Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7968 (Sat 28-Apr 2012) Nimrod

Posted by beermagnet on May 5th, 2012


Nimrod has been lurking around the restricted section of the etymological library again and half-inched the special dictionary of obscure words.

I had only very few answers after the first pass of the clues and as most of those were from the shorter answers the grid looked very bare.  The rest of the solving was greatly assisted by dictionary bashing.  The surprising feature of this crossword was the variation in difficulty of the clues: A few uncharacteristically easy like 1A and 6D, mixed with the absolutely impenetrable.  The blog is still a few explanations short

Towards the end (4 days later) I looked around for themes or suchlike for more help and thought I saw the pangram coming on, for a while I was trying to squeeze SQUEEZE into 23A for no better reason than trying to get a Q in somewhere, but in the end we still missing that Q, and the tricky J, and now I look closer, the surprisingly absent G.


1 READIES A desire to distribute cash (7)
(A DESIRE)* AInd: to distribute. First answer read, and answered immediately. That’s got to be a first for a Nimrod – what is going on?
5 PURVIEW Range of The Old City Sextet when seated? (7)
UR (old city) VI (sextet) all inside PEW (seated). I liked this
9 PULVILLIO Turning up hairs on back of skull’s old, old snuff (9)
UP< [skul]L VILLI (hairs) O[ld]
A kind of perfume in the form of a powder – thus “snuff”. Does tobacco snuff count as Pulvillio?
10 SAY-SO Authority keeps cards close to chest? (3-2)
WORDPLAY: “Says 0″, i.e. says nothing, thus besides the definition the rest of the clue (I was vainly looking for a T from [ches]T)
11 SCHWEITZER Missionary position we adopted behind church – then love’s cut short (10)
SIT (position) around (“adopting”) WE after CH[urch], then ZER[o] Mr H just couldn’t resist pairing missionary with the obvious to make this  Philanthropist
12/17 RUNS INTO Singles keen on contacts (4,4)
RUNS Singles in the cricketting sense INTO (keen on). One of those where I had no real excuse for not solving it 3 days earlier
14 CASK-CONDITIONED During the return of cold period, enquire if still maturing (4-11)
ASK (enquire) inside C (cold) eeerrmm … Damn, I thought I’d get the rest of this wordplay before the blog was due out. Help!
I was very pleased when getting this as I had to remind myself what it tasted like, after all it had been a good half-hour …
16 DEMENTIA PRAECOX Eccentric cut short medical expert on a psychosis of old (8,7)
WORDPLAY ? (missing again)
I suspect that the “of old” in the def does not refer to senior citizens, but to the fact that this term has fallen out of use
18 KILMARNOCK Scottish team‘s normal kick-about? (10)
(NORMAL KICK)* AInd: about. Reasonable anagram saved me from panicking when I thought I was drying up. (And stopped me thinking 13D was “something Waves”)
21 IDYLL Simple story line with which one’s idly played about (5)
(L[ine] IDLY)* AInd: played about
22 INNOVATOR Pioneer bar at which one gives a hand (9)
INN (bar) OVATOR (one gives a hand)
23 SHUTEYE Rapid old solver finally stuck on zeds (7)
Zeds = sleep. YE (old solver) put on the end after SHUTE (rapid – noun)
24 NURSERY Race for horses that are two – not one, in Surrey, using new course (7)
(SURREY N)* AInd: ?
Can someone who knows about horse racing please explain this for me. Which end of the horse, I men the clue, is the def., and where is the anagram indicator?  I’m not sure if the N is from the New doing double duty as anagrind, or if the N is from [i]N (not one, in)
1 ROPES They’re known by experts to be pearls or onions (5)
You know the ropes if you are an expert, and both Pearls and Onions come in ropes (cue vision of stereotypical Frenchman cycling around with massive ropes of pearls on his handlebars)
3 IRIDESCENT Like a rainbow not completely discerned, shimmering in it (10)
(DISCERNE[d] IT)* AInd: shimmering
4 SPLIT INFINITIVE To limitlessly divide? (5,10)
How does one describe this? A cryptic def by example?  Lovely clue.
5 PROPERISPOMENON For spirit, men in court accentuated word (15)
PRO (For), PERI (spirit), MEN inside SPOON (court)
A word which has the circumflex accent on the penultimate syllable. It’s all Greek to me: Wiki 
Coincidentally this was the propreantepenultimate clue I solved
6 RASH Unwisely incurring danger spots (4)
The juxtaposition of simple little Double Defs like this among fearsome logolepsy and massive misleading anagrams serves to knock my brain off balance
7/8 IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS Know the score? Nod if you do where you live (2,4,4,2,3,5)
(KNOW THE SCORE NOD IF YOU)* AInd: do. Minimalist anagram indicator.
The answer that gave me second wind to continue once I’d cracked it
13 TIDAL RIVER It rises and falls – it’s when going uphill a new motorist has to change third to first(5,5)
IT< then A L DRIVER (a new motorist) shifting the D to the 1st position. Another clue with a great big tick from me.
14 COD Mock dwarf doing headstand?(3)
DOC< Mock in the adjectival sense. Not my COD (clue of the day) but wouldn’t have got the two long acrosses without it.
15 DUX Departs university by reaching top of the class (3)
D[eparts] U[niversity] X (by) DUX Latin: Literally, leader, noun derivative from base of ducere, to lead. (Coo. A bit of cut’n’paste and you can sound like you know what you’re talking about.) Apparently used colloquially in certain schools – which explains why I’ve never heard of it before.
17/2 IF ITS ALL THE SAME TO YOU Do you mind ordering me fuel (that is to say, oil)? (2,3,3,3,4,2,3)
Oh dear, the time I spent on that anagram even after lifting out THE, YOU and ALL when they seemed likely.
I got stuck thinking SOME was in there rather than SAME
19/20 KERRY BLUE Terrier may, if bone’s the key to Spooner’s mystery? (5,4)
A nice little spoonerism to end with: “Bury Clue”.
It’s a kind of dawg: Wiki 

9 Responses to “Independent 7968 (Sat 28-Apr 2012) Nimrod”

  1. Phi says:

    14 I think is ASK CONDITION in DEC (rev.).

  2. sidey says:

    Way beyond me. But…

    NURSERY: A handicap race for two year old horses.

  3. Richard Heald says:

    … and the wordplay for NURSERY is indeed [(I)N SURREY]*.

    For 16Ac it’s [MEDICA(l) EXPERT ON A]*.

  4. Dormouse says:

    Did most of this Saturday night (I’d been out in the evening) and having slogged through all those obscure words I finally got stuck on 13d. Also guessed SQUEEZE for 23ac, obviously fixated on those zeds.

  5. Lenny says:

    Thanks BeerMagnet, presumably Cask-Conditioned went in easily, even without the wordplay. This was superb stuff from Nimrod. There were two complete unknowns to me Pulvillio and Properispomenon that I managed to get from the wordplay. Last one in was Shuteye. I, too, was trying to complete the pangram with some procrustean version of squeegee to use up the Q and G.

    Some brain-dredging was required. I have not come across Villi since 0-level biology, 50 years ago and the last person I heard use the phrase Dementia Praecox was my Latin master at about the same time. I came here to get the wordplay for that answer but I see that I shall have to work it out for myself. Oh, its (medical expert on a)* without the l.

  6. crypticsue says:

    For some reason I was on Nimrod’s wavelength when I solved this one and it all fell into place in a reasonable time for one of his crosswords. I did have to check that 9a and 5d really existed (the latter being a word that I didn’t know before and hope I don’t have to remember it again). I also admit to getting the first part of 16a and then googling until I found the second bit. Particularly liked 11a and 4d. Thanks to Nimrod for the fun and beermagnet for sorting out the explanations.

  7. Rorschach says:

    Phew! That was hard work!

  8. beermagnet says:

    Isn’t it always the way. When the wordplay is explained it seems relatively simple.

    Q. How did I not see ASK (request), CONDITION (if) all inside DEC < (return of cold period)
    A. Because I got hung up on C for Cold, didn't see DEC as a cold period, and couldn't believe IF = condition. (Call me old fashioned or maybe too technical, but surely condition is the statement following "if" that potentially resolves to True or False. IF is a conjunction that introduces condition, but is hardly synonymous with it. Is that enough squirming?)
    So thanks Phi for sorting that one out.

    Similarly DEMENTIA PRAECOX / (MEDICA[l] EXPERT ON A)* That was one where I could've sworn I'd understood the wordplay when solving but completely went blank when writing up the blog. Now I know I hadn't got it earlier. Ta, Richard.

    Lenny, I didn't mention it, but SHUTEYE was my also last answer in, mainly because I put Squeeze in and didn't see the error till writing the blog.
    I'm sure I've seen Villi = Hair used in some wordplay not that long ago. Searching here (15^2) didn't turn up where though.

  9. Thomas99 says:

    In I think Nimrod may be thinking of “no ifs or buts”, “it’s a big if” etc. Anyway, Chambers is unequivocal: “If […] n. a condition”.

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