Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,034 by Tyrus (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 14/07/12)

Posted by Simon Harris on July 21st, 2012

Simon Harris.

I must admit that this looked like being a somewhat embarassing “I don’t have a clue what’s going on here” blog post pretty much right up until the last clue was solved. Thankfully, everything fell into place in the end.

We have this rather odd circular list of eight or so clues which are deemed to be “like” each other, which didn’t seem to offer much in the way of guidance. Add to that the fact that there was some really quite obscure vocabulary in there, and things did not look promising for your blogger.

I took my usual approach in these circumstances, that of trying to stay calm and pick off what I could and not worry too much about the thematic stuff. Progress was slow but steady. Finally the Nina was spotted in the top and bottom rows, spelling out COUNTRY DANCING.

But none of the clues seem to refer to dances at all! Think a little more cryptically, Simon. And there it is: the thematic entries are all anagrams of countries.

Great stuff from Tyrus, but a far from relaxing solve for a blogger!

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

Across
8 ARSON – [p]ARSON.
9 OPERATOR – ([rac]E + RAT[e]) in POOR*.
10 LIMAM in AIL<. The first of our thematic entries, and an anagram of MALI.
11 LEASTWISE – LEAST WISE, and an American idiom, hence “in Hollywood” – a device that wouldn’t be out of place in a barred crossword.
12 REFUNDED – UNDERFED*.
15 CUSHTY – CU (“see you”) + (T in SHY). “Brilliant” as might be phrased by a certain celebrated yet fictional Peckham resident, of course.
17 EIGHTSOME REEL – (GEE I’M THE LOSER)*.
20 SYMBOL – hom. of “cymbal”.
22 SUMERIAN – (US MARINE)*, and an anagram of SURINAME.
24 ESTIMATOR – (RIOT TEAMS)*. Anagram of EAST TIMOR.
26 SOLA – SO LA[x]. “By” as in “multiplied by”, hence X. Anagram of LAOS.
28 DISHONOR – (SH + ON) in Christian DIOR.
29 LEARN – L + EARN.
Down
1 CADIC + A D.I. New to me, but apparently a judge in a Muslim country. Again, something that I’d be less surprised to be explaining in a Beelzebub blog post.
2 OSNABURG – (ROB ANGUS)*.
3 UNCLAD – [n]UN + C + LAD.
4 NOMA – MOAN*. Anagram of OMAN.
5 TESTICLE – STIC[k] in TELE, I think.
6 RABIES – BAR< + (E in IS). Anagram of SERBIA.
7 YOKE – YOKE[l].
13 ENEMY – (Y (“why”) + MEN + E[scaped])<. Anagram of YEMEN.
14 DROSSR in DOSS.
16 TALMA – [hospi]TAL MA[tron]. Anagram of MALTA.
18 TELEMANN – LEMAN in TEN. “Leman” seems to date from Chaucer, meaning “mistress”.
19 ETRUSCAN – (UN REACTS)*.
21 BETCHA – (THE CAB)*.
23 MURALI – MURAL + I. A common shortening of the name of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan.
24 ENID – DINE<.
25 TORC – TORC[h].
27 LUNGN in LUG.

16 Responses to “Independent 8,034 by Tyrus (Saturday Prize Puzzle, 14/07/12)”

  1. sidey says:

    Thanks for that Simon. The theme presumably includes EIGHTSOME REEL. That gave me the top and bottom more easily. I didn’t understand Murali what with there being little cricket on free telly these days.

    Leman predates Chaucer, it was originally masculine but became unisex somehow.

    5 seems almost &lit if you think cricket.

  2. Dormouse says:

    Nearly finished this, only two left. I’d never heard of “cushty” and I’m sure I thought of “testicle” and then rejected it as I couldn’t parse the clue. And not having worked out the theme, I thought 26ac was “solo” – which I worked out to be SO LO(W). I’m not sure I’d heard of Murali, and I watch quite a bit of cricket on TV, but I was able to work that one out and googled him.

    Anyway, thanks for explaining all those likes.

  3. Bamberger says:

    I have the utmost respect for anyone who can solve crosswords like this. I tried and I mean really tried for two whole hours and could only get 19d, 27d & 29a . When I look at the answers I just think I would never had got them.

  4. allan_c says:

    A most ingenious theme and nina that totally passed me by. I only got there by recourse to anagram solver and word finder plus frequent use of the check button and even trial and error. Having only ever seen the odd five minutes (and that by accident) of OFAH I was totally baffled by cushty.

    So well done Simon in sorting it all out.

    In 28 “American’s” refers to the spelling.

  5. MaleficOpus says:

    The whole north-east of this, from LEASTWISE to TALMA was last in and took about as long as the other three-quarters.

    I had clocked the possibility of the top and bottom at the start, but forgot about them until it came to 4 and 5; can’t say I would have been confident of NOMA otherwise.

    Here in the north-east, we used to say cushdie at school, so that was OK for me.

    Thanks Simon and thanks Tyrus – difficult but fun.

  6. Wanderer says:

    Brilliant. Thank goodness this appeared on a Saturday, I needed LOTS of time. Got DANCING quite early, COUNTRY took a lot longer and what a great moment when I finally understood what was going on.

    Odd fact discovered during solving: when I worked out the easily-deducible NOMA, I checked to make sure there was such a medical condition. And the first thing an online search revealed was a Copenhagen restaurant by that name which has repeatedly been voted best restaurant in the world. Apparently made up from NOrdisk MAd, or Nordic food. How unfortunate to name a restaurant after a particularly vile mouth disease…

    Many thanks to Simon and Tyrus.

  7. Simon Harris says:

    Thanks, everyone. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one to have a bit of a struggle.

    Sidey – well spotted. I hadn’t noticed the relevance of EIGHTSOME REEL at all, but that’s actually very good indeed.

  8. Tramp says:

    Excellent puzzle

  9. Paul B says:

    Yes, the puzzle’s based on a really nice thought. Tyrus is a cracking setter, I think.

  10. Tyrus says:

    Thanks to Simon for a nice blog and to everyone else for their comments. Just sorry Meg Ryan couldn’t make an appearance.

  11. Thomas99 says:

    Great puzzle. It took me a long time to see the countries but it was very satisfying when enlightenment finally dawned.

  12. Paul B says:

    Just keep Etruscan out of it.

  13. nmsindy says:

    Very enjoyable, tough but very satisfying. It was quite a while after solving it that I saw the significance of EIGHTSOME REEL. Can’t have been easy to fit all that material in with the Nina in top and bottom rows. Many thanks, Tyrus, and Simon.

  14. flashling says:

    Spotted the possibily os a Nina early on and on getting LIMA the thought flashed through my mind that it’s anagram of Mali, so I probably had less problems than some even if some of the answers were never likely to come straight to mind.

    Had to wait a while to start this, my other half bought me the paper but we were doing a firework display at Bleinheim Palace trying to dodge torrential rain, cannon fire, orchestras and mad horsemen – not ideal for the solving process.

    Cheers Tyrus really enjoyed it and of course Simon H for unravelling a couple of anagrams I really couldn’t be bothered to do!

  15. redddevil says:

    I’d like to say I enjoyed this but combo of much obscure vocab and pointless/unhelpful ‘clue relationships’ spoilt any fun I might have had.
    I’m sure it is very worthy…

  16. Graham Pellen says:

    26A The clue is “female alone”, sola being the Latin adjective when describing something alone that is female, as opposed to solus when the noun is masculine and solum when the noun is neuter (there are many further refinements depending on the case of the noun and whether it is singular or plural).

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