Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,062 / Mordred

Posted by RatkojaRiku on August 16th, 2012


When you are allocated the Thursday slot as a blogger, you never quite know which compiler you will have to cross swords with, since the editor seems to draw on a wider range of compilers to fill this day’s slot than is the case for some other days of the week.

When I saw that today’s puzzle was the work of Mordred, I fully expected to encounter numerous words that I was unfamiliar with, as well as a clue or two at the end that I would be unable to parse, even if correctly solved. This particular offering more than confirmed those preconceptions, since there is quite a lot of new vocabulary here for me – at 5, 10, 20, 24 – and one clue that I cannot properly parse – at 11. I rather suspect that most of those new words are unlikely to lodge themselves in my memory. 11 now parsed – thanks for help!

I didn’t manage to solve a single clue on first perusal and began to wonder if I would be able to honour my obligation to blog the puzzle today. Eventually, 19 and 17 surrendered themselves to me, and I soon had the bottom left-hand corner more or less filled in. It was then that I realised that the outer perimeter of the puzzle seemed to be made up exclusively of letter “L”s, a theory which I put to the test, and thus confirmed, in solving 24. I have to say that, had I not spotted this, the puzzle would have taken me a great deal longer to solve, especially since I struggled to complete it even with the perimeter letters filled in. On the other hand, working within that constraint doubtless forced Mordred to resort to some more obscure items of vocabulary to fill the grid.

My clue of the day has to be 9, for its smooth surface and naughty definition, closely followed by 22, for its cruciverbal connotations and deceptive surface.

*(…) indicates an anagram

8   LOBO B (=born, i.e. in obituaries, etc) in LOO (=bog, i.e. slang for toilet)
9   UROGENITAL *(REGULATION); “mess” is anagram indicator; the definition is “concerning private (parts)”, i.e. genitalia
10   LORICA LOR (=my, i.e. expression of surprise) + I (=independent) + CA (=accountant, i.e. Charted Accountant); a lorica is the case of a protozoan or rotifer, in zoology
11   LOW-LEVEL OWL (=solemn individual) in LEVEL (=grade); “on the contrary” indicates that “solemn individual” is secured, i.e. enclosed, by “level”, rather than the other way round; definition: below average
12   LONG-HAUL LON (No=number + L (=fifty); “flipping” indicates reversal) + *(LAUGH); “manic” is anagram indicator
14   VESTAL VEST (=undergarment) + AL<l> (=entirely; “almost” means last letter dropped)
16   LIMY LIM (MIL=measure; “knock back” indicates reversal) + <scurv>Y (“ultimately” means last letter only); the definition is “of fruit”
17   LILTS *(STILL); “not usually” is anagram indicator
18   AWOL A + WOL (=friend of Winnie, i.e. Owl, who misspells his own name (“as he puts it”), in A A Milne’s children’s classic Winnie the Pooh)
19   LEARNT LEAR (=writer of nonsense, i.e. Edward Lear) + NT (=books, i.e. New Testament)
21   COCKTAIL COCK (=bird) + TAIL (=dog, i.e. as a verb); an old-fashioned is a cocktail made of whisky, bitters, water and sugar
23   LAMPOONS [A + MP (=politician)] in LOONS (=divers, i.e. diving birds)
26   DERAIL DER (=the German, i.e. the German word for the) + AIL (=trouble)
27   LITERATURE [IT (=sex appeal) + E (=English) + *(ART)] in LURE (=one beguiling)
28   LEAL Hidden (“encloses”) in “puzzLE A Letter”
1   LOCOMOTIVE LOCO (=crazy) + MOTIVE (=reason)
2   LOVINGLY LOV (VOL<e>=little rodent; “decaudated” means its tail has been cut off, i.e. last letter dropped; “picked up” indicates vertical reversal) + *(LYING); “in a heap” is anagram indicator
3   LUSAKA [US (=American) + AK (=State, i.e. Alaska)] in LA (=note); Lusaka is the capital of Zambia
4   LOLL LOLL<y> (=money); “being short” means last letter dropped
5   LEE WAVES WAVE (=undulating pattern) in LEES (=sediment); a lee wave is a stationary wave, sometimes dangerous to aircraft
6   LIVENS IV (VI=girl; “picks up” indicates vertical reversal) in LENS (=the camera’s eye)
7   LATE LAT<t>E; “would need time (=T) for a coffee” means the letter “t” would be needed to give a word meaning coffee
13   LILAC LILA (=girl) + C<ockney> (“initially” means first letter only)
15   ABORIGINAL A<ustralians> (“first of” means first letter only) + BO (=mate, i.e. term of address for a man, in US slang) + *(RAILING); “about” is anagram indicator
17   LITTORAL Homophone (“in pronunciation”) of “literal” (=error, in printing)
18   AFTER ALL AFTER (=behind) ALL (=from start to finish), as in a race
20   RAPPEL *(<g>RAPPLE); “that’s no good (=G)” means the letter “g” is dropped; “defective” is anagram indicator
22   CUDGEL <mor>D<red (“core of” means middle letter only) in *(G (=good) + CLUE); “circulating” is anagram indicator; the definition is “brain”, as a verb, i.e. to club, hit hard over the head
24   ARIL <f>R<a>I<l> (“periodically” means alternate letters only are used) in AL (=Gore, i.e. former US Vice President); an aril is a covering or appendage of some seeds
25   SOUL First letters only (“from the initial episodes”) of S<creen> O<ppo> U<niversally> L<oved>; the reference is to Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, stars of the US police drama Starsky & Hutch

11 Responses to “Independent 8,062 / Mordred”

  1. Al Dente says:

    Hi RatkojaRiku. To arrive at the definition to 11a the key here is “on the contrary”, therefore OWL (solemn
    individual) is secured by LEVEL (grade) giving L(owl)EVEL. Hope this helps,Al.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Fine blog, RatkojaRiku, for which thanks. I wouldn’t say I got no clues on the first pass, but certainly only a handful. But I kept chipping away at it and with about half done spotted the L pattern, which was obviously a help. Some obscurities, sure, for good reason, but all clearly clued, so in the end a pleasing puzzle for the Thursday slot (which is in my experience usually the most difficult of the Indy week). Just to flag up that the two solutions forming the cross in the centre of the grid also start with L.

    I too smiled at UROGENITAL, but my other favourite was AWOL for reminding me of the ever so slightly self-important character in Winnie-the-Pooh.

    Well done, Mordred, on fitting all that in. One L of an achievement.

    (And well done, Al Dente, for parsing LOW-LEVEL – I was struggling with that too.)

  3. allan_c says:

    I’d have got there a lot sooner if I’d spotted the perimeter L’s – how can one miss something so obvious!

    LORICA, LEE WAVES and RAPPEL were new to me, too. I only knew the latter as a French word seen on road signs (usually speed limits) to indicate a reminder.

    Some nice surfaces to a number of clues. LIMY recalling that limes or lime juice used to be issued to sailors to ward off scurvy, hence ‘Limey’ (with an ‘e’), a slang name for a British sailor. And CUDGEL suggesting not only ‘brain’ but the expression “to cudgel one’s brains” – which one often has to do with Mordred’s puzzles (and others).

  4. crypticsue says:

    LoveLy thank you Mordred. Thanks to RR too.

  5. rowland says:

    Great stuff! I really enjoyed this. It seemed to push me out to the far end of my ‘difficulty spectrum’ at first , but after six or seven I suspected we were going to get some help from the edges of the grid. Then, much easier, of course. Clues to inspire today for me were UROGENITAL, but also I found the ‘crazy reason’ in 1 down appealing.

    Thanks all, RR and Mordres.


  6. RatkojaRiku says:

    Thanks, Al Dente, for parsing 11 – I don’t think I would have worked that one out if I’d looked at it for hours. I’ll amend the blog accordingly.

  7. nmsindy says:

    I must have been lucky with this because I spotted the Ls after I’d about 5 clues solved and simply raced thro the rest. While I did understand the OWL in LEVEL one, I no idea about AWOL tho it had to be right with only one letter missing and because of the definition. So many thanks for explaining that. Another I got without understanding (the definition this time) was SOUL but Google explained that for me – thanks, Mordred and RR.

  8. Dormouse says:

    Not too bad, stumbling only at the final hurdle. Couldn’t quite see 10ac. I decuded it ended -ica, so I had two letters to get – if I’d spotted the Ls before it was pointed out here, it’d be only one letter – and guessed it was “my” as an interjection, but couldn’t think what it could be. And e-search helped.

    Never heard of “leal” before, but was able to work it out. I was convinced 23ac was an anagram of “parodies” for a very long time, and even all the crossing letters were found in that. I’m sure this was deliberate.

    Lots of fun clues. Didn’t think I was a Starsky and Hutch fan, but I remembered Glaser and Soul from that. Liked 23dn, too. But, despite having trouble with my 9ac last year, I really found that one amusing.

  9. flashling says:

    Seeing the Ls around the grid starting to appear, I guessed that the perimeter was all Ls (and the central square) and this helped finish this relatively quickly.

    So why, to celebrate the 50th Mordred? He’s hardly a learner after all. Thanks Mordred and RR.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    WeLL – that was LOL!

    LuckiLy we Looked carefuLLy at the cLues when we saw the grid pattern and that it was Mordred.

    A reaL tour de force! Thanks Mordred. WoL was Joyce’s favourite character in the Pooh taLes – she enjoyed being reminded of them.

    Thanks RR foR your bLog.

  11. nmsindy says:

    I think that may be a good spot, flashling. Looking back thro the records (esp annual reviews posted 31 Dec each year), Mordred may well be at the 50 mark, having started in 2006. There’s a reason for everything as they say.

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