Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8088 (Prize 15-Sep-2012) Bannsider

Posted by beermagnet on September 22nd, 2012


Bannsider has raided his “special list”.  You know the one…

… The one he compiles when leafing through Chambers and comes across something outrageous, preferably in a sub-entry so it’s especially hard to spot.

I spent a while looking for a theme or Nina, as you do these days – especially when blogging. As I read through the answers it reminded me of a game of “Word for Word” from “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue” where players have to say words complete disassociated from the previous words. So I’ll be astonished if there is one I’ve missed this time.

Blog has some wordplay deficiencies, I’m sure someone will be along to fill in the gaps.


1 BAND OF HOPE Temperance group‘s anti-drugs slogan receiving opprobrium from home at first (4,2,4)
BAN DOPE (anti-drug slogan) around O F H (first letters Opprobrium From Home).  Now called Hope UK
6 SMEW Diver heads for surface, making enormous waves (4)
First letters from Surface Making Enormous Waves. This bird
10 ATTUNED Receptive backing of French teachers who’ve organised volunteers (7)
All reversed (backing): DE (of French) NUT (teachers) TA (Volunteers)
11 NEOCONS Son once travelling right across the US (7)
(SON ONCE)* AInd: travelling. Last answer entered (where checking not required). Misled into thinking the word ended in OUS. Failure to recall also shows how effective putting things out of mind can be
12 COMEUPPANCE Approach step to receive new punishment? (11)
COME UP (approach) PACE (step) aroun N[ew]. Lovely word, seems dated to me. (Seems to be hyphenated as COME-UPPANCE in Chambers. Ug!)
13 EEL Slipper, or part of one, hard to shift (3)
[h]EEL  I had this pencilled in early on awaiting crossing confirmation
14 PRANG Possible argument with van Persie’s beginning: Gunners no good! (5)
P[ersie] RA (Gunners) N[o] G[ood] Slang for a minor traffic collision.  Correct non-capitalisation of V in van Persie used to good effect in that clue.  Another word that seems dated.  Does all ex-RAF slang?
16 QUIZ SHOWS Squish flies with ounce weight for entertainment on box (4,5)
(SQUISH OZ W)* AInd: flies
17 SWEET TALK Rabbit to get round dog – little time involved (5,4)
Def. “Rabbit to get round” i.e. persuasion.  STALK (dog) around WEE T (little time).  I suspected the second word was ‘talk’ and the def. ‘rabbit’ from early on, wondering why Small talk wouldn’t fit. So was pleased and surprised when the resolved wordplay showed up the lengthier definition
18 NEGUS Retro paper cups for one hot drink (5)
SUN< around (cups) EG (for one) Can ‘e.g.’ mean ‘for one’?  Spent too long thinking of 5-letter drinks ending F or beginning T while trying the more usual FT as the ‘paper’
19 YEA Approval that ends on 30 September? (3)
YEA[r] i.e. 3/4 of a Year which ends on 30-Sep. I think this gave me the best PDM of the puzzle
20 EAT MY SHORTS Homer’s treated with tasty offer from Bart (3,2,6)
(HOMER’S TASTY)* AInd: treated. I dug up an illustrative youtube reference for non-Simpsons fans (In truth I haven’t seen an episode for years)
24 IN DOUBT Badly bound, it’s far from fixed (2,5)
(BOUND IT)* AInd: badly
25 UM AND AH Hesitate, being from the East End: was forced to come west (2,3,2)
26 TOAD Small amphibian kicked out of one’s trap (4)
Homophone “Toed” = Kicked; Indicator: out of one’s trap(!). A homophone I liked!? Probably because it’s an exact homophone (to me – can’t imagine different accent differences here) and the trickery is in the slangy h. indicator plus comic surface
27 DIDGERIDOO Was Spice Girl idle music-maker? (10)
“Did Geri Do” Ref Geri Haliwell (now ‘an item’ with Russell Brand – a match made in heaven)
1 BLANC White and black side of red rose trimmed (5)
BL[ack] or B[lack] then what ??  [For the answer see nmsindy’s comment #1]
2 NOTUM Part of insect‘s leg raised on stomach (5)
ON< (leg in the cricketting sense) TUM. From Wiki: The notum is the dorsal portion of an insect’s thoracic segment.
3 OMNIUM-GATHERUM Cycling event team hug, right after swimming medley (6-8)
Def. medley. OMNIUM (Cycling event) (TEAM HUG R)* AInd: swimming. The Ominium is like the pentathlon or decathlon of cycling consisting six different disciplines gathering points from each. I wonder why it isn’t called a Sexathlon?
4 HAD UP Put on trial screening of women ignoring doctor finally turning up (3,2)
PURDAH (screening of women) – [docto]R all reversed (up) I found UP both in clue and answer really misleading, I discounted the possibility at first. I can just about see why Bannsider thought it fit to leave it in the clue.  Another dated expression.  People don’t get their comeuppance by being had up before the beak so much these days.
5 PEN-AND-INK Artwork exercises family woman with delicate touch (3-3-3)
PE (exercises) NAN (family woman) DINK[y] (delicate – with a touch missing more like)
7 MAO ZE DONG Chairman adding nothing in complex passages on the character of Lear (3,2,4)
O (nothing) in MAZE (complex passages) then DONG from the famous nonsense poem by Edward Lear – The Dong with a Luminous Nose (I only realised this much, much later after reading about the new exhibition at the Ashmolean of his other work: Edward Lear: 200 Years.
I blighted the top right corner of my grid by writing in KIM IL SONG convinced that the wordplay was something ending in O (nothing) inside KING (Lear)
8 WISH LISTS Long Rolls? They might include one (4,5)
WISH (long) LISTS (rolls)   I’m not sure what to underline as definition here
9 LOVE IS IN THE AIR A duck flies – or a number (4,2,2,3,3)
LOVE (duck) IS IN THE AIR (flies) Def. ‘number’ as in song  Ref. a 1977 disco song sung by John Paul Young
14 PUSSY RIOT Pity USSR has re-formed, imprisoning old dissident group (5,4)
(PITY USSR O[ld])* AInd: re-formed.  First answer.  Very young dissident group as it happens
15 ALEXANDRA Drink with artist, saving kiss for princess (9)
ALE (drink) AND (with) RA (artist) enclosing X (kiss). When I only had the first and last As I was trying to squeeze in ANASTASIA
16 QUARTETTI Italy’s players question Arsenal midfielder briefly: appeal overturned (9)
QU[estion] (Mikel) ARTET[A] IT, (appeal as in Sex Appeal)  Plural of ‘group of four musicians’ in Italian.  Appears in my old paper (9th ed) Chambers(!) under quartetto, which is a ‘group of four musicians’, so it must be a group of quartetto.  I could also question how many solvers would recognise the current Arsenal Number 8
21 YOUNG Year-old antelope being reared? (5)
Y[ear] O[ld] GNU< Def definitely must be part of wordplay here, but I can’t describe the clue as a full &Lit
22 REDID Former Home Secretary having drunk his last gets carried out again (5)
D inside REID ref. John Reid, Last Home Sec. under Tony Blair 2006-2007
23 SCHMO Fool discounting odds, form, checks tips (5)
Alternate letters (odds) reversed (tips) from FORM CHECKS, i.e. SkCeHc MrOf (that was incredibly difficult to type)

19 Responses to “Independent 8088 (Prize 15-Sep-2012) Bannsider”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Great puzzle, thanks Bannsider and beermagnet for the blog. In BLANC I think it’s LANCS cut as in War of the Roses. Esp liked EEL, PRANG, YEA, NEOCONS, YOUNG

  2. flashling says:

    In 27 I think you wordplay needs and extra 0 idle=DO NOTHING. 8 is probably best described as &littish
    21 I don’t think I’ve seen this sort of thing being defined, &littish again.

    Thanks and well done BM, I thought at the time I pity the blogger on this.

  3. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks beermagnet or the blog. We had some fun and head-scratching solving this one. It was interesting checking through the blog and remembering how we managed to complete it.

    Thanks Bannsider – just what a prize puzzle should be.

  4. JollySwagman says:

    Wow – what a puzzle – tough but mega-enjoyable.

    Fave 8d, where I think that if you want a formal def it’s “They might include one” – where one is a long Rolls (Royce) – ie for the wedding etc. So a cryptic def but the capital R gave it away a bit.

    Lovely clue however you come at it.

    Wordplay was helpful on a few guesses.

    Many thanks both.

  5. MikeC says:

    Thanks b and B. Very enjoyable. I especially liked 27, which eluded me for some time – but was very neatly constructed. Overall, a nice variety of references and not too many obscure words.

  6. Dormouse says:

    Too difficult for me. Got about a dozen clues all week.

  7. beermagnet says:

    nmsindy: 1D Doh! War of the roses – of course.

    flashling: At 27 I wondered about the missing O when solving but forgot about it when constructing the blog. I’m still not sure where it comes from. When you’ve seen Didgeridoo as the answer it is so obviously correct you forget about the rough edge, if that’s what it is. Probably covered by the catch-all “?” at the end of the clue. (I am cwondering if it could be a sort of homophone, but no H Indicator in the clue.)

    You’re right though – I will have to start classifying certain clues as “&Littish” – and I reckon 8D comes into that category too.

  8. Thomas99 says:

    Beermagnet @7

    Not sure where the final “o” comes from in 27? Strange blind spot; maybe you misread the clue.
    “Was Spice Girl idle?” = “Did Geri do nothing?” = “Did Geri do 0″ = Didgeridoo

  9. crypticsue says:

    Bannsider sets what have to be the hardest puzzles in the world. I took a long time to get the right hand side sorted and then ground to a halt. Usually I find leave a puzzle for an hour or so and letting the cryptic grey matter work on it while I do something else tends to enable me to finish it off. Not this time. However, other things having intervened, I returned after 36 hours, thought I would have a quick look before consigning the piece of paper to the recycling, and found that I could solve the rest of the puzzle.

    Thanks to Bannsider for stretching my cryptic self to the utmost limits and also to beermagnet for working it all out.

  10. yvains says:

    Thanks very much for the blog, and the parsing of 26, which had me beat. So many superb clues in one stunningly good crossword – one of the best I’ve seen in a while, and a real challenge! I especially enjoyed 17 and 20. In 18, shouldn’t ‘hot’ also be underlined?

  11. beermagnet says:

    Thomas99 @8: Yes, I certainly had an odd blind spot. Weird. Understand now. Most of my #7 is rubbish
    yains @10: Yes. Underlining hot in 18 now.

  12. Lenny says:

    I particularly liked the ingenious definitions eg “Possible argument with van”, “right across the US”, “Rabbit to get round”. I agree with BM that it’s a bit much to be expected to know the name of an Arsenal midfielder. On the other hand the clue about van Persie was one of the best, particularly as he fortuitously spells his name with a lower case v.

    I managed to finish this surprisingly quickly. Surprisingly, because I often struggle with the Monday morning Rufus. Like many keen solvers, I suspect that I am better at intricate wordplay than I am at CDs and DDs.

    I don’t think I would have got 27 had I not remembered the identical Did Geri do O construction in a Redshank crossword in the FT on 13 July. The wordplay is so good that is not surprising that two brilliant setters have independently discovered it.

  13. Bannsider says:

    Thanks to all for their comments and especially to beermagnet. DID GERI DO O was certainly dreamed up independently by me. I suspect it’s probably been done by others as well. (I never ask about ideas being used by others in caser the answer light be “yes” which would leave me feeling obliged to think again!).

    I’m sorry if ARTET(A) was a bit obscure – which it was, in fairness.

    A happy Bannsider after our demolition derby against Ballymena United :-)

  14. allan_c says:

    Well I doubt if I know the names of all my local team, let alone Arsenal! But I got QUARTETTI (tho’ putting “quartetto” at first) from the definition through knowing about the Quartetto Italiano string quartet. Over 30 years now since they disbanded, but still much appreciated through their recordings.

    Held up for a while on 7d by not remembering the new transliteration of Mandarin. “Beijing” is common enough but the late chairman tends to be still “Mao-tse-Tung”.

    Thought 14d was topical and &lit-ish.

    Thanks, Bannsider and beermagnet.

  15. redddevil says:

    Probably a bit late for this comment but I struggled to find Mao’s first name(s) in the ‘Z version’ as other than Zedong (i.e. all one word). Can anyone point me to a reference where it’s 3 separate names?
    Other than that thoroughly enjoyed this – hard but fair.

  16. beermagnet says:

    Funnily enough I thought that very thing myself when I recently saw it in the Guardian as Mao Zedong. Probably this article

    The Guardian site’s search facility is handy for this
    (e.g. )

    Mao Zedong 642 results most recent a few days ago
    Mao Ze Dong 3 hits; 2 from 2004 and 1 from Aug 2008

    Then I thought of looking in the Guardian style guide
    which rather explains those results:
    Chinese names
    Mainland China: in two parts, eg Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Jiang Zemin
    Hong Kong, Taiwan: in two parts with hyphen, eg Tung Chee-hwa, Chiang Kai-shek (exception: when a building, park or the like is named after a person it becomes three parts, eg Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Centre); note also that Korean names are written the same way, eg Kim Il-sung
    Singapore, Malaysia: in three parts, eg Lee Kuan Yew

    For people with Chinese names elsewhere in the world, follow their preference — but make sure you know which is the surname

  17. redddevil says:

    Thanks for that beermagnet – it does rather support my 2 word version so it surprises me even more that Bannsider went for 3 – he’s not from Singapore or Malaysia as far as I know!

  18. Bannsider says:

    I THINK the mystery can be explained as follows:
    The electronic dictionary I use to fill my grids has Mao Ze Dong. Interestingly, another version of the same dictionary does have Mao Zedong.

  19. redddevil says:

    OK thanks for that Bannsider. One of the interesting and educating things about crosswords is that there is no definitive dictionary so I can live with that(though it would have been an easier solve otherwise!).

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