Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8118 (Sat 20-Oct-2012) Nimrod

Posted by beermagnet on October 27th, 2012


Nimrod has put on his fedora, strapped his bullwhip to his belt, stuffed a revolver in his shirt and gone on an archeological adventure in Chambers. And we had to follow in his footsteps to discover some of the more arcane answers in this puzzle.
Who knew “En arriere” was part of the English language, or that J is an acceptable abbreviation for Joint. I expect it depends upon the company you keep.
I see from the clock it took me 2 hours – wait a minute – the clock has stopped. In fact it took a good while longer.  During which my copy of Chambers saw more action than it had for a very long time.
Sticking my neck out I declare there is no Nina or theme – just a  tough puzzle as we expect from Mr N on prize day.  This grid design is packed with so many clues that it felt like a giant puzzle.

1 RIPPON Priest appearing in Yorkshire location as high-kicking presenter (6)
P[riest] inside RIPON Ref. Angela Rippon newscaster noted for her appearance on the Morecambe and Wise show 1976
5 DENDRON Doctor admits target after projection (7)
END (target) inside DR, ON (after?)
9 SAMUEL JOHNSON Judge has united “unfashionable” stage performer and London wordsmith (6,7)
I could see it might be out favourite eighteenth century lexicographer from the definition and enumeration, and Johnson was soon confirmed from the crossing Dijon. But whether it was Doctor J or Samuel J I could not divine till I revisited 15A SPAM with its cross-reference. I did not begin to unravel the wordplay until doing the blog.  While solving I was stuck thinking that Judge delivered the J but I now see it probably simply equates to Samuel as in the old Testament book.  I still don’t understand how we get JOHNSON from the rest of the clue.
Double Aargh! Judge doesn’t give us either J or Samuel.  See Comment 2 below where Dormouse puts me right
11 RENT DAY Time to settle down West at last, and ready to reproduce? (4-3)
([dow]N [wes]T READY)* AInd: to reproduce? Extremely misleading Anagram indicator plus well hidden def. (Last in with 4D)
12 NEWBIES Special for good, we begin afresh (7)
WE BEGIN (swap S for G)* AInd: Afresh Semi-&Lit. First answer (after being confirmed by the more definite answer for the crossing 13D)
15 SPAM Unwanted communication about page boy, little 9? (4)
P[age] SAM (little Samuel)
This gave the confirmation that 9A was Samuel rather than Doctor Johnson
16 PHILO On film, he kept Clyde phosphorus-abundant, then -scarce (5)
P (Chemical symbol for Phosphorous) HI (abundant) LO (scarce) Ref. the Film Every Which Way But Loose where Clint Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe with an Orangutan called Clyde
17 NEAP One unmentioned in hymn turning tide … (4)
19 ALSO and further extract from nuptial song (4)
Hidden in nuptiAL SOng
20 CHLOE Woman companion not against adoration (5)
CH (Companion (of Honour)) LOVE – V (adoration not against (versus))
21 JANE Again wife rolled joint before this woman! (4)
J[oint], ANE[W] (again with the W[ife] “rolled” off). J for Joint in the marijuana sense.  This confused me no end.  With crossing letters -A-E, Jane looked like a likely answer and as it happens to be the name of Nimrod’s wife it seemed he was making some allusion to his own personal circumstances – surely not!
In truth this was the answer I was least sure of till spotting the wordplay while blogging.
23 BOOKEND Bust, daughter’s slipping ring over end of finger support (7)
BROKEN (bust), D[aughter] but swap O (slipping ring) for  [finge]R. Edited. Thanks to commenters pointing out the garble
27 BLUE-ROT Discoloration making trouble strifeful? (4-3)
(TROUBLE)* AInd: strifeful. Why the US spelling of discolouration? Fancy finding a word that is the anagram of trouble. It is a fungal disease caused by the Ceratostomella fungus.
28 LAKE CONSTANCE What’s used to cut cake’s not unusually consumed quite a bit of water (4,9)
(CAKE’S NOT)* AInd: unusually, inside LANCE
29 SUMMERS Sue’s rear pinched in Episode 1 of Mr & Mrs happy days! (7)
SUE with the “rear” E inside M[r] MRS
30 KILLER Passionate chap loses heart to overtures of luscious lady, stupendous! (6)
L[uscious] L[ady] for SS in KISSER (passionate chap).  The def. is that exclamation meaning “Great!”, “killer” being a modern usage
2 IFS AND ANS French writer among one admirer’s possibilities (3,3,3)
SAND (French writer) inside 1 FANS I found this very difficult – though I have heard the saying I thought it was “ifs and ands” as a kind of partner to “if and buts”.
3 POMADE Travel partners prepared capital application (6)
P & O (travel partners – ferries) MADE (prepared).  Capital as in your head
4 NEEDY Wanting balls, say, charging rising passion (5)
ED (balls, ref. the Shadow Chancellor – more usually found inhabiting Private Eye clues) inside YEN<
Last in (with 11A)
5 DIJON Stopping row, my beloved’s mustard! (5)
JO (my beloved) inside DIN (row)
6 NOHOW Definitely not showing expertise in speech (5)
Homophone: “Know how”
7 ROSTI Potato cake, right? Big it up! (5)
R[ight] OS (big) IT<
8 NONE-SO-PRETTY October day? Pro, versatile artist, on London Pride (4-2-6)
NONES (October day?) PRO* AInd; versatile, then ETTY Ref. artist William Etty
Not sure why Nones should be associated with October as opposed to any other month – there is something I’m missing here, probably covered by that darn “?” So London Pride isn’t just a beer and a song by Noel Coward.
10 CRYSTAL BALLS Line on unusual last dance ringed by extremely crapulent guests, we predict (7,5)
RY (line) LAST* AInd: unusual BALL (dance) all inside C and S from C[rapulent guest]S
13 EMOTE Show feelings in roadside motel (5)
Hidden in roadsidE MOTEl
14 AISLE First passage of married life? (5)
Cryptic Def.
16 PECAN Nut, odd lecturer, shifted place name (5)
(PLACE – L (L[ecturer] shifted) )* AInd: odd, N[ame]
18 EN ARRIERE Behind one year, hirer heads off and out (2,7)
([o]NE [y]EAR [h]IRER)* AInd: Out
22 TUNNEL Escape sister, heading down when phone’s ringing (6)
NUN with N shifted down inside TEL
24 OAKUM Drink in bars betting money for old rope, loosely (5)
[s]OAK U[p] (Drink in – SP (betting – Starting Price)), then M[oney] 
25 EMCEE I announce bride, groom arrive finally outside establishment (5)
[brid]E [groo]M [announc]E outside CE (Church of England = establishment)
26 DENIS He is helping to get bridesmaids in edgeways – from below! (5)
Hidden reversed in bridesmainS IN EDgeways
Not sure how anyone can get this without all crossing letters, how does “helping” contribute to the clue
From comments: helping is part of the hidden indicator – see comment 4
27 BATIK Coloured fabric for outfit? Rating soars! (5)
KIT (outfit) AB (rating) all reversed

17 Responses to “Independent 8118 (Sat 20-Oct-2012) Nimrod”

  1. sidey says:

    Thanks for all that beermagnet. Your explanation for 23a seems to be missing BROKEN and some word play I think.

    Completely floored by this although I shouldn’t have been.

    Oh, and 26d, ‘helping’ is the indicator that it’s a hidden thingy (I think, again).

  2. Dormouse says:

    Got all except 21ac – I guessed “Jane” or “Kate” – and an on-line discussion during the week someone came up with the right answer. But there were a lot of answers I couldn’t parse. So thanks for answering several of my questions.

    And I think I can now answer your question about 9ac. Didn’t see it till just now. It’s U for “united” plus EL[ton] JOHN for “unfashionable” stage performer, inside SAMSON who, Wikipedia tells me, was one of the biblical judges.

    23ac, as sidey says, you seem to be missing the full story. I’m guessing you meant BROKEN for “bust” plus D for daughter, with the ‘r’ from finger replaced by ‘o’ for ring.

  3. Steve Foulds says:

    This was a difficult puzzle and I expect the number of entries may have been lower than average. I particularly liked the clue to TUNNEL.

  4. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks – and sympathy – for the blog. A stiff challenge certainly, but great to get through to the end and realise how it all works. I had a similar experience to you – last in was JANE (my partner’s name – d’oh!) and I had to go back to parse SAMUEL JOHNSON, having put it in quite early. It was hard to accept that “judge” indicated neither “j” nor “Samuel” – very clever misdirection.

    Re 26d – I agree with Sidey. I think the logic is that “Denis” helps to provide (“is helping to get”), i.e. forms a part of, “bridesmaids in edgeways” from below. It makes perfect sense but doesn’t have anything that you immediately spot as “It’s an embed, folks!” I took ages to get that one.

  5. allan_c says:


    I got 1ac straight off and that was about it! A few answers from the definitions alone and a few guesses confirmed with the check button, but for the rest it was mostly trial and error.

  6. beermagnet says:

    Thanks to all above, particularly to Dormouse for the Samuel Johnson wordplay explanation. That was particuarly tricky.
    I agree with you Steve @3, Tunnel gave a lot of pleasure to solve.

  7. Thomas99 says:

    I think nobody’s yet mentioned that there is a theme – marriage. I wonder if it’s marking a particular occasion?

  8. crypticsue says:

    I was obviously on the mythical wavelength as I solved the majority of this without too much trouble, my main hold up being justifying why JANE was JANE, apart from being the very nice lady married to our setter, of course. Tricky but fun, thank you Nimrod and beermagnet.

  9. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks, Nimrod and Beermagent. A challenge indeed. I managed to solve it without aids, but cannot claim to have been able to parse all my answers without the blog.

    Thomas99 @7, if it is some sort of epithalamion, the inclusion of Dr. Johnson, who had not many nice things to say about marriage (e.g., “A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience”) seems mischievous.

  10. Richard says:

    I agree with Thomas99. In fact, while I was working on this (very hard) puzzle I went so far as to google “Chloe Jane Summers” and “Philo Rippon” (and again with surnames switched), but came up with nothing. I wonder if the honeymoon is taking place by Lake Constance?

  11. John H says:

    In Ripponden, my friend Samuel John Pamphilon (he of McNeil & Pamphilon stand-up comedy fame) married Chloe Jane Constance Summerskill on October 20th 2012.

    Just to set the record straight, you understand. I’d never have used PHILO otherwise, at least not on its own…


  12. beermagnet says:

    I seem to have woken up with a stiff neck this morning. Must be the extra hour. No, it’s the failure to see a theme hidden in plain sight in the clues.

  13. MikeC says:

    Ouch!! Thanks bm and N. V tough and a bit beyond me. Still fun, nevertheless.

  14. Polly says:

    This is probably too late for anyone to notice and be enlightened by, but ‘discoloration’ is the first spelling given in my Chambers (2003) and the preferred form in ODWE.

  15. beermagnet says:

    Thank you Polly.
    That does explain it (though it still looks wrong to me)

  16. John H says:

    My original submission did have “discolouration” but, admittedly, it looked wrong to me – as evidently it did to Eimi.

  17. OzBron says:

    Re comment 2: I’m not sure that this makes clear that El John is an unfashionable performer because he’s missing the ‘ton’, as in ‘prevailing mode, fashion; fashionable style or society’ (Concise Oxford) – from the French, as in ‘bon ton’.

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