Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8150 / Mordred

Posted by Eileen on November 27th, 2012


This is only my second [I think] foray into Indy blogging territory – standing in for Bert and Joyce today.

The Guardian is my puzzle of choice but, since discovering 15², I do the Indy puzzle more often than not. However, I’m not sure I remember actually finishing a Mordred puzzle before – I have a feeling that I was put off ages ago by a really difficult one – so I was a little daunted when I saw his name on today’s puzzle. I don’t know whether to say that I was relieved or disappointed when I settled down to solve it. There was certainly nothing here to frighten the horses too much: on the whole, an easy-going bunch of straight charades, anagrams and double definitions, with no intricate constructions or cryptic definitions at all, as far as I could see, and one or two clues that I thought were rather weak. But, particularly with Indy puzzles, I believe, there’s always the dreaded Nina to look out for – but, try as I might, I couldn’t find one*  – which, of course, doesn’t by any means mean there isn’t one, as I’m notoriously rubbish at seeing them, so I could easily be in for an egg-on-my-face experience.

* I have decided to let the previous paragraph stand, as it reflected my initial reaction to the puzzle but, very belatedly, just as I was about to post this, I realised that there is, in fact, a ghost theme: in the clues or the solutions, [7ac, 26ac, 2dn, 4dn, 5dn, 6dn, 8dn, 15dn, 20dn 25dn] there are allusions to the reign of Henry VIII and his wives and the well-known mnemonic, ‘divorced, beheaded, died…’ There may be more but I don’t want to delay the posting any longer. This puzzle has gone up considerably in my estimation. Phew! 😉  Many thanks, Mordred.


7 Woman sparing time for American girl
not a good start for me: I was familiar with John Doe as an unidentified American character but I wasn’t aware that there was a female equivalent, Jane Doe: as far as I was concerned, neither Janet nor Jane was specifically American, so the clue was lost on me

9 Capote is upset about current obscurities
anagram [upset] of CAPOTE’S round AC  [current] Edit: it’s an anagram of CAPOTE IS round I [current] – thanks to Kathryn’s Dad @5

10 Grab a quick shot on horseback
simple charade of SNAP [a quick shot] + UP [on horseback] – which makes a change from ‘at university’

11 Overly embracing most of masses in farewell
TOO [overly] round OODLE[s] [most of masses]
I thought this was rather weak, since TOO appears at the beginning of the solution

12 Pleased I assembled a group of stars
anagram [assembled] of PLEASED I

14 Green medic backing fishing dispute
reversal [backing] of RAW [green] DOC [medic]

16 Entertain broadcast of certain death
sounds like [broadcast] FATE [certain {?} death]

17 Diego worked out the shape of the earth
anagram [worked out] of DIEGO

18 Feeble starters of watery egg and kippers
initial letters [starters] of Watery Egg And Kippers

19 Maybe she makes engravings and other things, that woman
charade of ETC [et cetera – and other things] + HER [that woman]

21 Overrule girl’s let
DI’S [girl’s] + ALLOW [let]
I thought this was a rather weak construction: I would question the definition, too: the let would be disallowed but it would be the decision that was overruled

23 One carrying a burning flame to expel the French parliamentarian
BLOW [expel] + LA [the French] + MP [Parliamentarian]

26 Chop a savoury cake
presumably a double definition but they are very closely connected

27 Before Lorraine Pascale eventually cooked
anagram [cooked] of LORRAINE and E last letter [eventually] of pascalE

28 Colour reportedly had faded
sounds like [reportedly] DYE’D [dye [colour] had]


1 When is inlet only intermittently suitable to fish?
cryptic definition: alternate letters [intermittently] of iNlEt + APT [suitable] + IDE [the well-known crossword fish]

2 Crowned and beheaded
double definition

3 Model girl finally ditched tenor
LAS[s] [girl] minus the last letter [finally ditched] – I think some people won’t like that + T [tenor]

4 Six caught up in corded tangle separated
reversal [caught up] of VI [six] in anagram [tangle] of CORDED

5 King Edward has taken sick and wasted
K ED [King Edward] round [has taken] ILL [sick] – as in wasted / killed time?

6 Restrictive order from initially amorous bullying ogre confining last of wives
initial letters of Amorous Bullying Ogre round [confining] last letter of wiveS
I have blogged this solution before and make no apology for quoting again the late and much-missed Linda Smith’s remark on The News Quiz: “People knock Asbos but you have to bear in mind, they are the only qualifications some of these kids are going to get.”

8 Mantle nun abandoned in dissolution
anagram of MANTLE NUN

13 Paid for rose
double definition, as in standing a round of drinks

15 Spanish native, one in ancient Greek vessel seen at sea
A [one] in ARGO [Jason’s ship – ancient Greek vessel] + anagram [at sea] of SEEN

17 Some younger man I consulted about a group of Languages
hidden in younGER MAN I Consulted

18 Quite rich source awaiting attention
WELL [source] + TO-DO [awaiting attention]

20 He is Henry’s old protégé
H [Henry – SI unit] + O [old] + WARD [protégé]: a sort of &lit, referring to Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who held a variety of high offices under Henry VIII. He was also the uncle of both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard: [despite my having written that already, the penny didn’t drop until the very last minute!]

22 Additional support
double definition

24 River has sediment
LEE [river – there’s one in both England and Ireland] + ‘S [has]

25 Normal river salmon
PAR [normal] + R [river]

9 Responses to “Independent 8150 / Mordred”

  1. Thomas99 says:

    Well you’re less rubbish at spotting ninas etc. than I am! Well done. I hadn’t noticed the subtle theme at all. I had a similar experience to you on 1a. I couldn’t see what it could be and in the end stuck in my girlfriend’s name in desperation. The online “Congratulations!” came up and the wordplay was pretty clear, but I didn’t understand what was American about it. As a whole I found it cleverly and tightly clued though, and really enjoyed finally cracking NEAP TIDE, a satisfyingly weird &lit. I’m no sailor/fisherman, but I suppose it works, because the inlet won’t fill up as much as during a big high tide

  2. crypticsue says:

    One of those where you need to solve a bit and then return later when the grey matter has worked on it without you noticing. I did notice the theme (which makes a change for me) and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    Thanks to Mordred and Eileen too.

  3. dialrib says:

    The theme went over my head, too. But I found it fascinating to look back and consider what may be connected. Is Henry’s love of hunting referenced in 10A? Is it a Tudor rose in 13D? Is 21A referencing the annulment? Or am I looking too hard?

    All 6 wives are indicated – as well as JANE, ARAGONESE, HOWARD and PARR there is SECOND (22D, Anne Boleyn) and GERMANIC (17D, Anne of Cleves).

  4. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks Eileen for standing in. We’re not sure that we would have spotted the ghost theme if we’d been blogging so well done! Given that it was Mordred we did have a look but it’s now getting late so reverted to 225 fairly quickly – well that’s our excuse anyway!

    We thought that some of the clues were a bit weak too, not really as we would expect from Mordred but once you had explained all the intricacies we could see how clever the whole picture was.

    Thanks to Mordred and Eileen.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Eileen, and welcome to the dark side …

    I did enjoy this puzzle: as you say, nothing to frighten the horses too much, although I failed on JANE (not the most solver-friendly clue with ?A?E). But plenty of good stuff elsewhere. I didn’t spot the nina: my philosophy is that if I get to the end of the crossword without realising what’s cracking off, then I don’t spend a lot of time looking for something hidden.

    I think you have misparsed OPACITIES. It’s (CAPOTE IS)* around I for current.

    Nice to see Mordred back with a reasonably regular slot in the Indy; thank you to him too.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Oh, and ‘wasted’ is slang for KILLED in 5dn. I’ll get off your blog now.

  7. Eileen says:

    Hi K’s D

    I don’t know about the dark side [that’s what Andrew said when I started blogging] – but it’s jolly quiet over here, isn’t it?

    “I think you have misparsed OPACITIES. It’s (CAPOTE IS)* around I for current.” That’s odd: that’s what I had to begin with and [too] hastily changed it as I did the final check and AC jumped out at me. I’ll change it now.

    Thanks for the ‘wasted’ – I knew it as slang for ‘drunk’, but not ‘killed’.

  8. Wil Ransome says:

    A couple of clues seem to me to have two possible answers: 2dn could perfectly well be CAPPED — I had this and couldn’t immediately get 9ac. 3dn could be CAST (Cas{s}+t, Cass short for Cassandra) although the correct clue is obviously better; Cass seems a pretty tenuous name to me but it is in Chambers 2007. Don’t like this sort of thing, but the rest of it was good.

  9. allan_c says:

    B&J @ 4: I thought as you did that some of the clues were a bit weak. 18ac for one, also 7ac, 1dn and 5dn, though I must admit for 5dn I was only thinking of killed = wasted in relation to time. But a worthy puzzle nevertheless and one that could be solved without any knowledge of the theme (which I missed).

    Thanks, Mordred and Eileen

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