Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7986 by Bannsider (Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 May 2012)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on May 26th, 2012


This is the fourth Bannsider puzzle that the ‘once-every-five-weeks’ schedule has sent my way and, as usual, it presented a stiff but enjoyable challenge…

…and, unless I am mistaken, not just a pangram, but a double pangram, with two Js, two Qs and two Zs. Quite a feat, achieved by the use of rare-consonant-heavy words like DOSTOYEVSKY, AJAX, OKINAWA and AQUA LIBRA. (Not quite – I WAS mistaken. As per comment #3 below, I double counted the J in AJAX/FISH-JOINT…sorry!)

A mini-literary/cultural theme-ette (or a game of charades?!) in the long central entries, with two authors across, and a book and a film down.

So many excellent surface readings that it seems unfair to pick any out, but: the image of the Pope meeting Ian Paisley jumps straight out of 1A; 22A with Scotland Yard chasing a HIT SQUAD of assassins; and the unpleasant idea of ‘Penny’ spreading diseases in wild orgies in 21D. Lastly, the poignant evocation of a perpetual BRIDESMAID ‘missing the bus’ (not again?!) in 14D. 19D was also a gem…and the hidden/reversed/alternate letters of LIBERTY-MEN in 6D was impressive. I could go on…

There were a couple of clues where I couldn’t quite explain what looked like the correct answer on the first pass, but which yielded to some closer analysis while blogging… The use of ‘busy’ to indicate COP in 15D; and I also spent a long time looking at 28, thinking AND was the ‘partnership’ between ST and REW…in the end, rather than the subconscious association I was probably trying to make with golf, it was a different sport – cricket – which leads to STAND as a partnership.

One minor quibble, maybe, is that I couldn’t find 4A ‘FAILOVER’ in either of my two electronic versions of Chambers, or an admittedly fairly ancient Collins. Being of an IT background I got it fairly quickly anyway, but it may not be a familiar term to everybody, and was quite a tough clue as well! Perhaps it is in newer versions of those dictionaries?

As you can probably tell, I enjoyed this…I hope you did too…and thanks, as usual, to Bannsider for a quality puzzle, worthy of a Saturday prize spot.

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1A ADRIAN Pope having a meeting with Paisley? (6) Pope (Adrian IV, Nicholas Brakspear, the only Englsh pope (so far), 1154-1159) /
A + (meeting with) DR IAN (Ian Paisley, Northern Irish politician)
4A FAILOVER Back-up procedure’s fine: unnatural way to service fan (8) Back-up procedure (esp.computing/IT) /
F (fine) + AI (Artificial Insemination, unnnatural way to ‘service’ e.g. a cow) + LOVER (fan, of something)
10A AQUA LIBRA Question boxer in a bar shifting drink (4, 5) drink /
A + BRA (anag., shifting, of BAR) around QU (question) + ALI (boxer)
11A BLAZE Sensationally announce jacket’s been shortened (5) Sensationally announce (e.g. blaze a trail) /
BLAZEr (jacket, without last letter)
12A SICK Large parts from leaking oil well? Hardly (4) Well? Hardly /
SLICK (leaking oil well) without L (large)
13A UNDERCUT Charge less than criminal turned copper charges (8) Charge less than /
UNDERT – anag (i.e. criminal) of TURNED – around (charged by) CU (copper)
16A RAY BRADBURY Author using nail to connect beam to sink (3, 8 ) Author /
RAY (beam) + BRAD (nail) + BURY (sink)
17A TWO Company allegedly could make anything if backed (3) Company, allegedly (as in ‘two’s company, three’s a crowd’) /
TWO could be OWT (dialect for ‘anything’) if backed
18A NEO Refusal to get to grips with Emglish language (3) (artificial) language /
NO (refusal) around E (English)
20A DOSTOYEVSKY Bashes TV company screening play by English verse writer (11) writer, (Fyodor) /
DOS (‘do’ = party, or bash) + TOY (play) + E (English) + V (verse) + SKY (TV company)
22A HIT SQUAD Successes by the Yard finding assassins (3, 5) assassins /
HITS (successes) + QUAD (yard, quadrangle)
23A BRRR Tips on job for woker meeting resistance and cold response (4) cold response (interjection) /
last letters (tips) of ‘joB foR workeR’ + R (resistance)
26A PLAZA Square loaf chopped and eaten by secretary (5) Square /
PA (secretary, personal assisstant) around LAZ (laze, or loaf around, cut short)
27A FISH-JOINT Catch jumbo on vacation in time to make rail connection (4-5) rail connection – ‘fish-plates’ join rails together – where they meet is a fish-joint /
FISH (catch) + JO (JumbO vacated) + IN + T (time)
28A ST. ANDREW Teaching of the Bible in partnership with Christian icon (2, 6) Christian icon /
STAND (partnership, in cricket) + RE (Religious Education, teaching of the Bible) + W (with)
29A EXMOOR Person who may have been chucked rope in National Park (6) National Park /
EX (person who may have been chucked) + MOOR (rope as verb, as in to fasten up a boat)
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D ARAB SPRING Save up well after a period of upheaval internationally (4, 6) period of upheaval, internationally /
A + RAB (bar, or save, up) + SPRING (well)
2D RAUNCHY Such yarns involved being unclothed? (7) &lit /
anag (i.e. involved) of UCH YARN, or ‘such yarns’ without its ‘clothing’ letters
3D AXLE Student at wheel stops to fire revolver in one (4) revolver in one /
AXE (to fire) around (stopped by) L (learner driver, student at wheel)
5D A HANDFUL OF DUST Book Lufthansa – odd flying with fares up initially (1, 7, 2, 4) Book (by Evelyn Waugh) & film /
anag (i.e. flying) of LUFTHANSA ODD + FU (first letters of Fares & Up)
6D LIBERTY-MEN Regularly circulating unseemly stories by idle sailors allowed ashore (7-3) sailors allowed ashore /
reversed alternate letters of uNsEeMlY sToRiEs By IdLe
7D VIADUCT Bridge competitor avoided talking (7) bridge /
homophones – VIER (competitor) + DUCKED (avoided)
8D REEL Stagger away from blows, resistance over (4) stagger /
LEE (shelter, away from the wind) + R (resistance) – all turned over
9D A BOUT DE SOUFFLE Film around empty disposable dish (1, 4, 2, 7) Film (Breathless) /
ABOUT (around) + DE (DisposablE empty, without contents) + SOUFFLÉ (dish)
14D BRIDESMAID One forever missing the bus or holding up the train? (19) &lit – as in ‘always the bridesmaid…’ /
As many layers as the wedding cake itself! To miss the bus = to miss an opportunity; bridesmaid holds up the train of a wedding dress
15D COPYWRITER Advertising agency employee’s busy year, with ceremony to be fitted in (10) Advertising agency employee /
COP (busy = slang for detective, ?busybody?) + YR (year), around W (with) + RITE (ceremony)
19D OKINAWA All the family are at home in Scotland, in place of Japan (7) place of Japan /
if ‘all the family are at home’, then O (no) KIN (family) are AWA (Scottish for away)
21D SERPIGO Penny in wild orgies spreading disease (7) (progressive, i.e. spreading) disease (such as ringworm or herpes) /
anag (i.e. wild) of ORGIES, around P (penny)
24D OPUS Work nothing one in Boots couldn’t finish off (4) (musical) work /
O (nothing) + PUS (Puss – in Boots – with last letter, finish, off)
25D AJAX A German agreed to cover ten or eleven from the Netherlands (4) eleven (football team) from the Netherlands /
A + JA (German – yes, agreed) + X (ten)

8 Responses to “Independent 7986 by Bannsider (Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 May 2012)”

  1. Dormouse says:

    I missed two, and was only vaguely sure of 1ac. Couldn’t get 1dn and 3dn, but when googling did find there is a children’s entertainer called Alan Strong, also known as Ally the Clown. Alan Strong and Ally would fit in the final two answers, but I couldn’t find any other reason why they should be so.

  2. sidey says:

    Thanks for that mc_r. A slight quibble, 21d, the anagrind is ‘wild’, spreading is part of the definition.

    Very clever construction and good clues although the unfamiliar FAILOVER possible warranted something a bit more straightforward, but what the heck, it’s a Saturday puzzle.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable Saturday puzzle – many thanks to Bannsider and to mc rapper for the blog.
    One minor point – we can’t remember the grid, but we think that there is only one ‘J’ – in FISH-JOINT where it crosses with AJAX. So close to a double pangram, but not quite!

  4. nmsindy says:

    Another cracking puzzle from Bannsider. Hard, but not as hard as some of his in the past (for me anyway). All good but esp liked ADRIAN, ARAB SPRING, HIT SQUAD and the wordplay for LIBERTY MEN. Also was glad of easier wordplay for less familiar words which enabled me to get them without consulting anything. Thanks, Bannsider and mc_rapper67.

  5. BadHarry says:

    Especially liked 19d. Couldn’t see how 28a was what it must be – not a cricketer.

  6. mc_rapper67 says:

    Doh! I WAS mistaken on the double pangram – hoist by my own ‘IT skills’ petard, as I did a letter count in Excel from my typed up list of answers, but then forgot to discount crossing letters. Thanks B&J at #3 for pointing that out.

    Thanks for the other feedback & comments – and to sidey at #2 for pointing out my missed anagrind – have tidied up 21d accordingly.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    Very impressive stuff from Bannsider again. I bet he’s please he came out as the longest solve in the survey! All the difficult ones were worth the effort, I thought – LIBERTY MEN, ARAB SPRING, ADRIAN, RAUNCHY (all very late for me) and many more… Thanks for the blog.

    FAILOVER is in my new Chambers – I had to use it to check as I hadn’t come across it before.

  8. Rorschach says:

    Stunningly enjoyable. Bannsider is up there amongst the very best.

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