AM (ante-meridiem) IMAM (the officer who leads devotions in a mosque)
10 Feeling the effects of coming off the hard stuff, say "It’s unreal" (6,4) Sounds like (say) SCOTCH MISSED (feeling the effects of coming off the hard stuff [Scotch whisky]) SCOTCH MIST (something insubstantial; a phantom; unreal)
11 Coming back along the full length of the Great Olympian Canal (4) ZEUS (greatest of the Greek gods with his seat on Mount Olympus; Great Olympian) reversed (coming back along the full length of) SUEZ (canal)
12 Get more refined with "Highness" link – using this? (3,5,7) Anagram of (more refined) GET and (with) HIGHNESS LINK THE KING’S ENGLISH (correct standard speech, the use of which[years ago] would single you out as being more refined)
15 Weapon with which nameless castaway musters little resistance (4,3) BEN GUNN (castaway on Treasure Island [Robert Louis Stevenson].  Ben Gunn was marooned for 3 years) excluding (less) N (name), including (musters) R (abbreviation for [little] resistance) BREN GUN (weapon)
16 Hit in street in Peru – no verdict (3,4) Hidden word in (in) PERU NO VERDICT RUN OVER (hit in street)
18 Officer, and top place one’s occupying (5,10) FIRST (top) + LIEU (place) + TENANT (one is occupying) FIRST LIEUTENANT (officer)
20 Mercury, say, but not lead and other (2,2) METAL (Mercury is a metal; silvery metallic element) excluding the first letter M (not lead) ET AL (latin phrase meaning ‘and other’)
21 Peer’s heading back to preside over version of Grand Court (10) EQUAL (peer) with the first letter (heading) E moved to the end (back) containing (preside over) an anagram of (version of) GRAND QUADRANGLE (court)
24 Instant beloved Scots charm (4) MO (moment; instant) + JO (Scottish term for ‘a beloved one’) MOJO (a magic spell or charm)
25 Suitable to be in possession of new hotel job (10) IN KEEPING (suitable) containing (be in possession of) N (new) INNKEEPING (hotel job)
26 Ben- -ownwar- (3) This appears to be the phrase BEND DOWNWARD excluding (NO) the letter D NOD (bend downward; to let the head drop in weariness)


No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Band with papal devotion? (4) TO  RC (a dedication [devotion] to a Roman Catholic [papal]) TORC (a necklace or armband in the form of a twisted metal band; alternative spelling of TORQUE)
2 Union meeting’s up one end of the warren (4) TUC’S (Trade Union Congress’s; the national Trade Union centre in the UK; also annual meeting of the members of the TUC) reversed (up) SCUT (rabbit’s tail; warren can refer to the individual rabbits who inhabit the warren, hence a scut can be cryptically defined as ‘one end of the warren’)
3 Fairy, perhaps, with a bit of leg showing’s plug ugly and over £1 (7-2,6)

The component parts of this are: W (with); A SHIN (a bit of leg) and an anagram of (ugly) PLUG; (I [one] QUID [£] together representing £1) which all go together as W (A SHIN) (G UP L) (I QUID).  The use of over refers to the fact that WASHING UP L sits over I QUID in a Down clue.

WASHING UP LIQUID (reference Fairy Liquid, well known in the UK)
4 Bats get side more irritable? Never more so (7) Anagram of (bats) GET SIDE EDGIEST (most irritable;’most’ being the superlative that trumps ‘more’ so no-one or nothing can be more edgier than the EDGIEST)
5 It’s left for maximum security (2,5,8) NO STONE UNTURNED  – cryptic definition NO STONE UNTURNED (reference the phrase ‘leave NO STONE UNTURNED; do everything that can be done to secure the effect desired; for maximum security)
6 Hollywood cast won’t listen (10) Anagram of (cast) WON’T LISTEN TINSELTOWN (another name for Hollywood, home of the film studios)
7 Go to the back of the Chinese class (3,7) FARE (go [on]) + ASTERN (the back of))  I may be making this too simple.  Does ‘the back of’ represent wordplay for the last letter of ‘the’ as the first E in the solution?.  If so, the FAR represents (to remove to or to go to a distance).  Neither parsing seems entirley satisfactory, in that FARE doesn’t really mean ‘go to’ in the first case, and ”remove to’ doesn’t seem to be the same as ‘go to’ in the second case.  Any other ideas gratefully received. Thanks to caretman at comment 2 for pointing out that the ‘to’ should be associated with ASTERN rather than FARE and to Sidey at comment 1 for finding that FARE is defined as ‘go’ in the Oxford English Dictionary FAR EASTERN (The Chinese class of people can be described as FAR EASTERN)
10/19 Neologistic solver’s seat? (6) SETTEE (if a SETTER sets the puzzle, then presumably the SETTEE solves it.  Compare ‘examiner’ and ‘examinee’.  A neologism is a ‘new use of an established word’ which describes this new definition of SETTEE very well) SET[TEE] (seat)
13 A medical problem – in the air’s broken leg (10) (Anagram of (broken) IN THE AIR) + ON (the leg side in cricket) HERNIATION (a medical problem; I can’t find this exact usage in my current copies of Chambers or Collins, but it is in the Shorter Oxford)
14 One or two books on chopped fruit and fish (4,6) KINGS (reference the First and Second books of Kings in the Old Testament.  Apparently the two books were originally one, hence ‘one or two’)) + PALM (fruit) excluding the first letter (chopped) P + ON  I did wonder for a time whether PSALMS , another book of the Old Testament was involved and we were chopping KINGS and PSALMS to give KING + SALM, but I couldn’t fit the fruit in so I resorted to the parsing I have given above. Sidey at comment 1 has pointed out the far more sensible parsing of ALMOND (fruit) excluding the final letter (chopped) D for the second half of the wordplay. KING SALMON (the largest Pacific salmon; fish)
17 He painted according to the diary’s report (7) Sounds like (report)  SAYS ANNE (reference Anne Frank’s Diary of World War II) CEZANNE (artist; he painted)
10 See 10 Down See 10 Down [SET]TEE
22 Origin of wine for series of taverna parties (4) Hidden in (series of) TAVERNA PARTIES NAPA (reference NAPA Valley, a location for many Californian vineyards and wineries)
23 Wildcat lecturer overhauling New York Times (4) L (lecturer) + NY (New York) + X (multiplication sign; times) LYNX (an undomesticated species of cat; wildcat)

11 Responses to “Independent 7710 – Saturday Prize Puzzle 2 July 2011”

  1. sidey says:

    Lovely blog as always Duncan.

    The ‘chopped fruit’ in 14d is ALMON[d].

    OED give FARE(v) To go, travel.

  2. caretman says:

    Duncan, I really appreciate the format of your blog and, as usual, you did a bang-up job.

    Going on with what sidey said @1, I think ASTERN is used here in the directional sense, so it’s clued by ‘to the back of’, not just ‘the back of’.

    I agree that it was toward the gentler end for Nimrod, but after a couple of tough puzzles this week this was an enjoyable break.

  3. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks for the comments at 1 and 2 – I have updated the blog accordingly

  4. Allan_C says:

    A challenge, as always from Nimrod, but solvable.

    Thanks, Duncan, for the blog. Re your comment on the books of Kings at 14dn, and just to confuse the issue, in most copies of the King James Version the headings of I and II Samuel carry subheadings to the effect that they are otherwise called the first/second Book of the Kings, so that when you get to I and II Kings you find similarly that they are said to be formerly called the third/fourth book of the Kings.

  5. Polly says:

    Splendid puzzle – the pangram was a satisfying bonus – and exemplary blog. Thanks to Nimrod and Duncan.

  6. Cumbrian says:

    Many thanks for the puzzle and the excellent blog. Just done this online and enjoyed it, with a few groans here and there! Particularly like Cezanne, probably because it was the last one I solved and hence gave me the biggest groan. Hadn’t come across the use of Jo before, but easy enough to get mojo from the clue, with the J confirmed by the pangram as well.

  7. Polly says:

    ‘Jo’ was a perennially useful word in my Scrabble-playing youth; I must have learnt it from the Burns poem ‘John Anderson my jo’.

  8. scchua says:

    Thanks Duncan and Nimrod.

    This was quite challenging for me. Got all except one – the 4-letter TORC – sometimes the short ones give me the most problems. Favourites were 3D WASHING-UP LIQUID, longstanding trademark outside UK as well, 14D KING SALMON, saw the ALMONd bit after seeing that a nut could be a fruit as well, though one seldom (never?) refers to “almond fruit”, and 7D FAR EASTERN, couldn’t be anything else after getting “eastern”. There were other excellent clues as well.

    Definition for 5D NO STONE UNTURNED took a bit of thought, as the phrase commonly applies to other than security. The homophone at 17D CEZANNE doesn’t quite work if one takes the French pronounciation of the (French) painter. But still a great puzzle.

  9. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks for all the comments on the blog. I must remember to check for pangrams in future. There have been quite a few pangrams recently across all the crosswords blogged on fifteensquared.

  10. Allan_C says:

    Polly @7, you make Scrabble-playing sound like a mis-spent youth; I thought snooker was that, before TV gave it respectability! I discovered Scrabble 40 years ago, and am still playing (occasionally). It goes well with solving cryptic crosswords.

  11. Polly says:

    Allan_C @10: Au contraire; playing Scrabble was always time well spent. I only wish I had the leisure now to play it as often as I did 50 years ago.

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