Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7996 / Nimrod

Posted by Bertandjoyce on May 31st, 2012


When we saw that it was Nimrod we knew we were in for a challenge. We particularly enjoy his Inquisitor puzzles which demand even more head-scratching than his daily offerings but all his clueing is fair, albeit somewhat devious at times. This one was no exception!

There was one word that we did not find in Chambers. It was our last entry as we needed every crossing letter before we could solve it. We have to admit that we had to resort to a little assistance to check definitions on a couple of occasions.

There is still one clue that we cannot parse! Can anyone help us with 1d?


1 OMNISHAMBLES OM (order of merit) + NIB(b)LES (nuts, having crossed out B for Bishop) outside or ‘to stop’ SHAM (hoax) = ‘riot in Westminster?’. The word omnishambles was used recently by Ed Milliband to describe the Government. The word was invented by the scriptwriters of “The Thick of It”, a TV satire about Westminster. Joyce cannot watch the programme – not because of the offensive language – it’s the hand-held camera work that makes her feel sick! She was able to watch this short clip without feeling ill but don’t watch it if you don’t like to hear the f-word!
9 ACTING OUT A + U (turn) inside or ‘in’ CT (court) INGOT (bar) = if you are ‘acting out’ you could be expressing your feelings which can be therapeutic or just be involved in drama!
10 SIXTH  X (‘this clue number’ expressed in Roman numerals) with an anagram of THIS outside or ‘describing it’ (anagrind is ‘revised’) = ordinal as in ordinal number. We’re not sure about the use of ‘describing’ in this context though. We’re pretty sure that we have come across it before (perhaps with Nimrod!) and we can imagine a Latin derivation meaning related to ‘writing around’ (de-scribing) but Chambers does not include it as one of the definitions.
11 GRENADE An anagram of DANGER (anagrind is ‘taking an unusual form’) + (on)E (last or ‘ultimate’ letter of one) = weapon
12 OFFERER (c)OFFER ER(e) (‘box before’ clipped at each end) = one presenting
13 TOR If you are not using the letters from S onwards you would use all the letters TO ‘R’ = eminence
14 SWEDISH (n)EWS  (‘the latest’ being ‘topped off’ or without the first letter) reversed or ‘about’ + DISH (pin-up) = The director, writer and producer Ingmar Bergman was Swedish Thanks to K’sD for spotting that the definition refers to Ingrid Bergman! Mind you there may be some people who would disagree! 
15 BULIMIA Anagram of ALBUM around I and I (I twice ‘dropped in’) = problem with food
16 UNSCREW CREW (men) with US (American) at the beginning or ‘outset’ around or ‘accepting’ N (Navy) = open
18 TUT-TUTS STUTT(er) (speech problem largely, or without the last two letters) + U + T (initial letters or ‘leads to’ unhappy therapists) all reversed or ‘returning’ = voiced disapproval
20 ETH Hidden or ‘contained’ within the clue (envelop)E TH(at) = old or ‘dated’ letter
21 EURASIA Anagram of SEA AIR (anagrind is ‘intoxicating’) around or ‘engulfing’ U (high-class) = part of the world
22 SCARCER Hidden within the clue or ‘presented in’ (o)SCAR CER(emotes) = more like gold dust
23 EILAT TALE (yarn) reversed or ‘spinning’ about I (one) = Israeli port
24 HYDRATION H (hydrogen) with NO 1 (hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table) and TARDY (delayed) reversed = chemical process. This was our last but one in. We knew it had to be hydration from the checking letters but it took a while to parse. An ingenious clue! Or maybe we just think it was because it kept us guessing!!
25 HEARTSTRINGS TRING’S (as in the Hertfordshire community’s) after HEARTS (quarter of a deck of cards) = deep affections. A good bit of misdirection here with the splitting of quarterdeck. We think we remember some discussion about the use of this device recently. Not everyone liked it but we do!
1 ORANGE-SQUEEZER Well – we have ORANGE for ‘reddy-yellowy’ and ZER(o) for zip without ‘o’ for old. ‘Extractor’ must be the definition but we cannot see how ‘tab’ can lead to SQUEE? Scarily, we’ve checked the Urban dictionary, which (amazingly!) lists ‘squee’ as ‘an expression of extreme cheerfulness’ or ‘an extremely high-pitched sound effect that represents fear’ or a character in JTHM (‘Johnny the homicidal maniac’) – apparently an ‘awesome’ comic – what is happening to the language? No logical reference to ‘tab’ though.
2 NOT NECESSARILY Anagram of ONLY RESISTANCE (anagrind is ‘futile’) = there could be one other answer!
3 SUNDARI SUNDA(y) (Sabbath cut short) + RI (scripture lessons as in Religious Instruction) = wood. A new word for us but easily obtained from the cryptic part of the clue.
4 ABOVE THE WEATHER A VET (a doctor) around or ‘exuded’ BO (offensive smell) + anagram of WE HEAR around or ‘collecting’ THE = fine, as opposed to ‘under the weather’. Another new one on us. We thought it must be right from the parsing but we needed to check the definition.
5 BAT FOR BOTH SIDES Anagram of A BIT SHORT OF BEDS (anagrind is ‘deplorable’) = to sleep with the enemy
6 EASEFUL Anagram of FEELS (anagrind is ‘remarkably’) around or ‘separately accepting’ A and U (university) = tranquil. The use of the word ‘separately’ indicates that the two letters are not inserted next to each other.
7 EXTREME UNCTION (t)EXT (having no T or time) + REM (not the group but rapid eye movement) + anagram of CONTINUE (anagrind is ‘performing’) = last rites
8 THERMAL SPRINGS Anagram of PRINTERS SLAM H G (anagrind is ‘novel’) = wells. A very clever clue we thought!
17 ROSETTE SET (firmly fixed) in ROTE (memory) = recognition of prize
19 TO A HAIR Reversal or ‘turning up’of RIOT (hilarious person) around or ‘arresting’ AHA (Scandinavian group) = perfectly. Another new one which we needed to check the definition when we had sorted out the cryptic part!


21 Responses to “Independent 7996 / Nimrod”

  1. John H says:

    Thanks, B&J, for another great blog.

    1dn is ORANGESQUE (reddy-yellowy) + E (tab, ie Ecstasy)+ ZER(o).
    4dn’s definition is ‘fine now’ ie no longer UNDER the weather.


  2. John H says:

    Above today’s puzzle in the Indy…

    ‘That Henderson has not delivered is without question…’

    ‘In an ideal world Henderson would be exiting stage right, miles away from the spotlight as he bids to repair his battered confidence…’

    OK, I get the message. Bye.

  3. UncleAda says:

    Thank you BertAndJoyce – I needed you for the ‘hydration’… 1d is a bit of invention I think – ORANGESQUE for reddy-yellowy? E for tab (ecstasy).. But then again, I may be wrong.

  4. eimi says:

    1 Across is very topical now. With the u-turn on pasties, his former communications director charged with perjury while in his employ and the prospect of Jeremy Hunt appearing at Leveson, Mr Punch can be forgiven for having a duvet day.

  5. Thomas99 says:

    Tremendous stuff. I agree with B&J that HYDRATION (24a) is a beauty and was also very taken with 1d, especially “orangesque”.

  6. flashling says:

    Quite a working over from Nimrod this morning or was that the beer @S&B yesterday? Rather (un)forunate football article placement in the Indy there John H.

    I didn’t fully understand 1d but I did like the clue to 8d

    Thanks B&J and of course John H.

  7. crypticsue says:

    No flashling it wasn’t just the beer (although speaking personally, I don’t think it helped!) 😀 – it was young Nimrod in full Vlad the Impaler mode. Apart from 1a which I didn’t get, I did as usual enjoy the tussle. Thanks to Nimrod and B&J too.

    JohnH @2 the DT says that ‘Hodgson gambles on Henderson’ which has to be better than the Indy headline.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Well, I keep trying and I keep failing … but it’s on my list of thirty things to do before you die: solve a Nimrod puzzle without recourse to online stuff. And even with that today I couldn’t finish it.

    Excellent blog, B&J, thank you again. Being a keen fan of the Indy 225 blog, I have to say that I have absolutely no idea what comments no 2 and no 4 are about, which might give the impression that we’re all a bit cliquey and be slightly off-putting for lurkers or potentially new commenters. And on which subject, can I please request (again) that setters use their pseudonym when they comment on their puzzles? I know that John H is Nimrod, but not everybody does … and I know that when I first started visiting here I got very confused by that.

    I thought SIXTH was a very good clue and once I had the X for EXTREME UNCTION it was a write-in, lapsed Catholic that I am.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi to everyone. Many thanks Nimrod/John H and Uncle Ada for explaining 1d. We should have thought of e for tab and then the rest would have fallen into place!
    K’sD – the comments are about a Jordan Henderson. There’s an article about him in the Indy, just above the crossword which we haven’t read as we are really not interested!!

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Okay, so then he’s a Black Cats defector, so I couldn’t care less. Meant to say earlier that with ‘pin-up’ in the clue, the Bergman might refer to Ingrid rather than Ingmar?

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks to K’s D for pointing out that it should be Ingrid Bergman – the blog had been amended!

  12. Lenny says:

    This was only my second ever Nimrod finish and a fluky one at that since I had never heard of an omnishambles but it was the only pronouncable combination of letters that I could come up with. It did not help that it crossed with Orange Squeezer that I could not justify and Sundari that I had never heard of.

    I ought to add that, although this is my second successful Nimrod, I have never managed to complete a puzzle by his friends Enigmatist and Io. The only other significant setters that still elude me are Bonxie and Boatman.

    Like KD, and for the same reason, the only gimme for me was Extreme Unction. I’m not keen on the term lapsed Catholic, though. I prefer to say that I resigned.

  13. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I have my de-baptism certificate on the living room wall, Lenny.

  14. Donk says:

    Took me a while but delighted to say I got there in the end (with a couple of bits of help!). Loved the puzzle – 10a, 25a and 8d were my absolute favourites. Thanks to Nimrod and B&J.

  15. Bamberger says:

    Well this was a crossword to sort out the men from the boys and I’m in short trousers. Relieved to get any -ultimately gave up with only 8d,15a,22a & 25a solved.
    1a is a case in point as to why it was hard.I hadn’t heard of omnishambles so riot in Westminster was of no use. Ah but the top solvers say it doesn’t matter that you haven’t heard of the word, solve the cryptic. Well hats off to anyone who can look at the cryptic and spot simultaneously
    Order =OM instead perhaps of anagram indicator
    Nuts =nibbles ditto anagram indicator or mad
    Crossed bishop meaning remove b instead of perhaps xb
    Stop =shove in between instead of halt
    Hoax=sham instead of false perhaps

  16. Robi says:

    Had to cheat on a couple to finish, but an excellent crossword; thanks to Nimrod and Bertandjoyce.

    I was just saying yesterday to John H that we don’t often get an Enigmatist puzzle in the Guardian.

  17. Dormouse says:

    Well, it took me a while but I did complete it, and the only electronic help was checking that Eilat is a place. But I did use Chambers a bit. I’d guessed 1dn started “orange s” and looking up “orange” in Chambers supplied the rest, although I couldn’t parse the clue (and that was so for a lot of the other answers I got).

    On two occasions this evening, I put the put the puzzle aside for an hour or so and when I picked it up again immediately got an answer that had eluded me. The first time was 1ac, which I had heard of even though I don’t watch the show. (I finally worked out the hoax might be “sham” and that suggested the rest.) The second time was 2dn, which I had worked out was an anagram but thought started “non”.

    8dn reminds me of an old joke. What Science Fiction author is a source of mercury? HG Wells.

  18. nmsindy says:

    This was tough indeed esp the Left Hand Side. I did have to look in dicts to see what might follow ORANGE – then got stuck completely on 1 across and wondered could there be a word OMNISHAMBLES. Not in any dictionary, also unknown to TEA and onelook. Google then revealed all.

    Re Jordan Henderson, K’s D, I think he went with everyone’s good wishes, really, and was warmly welcomed on his return with Liverpool in March. In fact, it looked when he left and still does now like a very good piece of business. I wish him well but England in a big tournament is a further big step up.

    Thanks, Nimrod, and B&J.

  19. ken riley says:

    I love the i crosswords as a challenge, but find some of the setters too obscure, and the use of words not in usage or in dictionaries is a bit too much for a daily paper where i expect to finish them , and often can’t!!!

  20. Bertandjoyce says:

    Hi Ken! I don’t know how long you have been solving crosswords and also how long you have been following 225. We find the best dictionary to use is Chambers but even then, as we found in this puzzle, not all of the words are found there! The words that aren’t in dictionaries are often new words such as 1ac or proper names which we find acceptable. However, we do feel that the Indy has a good range of setters and you quickly find out which ones you are going to be able to solve more easily. We still don’t always complete them all without some electronic help but we don’t mind – it keeps the grey matter alive.

    The recent letter in the i about crosswords complaining about Ninas and themes etc got us very worried as we really like the Indy puzzles and are prepared to pay the extra for them! We didn’t want the i to dictate the puzzles which we have been completing almost everyday since the Indy first started. Hopefully you will still enjoy the i puzzles and if you have a problem 225 is here to help!

  21. nmsindy says:

    I think OMNISHAMBLES was very much an exception, as a newly-coined word. While Chambers will usually have everything, it does not include proper names eg names of places. So I’d say Collins which does – and is a more mainstream dict – would usually reveal pretty much everything that is in the Indy crossword.

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