Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8098/Mordred

Posted by John on September 27th, 2012


A very pleasantly-constructed crossword from Mordred today. The fact that at times here I’m not quite sure doesn’t detract from what seems to be a good tight efficient display of clueing. I remarked the other day about looseness and Ximenean clueing and this led to much discussion, much of which was making the good point that we mustn’t appear to be hidebound and must appeal to the young, but also some of which was saying that as a result we don’t need to be too careful to abide by the rules and regulations. This crossword shows that it is perfectly possible to set good clues without compromising ‘standards’ — and many others in the Indy stable set similarly good crosswords.

The mass of unchecked letters around the sides, together with nearly half the clues having less than 50% checking (incidentally a ‘Ximenean’ edict which, when there is a Nina, is perhaps justifiably ignored) suggests a message there. I saw THE and thought there would be one, but the finished grid suggests nothing to me.

7 BACON — not a good start: bac is somehow ‘best part of rump’, surely, because this seems to be bac on, where leg = on, but short of the British Aircraft Corporation or a baccalaureate being the best part of the rump, I’m lost
8 HIGH COURT — off = high, woo = court
10 STRAND — 2 defs
11 LAST POST — linger = last, after = post
12 ALL CLEAR — an all clear is a signal, and everyone = all, understood = clear — are there too many clues of the same type around here?
13 L ARK
15 COPYCAT — (c a typo)* around C, which is a programming language
20 STET — (test)* — stet is a mark made by editors when they want to put back something that has been crossed out — Latin for ‘let it stand’
22 LIFE BELT — (belief)* in lt
25 HE(1)R LOOM
27 SIREN SONG — a straight clue here, with the def ‘Enticing performance’, but it has a nice &lit. quality because in Greek mythology the sirens lured sailors to their deaths by their singing — (singers on)*
28 MUNCH — munch = champ — I think this is munch{kin}, where a munchkin is a breed of cat (? — yes it is, according to Wikipedia) and kin is the similar class which is missing
1 BAT(TA LI)ON — easily mis-spelt
2 MONARCH Y — the monarch is a widespread North American butterfly whose migratory habits are famous — it has appeared in England and been called the milkweed
3 TILLERS — is this stiller with the s moved to the bottom? I’m not sure: ‘ultimately dropping’ doesn’t seem to indicate this
4 WHIST LE R{ejected}
5 {c}HOPPER — although at first I had what seems to be the perfectly good answer leaver — {c}leaver
9 ADZE — an adze is a cutting tool, so dresses things, and “adds” — embroiders in the sense of adding something to a story
14 INFLUENCE — n in (fine clue)*
16 ART HOUSE — (hare’s out)* — rather unusual anagram indicator ‘to order alternative’
18 FABULOUS — (a foul bus)*
19 artiCLE MENTioned’s
21 TU(R)NER — a page turner sits by a pianist who is reading music
23 FAME — 2 defs
24 Girls Evidently Left In Dreadful

10 Responses to “Independent 8098/Mordred”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    I’m pleased to see Mordred back as a regular in the Indy, because although his puzzles can be tough, I almost always enjoy them. This was a lot easier than some of his previous ones, I found, but no less pleasing for that. I won’t pick a favourite today, because it was all good; but I did struggle with the last three or four, all of which had less than 50% checking letters, many of which weren’t helpful ones. But a good puzzle overall.

    BACON is BAC[K] for ‘best part of’, or most of, BACK, and ON, with ‘back’ and ‘rump’ being synonyms.

  2. flashling says:

    Cheers Jon, for the life of me I could not see Munch, was fixated on bunch, then ounce for cat, well played Mordred.

  3. flashling says:

    John even. Took bacon as K’sD

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I can claim no credit for this, but a source I can’t reveal has pointed out that we’ve missed something here. ART HOUSE? Then we have BACON, MILLET, MUNCH, WHISTLER, HOPPER and TURNER …

    Wouldn’t be a Thursday Indy without something going on.

  5. flashling says:

    Arrrgh thank you K’s D and unnamed person, this week Themes 2 Flashling nil… no change there then.

  6. allan_c says:

    Managed most of the acrosses in a few minutes this morning before having to go out; just back after a busy day and finished the puzzle; some answers took a bit of teasing out. Thanks, John, for the blog and pointing out the parsing of 6d which was so obvious I missed it! I had ‘wrest’ as a homophone of ‘rest’ and was on the ppoint of complaining about the lack of a homophone indicator. And I could have kicked myself when the penny dropped about HIGH COURT.

  7. Dormouse says:

    This defeated me. Several clues at the top I just couldn’t get. I did think of “tillers” for 3dn but couldn’t see why. And I still can’t see why 10ac should be “strand”.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Re comment #7, I think ply = a strand twisted to make yarn and strand = a lock of hair. Yes, I missed the theme too (while looking for one as I usually suspect there is one with Mordred) but it was not necessary to solve the puzzle which I found was not too difficult by normal Indy standards.

  9. flashling says:

    Triple ply wood/windscreens etc have strands in them, but was a stretch to me.

  10. Bertandjoyce says:

    Kathryn’s Dad – Please pass on our congratulations to the relevant person! We thought first of all that there must be nina but didn’t look any further for a theme.

    We thought this was easier than the usual Mordred but there were a couple at the end which we puzzled over – MUNCH was one of them. We weren’t too happy with TILLERS or STRAND but maybe that’s because they were the last ones in. However we really liked HIGH COURT.

    Thanks Mordred and John.

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