Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8042 / Jambazi

Posted by duncanshiell on July 24th, 2012


Jambazi is not a setter’s name that I have come across before.  Given the subject matter common to many of the clues, I suspect Jambazi is a one-off pseudonym of a regular Independent setter.  My guess would be Tees or Eimi, but I’m quite happy to be told that I am wrong.  Typing Jambazi into Google doesn’t generate anything particularly sensible.



This was an interesting crossword – there was a clear theme running through the clues and the wordplay, but the entries, with one exception (NIRVANA) were fairly far removed from the world of heavy rock music.

Spinal Tap are a fictional band created as a parody of the rock and heavy metal world at the time.  However fiction often creates some sort of reality and a physical Spinal Tap was created and released three albums.

Within the clues there are references to the fictional members of the group – David St Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls.  There is also reference to two fictional Spinal Tap albums – Shark Sandwich and Smell the Glove.  On a couple of occasions, the clues made reference to the fake or fictional nature of Spinal Tap.

A couple of the clues contained word play that brought in other rock musicians such as Bono and Sting   Rock music wasn’t the only form of music that we encountered.  Classical music also got a look in with entries such as DVORAK, and ORATORIO.  I think we could find divas (8 across) in almost any branch of music these days.

I suspect it is difficult to build thematic material into clues.  More often than not it worked well here and conveyed a picture of rock bands on tour, but there were a couple of surfaces that seemed very strained to me – 11 across and 12 down.

I enjoyed the puzzle which I solved slightly quicker than I solve Independent crosswords on a regular basis.  

No knowledge of Spinal Tap was required to solve the clues

I will be deep in rural Wales when this blog is published and may not have easy access to an internet connection, so I may not be able to respond to comments.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Band ridicule short singer (6)


RIB (tease;ridicule) + (BONO [lead singer of the rock band U2] excluding the final letter [short] U)


RIBBON (band [of material])



Quarrelling Tap backing singer, providing cover (8)


STING (lead singer of the Police rock band) containing (providing cover) (TAP reversed [backing])


SPATTING (engaging in a petty quarrel; quarrelling)



Diva occasionally fine entertaining artist and composer (6)


DV (letters 1 and 3 [occasionally]) + (OK [fine] containing [entertaining] RA [Royal Academician; artist])


DVORAK (reference Antonin DVORAK, Czech composer)



Main air that is playing, taking intros from St Hubbins/Smalls (5,3)


Anagram of (playing) (IE [id est] and AIR) containing (taking) (S H and S [first letters of {intros} of ST HUBBINS and SMALLS])


IRISH SEA (sea; main)



… brought about radical change "it’s one louder" — I’ve almost cracked up (14)


Anagram of (cracked up) IT’S ONE LOUDER and (I’VE excluding the final letter [almost] E)


REVOLUTIONISED (brought about radical change)



Interviewees, perhaps heading for Cleveland during tour of Spinal Tap (10)


Anagram of (tour of) SPINAL TAP containing (during) C (first letter of [heading for] CLEVELAND)


APPLICANTS  (APPLICANTS for a job whose CVs pass the initial sift may be invited for interview; interviewees perhaps?)



Look beyond big city (4)


OS (outsize; big) + LO (behold; look)


OSLO (capital of Norway; city)



Air temper (4)


TUNE (melody; air)


TUNE (to adjust the pitch or tone of; to temper) double definition



Ruin good man – single female say coming back (10)


ST (saint; good man) + ONE (single) + HEN (female) + (EG [for example; say] reversed [coming back])


STONEHENGE (The stones we see today represent STONEHENGE in ruin. Many of the original
stones have fallen or been removed by previous generations [according to one website I looked at])



Predicting start of tour or Nigel Tufnel rocks (7,7)


Anagram of (rocks) T (first letter of [start of] TOUR) and OR NIGEL TUFNEL


FORTUNE TELLING (predicting)



Cash interrupts talk — India and its food (8)


(PAT [reference PAT Cash, tennis player] contained in [interrupts] CHAT [talk]) + I (international radio communication codeword for India)


CHAPATTI (thin flat piece of unleavened bread frequently served in India)



Hollow sides of Shark Sandwich, original cover on film (6)


(SK [first and last letters of {sides of} SHARK] containing [sandwich] OC) + ET (film)


SOCKET (a hollow into which something is inserted)



Sign of first part of 10 — fake kind of music (8)


SHAM (fake) + ROCK (kind of music)


SHAMROCK (national emblem of IRELAND; IRISH is the first part of 10 across [IRISH SEA]; sign of the first part of 10)



Heavy stuff – too many drugs during Smell The Glove era primarily (6)


OD (overdose; too many drugs) contained in (during) STGE (first letters of [primarily] SMELL THE GLOVE ERA)


STODGE (heavy stuff)


No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Vulgar, topless and dirty (4)


CRUDE (vulgar) excluding the first letter (topless) C


RUDE (coarse; smutty; dirty)



Escape into bar, keeled over during this? (5-2)


OOZE (escape) contained in (into) (PUB [bar] reversed [keeled over])


BOOZE-UP (one may escape to a bar, get  drunk and keel over during a BOOZE-UP)



Composition of love — sing with endless group of stars (8)


O (zero; love [as a tennis score]) + RAT (to desert or change sides for an unworthy cause;with ‘on’ [RAT ON]: to tell tales on; to sing) + ORION (constellation [group of stars]) excluding the final letter (endless] N


ORATORIO (story set to music; composition)



Washing powder cut smell, hard going for English grit (11)


PERSIL (a brand of washing powder) excluding the final letter (cut) L + STENCH (smell) excluding (going) H (hard) + E (English)


PERSISTENCE (perseverance; determination; toughness; grit)



It goes over sound in the head for infusion (6)


IT reversed (goes over) + SANE (sound in mind; sound in the head)


TISANE (an infusion of herbs or flowers)



Governing — meets over small demands (7)


IN (a member of the party in office; governing) + (SITS [meets] containing [over] S [small])


INSISTS (demands)



Prescription —  collects one after old lady affected (9)


GRAN (old lady) + (DOSE [measured portion; prescription] containing (collects) I [one])


GRANDIOSE (imposing; pretentious; pompous; affected)



Fake rock band, essentially he cut unit (11)


Anagram of (rock) AN (middle two letters of [essentially] BAND) and HE CUT UNIT


UNAUTHENTIC (not the real thing; fake)



Car and model feature on camera (9)


AUTO (car) + FOCUS (reference Ford FOCUS, a model of Ford car)


AUTOFOCUS (feature on a camera)



Spend hard during successful tour? (5,3)


H (hard) contained in (during) SELL-OUT (a show [or tour] for which all the seats are sold, hence a successful tour)


SHELL OUT (spend)



One near front protects American band (7)


(NR [near] + VAN [front]) containing (protects) I [one]) + A [American]


NIRVANA (an [American] rock band)



Partners taking on child made to get a better grip (3-4)


(N and S [North and South; partners in the game of bridge] containing [taking] ON) + KID (child)


NON-SKID (reference NON-SKID items, e.g. tyres, which are designed to deliver a better grip on the relevant surface)



A winning song — does she work for board? (2,4)


A + UP (winning) + AIR (melody; song)


AU PAIR (dictionary definition: a young person who comes from abroad [especially to learn the local anguage] and perform light domestic duties, baby-sitting, etc for a family in exchange for board and lodging and pocket-money.  Sometimes reality is different)



Viewer’s complaint starts from Spinal Tap yelling expletives (4)


STYE (first letters of [starts from] SPINAL TYPE YELLING EXPLETIVES)


STYE (a small inflamed swelling at the edge of the eyelid; viewer’s complaint)


34 Responses to “Independent 8042 / Jambazi”

  1. Jambazi says:

    Thanks for the very comprehensive blog, Duncan. I’m honoured that you think I could be Tees or Eimi: my pseudonym is Swahili for Tramp.

    One of the famous scenes shows Nigel Tufnel showing the documentary maker Marti Di Bergi (really the film director Rob Reiner) his guitar collection and his Marshall amplifiers that “go to 11″ which “is one louder”. This is why the clue for REVOLUTIONISED is placed at 11 and why it begins with ellipsis. This is probably the classic scene of the film:

    Another famous scene is when the band can’t find their way from the dressing room to the stage for a show in Cleveland. This is known as the “hello Cleveland” scene:

    Another scene is where an 18-inch Stonehenge descends onto the stage during the song of the same name when it should have been 18-feet high.


  2. Tees says:

    Not me, but a good friend.

  3. Big Dave says:

    Jambazi tipped me off about this when we met in Manchester last Sunday, and I’m glad he did because I don’t always have time to look at the puzzles in the Indy.

    An excellent debut and, I hope, the first of many.

    BTW there’s a picture of Sunday’s gathering here:

    Lass O’Gowrie, Manchester

  4. Big Dave says:

    Left to right in the above picture: Dave (Tilsit), Peter (Kathryn’s Dad), Eileen, Pete (Radler), Dennis, Neil (Tramp/Jambazi), Sarah (Arachne), Nick, Dean (Anax/Elkamere), Big Dave, Geoff (Gervase), Jim (Tyrus)

  5. NeilW says:

    Thanks, Duncan and Jambazi. Like Big Dave, I don’t normally have time for more than one puzzle and so stick to the Guardian but Tramp tipped us off last week that he was debuting here today. When I first saw the name, I was a little confused but then, as soon as I started to solve, all doubts disappeared. A signature Tramp puzzle, very similar to last week’s in the G. although a little easier. (All of this was helped by the fact that Paul’s today in the Guardian was very speedily completed: is there a setter conspiracy going on?) :)

  6. NeilW says:

    A small pedantic point: doesn’t NON-SKID apply to the surface itself rather than the item on it?

  7. JollySwagman says:

    Nice one J-whatever – very nice – good launch. But I’m still gonna call you Tramp. Funny the Swahili for Tramp thing – I just wondered if it was that a moment before coming on here.

    Some gimmes to get in on – some giggles – and something to chew on. What more can you ask for?

    I was using the wrong washing powder there for quite a while – no wonder my whites are only white and not whiter.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for blogging. Scandinavia one month, rural Wales the next … you must qualify as our most-travelled blogger.

    Tramp’s appearance today under his new pseudonym must be the worst-kept secret in Crosswordland. I did enjoy this one, despite having zilch knowledge of Spinal Tap, so all the references went about two miles over the head of this solver. Took me a while to finish it, but I liked the inventive wordplay for many of the clues. DVORAK, OSLO, BOOZE-UP and STONEHENGE were favourites; I could mention others, but I don’t want to big up the setter more than necessary …

    Thanks to the Swahili vagrant for this one.

  9. Eileen says:

    Thanks Duncan and Jambazi.

    I could have written K’s D’s second paragraph almost word-for-word. I’d add 13ac, which was the first one I got but, of course, I didn’t know how clever the Cleveland bit was.

    Hi NeilW @6

    See here: ;-)

  10. Arachne/Anarche says:

    Great fun, even for those of us with absolutely no knowledge of popular beat combinations real or imagined. Particularly clever of Jambazi to include a reference to last Sunday’s last minute mini-hooley (see Big Dave @3 & @4 above) at 2dn. Hic. I hope he will become a regular on the Indy.


  11. NeilW says:

    Thanks for the link, Eileen. Pity the tyre didn’t seem to work that well! Maybe that’s why everyone went back to working on the surfaces instead. :)

  12. allan_c says:

    “No knowledge of Spinal Tap was required to solve the clues” – which was just as well as I had none apart from having heard the name. So thanks to setter and blogger for an educational experience. But the fictional band, as far as I know, had nothing to do with my favourite clue – DVORAK.

  13. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Duncan.

    Nice one, Jambazi (I keep thinking the moniker is Jalfrezi, but that reflects other obsessions…)

    A bit late to this one, as the Indy is only an occasional solve for me, and the local newsagent was out of dead tree versions so I had to go further afield. I didn’t want to do this one on line; starving setters do need to be paid, if only buttons, and the Indy needs all the money it can scrape together.

    Enjoyed the Spinal Tap and other musical references, but stupidly missed the point of the ellipsis at 11ac (very clever clue), despite that scene being a classic. Like JollySwagman, I played with Daz and Omo for a long time over 5dn, until the penny dropped (or rather pound coin: laundrettes are quite expensive these days).

    More please!

  14. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Duncan, and Jambazi for an excellent Indy début which, as has been mentioned, Tramp alerted us to on the Tramp Guardian blog of last Friday. The theme meant nothing whatsoever to me but, like others, this did not hinder solving in any way and I too found it a little (but only a little) easier than the Indy normally is. Favourite clue GRANDIOSE. One v minor typo in the blog, Duncan, I think, in 1 across the missing final letter is O not U.

  15. scchua says:

    Thanks Duncan and Jambazi, for an outstanding debut, and for dropping in with those links. Enjoyed the scenes tremendously, but have always liked Rob Reiner’s work (he’s come a long way since Archie Bunker days).

    I think just too many good clues to single any one (or two or three) out.

  16. Jambazi says:

    Thanks for all the lovely comments folks

  17. Flashling says:

    Lovely stuff, do hope setter will not be a one hit wonder.

  18. Artie Fufkin says:

    Had been looking forward to this since the tip-off last wk & wasn’t disappointed. Got 18a after looking for ninas & thinking there ought to be a reference to stonehenge in there somewhere. Great stuff placing the one louder clue at 11a :-)

  19. stiofain says:

    Tramp/Jambazi really cranked up the enjoyment factor to 11 for this, thoroughly enjoyed and I love these unobtrusive themes, as a big fan of the film spotting the references was half the fun. Loved 1ac, is small doing double duty? (Bono measures 3ft 9in without his high heels).

  20. Tees says:

    Nice work Jambazi old bean, and welcome to the Indy panel. Somehow I managed not to see your post #1 this a.m., and posted an apparently senseless one @ #2. Re Spinal Tap, I too am a big fan, liking, rather than being offended in any way by, the many drummer jokes that litter the script. Though it was either Dac or Mordred who got it absolutely right the other day in defining DRUMMER as ‘musician': that was bang on, as we say in the trade.

  21. Richard says:

    Well done, Jambazi! Speaking as someone who is nearing old-fogey stage, however, I’d welcome fewer pop-music based clues. My experience is rooted in the 1960s!

  22. Rorschach says:

    Good to have you in the Indy fold Jambazi. Very enjoyable solve and theme much appreciated by this solver. One personal piece of pickiness -acouple of tropes were overused in my opinion I.e. rocks as anagrind, air came up often too. Hopefully constructive. Here’s to many more! Tramp on! Thanks againDuncan for fantastic blog.

  23. Arachne/Anarche says:

    When getting a tattoo of a Chinese symbol it’s always as well to check that it really does mean “Love” or “Yangste River” rather than “Singapore Noodles” or “Member of Chinese Mafia Gang”. Well, my Swahili correspondent has just informed me that Jambazi actually means “lovely chap much doted on by older ladies”. Spot on, then…

  24. togo says:

    Congratulations Jambazi – for the puzzle, the buzz here, and for your (accidental?) charming of Arachne!

  25. Al Dente says:

    Long live Jambazi!

  26. steve_m says:

    Thanks Tramp/Jambazi after your shameless plug last week I bought my first Independent since the first ever one and was not disappointed.

    You could try Flittchen when you start with the FT !

    Keep on Rockin’

  27. stiofain says:

    Of course I meant short not small @ 19.
    I didnt check too far back but it seems like a record number of reactions here for an Indy.
    I cant resist posting my 1ac related clue.
    Tiny Irish singer smells like monkeys (7)

  28. Dormouse says:

    I must admit I found this heavy going, and not because I know nothing about Spinal Tap – as has been pointed out you don’t really need to know anything. I had seen the film, a long time ago, and I got the “one louder” reference without noticing that it was clue no. 11! Needed electronic help a lot.

    But what really annoys me is that the last in for me was 9ac, despite having quite a bit of his music in my collection and even making a pilgrimage to his grave a few years ago. There’s no word starting DV- I kept telling myself.

  29. Bertandjoyce says:

    A late start again thanks to 2012!

    We knew that Tramp was debuting today so couldn’t let the day go by without a warm welcome and thank you.

    May there be many more – despite missing the theme – not from our era!

    Thanks Duncan

  30. Derek Smalls says:

    A superb puzzle with some very clever clues. 11ac was a favourite. A great tribute to “one of England’s loudest bands”. The funniest film of all time!

  31. duncanshiell says:

    Thanks for all the comments on the blog.

    I’m competing in one of the old people’s classes in the Welsh 6 days orienteering event this week. Today is the rest day and I’ve finally got a mobile broadband signal in a car park in Lampeter. Where I am staying only just gets a mobile phone signal, and there is not even a hint of a mobile broadband signal.

    I don’t think have seen 30 comments on an Independent blog before.

    Thanks to all for extra enlightenment on Spinal Tap and thanks to Tramp for dropping in.

  32. John Appleton says:

    Nice work Tramp/Jamabazi. 11ac was my favourite.

  33. Jambazi says:

    Thanks again to all who took the trouble to do the puzzle and to provide such valuable feedback.

    I can see Artie Fufkin and Derek Smalls have made appearances. The former is a promotions guy from Polymer Records in the film, if I’m not mistaken.

    I agree Rorschach about the use of ‘air’ although I think the word is used as part of a different device each time. The multiple use of ‘rock’ as an anagram indicator is carelessness on my part; the FORTUNE TELLING clue was a last-minute rewrite and I didn’t check the other clues to see if I’d used ‘rock’ in the same context in another clue.

    Thanks again all and thanks Duncan.


  34. Ste says:

    Witty puzzle which I took ages to start à la Cleveland. Appealing to my generation with the theme. Indies not ready for the most hilarious LOL gag in the film? (I’ll refrain from a verbatim quotation but anyone who has seen it will know what I mean if I say ‘pump’) Enjoyable crossword. Congratulations Jambazi ;-)

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