Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8040 / Nestor (Saturday Prize Crossword 21/07/12)

Posted by Bertandjoyce on July 28th, 2012


We found this a relatively straightforward puzzle for a Saturday. Nevertheless it was very enjoyable, and it left us with a bit more time on a busy weekend to tackle the Inquisitor in the magazine.

An unusual grid with the NW and SE halves only connected by the 12- and 14-letter answers and half the answers with unchecked first letters – this usually seems to make solving more difficult. However, the clues were all very fair with some very good surface readings. It was possible to deduce the more obscure references in 15, 18 and 23ac from the wordplay, confirming them with a dictionary (or Wiki) check.

Three TV programme references started to make us wonder if there was a theme, but we don’t think so – unless anyone has spotted something we missed! Younger solvers may have had some difficulty with 17ac, but although it is from the same era, probably not with 1ac – which had been going for 24ac before it was finally axed.

Lastly, it is a pangram – we become suspicious as soon as any two of the letters J, Q, X or Z appear!

1   Beside piano, frequently trendy work succeeded, where much of it was mimed?
TOP OF THE POPS TO (beside) + P (piano) + OFT (frequently) + HEP (trendy) + OP (work) + S (succeeded) = the former weekly BBC pop music programme where many of the performers mimed to pre-recorded music
9   Ill-equipped old typesetter might sometimes be unlike one
OUT OF CHARACTER If a typesetter were ill-equipped, he might run out of characters (or letters) = unlike one’s normal self
11   Old Manchester group including Liberal anti-nationalist
ONE-WORLDER O (old) NEW ORDER (Manchester group) around or ‘including’ L (Liberal) = anti-nationalist
12   Sydney’s youngster finding ecstasy within ecstasy
JOEY E (ecstasy) within JOY (ecstasy) = Australian term for a young kangaroo, though there are probably not many actually in Sydney!
14   Sign of distress, affected by separation, when wife leaves handbag
TEAR INTO TEAR (sign of distress)  + IN T(w)O (separation), with w (wife) omitted or ‘leaving’ = handbag (as a verb)
15   Selective informant rarely repeated words
MANTRA Hidden within the clue – or ‘selective’ –  infer(MAN TRA)rarely = repeated words. Thanks Nestor – we had a ‘senior moment’!
17   Doctor once screened flat appendage without expert knowledge
FINLAY FIN (flat appendage) + LAY (without expert knowledge) = ‘Doctor once screened’ – the lead character in the old TV series ‘Doctor Finlay’s Casebook’
18   Arthur’s relation to his father, keeping him away from the north
SOUTHERN SON (Arthur, or any other male’s relation to his father) around, or ‘keeping’ UTHER (father of King Arthur) = away from the north
20   Anne’s daughter mostly follows Conservative policy coordinator
CZAR ZAR(a) (Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Phillips without the last letter, or ‘mostly’) after C (Conservative) = policy coordinator, as in ‘drugs czar’, etc
21   Blitz on isle circled by Polish aces
HOLES IN ONE Anagram of ON ISLE (anagrind is ‘blitz’) in HONE (polish, as in ‘honing one’s skills’) = aces
23   Sticking with loss of pound after blunder revealed way to blow notes quickly
TRIPLE-TONGUING G(l)UING (sticking) without, or ‘losing’ l  (pound) after TRIP (blunder) + LET ON (revealed) = way to blow notes quickly (when playing a brass instrument, for example)
24   Crucial fringes in society blocking party approaches forever
DONKEYS YEARS KEY (crucial) + S(ociet)Y (fringes, or first and last letters of ‘society’ in, or ‘blocking’ DO (party) NEARS (approaches) = forever
2   Cause of vertigo may be this too drunk US fighter in pub
OTOLOGICAL Anagram of TOO (anagrind is ‘drunk’) + GI (US fighter) in LOCAL (pub) = a cause of vertigo may be this
3   “Demolish” as clue to “neck”
OSCULATE Anagram of AS CLUE TO (anagrind is ‘demolish’) = neck, as a slang word for kiss
4   Tourism, primarily to unwind?
TRAVEL T(o) (first, or ‘primary’ letter of ‘to’) + RAVEL (unwind) = tourism
5   Test squad missing leader but getting cross in
EXAM (t)EAM (squad, missing leader or first letter) around, or ‘getting in’ X (cross) = test
6   Striking on behalf of Dracula, lifeless?
OUT FOR THE COUNT OUT (striking) FOR (on behalf of) THE COUNT (Count Dracula) = lifeless
7   Covered by mist, holy houses attempt to contact spirit power
SPRAY-PAINTED SAINTED (holy) around, or ‘housing’ PRAY (attempt to contact spirit) + P (power) = covered by mist. Again, thanks Nestor!
8   Arrange a pension U-turn with a worker’s contribution to it
SUPERANNUATION Anagram of A PENSION U-TURN with A (anagrind is ‘arrange’) = a worker’s contribution to a pension scheme
10   Held forth about brief quarrel in possible snap at editor
PONTIFICATED ON (about) TIF(f) (quarrel, without the last letter, or ‘brief’) in PIC (possible snap) AT + ED (editor) = held forth
13   Mother knotted quilt carried by short master porter, say
MALT LIQUOR MA (mother) + an anagram of QUILT (anagrind is ‘knotted’)  in or ‘carried by’ LOR(d) (master, without the last letter, or ‘short’ = porter is an example of an alcoholic drink made using malt
16   Turning antennae sorted partly seen US sitcom
ROSEANNE Hidden, or ‘partly seen’ in (ant)ENNAE SOR(ted) reversed, or‘turning’ = US sitcom
19   Literary antagonist like this wanting ‘Punch’s last undelivered issue
FOETUS FOE (‘Literary’? antagonist) + T(h)US (‘like this’ without, or ‘wanting’ the last letter of ‘punch’ = undelivered issue
22   Adult wasted in conversation?
BLUE Homophone of ‘blew’ (wasted – ‘in conversation’) = adult, as in ‘blue movies’, etc


5 Responses to “Independent 8040 / Nestor (Saturday Prize Crossword 21/07/12)”

  1. Al Dente says:

    Thanks for the excellent blog Bertandjoyce. I too started to look towards a theme especially when Joey and
    Roseanne appeared. As one of the older solvers was ok with (Dr) Finlay. Always enjoy the longer answers to
    clues so a thanks also to Nestor for Top Of The Pops, out of character, et al.

  2. Nestor says:

    A couple of minor corrections:
    15ac isn’t a double definition; the answer is hidden (selective) in (infor)MANT RA(rely).
    In 7dn you’re missing the second P. It’s {PRAY (attempt to contact spirit) + P (power)} in SAINTED.

    I meant 4dn as an &lit, T(ourism) + RAVEL (to unwind), but it also works as you’ve described it.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Nestor for the corrections – we were down to one blogger this week with one of us ill so it didn’t have another brain to check it over!

  4. Dormouse says:

    After a week, I can’t remember much about this except that I appear to have completed it. But I do remember that I had no idea how 23ac worked, so now I know, and thanks everyone for that.

  5. allan_c says:

    Finding Q and Z, I wondered about a pangram and then didn’t bother to check.
    21a held me up for a while as having got ONE as the third word I was looking for the first to begin with something that could stand for ‘one’ (“circled by Polish aces”) though I couldn’t see what ‘Polish’ ad to do with it; only after getting crossing letters from 16d and 19d did the penny drop.
    In 19d I think the ‘literary’ refers to the usage of the word ‘foe'; it’s not often encountered in everyday speech or writing. A super clue, though, and a candidate for COD.
    Thanks, Nestor and B&J.

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