Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,038 / Nimrod

Posted by RatkojaRiku on July 19th, 2012


The honour of blogging a Nimrod puzzle had not fallen to me for a long time, so I approached the task this morning with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.

Having completed the puzzle with considerable dictionary assistance, I can conclude that my initial reactions were well-founded. This is definitely the kind of puzzle that I aspire to be able to solve unaided and in a reasonable amount of time; alas, I am some way from achieving this, although the time constraints imposed by blogging lead one to reach for the dictionary more quickly than one would normally do.

There were not many clues in this one that were solved on first perusal. Furthermore, there was quite a lot of new vocabulary here for me – at 3, 8, 15, 17, 23, 26 – and given the ingenuity and intricacy of the wordplay, I needed not just to check words in the dictionary once solved, but also to look for words in the dictionary and then confirm them via the wordplay.

The last entry in today was 2, which I would have loved to have spotted for myself; it was only when seeing “perhaps” in a list of words that fitted the entry that I saw the definition in the clue and went on to work out the trick with the anagrams in the paired words. In any case, this was quite a tricky device for a daily puzzle, so I’ll try not to be too hard on myself.

My favourite clues today were the cheeky homophone at 1D and the & lit. at 7. I was also impressed by the fact that 1D and 9 were made to cross on a “z”.

So, Nimrod, you’ve well and truly outfoxed me yet again, but I swear I’ll do better next time – at least I hope so!

*(…) indicates an anagram

1   COPARTNERSHIP PARTNE (ENTRAP=corner, as a verb; “set(-)back” indicates reversal) in *(PORCH IS); “lit”, i.e. drunk, is anagram indicator
9   LAZARUS <p>LAZA (=square, “turning down top” means first letter is dropped) + RUS<h> (=career; “out of hospital (=H)” means letter “h” is dropped); the reference is to the Parable of the rich man and Lazarus (“poor man”) in the Gospel of Luke
10   NIGHTIE NIGH (=very close) + TIE (=match, in sport); the cryptic definition is “coverage for the rest (=sleep)”, i.e. nightwear
11   SUN DANCE *(NUDES CAN); “put into action” is anagram indicator
13   UTOPIA *(OUT) + PI (=religious) + A (=area); “ground (up)” is anagram indicator
15   AVENS <he>AVENS (=My! as an exclamation; “he’s abandoned means the letters “he” are dropped); avens is any plant of the rosaceous genus Geum
16   TRUE NORTH TRUE (=devoted, i.e. loyal) + NORTH (=PM, i.e. Lord -North, from 1770-82);   the cryptic definition is “rarely needled when on the move”, with “needled” suggesting a compass needle and referring to the fact that a compass points to magnetic north rather than to true north
17   HACKAMORE HACK (=mediocre) + AMORE (=love of Italy, i.e. the Italian word for love); a hackamore is a halter used in breaking in foals, hence “restraint”
20   WHERE R (=river) in WHEE (=I’m enjoying this ride)
22   REDEYE Double definition: REDEYE is “poor spirit”, whisky AND “flying through the night”, i.e. an all-night flight
23   RYOTWARI *( IT A WORRY); “ploughing-up” is anagram indicator; ryotwari is a system of land tenure in India whereby each peasant holds directly of the state
25   SEISMAL Hidden (“contribution to”) in “demiSE IS MALignancy”
26   GHILLIE [H (=hospital) in GILL (=breather, i.e. a breathing organ)] + I.E. (=that is); a ghillie is a guide for sportsmen engaging in hunting or fishing
27   SUPPLY   TEACHER SUPPLY (=so yielding, i.e. adverb from supple) + *(HECTARE); “in pieces” is anagram indicator
1   CEZANNE Hompohone (“may be broadcast”) of “says Anne” (=in the opinion of Princess Royal); the reference is to Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), the French Post-Impressionist painter
2   PERHAPS Highly ingenious clue! The definition is simply “It may be”; an examination of the two clues in each pair reveals that the longer of the two is an anagram of the shorter one and the letters of “perhaps”, e.g. 12-1 COPARTNERSHIP = *(CITRON + PERHAPS); in other word, “perhaps” is “what makes the difference”
3   RAS SAR<k> (=Channel Island; “not quite” means last letter is dropped); “up” indicates vertical reversal; a ras is a headland – or indeed an Arabian prince!
4   NANA <ma>NANA (=tomorrow, i.e. in Spanish); “her daughter (=MA) abandoning” means the letters “ma” are dropped; obviously, one’s ma is the daughter of one’s nana
5   RIGHT ON <b>RIGHTON (=resort); “non-British (=B)” means the letter “b” is dropped
6   HOTSPUR The reference in the cryptic part of the definition is to the London FC Tottenham Hotspurs
7   PRE-RAPHAELITES [RA (=artistic academic, i.e. Royal Academician) in PREP (=type of school)] + [ELITE (=crème de la crème) in HAS]; & lit.
8   PLASMAPHERESIS [MAP (=scheme) + HERE (=in this place)] in [P (=quiet, in music) + LASS (=girl) + IS]; plasmapheresis is the removal, treatment and return of blood plasma from blood circulation, hence a treatment outside of the body, i.e. an “extracorporeal therapy”
12   CITRON C (=calorie) + [T (=time) in IRON (=de-crease, i.e. remove creases from)]
14   CUTELY CUT (=divide) + ELY (=diocese, i.e. in Cambridgeshire)
18   CUDLIPP *(LUCID) + PP (=pages); “shockingly” is anagram indicator; the   reference is to Welsh Daily Mirror journalist Hugh Cudlipp (1913-98), hence “original sensationalist”
19   ABYSMAL <b>ABY SMAL<l> (=twice as little); “lopping both ends” means first and last letters are dropped
20   WET FISH *(FEW HITS); “strangely” is anagram indicator; the cryptic definition is “the Net’s recently attracted”, alluding to a fisherman’s catch
21   E-TAILER RE<TA>LIATE (=counter-attack; “no thanks (=TA)” means the letters “ta” are dropped); “launching” indicates vertical reversal; the definition is “businessman here (=the Net, from previous clue)”, an e-tailer being an online retailer
24   FLAT Triple definition: FLAT is “personal residence” AND “razed to the ground” AND “having had a blow-out (of tyre)”
26   GOA GO A<t> (=charge, i.e. attack); “inconclusive” means last letter is dropped

13 Responses to “Independent 8,038 / Nimrod”

  1. Flashling says:

    Nimrod at his hardest I felt, seemed to be an inquisitor and as for some of the vocabulary.

  2. crypticsue says:

    Definitely a day to be glad one is at home with Chambers by one’s side. I agree with Flashling, a very tough Nimrod indeed but some great fun in amongst all the ‘can there really be such a word as….’. I particularly liked the laugh-out-loud 1d. Thans to RR for explaining 2d. My poor old brain just couldn’t cope with the task of working out why it was what it was. Thanks to Nimrod for once again stretching the cryptic grey matter to its utomost limits and my thanks and admiration to RR for explaining it all so well.

  3. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog – I don’t envy you doing this under the extra pressure of having to write it up.

    A stunningly good puzzle, I thought. It is just about solvable without reference to dictionaries – or at least, I found I could fill in all the answers and check them afterwards in the kindle dictionary – the 1-vol ODE. The exception was ryotwari, which I did guess correctly (wyotrari, ryotrawi I suppose could have been possibilities; I just chose the most “Indian”-sounding) – and decided must be right when the ODE supplied “Ryot – and Indian peasant or tenant farmer”. Obviously the extraordinary “perhaps” trick put some pressure on the vocab – but it’s more than worth it!

    It’s full of corkers but my favourite (though the &lit def. could be challenged by some critics…) is probably 7d PRE-RAPHAELITES, more or less my last in.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    PS. Sorry about the typos – “I decidied IT must be right”; “AN Indian peasant farmer”.

  5. allan_c says:

    Definitely a day to be doing the electronic version with the check button handy, and word and anagram finders available.

    And definitely some new vocabulary, viz 8, 17 and 23.

    But special thanks to RatkojaRiku for a splendid effort unravelling it all and the explanations of clues which I solved but failed to parse.

    My COD has to be CEZANNE – clever yet not abstruse.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Yes, this was extremely hard, but very satisfying. I was quite a while through it before I twigged the meaning of the totally mystifying 2D. After that I was confident I would finish even being able to work out 8 that I’d never heard of. Did have to look in dicts to confirm one or two for sure.

    A very clever construction indeed – my favourite clues were MANANA, CEZANNE and NIGHTIE. Thanks RR for explaining ABSYMAL – tho I guessed it early on, I did not understand the wordplay (until now). Thanks Nimrod and RR for the blog.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    You certainly drew a toughie here, RR, so well done on a comprehensive blog. I did eventually get there this morning, but like others, needed a lot of assistance and looking up. I don’t think I would ever have understood the PERHAPS clue, although it’s obvious when it’s explained to you.

    I too was a fan of CEZANNE, but I also thought GHILLIE was clever, once I’d got LUNG out of my head.

    Many thanks to Nimrod. Tough but a good’un.

  8. mozzie1234 says:

    I have to disagree. My idea of a great crossword is one where the clues are solvable without having to second guess the setters logic. Example – NANA – no indication in the clue of using a foreign language so only way to solve is to get crossing letters and guess – which IMHO is not how a crossword should work. Nimrod is just trying to be too clever….

  9. allan_c says:

    As regards “using a foreign language” I think ‘manana’ (actually ‘mañana’, but in crosswordland accents and diacritics are ignored) is one of those foreign words which has gained wide currency in English, such as ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘schadenfreude’. Certainly mañana is in Chambers.
    But having said that, I must confess that I only got NANA because it couldn’t be anything else and had to consult the blog to understand how the clue worked.

  10. nmsindy says:

    Re comment #8, I’ll also have to disagree. I think MANANA is universally known so, while it is indeed from a foreign language, no such indication is needed IMHO.

  11. allan_c says:

    Sorry, nmsindy, we were obviously typing at the same time.

  12. Paul B says:

    Indeed, NMS & Allan. And while I don’t have a problem with this clue, or any of the others in this excellent puzzle, I fancy I’d have had a concern with the way the MA subtraction is indicated before worrying about anything else (since you need to solve the clue before you see the reasoning behind ‘her daughter’).

    Anyway: manana, all.

  13. Dormouse says:

    Another of those days where I didn’t have time for it during the afternoon and was out in the evening. Just got back and after another look decided to call it a day. Just checked in here to see what I missed, and giving up seems to have been the right move. Wouldn’t have solved this if I stayed up all night.

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