Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,014 / Nestor

Posted by RatkojaRiku on June 21st, 2012


My apologies to one and all for the late post – I was kept away from my computer until after lunch.

In my humble opinion, a Nestor puzzle is always a joy to solve and is worthy of a thorough blog. The intricate wordplay in this one meant that the blog took longer than normal to write, but I don’t begrudge a second of it!

Nestor definitely got the upper hand today. I was making slow progress on this puzzle and was struggling to make inroads into the NE quadrant. Eventually, with the pressure of the blog hanging over me, I consulted a thesaurus for “sober” at 12 to get me going again. I worked out 13 from the wordplay and confirmed it online. Both 11 and 22 were new to me but could be reliably deduced from the wordplay. At 18 I knew the actor but not his Poet Laureate father. Today was very much a day for broadening my general knowledge as much as my vocabulary!

As for my favourite clues today, I was absolutely spoilt for choice: I loved the anagram indicator at 18; the distractingly technical surface at 7; the deceptively simple-looking 14, which kept me guessing for far too long; etc, etc, etc.

*(…) indicates an anagram


1   HALF-PINT   Double definition: a half-pint is a very small person (“creature with small legs”) and (more whimsically here) an imperial measure equivalent to two gills (“a pair of gills”, i.e. to be read as /g- not /dz-)
6   WAFT   F (=fine) in WAT (=Asian temple)
11   HATER   Hidden (“covered by”) in “sucH A TERm”; & lit. since a hater is someone who expresses dislike of something online, e.g. on YouTube
12   TEMPERATE   ERA (=stage) in TEMPTE<d> (=persuaded; “almost” means last letter dropped)
13   CARTIER-BRESSON   CAR (=coach, as in dining-car on a train) + {[ER (=Queen) + B (=bishop, i.e. in chess)] in TIRES (=bores)} + SON (=boy); the reference is to French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), considered the father of modern photojournalism
14   SAUCINESS   *(ISSUES CAN); “wound”, i.e. twisted, is anagram indicator
17   NO END   D<i>NE ON (=to have for dinner); “when one (=I)’s gone” means the letter “i” is dropped; “back” indicates a reversal
19   TEDDY   Cryptic definition: “bear” is meant as a noun, not as a verb; teddies have to be stuffed before they can be cuddled, of course
20   TELETUBBY   TUB (=container) in [T<h>E L<ouvr>E (“cases” means first and last letters only) + BY (=in reserve, as in to put money by for Christmas)]; the reference is to the smallest of the four characters, coloured red, in the BBC children’s TV programme Teletubbies
21   IMPRESSIONABLE   *(LESBIAN PROMISE); “could make you” is anagram indicator
25   HIGH-GRADE   [G (=gravitational factor, i.e. gravity) + HG (=Mercury, i.e. chemical symbol) + RA (=Sun, i.e. Egyptian sun-god)] in HIDE (=eclipse); the definition is simply “superior”
26   OKAPI   OK (=sanction, i.e. to OK/okay a proposal) + A + PI (=significant proportion, in maths)
27   NUDE   NUD<g>E (=jog, i.e. someone’s memory; “no good (=G)” means the letter “g” is dropped; the whimsical definition is “out of the habit”, i.e. undressed
28   SUSPENSE   USP (=Unique Selling Point) in SENSE (=awareness)
2   ALTAR   <co>AL TAR (=producer of pitch); “dismissing company (=CO)” means the letters “co” are dropped; the definition is “place of unions, i.e. weddings
3   FERTILITY DRUGS   ERTIL in [FIT (=to install) + YD (=yard) + RUGS (=mats); ERTIL is a vertical reversal (“up”) of LITRE, i.e. 3.5 x half-pint (=the entry at 1)]; the whimsical definition is “they might make every effort conceivable“, i.e. help women to conceive, get pregnant
4   INTERMENT   IN T<O>RMENT (=anguished); the first letter of O<live> is replaced by the last letter of <oliv>E
5   TIMOR   TIMOR<ously> (=apprehensively); “effecting 50% cut” means half the letters are dropped; the reference is to the divided island of Timor in south-east Asia
7   AT A LOW EBB   [LO (=see) + WEB (=online network)] in [A + TAB (=browser subwindow)]; the definition is simply “down”, i.e. depressed
8   THEM   T<reat> (“start to” means first letter only) + HEM (=border, of cloth); the definition is “people objectively”, i.e. the object form of they in grammar
9   THICKSET   HICK (=hayseed, i.e. country bumpkin) in TSET (TEST=trial; “that’s set up” indicates vertical reversal)
10   KENSINGTON GORE   KEN (=experience) + SING-T <for S> -ONG (=group singing) + <enc>ORE (“second half of” means last three of six letters only); “with time (=T) for second (=S)” means the letter “t” replaces “s”; Kensington Gore is the London street where the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Art, etc are to be found; the word “gore” means a triangular piece of land
15   UNDAMAGED   UNDAM (=remove blockage) + AGED (=elderly)
16   SILLINESS   ILL (=harmful) in [SINE (=function, in trigonometry) + SS (=ship)]
18   DAY-LEWIS   *(WIDELY AS); “in Motion” is the (utterly inspired!) anagram indicator; the reference is to the former (“no longer active”) Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis
22   SCADS   S<o>C<i>A<l>D<o>S; “regularly spotted” means alternate letters only are used; “scads” is US slang for “a lot”
23   BRASS   R (=rook, in chess) in BASS (=perch, i.e. fish); the definition is “readies” as a noun
24   CHIN   CH<a>IN (=series); “article (=A) dropped” means the letter “a'” is removed

11 Responses to “Independent 8,014 / Nestor”

  1. flashling says:

    Good lord RR, you keep getting Nestor and I’m not the least jealous, found this a real stinker and settled for the much more gentle Monk (!!) in the i, frankly I gave up thinking I just can’t make head nor tail of this halfway through. Well done on solving this one.

  2. Conrad Cork says:

    Fantastic stuff. Thanks for the exemplary blog RatkojaRiku .

  3. Bamberger says:

    Took the day off to watch Ascot and gave this my best shot for 45 mins -by which time I had solved 8d & 9d.

    Gave up and got the online solution. Even then couldn’t parse well over half of them.

    I felt a bit like a horse that has been running in sellers trying to compete in the Gold Cup.

    Well blogged sir!

  4. Allan_C says:

    A nice one from Nestor, though I got several answers without being able to parse them fully, so thanks, RR, for the helpful blog.

    A further twist to 18d is that Andrew Motion is no longer active as Poet Laureate since the appointment is no longer for life – though of course he’s still with us.

    Quite a few candidates for COD, but I think it has to be HALF-PINT if only because I saw it straight away.

  5. crypticsue says:

    Very nice, although I did have to go and get a couple of letters online in order to finish it off. A right proper brain-stretcher if ever there was one. Thanks to Nestor and well done to RR for sorting it all out.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Many thanks, RatkojaRiku. I’ll say I finished this, but I won’t say I solved it, because the check button and online stuff were to the fore. Pretty much above my level, I’m afraid.

  7. nmsindy says:

    This was an absolutely brilliant puzzle and I was v pleased to get to the end of it without having to consult anything and it took quite a while but I enjoyed all the time spent at it. This setter is very innovative and original. There were quite a few meanings I did not know eg HALF-PINT, SCADS, but the bulletproof wordplay got me there. Nor did I know the names of the TELETUBBIES so that was my last answer. So many good clues, hard to pick the best out, but, if I’d to choose four, they would be HALF-PINT, CHIN, INTERMENT, and FERTILITY DRUGS (esp for the definition).

    Thanks, Nestor, and RR for the incredibly detailed and precise blog which I needed in a couple of cases to get full understanding.

  8. Dormouse says:

    A struggle, but I did complete it with minimal help – e-searches for 16dn and 23dn. Helped that I knew of Cartier-Bresson and Day-Lewis, indeed the latter was the first in – first name that came to mind when I saw “Poet Laureate” in the clue. Didn’t help that I thought it was spelled “tellytubby” and nearly gave up on that being the answer, and even when I’d found the correct spelling, I couldn’t parse it, along with quite a few others.

  9. Bertandjoyce says:

    A tricky one but pleased to finish it without resorting to too much electronic assistance in confirming entries.

    Thanks to RR for your parsing of 3d – we loved the definition but couldn’t get the word play.

    Thams to Nestor for the puzzle.

  10. Lenny says:

    I finished this without aids but I needed RR’s parsing to explain Teddy, Kensington Gore and Teletubby. The Po clue tends to confirm my impression that setting is a lonely profession and that long days of setting fiendish clues are often made bearable by watching short blasts of children’s television.

    Super stuff Nestor, and well blogged RR.

  11. Discounts says:

    That is really interesting, You are a very professional blogger. I have joined your feed and stay up for searching for more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks

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3 + = five