Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,918 / Mordred

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 1st, 2012


I have only previously blogged one Mordred puzzle, and my blog on that day concluded as follows: “Overall, I think that Mordred made a mere mortal such as me work a little bit too hard with the wordplay today, but there were doubtless other solvers who relished the challenge and were able do better justice to his wordsmithery than myself”. That conclusion applies equally to today’s blog.

Then and now, the puzzle contained rather a lot of unusual vocabulary for a daily cryptic, which made parsing that bit harder, e.g. the entries at 3 and 10; the rag-and-bone men at 18; the muscular strength at 21; the river mouth at 6, which I knew only as a French word. Not even with Chambers can I parse 1A to my satisfaction, so any input would be much appreciated – thanks! I suppose Mordred gave us some easier clues to get us started – at 5, 9, 17, 28, for example- but this was a real struggle for me nevertheless.

My clue of the day has to be 15, for its well-hidden definition and misleading surface syntax.

Interestingly, Mordred has included a couple of triple definitions in this puzzle, at 11 and 27, although they rely to an extent on more obscure derivations of the words in question. The completed grid also contains five pairs of homophones – 1A/27, 7/26, 9/21A, 11/24 and 19/25 – which helped to confirm one or two entries that I was unsure of, e.g. 1A.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   CHEQUE   CHEQUE<r> (=peg, in game of Chinese chequers; “runs (=R) from” means the letter “r” is not used; definition: bill = cheque, i.e. bill of exchange
4   MATESHIP   MATE’S (=cobber’s) + HIP (=joint); & lit; “mateship” and “cobber” are both typical of Australian English
10   NICTITATE   *(TICIN) + TATE (=gallery); to nictitate means to wink or blink; “suffering” is anagram indicator
11   BRAKE   Triple definition: BRAKE is “fern”, bracken AND (to) “slow” (down), decelerate AND (a type of estate) “car”
12   TOLD   T<o>O<t>L<e>D; “at intervals” means alternate letters only are used
13   WHIT SUNDAY   *(SUIT AND) in WHY (=question, i.e. a question word)
15   POPULAR   U (=acceptable) in POPLAR (=East London area); the definition is simply “in”
16   REHEAT   R<ac>EHEAT (=event’s preliminary; “Athletic Club (=AC) eliminated” means the letters “ac” are dropped
19   MISSED   Reversed (“rejected”) and hidden (“slice of”) in “topsiDES SIMply”
21   FARTHER   THE<w> (=muscular strength; “most” means last letter is dropped) in FARR (=former Welsh boxer, i.e. Tommy Farr, 1913-86); the definition is simply “longer”
23   EMBLEMATIC   EMBLEM (=rose possibly) + AT (=engaged in) + I C   (=in texting I see, i.e. in text-messaging shorthand)
25   MIST   S<erves> (“first of” means first letter only) in MIT (TIM=Henman, i.e. British tennis player; “returns” indicates a   reversal); the definition is “fret” as a noun, i.e. mist coming off the sea
27   CHECK   Triple definition: CHECK is (to) “examine”, vet AND (a)   “crack” in timber, veneer AND (a) “pattern” in cloth
28   EPICENTRE   *(PERT NIECE); “is fluttering” is anagram indicator
29   NAKED EYE   NAKED (=exposed) + EYE (=spot, as a verb)
30   EDICTS   C (=copyright) in EDITS (=changes); the definition is “orders”, as a noun, i.e. decrees
1   CENOTAPH   *(NOT CHEAP); “construction” is anagram indicator; & lit.
2   EUCALYPTI   EU (=homophone of “you”) + CALYP-TI (CALYPSO=song; “changing (musical) note at end” means that “so” is replaced by “ti”)
3   UNIX   U (=acceptable) + NIX (=to reject, veto); in computing, Unix is a multiuser operating system for handling large amounts of data
5   ABETTER   A + BETTER (=more suitable)
6   EMBOUCHURE   EM (ME=setter; “brought up” indicates vertical reversal) + [O (=old) in *(CHUB) + URE (=river)]; “swimming” is anagram indicator; an embouchure is the “mouth” of a river
7   HEARD   Double definition: HEARD is “caught”, made out audibly AND “tried” in court
8   PHENYL   PH (=pub, i.e. Public   House) + EN (=measure, i.e. in   printing) + <loon>Y (“last of” means last letter only) + L (=left); a   phenyl is an organic radical, in chemistry
9   FATHER   FAT (=plump) + HER (=girl’s)
14   FLYSPECKED   [<b>Y + <thrip>S + <lim>P] in FLECKED (=marked with spots); “bottoms” means last letters only; & lit.; “fly-specked”   means marked by small spots of flies’ excrement
17   ATHEISTIC   *(ETHIC AS IT); “unholy” is anagram indicator
18   TROTTERS   R<ags> (“initially” means first letter only) in TOTTERS (=such as Steptoe and Son, i.e. rag-and-bone men)
20   DRAPERY   RAPE (=plant, i.e. oilseed rape) in DRY (=cold, i.e. formal, frigid)
21   FRIGID   FRI (=day) + GID (DIG=like; “to get up” indicates vertical reversal)
22   BEACON   BEA (=former airline, i.e. British European Airways) + CO (=company) + N<eglected> (“initially” means first letter only)
24   BREAK   R (=rook) in BEAK (=bill)
26   HERD   Hidden (“needs trimming”) in “rancHER Drove”

9 Responses to “Independent 7,918 / Mordred”

  1. Miche says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku. I found this slightly tough going.

    Ia: A cheque is a bill of exchange. I think chequer and peg can both be used to mean the pieces in Chinese Chequers.

  2. Alberich says:

    Is anyone else having trouble getting the puzzle to load on the Indy site? I get the words “Wrong size” instead of the grid and only some of the clues. I use Crossword Solver to get the puzzles and only stumbled on this by accident, but would be interested to know if this is a known problem or just my computer being nasty to me. Thanks.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Alberich
    I’ve just tried downloading via Crossword Solver and it worked fine for me, no problems at all.

  4. Alberich says:

    Thanks Gaufrid, I got it OK too with Crossword Solver but am just wondering if the online pages are playing up or whether it’s a problem my end.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Alberich
    Sorry, I misinterpreted your question. I checked the website version before replying initially, and again a couple of minutes ago, with no problems on either occasion (using IE9).

  6. Alberich says:

    Sorted it – was something to do with my page size settings! Nice puzzle by the way.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Nothing too difficult here, although a few words aren’t exactly in everyday use. Thanks, Mordred and RatkojaRiku.

    Re 6d, embouchure is also the “mouth” (i.e. the shape of the mouth) made when playing a wind instrument, particularly a brass instrument.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Nothing too difficult? It was a typical Thursday ‘toughie’ in our opinion complicated by the inclusion of several obscure words. Mordred always seems to add a twist but it wasn’t until the very end that we noticed the homophones.
    Enjoyable workout, more braincells stimulated so thanks Mordred.
    Thanks RR for the blog. You must have had some head-scratching and yet there are so few comments. Did people just give up on it?

  9. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks for input, Miche.

    I agree with Bertandjoyce about the dearth of comments despite the difficulty of the puzzle!

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