Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8138 / Nimrod

Posted by duncanshiell on November 13th, 2012


I thought this was a wonderful crossword with clever clues, a good deal of misdirection and a wide range of wordplay constructions.




I got off to a good start with 1 across going in immediately, followed by a number of the downs that intersected it.  However, apart from solving PARSER and AARHUS I then ground to a halt for a while.  Gradually though, a few more breakthroughs were made and the whole puzzle came together.

My favourite clue was the one for MEMORABILIA with its many component parts, containers and reversals.

A number of the definitions were very well disguised.  I know that the definitions in clues are almost 100% put at the front or the end of the clue, as was the case today, but some of them were so well embedded in the rest of the phraseology of the clue that they were very difficult to spot.  For example, ‘cut’ in 10 across,  ‘run down’ in 2 down and ‘turn’ in 28 down.

The Qu and Ans construction at 11 across is not one that I have seen before.  It was a good idea that worked well.  Clearly we were meant to think of Ed Balls at 13 across with the clue referencing political squabbling.

Although I thought the cluing was excellent, I’ll still put in my regular moan about an Independent crossword clue yet again referencing a setter’s pseudonym being unfair to people who don’t solve the crosswords regularly..

As NICK and EVE each came into the crossword twice, I wondered if there was some theme, but nothing obvious comes to mind, other than a biblical Heaven and Hell association.   With the references to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a clue answer ABC (Archbishop of …),  I also wondered if Justin Welby’s recent appointment comes into the picture somewhere.  We have EVE, OLD NICK and ABC down the central column.  A bit more study shows KATHLEEN TEATHER down the diagonal from top left to bottom right, so perhaps there is some reference to an event in the Nimrod /Jetdoc household. I realise that all this speculation about a theme is based on very little hard fact and ‘coincidence’ is probably the correct response to most of my ramblings.

The grid looked as if it might be heading for a pangram, but in the end there isn’t an F, J or Q.  There were 6 three-letter words in the grid which was slightly unusual,  but again I can’t see any obvious link apart from the ABC Archbishop association.

Overall I found this puzzle to be at the difficult end of the spectrum, but the quality of the cluing made it a delight to solve – given enough time.  There may be some solvers who feel this is a puzzle better suited to a Saturday prize slot rather than a daily slot

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



Marauding Chelsea, having taken pee outrageously, do not concede (4,1,5,5)


Anagram of (marauding) CHELSEA and TAKEN PEE


KEEP A CLEAN SHEET (do not concede [goals])




When may we expect news breaking from here? Wait and listen (6)


TEN (reference News at TEN [ITV’s flagship news bulletin]) contained in (breaking) ATD (actual time of departure [from here?])


ATTEND (wait; listen – wait and listen)




One goes on run after key’s cut (8)


ESC (Escape key [on a computer keyboard]) + A + LOPE (run)


ESCALOPE (a boneless slice of meat, cut thin and often beaten out still thinner; cut)




Archbishop of Canterbury’s Qu: Which tree belongs to the genus Ulmus? (6)


A question (Qu) has an ANS (answer) and the answer to the questions is ELM (a tree of the genus Ulmus) to give ANS + ELM


ANSELM (Reference Saint ANSELM [1033-1109], Archbishop of Canterbury, from 1093)




Stifle Balls leading to Government squabble (8)


OVER (balls; reference an OVER in cricket) + G (first letter of [leading to] GOVERNMENT) + ROW (squabble)


OVERGROW (grow too great for; stifle)




Saw reverses in plot and fully understood (8)


MOTTO (saw [in its sense of ‘saying’ or ‘proverb’) reversed (reverses) contained in (in) BED (plot [of ground – e.g. flower bed])


BOTTOMED (understood fully)




Boy’s attending a musical performance (6)


SON (boy) + AT (attending) + A


SONATA (instrumental composition; musical performance)




Bum featured in press release one’s analysing (6)


ARSE (buttocks; bum) contained in (featured in) PR (press release)


PARSER (one who analyses a sentence or [a crossword clue])




One possibly prescribed drugs, showing very little change, given repeat (8)


I (one) + TREATED (prescribed drugs possibly [by a doctor as part of a course of medical treatment) with the letters RE swapped round [showing {a} very little change] to ER)


ITERATED (repeated; given repeat)



Revolutionary risks closing in on fine example of African fauna (8)


(BETS [takes a chance; risks] reversed [revolutionary] containing [closing] IN) + OK (fine)


STEINBOK (A small South African antelope; example of African fauna)




Indiaman Jack?  The knave confuses hands! (6)


LASCAR (RASCAL [knave] with R [right] and L [left] hands swapped [confuses hands])


LASCAR (Indian sailor or camp-follower; Jack [sailor] Indiaman)





Peninsula’s a security organisation, among other things (8)

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; security organisation] contained in (among) ALIA (other things – reference the Latin INTER ALIA [among other things])


ANATOLIA (the Asian part of Turkey, occupying the peninsula between the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Aegean, consists of a plateau, largely mountainous, with salt lakes in the interior. Historical name Asia Minor)




A mad rush to visit a Danish port (6)


A + A + an anagram of (mad) RUSH


AARHUS (principal port and second largest city in Denmark – the city and the countryside around are well worth a visit)




Not without warning, launch case for bruising?  I may (9-6)


Anagram of (bruising) LAUNCHING CASE contained in (not without – hence within) AMBER (warning)


AMBULANCE-CHASER ( a lawyer on the lookout for accidents in order to instigate actions for damages; someone who may well launch a case for bruising)





Entering gambling game a shade run down (3,4)


(A + TINT [shade]) contained in (entering) EO (a mid-18th century gambling game, depending on a ball falling into slots marked either E or O)


EAT INTO (use; run down)




What point is there in idiot having to light oven before food’s ready to cook? (7)


(EH? [what?] + E {East; compass point]) contained in (in) PRAT (idiot)


PREHEAT (light the oven [and get it to the required temperature] before it is ready to cook food)




That ain’t no gentleman getting our setter upset (3)


DAC (Independent [our] crossword setter – usually on a Wednesday) reversed (upset; down clue)


CAD (a man who lacks the instincts of a gentleman or who behaves dishonourably; that ain’t no gentleman)




A-level is all about her (3)


ALL contains (is ALL-about) EVE to form ALEVEL


EVE (girl’s name; her)




Faldo, golfer about to drive, left compound (6,5)


NICK (reference Nick Faldo [golfer, although not the one referred to in the clue]) + ELS (reference Ernie ELS, golfer) + TEE (place the ball on the TEE; about to drive) + L (left)


NICKEL STEEL (a compound of steel containing some nickel)




He endlessly longs to get involved with a reactive group member (7)


Anagram of (get involved) HE and (LONGS excluding the final letter [endlessly] S) and A

HALOGEN (any one of certain elements in a specific group of the periodic table, these being fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine. The group of halogens is the only periodic table group which contains elements in all three familiar states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) at standard temperature and pressure)



Take advantage of Arafat’s men, blocking departure (7)


PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation – led by Yasser Arafat before his death in 2004) contained in (blocking) EXIT (departure)


EXPLOIT (take advantage of)




Last to see lesson about linking both sexes, end up coming out – evocative stuff! (11)

(AIM [end] reversed [up; down clue]) containing (coming out) (E ([final letter of {last to} SEE + [MORAL {lesson} containing {about} BI {linking both sexes}])


MEMORABILIA (objects associated with a [usually famous] person or event, by which the memory of that person or event is kept alive; evocative stuff)




Scratch Newgate? (3,4)


OLD NICK (Chambers tells me that Scratch is a name for the devil, as is OLD NICK)


OLD NICK (Newgate is an old London prison [NICK].  Newgate was used as a prison from 1188 to 1902)




War-god, soldier and bully (6)


TYR (old Norse war-god) + ANT (reference soldier ANT)


TYRANT (bully)




Loyal friend of Caesar, J?  The opposite! (7)


In the style of Caesar, J we can describe MARK ANTONY, Ceasar’s loyal friend as  ANTONY, M


ANTONYM (a word opposite in meaning to another)




Acupressure’s hard for a dog (4,3)


SHIATZU (acupressure, a Japanese healing and health-promoting therapy using massage with fingers, palms, etc.) with the A replaced by H (hard) (‘hard’ for ‘a’) 


SHIH TZU (a small long-haired dog bred from the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso)




At which you’d see DA cut short the State (7)


A US (United States) TRIAL excluding the final letter (cut short) L.  DA is short for District Attorney, an individual that you would see at a trial in America.


AUSTRIA (country; state)




The second person to receive a sign he’s delivered (7)


EVE (reference Adam and EVE, EVE being the second person on earth) containing (to receive) (A + CUE [sign])


EVACUEE (a person removed and ‘delivered’ elsewhere from a place of danger)




Manual supplied by minicab company (3)


ABC (hidden word in [supplied by] CAB COMPANY)


ABC (first reading book; primer; exposition of the basics; manual)


28 Turn dry, not having pub round about (3) PARCH (make very dry) excluding the letters (not having) PH (public house) which surround (round about) ARC ARC (curve; turn)


11 Responses to “Independent 8138 / Nimrod”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I too thoroughly enjoyed this crossword – not as difficult as some Nimrods and as Duncan says, a delight to solve. Thanks to him and Nimrod. Could the Nina be a tribute to Jane’s mum who died recently?

  2. JollySwagman says:

    Raced into this but soon slowed down. A bit of research was needed but not too much. Loose ends all sorted now.

    Thanks DS for a very thorough blog (agree – 12d takes a bit of beating) and N for a challenging puzzle, inventively clued as ever. The shaded squares make two clear crosses – maybe that’s part of the nina (which of course I had missed).

  3. flashling says:

    Thanks Duncan for unscrambling a few that I knew to be right, but no longer had the heart to work at.

    Started like a train in the top half then ground to a juddering halt, before limping home, but now it’s complete scratching my head a little as to why it was a struggle, the diagonal Nina now makes some sense when Tuesdays usually are more obviously themed.

    Thanks Nimrod/JH enjoyed this in the end.

  4. Liz Geear says:

    A great Tuesday puzzle from Nimrod. That I could find arse, prat and bottom says as much for me as it does for the setter. Tch!! I missed the very poignant Nina. I agree that this could have easily have been a prize puzzle but this guy is a genius (or Genius). Re the use of setters pseudonyms : I think (and could be wrong) that the vast majority of solvers of the daily cryptics do so on a regular basis and will therefore be familiar with the setters. And I hope that a flummoxed new solver would be encouraged to persevere, after reading this blog.
    Thanks Duncan and Nimrod

  5. Trebor says:

    I had a similar experience to most; getting a good few in quickly (near unprecedented for a Nimrod!) and then hitting a wall. Nickel Steel was my favourite for its triple golf reference (although I’m not sure it’s technically a compound…)
    Many thanks.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Duncan. Now that the nina has been pointed out, I don’t really want to spend a lot of time commenting; just to say I enjoyed it (and unusually for a Nimrod, finished it). Thank you to the setter.

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    Very good crossword I thought. Difficult, but Nimrod’s crosswords always are, and all the answers made sense eventually even though sometimes I didn’t understand them to begin with.

    In 6dn it seems to me that Duncan has missed Nimrod’s elegance. It’s not ‘place the ball on the tee’ being equivalent to ‘tee’ or ‘about to drive': I think it’s sounder than this, for ‘about to drive’ doesn’t mean ‘tee'; isn’t it that ‘about to drive’ is equivalent to ‘on the tee’, in the way that announcers at the start of a round say ‘On the tee: Luke Donald [or whoever]’ when they mean ‘About to drive …’, and we have NICK ELS on TEE L. Although I’m also not so sure that nickel steel is a compound.

  8. Dormouse says:

    A total nightmare for me. Couldn’t get more than a handful of clues.

  9. Trebor says:

    In response to the above.
    For the record I never finished it (20 and the 28s eluded me); but just solving 11 21 25 and 19 make this puzzle much more satisfying than most we see.

  10. jetdoc says:

    This puzzle was a tribute to my mother, whose funeral took place yesterday. She loved crosswords, just part of the heritage for which I am grateful to her; she was still completing them, well into her mid-90s. Huge thanks to her brilliant son-in-law.

  11. Graham Pellen says:

    In 26A the word “among” in the clue simply indicates that Nato is among “other things” ie alia.

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