Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8,110 / Nestor

Posted by RatkojaRiku on October 11th, 2012


It is Thursday today, so you take pot luck in terms of which compiler you get, and I am always very pleased to cross swords with Nestor.

With Nestor you know that what you will be getting is not some (obscure) theme with complex interconnected clues, but rather a set of ultrasound, highly original clues for straightforward insertion in the grid, with occasional cross-referencing: nothing more, nothing less.

Alas, Nestor has won the day this time, since I cannot parse 2, although I think that I have found the solution if “nature” is indeed the definition. Any suggestions will be gratefully received and I will try to update the blog later – done, thanks!

Nevertheless, overall this puzzle proved less taxing to me than many recent Nestors, albeit just as enjoyable. The grid, a new one on me, was constructed in such a way that I didn’t seem to get bogged down in any particular corner, and the longer entries provided a good crop of intersecting letters.

My favourites today are the 11 and 19 for their & lit. element, although the former took me a lot longer to crack than the letter; 15 for its deceptive surface; and self-referential 9 for being such a great spot on the part of the compiler

*(…) indicates an anagram

7   ECHO   EC<h>O (=repetition), “not hard (=H)” means letter “h” is dropped; the reference is to Italian author Umberto Eco (1932-)
8   AMBIVALENCE   [VA (=Virginia, i.e. US State) + L (=left)] in AMBIENCE (=atmosphere)
11   PUPPETEER   [UP (=lift) + PET (=doll, i.e. term of endearment)] in PEER (=fellow); & lit.
12   TABOO   TA (=expression of gratitude) + BOO (=expression of displeasure)
13   TREE OF KNOWLEDGE   *(EDEN FOLK WERE GOT); “in trouble” is anagram indicator
16   NIPPLE   PP (=very quiet, in music, i.e. painissimo) in NILE (=African river); a nipple can be a small projection with an orifice for lubricating machinery, hence “oil supplier”
17   MINING   MIN<g>ING (=disgusting, now common UK slang); “the heart’s not in” means middle letter is dropped
19   HUNTER-GATHERERS   THERE (=that place) in *(THUS GARNER); “nuts” is anagram indicator; & lit.
21   MIDAS   SAD (=sorry) + I’M (=I am); “overthrown” indicates reversal; the reference is to King Midas in Greek mythology, cursed in that everything he touched – including his daughter, his food and his drink – turned to gold
23   OPEN HOUSE   O (=old) + <scho>PENH<auer> (“middle section” means central letters only) + O’ (=briefly of, i.e. abbreviation) + USE (=benefit)
25   SLEEVE NOTES   SET (=hardened) + ONE (=a person) + V (=against) + EELS (=devious people); “going the wrong way” indicates reversal; the reference is to the sleeve notes that would accompany an album, hence track commentary
26   ILK   <d>I<s>L<i>K<e>; “regularly suppressed” means that alternate letters only are used
1   TEAPOT   PO (OP=surgery; “up” indicates vertical reversal) in TEAT (=nipple, i.e. entry at 16); to be mother is to pour the tea
2   COMPLEXION   COMP (=free ticket, i.e. from “complimentary”) + [EX (=earlier) in LION (=international sportsman, e.g. the British Lions)]; the definition is simply “nature”
3   FAKE   [A + K<nife> (“edge” means first letter only)] in FE (=iron, i.e. chemical symbol)
4   OVERCOMMITMENT   OVER (=finished) + [MIT (=US university, i.e. Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in COMMENT (=gloss, perhaps, e.g. a term in a text)]
5   FLATULENCE   FLAT (=unexciting) + [EN (=letter, i.e. of the alphabet) in *(CLUE)]; “crafted” is anagram indicator; the definition is “windiness”, i.e. suffering from wind, being flatulent
6   KNOB   B<ars> O<f> N<ew> K<inds>; “initially” means first letters only; “inverted” means vertical reversal
9   BREAK NEW GROUND   All three words – break, new, and ground – can be used by crossword compilers to indicate anagrams!
10   EXOCET   COX (=steerer of boat, i.e. in rowing) in TEE (=support, i.e. in golf); “mounted” indicates vertical reversal; an Exocet is a type of subsonic tactical missile
14   OPPRESSIVE   *(SPIES PROVE); “shifty” is anagram indicator; sultry is oppressive, humid when referring to heat, weather
15   DANCE MUSIC   C<halk> (“tip of” means first letter only) in *(AND MISCUE); “broken” is anagram indicator; the cryptic definition is “ball sounds”
18   CHAMPS   A kind of double definition: the Tour de France ends on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, which is also where the race champ(ion)s   are crowned
20   SNEAKY   NEA<t> (=smashing, in US slang; “endless” means last letter is dropped) in SKY (=hit high, e.g. a ball)
22   DYED   Hidden (“in course of”) in “stuDY EDucation”; the   definition is “not natural”, e.g. of hair colour
23   HASH   H (=hot) + ASH (=residue from fire)

15 Responses to “Independent 8,110 / Nestor”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I found the NW corner of this particularly troublesome but I can explain 2d!

    It is a COMP (free ticket) with EX (earlier) inserted into LION (British Lion, international sportsman).

    Thanks to Nestor and RR too.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I guess we’ve had our Indy tricky on Tuesday this week, so this was thankfully not the usual Thursday torture (don’t get me wrong, torture can be pleasurable …)

    I found this a very pleasing puzzle: MINGING, CHAMPS and BREAK NEW GROUND were all excellent in their own different ways.

    I’m still none the wiser about COMP being a free ticket. I’ve just asked Kathryn and she doesn’t get it either, so it can’t be a generational thing.

    Bravo Nestor for a fine puzzle, and thanks to RR for the blog.

  3. yvains says:

    @ 2: COMP is short for COMPLIMENTARY. Thanks to Nestor and RatkojaRiku, for an enjoyable puzzle and blog – my favourites seem to be the same as RR’s :)

  4. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

    “Comp” is short for “complimentary” (as in free), and was the first thing that came to mind from “free ticket”. I am neither young nor old, so indeed it isn’t a generational thing, though indicates it is an Americanism.

  5. allan_c says:

    Nothing too difficult here, though several answers came from the definitions without understanding the parsing, so thanks, RatkojaRiku, for the blog.

    26a will annoy the pedants, though. Granted that Chambers gives ‘type’ and ‘kind’ for ILK, Fowler’s Modern English Usage states categorically; “ILK means same; it does not mean family or kind or set or name …” and goes on to imply that misuse of the word is frowned upon by the compilers of the OED.

    K’s D @ 2: “don’t get me wrong, torture can be pleasurable …” Indeed? I’m beginning to get worried about you …

  6. nmsindy says:

    My experience was similar to others with this – excellent puzzle as always from Nestor, in this instance a good deal easier that usual.
    While I can’t argue with Fowler, the definition used here for ILK (class) is in Collins. I too had trouble parsing COMPLEXION but that meaning of COMP (which was new to me) is in the Concise OED with, as someone mentioned above, a North American origin indicated. Favourite clues CHAMPS, HUNTER-GATHERERS, BREAK NEW GROUND, and I thought DYED was a well-concealed ‘hidden’.

  7. nmsindy says:

    PS Forgot to thank RR for the great, comprehensive, blog as always.

  8. Rorschach says:

    Am I being very slow or does OVERCOMMITMENT not equal “being spread too thin”?

    Some lovely clues in here – CHAMPS probably pips it for me.

    Thanks both!

  9. yvains says:

    @Rorschach – maybe I’m the one being slow: If you’re over-committed, i.e. too many irons in the fire, you’re commonly said to be ‘spread too thin’, no?

    I agree CHAMPS is very good :)

  10. Dormouse says:

    Just about right for me today. Only answer I couldn’t get without a word search was 1dn – turned out I thought “teat” was spelled “teet” otherwise I might have got it sooner. And the only answer I couldn’t parse was 20dn, so thanks for putting me out of my misery.

  11. RatkojaRiku says:

    Many thanks to crypticsue et al. for explaining the wordplay at 2.

    I am also pleased to read that other solvers’ reactions to this puzzle tallied with my own.

  12. Rorschach says:

    Right but overcommitment is a noun? and being spread too thin is verbal no?

  13. yvains says:

    @12 Rorschach – I think you’ve sort-of answered your own question: ‘Being spread too thin’ is surely (as I see it) being used gerundially, so one could imagine textual equivalence in, for example, “His relationship failed because of his overcommitment” / “His relationship failed because of his being spread too thin.”

  14. Rorschach says:

    Ah! Thanks mate!

  15. flashling says:

    Late starting today, I found it very hard but I usually do with Nestor, all my minor quibbles have been answered, so just to thank RR who got Nestor yet again & setter.

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