Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7932 (Saturday Prize Puzzle 17th March 2012) by Nimrod

Posted by twencelas on March 24th, 2012


Well – a treat for me – a Nimrod puzzle to blog. I’d better reach for the medication!

As I would expect from Nimrod – some very original clues. Also a theme connecting the 3 long clues and a couple of references to the advanced cryptic puzzles in the Listener (2dn answer) and the Inquisitor (8dn clue). Could Nimrod be suggesting that the setters required hallucinogens to perfect their art-form.

To explain my last sentence, there is an LSD connection between 4, 6 and 7 down and the associated answers.

  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide or LSD (gained fame in the swinging sixties)
  • Lucy in the sky with diamonds (A Beatles’ song concerning the drug, some believe)
  • Pounds shillings and pence (or LSD – the former currency of the realm, we live in)

Quite tough, I would say, even after entering the long clues, there was plenty to think about – I did like 1ac, if I were to pick a clue, though there were many that amused  – the puzzle as a whole reminded me a little of a nonagenarian setter – certainly the longer anagram clues and a few of the liberties taken (all in all a very satisfying solve).

Key: * (Anagram) DD (Double definition)


1          All swell (Zero contracts i.e expands) therefore AOK? = ALLS WELL (as in all okay)

5          op (work) in sled (through drag) = SLOPED (as in italics of Thus – thanks Sidey)

9          (I guess ID)* = DISGUISE (In this indicating an anagram as in disguise)

10        a + c (catholic) + qui (who French)  + t (Terry’s first) = ACQUIT (to free)

12        Compere (quizmaster) – comp (introduction executed) or see 1st comment = ERE (before) 

13        WI (West Indies) in Darn (D___ as in expletive?) = DARWIN (Australian city)

14        Hidden reverED GEneralissimo = EDGE (Border)

16        c (heart of ascot) + re + ed (racehorse end with entries (i.e. non starting and ending letters) scratched) = CREED (Beliefs)

18        (insert)* around or (gold) = INTRORSE (Turned inwards)

20        I (I) + sos (help) + tass – s (cup (with) final out) + y (half my) = ISOSTASY (Earthly balance)

21        air (publicity) in nn (news as in new x 2) = NAIRN (Highlander’s home)

23        See 6 Down WITH

24        I (one) + c (caught) in barb (fish – the one and two specify the position for the insertion) = BICARB (Salt)

26        a (article) in sinister (LH – left handed) = LAH (Note)

28        DD (cryptically) = GREENS (Leaves – Those joining in the party – as in Green Party)

29        See 6 Down DIAMONDS

30        y (yard) + (names)* = YESMAN (Sheep as in proverbially)

31        key (locker) around (nerks)* = KERENSKY (russian revolutionary as in Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky )


1          See 7 Down AND PENCE

2          is + (s (first to see) + enter)* in letters (characters) = LISTENER SETTERS (We might say – as in the “extreme”, but much fun, crossword  compilers)

3          DD WOUND (Turned about – Injury to reputation)

4/11     (my addict child a girl + eyes)* around ie (that is injected) = LYSERGIC ACID DIETHYLAMIDE (as in LSD – Incredibly high)

6/19/23/29 In the air (as in the tune) = LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS (Beatles song abount a girl with kaleidoscope eyes – allegedly about an LSD trip)

7/1D    (hallucinogens + spend + spend – e)* = POUNDS SHILLINGS AND PENCE (or LSD – cash saved for over 4 decades)

8          d (day) + I(top of the Inquisitor) on the + r (solver finally) = DITHER (Confuse)

11        see 4 DIETHYLAMIDE

15        DD JOHN (as in Long John Silver and an expression for a toilet)

17        d (diamonds as in 29ac) + ish (rough in ones estimation) = DISH (What’s presented on a salver)

19        See 6 IN THE SKY

22        DD albeit cryptically = TWIGGY (as in the sixties icon and like a stick)

25        babe (attractive young woman) changing om (order) for a (one) = BOMBE (Sweet)

27        in Ca (In California – attending oscar’s ceremony) = INCA (Aged Peruvian)

13 Responses to “Independent 7932 (Saturday Prize Puzzle 17th March 2012) by Nimrod”

  1. sidey says:

    Thank you twencelas. Several definitions I’m still not sure about. However, assuming the print version was the same as the online one (it’s not in 8d as it has Independent for Inquisitor) the definition in 5a is that Thus is in italics so is sloped. 12a is hidden in quizmastER_Executed.

  2. twencelas says:

    Sidey the print version has Inquisitor in 8d.
    I do agree with you for 5a, as to 12a I was n’t convinced that “Introduction” was an adequate sign for a hidden word, but it is an option.

  3. Quixote says:

    I thought he LSD idea was good but once you’d spotted the theme you had no need to work out the clues (a common pitfall in themed puzzles, including my own!). I was alarmed by the extremely cliquey reference to LISTENER SETTERS (not easily accessible as a phrase to the general public for whom our puzzles should be intended). I thought no more about this until I gave a talk on crosswords to the Oxford University Pensioners on Wednesday. One of the audience approached me, asked if I was Nimrod and told me of his difficulties with this puzzle. I said no I wasn’t and gave him the LS answer. He had no idea what it meant. When I was asked if I knew Nimrod and told him ‘yes, quite well’ I was asked to punch him in the face. I certainly shan’t oblige, but I will repeat the warning that we bloggers and setters are sometmes in danger of getting a bit up ourselves and forgetting the wider crossword public. But for this rather telling and unexpected feedback I would not have ventured an opinion here taht is critical of a talented and valued colleague. Enough said!

  4. Bannsider says:

    I enjoyed this, and I think the LSD connection may be related to the Listener Setters’ Dinner of the 17 March (!) Initially only, of course :-)

  5. John H says:

    The Listener Crossword is surely well enough known (surely even legendary) to have it in a celebratory puzzle which contained several ninas which you didn’t need to spot to complete it.

    I was giving a playground talk on crosswords to the kids in Year One the other day, and they’d all heard of the Listener Crossword.

    Gonna get my LSD fix now.

  6. pennes says:

    I’ve been doing the Indy crossword for about four years and on seeing Nimrod’s name I was beaten before starting. I now get about halfway with them, but then start to feel the effort and time is just not worth it as the clues are just too tortuous, rather clumsy and for some reason not satisfying. A shame because some of his cryptic definitions are great I liked 22dn twiggy and once he did one of my favourite clues which was transvestite as solution for “basque infiltrator”.
    I did hear a feature on radio 4 pm about 5 years ago, which suggested that crosswords were starting to not gain newcomers; clues such as “listener setters” do seem indulgent, and some of the specialist themes that we have had in the Indy recently have little general appeal. I’m thinking of a recent puzzle about whistleblowers and one themed around “the Dubliners”.

  7. crypticsue says:

    I greatly enjoyed this crossword and don’t think you needed to have noticed the Listener connection to solve it. Being of a certain age I just thought it referred to LSD and the 60s. I will admit to having to look up the D word in 11d but apart from that, judging by my handwriting on the grid, can’t have had that many problems. Clue of the day for me had to be the lovely 22d – interestingly Mr CS who refuses to have anything to do with cryptic crosswords (sad man) got that clue straight away too when I read it out to him. Thanks very much to Nimrod and Twencelas too.

  8. Allan_C says:

    A bit of serendipity came to the rescue here when a few crossing letters suggested LUCY etc for 6/19/23/29 and the LSD theme soon became apparent. 2d was one of the last in when it obviously couldn’t be anything else, but I share Quixote’s reservations about the appropriateness of it in a crossword for the average solver, even if it is a Saturday prize puzzle.
    Just a comment too on 7/1 about ‘saved'; this had me puzzled for a bit till I realised that cash saved is cash not spent and we haven’t been able to spend shillings and (old) pence for the last 40 years. Of course we have been spending pounds, but I guess we don’t refer to them as ‘L’ these days.

  9. Dormouse says:

    Did wonder if 9ac was part of the theme as I recall a sixties song called Judy in Disguise (with Glasses) which started from a mis-hearing of Lucy in the Sky, and Google tells me Lucy in Disguise was Lily Allen’s vintage clothing shop.

    Didn’t have too much difficulty with this for a Saturday puzzle.

  10. flashling says:

    After a long day doing household chores started this about 4pm, saw Nimrod and nearly gave up, after struggling to start, POUNDS SHILLINGS and PENCE suddenly appeared in my mind but couldn’t see why to begin with. Then the LSD thought hit me and the other two LSD hits came along for actually quite a quick finish. Now I know about the Listener setters’ dinner, was quite surprised that JH didn’t put DINNER in the grid somewhere.

  11. twencelas says:

    Flashling – I’m in full agreement, re. the absence of teh all important “dinner”. Not just my excuse for not spotting the relevance of the date.
    The Listener crossword is weekly entertainment for me and March is the time of the annual gathering for their awards will provide details of past dinners

  12. cookiepuss says:

    Time was when I could usually complete these crosswords within 45 minutes, but no longer. I don’t think my mental faculties have deteriorated that much, but recently the answers seem to be more obscure. I’m pretty well-read and know Latin and some Greek. I also speak French, German, Spanish and Dutch. I do not want to have to resort to Urban Dictionary or similar. Am I really such a dinosaur?

  13. flashling says:

    cookiepuss no but the Indy setters are mostly not elderly folks, well the ones I know anyway, did wonder if Bicarb was an order for the post dinner celebrations :-)

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