Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7800 – Saturday Prize Puzzle – 15 October 2011 / Nestor

Posted by duncanshiell on October 22nd, 2011


In one of the crossword blog sites I was reading last week I came across a comment from someone who said they enjoyed a specific crossword because the clues had  ‘no triple lutz reversed beheaded wordplay contributing two letters to an eleven letter answer’.  I doubt therefore that the writer would have enjoyed this puzzle from Nestor.  However, I did, immensely.  It is the intricate and complex cluing that Nestor has used in many clues that appeals to my analytical mind.

Nestor is another prolific setter under a variety of names (or anonymously) in a wide range of publications (Times including The Listener, Telegraph including Enigmatic Variations, Independent including The Inquisitor, and The Magpie)

In a number of blogs recently I have been chided for not spotting pangrams, so I try to look a bit closer now.  I thought this puzzle was going to be one, but we seem to be an X short of a pangram.

Having said that I enjoy complex cluing, this puzzle also had a set of fairly simple constructions towards the end of the Down clues – e.g. 17d S(T)IMULATE, 18d BEAVERAGE,  23d TI(B)ER and 25d MEMO.

For me, though, it was the clues to entries such as 22a ON THE QUIET, 28a YORKSHIREWOMEN, 4d RAZOR CUT, 8d THIRD TIME LUCKY and 9d PSEUDONYMOUSLY that really stood out. Some solvers will no doubt argue that complex clue construction leads to long clues and some will prefer very short succinct clues.  I think it is the variety in cluing that adds to the attraction of crosswords as both a leisure and educational activity. I also wonder how many solvers spent some time expecting to omit the last letter of a word meaning ‘torment’ in 20a HELLFIRE?

The Crossword Centre recently ran an interesting thread on mnemonics so it was interesting to see SWALK (sealed with a loving kiss) used in the clue at 22a to SPACEWALK.  I do realise SWALK is probably closer to being an acronym or an abbreviation than a mnemonic, but bloggers are sometimes not averse to slightly twisting facts when highlighting a point.

You will deduce that I enjoyed this puzzle.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 All but spot on tar sand is processed with same aim (2,4,2,6) Anagram of (is processed) TAR SAND and (with) SAME AIM AS NEAR AS DAMMIT (all but spot on)
10 Not quite drunk, crossing border in confusion (9) SOZZLED (drunk) excluding the final letter (not quite) D containing (crossing) HEM (border) SHEMOZZLE (mess, scrape, rumpus; confusion)
11 Rare parts of statues found among collector’s items (5) Hidden word in (found among) COLLECTOR’S ITEMS TORSI (trunks of statues; the normal plural of TORSO is TORSOS but TORSI is a rare variant)
12 Odd scraps of undercut, back and tongue (4) Odd letters of (odd scraps of) UNDERCUT reversed (back) URDU (language; tongue)
13 Mission to fetch champagne? You’ll want gold coin (10) KRUG ([brand of] champagne) + ERRAND (mission to fetch) KRUGERRAND (South African coin, used only for investment, containing one troy ounce of fine gold and bearing a portrait of SJP Kruger [President of the Transvaal, 1883 -1900])
15 Deafening twosome see about gun’s recoiling (8) (DUO [twosome] + [LO {see} containing {about} REV {revolver; gun}]) all reversed (recoiling)  I couldn’t find REV as a definition or abbreviation for REVOLVER in any of my dictionaries (Chambers, Collins, Shorter Oxford) but I did find it in the Penguin Dictionary of Abbreviations.  However further research revealed that I was barking up the wrong tree anyway, as a look at the definition for GUN, showed REV as a definition for GUN as a transitive verb – to REV up OVERLOUD (deafening)
16 One an elitist rebuffed, a specimen with restricted roots? (6) (I [one] + A SNOB [an elitist]) all reversed (rebuffed) BONSAI (a dwarf tree growing in a pot; a specimen with restricted roots)
19 Deeply distressed suddenly cried (6) Anagram of (distressed) DEEPLY YELPED (uttered a sharp cry or bark; [suddenly {?}] cried)  Why ‘suddenly’?
20 Strike succeeded in bombardment for endless torment (8) SHELLFIRE (bombardment) excluding (strike) S (succeeded) HELLFIRE (punishment in hell; endless torment)
22 Old Norse race eating hearts of horses after expelling knight unobtrusively (2,3,5)

ON (Old Norse) + (TT [ref Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motor cycle race] containing [eating] [H {hearts} + EQUINE {of horses} excluding {expelling} N {knight, in chess notation}])


ON THE QUIET (unobtrusively)
24 Charm of couples at start of consecutive months (4) JUNE (month) taking the couple of letters at the start + JULY (month consecutively following JUNE) again taking the couple of letters at the start JUJU (a fetish or charm)
26 Slasher finishing neither cast down nor brought up (5) SAD (cast down) excluding the final letter (not finishing) D + BRED (brought up) also excluding the final letter D (not finishing) SABRE (sword; slasher)
27 Soppy note on envelope involving step or steps away from gravity? (9) SWALK (abbreviation for ‘sealed with a loving kiss’) containing (involving) PACE (step)’ SPACEWALK (a walk in a weightless environment taken by astronaut outside his/her spacecraft; steps away from gravity)
28 Ladies up north sign on in other words and shirk working in wood (14)

([OR {indicating an alternative or saying in other words} + anagram of {working} SHIRK] contained in (in) YEW) + OMEN (sign)


YORKSHIREWOMEN (ladies from up north)
No. Clue Wordplay Entry
2 Get to live around phosphorous plant (9) (SEE [understand; get] + DWELL [to live]) containing (around) P (phosphorus) SPEEDWELL (any species of the scrophulariaceous genus Veronica, typically blue-flowered with posterior petals united and lacking a posterior sepal; plant)
3 Ancient people’s commonest value getting overturned (4) MODE (in statistics, the value of greatest frequency; the commonest value.) reversed (getting overturned).  In very simple statistical terms consider the following set of seven numbers – 1,1,1,3,7,7,8; the MEAN [average] is 4 [{sum of the numbers in the set, 28 divided by number of values in the set , 7} even though it doesn't feature as a value in the set], the MODE [most frequent value in the set] is 1 and the MEDIAN  [middle value of the set when arranged in order] is 3 EDOM (reference the Edomites, also known as the EDOM, descendents of Esau the eldest son of the Jewish patriarch Isaac; ancient people)
4 God with last letter published about Catholic form of coiffure (5,3)

RA (Egyptian sun-god)  + ( [Z {last letter of the alphabet} + OUT {published}] containing [about] RC [{Roman} Catholic])


RAZOR CUT (haircut done with a razor; form of coiffure)
5 Try rattling opposing players and still end game completely gutted (6) First and last letters of (central letters deleted; gutted) of STILL, END and GAME SLEDGE (to seek to upset the batsman’s concentration by making offensive remarks – a cricketing term thought to be of Australian origin; to try to rattle opposing players)  The tactic frequently backfires, as England’s actions in last Monday’s one day international against India show.
6 Desperately trawled for post-mortem location (10) Anagram of (desperately) TRAWLED FOR AFTERWORLD (the world inhabited by souls of the dead; after death; post-mortem)
7 Who’s uplifted Sound of Music with Mother Superior? (5) MA (mother) + (AIR [melody or tune; sound of music] reversed (uplifted])  Note that this is a down clue and MA is therefore written aobve RIA to make mother superior[to RIA] MARIA (the central character in the musical, The Sound of Music, is MARIA)
8 Hit out with dirt, end of the line in sordid hope for double loser? (5,4,5)

Anagram of (out) (HIT and DIRT) + (last letters E and  L of [end of] [THE and LINE] contained in (in) MUCKY [sordid])


THIRD TIME LUCKY (if one has lost twice, then the hope is that it will be THIRD TIME LUCKY)
9 £25 to cover raised fees, left with plain brown wrapping under a false name (14)

(PONY [slang for £25] containing [covering] DUES (fees) reversed [raised]) + (MOUSY [plain brown] containing [wrapping] L [left])


PSEUDONYMOUSLY (under a false name)
14 All but first pair of ducts around Embankment erected without protecting Tube? (10)

(VESSELS [ducts; e.g. blood vessels] excluding the first two letters VE [all but the first pair of] containing (around) LEVEE [bank]) all reversed (erected)


SLEEVELESS (without protecting tube)
17 Recreate conditions of surrounding temperature in fire (9) SIMULATE (recreate conditions of) containing (surrounding) T (temperature) STIMULATE (excite; incite; fire)
18 Conform to standard expectations, declining a drink? (8) BE AVERAGE (conform to standard expectations) excluding (declining) A BEVERAGE (drink)
21 Possibly horse runners with heart sinking before one uncooked breakfast (6) MULES (people who smuggle drugs, including Horse [heroin] ; drug runners)  with central letter (heart) L moving (sinking, in a down clue) to the end + I (one) MUESLI (a dish of rolled oats, nuts, fruit, etc eaten most frequently as a breakfast cereal; uncooked breakfast)
23 River level going over the top of banks (5) TIER (level) containing (going over) first letter  B (top of) BANKS TIBER (reference River TIBER, third longest river in Italy)
25 Businesslike message from the writer on tick (4) ME (the writer) + MO (moment; tick) MEMO (businesslike message)

5 Responses to “Independent 7800 – Saturday Prize Puzzle – 15 October 2011 / Nestor”

  1. Bamberger says:

    Superb blog -could not make it clearer -a model for other bloggers. Thanks.

  2. nmsindy says:

    Gee, Bamberger @1, would you like to join the team…?!!!

    Yes, it was a very good puzzle, with original treatments. I found it a little on the easy side compared to previous Nestor and indeed Saturday Indy puzzles. Thanks Nestor and Duncan (in particular for explaining the one wordplay I did not understand – in SLEEVELESS).

  3. flashling says:

    Thanks Duncan, I filled it all in but didn’t really do the work a blog requires. @Bamberger well we’d all love enough time to do as detailed blog, but some of us have to work too, unless you want the blog to appear overnight the following day.

    Anyway, any of us trying their hand at the Times championship?

  4. Allan_C says:

    Thanks for the blog, Duncan. I completed the grid without understanding all the clues, particularly for SABRE. And I knew of Edom as a place or region (“Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,/Odours of Edom…” from the Epiphany hymn “Brightest and best…”) but didn’t realise it could be applied to the people. Silly of me, really, as one can use the name of any place/region/country to represent its inhabitants (“England expects…” and all that).
    And as for being an X short of a pangram, could one say it was 1a a pangram?

  5. Graham Pellen says:

    I think in 8D it’s the last letter of thE then L for Line.

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