Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,942 / Nestor

Posted by RatkojaRiku on March 29th, 2012


My one-in-every-four Thursday slot has thrown up a Nestor several times recently, and I am certainly not complaining!

With Nestor, you know that you have a challenge on your hands, but you also know that, even if it takes you a long time to crack the puzzle, it will be worth the effort, since all the clues will be scrupulously fair in addition to their entertainment value.

Having “cheated” last time, I felt that I had a point to prove today. This was a tricky grid in that not many first letters are revealed, and since the four long entries persistently eluded me, it was a long time before I felt that I had “tamed” the grid. I had actually guessed 8 early on from the definition, but it took me ages to see the wordplay, although once I saw it, I realised that it had been staring me in the face all along.

I got to within three intersecting clues of finishing the puzzle “off my own bat”, but having ground to a halt and with a blog needing to be written, I turned to Chambers for a word that fitted 21, which, once slotted in, gave me enough to solve the final two clues at 17 and 22.

Overall, my clues of the day have to be 8 for its originality and 7 and 10 for their & lit. dimension.

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   FOAM AT THE   MOUTH FOAM (=waves) + AT THE MOUTH (=where river meets sea); definition: “are furious”
9   ENDURE END (=goal) + URE (=Band Aid organiser, i.e. Midge Ure); the definition is “last”, as a verb
10   ROASTING OAST (=oven) in RING (=heating element); & lit.
11   EMANATIONS [MAN (=staff, as a verb) in EAT (=worry)] + <l>IONS (=rugby squad); “replacing rugby squad’s head” means the “l” of Lions is dropped and its place taken by EMANAT
13   BABS B<ush> (“foremost” means first letter only) in BAS<h> (=party; “most of” means last letter is dropped)
14   UNSAID UN’S (=of United Nations) + AID (=relief)
16   TOY DOG YD (=yard) in [TOO (=also) + G (=good)]
18   MIRÓ Hidden (“contributor to”) in “neoclassicisM IROnically”; the reference is to the Catalan surrealist artist Joan Miró (1893-1983)
19   ECUMENICAL *(CAME IN CLUE); “anagram” is anagram indicator!!
21   STUNTMAN M (=male) in [STUN (=daze) + TAN (=beat)]; & lit.
23   OXHIDE H (=hard) in OXIDE (=rust)
24   CLUTCH AT   STRAWS *(CULT) +[STRAW (WARTS=outgrowths; “reversing” indicates a reversal) in CHATS (=talks)]
1   SOMNAMBULISTIC *(COMMUNISTS BAIL); “out” is anagram indicator; the reference is to sleep-walking (“unconscious” movement)
2   IMPUGN [M (=mark) + PUG (=fighter)] in IN (=stylish)
3   STREETWISE I’S (=one’s) in *(TWEETERS); “agitated” is anagram indicator
4   EMMA EM (=breadth of character, i.e. unit of measurement in printing) + MA (=old lady); the reference is to the 1815 novel by Jane Austen
5   PUT TO BED [O (=over, as in overdraft O/D or on a cricket scorecard) + B (=black, as in HB pencils)] in PUTTED (=sent across green, i.e. in golf)
7   HARLOW *(WARHOL); “distorted by” is anagram indicator; & lit., since Jean Harlow was the inspiration behind Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Harlot
8   HANDBAGS AT   DAWN H-i-ND (=rear) + B-i-G (=large) + S-i-T D-o-WN (=take a seat); “with every one (=I) (and duck (=O)) turning to A” means that all the letter “i’s” and a letter “o” are replaced by “a’s”.
12   STOREHOUSE [TORE (=rent, as a verb) + H (=husband)] in SOUSE (=lush, i.e. to get drunk)
15   SPOONFUL *(FUN) in SPOOL (=reel); “dancing” is anagram indicator
17   GUINEA GUI-d-E (=show) + A; “using “new” (=N) for “old pence” (=d)” means that “d” is replaced by “n”; a guinea is an obsolete coin now worth £1.05, hence “more than one pound”
20   INHERE IN HERE (=terse direction to enter, i.e. (Get) in here (now)!); the definition is “be present, essentially”, cf inherent
22   MUCK <sch>MUCK (=American fool); “leaving school (=Sch)” means that the letters “sch” are dropped


13 Responses to “Independent 7,942 / Nestor”

  1. Allan_C says:

    A nicely constructed puzzle as always from Nestor, though I wonder how many of today’s solvers would get the ‘Blonde Bombshell’ reference in 7d. She was a few years before my time and I’m in the bus pass generation!

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog. Like you I guessed 8d but couldn’t work out the wordplay; I needed your explanation of 22d as well.

  2. Ian SW3 says:

    Well, I have more than a decade to go before my bus pass, but Harlow was my first thought at “blonde bombshell,” but bizarrely I didn’t see the anagram till my second pass through. Thanks to blogger and setter.

  3. flashling says:

    Not as tough as some Nestors of late although I will admit to just putting some answers in because I knew it was right without bothering to fully check why, hey I’m not blogging this. I’m in my forties (ok just!) but blonde bombshell was a complete giveaway to me.

    RR unlucky mate to get yet another Nestor, I had a similar run with Nimrod a while back but well done explaining things for us plebs, thanks Nestor for the puzzle even if we’ve not agreed here in the past.

  4. nmsindy says:

    I agree with the assessments here, except that Harlow was the first answer I entered. It was very tough indeed, to say the very least, but totally fair and with the originality one associates with Nestor. Thanks to him and to RatkojaRiku esp for explaining HANDBAGS AT DAWN which I did not understand till coming here.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, RatkojaRiku, for your blog.

    I didn’t find this one a lorra laughs, but I was pleased to finish it, because a couple of years ago I wouldn’t have, so I must be getting a bit better at this puzzle stuff (probably because I hang out here most days). That said, I needed you to explain a good number of clues, which is generally an indication that a crossword is a bit over my horizon. I would never have parsed HANDBAGS AT DAWN if I’d been here till breakfast time tomorrow, so thanks for that (and if I’m being critical, it’s a massively convoluted clue for a daily cryptic). But SOMNAMBULISTIC was a nice anagram and INHERE was also good.

    I think the O for ‘over’ in PUT TO BED is just the usual cricket abbreviation. Although today is not a good day to mention the cricket.

    Thank you to Nestor for the puzzle.

  6. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks RatkojsRiku for explaing 8d. If we’d been blogging I’m not sure how long we would have taken to wotk it out!

    It was a good challenge for a Thursday, nothing outstanding but nothing to complain about either. It didn’t take us quite as long as usual but we did have to use a word search for 17d which was our last in. We were looking at a word where you could change a ‘d’ to an ‘n’ but just couldn’t quite see it.

    Thanks Nestor for the workout!

  7. Bertandjoyce says:

    Sorry, RatkojaRiku!

  8. MaleficOpus says:

    Hello all,

    I read this every day, but have never posted before.

    I’m probably not representative of 25-year-olds, but HARLOW was my first answer too (the anagram has stuck with me from an old Listener crossword, but she’s also mentioned in Madonna’s Vogue).

    And not that I’m bragging (much), but I parsed HANDBAGS AT DAWN because I wanted to put in …BIG… given the crossers, before seeing the whole answer. It was a surprise, though.

    The whole thing was right up my street.

    Thank you, Nestor and RatkojaRiku.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Welcome to the blog MaleficOPus! We were lurkers for a long time before posting a comment but are really glad that we did. Hope to see more of you!

  10. Dormouse says:

    Another struggle for me, but I did complete it, albeit with a couple of word searches. Couldn’t parse the word play in several clues, including 8d and 11ac. A bit more convuluted than I’m comfortable with. (I’ve only been doing crosswords for 40 years, I’ll get the hang of them soon.)

    Surely 7d is a misdirection rather than an &lit. Andy Warhol was famous for his prints of Marilyn Monroe, another blonde bombshell, not Jean Harlow.

  11. RatkojaRiku says:

    Nice to see new bloggers contributing.

    I have added the cricket reference to 5, which doesn’t figure in my old CD-ROM version of Chambers, although my Chambers iPod app does list it!!

    Andy Warhol is, of course, most famous for his prints of Marilyn Monroe but Jean Harlow was also a source of fascination to him, as attested by his 1964 film “Harlot”. Thanks for the reminder of the Madonna lyric, which was probably the first time I ever heard of this actress.

  12. eimi says:

    Jean Harlow was the original blonde bombshell as she starred in the 1933 film Bombshell.

    Of more interest to lovers of wordplay is a story recounted by Liberal MP Robert Bernays in his diary entry for June 26, 1934, in which Margot Asquith corrects Jean Harlow’s mispronunciation of her first name — “No, no; the ‘t’ is silent, as in ‘Harlow”.

  13. nmsindy says:

    There is also Charlene’s song from 1982, I’ve never been to me (or something like that). She could have been in the minds of Listener people too who gathered in that London suburb/new town/old town for their annual dinner a week or two back, when Nimrod had a puzzle or two in the Indy.

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