Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,000 / Eimrod

Posted by RatkojaRiku on June 5th, 2012


In the midst of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations it seems only fitting that we should be marking a landmark of our own: a cruciverbal milestone, namely the publication today of the eight-thousandth Independent cryptic crossword.

Today’s puzzle would appear to be a joint effort from the compilers Eimi and Nimrod, whose forenames along with the name of the newspaper also appear as (part) entries in the grid. The first three across solutions together supply a relevant statement, while the left-hand and right-hand columns of this purpose-built grid are made up exclusively of eight letter Ms, which in Roman numerals together total eight thousand.

As far as solving is concerned, there were a number of cultural references that were unfamiliar to me – such as in 3 and 8 – but having researched these, I think that my parsing is now correct – please correct me if I am wrong.

Many thanks to all at the Independent for the first 8,000 puzzles – here’s to the next 8,000!

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   EIGHT THOUSAND *(HATED SHOUTING); “out” is anagram indicator; today sees the publication of the 8,000th Independent crossword, hence the message EIGHT THOUSAND PUZZLES SO FAR revealed by the first three solutions across
8   PUZZLES ZZ (=letters associated with “top” band, i.e. the US rock band ZZ Top) in PULES (=cries, i.e. whimpers, whines)
9   SO FAR SOFA (=furniture item) + R (=restricted exhibition in the US, i.e. the US film classification “R”)
10   MOTTLED T (=Thailand) in [DEL (=Derek, i.e. short form) + TOM (=Thomas, i.e. short form)]; “on the way back” indicates reversal
11   REALISM I’S (=one’s) in REALM (=kingdom)
14   MANEGE GEN (GEN=information; “about” indicates reversal) in MAE (=Mae, i.e. the US actress Mae West); manège is the art of horsemanship or of training horses
15   IN TANDEM IN (=fashionable) + TAN (=bronzed look) + DEM (MED=holiday area, i.e. the Mediterranean; “making a comeback” indicates reversal)
17   MIGRAINE [1 GRAIN (=hardly any rice)] in ME (=Middle East)
19   ARNHEM H<ostilities> (“beginning of” means first letter only) in *(MARNE); “perhaps” is anagram indicator
20   MESSAGE ME’S (=Mining Engineer’s) + SAGE (=wise)
22   FREEDOM *(MR DEFOE); “in trouble” is anagram indicator
24   SEE TO Homophone (“say”) of C2 (=skilled manual worker, i.e. in British categorisation of social classes)
25   ODALISK DALI’S (=artist’s) in OK (=not bothered); an odalisk is a female slave in a harem
26   INDEPENDENTLY END (=conclusion) in *(LENIN TYPED); “in revolution” is anagram indicator
1   EXPLORATIVE EX (=old) + P (=penny) + *(VOLTAIRE); “work of” is anagram indicator
2   GAZETTEER TT (=annual race, i.e. the Isle of Man motorcycle race) in *(A GEEZER); “dubiously” is anagram indicator
3   TOLUENE LU<k>E (=Cool Hand, i.e. the 1967 Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke; “(ha)s discarded king (=K)” means the “k” is dropped) in TONE (=temper, i.e. humour, mood)
4   HOST Double definitions: HOST means “he entertains (guests)” AND “a lot of people”, crowd
5   UNSPENT *(PUNNETS); “loaded” is anagram indicator
6   AWFUL <l>AWFUL (=permitted in society); “not initially” means first letter is dropped
7   DOR D’OR (=golden, i.e. “of gold” in French); a dor is a kind of dung-beetle, a cockchafer
12   SKELETON KEY [LET ON (=revealed all, i.e. spoke indiscreetly) in EKE (=supplement)] in SKY (=blue)
13   MIKES MIKES (=Nesbith and Oldfield, say, i.e. the US musician Mike Nesmith and the UK musician Mike Oldfield)
16   NON-SEXIST NO + NS (=new series) + EXIST (=are)
18   IN-GROUP *(NO RIG) + UP (=well-informed, i.e. to be (well) up on)
19   AIRFARE Cryptic definition
21   SPEED PE (=training, i.e. Physical Education) in SED (=but Latin, i.e. the Latin word for but)
23   JOHN H (=hot) in JON (=Snow, i.e. the UK news presenter); the reference is to the Gospel According to John
24   SKI SKI<t> (=hoax; “dropping torch at the outset” means the initial letter “t” is dropped)


22 Responses to “Independent 8,000 / Eimrod”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, RatkojaRiku, for a fine blog, and especially for explaining SKELETON KEY. I confessed yesterday to being theme-blind, but even I couldn’t miss this one, and in fact the Ms around the edge were a help to finish.

    I thought this was a lovely puzzle to celebrate the landmark – not too tricky, but some nice joint clueing from Mike and John. The Indy puzzles are consistently good across the week with a good range of difficulty, so well done to the editor and the setters.

    It wouldn’t be an Indy puzzle without a pangram, would it?

  2. Conrad Cork says:

    Warm and witty. (That applies to the blog too.) Congratulations and best wishes to today’s compilers and to all the Indy team. You are appreciated more than you probably realise.

  3. Mark B says:

    I can’t add anything to RatkojaRiku’s fine explanation of the solution, but I would also like to extend my thanks and congratulations to the crossword team at the Independent. Long may they reign!

  4. lizard says:

    So sorry to find the “i” different from the Indy again. Can ayone out there explain 4D in the “i”?

  5. Jon says:

    Lizard – look at the letters following the first one in’fraternity’. If you Google the setter, Fifteensquared, and one of the answers, you can often find an old blog for the i puzzles, BTW….

    Interesting that the Independent crosswords from 5 years ago seem to be generally easier than the newer ones?

  6. flashling says:

    @K’sD can’t see a Q so no pangram, but there are 4*G+4*K in the grid making another 8000…

    Lovely tricky stuff as can be expected from the two Independent editors, many thanks for all the entertainment and frustration over the years and RR for the blog as ever.

  7. lizard says:

    Thank you, Jon, and thanks for the general tips – hasn’t been necessary recently as the two papers have had the same crossword.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    You are right, flashling, I missed that.

  9. crypticsue says:

    Thanks to Eimi and Nimrod. A very enjoyable celebration puzzle indeed and for once even I could see the NINA!

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    As far as the pangram is concerned there is no B or C either! But what the hell – we are not complaining, especially if the i is reverting to recycling older puzzles and leaving the wonderful Indy puzzles alone.
    It was not as difficult as we were expecting but it was an enjoyable solve and we are glad that the milestone was celebrated – in preference to the Jubilee.
    Many thanks to Eimi and Nimrod – long may you reign!

    Thanks also to RR for the blog. A day to remember!

  11. Allan_C says:

    Congratulations on No 8000! And a surprise this week to find the Indy and the i divergent again – suits me.

    Jon @5: I’m not sure that the recycled puzzles in the i are always easier. Yesterday’s Pasquale needed quite a bit of thought; though the i’s Saturday prize puzzles certainly do seem simple.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Theme-blindness yesterday, pangram-incompetence today … it’ll all come together sometime soon.

  13. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was a pleasing puzzle. Seeing the possibility of 8 Ms when I’d 5 of them helped me to finish. Also suspected something in the centre column so that helped too. Favourite clues REALISM, MIGRAINE, and AIRFARE. Thought you were intended to add the last across entry to the top two rows of across answers to read EIGHT THOUSAND PUZZLES SO FAR “INDEPENDENTLY”.

    Many thanks, eimi, and Nimrod and of course RR for another excellent blog. And I’d also be hoping, needless to say, that there will another 8.000.

  14. Tees says:

    Hear hear. Many thanks to Mike for his wonderful leadership, and to colleagues for showing what’s possible. It’s a great team, and long may it flourish.

  15. hounddog says:

    I noticed that while this was crossword no 8000 it was issue 8004 of the newspaper. Did it take 4 issues before the crossword started or were there four random issues without one?

  16. nmsindy says:

    Re hounddog at#15, I’m pretty sure the 1st ever Indy issue in 1986 also contained the 1st cryptic crossword (set by Marcy). I’m sure someone could amuse themselves for hours (weeks?) trying to reconcile the two figures all the way back to 1986. My guess would be there might have been just the odd hiccup on the way in either set of numbering, appearance of puzzles etc, that might account for the small discrepancy.

  17. Dormouse says:

    Even I noticed the Ms down the side in time to help with three clues.

    I never studied Latin at school or since, but in primary school we were taught the civic arms or my home town which included the motto “Non minima sed maxima petimus” which we were told means “Not the least but the greatest we seek (although Google translate tells me it means “We are not the greatest”). That told me what the Latin for “but” was, and is probably the first time I have ever used this knowledge.

    Curious fact I heard about ZZ Top. Two of the group are known for their bushy beards. The third member is called Frank Beard. (As a bearded person myself, I find that amusing.)

    I, too, was wondering about the 8000/8004 discrepancy.

  18. Allan_C says:

    As far as the 8000/8004 discrepancy is concerned I can certainly remember one occasion when no crossword appeared and at least one when the previous day’s puzzle was repeated by accident. Can’t remember when they were, though, but I have a vague idea the non-appearance was around Christmas one year.

  19. Dormouse says:

    Ah yes, I remember an occasion when they first produced a separate sports section on a Monday, they forgot to include the crossword. I guess the sports section thought the crossword was going in the main section and the main section thought it was going in the sports section.

  20. Rorschach says:

    Great puzzle.

    “Eight-thousand puzzles so far” is the message of the day – but the corresponding message at the bottom? “See to odalisk independently”?

    Nice to see the hosts give each other a pat on the back too!

    All in all – lots of fun!

  21. eimi says:

    Thanks to all for the comments and RR for the blog.

    Nimrod suggested collaborating on this puzzle a while ago, but its publication seemed unlikely once the i starting taking the Indy puzzles, as 8000 wouldn’t make much sense in that series.

  22. Salvador Navarro says:

    Big thanks for the crossword. Now, the problem is solving the puzzle before anyone else does.

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