Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8011 by Eimi

Posted by NealH on June 18th, 2012


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

This was a slightly odd puzzle with lots of short words. There were lots of nice, inventive clues and I’m sure there must be a NINA or theme to it, but can’t see it. Some of the words and phrases are a little on the unusual side – I’m still struggling to locate 27 down or 9 in any dictionaries.

1 Rocket: I think this is a DD referring to salad rocket.
4 Summer: REM mus[ic]<, 75% referring to the removal of 2 of the 8 characters. Reference to the music band REM, who broke up in 2011 and the recently deceased Donna Summer.
10 Interim: Inter (Milan) + I’m.
11 Locusts: Lost around cu + s(pecial).
12 Shore: Hom of Shaw, although I thought country for shore was a little odd.
13 Off season: Off + on around seas(=mains).
14 Green: DD, Martians being stereotypically little green men.
16 Watchers: Wat + Cher’s. A wat is apparently a Buddhist temple.
20 Settlers: L(eft) in setters.
22 Usher: US her[o], referring to the US singer.
25 Musicians: Mu + sic[il]ians.
27 Towns: [Presiden]t + owns(=has).
29 Martian: Mart + Ian. I hesitated over this one because Mart hardly seems common except, as you can see here, in Estonia.
30 Morning: Ming around [Lim]o[ges] + RN.
31 Silent: Tinsel*.
32 Bright: DD – I think it’s a reference to John Bright.
1 Reims: Miser*.
2 Cathode: (The coda)*.
3 Eerie: Alternate letters of jewel raider.
5 Uncle: DD referring to uncle in his pawnbroker guise.
6 Must see: Muse around TSE. TSE seems to be variant of BSE.
7 Resin: RE + s[quare-bash] + in. I’m not keen on using initial letters of hyphenated words, however.
8 Ammon: A mm + on (=ahead).
9 Fly Flap: I think this is a DD of stylish(=fly) + swish(=flag) and a fly flap must be a type of swatter.
14 Gas: Hidden in Saratoga Springs.
15 Nil: Nil[e].
17 Cru: C[a]r + u, cru being something to do with wines (which I’m not really into).
18 Sir: Rev initial letters of Rider is satirised.
19 Ariadne: Aria + end<.
21 Testril: Litters*. Testril seems to be a word for a sixpence which was used in Shakespeare.
23 Hawking: DD (Stephen Hawking).
24 Osama: Hidden, rev in Alabama song.
25 Mimes: M(oney) + semi<.
26 Cairn: Air in C + S.
27 Tirer: R in tier.
28 Sight: DD.

18 Responses to “Independent 8011 by Eimi”

  1. aztobesed says:

    I got 27 through ‘tiring house’ – the dressing-room in a theatre. (Shakespeare) Not sure if I’ve ever seen the formation used here but it makes sense, I suppose.

  2. Wanderer says:

    Thanks NealH, especially for your explanation of 4a, SUMMER. I got this from crossing letters and definition but was nowhere near to parsing it. Does anyone else think REM music somewhat obscure?

    I found this mostly straightforward with some great clues, especially 25a MUSICIANS and 30a MORNING, so thanks eimi for a very enjoyable puzzle.

    I made one mistake, at 8d where I entered AMNON. He sounded familiar as a god, but he wasn’t — he was a son of David who raped his sister Tamar and was in turn murdered by his brother Absalom. And for it to work I need MN to be an abbreviation of micron, but as far as I can see it’s only an abbreviation of Minnesota or the internet domain name of Mongolia. So twice wrong in one clue… but the Amnon/Tamar story is worth reading.

    That said, the only Ammon I can find was a person, not a god. A son of Lot whose successors were the Ammonites, a middle eastern people who had their capital at what is now Amman. Ammon seems to refer to both the founder of the people, and the people itself. Ammon may be a very well known god in some culture, but I can’t find him!

  3. NealH says:

    I have “the classical name of the Egyptian divinity Amen, whom the Greeks identified with Zeus, the Romans with Jupiter” for Ammon.

  4. Wanderer says:

    Thanks again NealH. I guess there is a connection with Tut ankh Amen as well.

  5. Paul Stevenson says:

    Spoilt a bit by the error in 2 down. One electrode is positive, and that one is called the anode. Cathodes are (mostly) negative.

  6. Allan_C says:

    Paul @5. I too was unhappy about 2d. A cathode can be positive or negative; in a galvanic cell (a battery to non-scientists) the cathode is the positive terminal, but in an electrolytic cell and other devices it is generally, as you say, negative. See

    Not heard of a fly flap, and had obviously forgotten my ‘Twelfth Night’ when it came to ‘testril’

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Neal. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I usually do with an Eimi. I normally like the wide range of references that you get with this setter, but there was lots of stuff I wasn’t even vaguely familiar with today – WAT, TSE, AMMON, TESTRIL, and TIRER. There were some straighforward clues to get you going, but I got a bit bogged down with the less usual words. I guessed TIRER from tiroir for ‘drawer’ in French, but I can’t find it in my dictionaries. I wasn’t too keen either on SHORE for ‘country’. SHORES, maybe.

    I think we’ve had the ANODE/CATHODE positive/negative discussion here before, when if I remember well it turns out that CATHODE for positive is in fact a fair definition. But I can’t recall why.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Allan, for the cathode explanation – we crossed.

  9. eimi says:

    I may have been let down by my lack of scientific knowledge with cathode, but I took it from the first definition in Chambers – and I did put one’s positive (meaning they aren’t all). Perhaps it might be science fiction :-)

    Both Collins and the COED have country as an acceptable definition of ‘shore’ in the singular.

    I’m still waiting for someone to work out why the odd grid, some abstruse entries and marvel at the quick turnaround since the event that prompted the grid-fill.

  10. Dormouse says:

    Couldn’t see 25dn. Kept on thinking of “mummers” and wondered if “mumm” was an old word for an actor.

    Speaking as someone with a physics degree, I could never remember whether a cathode was positive or negative. I remembered electrons are negative and move out of the negative terminal of a battery, but that was it.

    I’d heard of Donna Summer and knew she’d died recently, which gave me the answer to 4ac, but although I’d heard of REM, I’d no idea that they’d recently disbanded and didn’t see how the clue worked.

    I noticed the odd grid but couldn’t see anything special about it.

  11. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Neal for the blog and eimi for a puzzle with plenty of enjoyable clues.

    It is certainly an odd grid. Apart from the two pairs of lights with less than 50% cross-checking, I regard it as undesirable if there is even one pair of lights whose removal would split the grid into two disjoint parts. Here there are no fewer than six such pairs: 10/30ac, 13/25ac, 14/22ac, 16/20ac, 8/24dn, and 9/19dn.

    Maybe my dislike of grids that lack full interlocking comes from my preferred solving method, which is to solve one clue only from scratch, and then work outwards from that answer without having to start again somewhere else. As usual, I have no quarrel with people who work differently and are not bothered by such niceties of grid construction.

    There appears to be some sort of theme to do with (American) popular music, but this is not an area about which I have much knowledge.

    26dn: Should there not be an indicator for initial letters of Crosby and Nash?

  12. Pelham Barton says:

    Correction to 11: In my list of pairs of lights which would split the grid if omitted, I should have said 2/23dn not 9/19dn.

  13. shuchi says:

    Hi NealH,

    I haven’t solved the puzzle, got the theme from looking at the answers: titles of Ray Bradbury‘s works.

  14. Pandean says:

    I must admit I didn’t spot the hidden theme whilst solving. Eimi’s comment @ 9 prompted me to have another look, and after much musing and a little searching I reckon it’s Ray Bradbury’s collection of short stories, The MARTIAN Chronicles. Although I’m not familiar with the work myself, it includes ROCKET SUMMER, The SETTLERS, GREEN MORNING, The LOCUSTS, The SHORE, The MUSICIANS, USHER II, INTERIM, The OFF SEASON, The WATCHERS, The SILENT TOWNS, and And The Moon Be Stlll As BRIGHT. That seems to cover all the across solutions at least, and the event Eimi mentioned must be Bradbury’s recent death.

    And I now see that Shuchi @ 13 beat me to it whilst I was writing this!

  15. Dormouse says:

    Well, I have read The Martian Chronicles, but it was at least 20 years ago, and I didn’t spot the names. (Originally published in the UK as The Silver Locusts, but I have it under US title.) Speaking as a long-time SF fan, I found his stories overly sentimental.

  16. NealH says:

    I read the Illustrated Man once but not the Martian Chronicles, so was never likely to spot this. I wasn’t too keen on Bradbury’s writing style: he seemed like the literary equivalent of a ham actor to me.

  17. hounddog says:

    Pelham: I’ve often seen the name of the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young abbreviated to CSNY.

  18. Bertandjoyce says:

    Well we now know why we struggled! What an achievement to include all the references, no wonder there were some unfamiliar words!

    We would never have got the theme – Bert only knew the Martian Chronicles.

    Well done Eimi and thanks NealH – we needed you to explain 4ac.

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