# Fifteensquared

## Independent 8,168 / Jambazi

Posted by RatkojaRiku on December 18th, 2012

This is my first blog of a Jambazi puzzle, and indeed one of the few puzzles of his that I have actually solved, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this morning.

What I found was quite a challenging puzzle that I worked my way through fairly slowly, without ever rattling through a series of clues in quick succession. The last ones in today were the intersections at 26D and 30, and at 3 and 9.  Moreover, the entries at 16 and 22 were new to me. My favourite clues today were 4 and 14, both for smoothness of surface, and in the latter case for using so many cricket terms in the wordplay of a clue to a cricket term!

It is Tuesday after all, so bloggers are always on the lookout for a Nina – and today we find one in more ways than one! The top row spells out SPOT NINA, but what we are looking for is not just any old hidden message, but someone actually called Nina, i.e. the US jazz/blues singer Nina Simone (1933-2003), whose surname is hidden in the grid, starting in the top left-hand corner and moving SE, i.e. diagonally. In additionally, the singer is named in 30, albeit in a clue to a Beatles song, while songs of hers have been rather cleverly integrated into the wordplay of some other clues, i.e. 12/21, 22 and 30. Maybe there are more references that are lost on me?

*(…) indicates an anagram

 Across 9 PIANO [I (=one) in PAN (=wok, perhaps)] + O (=ring); the definition is “soft”, of music 10 OVERCROWD OVER (=deliveries) + [R (=right) in COW (=provider of milk)] + D (=date) 11 DEPOSITED IT in DEPOSED (=sacked) 12/21 LIGHT-FINGERED *(FEELING G THIRD); “hit” is anagram indicator; the definition is “as one on piano (entry at 9), i.e. the instrument 13 BIRYANI BI (=part; “mostly” means last letter dropped) + RYAN (=Meg, i.e. American actress) + I (=India, i.e. in radio   communication); the definition is “Indian”, i.e. a curry 15 RELENTS RE (=on) + LENTS (=fast(ing) times) 17 TIDAL DA (=Teddy Boys’ style, i.e. duck’s arse) in TIL (=entry at 29; “short” means last letter dropped) 18 ROB ROB (=habit; “taking drug (=E) out of” means letter “e” is dropped) 20 INFER INFER (=nightmare situation); “number (=no.) missing” means letters “no” are dropped 22 LEPTONS *(PTS

ELNO); “oddly lacking” means all odd letters are dropped; “mix of” is anagram indicator; leptons are subatomic particles with weak interactions 25 ARSENAL A + [S in RENAL (=of the kidney)]; “initially” means first letter only; the definition is “side”, i.e. team 26 HERON HERON (=horse, i.e. drug); “ignores one (=I)” means letter “i” is dropped 27 LIKELIEST LIKE (=parallel (word)) + *(TILES); “playing” is anagram indicator 30 YESTERDAY *(A   E D Y T S R E); “finally” means last letters only; “playing” is anagram indicator; the reference is to the 1965 Beatles hit, Yesterday 31 SHELL Cryptic definition: a shell is a bomb and Shell is a petroleum company Down 1 SPUD S (=seconds) + PUD (=dessert, i.e. pudding) 2 PAMPERED AMPERE (=current measurement) in [P (=power) + D   (=died)] 3 OOPS O (=ordinary) + OPS (=procedures, i.e. operations) 4 TOOTHIER TO + O (=circle) + [H (=landing spot, from its H-shape) in TIER (=bank)]; the definitions is “with bigger choppers”, referring to teeth, not helicopters 5 NEEDER Homophone (“we hear”) of “kneader” (=bread maker) 6 ICE LOLLIES [L + OLLIE (=Hardy, i.e. US comic actor)] in ICES; “regularly” means alternate letters only; “close to” means last letter only 7 NOGGIN NO + G (“top” means first letter only) + GIN 8 ADIT Reversal (“back”) of “tida” (=entry at 17; “most of” means last letter dropped) 13 BETEL [2 x E (“head of” means first letter only) interspersed (“repeatedly cut”) with BT] + L (=line) 14 ALL-ROUNDER ALL (=delivery; “bowled (=b)” dismissed off means letter “b” dropped) + RO  (=run out) + UNDER (=junior); the reference   is to English cricket all-rounder Ian Botham 16 SURAL S U   R A L; “starts to” means first letters only; sural means “pertaining to the calf of the leg” 19 BLACK EYE BLACK (=unlit) + EYE (=clock, i.e. as a verb, see) 23 PERISH P (=pressure) + {I (=single) in [ER (=queen) + SH (=quiet)]} 24 SALADS S (=son) + [D in ALAS (=sadly)]; “first of” means first letter only; the definition is simply “mixtures”, i.e. of vegetables 26 HOYA HOY (=cyclist, i.e. the UK’s Chris Hoy) + A (“top” means first letter only); hoya is a genus of Australasian plants, including the wax plant 28 LOSS Double definition: LOSS is “bandleader”, i.e. Joe Loss of the Joe Loss Orchestra AND “disappearance” 29 TILL T (“opening of” means first letter only) + ILL (=hurt, as a noun)

### 10 Responses to “Independent 8,168 / Jambazi”

1. MikeC says:

Thanks RR and Jambazi. Good one! I just about got there, but needed help with parsing 13a. As usual, most of the Nina(s) were lost on me. Some very neat clues, maybe 4 one of the best.

2. Kathryn's Dad says:

Our favourite vagrant likes his music, doesn’t he? My recollection is that a good many of his puzzles have had a musical theme. Did I spot this one? Don’t be silly.

But I enjoyed lots of clues here, and like Mike, just about got over the line. ALL-ROUNDER was good, and BIRYANI raised a smile. I liked HERON, although I’m sure it’s been done before, and in fact got LEPTONS from the definition before working backwards to see how it parsed.

Excellent puzzle, thank you to Jambazi and RR. I still can’t see how TOOTHIER works, though – how do we know to put the H in TIER?

3. Trebor says:

Great stuff again from Tramp/Jambazi. As for the references, you can add that she was a pianist as well. Favourite clues were 30 (although straightforward) and of course 14.

4. Rowland says:

Yes I’m getting to like this sort of thing a bit more, though still I find it overlong, or a bit wordy sometimes – seems a quicker way available here and there. ALL ROUNDER I probably liked best today.

Cheers
Rowly.

5. RatkojaRiku says:

I take Rowland’s point about clue length: 30A is a case in point, although where the clue is especially long in support of the theme, I think we should cut Jambazi some extra slack.

On Kathryn’s Dad’s point about 4, I took the “over landing spot, bank” to mean that “bank” is over/covers “landing spot”, since the TO + O necessarily comes first in the solution unless otherwise indicated and thus does not need to have the “over” attached to it. Perhaps others have read the clue differently?

6. Kathryn's Dad says:

Thanks, RR, that makes sense; just got my Os in a muddle, thinking ‘over’ was one of them.

7. Eileen says:

Thanks for the blog, RR – something of a tour de force, as was the puzzle, but that’s no more than we’ve come to expect.

There was I, commenting to myself how clever the references to the Nina Simone songs were – and then, like K’s D, I completely missed The Nina. I thought it was odd that the theme was only referred to in the clues but was too busy to spend more time looking. [I’m not really complaining – just making excuses for myself!]

Apart from the theme, I especially admired the Laurel and Hardy clue at 6dn and the Hoy / Armstrong one at 26dn [no verbosity about that one! – nor 28dn, with its shades of Glenn Miller]. I also liked the Scrabble-inspired 27ac, as well as many more.

Huge thanks, as ever, Jambazi / Tramp, for another super puzzle!

8. Tramp says:

Thanks for the very clear blog RatkojaRiku.

Thanks to all for the kind comments, it really does make it all worth while. I do think musical themes and popular culture in general are good in crosswords. Just because I set a puzzle based around a singer/band etc doesn’t necessarily mean I like their music; I like Nina Simone but I couldn’t tell you much about her beyond the song titles included in this puzzle (I must get round to buying her greatest hits CD). To illustrate the point, I recently set an Inquisitor puzzle themed around Abbey Road but I can’t stand the Beatles and my first published puzzle had a clue about Robbie Williams: I can’t abide that fella.

KD @2: you’ve got me thinking. Out of interest, I just had a quick look into my past puzzles. Thus far, I have had fifteen puzzles published in The Guardian, four Guardian Genius puzzles, four in the Indy and one Inquisitor. The themes have been based on Fawlty Towers; Life of Brian; Python; my late, great dad; Only Fools and Horses; Toy Story; snakes; the Dark Side of the Moon; Led Zeppelin; Queen; Paul (a tribute); Groucho Marx; kissing frogs; Cluedo; Abbey Road; Spinal Tap; Alan Partridge; chat shows and Nina Simone. The idea for this last crossword came about purely because of the word ‘Nina’.

Maybe that list speaks volumes about me; on reflection, I really should have paid more attention at school and then maybe I could write a crossword on French love poetry or something. I just try to write about things I know a bit about and I recognise that football turns many folk away. I think I have submitted for consideration around a dozen more puzzles and a few of these have musical themes. I also have some ideas for possible future puzzles based on musicians; if people get fed up with them, I might have to have a rethink: or pack in!

For 4d, RatkojaRiku is correct. It’s perhaps a little confusing but I’m using “over B, A” to mean “A over B”, which is a little complicated (the comma helps) but I’ve seen it done plenty of times and I think it’s perfectly fair.

As for clue length, that is a topic that seems to crop up a lot with me and it’s something I’ve tried to address; my first published puzzle had an average clue length that exceeded 10.5 words! I’ve always thought that if every word serves a purpose and there is no “padding” then long clues are justified. However, I now appreciate that too many long clues put people off so I’ve tried to cut the word length down.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone

Tramp/Jambazi/Neil

9. Jim T says:

Lovely puzzle. Very impressive getting the song titles into the clues.

Thanks to Jambazi and to RR for the blog.

10. Graham Pellen says:

At 16D that’s S[uck] not S[ural} (which is the answer).

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