Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7866 by Eimi (Saturday Prize Puzzle 31 December 2011)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on January 7th, 2012


A pleasant puzzle to round the year off – with a number of clue readings and answers nodding respectfully to the date, and a lovely clue at 18D, which I am considering adopting as my motto!

I am not too familiar with Eimi – who I believe is also the Independent’s crossword editor – as a (prize) cryptic setter, although I am a fan of his (or her?) weekly General Knowledge Jumbos on the facing page.

As it happened, I ended up starting this puzzle late on New Year’s Day morning, nursing a slight hangover (see 18D again!) and got 3/4 of the way through without too many problems – some nice diverting surface readings; topical references; poignancy – in 6D; politics – in 21A; a new (to me) word in ZYDECO, which needed an e-shuffle through the Chambers CD Rom; and a slight delay due to my fuddled brain/hand mis-spelling MANOUEVRE, oops, MANOEUVRE. I couldn’t find any hidden topical messages or ninas in the grid – but happy to be corrected on that…

However I stalled in parsing/justifying PARIS and BIG BEN in the bottom left corner – until my researches threw up (sorry!) the fact that Dunfermline Athletic have the nickname the ‘Pars’ – anecdotally short for ‘Paralytics’…back to New Year’s Eve and 18D then?!…but more likely due to the parallel stripes on their kit. And then a bit of lateral thinking on the actual Big Ben – the ‘bong’ing bell itself, not the tower or the clock that most people think of as ‘Big Ben’.

Lastly, I wasn’t familiar with the Rossini opera Semiramide in 2D – at first I thought it might be figment of Eimi’s imagination, being an anagram of ‘Eimi’s dream’?!

Cheers to Eimi, trebles all round, and a Happy New Year to all…

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
7A HOGMANAY Pig farmer possibly getting a holiday at last today (8) today (New Year’s Eve) /
HOG (pig) + MAN (farmer, possibly) + A + Y (last of holiday)
8A NO-BALL Jack initially abandoning line and length with bad delivery (2-4) bad delivery (in cricket) /
NOB (Jack/knave, card in cribbage) + A (first of abandoning) + L (line) + L (length)
10A SEARCH ME I don’t know chief spy boss in diocese (6, 2) I don’t know /
SEE (diocese) around ARCH (chief) + M (spy boss, of James Bond)
11A HAMPER Impede the movement of a basket case? (6) (double defn) /
double defn – HAMPER = impede movement, and also a basket
12A FIRST-FOOTING Toffs rioting could become a tradition (5-7) a tradition (on NYE) /
anag (i.e. could become) of TOFFS RIOTING
15A ARREARS They’re outstanding but bottom in Art of Ancient Rome (7) They’re outstanding /
ARS (Art, in Latin) around REAR (bottom)
16A RENEWAL We learn from our mistakes in beginning again (7) beginning again /
anag (i.e. mistakes) of WE LEARN
17A CONFIRMATION Christian rite creating friction with Oman somehow (12) Christian rite /
anag (i.e. creating/somehow) of FRICTION + OMAN
20A DANIEL Book deal organised to encompass Northern Ireland (6) Book (of the Bible) /
anag (i.e. organised) of DEAL, around NI (Northern Ireland)
21A BELABOUR Criticise harshly but support Ed Miliband? (8) &lit/Criticise harshly /
&lit – to ‘BE LABOUR’ might be to support Ed Miliband, current Labour party leader
23A BIG BEN London landmark most people have not seen (3, 3) &lit/London landmark (and iconic NYE symbol) /
&lit – BIG BEN is not the tower or the clock, but actually the bell inside…which ‘most people’ do not get to see
24A BIDEFORD Stay in front of car in Devon town (8) Devon town /
BIDE (stay) + FORD (car)
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D HOTELIERS Accommodating people others lie about (9) Accommodating people /
anag (i.e. about) of OTHERS LIE
2D EMIR Leading role in Semiramide (4) Leading role /
hidden word in sEMIRamide
3D IN THE FIRING LINE Exposed as working as a business consultant specialising in downsizing (2, 3, 6, 4) &lit/double defn? – Exposed /
&lit – a downsizing consultant is in the ‘line’, or job, of firing others
4D ZYDECO Coordinates art style with music (6) music (Creole, accordion-based)/
ZY (coordinates) + DECO (art style)
5D UNCHAINED MELODY Free air – a hit more than once (9, 6) a hit (song), more than once /
UNCHAINED (free) + MELODY (air, or tune) – which has been a (chart) hit for many popular beat combos over the years, m’lud.
6D OLDER Setting up some unsecured loans, as we all will be tomorrow (5) as we will all be tomorrow /
reversed hidden word in unsecuRED LOans
9D BE MY GUEST Get me busy somehow, as 1 might say (2, 2, 5) &lit – as 1 (HOTELIERS) might say /
anag (i.e. somehow) of GET ME BUSY, &lit as if you become a HOTELIER’s guest, you may get them busy, looking after you.
13D STEP CLIMB Aircraft 14 to navigate blimps etc. (4, 5) aircraft manoeuvre /
anag (i.e. to navigate) of BLIMPS ETC
14D MANOEUVRE Planned movement of male writer’s output (9) planned movement /
MAN (male) + OEUVRE (writer’s works, or output)
18D IMBIBE I am British – I live for drink (6) drink /
IM (I am, contraction) + B (British) + I + BE (live)
19D PARIS Capital investment beginning in Dunfermline (5) Capital /
PARS (nickname of Dunfermline Athletic football club) around I (first of investment)
22D BUFF Expert with attractively well-developed muscles (4) (double defn) /
double defn – to be BUFF is to be well muscled, and a BUFF can be an expert in something

7 Responses to “Independent 7866 by Eimi (Saturday Prize Puzzle 31 December 2011)”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was enjoyable and gentle for a Sat. Thanks, mc_rapper67, and Eimi who I think I can say “without fear of contradiction” is a he and also the Indy crossword editor.

    PARIS was my last answer and it was a nice penny-dropping moment when I understood it.

  2. sidey says:

    Nice puzzle and Eimi has very kindly amended the online clue for 7a to Pig farmer possibly getting a holiday at last a week ago.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    We really enjoyed this puzzle. We thought it must be Paris for 19d but couldn’t work out why, so thanks for the explanation!

    Thanks also to Eimi!

  4. Eileen says:

    Thanks, mc_rapper67, for the blog, and Eimi for the puzzle.

    One small thing: I seem to have mislaid my copy of this puzzle but I remember reading the clue for 9dn as ‘as 1 [ie HOTELIERS] might say’. [I may be wrong!]

  5. mc_rapper67 says:

    Hi all – thanks for the feedback.
    Eileen @ #4 – you are quite right – a typo in transcription from a photocopy – and that makes much more sense in the parsing – duly updated!

  6. flashling says:

    Thanks MC I could not see why Paris was right and spent far too long looking at ?a?id. Otherwise cheers Eimi for a nice end of year puzzle.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Like you, flashling, I thought 19d had to have a D in it, but I eventually gave up with that one clue unsolved. I have enough trouble with the nicknames of clubs in the Midlands, let alone further afield.

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