Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8221 / Tees

Posted by Bertandjoyce on February 19th, 2013


Tees has adopted a very topical theme for this enjoyable puzzle. It took us a little longer than we might have expected to tumble to the theme – probably due to our tendency to start with the across clues – but 6D fell into place fairly early on, and from there on it was fun fitting the various references into the grid. We particularly liked 1A/15D but our COD is probably 24A.

This was a well constructed puzzle with 12 thematic references and only two relatively unusual words. Bert remembered 10A from previous crosswords, largely because it is one of those words that rolls so pleasantly off the tongue – like ‘serendipity’. We had to guess at 17D, but had come across it with ‘nik’ on the end – the wordplay taught us a new word – ‘ap’ – the Welsh equivalent of ‘Mc’ in Scotland or ‘O” in Ireland!

1/15   General population with 6D?
THE WIDER COMMUNITY If THE COMMUNITY as a whole is overweight (having spare tyres -6D), it will be WIDER
6   See 16A
See 16A
9   Caliph with 6D denied last Arab girl
FATIMA FAT (with spare tyre) IMAm (caliph, with the last letter omitted, or ‘denied’)
10   Conservative has blue-patterned garment
CHASUBLE C (Conservative) HAS + anagram of BLUE (anagrind is ‘patterned’)
11   Matter is resolved in abuse
MISTREAT Anagram of MATTER IS – anagrind is ‘resolved’
12   Bear from Death River
ENDURE END (death) + URE (river)
13   Any number banned from stadium environs
AREA AREnA (stadium) with N (any number) omitted or ‘banned’
14   Moan noisily, having to suffer from 6D
BELLYACHE BELLY (spare tyre – 6D) + ACHE (suffer)
16/6   Keen to neck Pedigree, lads when blotto see changes with 6D
MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD MAD (keen) round or ‘necking’ an anagram of PEDIGREE LADS (anagrind is ‘when blotto’)
18   Tragic heroine totalled in 2002?
MIMI Anagram of MMII (2002 in Roman numerals) – anagrind is ‘totalled’
20   Artistic work brings following to timeless Cornish island
FRESCO F (following) + tRESCO (Cornish island without the T – ‘timeless’)
22   One spoils old guitar carried in both hands to Post Office
POLLUTER LUTE (old guitar) in L and R (left and right – both hands) after PO (Post Office)
24   The Cross-Dressers’ Banquet?
TV DINNER Cryptic definition – TV being transvestites, or cross-dressers
25   Fools close to Avishai bring sacred text into Hell
IDIOTS I (last letter or ‘close’ to Avishai) + OT (Old Testament – ‘sacred text’) in DIS (Hell)
26   Information in Vogue shows last and worst part
FAG END GEN (information) in FAD (vogue)
27   50s thug in sexy underwear – wow!
TEDDY BOY TEDDY (sexy underwear) + BOY (wow)
2   A struggle in the woman losing battle with 6D?
HEAVIER A VIE (struggle) in HER (the woman)
3   What’s let out with 6D was around current leader in this group
WAISTBAND WAS around I (current) + T (leader or first letter in ‘this’) + BAND (group)
4   Elizabethan favourite died a dissolute man
DRAKE D (died) + RAKE (dissolute man)
5   City gives up yen in sincere performance
RECITAL CITy without the y (yen) in REAL (sincere)
6   Furious with Port Corporation
SPARE TYRE SPARE (furious) + TYRE (Port – in Lebanon) – the theme for the crossword
7   To the opposite position with 6D
ROUND Double definition
8   Not confined, cheers up with size to accommodate 6D
AT LARGE TA (cheers) reversed or ‘up’ + LARGE (size for someone with a 6D)
14   Graduate, having left noodle to cook, swiftly developed 6D
BALLOONED BA (graduate) + L (left) + anagram of NOODLE (anagrind is ‘to cook’)
15   See 1A
See 1A
16   Old Shankar buried in Massachusetts region
MORAVIA O (old) RAVI (Shankar – sitar player) in MA (Massachusetts)
17   Son of Welsh Secretary, traitor in communist group
APPARAT AP (‘son of’ in Welsh) + PA (personal assistant or ‘secretary’) + RAT (traitor)
19   Gifted performer Farah to restrain happy tears
MAESTRO MO (Farah) round or ‘restraining’ anagram of TEARS (anagrind is ‘happy’)
21   Reduce 6D first to extract gunge
SLIME SLIM (reduce 6D) + E (first letter of ‘extract’)
23   Landowner one with 6D as it appears!
LAIRD I (one) with LARD (fat, or 6D) ‘appearing’ around


21 Responses to “Independent 8221 / Tees”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, both. I didn’t enjoy this as much as you seem to have, mainly because I got frustrated with it. I don’t mind themed puzzles, but this one contained my personal bête noire – a gateway clue which intersects with themed clues depending on it. In this case, three of the five crossing letters of SPARE TYRE are in this category (including the always helpful starting letter). This means that if, like me, you can’t see the gateway clue, then you’re left to plough through the unthemed clues in the hope of working out what 6dn is all about.

    I did know ap and CHASUBLE, so I can’t complain about obscurities (or clarity of clueing – this is Tees we’re talking about) but the way it was put together just took the edge off it for me.

    Thank you to the setter anyway.

  2. Raich says:

    There were a lot of themed clues tho, K’s D, at #1, which gave hints. That’s how the solving worked for me anyway and if the gateway answer were to reveal itself very quickly that might perhaps spoil it a bit too. Imaginative idea.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I agree it was imaginative, Raich. It’s just that my solving brain, such as it is, isn’t very good at ‘reverse solving’ themed clues, although I will concur that there were plenty of them. Which is opportunity and frustration in equal measure, in my case.

  4. flashling says:

    My main quibble with this sort of thing is the initial lack of progress followed by everything else then unravelling very quickly. TV Dinner was my favourite today too.

    Didn’t know AP but guessed that’s what was going on in APPARAT.

    Cheers Tees & B&J

  5. sidey says:

    Although I couldn’t think what the actual answer to 6d was the Corporation bit seemed a dead giveaway that obesity would be involved. But that’s possibly just me. I rather like the working backwards to a theme thing as gateway clues can often lead to simply writing answers in. Thanks all.

  6. Wanderer (not the setter) says:

    Thanks B&J and Tees, I enjoyed this a lot. HEAVIER was one of my first, and I guessed it was about weight long before getting the gateway clue. I appreciate it when the gateway holds out, it made it a bit more of a struggle.

    I didn’t read 18, MIMI, as an anagram, although now that I’ve read your breakdown I can see that it could be. I saw MIMI as MI (1001) + MI (1001) which, when totalled (or simply added up) make 2002. This seems a simpler usage of totalled.

  7. crypticsue says:

    I enjoyed this too, thank you Tees. Did you set this one while feeling post-Christmas overeating disorder? 😀

    Thank you to B&J too – I also solve by working through the Across clues and then the Downs – someone told me the other day this was a weird solving strategy but it is what I have done for 42 years or so so I am not going to change now!

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Wanderer @6 – Joyce solved 18 as M + 1 + M + 1 but Bert wrote up the blog and he saw it differently! When Joyce came to check the blog, she queried his interpretation but it does seem to work whichever way you look at it!

  9. allan_c says:

    Interesting to think how I got the theme. I skimmed through the acrosses leaving out the themed ones then moved to the downs. Having got CHASUBLE that gave me the middle letter of 7dn and immediately thought of ROUND and with just the A in 6dn guessed SPARE TYRE.

    Doing it on Crossword Solver enabled me to check the answers – which was fortunate as I first of all put ‘thrive’ for 12ac – it being hidden in (dea)th rive(r). Couldn’t really parse that except by thinking that if one is “bearing up” one might be just about “thriving”.

    The NW corner gave me most problems, partly because for a while I somehow got the idea that 1/15 was actually 15/1 and thus enumerated as (9,3,5) which just didn’t make sense.

    All good stuff, though. Thanks, Tees and B&J

  10. Rowland says:

    i will go for MI plus MI equals MMII. It is neater, and we are talking about neat clues here as KD points out. It’s also damned if you do, damened if you don’t in terms of theme, aren’they all, but the gateway clue was so easy I personally can’t add to the moasn!!

    Great clues, no inaccuracies, CoD use of TV, IoD — indication of the day! — AP+PA for Welsh Secretary.


  11. Bertandjoyce says:

    Joyce also wanted to insert THRIVE for 12 but Bert had hold of the pen and entered the correct answer!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Minority of one … ho hum.

  13. Bertandjoyce says:

    More like – he (or she) who holds the pen ……… !!

  14. Dormouse says:

    Yeah, I entered “thrive” for 12ac; really delayed getting the gateway clue. Therefore got very frustrated in the middle.

    Knew “ap” and Dr. Chasuble is a character in The Importance of Being Earnest, and I remember when we did this at school discovering its meaning.

  15. NealH says:

    Yes, I too went for “thrive” for 12, but for once it didn’t cause any problems as I immediately got spare tyre from the corporation and the port=Tyre. Thereafter, there weren’t too many problems, the only one being 17 but I was able to guess the ap bit there. Nice puzzle, but as K’s D says, your experience of it probably does depend on how quickly you got the gateway clue.

  16. flashling says:

    Fortunately I missed thrive through crossing letters, could easily have got caught by that, did you even notice it Paul B?

  17. Tees says:

    Hello all. I’ve just managed to squeeze back in through the door – I’m sure it was easier going out when I left this morning. But isn’t it nice to have a good bit of timber on you? ‘Yes’ you say to a man, I’m sure. Have another macaroon. And a pie. I think I will.

    Poor old Arsenal. Is it still 0-2? I’m watching Bethany on the other channel, who’s also bagged a pair, it seems to me.

    Thanks for the blog B&J, much appreciated, and to all who posted. Yes, we’re back to the pitfalls of themed puzzles, are we not, and I’m afraid that there will always be that tension between getting in and getting on, and just getting bored with trying to find an in (I do appreciate the comment about other themed clues crossing with the gateway clue’s lights, by the way).

    Having said that, in cutting my teeth (in solving puzzles, usually Grauniad ones, by the bushel) way back when, I remember being happiest with themed stuff. Harder, but ultimately more fun. Older and more boring, now I’m fonder, I suppose, of straighter stuff … or am I?

    I’ll have to wait and see. I never know what I’m going to do next.

    Auf wiedersehen.

  18. Tees says:

    Hi Phil. Yes. Deliberate act of sabotage.

    Well, no actually. I’m not clever enough to do things like that.

  19. chris&helen says:

    No complaints! We got 6D from 8D. COD has to be 17D for sheer impenetrability! But so obvious once you get it. Welsh ‘ap’ is indeed equivalent to Scottish Mac ( and may even be the same word originally?) But the Irish version is also Mac. ‘O’ is different and means something like grandson.

  20. Wil Ransome says:

    I meant to post the other day but forgot. This is probably too late and I expect nobody will see it, but I had meant to question the equating of teddy boy to thug (in 27ac). Unruly yes, thuggish surely not necessarily.

  21. Graham Pellen says:

    I believe the word B&J (in the preamble) recalled was apparatchik, not apparatnik.
    I’m with M1 + M1.

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