Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7776 by Bannsider (Saturday Prize Puzzle 17 September 2011)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on September 24th, 2011

mc_rapper67.

No fancy themes or ninas/Ninas from Bannsider this week (or, at least, none that I could see) – just an enjoyable mental work-out for a Saturday morning – and a bit of Saturday afternoon, eventually finished off late Sunday… although…

Having said that, once I solved 26A (AMY WINEHOUSE) I did suspect there might be another tribute to a (more recently) deceased songstress, after last week’s Nina Simone theme. I’m not overly familiar with the late Amy’s catalogue – I thought Steve Winwood’s ‘Valerie’ much superior (;+>) – but a brief bit of research didn’t throw up any obvious connections. Open to the floor…

Some lovely surface readings – from 3D evoking the great Clive Lloyd gracing English summers in the late 70s/early 80s; 16D, with a disturbing mental image of HM wandering round Buck Pal in her birthday suit (or is that just me?!); and the Cyclops-ian 18A.

Coincidentally, 14A WANTONLY – also appeared in the Auracaria Saturday prize puzzle in the Grauniad on the same day – which helped, as I had done that one first, so the word was in my subconscious somewhere.

I delayed myself a bit by jumping into a TAX(I) as ‘London Transport’ at 22A – leaving me looking for an ‘ancient European city’ at 23D to fit X-S-E. I should have noticed the Capital Letters on London Transport, and not those on VAT, and gone down the TUB(E) instead - although these days I am more of a Boris-Biker.

All in all, very enjoyable fare!…

Across
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
Logic/parsing
1A STUPID O’CLOCK Very early South American Indian dwarf hair (6, 6) Very early /
S (South) + TUPI (Native American Indian) + DOC (one of the seven dwarfs) + LOCK (hair)
9A BAD NEWS Airline ends with trips for fast traveller (3, 4) Fast traveller, as in ‘bad news travels fast’ /
BA (airline, British Airways) + anag (i.e. trips) of ENDS + W (with)
10A TREFOIL Whistle-blower stopping slave labour in plant (7) Plant /
TOIL (slave labour, or indeed, any kind of labour?) around REF (whistle-blower)
11A ERR Those last in the bar clamber to be out (3) Be out (as in, inaccurate) /
last letters of ‘thE baR clambeR’
12A LED ZEPPELIN Influenced by Marx, mostly left-leaning sort of Green group (3, 8 ) Group /
LED (influenced) + ZEPP (most of Zeppo Marx) + ELIN (Nile green, backwards)
13A BEHALF Part from spare tyre filled with gas and spun (6) Part /
BEHALF = FLAB (spare tyre, around waist) around HE (Helium, gas) – all reversed, or spun
14,A WANTONLY Just after pasty, finish off dessert with abandon (8) With abandon /
WAN (pasty, or pale) + T (last letter of desserT) + ONLY (just)
17A MAHAYANA No word of enlightenment in a mass, backward form of Buddhism (8) Form of Buddhism /
MAHAYANA = A + M (mass), around NAY (no) + AHA (word of enlightenment) – all backwards
18A WEE-WEE Teams of bridge engineers employed initially making water passable (3-3) Water, passable /
W+E (bridge team, West and East) + E (initial letter of Engineers) – repeatedly (teams)
20A RUMOUR HAS IT Strange the success we have boxing when we believe (6, 3, 2) We believe /
RUM (strange) + OUR HIT (success we have) around AS (when)
22A TUB Twenty-five percent off London Transport VAT (3) Vat /
TUBe (London Transport with one quarter missing)
24A SPENDER Poet who’s stopped betting? (7) Poet /
&lit-ish – SP (starting prices, in betting, stopped by…) ENDER
25A ERINYES Agreement on Ireland punishing trio (7) Trio (of Furies, mythology) /
ERIN (poetic for Ireland) + YES (agreement)
26A AMY WINEHOUSE Setter’s success intercepting poet with drug for male singer (3, 9) Singer /
A E HOUSman + E (poet, with E – drug – for MAN – male), around MY WIN (setter’s success)
Across
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
Logic/parsing
1D SABRE What Serb assassin uses in rising? (5) &lit, what assassin uses /
&lit-ish, reversed hidden letters in sERB Asssassin
2D UNDER THE HAMMER Lots come this close to doom: three unharmed, amazingly (5, 3, 6) Lots come this (at auction) /
anag (i.e. amazingly) of THREE UNHARMED + M (last letter of doom)
3D ICED LOLLY Five runs from Clive Lloyd represented a summer treat! (4, 5) Summer treat /
anag (i.e. re-presented) of CLIvE LLOYD (without V – five, which ‘runs from’ the anagram)
4D ONSIDE Dismissing case of councillor, assess players legal position (6) Player’s legal position /
cONSIDEr (assess, without CR, the ‘case’ of CouncilloR)
5D LUTHERAN Protestant getting hard time for nothing in English town (8) Protestant /
LUToN (English town) with H (hard) + ERA (time) in place of O (nothing)
6D CREEP Edible fungus rings touching edge (5) Edge (along) /
CEP (mushroom, edible fungus) around RE (on the subject of, or touching)
7D GO ALONG WITH YOU Response to flattery, maybe, in second year of university (2, 5, 4, 3) Response to flattery /
Go ALONG WITH (second, as in support, back up) + Y (year) + O (contraction of ‘of’) + U (university)
8D KLONDYKE Artist rejecting Virginia for Kuala Lumpur and old gold mine (8) Gold mine /
(Artist) vaN DYKE replacing VA (Virginia) with KL (Kuala Lumpur) + O (old)
13D BUMS RUSH Hurrying out from inferior sushi bar one’s run inside (4, 4) Hurrying out (summary dismissal) /
BUM (inferior) + SUSHi (without I, one) around R (runs)
15D TWENTYISH Henry wins, yet strangely goes about sort of cross about score (9) About score (as in twenty) /
anag (i.e. strangely) of H (Henry) + WINS YET, around T (Greek Tau, also a sort of cross)
16D IN THE RAW Woman in palace that during warmer weather’s going round naked (2, 3, 3) Naked /
IN THAW (during warmer weather) around ER (Elizabeth Regina, or ‘woman in palace’)
19D ASTERN Son brought in a bird to the rear (6) To the rear /
A TERN (a bird) around S (son)
21D UNDAM Release German with a warrant initially overturned? (5) Release /
UND (German ‘and’, or with) + A + M (W turned over, first letter of warrant)
23D BASLE Package tours sold bypassing ancient European city (5) European city /
BALE (package) around S (sold without ‘old’ – ancient)

10 Responses to “Independent 7776 by Bannsider (Saturday Prize Puzzle 17 September 2011)”

  1. flashling says:

    Cor blimey it were tough, didn’t finish, so thanks for the blog, dunno why I find Nimrod and Bannman so hard to get. What makes a setter tough to impossible compared to say Dac/Phi?

  2. Ali says:

    Ouch. I never even saw this one, but don’t doubt that I would have struggled to get even halfway, if indeed I’d managed break into it anywhere.

    That being said, I’m not disheartened. Even with all checking letters, I can’t think how I (or others) would ever be able to look at the wordplay ‘poet with drug for male’ and think “ah, that must be A.E Housman with E replacing man”.

    Brilliantly hard stuff though. The crossworld is all the better for puzzles like this.

  3. Allan_C says:

    Tough but solvable, with several “oh, of course” moments. Last in was 1a, worked out from the wordplay and confirmed by googling, which gave this reference – http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=stupid o’clock – and a vague idea I had heard the expression before.

  4. Allan_C says:

    Sorry, that link hasn’t come out properly – probably because of the space between stupid and o’clock – which is there in the original – but it’ll take you to the right area.

  5. MikeC says:

    Thanks to both setter and blogger. Hard but do-able – except that I fell into the TAX(i) trap and never got out of it. I had initially thought that we were heading towards a pangram (1a initially looked as though it might be SQU…), so I never seriously questioned the X. We live and learn!

  6. ele says:

    Feel quite proud to have completed about half of this – and got caught in the taxi trap as well.

  7. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was very good and one of the toughest of the year. Esp liked LED ZEPPELIN, WANTONLY, RUMOUR HAS IT, TUB, ONSIDE, BASLE. Had never heard of 1 across but (eventually) the wordplay confirmed it pretty clearly. Only one I did not understand till coming here was SPENDER. Thanks, Bannsider and mc_rapper67.

  8. jmac says:

    Great to have Bannsider back -lets hope we don’t have to wait so long for his next one. Wondered if there was a music theme going on with 12, 20, 26ac and elsewhere, but maybe just imagining things.

    Your lucky fortnight Flashling, Nimrod today!

  9. mc_rapper67 says:

    Thanks for all the feedback – general consensus seems to be that it was a much-appreciated toughie…

    I haven’t got started on today’s Nimrod yet…fingers crossed…

  10. Bannsider says:

    Thanks for the comments and especially to mc_rapper67 for the blog. Helpful and fascinating as always. I can confirm that there was no theme lurking in the puzzle.

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