Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,846 / Nestor

Posted by RatkojaRiku on December 8th, 2011

RatkojaRiku.

Having enjoyed my last encounter with Nestor a month ago, from which I emerged with my solver’s pride more or less intact, I was relishing the prospect of solving this one when I noticed it was signed by Nestor. Pride comes before a fall, as they say, and, alas, today he has well and truly wiped the floor with me. Consequently, I will be needing input from fellow solvers to put the finishing touches to this blog.

I am still not quite sure what it was about this puzzle that made me struggle so much: was it objectively harder than the average Nestor offering? Was I simply not on his wavelength today, or was I just having a bad day? Or perhaps a combination of these factors?

I got off to a fairly good start by filling in 8, 9, 19, 20, 21, 26 and 28 upon first perusal, but then I just ground to a complete halt. After much head-scratching, I managed to puzzle out the longer entries at 15 and 18, and slotted in 2, 3, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22, 24 and 25 around them. 17 was a new word for me, while I vaguely remember seeing 27 in a crossword before; both could be worked out from wordplay and the checking letters. As for the rest, I had to resort to searching Chambers for words which would fit and then trying to make them fit their respective clues, which is always a very last resort for me; this was particularly the case for 1, 5 and 23, although I kicked myself for not spotting the beautifully hidden definition at 5.

Of the clues that I solved wholly independently, my favourites would be 15 for its & lit. element and 6 for its well-disguised definition; of the ones where I sought assistance, my favourite would be 5, as mentioned above.

I am not sure that I have understood the definition at 7 correctly, and I need someone to explain the wordplay at 4, which has completely baffled me – done, thank you!

After such a tussle, suffice it to say that I shall approach my next Nestor with more fear and trepidation than I did this morning’s.

*(…) indicates an anagram

Across        
         
1   UNHOLY   <i>NH<a>L<e> (=draw breath); “seeing completely different vocal (=relating to a vowel) parts” means that all the vowels are changed (to other vowels in the alphabet)
         
5   AT MOST   *(MAT<e>S TO); “shift allegiancE finally” means that the letter “e” is dropped from the anagram; “mad” is anagram indicator; the definition is “max” (=maximum)
         
10   ABSTRUSE   <tricep>S (“back of” means last letter only) in [ABS (=muscles) + TRUE (=right)]
         
11   UPLOAD   *(A LOUD P<iano>); “played” is anagram indicator
         
12   BLACKHEATH   B (=bishop) + LACK HEAT (=to be thoroughly cold) + H (=hard)
         
14   CHAV   C (=conservative) + HAV<e> (=own; “docked” means last letter is dropped); the definition is “classless society member”, where “classless” means lacking in class, unrefined
         
15   SWISS ARMY
KNIFE
  *(<l>W+ IFE’S MANY RISKS); “sacrificing length (=L) for width (=W)” means that the letter “l” is dropped from the anagram and the letter “w” added to it; “contrivance for” is anagram indicator; & lit.
         
18   BROAD IN THE
BEAM
  [A DIN (=an uproar) in BROTHE<r> (=comrade; “mostly” means last letter is dropped)] + BEAM (=broadcast); the definition is “hippy” in the sense of having large hips
         
20   SHOO   SHOO<t> (=aim for target; “missing tee (=T)” means the letter “t” is dropped
         
22   END OF STORY   End, i.e. first or last letter, of StorY, i.e. “either of “y” or “s”; the definition is “period”, as in full stop, that’s the end of it
         
24   SAMOSA   AMOS (=book, i.e. in OT) in SA (=South America); the definition is “turnover”, referring to the savoury pastry turnover in Indian cuisine
         
25   EXIT POLL   X (=vote) in [L L (=lines, i.e. 2 x L) + OPT (=to make election, i.e. choose) + I.E. (=that is)]; “returning” indicates a reversal; & lit.
         
27   DAY-GLO   *(GAY OLD); “flourishes” is anagram indicator; Day-Glo as an adjective means “of a luminously brilliant green, yellow, pink or orange”, hence “striking shades”
         
28   KIBOSH   SOB (=blubber, as verb) in HIK<e> (=long walk; “most of” means last letter is dropped); “back” indicates reversal
         
Down        
         
2   NEBULISER   LUBE (=oil) in RESIN (=plant exudation); “upped” indicates vertical reversal
         
3   OUT   <y>OUT<h>; “4 undressed” means that the first and last letters are removed from the entry at 4
         
4   YOUTH   The definition is “freshness”; homophone (“oral”) of U-th (=21st in ranking, i.e. alphabetically, behind “teeth” for T-th)
         
6   TOUCH-TYPE   T<rust> (“basis of” means first letter only) in [TOUCHY (=sensitive) + PE (=games, i.e. Physical Education)]; the cryptic definition is “not peeking, key”
         
7   ONLY CONNECT   ON (=about) + [N (=noon) in *(CYCLE NOT)]; “fixed” is anagram indicator; the definition is “call for personal involvement”, associated with E M Forster’s Howards End – and the recent BBC Four quiz show!!
         
8   TIARA   Hidden (“somewhat”) in “anTI-ARAb”
         
9   REPAIR   REP (=type of theatre, i.e. repertory) + AIR (=ventilation)
         
13   CLIMATOLOGY   C (=cold) + LIMA (=capital, i.e. of Peru) + TO (=until) + LOG (=record, as noun or verb) + Y (=year)
         
16   SLIMEBALL   I’M (=I am) in SLEBALL (L (=large) + LABELS (=recording companies); “up” indicates vertical reversal)
         
17   FUMAROLES   [UM (=sign of hesitation) in FAR (=very much)] + OLÉS (=encouraging cries); fumaroles are holes emitting gases in a volcano, hence “vents”
         
19   TIDIER   DI (=detective, i.e. Detective Inspector) in TIER (=rank)
         
21   HOARD   O (=old) in HARD (=difficult)
         
23   FLICK   F (=loud) + LICK (=musical phrase, i.e. an instrumental passage in jazz or rock); the definition is “perhaps a short”, i.e. film
         
26   PUB   U (=university) in Pb (=lead, i.e. chemical symbol); the definition is “local” as noun
         

 

8 Responses to “Independent 7,846 / Nestor”

  1. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Nestor for a challenging puzzle and RR for the blog.

    4dn is a homophone for U-th (21st in order), where 20th is T-th (sounding like “teeth”). This took me a while to work out.

    1ac: I think we should note that the three vowels A E I have been replaced collectively by the other three, not just that each individual vowel has changed.

  2. MikeC says:

    Thanks RR, PB and Nestor. I spent ages on this but in the end was defeated. I think it really is a tough one: I haven’t seen wordplay like 1 and 4, and was defeated by both. I tried MOUTH for 4 (=freshness??), so could only hazard INFORM for 1 – which even I knew made no sense!!

    Nevertheless, a fair and enjoyable puzzle.

  3. Cumbrian says:

    Too tough for me to finish without some revealing I’m afraid – in fact I got to the frustration stage with this one! I hadn’t realised that vocal was the adjective from vowel, so there was no hope of getting 1a, particularly as I couldn’t get 4d without the starting Y. In fact the crossing 1,2,3,4 and 10 all gave me problems, thus leaving the top NW corner beyond my grasp.

    Many thanks for the blog, particularly for 10a where I got hung up trying to fit “Abuse” into the reasoning, and for 16d where I was convinced that “IME” was a large recording company “up”, and couldn’t fathom another one from the letters. Blinkers off next time, maybe.

    I think my favourite, out of some very clever if tough clues, was 5a.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku, and Nestor. I was v glad I persisted with this and got there in the end, understanding everything (eventually), then verifying the words or wordplay components, that I was not totally familiar with, in dicts. Very fair, imaginative and original clueing. In answer to a question posed above, this was for me much harder than Nestor usually is and he is in general among the harder of the Indy setters anyway. In other words, I spent quite a bit of time at this today, but was v glad I did.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for blogging, RatkojaRiku. A bit beyond me today, really, although I got a decent start. Couldn’t finish the last four or five and when I revealed the answers I realised that I wouldn’t have got them anyway. All fair, I think, and of those I did solve, I liked END OF STORY and BLACKHEATH.

  6. flashling says:

    Too hard for me and had to give up, which is a shame really, a tough one indeed RR.

  7. RatkojaRiku says:

    Many thanks to Pelham Barton for explaining 4, which I wouldn’t have worked out for myself in a million years. I’ll adjust the blog accordingly.

    Am relieved to read that I wasn’t the only one who struggled today!

  8. Quixote says:

    Diifficult but very high-class stuff from a colleague who is a clue-writer out of the top drawer.

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