Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7868/Raich

Posted by John on January 3rd, 2012


I posted the other day saying that in my opinion Raich’s puzzles were the easiest (but among the best) of those in the Indy. At first this statement seemed to be coming back to bite me, for an initial pass through the Acrosses didn’t produce the rash of answers that one would expect from an easy crossword. But soon everything was fine and there were no problems.

There seems to be no reason to change my verdict: not at all difficult, but some excellent clues and everything falls into place tidily. My only criticism is 9dn, which has more unchecked than checked letters. But perhaps that’s something to do with the Nina, which partially excuses this. I can see various things to do with facts (enter, notion, advice, FBI) but this is hopelessly vague and I’m sure that more is going on. Finally I had another look and thought that it might be something to do with Cliff Richard and The Shadows. Sure enough, I see that Apache and FBI were two of their songs. No doubt there are more here.

5 SH(A D)OWS — but are shows competitive events? Some of them are, but plenty aren’t. An example of ‘definition by example’ of the type I’m never quite sure about: you can clue ‘Nile’ by ‘River in Africa': the Nile is an example of a river in Africa just as a show is an example of a competitive event, so I suppose this is OK. Some people don’t mind dbe at all, though, and for them there would never have been the inklings of a problem here.
10 NOT (I) ON
11 ATLANTIS — (N (it)rev.) in atlas
12 LOVE — 2 defs — for tennis players like Andy Murray nothing = love
13 {r}ENTER — def ‘Key in’
15 prICEd
16 FARE — “fair”
18 F{r}AIL S
19 I AGO
21 FBI — (b{r}i{e}f)*
22 L{e}ADEN
23 ACRE — imperial in that it is an imperial unit of measurement
24 BIATHLON — (Bath Lion{s})*
26 F{ilia}L AUNT
27 LARYNX — (a R) in lynx
1 THE ODOR A — odor, the American spelling, rather than odour
3 TOIL{e}
4 CRUISE — ref Tom Cruise
6 WONDERFUL — (old new fur)*, a wonderful clue
8 KON-TIKI — ref Thor Heyerdahl, whose Kon-Tiki expedition was a very famous event in the 1940s
9 FACT-FINDING — (tiff dancing)*
14 RESENTFUL — (nurse felt)* — another excellent clue with a deceptively simple surface
17 E VICTOR — 2 defs, one of them fanciful (an e-victor might be a word for an electronic victor)
20 GERONIMO — typically a shout from someone who is jumping into a swimming pool from a high board, also an Apache
21 FOI(B)L {gam}E
25 LAND — 2 defs

13 Responses to “Independent 7868/Raich”

  1. Paul B says:

    I wonder how John himself would clue NILE: perhaps simply ‘Nile’? That would be safest, I guess.

    On the technical side, this puzzle does not feature a Nina that I can spot. what’s going on appears to be a ghost theme (i.e. one in which no relevant element announces itself as themed) with the name of a band, (The) Shadows, plus several of its most famous choons: KONTIKI, ATLANTIS, FBI, WONDERFUL LAND, APACHE and GERONIMO.

    Did I miss any, Raich?

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John and Raich.

    Easyish but good would be the summary, I think, although I did get held up in the SW corner for a bit. Didn’t spot the theme, but that would be the cherry on the cake for those that baked the cake; and the cake on its own was still tasty.

    I think ‘shows’ for ‘competitive events’ is fine. Here in rural Derbyshire there are plenty of annual shows where there are prizes for ‘best cow’ or ‘cutest hamster’. Don’t knock it; it may be quaint but at least we don’t have drive-by shootings.

  3. Paul B says:

    Well, since it is defined as ‘a sporting event’ in at least one dictionary (Collins), I can’t see how it wouldn’t be fine for anyone. In the same tome, incidentally, ‘Nile’ is defined as ‘a river in Africa’.

    Not quite sure what more to help solvers a compiler can do but define SI elements as if from a dictionary!

  4. pommers says:

    Nice puzzle with a nice theme, but shouldn’t 21a be enumerated (1,1,1)? It’s 3 initials, not a word.

    Anyway, I don’t often look at the Indy puzzle because it’s a bit of a pain on my small netbook screen but today I’m glad I did!

    Thanks Raich.

  5. Lenny says:

    The clear wordplay makes up for the solver-unfriendly grid. The hidden theme was no help to me. Once I got Theodora, I started looking for other Handel oratorios

  6. flashling says:

    @Pommers #4 Dead tree 21a is (1,1,1). Thanks Raich for the puzzle, a bit of a relief after Tyrus yesterday.

  7. Jim T says:

    Enjoyed this. An impressive number of thematic answers.

  8. dialrib says:

    pommers @4 – does it depend on the answer the compiler requires: F.B.I. or FBI (an acronym, ie a word)? Either seems fine to me but on their website they refer to themselves as ‘The FBI’.

  9. Raich says:

    Many thanks, John, for the excellent blog and to all for their comments. Yes, Paul B at #1 has listed all the thematic material that was included. I think however that it should not have been necessary to spot the theme to solve the puzzle as all the answers were fairly well-known words. I did aim to get all their biggest hits in – with WONDERFUL LAND split between two clues.

  10. Allan_C says:

    Missed the theme – and I wondered at first if there was going to be a nina in view of the sparseness of unches round the edge.

    pommers and dialrib: An acronym is surely a word that can be pronounced differently from simply saying the letters – if it can’t then it’s merely an abbreviation. The classic acronym example is ‘radar’ from ‘RAdio Detection And Ranging’. In the current context one might have ‘soca’ pronounced ‘soaker’ (or ‘soccer’) for Serious Organised Crime Agency but one can’t sensibly pronounce FBI as anything but F B I – hence imho it should be enumerated (1,1,1) as in the dead tree version.

    That quibble apart, this puzzle would make quite a good introduction to cryptics for beginners.

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Missed the theme totally despite being one-time (a long time ago!) fans of the Shadows. We could blame it on crossword deprivation over the last few days while we were away but maybe we just need to wake up a bit or something. Straightforward solve – maybe that was the problem. We were just glad that it was over quickly so we could have an early night!

    Thanks Raich and John.

  12. Paul B says:

    Re ‘unfriendly’ grids, Independent themed, Nina-ed or otherwise complicated puzzles have a tendency to reveal themselves as such via funny-looking black square arrangements. This is by no means always the case, but I’d say it’s well worth making a mental note of the possibility if you are an Indy convert.

    Re FBI, as with the likes of CIA it’s never written using stops, nor ever is it so listed in the dictionaries, so for me an enumeration of (3) seems quite fair.

  13. dialrib says:

    You are right Allan_C @10. Acronyms are normally pronounceable. I don’t have easy access to a hard-copy dictionary but the online Chambers 21st Century Dictionary has FBI as an example of an initialism – a set of initial letters used as an abbreviation. A new word for me.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

one × = 2