Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8193/Rorschach

Posted by John on January 17th, 2013


A crossword today from Rorschach that I at any rate found particularly hard, not helped by its thrice vanishing into the ether so that I had to restart.  Some of the clues are beyond me: I trust someone will come forward and explain. But it is Thursday, so it’s what you expect that day.

It is of the type that I don’t enjoy and find especially difficult, where several of the clues refer to clues that you have to solve first and if you can’t solve those then you don’t know what’s going on.

Eventually I got going and the theme is airports named after a famous person.  Rorschach has done well to fit so many in, and this possibly (at least in the view of some) justifies the less than perfect checking.

7 ALTER EGOS — alter (Goes)*
9 BIG BERTHA — Big Be{n} R(t)HA
10 APNEA — (paean)* — apnoea spelt the American way, hence the reference to St Paul
12 foreIGN ITEms — a pleasant spot which was waiting to happen once Amazon named their e-reader so
13 PRO GRAMS — pro = for, grams = mass — the American spelling again I think, because it’s ‘programmes’, not a reference to computer programs
14 ADVERBS — help! — I have no idea what is going on here, beyond the fact that both home and away can be used as adverbs [Model covered by bikini top in trailers for Home and Away] [Thanks various people who have pointed out that it’s adverts with the t replaced by a b — a clever clue, although perhaps it should be ‘bikini’s top’ and the question mark doesn’t make the definition by example OK]
17 INSTANT — a in (in s{traight) t{riumphing} n{o}t) — def ‘Mo’
20 PRO(POS)A L{and}
22 LLAMAS — lama in l{ion}s
24 CABLE — cab [= Hackney] (EL)rev. — at least that’s what I think it is, the reversal indicated by ‘incoming’, i.e. pointing towards the middle — have just seen an alternative, which may be what was intended: (cab E) with L incoming — ref Vince Cable — unfortunately he’s the MP for Twickenham — if he’d been the MP for Hackney the clue, which is good anyway, would have been especially good [Hackney, East London’s first incoming Liberal Democrat]
25 JOHN WAYNE — this looks like a reference to something I know nothing about: Jonathan Ross’s sprinkling seems to be Wayne for some reason [and that reason is that JR would pronounce ‘rain’ as ‘Wayne’ — thanks]; since it’s on ‘the toilet’ John comes first, and there is a John Wayne airport [Jonathan Ross’s sprinkling on the toilet in place of 1 8]
26 TENET — ‘whichever way you look at it’ indicates a palindrome
27 BIMONTHLY — (Hymn to Lib{erty})*
1/8 FLYING START — My suspicion is that this is meant to be start [= jump] on ‘on a plane’, and that the fact that ‘on’ does double duty is being quietly ignored, or hasn’t even been noticed (or otherwise ‘a plane’ = ‘flying’, which it doesn’t); but no doubt I am quite wrong and there is a perfectly straightforward explanation [Jump on a plane for a quick getaway]
2 K{erb} ER B-SIDE
3/16 GEORGE BEST — (go get beers)*, George Best airport
4 BOB HOPE — yet again I’m pretty lost and would be grateful for an explanation — the best I can do, which is probably wrong, is bo{o}b hope, where hope is a virtuous character trait [Breast reduction essentially supported by virtuous character in place of 1 8]
5 STUPOR — (Proust)*
6 FRIEDMAN — (Damn! Rife)* — referring to Milton Friedman the economist, who was sceptical about Keynes — a nice spot but I wonder if the clue might have been up to the same standard — however, I’m not offering to improve on it!
11/22 JOHN LENNON — who wrote ‘Imagine’ — John Lennon airport
15 DARK AGES — dark = out of the sun, time = ages
18 TEA PARTY — cha = tea, do = party
19 FLOOSIE — (fools)* 1 e — I think the 1 comes from ‘a’ [One of the Loose Women fools around with a drug]
23/21 ARNOLD PALMER — r in ‘an old’, “Parma” — Arnold Palmer airport [Parma of course not Palma. thanks several who mentioned this]

28 Responses to “Independent 8193/Rorschach”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John. I’ve enjoyed Rorschach’s puzzles so far, but I didn’t much enjoy this one. Fair enough, Thursday is meant to be ‘hard’, but nearly half the clues had less than 50% checking letters, and very few clues as a consequence had starting letters that were crossed. No rules against that, but add into the equation that the themed answers are mostly proper nouns, and for this solver at least, the idea of the compiler ‘losing gracefully’ didn’t come to pass. Although I did finish it.

    I think the gateway clue works, although I got a few of the themed answers before I could put it in: ‘on a plane’, FLYING; ‘jump’, START. CABLE is your second suggestion, I think – good clue. JOHN WAYNE is referring to Jonathan Ross’s rhoticism, in other words his inability (like the England football manager) to pronounce R; hence his nickname WOSSY. So for him, RAIN would be WAYNE. ADVERBS? No idea.

  2. Paul A says:

    14ac I think replace the T (model) in adverts with the B (bikini top) to get adverbs

  3. NeilW says:

    Thanks, John. Agree with the pointers in 1 and 2 above.

    BOB HOPE: you’re right that it’s BO(o)B “Breast reduction essentially”. “virtuous character” refers to the virtues “Faith, HOPE and Charity.”

    6: The town Milton Keynes is known for its multiplicity of roundabouts.

  4. Boris says:

    14Ac – “Home” and “Away” are adverbs…

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Thanks, John, for me too not an entirely satisfying puzzle.

    Got there in the end, except one (24ac).
    Perhaps unbelievably, I did not make the link of FLYING START with airports – so, I had no idea what connected these names.

    Quite a few solutions needed more explanation: 10ac (the Saint Paul’s bit), 14ac (which, in fact, is rather clever), 25ac, 4d – more or less the ones already mentioned by others.

    A pity that in 7ac “Mr” could not be added. Also a pity that Queen didn’t have a single called “Edge of the Road” (2d), but a very nice clue it was.

    I also liked 15d (DARK AGES), 3/16 (GEORGE BEST) and some more.

    Does 12ac need the word “in”? For me, it would work better without.

    The homophone in 23/21 (ARNOLD PALMER) is probably not ‘Palma’ as it is not a city in Italy. Perhaps, it’s meant to be a homophone of ‘Parma’?

    And John, your breakdown of PROPOSAL (20ac) is, I think, not right. It should be APROPOS (with reference to) with the A moved to the end.

    Finally, “Chado? (18d). Saw it as one of these Guardianesque twists, a construction but not a proper definition. Until I found out that a Chado is indeed a TEA PARTY (a Japanese tea ceremony). So, OK then.

    Thanks to Rorschach for, in any case, provoking my thoughts!

  6. Rorschach says:

    As a quick aside (too busy to post more fully) – 20ac on the online version was changed from a clue that functioned as Sil had it, to a clue that parses as John had it. This was entirely my fault!

  7. MikeC says:

    Thanks Rorschach and John. Enjoyed this one. It’s rare for me to disagree with Sil (@5) but I think John has 20a dead right. Petty officers = POs, in PROA (canoe-like boat) before L (first sight of L[and]). Is there a different clue in the dead tree version, perhaps?

  8. MikeC says:

    Sorry Rorschach, we crossed. Good to find that I don’t really disagree with Sil!

  9. NeilW says:

    Sil, sorry but you’ve lost me on your parsing of 20. I can’t see anything wrong with John’s version. PROA is a (bizarre but in Chambers spelling of “prahu” which is, hereabouts, the name of an outrigger canoe or boat in general.)

  10. NeilW says:

    @ Rorshach and MikeC: ditto!

  11. Sil van den Hoek says:

    My version of 20ac reads:
    With reference to beginning to move to the end before conclusion of bowel motion (8).

  12. Thomas99 says:

    Online version of 20a:
    Plan to put petty officers in canoe-like boat before first sighting of land (8)

  13. Rorschach says:

    Mike and I toyed with a couple of renderings of “bowel motion” version but agreed in the end that it would be better to scrap completely and start over.

  14. Dynamic says:

    Thanks to everyone above for their clarifications (I got the answers, but was bamboozled about a couple of them) and to John for the blog and Rorschach for the puzzle. I learned a few new things and enjoyed the theme. I don’t get time to do many crosswords these days, so this was my first Rorschach test. Look forward to my next!

  15. Rorschach says:

    Thanks for all the comments and John for an excellent job of parsing.

    First things first – the grid is a bit nasty I know – it is, in fact a Graun grid, and as you said, the nastiness of the grid allowed me to fit in all the airports. I tried to keep the <50% checkers of 5 letters simple enough to help the solve.

    A common complaint of many solvers is that once you find the theme in a puzzle then it becomes a write-in – I wanted to avoid that hence the cryptic link between "FLYING START" and a seemingly random bunch of celebs. I had hoped that there would be a penny drop moment with the theme as well as the clues.

    FRIEDMAN is also an airport in Idaho or some-such place but didn't expect anyone to know that!

    In the interest of fairness I took out "Mister" from the 7ac – the definition by example is "Jeckyl and Hyde" so "Jeckyl and Mister Hyde" would look funny…

    Paul A is correct w.r.t. ADVERBS – it is indeed nasty.

    Sil – one of my least favourite thing is clues that are not true – I agonised over the Killer Queen clue, but couldn't think of any other way of working it. Mea culpa.

    With the Friedman clue – my personal favourite – I tried to convey the frustrations of driving around Milton Keynes with its seemingly endless ring of roundabouts – I hope that comes through.

    And, yes Sil, Chado is the Japanese name for the tea ceremony that is treated with such high esteem in that country.

    I wait in anticipation for the first positive comment on this thread, ever hopeful,
    (I jest, of course!)

  16. Rorschach says:

    (another of my least favourite things is bad grammar – apologies)

  17. NeilW says:

    Hi Rorschach. Thanks for dropping in, several times. I did already defend your honour @3 concerning your Milton Keynes clue and consider my comments entirely positive, nay enthusiastic!

  18. Jim T says:

    I thought this was a great puzzle. Especially liked the ‘Saint Paul’s writings’ in 10a, the roundabouts in that place I can’t bring myself to name and the John Lennon clue which was deceptively simple.

    Thought the FLYING START clue was excellent too. Much better providing a cryptic reference to the theme than a mere definition.

  19. Paul B says:

    Can I please say I too hate this grid? Thank you. It is horrible, and it was very generous of John Lennon and George Best to come to its rescue. But gah, gaah, gaaah, The Guardian has some absolute shockers.

  20. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, John.

    I don’t think I’ve ever completed a puzzle, including the key clue and all those referring to it, and still not had a clue what was going on. Unfortunately, I had to go out before the blog was posted, so it’s been bugging me all day.

    GEORGE BEST was the first of the themed answers I entered – and it happens to be the only one I know as an airport – but, even though I got FLYING START quite early, the penny didn’t drop.

    But – I enjoyed the puzzle enormously and thought there were some really cracking clues [eg BIG BERTHA, PROPOSAL [bowel motions version], KERBSIDE and FRIEDMAN] as we’ve quickly come to expect from Rorschach.

    I hope that’s sufficiently positive 😉 : many thanks!

  21. John says:

    Thanks K’s D — when I amended the blog I couldn’t remember who had pointed out the thing about Jonathan Ross. Yes 1/8 does almost work with flying = on a plane and start = jump, but how is the fact that these words are in the other order indicated? The Milton Keynes clue is indeed good with its reference to the MK roundabouts, but I stand by what I said: it doesn’t read very naturally. Who would ever say ‘Damn! Rife roundabouts’ as they were driving round MK?

  22. Rorschach says:

    FLYING START is simply a double definition with one side being slightly cryptic def. If you “jumped on a plane” you could have been said to have had a “flying start”.

    I suppose not many would use the word “Rife” but most people wouldn’t be driving around MK with the added limitations that finding an anagram of “Friedman” gives you… But it reads naturally enough! Next time I am in the concrete jungle I shall hang out of my window and scream those words at the top of my lungs just for you :)

  23. allan_c says:

    Struggled with this but got there in the end. Got JOHN LENNON and GEORGE BEST before the penny dropped and gave me FLYING START. But had to google for a list of airports named after people to get the rest.

    I did wonder if there was a nina with the letters round the perimeter being a sequence of 3-letter airport codes, but I guess that would be almost impossible to arrange and in any case 26 isn’t a multiple of 3.

    Sil @5: The “Saint Paul’s” reference is to Saint Paul, capital of Minnesota, USA; hence the American spelling as John observes in the blog.

  24. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Allan_c, I said that “Saint Paul’s” needed explanation (from the blog), not that I still didn’t get it. But thanks for pointing out anyway.

    I also want to emphasise that experiencing this crossword as “not entirely satisfying” does not mean that it wasn’t a good puzzle.

    When I referred to the Jekyll & Hyde clue and the splendid 2d (KERBSIDE), I used the words “it is a pity that …”. Not meaning that Rorschach should have done better, but meaning that I fully understood why it was not possible for Rorschach to do something about it.

    In fact, I hardly have any criticism on the clueing, having the same favourites as Eileen (including the “bowel version”).
    The only reason that I found this crossword slightly less satisfying than his previous one, is that I had to work harder to understand some clues and the fact that the theme passed me by. Therefore I should only point the finger at myself.

    Rorschach is a real asset to Crosswordland.
    Just like some other New Kids On The Block – Tramp/Jambazi (well, he seems to be around for a long time already) and Donk – his crosswords have a Now (and therefore Wow)-feeling.
    I like all these references to the Modern World very much, it makes a crossword more ‘personal’. Even if, I feel, today there were just a bit too many words printed in Italics.

    Anyway, Jon, I’ll bear with you!
    And keep them coming.

    PS, is it Palma or Parma in 23/21? And if it is Palma, where is it in Italy?

  25. Donk says:

    A pretty tough workout from Rorschach but some really good stuff! 11/22 had a beautiful surface with ‘Imagine his output’ an excellent trick. 18d was also a great spot – I bet most of thought it was one of those clues…

    Clever idea for a theme. Looking forward to the next puzzle!

  26. Rorschach says:

    I was referring to Parma :)

  27. Paul B says:

    I was thinking a jump (or start) on a plane can be a ‘flying start’.

  28. Rorschach says:

    That was the idea!

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