Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8114 / Jambazi

Posted by duncanshiell on October 16th, 2012


This is Jambazi’s second puzzle for the weekday Independent.  He has also set one weekend prize puzzle.  His first daily Independent puzzle was published n July and I enjoyed blogging it then.  I was therefore very pleased to see that I had hit lucky with snother Jambazi.  I was not disappointed.



This puzzle had some very clever stuff in it.  Many of the clues were woven around a theme of chat-shows and memorable incidents in the shows.  Whether all the incidents were enjoyed by the hosts is a matter for debate! Other clues referred to celebrities who will have been on chat shows at some time.  Muhammad Ali appeared regularly on Parkinson, and I’m sure Dawn French, Celine Dion and Peter Kay are regulars on a wide range of shows.

The clues all read very well and generated clever wordplay with perhaps too many to single out for special praise.  My favourites were the clues for WINE BOTTLES (23a), ON SPEAKING TERMS (28a), YAKETY-YAK (14d), PRESCOTT (17d) and OBLIGE (22d).

I also enjoyed CROSSWORD SETTER (1a), but I wonder how many solvers know that PUNK an Independent crossword setter.  No doubt everyone who comes to this site is aware, but I suspect there are many others who are somewhat confused, given that PUNK only appears, on average, once a month.

I look forward to solving future Jambazi puzzles.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry

Punk, perhaps right to take end of sofa after chat-show host breaks taboo (9,6)


(ROSS [reference Jonathan ROSS, chat-show host] contained in [breaks] C-WORD [the most taboo of swear words, famously mentioned by accident on Radio 4’s Today programme by James Naughtie, in December 2010, when introducing the then Culture Secretary]) + SETTEE (sofa) with the last letter [end] E replaced by [to take] R [right]


CROSSWORD SETTER (Punk is an Independent CROSSWORD SETTER.  His puzzles appear on average once a month)



Maiden name, at start of Dawn French article, annoys (7)


NÉE ([of a woman] born, used in stating a woman’s maiden name) + D (first letter of [start of] DAWN) + LES (one of the French forms of the indefinite arcticle, the)


NEEDLES (annoys)



So covers Earth theory, like tremors? (7)


SIC (so) containing (E [earth] + ISM [any distinctive doctrine, theory or practice])


SEISMIC (relating to earthquakes; like tremors)



Apollo’s final part in space age (3)


O (last letter of [final part] APOLLO) contained in (in) EN (a unit of measurement used for spacing in printing, equal to half an em)

E (O) N

EON (a vast age)



Wrestling Emu, Rod Hull after one that’s bad tempered (3-8)


I (one) + an anagram of (wrestling) EMU ROD HULL


ILL-HUMOURED (bad tempered)  The clue is alluding to the interview between Michael Parkinson,and Rod Hull on Parkinson’s chat show in 1976 when Emu forced Parkinson off his chair.  Parkinson was not amused



Rolls of fat, they might keep drivers going? (5,5)


SPARE TYRES (an informal description of rolls of fat around the midriff)


SPARE TYRES (extra tyres for motorists carried in case of puncture, although many SPARE TYRES today are designed simply to get you to the nearest tyre repair depot, rather than get you to your final destination; They might keep drivers going) double definition



Clip starts from Best, legless on Wogan (4)


BLOW (first letters of [starts from] BEST LEGLESS ON WOGAN)


BLOW (clip [a sharp stinging BLOW])  The clue is alluding to an incident on Wogan’s chat-show in 1990 when George BEST appeared somewhat the worse for wear from drink)



Opening to show self-proclaimed son of God’s premature end is not good (4)


S (first letter of [opening] SHOW) + ICKE (reference David ICKE [a controversial author and public speaker with a chequered career through mainstream sports reporting and political parties [Green Party] to the conspiracy theories he espouses today.  In 1991 he declared himself to be the Son of the God[head]) excluding the final letter (premature end) E


SICK (ill; gruesome;not good)



Broadcaster’s rubbish drama – it’s big in America? (10)


SKY’S (broadcaster’s) + CRAP (rubbish) + ER (reference ER [Emergency Room], television drama set in a hospital)


SKYSCRAPER (very tall building, initially confined to America, but now a term used world-wide)



Case for Wogan, Best to lie drunk surrounded by these? (4,7)


Anagram of (drunk) WN (first and last letters of [case for] WOGAN) and BEST TO LIE


WINE BOTTLES (Probably the source of the alcohol induced state of mind of George Best when he appeared on the Wogan chat-show in December 1990 – see comments at 15a above)



Germ’s not the first found by hospital that’s disgusting (3)


BUG (germ) excluding the first letter (not the first) B + H (hospital)


UGH (expression of disgust; that’s disgusting)



Shed light on Ali about rare condition (7)


CLAY (Cassius CLAY was the original name of the boxer Muhammad ALI) containing (about) (R [rare] + IF [{on} condition {that}])  R is given as an abbreviation for ‘rare’ in Collins


CLARIFY (make clear or easily understood; shed light on)



One follows stars to get it (7)


GROUPIE (a [usually female] fan who follows pop groups, or other celebrities, wherever they appear, often in the hope of having sexual relations [it] with them)


GROUPIE (cryptic definition based on the use of ‘it’ for sexual relations)



Off set – Parkinson and Meg?  Hardly (2,8,5)


Anagram of (off) SET PARKINSON and MEG


ON SPEAKING TERMS (reference the rather difficult interview Michael Parkinson had with Meg Ryan on his chat-show in 2003.  Parkinson failed to generate more than a few monosyllabic responses out of Ryan.  Ryan later described Parkinson as a nut.  Whether they are ON SPEAKING TERMS today I don’t know, but they were hardly on such terms in 2003)



Acceptable lines support cocaine talks (9)


C (cocaine) + ON (acceptable) + VERSES (lines [of poetry or song])  This is a down clue so ONVERSES supports the C on top.





Upset car club over in environmentally-friendly part of the world (7)


([AA {Automobile Association; car club}containing {over} IN] + ECO [environmentally-friendly]) all reversed (upset)

(OCE A (NI) A)<

OCEANIA (a region of the world centred on the Pacific Islands – there seems to be different opinions on the exact extent of OCEANIA)



Standards whilst rolling up length on American rubber (8)


AS (whilst) reversed (rolling up; down clue) + L (length) + TIRES (The Shorter Oxford gives a direct correlation between the American spelling of tyres [TIRES] and an equally American definition of rubber as TYRES;  Chambers gives a somewhat different interpretation of ‘rubber’ as used in a mainly American way)


SALTIRES (the national flag of Scotland is referred to as a SALTIRE [an armorial emblem in the shape of a St Andrew’s Cross])



Musical with car that flies (5)


CAROUSEL (musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, first performed in 1945) excluding (that flies?) CAR


OUSEL (water ouzel; dipper; aquatic bird; that flies?)  I’m not quite sure how ‘that flies’ works in this clue.  It is possibly doing double duty – telling us to remove CAR in the wordplay and acting as part of the definition of OUSEL  I’m not entirely convinced that it all works, although there is no doubt what the entry is.



Is queen cutting parliament’s troubles? (9)


(IS + QU [Queen]) contained in (cutting) DIETS (national, federal or provincial parliaments)


DISQUIETS (troubles)



He came up with microphone, seconds into final from Celine Dion (6)


S (seconds) contained in (E [last letter letter of {final from} CELINE ] + DION)


EDISON (reference Thomas EDISON [1847 -1931],  inventor of the carbon microphone.  Emile Berliner also claimed the invention, but courts subsequently ruled in favour of EDISON)


7 Hitch "hard leaves on line" with this transport mess? (7) THUMB (hitch; reference THUMB a lift [hitch a lift]) excluding (leaves) H (hard) + RE (about; on) + L (line)

TUMBREL (a cart, especially for dung [mess], that tips over backwards to empty its load; this transport mess)



One filling road went quickly (5)


ACE (one) contained in (filling) RD (road)


RACED (went quickly)



Nonsense talk from Peter, repeatedly upset about film – why?  You might ask (6-3)


(KAY [reference Peter KAY, comedian] + KAY [comedian, again {repeatedly}]) each reversed [upset]] containing (about) (ET [film] + Y [sounds like {you might ask} WHY)


YAKETY-YAK (persistent idle or stupid talk; nonsense talk)


16 With leg cut inside short pants, seconds of no value (9)

W (with) + (LEG excluding the final letter [cut] G contained in [inside] an anagram of [pants] SHORT) + S (seconds)

W (ORTH (LE) S*) S

WORTHLESS (of no value)



Spin too much around key politician (8)


(PR [public relations; spin] + OTT [over the top; too much]) containing (around) ESC (escape key on a computer keyboard)


PRESCOTT (reference Lord [John] PRESCOTT, British Labour Party politician)



Chats about working strong muscles (7)


C (circa; about) + ON (working) + F (forte; loud; strong) + ABS (abdominal muscles)


CONFABS (chats)



One choosing more stout (7)


PLUMPER (one who chooses)


PLUMPER (more stout)  double definition



Make love – length maintained by great tablet (6)


O (love [zero score in tennis]) + (L [length] contained in [maintained by] BIG [great]) + E ([ecstasy] tablet)

O B (L) IG  E

OBLIGE (bind morally; make)


23 Nutter John accepting introduction to Anton before kick-off (5) (WC [lavatory; john is a slang word for lavatory] containing A [first letter of {introduction to} ANTON]) + KO (kick-off) WACKO (deranged or eccentric person; nutter)  The clue is referring to the recent trial and Football Association hearing into the comment made by John Terry [Chelsea] to Anton Ferdinand [Queens Park Rangers] during a football match in October 2011)

Left chat show, heading off with rocking Stone (5)


L (left) + WOGAN (chat-show) excluding the first letter (heading off) W


LOGAN (a rocking stone)


18 Responses to “Independent 8114 / Jambazi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for the usual comprehensive blog.

    I found this a tough but very enjoyable puzzle. Much of the top half went in quickly, but there were some in the lower half that I found tricky to solve and parse. I did ‘get’ the theme, although it was clearly intended to amuse rather than aid solving.

    You can’t say Jambazi isn’t contemporary with his clueing – WACKO made me smile and was certainly up-to-date. SKYSCRAPER also was funny. GROUPIE? Puhleese, this is a family newspaper (although Two Jags PRESCOTT can hardly claim to be a paragon of sexual virtue …) OUSEL worked for me, although it might require a bit of indulgence.

    I could handle some more of this setter in the Indy.

    [pedant’s corner, Duncan: in 9ac you mean ‘definite’ and not ‘indefinite’ article]

  2. yvains says:

    I quite liked this one, even though I didn’t know these spellings of WACKO and YAKETY-YAK, and thought 1A, while very clever, was perhaps a touch navel-gazing. Needed to come here for the parsing of 27 (thanks, Duncan) only to find that it isn’t really cryptic. Really enjoyed CONFABS and OBLIGE, and rather liked OUSEL. Thanks to both Jambazi and Duncan for your efforts.

  3. crypticsue says:

    I enjoyed the crossword and the theme but boy did I have to work hard for the pennies to drop Thanks to setter and blogger too.

  4. Gervase says:

    Thanks, Duncan.

    Enjoyed this one a lot. Jambazi/Tramp sets some very elaborate thematics – this isn’t one of them, but has a wealth of popular cultural references and some very ingenious clueing.

    4d didn’t quite work for me, though I liked the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang allusion in the clue. Lots of others pleased, however, especially the clever long clues 1a and 28a, the Viagra-themed 22d and the splendid combination of construction and surface in 23d.

  5. Tramp says:

    Duncan, thanks for the comprehensive blog. Thanks for comments.

    4d is a little confusing, I must say. I meant the definition to be ‘that flies’ and it would be a musical if it had ‘CAR’. I imagined the breakdwon to be ‘Musical (with car) that flies’. It is a little unusual, if not rubbish and would be better if it were ‘Musical without car that flies’ or ‘Musical scratches car that flies’ or something.

  6. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Jambazi, and Duncan. Though only vaguely familiar/entirely unfamiliar with some of the chat show references, I found this no harder than the Indy on average so the puzzle was very fair, not requiring that specialist knowledge. While the answer to 1A stood out for the likes of us, I did need your explanation of the wordplay. Favourite clue SPARE TYRES – OBLIGE was very amusing too. I was happy with the wordplay in OUSEL ie it’s a musical with CAR.

  7. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Duncan.

    Having been out until now, I thought it would all have been said by the time I got back but I think there’s still room for my twopennorth. [If this had been a Tramp puzzle, there’d have been many more comments by now, I think.]

    I wasn’t familiar with all the references but I now see that the puzzle was even cleverer than I thought it was.

    The surface / construction combination that I particularly admired [and was familiar with] was 11ac – and I really liked 12ac – small but perfectly formed.

    Huge thanks, as ever, Jambazi, for another great puzzle.

  8. allan_c says:

    Completed the puzzle though not being an avid watcher of chat shows I didn’t fully understand some of the clues, especially 18ac. So thanks, Duncan, for the usual superb blog – and I agree with your comment re Punk in 1ac.

  9. Jim T says:

    Really good puzzle with many excellent clues. Thought ON SPEAKING TERMS was brilliant.

  10. NealH says:

    Most of this went in fairly easily, but I got bogged down for ages on saltires, tumbrel and Prescott. I suppose I ought to have heard of saltires, but things North of the Border have never been of great interest to me. I’d only heard dimly of tumbrels and didn’t know what they were. The definition I looked at said they were used for transporting victims of the guillotine, so that left me confused on the definition (although I suppose that would be quite messy as well). I failed to parse Prescott – got Esc and OTT but somehow failed to equate spin with PR.

  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    An enjoyable puzzle from Jambazi. Our COD was almost the last one in – PRESCOTT.

    As K’s D said, the top half seemed to go in quite quickly and then we also ground to a halt. All of the clues however were fair and we were quite happy with 4d.

    We’re also not a great watcher of chat shows so weren’t aware of some of the subtlties in the puzzle but that didn’t seem to matter.

    Thanks to Jambazi and Duncan.

  12. sue says:

    I`m in awe of the painstaking work and time that you`ve given to this, Jambazi.
    Hope you feel, as I do, that it was entirely `worthwhile` – I think it`s wonderful enough to frame-and-hang.

    @ Duncan, I appreciate your efforts too. I`ve learnt so much about this `ere trickery-crypt-ickery` today.

    Thanks to you both

  13. Dormouse says:

    Found this too much of a slog to be enjoyable, I’m afraid. Completed it only with word searches for several clues at the end, and that was a case of I’ve got this far, I might as well keep going.

  14. Wil Ransome says:

    On the whole very much enjoyed, although like Tramp@5 I am uncomfortable with 4dn, where the definition is surely ‘that flies’, ‘that’ a demonstrative pronoun, so that the rest of it simply doesn’t work: there is no indication that ‘car’ is subtracted from ‘carousel’. And I also have a bit of a quibble with ‘nee’ for ‘maiden name’ in 9ac since the translation of the French word is ‘born’, and ‘maiden name’ is what a woman is born with, not the same thing.

    Rod Hull and Emu in 12ac reminded me of that excruciating Parkinson interview when the ostrich attacked Michael P, who played along with it and was merry although he must have wanted to thump the outrageous Rod Hull.

  15. flashling says:

    Thanks Jambazi and Duncan for the blog which I needed for a few today, I started a new job today and think my mind was elsewhere on the train trying to solve this after a very poor start. Some cracking stuff from the setter, a clearly very talented fellow. Hehe lust remembering meeting Rod Hull and Emu on a tram in blackpool as a kid.

  16. nmsindy says:

    Maybe knowledge is a dangerous thing, Wil at #14, but I think pretty much every English dict gives nee = maiden name and that is what is I thought of when solving.

    I hope Tramp and Jambazi don’t fall out over the interpretations of 4D…

  17. Jambazi says:

    Sorry folks, I posted #5 under my other name by mistake; the site remembers my email address and name as some sort of cookie so I never fill it in. I do take the point about CAROUSEL.

  18. Paul B says:

    Perhaps it could be said to be synonymous, anyway: ‘Mrs Hitler, nee Braun’ = ‘Mrs Hitler, maiden name Braun’? A reinterpretation, but it works for me.

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