Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7960 / Tees

Posted by duncanshiell on April 19th, 2012


Tees has given us a puzzle, mainly populated with well known words, although the main theme did generate one slightly obscure phrase (to me, at least) that was fairly easily deducible from the wordplay.  




I had vaguely heard of the FORK in  question.  I had not however come across COENOBITE before.  I am not sure whether Tees included this deliberately because of the link tetween COE and OLYMPICs or because he was constrained by the C_E_O_I_E crossers which seems to offer only two possibilities and the one with COE in it offered an interesting opportunity?  The one other word that I thought was somewhat strained was CHILEANS

There was a lot going on in this puzzle.  If The Sun was to publish a headline for this crossword, it would be along the lines of DEBAUCHED EAST END BROTHERS SPORTING PUZZLE given the various themes running through clues and solutions.  We have BYRONIC and SATYR giving us the debauchery and the Kray twins both feature in the clues and give us one East End link.  There are plenty of sporting allusions – karate, spinners, fighting [?], RIFLE [shooting is an event at the OLYMPICs] [main stadium is in the East End of London at Stratford] and Lord Sebastian Coe.  We could bring in South America as well, with reference to Peru in the clues and CHILEANS in the answers.  Finally there is the main theme focusing on SPOTs  and DILEMMAs with 7 clues defining or associated with the theme. I got SPOT fairly early on in the solving process.

You will see from the clue numbers in the blog that I became rather interested in the Bingo allusion at 20 across.  Like most people I suspect, I was aware of the use of two fat ladies in Bingo terminology.  Googling Dirty Gertie is an interesting experience.

Clowder as a collective noun for cats is a word I have come across only a few times before, once in a crossword with a theme of collective nouns.

I wonder whether the original clue for 18 acrosss was written without the reference to Motorhead?  I think it would have been solvable without the reference as I believe quite a few Independent solvers would have known about LEMMY without such a strong hint.

Overall, another pleasant exercise for the mind from Tees.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
Kelly’s eye Threat from one Kray backed by karate expert (6)

DAN ([in Japanese combative sports] a level of proficiency [usually 1st rising to 10th]; a person who has gained such a level; karate expert) + REG (reference Reginald [REG] Kray one of the twin brothers who led an East End organised crime gang in 1950s and 1960s) reversed (backed)


DANGER (threat)
Knock at the door Angel found by church leader out in Peru, bishop (6) CH (church) + PERU excluding (out) P (first letter of [leader]) + B (bishop [in chess terminology])

CHERUB (an angelic being of the second order of celestial spirits, ranking above thrones and below seraphim; angel)

Doctors orders Stealing ideas from April AGM is insane (10) Anagram of  (insane) APRIL AGM IS

PLAGIARISM (the act of stealing ideas or writings from another person and presenting them as one’s own.

Legs eleven Places in which mass held for biblical hits (6) SITES (places) containing (in which … is held)  M (mass) SMITES (an archaic [biblical] or poetic word for strikes; biblical hits)
One dozen Bank in Switzerland is for the people (8)

LEAN (rely on; bank) contained in(in) (CH [from Confederatio Helvetica, international vehicle registration for Switzerland] + IS)


CHILEANS (the people [of Chile])
Unlucky for some Athena as concealed in shadow (4) PALLAS (the Greek goddess Athena) excluding (concealed) AS

PALL (a curtain, covering, or cloak, eg of smoke or darkness; shadow)

Valentines day 23 chapter dispensed with the verbal abuse (5,5) C (chapter) + LEFT (dumped; renounced; dispensed with) + STICK (blame, criticism, usually in the form of verbal abuse) CLEFT STICK (dilemma; spot [23 across])
Sweet sixteen 23 from 50 lost to comparative trial (6,4)

DOUBLE-BLIND (a comparative experiment or trial, etc in which the identities of the control group are known neither to the subjects nor to the experimenters) excluding (lost) L (Roman numeral for 50)

DOUBLE BIND (in psychiatric terminology, a situation in which conflicting cues are given so that any choice of behaviour will be considered wrong; a dilemma; spot [23 across])

Coming of age Motorhead bassist refusing first prize for set work (4)

LEMMY (reference Ian Fraser Kilmister, better known as LEMMY, bassist, vocalist, songwriter and founding and sole constant member of the rock band Motorhead as well as a member of Hawkwind.  According to Wikipedia, his appearance, including his friendly mutton chops [moustache], prominent facial moles, and gravelly voice, has made him a cult icon.) excluding (refusing) L (first letter [first])

EMMY (a television [set] trophy, corresponding to the cinema Oscar, awarded annually by the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; prize for [TV] set work)

One score Alert put out for two fat ladies up to tricks with Dirty Gertie? (4,4) Each of ‘TWO FAT LADIES, ‘UP TO TRICKS‘ and ‘DIRTY GERTIE‘ are bingo callers’ terms for numbers on a bingo card – 88, 46 and 30 respectively. EYES DOWN (another popular phrase in the Bingo halls to alert players that a a new game is beginning – EYES DOWN for a full house!; Alert put out for …)
Two little ducks Queen in clowder provides what’s needed (6)

ER (Elizabeth Regina; queen) contained in (in) CATS (clowder is a collective noun describing a number of cats)


CATERS (provides what’s needed)
Thee and me Spinners making comeback in 2 (5) TOPS (spinners) reversed (making comeback) SPOT (a place of entertainment, e.g. a NIGHTCLUB [2 down])
Two dozen Irish girl into fighting causes annoyance (10)

IR (irish) + RITA (girl’s name) + an anagram of (fighting) INTO


IRRITATION (annoyance)
Duck and dive One investigating suspicious death wants heart in 23 (6)

CORONER (an official [usually a medical practitioner or lawyer] who presides at an inquest and enquires into the causes of accidental or suspicious deaths) excluding (wants [in its sense of ‘lacks’]) its middle letter [heart] O

CORNER (an awkward or embarassing position; a spot [23 across])
Pick and mix Amusing person enrolled with Schutzstaffel fires gun (6)

HOOT (amusing person) contained in (enrolled with) SS (Schutzstaffel; [Nazi elite corps])


SHOOTS (fires gun)
Kelly’ eye 23 upset cover girl (7)

LID (cover) reversed (upset; down clue) + EMMA (girl’s name)


DILEMMA (predicament; problem; spot [23 across])
One little duck Haunt dark wood? (9) NIGHT (the dark part of the 24 hour day) + CLUB (in a set of golf clubs a wood is one of the clubs) NIGHTCLUB (a place frequently visited [by some]; haunt)
Cup of tea Small space in church given up for Welshman (5)

(S [small] + NAVE [the man part of a church; space in church]) all reversed (given up; down clue)


EVANS (a well known Welsh surname)
Man alive When dancing I’m shafted, being rather clumsy (3-6) Anagram of (when dancing) I’M SHAFTED HAM-FISTED (clumsy)
Tom mix [or Tom’s tricks] Go through in search for gun (5) RIFLE (ransack; plunder; go through in search) RIFLE (firearm; gun)
Lucky Near another Kray, one caught, so mad, bad, and dangerous to know? (7) BY (near) + RON (the other Kray twin – see 1 across) + I (one) + C (caught, in cricket scoring)

BYRONIC (possessing the characteristics of Lord Byron, or of his poetry, overstrained in sentiment or passion, cynical and libertine; mad, bad and dangerous to know [allegedly])

Garden gate Optional seniority card supply (13) Anagram of (supply, where supply is derived from supple) SENIORITY CARD DISCRETIONARY (optional)
Valentines day 2012 leader has zero effective authority as religious communist (9) COE (reference Lord Coe, chair of the London 2012  [Olympic] Organising Committee) + NO BITE (zero effective authority) COENOBITE (a monk who lives in a community; religious communist)
Dancing queen I comply with changes having reached peak in sporting excellence (7) Anagram of (changes) I COMPLY OLYMPIC (of OLYMPUS, reference Mount OLYMPUS, in Greek mythology the abode of the greater Gods, and of course, a reference to sportsman and women taking part in the forthcoming OLYMPIC Games in London)
Goodbye-Teens / Dave’s den [since May 2010] Who with Mindy appeared to bear loads for 23 (7,4)

MORK (reference MORK and Mindy an Amercian science fiction sitcom broadcast from 1978 to 1982 starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber) containing (to bear) (TONS [lots; loads] + FOR)


MORTON’S FORK (a casuistic device [involving plausible but false arguments of conscience] for trapping everyone alike, so called from the practice of the 15c Archbishop of Canterbury and statesman John Morton, of exacting loans not only from the rich who could patently afford it, but also from the apparently poor, who were presumed to be saving money; a sort of dilemma; spot [23 across])

Key of the door Lecherous god for example runs to save time (5)

(SAY [for example] + R [runs] containing (save) T (time)

SA (T) Y R

SATYR (a Greek god of the woodlands, with a tail and long ears, represented by the Romans as part goat; a very lecherous man)

Two little ducks / Young and keen 23 to hear 22 (5,6-3) CATCH (hear) + TWENTY-TWO (22)

CATCH TWENTY-TWO ([title of novel by Joseph  Heller, 1961, more commonly written CATCH-22] denoting an absurd situation in which one can never win, being constantly balked by a clause, rule, etc which itself can alter to block any change in one’s course of action, or being faced with a choice of courses of action, both or all of which would have undesirable consequences; spot [23 across])

12 Responses to “Independent 7960 / Tees”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Morning Duncan, and thanks for another fine blog. For me, to get this one to lie down was more two submissions than a knock-out: I found it hard in places, although the gateway clue was thankfully straightforward and there were some fairly gentle clues scattered around to get you going.

    When I twigged the theme, I thought it was a bit random, but actually English does have lots of phrases for ‘dilemma’, and it was interesting in the end to explore those. Didn’t know MORTON’S FORK though; and I needed a dictionary search for COENOBITE once I’d put in the COE bit. I thought that DISCRETIONARY was a nicely disguised anagram, and that CORNER was cleverly clued.

    Thanks to Tees too.

  2. MaleficOpus says:

    Thanks Duncan: your blog never fails to entertain.

    Having started with three obvious anagrams for PLAGIARISM, DISCRETIONARY and HAM-FISTED, I thought this was going to be a pushover, but thankfully it wasn’t all that simple.

    I knew C(O)ENOBITE because of Hellraiser. Coincidentally, Hellraiser is also a song co-written by Lemmy.

    The only one I hadn’t heard of was the other 14, CLEFT STICK, but it was easily deducible. I thought hiding TWENTY-TWO in plain sight was audacious.

    Thanks Tees for a wonderfully multi-layered crossword.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Duncan for the blog. We actualy deduced some of the theme words before we solved 23a. We had to resort to checking a few of the references. We’d never heard of clowder as a collective noun before so needed to check that one along with COENOBITE although I am sure we’ve met it in a crossword before.
    When I logged on first of all I couldn’t work out where the clue numbers were – DOH! Excellent idea!
    We really liked 22/15d and also 8d.
    A good puzzle, suprised there aren’t more comments but perhaps people are still in a bit of a 23a with it!
    Thanks Tees for keeping the grey matter active for another day.

  4. flashling says:

    Wow tumbleweed blowing here today, Catch22 was superb PB, Duncan’s blogs seem to get better and better, Coenobite was a bit harsh for a week day methinks.

    At least I managed to SPOT all the links today. Never played bingo, but the phrases were well known to me, except for “up to tricks”. Thanks Duncan and Tees.

  5. NealH says:

    I for one object to 2012 being seen as synonymous with that irritating event that exists purely to promote London at the expense of the rest of the country and I’m not sure even Coe would describe himself as the “Olympics leader”. That aside, this was a mostly fairly enjoyable puzzle, although I needed some help with coenobite. Although the word did flash through my mind, a conviction that it was spelt cenobite prevented me from pursuing the idea.

  6. Richard says:

    Very enjoyable, and not too easy. Many thanks, Tees.

  7. Dormouse says:

    I had two clues left – 13 and 16 – when I went out this evening. Got back and still couldn’t get them and went to get a cup of coffee before coming here to see what the answers were. Then DOUBLE BIND came to me as I was filling the coffee maker. When I returned to the puzzle I realised I’d put NIGHTSPOT for 2d (obviously fixating on the theme) and when I corrected it, 13 came to me as well.

    I had to do a word search to get MORTON’S FORK which I only vaguely knew. I also vaguely knew COENOBITE because someone once told me about the film Hellraiser which has demons in it called Cenobities, which Chambers tells me is an alternative spelling.

  8. Hi of hihoba says:

    Morton’s Fork appears in “1066 and all that” – my main historical reference! Morton was a tax collector who pushed his fork into the nobles and when they paid up he cried “FORK OUT”!

  9. Tramp says:

    Excellent puzzle — precise clueing with super surfaces. I couldn’t get COENOBITE or MORTON’S FORK but I should have.

  10. Allan_C says:

    Thanks, Hi of h, for the reference to 1066 & all that (all the history you can remember). I was looking for my copy but couldn’t find it.
    I actually found this Tees easier than Wednesday’s Dac – once I had “teesed” out the theme!

  11. Tees says:

    Massive thanks to commenters, and to Duncan for his customarily fantastic blogging – this time with bingo calls as appropriate – which is a faultless dissection of the clueing.

    Sorry I didn’t get on yesterday – I’d forgotten I was in!


  12. Rorschach says:

    Great puzzle. Needed help with COENOBITE and CLEFT STICK (both holding the other back).

    Tramp is right. Good surfaces.

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