Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7843/Eimi

Posted by Pierre on December 5th, 2011


We had an Eimi a few weeks ago, but apart from that we haven’t seen a great deal of him in the past few months.  He has emerged from the woodwork today, however, to offer us a thoroughly enjoyable Monday puzzle with his usual wide range of reference material.

Football (natch), geography, history, religion, science, music and a bit more besides.  I found it mainly clearly clued in the end, and got a good few on the first pass, including some of the 14- and 15-letter solutions; but there were one or two that I struggled with, and I still need help on parsing a couple.  Most importantly, there were several smiley moments, which for me is what it’s mostly about.

cd  cryptic definition
dd  double definition
(xxxx)*  anagram
anagrind = anagram indicator
[x]  letter(s) removed


Levy on fatty food?
If you’re going to raise a smile, you might as well do it with 1ac.  An amusing cd.

Logical basis for 15 getting left in charge
An insertion of IONA, the solution to 15ac and L in RATE for ‘charge’.

10  School qualification of the third highest grade
A charade of GAM for an alternative collective noun for ‘school’ or ‘pod’ of whales, and MA for Master of Arts gives you the third letter of the Greek alphabet, used for grading pieces of work.  Or human beings, if you’ve read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World: ‘Gammas are stupid.  They all wear green.  I’m so glad I’m a Beta.’

11  Semites in diaspora, apparently
Nice surface.  (SEMITES)*  ‘In diaspora’ – in other words, scattered – is the anagrind.

12  A one point stone
A charade of PER (as in 90p per/a kilo) and I DOT gives you the green gemstone.

13  Ridiculous clot in FIFA is a cause of severe distress
(CLOT IN FIFA)*  Wouldn’t be an Eimi puzzle without a bit of footie, would it?  You can take it at face value, but if you follow the beautiful game, it would have made you laugh.  It’s a dig at Sepp Blatter, who’s currently and unfortunately president of FIFA, football’s world governing body.  The latest gem from what passes for his brain is that it’s okay to make racist comments to a fellow player during a game as long as you shake hands at the end of it.  Muppet.

15  Hebridean location of newspaper proprietor, it might be said
Another smiley (and slightly self-referential) moment.  It’s a homophone (‘it might be said’) of ‘i owner’.  The i is the Indy’s little sister paper, which has recently celebrated its 1st birthday and is a snip at only 20p.  It’s got a cryptic every day as well, from the usual crew.  Are they recycled?  I think we should be told.

17  Not Hard Times in particular
Well, ‘waxy’ means ‘not hard’ (‘of a person, soft, impressionable’ says the SOED) and it’s X for ‘times’ in WAY; but how we get from WAY to ‘particular’ I’m unsure of.  The SOED gives at definition 14 ‘an aspect, a feature, a respect’ but I’m struggling to think of an example of how that would be used.

18  Of course they’re not main components
A cd.

19  Operetta composer consuming very last of cheese and port
The enumeration and a starting L had me looking for an operetta; but it’s the French port.  You need to know (or in my case find out from my trusty and dog-eared Thesaurus) that Franz Lehár was a Hungarian composer.  Put V for ‘very’ inside that and then add E for the last letter of ‘cheese’ and Robert est votre oncle.  Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I can tell you that Lehár’s best known operetta is The Merry Widow.

21  Good seafaring name for sailor back in Ohio perhaps
An insertion of RAT for TAR reversed in (OHIO)*  Referring of course to HORATIO NELSON, whose second name has been adopted in cricket terminology for a score of 111 or its multiples.  I could explain why, but it’s rude.

22  Dissatisfaction with regular samples of Lennon music
A word for ‘boredom’ or ‘dissatisfaction’ comes from the regular letters in lEnNoN mUsIc.

23  How one might describe actors having a bit of a kip outside flat
I think this is PART MEN for ‘actors’ surrounded by AT, but how that equates to ‘bit of a kip’ I can’t see.  But someone out there no doubt can.

Edit:  that someone is Gaufrid, who explains it at comment no 2.  I would never have parsed this in a million years.

24  Superior title
A cd.  I like ‘em; some don’t.


Lord Chancellor has written terribly drily on case law
(DRILY ON CASE LAW)*  ‘Written terribly’ is the anagrind.  Thomas Wolsey was Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII.

Financial factors creating a forest, perhaps
This is one of those reverse anagrams. (Is that the right term?  I never know.)  If you EXCHANGE the letters of RATES OF, you create ‘a forest’.

Moose oil refined for a song
(MOOSE OIL)*  ‘Refined’ is the anagrind.  It’s the Neapolitan song which translates as ‘my sun’.  Bring out the Cornettos.

Semites, some Muslims Barack upset
Hidden reversed in MuslimS BARAck.  Both Jews and Arabs are Semites, since they are supposedly descended from Shem, the son of Noah.

Forerunner of Skype lacking volume, it’s said
For the technophobic and elderly (I qualify only for the latter) Skype is a piece of software that allows you to make voice and video calls over the Internet, often for free.  I presume that IDEOPHONE was an earlier version of something similar, and although a homophone is suggested, I can’t parse this, I’m afraid.

Edit: Duncan explains this at comment no 1.  Now that he has, I have to say this is a pretty loose definition, imho.

First-class return from one African country to another
This relies on the fact that if you take IA (a reversal of A1 for ‘first-class’) from NIGERIA, you’re left with another African country.  It’s a great surface.

Braced for conflict?
A cd, referring to the braces that teenagers wear to straighten wonky teeth.

Former president smuggled trifle inside vehicle
An insertion of RAN and SPORT inside CARTER for the former US President.

14  Colourless hydrocarbon created in experiment
(CREATED IN)*  ‘Experiment’ is the anagrind, I suppose in the sense of ‘play about with’.  The hydrocarbon(s) with the general formula C13H28.

16  Book about Tarka for example discovered under library
Eimi’s inviting you to put a reversal (‘about’) of Tarka the OTTER under LIB for ‘library’ to give you a word meaning ‘little book’ in Italian.  Otters are dead cool.  Etymologically, otter is ‘water animal’. It’s a very old English word and is the same in German and in Dutch.  In Swedish it’s utter, in Norwegian oter, and the Danes have odder.  Ultimately, it’s linked to hydra for the Greek ‘water snake’.

20  Horrible to find a hole in material
An insertion of O for ‘hole’ in VILE gives you the lightweight material used especially for blouses and dresses, as well as curtains.

21  Listened to senior teacher about educational fundamental
HEAD is wrapped around R for one of the ‘3 Rs’ (reading, riting and rithmetic).

I had fun solving and blogging this one.  Thank you to the setter for a fine start to the Indy week.

18 Responses to “Independent 7843/Eimi”

  1. duncanshiell says:

    5 down is VIDEOPHONE excluding (lacking) V (volume) giving IDEOPHONE (a word or phrase that is spoken, not written)

    I got off to a good start in this but struggled a bit with the final 2 (5d and 14d). I had to do some research to confirmn TRIDECANE which I could only find in the Shorter Oxford and on the web. I also had to confirm the meaning of IDEOPHONE.

    Like you, I am unsure how WAY means ‘particular’

  2. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Pierre
    23ac: the standard monetary unit of Laos is a kip which is equal to 100 at.

  3. Pierre says:

    Thanks, both, for the explanations. Actually, Gaufrid, I did know that monetary unit stuff about the kip and the at, but I didn’t want to put it in the blog for fear of appearing too intelligent …

  4. Phil says:

    Thanks for this — I’m just starting to learn Cryptics so it’s nice to see the “why” as well as the answers!

    For 21 Across, where does the RAT/TAR come from? I see that Horatio is a seafaring name, and that OHIO is backward/in it, but I don’t get where the RAT/TAR reversal comes from?

    Could anyone explain?

    Many thanks!

  5. Pierre says:

    Hi Phil, and if this is your first comment, welcome!

    TAR is an informal word for ‘sailor’ and often crops up in cryptics (together with AB for ‘able- bodied seaman’.)

    Your comment made me look in the dictionary for the word’s derivation, and apparently it comes from TARPAULIN, though the entry didn’t explain why.

  6. sidey says:

    The other explanation for TAR is the apparent habit of tarring the pigtail (or CUE) they were wont to wear.

    And thanks for the blog and puzzle, kip obviously leapt out as the monetary unit…

  7. Wanderer says:

    So much to enjoy here. My highlights were the brilliant anagram for CARDINAL WOLSEY, the heroically good “Ridiculous clot in FIFA,” “i owner” and the letter R clued as educational fundamental. But there was much more besides.

    Many thanks for the blog, Pierre, and to Eimi for making good on your promise posted on this site on Nov 15 to give us more of your puzzles. Loved it.

  8. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks eimi for a generally enjoyable crossword and Pierre for the blog.

    23ac: The answer was obvious enough. Thanks to Gaufrid @2 we cannot criticise this for soundness, but possibly we can on grounds of obscurity of reference. Sidey @6: I am beginning to work out how seriously your comments are intended to be taken…

    I enjoyed 1ac but did not see the answer at 18ac. This is the problem with cryptic definitions. They are great fun if you get them, but if you do not see what is going on, you have no second line of attack at the clue.

  9. flashling says:

    Nice penny dropper and groan for IONA and whilst I share Pelham’s reservations about CDs I got them today fairly easily. Nice to see an Eimi for a change and cheers to Pierre for the great blog.

  10. AndyB says:

    For 16d, not so much that “libretto” means little book in Italian, as that the “book” for a musical is the lyrics.

    Nice crossword. I’m not generally a cd man but 24a was excellent. Less so some of the others, with 7d perhaps a bit feeble.

    Lovely blog too, thanks

  11. Pelham Barton says:

    AndyB @10: from

    The book (also called the libretto) is the least appreciated and yet most dramatically important element of a musical. It is the narrative structure that keeps the score from being nothing more than a disjointed medley of songs.

    In other words, the book of a musical is precisely the part that is not the lyrics or the music. That is why on credits you will often see “Book and lyrics by …”

  12. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, Pierre and others, for explanations of several answers which I got without fully understanding or parsing them.

    Pierre, re your comment on IONA, I’ve been doing the cryptic in the i for a few weeks now, and I’ve not found any of them familiar so it looks as if they’re not recycled. But some of them may/must have been in storage for a while as setters such as Virgilius and Math have been turning up.

  13. flashling says:

    @Allan_c #12 I’ve definitely seen some before, although I only get the i if I can’t get the Indy, perhaps some “second class” puzzles are used in the i but Eimi would know and he won’t/hasn’t or isn’t allowed to comment.

  14. Paul B says:

    ‘Second-class’ puzzles? In journals peddled by the Indy group? Heresy sir, heresy. Witness today’s excellent example from our illustrious leader.

    Also today we’ve nearly out-commented the Grauniad thread: is this as near as we’ll ever get, I wonder?

  15. eimi says:

    Of course I couldn’t possibly comment, but the fact that Mass was in the i today is a bit of a clue.

    Thanks for the blog and the comments. This was a bit heavy on CDs, but I had a few to unload and a grid with such a generous helping of long answers is likely to throw up a few if one doesn’t rely too heavily on anagrams.

    A couple of defences. AT (in 23A) is not something plucked from the depths of Chambers or the OED – it’s in all three major dictionaries. Also, the whole point about an ideophone (a much more obscure word) is that it is something spoken rather than written, so “it’s said” doesn’t seem that loose to me. Tridecane was also pretty obscure, I’ll admit, and an anagram isn’t often the best way of dealing with more obscure words, but with five checked letters I had hoped that it might be guessable.

    Having discovered the FIFA anagram fodder, 13A was something of an open goal. Good old Sepp, the gift that goes on giving. Whatever will he think of next? Possibly having a World Cup in temperatures of 50 degrees? No, that’s too far-fetched.

  16. eimi says:

    I also forgot to mention that I took the definition of ‘way’ in 17A from Collins:

    an aspect of something; particular
    in many ways he was right

  17. Jon says:

    I do the i Cryptic every day now. Some of the crosswords are certainly recycled – a nifty Google search has turned up Fifteensquared blog posts for a few dating back to 2006, but as I’ve not solved them before I don’t much mind. Until the past week they’ve tended to be a little easier that the par for the Independent (apart from Nimrod on a Wednesday), but the last three I’ve struggled with. Not sure if Eimi has upped the difficulty rate? Oh, and The i has got the best prize going for a prize crossword in its Saturday edition.

    Hoping we’re not getting cast offs with the recycled ones, as The i is a nice little paper, and affordable too!

  18. flashling says:

    Sorry Tees/Eimi didn’t mean second rate as much as ones that never made it in for whatever reason, there must be loads submitted never to appear in the Indy as the topicality seems to be an Indy thing.

    (OK also a post to try and catch up and pass the Grauniad for once :-))

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