Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8195 by Tees (Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 January 2013)

Posted by mc_rapper67 on January 26th, 2013


There seem to have been quite a few Saturday Prize puzzles from Tees recently, but this is the first to have fallen on my blogging schedule. An interesting puzzle with a little extra…and a couple of quibbles… 

I have to admit I did rush at this at the end of a busy weekend, and had most of it done in below-regulation time, before getting stuck, for a while, on the mini-theme/nina which presented itself via 16D/7D.

During the early skirmishes I did fleetingly note some slight asymmetry in the grid layout – which maybe should have triggered thoughts of a nina, but didn’t at the time.

It was only when I got 16D/7D as MALCOLM MCLAREN from the wordplay, but couldn’t work out why the definition was ‘puzzle’s star’, that I went looking and found ‘BUFFALO GALS’ going ’round the outside’…and a little Wiki-oogling revealed that this week would have been his birthday (22-Jan-1946).

I couldn’t see any further links to the said Sex-Pistols-manager/rock-impresario/fashion-guru – he doesn’t seem to have played any cameo roles in ‘Buck Rogers’ or have appeared in either of the  BBC TV show references – DIE KINDER and IT TAKES TWO – neither of which registers on my (albeit limited) popular cultural radar…nor, I’m afraid to say, did the reference to TED Crilly (‘Father Ted’) – you live and learn…

So, unless I have missed anything else – quite possibly – I think that sums it up. A little on the lighter side of the Saturday Prize scale, which in itself isn’t a criticism, just an observation, and an enjoyable and diverting puzzle, which has expanded my ‘recent-ish BBC shows’ knowledge exponentially!

Some minor-ish quibbles:

  • FISHED at 3D seemed to want to link to PHISH-ING as an on-line activity?;
  • 14D seemed to define AMOEBIC as linked to ‘parasites’, but amoebae themselves are cute little protozoa who occasionally cause a bit of dysentery – I couldn’t quite place them as ‘parasites'; and, lastly,
  • GREEN at 21D used ‘money’ and ‘cheap marijuana’ as double definitions – but my Chambers indicates these both as plurals, so ‘GREENS‘ might have been a better entry to use them on? 



(Flashing grid thanks to ‘kenmac’ – by jove, I think he’s got it…at last!) 

Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
4A TRADE UNIONISM Sacked nursemaid into some relevant collective concept? (5,8) collective concept /
anag (i.e. sacked) of NURSEMAID INTO
8A SCRIMP Small person stays cold, rather than hot, to make economies (6) to make economies /
S(H)RIMP – small person – with C (cold) for H (hot)
9A ICE SHELF Rotten flesh in reserve perhaps for Mass at Ellesmere Island? (3,5) mass (of ice) at Ellesmere Island (Canadian island in Arctic Ocean) /
ICE (reserve, aloofness) + SHELF (anag, i.e. rotten, of SHELF)
10A TEA Drink from nipple endlessly (3) drink /
TEA(T) – nipple, endlessly
11A DIE KINDER Meet maker with fewer cruel traits in Auntie’s 90s series (3,6) (BBC, i.e. Auintie’s) TV series in 1990s /
DIE (meet maker) + KINDER (with fewer cruel traits)
13A LADETTE Crilly coming back in after expected time as boozy girl (7) boozy girl /
LATE (after expected time) around DET (TED Crilly? Coming back? – apparently from ‘Father Ted’)
15A STAMINA Good man, dictator, has a toughness in male parts (7) double defn. ‘toughness’, and plural of stamen, ‘male parts’ (of flower) /
ST (saint, good man) + AMIN (Idi Amin, dictator) + A
18A OVERSTOCK Keep for sale too many TVs: cooker needs shifting (9) keep (too many) for sale /
anag (i.e. needs shifting) of TVS COOKER
20A LEG On length for example (3) On (cricket term – on-side, or leg-side, as opposed to off-side) /
L (length) + EG (Latin, exempli gratia, for example)
22A ABATABLE Good mark given by graduate board possible to suspend? (8) possible to suspend /
A (good mark, in test, exam) + BA (Bachelor of Arts, graduate) + TABLE (board)
24A SHOVEL Digger making start to smash ramshackle dwelling (6) digger /
S (first letter of, start to, Smash) + HOVEL (ramshackle dwelling0
25A CONGRESSWOMAN US politician having sex with old bloke (13) US politician /
CONGRESS (sex) + W (with) + O (old) + MAN (bloke)
Clue No Solution Clue Definition (with occasional embellishments) /
1D BADINAGE Drollery that’s undesirable as we move through the years? (8) Drollery /
BAD (undesirable) + IN AGE (as we move through the years)
2D UNAIDED In Berlin and throttling assistant, having received zero help (7) having received zero help /
UND (‘German, i.e. in Berlin, for ‘and’), around (throttling) AIDE (assistant)
3D FISHED Motor-racing workshop sought to attract customers online! (6) sought to attract customers online /
FI (F1, motor racing) + SHED (workshop)
4D TACIT Songbird covering bill is silent (5) silent (unspoken, understood) /
TIT (songbird) around (covering) AC (a/c – account or bill)
5D EXPEDITES Hastens progress of former partner despite arguing (9) Hastens /
EX (former partner) + anag (i.e. arguing) of DESPITE
6D ONE Identical in Old Norse and English (3) Identical – ‘as one’ /
ON (Old Norse) + E (English)
7D MCLAREN See 16 (7) See 16D /
See 16D
12D IT TAKES TWO 6 & 6 are required in Auntie’s backstage gossip show! (2,5,3) BBC (Auntie again!) TV show, backstage gossip at ‘Strictly’? /
&lit-ish – it takes ‘one and one’ (6D = ‘one’) to make two…
14D AMOEBIC One to exist in unconscious state needs elevation, due to parasites (7) due to parasites /
COMA (unconscious state), around I (one) + BE (to exist) – all elevated
16D MALCOLM /7 Married males in coracle, all at sea, name puzzle’s star (7,7) puzzle’s star! /
anag (i.e. at sea) of M (married) + MM (males) + CORACLE ALL, followed by N – name
17D ROGERS Buck for instance gives thumbs up (6) double defn. /
Buck Rogers – TV sci-fi series character – or – ‘Roger’ as an affirmative/thumbs up, ‘received and understood’
19D ELTON One John is learner in exclusive institution (5) One (example of a) ‘John’ – Elton John, singer. /
ETON (exclusive institution) around L (learner)
21D GREEN Money for cheap marijuana (5) double defn. /
money – dollar bill, ‘greenback’ – or – low grade marijuana
23D BURG Meat cake Her Majesty dropped in fortified town (4) fortified town /
BURG(ER) – meat cake – dropping ER (Elizabeth Regina, her majesty)

11 Responses to “Independent 8195 by Tees (Saturday Prize Puzzle 19 January 2013)”

  1. Tatrasman says:

    Excellent puzzle as always from Tees. Struggled a bit with 13A and 22A otherwise fairly straightforward. For those like me who have little to no knowledge of Malcolm McLaren’s activities the nina comes from:
    Thanks Tees and McRapper.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Thanks for the blog. I enjoyed this, for a while wondering about Buffy as a theme (from the nina), and also Victor Meldrew (Meldrew fitted instead of Mclaren and there were those references to TV shows). I can’t help thinking there may be more to the theme.

    21d Re Green – The Jam definitely sang about “a pocketful of pretty green”, not greens, which would have been more Morrissey’s area by the sound of it. Can’t claim any expertise on the marijuana element, but virtually anything seems to be a synonym for it.

    3d – the clue doesn’t need a link to phishing. The line in “online!” is a fishing line, surely?

    14d – not sure here, but surely if they live in my gut they’re somehow benefiting from being there, aren’t they, and extracting some of my hard-earned energy/nutrition? I wonder where exactly the line between parasitism and symbiosis is drawn, if anywhere. Anyway amoebic dysentry as “dysentery caused by parasites” didn’t seem peculiar to me at the time.

  3. Dormouse says:

    Certainly when I finally got 3dn (and I’d been working on the assumption is was some word meaning an F1 team, or the name of a team) I assumed it was a mistake for “phished”.

    I did vaguely recall “Die Kinder”. Never saw it, but I remembered it mainly for a review in The Indie which started by saying that the review thought it was going to be a riposte to the Die Hard films. Never heard of “It Takes Two”.

    For once, I noticed the Nina and even knew it was associated with Malcolm Mclaren.

    25ac amused me.

  4. Tramp says:

    Brilliant puzzle, excellent clues and loved the Nina! I’d never heard of DIE KINDER but got it from the wordplay.

  5. allan_c says:

    I can’t say I enjoyed this one despite completing it. I didn’t understand a lot of the references and although I spotted the nina it didn’t mean anything to me.

  6. Tees says:

    Hello 15/2ers! Thanks to Mike for the blog, and to Kenmac (?) for the flashing device – that’s really cool!

    The Nina, I suppose, can be regarded as something you either get or you don’t, though in calling MM the puzzle’s star (which definitely helped with the surface for that one!) I guess I have nudged a bit too far to justify it as a throw-away. But he was quite famous, wasn’t he? And that Song of Perimetry quite a big hit? Plus the asymmetry also a bit of a give-away that something else is going on? Curse of themers though: solvers don’t always care, or know, or care to know what’s been added in.

    On clue niggles I think you’ve done ‘em all: FISHED as in ‘went fishing’ (rod & line), AMOEBIC = ‘due to parasites’ as in amoebic dysentery (tasteful), and GREEN as in its Collins Dictionary definitions.

    So many thanks to all, and have a good rest of w/e.


  7. mc_rapper67 says:

    Hi All – thanks for the feedback – and thanks to Tees for stopping by to shed light on the nina thought process.

    Interesting debate on my ‘niggles’ – I accept that ‘online’ could refer to more ‘traditional’ fishing, rather than phishing, but then why ‘attract customers‘?…surely ‘victims’?!

    And if Collins has ‘green’ singular, I’ll take that, although my Chambers definitely has it as plural:

    “n …(in pl) money, esp dollar bills; …(in pl) low-grade marijuana;”

  8. Sil van den Hoek says:

    One more thing.
    On various occasions and in various disguises, Tees has commented on grids – some being awful, some being very user-friendly.

    But this grid – it is asymmetrical!
    The Across words are placed rotationally symmetric (about 180 degrees). But the puzzle as a whole is not symmetrical.
    I don’t think I have ever seen this before.
    Don’t get me wrong, I cannot be bothered at all about it myself, but I thought the rule in Crosswordland is that grids must be symmetrical (for whatever reason).

    So, Tees, any underlying thoughts?

  9. Tees says:

    That grids must be fair is my rule Sil. To me, that generally means not cutting the thing in half or quarters (unless you’re theming to compensate), and not having unchtastic lights, so I don’t think this one goes against anything I’ve ever said about grids. The Nina phrase here has eleven letters, so something had to give, but why not! Disregard the perimetrical, and the grid is as square as they get despite any non-uniformity.

    The Independent is generous indeed to its compilers, who are able to design grids to fit their needs, within reason (reason = Mike), and create stuff which, while slightly unco, is no less entertaining for solvers. I think that’s a really good thing!


  10. flashling says:

    Did wonder if there was more than MM and the going round the outside, still, thanks Tees, a darn sight easy than BanMan yesterday.

  11. Ana says:

    I must say puzzle game are superb. There are plenty reasons for voting this blog as interesting. The flashing device is excellent. The puzzle becomes fantastic because of the clues. I have enjoyed a lot.

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