Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8227/Raich

Posted by John on February 26th, 2013


What a relief for a blogger it is to find that it is a Raich day, although last time he appeared he was harder than usual. This was back to Raich as he was when he first appeared — many of these were very easy — simple anagrams and nothing very complicated in the wordplay, but all perfectly sound and pleasant.

It is a tribute to Roy Orbison, whose songs (Pretty Woman, It’s Over, Blue Bayou, Dream Baby, Running Scared, Only The Lonely and no doubt one or two others that I’ve missed) feature (as you may well have surmised, I had to do some research on this, although some of them did seem vaguely familiar). He is also mentioned at 28ac. It doesn’t seem to be an anniversary, but no doubt his presence will be explained. Raich has done well to fit so much in to a fairly conventional and sound grid.

1 0 NL Y{ear}
3 THE LONELY — (tell honey)*
9 RAM — 2 defs
10 ACADEMICIAN — a cad, 1 in (cinema)*
11 RUNNING — (nun)* in ring
12 S (CARE) D
14 paDRE A Mexican
16 BA BY — the online version, at least on my computer, has Times with a garbled s and I was relieved that it was indeed only an s
17 STAR — (rats)rev.
18 EURO — (our E)*
19 BLUE — 2 defs
20 B{affles} A YOU — the solver is you — in the US, a bayou is a marshy offshoot of a lake or river
22 LITANY — (Latin)* {ceremon}y
23 IT’S OVER — (is voter)*
26 PRETTY WOMAN — pretty = very, W Oman
28 {T}ROY
30 RESERVOIR — (errors I’ve)*
31 MEAN — 2 defs
1 {r}OAR
2 LE(MO)N — m.o. is modus operandi
3 TWA(I)N G the old pair is ‘twain’, ‘leaving’ in the sense ‘leaving out’
4 EVE{n}
5 OHIOAN — o (Hanoi)* — not a word in daily usage, but beloved of crossword setters because of the O_I_A_
7 YANK — ({bac}k nay)rev. — the def is simply ‘Countryman’, and a Yank is a US man
8 BARIUM — (Umbria)*
12 SA(B)LE
13 ARGUER — (regular – l)*
15 EARL IN E SS — this seems to be an &lit. — if the nobleman (or anyone for that matter) is home before the European ship then he’s early — it is tempting to think that the def is ‘condition of nobleman’ and the word ‘earliness’ is fancifully like ‘lordiness’ or ‘viscountiness’, but if that’s the case then there is nothing to indicate ‘earl’ in the wordplay
16 BAL{lad} MY!
20 B(A S)INS
21 TARTAR — tartar and tar tar
23 I'(Z)M IR
25 SPUR — although I confidently entered ‘back’, which could perfectly well be the answer
27 WHO — who? and W.H.O.
29 YEN — 2 defs

12 Responses to “Independent 8227/Raich”

  1. flashling says:

    Thanks Raich & John, yes I did enter BACK for 25d, TIMES in 16a printed properly in DTV. We did have OR(b)ISON yesterday I remember.

  2. regalize says:

    dum dum dum dummy do ah, oh yeah yeah yeah, dum dum dum dummy do aaaah……….
    1 and 2 ac first to go in so guessed the theme early. 5dn had me stumped for a long time.
    Now I have an earworm. Thanks Raich!

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John.

    I got through this pretty quickly and was enjoying the straightforward but well-constructed clueing; then when I put in my last answer I couldn’t help but see the theme (I’m embarrassed to say I thought it was Elvis Presley, but at least I saw there was something).

    I think this is a super puzzle from Raich: I know naff all about setting, but I do know as a solver that when you get a lot of themed answers like this, there are often some unusual words or intricate wordplay, and there was none of that here. TARTAR and EARLINESS were favourites today.

    My only niggle is the same one as flashling and John had – I stuck BACK in straightaway for 25dn, which I had to unravel before I could finish off the SW corner.

    Well done to Raich for this one.

  4. MikeC says:

    Thanks John and Raich. I was lucky to have crossing letters before I tackled (!) 25d, so I can simply echo others’ praise for a well constructed thematic puzzle.

  5. Rowland says:

    As all have said, a well-constructed puzzle. I know very little about Roy Orbison, so some unfmiliatrity for me, but all in all i nice solve.


  6. jim360 says:

    So people can submit regular cryptic crosswords to The Independent?

  7. allan_c says:

    Yes, even I spotted the theme today, and actually knew some of the Big O’s songs, though I’d forgotten about BLUE BAYOU. There is an anniversary this year – the 25th of his death, although it doesn’t fall till December. 25dn didn’t cause me any problems as I’d already got 26ac from the theme.

    Thanks, Raich and John

  8. NormanLinFrance says:

    Thanks for the blog. The theme went right by me.

  9. Raich says:

    Many thanks, John, for the excellent blog and to all for their comments. Re a number of points raised: you have spotted all the six Big O hits in the grid, John. Puzzle was not intended to mark any particular date. Had not spotted the alternative possibility of BACK for 25D, I’ll admit. In EARLINESS, the whole clue was intended to be the definition with EARLINESS from the sense ‘coming before time or in good time’ rather than referring to the title ‘earl’.

  10. NealH says:

    For once, I spotted the theme – usually anything musical goes over my head. Being primed with yesterday’s Orbison reference probably helped. Strangely, I put back for 25 even though I knew it couldn’t be right because the anagram in 30 wouldn’t work – I just couldn’t think of anything else. Eventually, I worked out reservoir and it fell out quite quickly after that.

  11. Jim T says:

    Very nice puzzle. Never thought of BACK as a possibility for 25dn.

    Thanks to Raich and John.

  12. Bertandjoyce says:

    Sadly we remembered all those tracks – we even inserted some one solution before reading the clue! That didn’t spoil the enjoyment though – thanks Raich.

    We also had BACK but realised it couln’t be because of the anagram for 30a.

    Thanks John for the blog.

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