Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7814 by Bannsider

Posted by flashling on November 1st, 2011

flashling.

Long time, no see for the Bannsider, who rarely appears away from Saturdays, the Indy’s web site is still down so I’ve had to try and do this with no recourse to the puzzle to check I’ve got it right, this is best guess territory, oh and happy birthday to us.

Arrr Jim lad, this is bloody hard, for once it’s not a pangram as most of mine recently have been. I see no ships, sorry, Ninas, but there’s definitely a fifteen (squared) men on a dead man’s chest theme running through it. Numerous references to Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson appear in the grid and the clues. It was far too long ago that I read it so I may have missed some thematic stuff.

Across:

1 TABLE FOOTBALL Rum anagrind [A BOTTLE OF]* + BALL (dance). Theme.
9 EEL LEE rev semi theme
10 CARABINIERE CAR + A.B. + IN + I.E. + RE(touching, on)
11 SPY GLASS G(old) in SPY LASS (Long John Silver theme)
12 SATNAV (.a.d)VANTA(.g.e)S reversed
14 RAM Aries Taurus etc
16 ARCH-VILLAIN ARCH + (Aston) VILLA + IN
19 ISRAEL HANDS SERIAL* + HANDS (crew) character in T.I.
20 TRY CD Rugby reference
21 LOITER Brissle pronunciation of LIGHTER
23 SAN DIEGO SANDIE (shaw) GO! There’s an area of San Diego called Treasure Island. Maybe a coincidence but Eimi once said to me there’s never a coincidence.
27 NEEDLECRAFT NEED + LEFT (labour) around (CR (councillor) + A)
28 TUI Initial letters of In University Team reversed. NZ bird.
29 SWEET NOTHINGS “Pieces of” anagrind [EIGHT SON SENT W(ith)]* Theme in clue
Down:    
1 TREASURE ISLAND (E (Spain) + IS) in (AS(when) + URL(surfing the internet location)) in TREND (fashion). I’m sure the Bann man could have made the wordplay to the theme harder but I’m not sure how.
2 BILLY Double definition. Theme. Billy Bones is a character in the book
3 EXCULPATE [LATEX E CUP]* Does the X mark the spot?
4 OGRES O(wn) G(oal) + RES(olution)
5 TUBA ABUT rev
6 APNEA US spelling of APNOEA hidden in soAP NEAtly
7 LIE IN WAIT LIE-IN + WAIT
8 HEAVENLY BODIES Doctor (Anagrind) [LIVESEY HAD ONE B(lack)]* Theme character.
13 EVEN (s)EVEN. 7 is a prime number
15 MERCILESS MERC + ILES (Inches are islands hence French for islands + S(outh)
17 COHO Type of salmon known as the (Long John) Silver salmon. C + (yo h)O HO. And a bottle of rum. Theme.
18 LAST DITCH LAST (survive) + DITCH (axe)
22 ELLIE (w)ELLIE(s)
24 ALAMO A-LA-MO(b)
25 ELTON T(relawney) in (f)ELON(s) Squire Trelawney is character in theme.
26 SCOT COTS with S moved up

And now I’ve got black spots in front of my eyes, I was going to reach for my Gun(n) but instead I’m going to use my Flint and go out for a cigarette and a large glass of grog.

13 Responses to “Independent 7814 by Bannsider”

  1. Eileen says:

    Many thanks, flashling, for an amusing blog of an entertaining puzzle and for resolving OGRES for me. I’ve missed ‘own goal’ before.

    ‘Treasure Island’ is one of those books that you know a lot about without [like me] ever having read it but I took part in a stage adaptation of it a couple of years ago – a girl called ELLIE took the part of Billy Bones! – so I latched on to the theme fairly early. It was a long time before I got 1dn, though!

    There are two more theme references in 21ac and 26dn.

    I was very amused and impressed by the way Bannsider worked the theme into both clues and answers [particularly Doctor Livesey and COHO].

    Many thanks, Bannsider – I really enjoyed it!

  2. Alberich says:

    It sounds fantastic but I can’t get it, what with the page throwing up loads of script errors and Crossword Solver failing to connect. Can we have the old format back please, Indy? If it ain’t broke…

  3. Thomas99 says:

    Alberich-
    It’s well worth doing if you can find it. Crossword Solver and the Indy site seem completely useless today. Someone in the comments under the Guardian cryptic today has offered to send someone a pdf – that might be a solution. Solvers in the UK should of course go out and buy the Independent. I…er…borrowed one.

  4. Alberich says:

    Thanks for the tip Thomas – I may well take that one up!

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I know we get it for nothing online, but I live in the middle of nowhere without a newsagents nearby and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms …

  6. Allan_C says:

    E-mail received from the Indy today:

    “We have had far more than just teething problems since our updated site was launched yesterday and issues remain. Huge efforts continue in an attempt to speed pages and prevent the delivery of incomplete articles. We thank our users for bearing with us and apologise profusely.”

    Invites the comment, methinks: If it wasn’t broke why fix it?

  7. BC says:

    Indeed. My wife and I like to split the newspaper over breakfast. The old Indy split (broadly news/comment) wasn’t as good for us as the Times/Guardian (broadly news/lifestyle) but it was acceptable. With no pullout section the new format means I’ll be ordering a different paper. Maybe we’re too untypical to matter but this looks a “mistake defending” to me.

    Entertaining puzzle but I didn’t remember TI well enough to get Israel Hands and didn’t know coho.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a very good puzzle, extremely tough I thought, some very inventive clues. Did not see the theme until eventually solving TREASURE ISLAND. Not that familiar with it, but it is so well-known that most of the references I’d heard in one way or another over the years. Thanks, flashling and Bannsider.

  9. Richard Heald says:

    As flashling says, surprising to see Bannsider on a Tuesday but always a pleasure to delve into his treasures whatever the day. Great puzzle, and blog – though you missed the & lit. at 20Ac: T (cross) + RY (line).

  10. flashling says:

    @Richard #9 so it is, thank you, good spot, t = cross didn’t occur, makes it a much better clue.

  11. Paul B says:

    Arrr, twas pity she did’n ‘pear on Sep 19th, me hearties.

  12. Quixote says:

    A bus journey to and from Oxford for this one — and a bit more besides. Clever and enjoyable stuff but with the subsidiary indications so tricky one may get several answers from definitions and intersecting letters. For example, ELON for ‘body of criminals’ strikes me as just a bit too hard for this sort of puzzle, whereas John with E as the first letter shouts the answer. But then five-letter words beginning with E are something all of us setters get fed up with. I thought TRY was extremely good.

  13. Bannsider says:

    I must agree with Quixote that (F)ELON(S) was a bit sadistic (I hope you weren’t travelling from Inverness and back, Don!). So was TREASURE ISLAND, although with that one I wanted deliberately to be a bit obscure as I thought some solvers might be looking out for that as one of the answers.
    Arguably, if the cross-checkers shout the answer, then perhaps a little more deviousness may occasionally not go amiss.
    I have only recently, to my shame, read the book and damn fine it is too. Hence it was fresh in my mind, and hence the theme.

    Pleased to have helped celebrate the fifth birthday and sorry to hear about the website problems!

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