Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent on Sunday 1,187 by Noz

Posted by Simon Harris on November 25th, 2012

Simon Harris.

I’m not familiar with the name “Noz”, and a trawl through the archives finds nothing, so I wonder if we have a brand new setter with us today. If that is the case, welcome!

One can never discount that a new setter name may be one of the old hands teasing us, not least as “Noz” is reminiscent of “Boz”, the nickname of 9/29, around whose characters this puzzle’s theme revolves. I’m sure we’ll find out in the fullness of time.

This was very much in the style of the Sunday puzzles we’re used to, with the added fun of a theme based on REVERENDs in works by CHARLES DICKENS. There seem to be a few of them, and they sometimes appear to be quite minor characters, of exactly none of which your blogger had ever heard.

This didn’t spoil the puzzle at all, but it did mean I wasn’t going to be finishing it off without availing myself of the services of Messrs. Google & Sons a few times. There are plenty of other references to the church and men of the cloth throughout the clues, providing a very thorough use of the theme.

9,29 CHARLES DICKENS Author lacked richness? That’s entirely wrong! (7,7)
10 ECOTOUR Returning to church, our environmentally-sound trip (7)
(TO + Church of England)< + OUR
11 DREAMTIME Creation myth represented in media term (9)
12 LOTUS Many adopting universal meditation position (5)
Universal in LOTS
13 SQUAT Refuse to move on, having occupied throne with Queen coming in (5)
QUeen in SAT
14 GUERRILLA Soldier to go wrong badly following leader of Union into Georgia (9)
(ERR + ILL) in GA
15 EXCUSES Gives reasons for times in City employments (7)
(X in EC) + USES. The City is often used to clue “EC”, which I’ve always assumed to be due to the postcode there. The City and the EC postal area aren’t precisely equivalent though, so I wonder if there’s another reason
18 DEFROCK Excellent modern popular music to detract from religious role (7)
20 REAPPOINT Gather at critical moment to return to job (9)
23 COMTE French nobleman to turn up? About time (5)
Time in COME
25 ORBIT Sphere of activity Rector included in words commemorating life (5)
Rector in OBITuary
26 GYROPILOT Ship’s compass working poorly with it after beginning to guide? (9)
G[uide] + (POORLY + IT)*
28 TENSION Refusal is clear, returning anxious state (7)
1 ACID Keen church’s foremost in charitable support (4)
C[hurch] in AID
2 GATEAU Cake baking finally worried a couple of Australians (6)
[bakin]G + ATE + AU[stralians]
3 CLEMATIS St Michael sadly missing opening of his flower (8)
4 ASKING Making enquiry, taking monarch?s role? (6)
5 REVEREND Minister always intervening in split (8)
6 HOWLER 5 in 9 29 having question given to the French King (6)
HOW + LE + Rex. Reverend Melchisedech Howler, from Dombey and Son. Defined in one source as a “ranting loudmouth”
7 COSTELLO Rock singer’s surprised comment about Saint to have effect (8)
(Saint + TELL) in COO. Elvis Costello, of course
8 CRISPARKLE Untidy parcel irks 5 in 9 29 (10)
(PARCEL IRKS)*. The Reverend Mr. Crisparkle, from The Mystery of Edwin Drood
13 STEERFORTH By no means a 5 in 9 29 being direct and forward (10)
STEER + FORTH. James Steerforth, a character from David Copperfield
16 CHADBAND 5 in 9 29, a scoundrel, leading people round capital of Hungary (8)
H[ungary] in (CAD + BAND). Mr. Chadband is an “oleaginous preacher” from Bleak House
17 STIGGINS 5 in 9 29’s painful sensation not new when given drinks (8)
STI[n]G + GINS. Reverend Stiggins is “the Reverend Gentleman with the Red Nose” from The Pickwick Papers
19 FACE PACK Cosmetic challenge on the cards? (4,4)
21 PATOIS Father is holding to local dialect (6)
TO in (PA IS)
22 TIRADE Weary after taking in a duke’s harangue (6)
(A + Duke) in TIRE
24 MILVEY 5 in 9 29, not initially cheerful about volume (6)
Volume in [s]MILEY. Reverend Frank Milvey, from Our Mutual Friend
27 TEST Sample extract of prelate’s theology (4)
[prela]TES T[heology]

* = anagram; < = reversed; [] = removed

9 Responses to “Independent on Sunday 1,187 by Noz”

  1. Cumbrian says:

    Many thanks for the blog.

    I really couldn’t be bothered to search for obscure Dickens characters, especially as I’ve managed to avoid Dickens on the advice of my favourite English teacher of many many years ago, so I left the six down clues unsolved. That gave me a bit of head scratching with the NE corner, but DEFROCK and COSTELLO came after a coffee break.
    Hence I’m happy to have completed, and enjoyed, the part of the puzzle I thought worth tackling; as for the rest, I think I’ll refrain from further comment.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I too ran out of enthusiasm for searching for obscure CD characters and gave up with a couple left. The problem with proper names as answers is that if you can’t see the wordplay then you’ve got no second chance.

    I know it’s the bicentenary of his birth, and I remember some pleasing themed puzzles earlier in the year, but for me this was just an obscure theme too far, I’m afraid.

    Thanks to Simon, and to Noz, whoever you are.

  3. crypticsue says:

    For me too it was a bit of an investigoogle too far, and I never did find Crisparkle. Thanks to Simon for explaining it all and to Noz.

  4. Dormouse says:

    Well, I do like reading Dickens, but only a book every couple of years or so as they take so long, but I didn’t know any of these reverend gentlemen. Mind you, the only book mentioned here that I’ve read is Bleak House and I can’t remember Mr Chadband. Got these answers with websearches.

  5. jmac says:

    Well I’m not too familiar with minor characters from Dickens’ work, but the fact is that Noz clued these in a very clear way and with the help of crossing letters and a little bit of guess work, everything fell into place. For me, this is the mark of a very good setter. Thank you Noz, and also Simon.

  6. allan_c says:

    Well, it was google to the rescue for most of the 5s in 9,29, although I got CRISPARKLE from crossing letters and the anagram fodder, only needing to confirm it from google. Despite that I found it a pleasant solve with nothing too taxing. Thanks, Noz and Simon.

    K’s D @ 2: Where answers are proper names Andy’s Anagram solver ( and Andy’s word finder ( both have a limited range of proper names. Generally real ones, of course, so not much use for characters in fiction.

  7. John H says:

    I could be wrong, but my guess is that Noz is a familiar setter who currently abides in New Zealand.

  8. Simon Harris says:

    Aha, as in “No Z”…the theme of a recent Inquisitor puzzle if I’m not mistaken.

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    Just looking in out of curiosity. There indeed appears to be no Z anywhere in this puzzle (except in the setter’s monicker). I could not find a J in the grid, but there is one in the clue to 20ac. However, we decided some time ago that pangrammatic clue sets are generally of little interest.

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