Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,794 by Mordred (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 8/10/11)

Posted by Simon Harris on October 15th, 2011

Simon Harris.

After this setter’s last Saturday outing, the rather fanstastic Independent 7,770, I was more than happy to land a Mordred offering to blog.

This one was also very impressive. There’s an extensive theme of comedy/comedians, and I think virtually every clue or entry has some sort of thematic reference. There are no doubt several that I’ve missed, too, so in the cases where I can’t see a reference, I’ve reproduced the clue in case readers can spot something.

In terms of solving, I found that about half of the entries fell in very quickly, but then things slowed down quite considerably, with the last three in being the intersecting 4dn, 7an and 10ac. In retrospect, I can’t seen anything particularly troublesome about them, but then it’s always easy once you have the answers!

All in all, another great puzzle from Mordred.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

Across
6 CHOLERA – (A CHOR[t]LE)*. “Chortle” is clearly the comedy reference here.
7 OKAYS – KAY in SO<. Peter Kay.
9 AMOS – SOMA<. Apparently a a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians. Stephen K. Amos.
10 MURPHY’S LAW – RUM< + (WHY PALS)*. Google turns up a few comedians named Murphy, perhaps most notably Eddie and Colin.
11 SCRAPPED – CRAP in (DEP[p] + [vega]S)<. Clever use of “Johnny Vegas” here, as the solver had to mentally separate the two words to parse the clue correctly.
13 RESIDE – (E[ntertainer] + DRIES)*.
15 HILLH + ILL). Harry Hill.
17 BRAND – dd. Jo Brand, a neighbour of mine. Could alternatively be a reference to Russell, but it’s a bit of a stretch to call him a comedian.
18 HOPE – [sc]HOPE[nhauer]. Bob Hope, of course.
19 DEEPLY – YELPED*. If you squint, you can see Jack DEE in the entry.
20 NUTBROWN – NUT (loaf, head) + BROWN &lit. Roy “Chubby” Brown, perhaps, although I’m sure there have been many comedians named Brown.
23 BURN’S NIGHT – the famous couplet from Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” states that “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, gang aft agley.” I wonder if there’s a bit more to the clue than that, though – perhaps some extra meaning to the word “passion” that I’m missing? Either way, the comedian is probably George Burns.
26 COOKCO + O.K. Stephen Fry is referenced in the clue.
27 EPSOMS in MOPE<. The first one where I can see no obvious comedy reference. Feel dejected about landing second here.
28 ERECTLY – ERE + CT + L[enn]Y. Lenny Henry, of course.
Down
1 CODSWALLOP – CODS + WALL + OP. A “bailey” is a type of wall, and a reference to comedian Bill Bailey.
2 TEAM UP – reverse cryptic with, TEAM* being MEAT, as in the clue. The specific team referred to is Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, for example in “Annie Hall” and “Sleeper”.
3 CARRR in CAR. Allen or Jimmy, take your pick.
4 BOTHERED – OTHER in BED. The Catherine Tate character is Lauren Cooper, who frequently protests that she isn’t particularly bothered about various matters.
5 GAGS – dd.
6 COMICC + [dann]O + MIC.
8 STAND UP – STAND + UP.
12 DRAIN – [te]D + RA[y] + IN. Ted Ray appears to be a former comedian from the 50s and 60s, a little before my time.
14 SPHERICITY – IT in (HER SPICY)*. It took a while to spot it, but I suspect that’s ERIC Morecambe hidden away in the entry.
16 ICE CUBE – ICE + C[r]U[m]B[l]E[d]. I’m not sure if Ice Cube is exactly a comedian, but he has starred in a couple of comedy films, at least.
17 BEYOND ME – from BEYONCE, with DM replacing C. Again, Beyoncé has starred in, for example, an Austin Powers film, but I think I’m clutching at straws looking for a comedy reference here. What I can’t understand is singer exchanging cents for old German currency.
21 TITTER – T[w]ITTER.
22 WOODY – W[h]O [b]O[l]D[l]Y. Woody Allen, again, and why not.
24 NEST – S[parrows] in NET &lit. Intricate structure containing opening for sparrows.
25 GLEE – [gig]GLE E[veryone].

6 Responses to “Independent 7,794 by Mordred (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 8/10/11)”

  1. sidey says:

    Interesting puzzle. I can’t see the definition in 10 across.

    Walter Sparrow https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Walter_Sparrow possibly, or either of the comic characters Simon or Jack.

    Cook is surely Peter. Brand is possibly Jo.

    Beyond could be Beyond the Fringe or Our Ken.

    And choler was one of the four humours.

    Thanks Mordred and Simon.

  2. Polly says:

    10ac: the whole clue supplies the definition, surely (but GO is part of the anagrind, not of the anagram itself). 15ac could be Benny, though the same reservation might apply as in the case of Russell Brand. 23ac: passion is often linked to the idea of burning.

    I wonder whether the echoes in 2dn of Chesney Allen and Buster Keaton were intended, and – moving away from comedy – liked the suggestion of Love in the Time of Cholera in 6ac.

    A very satisfying puzzle.

  3. sidey says:

    If Love in the Time of Cholera was intended it is a spectacular coincidence with last Saturday’s Paul in the Graun.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    If Lenny’s “standing up before court” in 28a it could be Lenny Bruce, couldn’t it? He was beset by dreadful (and unfair) legal problems.

  5. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Simon and Mordred.

    I read 23 as a partial anagram. So ‘to feel passionate’ = BURN and ‘things that gang agley” = THINGS* = SNIGHT. Does this make it an &lit?

    Enjoyable puzzle.

  6. Allan_C says:

    I must have been a bit thick as I never spotted the theme. Not helped, perhaps, in thst all I could think of for 5d was ‘bans’, having a vague idea I’d come across the word in the context of humour. Actually what I was thinking of was ‘bams’ – Sir Walter Scott refers to “the Laird, whose humble efforts at jocularity
    were chiefly confined to what were then called bites and bams, since denominated hoaxes and quizzes” (Guy Mannering, ch 3)
    But a satisfying puzzle, all the same.

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