Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,048 / Eimi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on July 31st, 2012


I haven’t blogged an Eimi puzzle for a while, apart from the joint effort from him and Nimrod to mark the publication of the 8,000th Independent crossword, so I attacked this one with gusto.

I found the clues a mixed bag in terms of difficulty: there were a few accessible anagrams, especially in the lower half of the grid, and I also slotted in the four 15-letter entries fairly quickly. However, I then struggled to complete the puzzle, principally on account of the more unusual vocabulary at 10, 11, 14 and 21D, even though I was able to arrive at the correct answers thanks to the tight wordplay. The last two entries to go in were the intersecting 21D and 24, not least because I had first mistakenly written in EPSOM for 24, knowing full well that it didn’t fit the wordplay. I would also be grateful for some input on 16, where I am wondering about a potential homophone – any thoughts, fellow solvers?

When I did solve it, however, 24 soon became my clue of the day, for its originality, closely followed by 9, for its humour.

*(…) indicates an anagram

9   A FAREWELL TO ARMS The reference is to Ernest Hemingway’s 1929 war novel; the cryptic definition plays on the fact that the Venus de Milo statue in the Louvre has lost its arms
10   KNOUT Homophone (“say”) of “nowt” (=nothing in Yorkshire, i.e. dialect); a knout is a whip used as an instrument of punishment in Russia
11   DOUAI OU (=where in France, i.e. the French word for where) in DAI (=Welshman); Douai is a commune in the French Nord department, famous for its belfry
12   KEA <i>KEA (=Swedish store, i.e. the furniture giant; “one (=I) removed” means the letter “i” is dropped; a kea is a large New Zealand parrot
13   RECONCILE [E (=English) + CON (=conservative) + C<ouncil> (“Council leader” means first letter only)] in RILE (=anger)
14   HAWSE Homophone (“heard”) of “whores” (=ladies of the night); the hawse is the part of the vessel in which the hawseholes for the ship’s cables are cut
15   UP THERE Double definition: UP THERE (with the best) means “among the best” AND “in heaven”, as in Someone up there has it in for me
17   COCOTTE Double definition: a COCOTTE is a “fashionable prostitute” AND a small fireproof “dish”
19   DOING D-O-ING<o> (=wild dog; “that’s swallowed its tail” means that the last letter moves to an earlier position in the word); the definition is “beating (up)”
21   LORD NORTH LO (=look) + RD NORTH (=M1 as this for Londoners, i.e. the road north from London); the reference is to Lord North, British PM in 1770-82
23   EWE Hidden (“used in”) in ThE WEek; Ewe is a Niger-Congo language spoken by over 3 million people
24   EGHAM E.G. HAM (=suggesting there’s a choice of sandwiches, i.e. ham, for example)
25   PR MAN RM (=jolly, i.e. Royal Marine) in PAN (=criticise)
26   EDUCATIONALISTS *(TOUT IDEA IN CLASS); “reorganisation” is anagram indicator; partially & lit.
1   BACKGROUND   LEVEL BACK (=one defending, e.g. in rugby) + GROUND (=earth) + LEVEL (=plane); background level radiation is that which is constantly present in the natural environment of the Earth
2   RAZOR CUT [A-Z (=a guide, e.g. a London A-Z) + ORC (=monster, i.e. of the sea)] in RUT (=period of sexual activity)
3   IESTYN <b>I<k>E<r>S <s>T<a>Y<i>N<g> (“regularly” means alternate letters only are needed); Iestyn is the Welsh form of Justin, as in Iestyn Davies, the British countertenor
4   DEADLINE DEAD (=late, as in my late husband) + [N (=new) in LIE (=story)]
5   IL DUCE *(I CLUED); “erroneously” is anagram indicator; the term Il Duce became synonymous with Italian leader Benito Mussolini in WWII
6   EOLITHIC E<uryidce> + O<rpheus> (“initially” means initial letter of each only is used) + LIT (=illuminated) + HIC (=here in Latin, i.e. the Latin word for here)
7   KRAKOW WOK (=pan) + ARK (=vessel); “turning up” indicates vertical reversal
8   ESCAPE   MECHANISM *(SCHEME PACEMAN IS); “organising” is anagram indicator
16   EAGLE RAY Pig Latin involves the shifting of the initial consonant to the end of a word and the addition of –ay; assuming that “regal” is “kingly”, there surely has to be a homophone here as well, indicated by “rendered”(?)
17   CEREMONY *(MY ENCORE); “gets disrupted” indicates an anagram;
18   TIRAMISU RA (=artist, i.e. Royal Academician) in [TIM IS + U<ndecided> (“at first” means first letter only)]
20   IREFUL *(IF RULE); “is broken” indicates an anagram
21   L’CHAIM CHA (=tea) in <c>LIM<b> (“middle of” means central letters only); L’Chaim is a Jewish toast meaning “to life”
22   NAPALM PAL (=comrade) in NAM (=Vietnam, i.e. a contracted form)

14 Responses to “Independent 8,048 / Eimi”

  1. Wanderer says:

    Thanks RR for the blog. Much to enjoy here, with EWE as a language new to me. Afraid I can’t help with EAGLE RAY which I didn’t fully understand. I thought the choice of sandwiches in 24 was EGG or HAM, with ‘suggesting’ implying that EGG, HAM sounds like EGHAM.

    Thanks Eimi for the fun, and also for the touching tribute across top and bottom.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, RatkojaRiku.

    I always enjoy an eimi puzzle, because you know you’re going to get a wide range of reference material in the clues and answers, and because if you stick with it, the solutions are all there. HAWSE made me smile this morning, but I also liked DOING, LCHAIM and EOLITHIC.

    Can’t get any further than you did with EAGLE RAY, I’m afraid.

    Missed the nina; well spotted, Wanderer.

  3. Eileen says:

    Thanks RR for the blog and Eimi for an enjoyable puzzle.

    I couldn’t decide which way to read 24ac, as they both work, don’t they?

    Re 16dn: there’s an explanation of Pig Latin here:

    Regal [kingly] in Pig Latin becomes egalray, which sounds like EAGLE RAY.

  4. allan_c says:

    I think “rendered as” is just there to improve the surface in 16d.

    Douai is also famous for an English translation of the Bible, dating from 1582-1610.

  5. rowland says:

    Managed two tough challenges today, FT and Indy, now mid-Guardian.

    This, as the FT, I enjoyed solving. Re the ‘egal ray’, is this related to backslang, or ackslang-bay, as used in UK? I used this quite extensively as a kid.


  6. Rorschach says:

    In Pig Latin, you take the first letter to the end of the word and add -ay to the end.

    So Regal would become Egalray.

  7. Rorschach says:

    Oops… Missed Eileen’s far superior response!


  8. Rorschach says:

    A brilliant puzzle from Eimi.

    Highlights inc. 9A (although thought of this one as an idea before – grrr!), 24A, 22D.

    Thanks O Captain, my Captain!

  9. RatkojaRiku says:

    I too missed the Nina, true to form, although this one is not really for us solvers ….

  10. flashling says:

    Thanks Eimi and RR, not really sure if putting your mother’s maiden name out in public is generally recommended though Eimi.

    Did wonder for a while if Eimi was doing a switch on us by not having a themed crossword on a Tuesday this week whilst all the others were.

    Found this tougher than normal for one of the editor’s puzzles with some unusual words.

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Eimi for an amusing but difficult puzzle. Several new words but spotting the nina helped with a few and explained why there were some odd ones. Enjoyed 9a!

    Thanks RR and also to those of you who explained 16d.

  12. Dormouse says:

    There seemed to be some problem getting The Independent in Guildford today. Wasn’t delivered and the Tesco across the road didn’t have it this morning. Was around this afternoon, which meant I didn’t get started on this till late.

    9ac was the first clue I read, and the answer came straight into my head. But after that, the obscure words started to cause problems. Couldn’t find 21dn, 23ac and even 1dn in Chambers. I knew the last of those, but there are so many terms beginning “background” it just wouldn’t come to mind and needed an e-search.

    I, too, read 24ac as “Egg/Ham”, and 16dn as “egal-ray”.

  13. Graham Pellen says:

    24A must be that the word could be divided into “eg ham”, since nobody pronounces the “h” in Egham.

  14. South West Vegas says:

    Thank you for reminding me of this scene. Classic Whedon dialog: short, sharp and funny as hell.

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