Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8155 by Rorschach

Posted by NealH on December 3rd, 2012


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def, sp=spoonerism

I struggled to get into this pop culture-heavy offering and thought one or two of the clues were pretty tricky (especially 1 across). There were also quite a number that I either failed to understand at all or don’t feel I’ve got the full picture. Having said that, the way in which the compiler used the pop culture names in clues like 28 and 7 was very clever.

1 Stand in: Subway rent means split subway into sub and way. Sub is the definition and the rest is st(=way) + a n(ew) din[er] (without hesitation = remove the “er”).
5 Parsnip: Par[e] (cut cut) + snip (cut).
9 Afros: (As for)*.
10 Booby Trap: CD/DD.
11 Undersexed: Don’t follow this one – “Abstinence covered by curriculum here with very little interest in it”.
14,2 Alternative vote: Solution implies anagram of veto.
18/21 Three times a lady: “Corinne Bailey Rae song?”. Apart from Corinne having three names, I don’t see this one. I could understand it if all three names were girls’ names, but I’ve never heard of Bailey or Rae being used like that. Doubtless there’s something I’m missing.
22 Sweet Tooth: We E(nglish) + t(ime) t(ime) in sooth.
24 Emergence: (Greece men)*.
26 Levis: Elvis with the start changed.
27 Typists: I struggle a bit to make the wording of this one work – looks to be pity* + sts (saints being short?). I don’t like the “of” in the clue.
28 Amadeus: Made in USA*. Indefinitely tells you to remove the definite article from “the USA”.
1 Status: Hidden in “aghast at user”.
2 Abrade: (A beard)*.
3 Disarrayed: (As dried)* around ray.
4/25 Noble Gas: CD of “King’s speech” and def refers to noble gases appearing on the right side of the Periodic Table.
5 Prove true: PR + vote* + rue.
6 Ray: Not totally comfortable on this one either. Possibly 3 defs – flash, (Blu Ray?) player and hidden in 3 down.
7 Narcotic: (On Arctic)* with monkeys as the anagram indicator.
8 Peppered: Pepper (as in Seargeant Pepper) + de[ad]<.
13 Tarantella: Hom of (Chris) Tarrant + Ella (Fitzgerald).
15 Tailwinds: Wind in tails.
16 Stillest: Ill in s(econd) test.
17 Dredge Up: Two letters of drugs + edge + up. I was a bit dubious about this because the musician in question is properly called The Edge, but apparently it is sometimes abbreviated.
19 Louvre: Seems to be the Ru[bl]ev + L[e]o*, although I’m not quite sure why “superior frames” tells you to remove middle letters.
20 Thesis: T(ime) H(err) E(insteen) + sis (=relative).
23 Enema: Seems to be men< in EA, but I don't what EA stands for, since I usually associate casualty with ER.

20 Responses to “Independent 8155 by Rorschach”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Far too much reference to popular culture here, harrumph – must go and wax my handlebar moustache and write a green-inker to the crossword editor.

    Actually I thought it was another super puzzle from the new kid on the block, although miles harder than his last one. BOOBY-TRAP was brilliant, and I also liked NOBLE GAS for its scientific reference. THREE TIMES A LADY is a bit cheeky, but I liked it.

    UNDER-SEXED I took to be a reference to the fact that abstinence is one of the topics covered under SEX ED (Sex Education) in schools. ENEMA is a complete reversal of MEN in A&E for Accident and Emergency. But well done, Neal, for parsing STAND IN – I would never have got that. And I still can’t sort out LOUVRE.

    Thank you to Rorschach.

  2. Querulous says:

    Thanks Rorschach and NealH.

    Re 18/21, I think your interpretation is correct, though Bailey and Rae seem to be more common in the US than the UK.
    Re 27, I wondered if the definition was “short of key players”, with “short of key” being used in the sense of “short of leg”, since typists have shorter keys than say a pianist.
    Had the same parsings for UNDER-SEXED and ENEMA as Kathryn’s Dad, though I couldn’t see why the former needed a hyphen nor why “All” was necessary in the clue for the latter.

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks NealH
    My parsing of 19dn is: an anagram of U (superior{upperclass}) R[uble]V (frames of Rublev) LEO.

  4. anax says:

    Supremely inventive stuff from Rorschach! Took me a long time to get going, but I was actually just enjoying reading the clues for some time before I tried solving them. The modern cultural references weren’t a worry – I could tell they were, almost without exception, wordplay elements rather than demands on knowledge.
    One of the keys to a good crossword is clues which are intriguing enough for you to want to know their answers, and this puzzle is packed with them.
    Great job!

  5. allan_c says:

    Great stuff if a little slow going at first. Thanks, Rorschach – and to Neal for several parsings that I had no idea about.

    Have to confess that as a chemist (retired) I was a bit slow spotting 4/25. But my CoD just has to be 10ac; it had me laughing and groaning at the same time!

  6. crypticsue says:

    Definitely trickier this time round but a good crossword. Thanks to Rorschach and Neal too.

  7. rowland says:

    I thought this was a bit dodgy with some great bits chucked in, like BOOBY-TRAP. Hellish for a Monday too!! Ver bitty.


  8. Cumbrian says:

    I made a bit of a meal of this, and as such I thought it had some very nice parts to it, but overall too many strange ingredients that didn’t really hang together. Some very well cooked clues, but others where a simpler technique might have worked better. Okay, but ultimately not particularly satisfying.

  9. Pelham Barton says:

    Thanks Rorschach for a puzzle with plenty that was innovative. Not easy, but ultimately satisfying – just a couple of grumbles. Thanks also to NealH for the blog.

    One thing I would particularly ask Rorschach to think about in future relates to the placement of long answers in the grid. Putting a long answer in close parallel lines means that the same answers are checking each other more than once. This is great when you have solved one of the answers, but very frustrating when you cannot get either of them. I was held up for a long time on the combination of 18/21ac with 17dn for this reason.

    My other grumble is much less serious and relates to 26ac. Just reading the clue, this could be either ELVIS or LEVIS.

    1ac: I continue to argue against the unsignalled requirement to split a clue word. Here we had a perfectly adequate signal, so I found this clue completely satisfactory.

    5ac: Using the same word in different ways within a clue has of course been done before, but I thought this was a particularly fine example.

    11ac: Last in for me and it had to be this answer, but thanks to K’s Dad @1 for a good explanation.

    19dn I had the same way as Gaufrid @3.

    23dn I had the same way as K’s Dad @1. It would just about work without the “All”, but in my view it is better with that word, to make it clear that you first put MEN in A (and) E and then reverse the whole thing.

    May I sign off with a piece of advice which some may already have thought of and others may find helpful? I have taken to filling in the Captcha before starting to type my comment.

  10. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, Neal.

    If I’d read your preamble before starting this puzzle, I’d have been a bit daunted, not expecting to get far.

    As it was, I solved it all, apart from 11ac [thanks K’s D] on the train home from Stansted, despite not being au fait with all of the pop culture. As anax says, much of it was in the wordplay. For instance, I knew the song in the answer to 18/21 without having knowledge of the lady in the clue – but even I’ve heard of the Arctic Monkeys and Madness and the Jackson 5 [I thought both 9ac and 7dn were great clues].

    Other favourites were 1ac [I do like ‘lift and separate clues] and the linked 14/12 and 5dn. And I was very glad there was no one in the seat next to me because I really did give an audible snigger when I got BOOBY TRAP.

    I disagree about the ambiguity of 26ac: I think the clue clearly leads to LEVIS.

    Many thanks Rorschach, for, as K’s D says, another super puzzle, which really enlivened my journey home – and took up a good proportion of it! 😉

  11. Pelham Barton says:

    Eileen @10 re 26dn:

    While it is more natural to take the modifier “starts to adjust” as applied to “Rock star” rather than “jeans”, it is possible within the conventions of cryptic crosswords that it could apply the other way round. Compare with 8dn. The natural reading of this is to apply the modifier “strung-up” to “sergeant”, but in fact it applies to “half dead”.

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’m glad Pelham has raised the ELVIS/LEVIS debate, because I put The King in as my answer and had to revise it later when I realised it wouldn’t fit. For me, the clue works either way; maybe that’s just the way my brain works, because when this has come up before, other contributors generally haven’t seemed bothered.

    Anyway, the broodmare is impregnated, so perhaps Rorschach’s next Indy puzzle will be themed on that. Not.

  13. Eileen says:

    Pelham Barton and K’s D

    The order of the phrase ‘starts to adjust jeans’ for me rules out applying the adjustment to LEVIS. I dislike these ambiguous reversals, etc, as much as anyone and usually comment on them but, as I said, I just didn’t see one here.

  14. Jim T says:

    Great puzzle with fresh, original clues. Pop culture references not a problem for a young (at heart) person like myself.

    Agree about BOOBY TRAP.

  15. Tramp says:

    Another great puzzle from Rorschach.

  16. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Apparently I wasn’t the only one to get into it rather slowly.
    But after I uncovered the SW, 25d gave me 4d, then 10ac – rolling the ball.

    When I tackle a crossword I always read through the clues first.
    Today all these references, music and films and Subway – unlike others I found them very inviting, almost thrilling.

    I agree with NealH (thx) about 18/21 [but what a great idea – unfortunately, at the moment, I cannot think of a songstress that fits the clue better than CBR] and 17d (it’s really The Edge).

    But in 1ac Rorschach is so precise (telling us to split up Subway). As he is in 28ac using ‘definitely’ to tell us not to use ‘the’.
    There are a lot of setters that are less conscientious, IMO.

    And if we accept the ‘Abba finish’ (for A) or ‘Russian leader’ (for R), 26ac (LEVIS) should be seen as the ‘starts’ (plural!) of Elvis being adjusted to get ‘jeans’. As one who accepts this, I am perfectly happy with the clue.

    I didn’t get 11ac (UNDER-SEXED) – never heard of the word, not in my vocabulary ( :) ). Also unhyphenated in Chambers and Oxford. Not the best clue today.

    Clear pluses for AFROS (9ac), STATUS (1d) [hidden in such a natural way] and 13d (TARANTELLA) [again, a device (hom ind) embedded in the surface in such a natural way].

    And what about 3d (ABRADE)? Yes, simple clue, but sooo smooth!!

    A few drawbacks couldn’t prevent me from saying: “this was an exciting puzzle”.
    For me, Rorschach has the X-factor.

    A setter to treasure.

  17. Rorschach says:

    Sorry for the late arrival all. Many thanks for your kind words and NealH for a fantastic blog.

    The criticism was all helpful and is taken on board!

  18. Rorschach says:

    Oh and K’s Dad – loved your turn of phrase here:

    “Anyway, the broodmare is impregnated, so perhaps Rorschach’s next Indy puzzle will be themed on that. Not.”

    Quite right. The natural processes of the human reproduction system will get enough coverage in the papers without my nina-ing it…

  19. Dormouse says:

    This one totally floored me. Got maybe a dozen answers before giving up and reading a book instead. Put it out of my mind so much that I forgot to check here last night and only remembered to look this morning.

    Thought about “abrade” for 2dn but didn’t think it meant “shave”. Chambers says “to wear down or of” which doesn’t suggest it to me, but as a beardie, what do I know of shaving?

  20. Rorschach says:

    Oh and for posterity’s sake:

    6dn is a double definition with a reference to the movie Ray about the pianist (player) Ray Charles…

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