Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8233 / Eimi

Posted by duncanshiell on March 5th, 2013


The appearance of a puzzle by Eimi usually signifies a theme or the need for a wide range of general knowledge.  Today was no exception.




The puzzle celebrates the acting career of Richard Briers who sadly died on 17th February this year, at the age of 79.  Briers was best known to most television viewers for his performances in THE GOOD LIFE (16 across), EVER DECREASING CIRCLES (1, 5 and 10 across) and Monarch of the Glen (alluded to in the clue for 23 across.)  Brier’s character in Monarch of the Glen was Hector Macdonald.  However, he was an excellent straight stage actor too giving impressive lead performances in King LEAR (26 down) and UNCLE VANYA (12 across).

Brier’s work also encompassed narration and voices in cartoon and children’s programmes.  He was the original voice for Noddy (clue to 11 across) and he narrated ROOBARB (28 across, a green dog) who appeared with CUSTARD (22 down, a pink cat).

There may well be other references that I have missed.

RICHARD BRIERS R.I.P (19 across)

Once the theme became apparent, a number of the clues became easier.  There were some interesting anagrams today .  I liked both ‘COE GOT RUNNERS-UP involved’ and ‘MANAGERESS BELLY dancing’.  The link between THE GOOD LIFE and Live the life of RILEY was also very clever.  I also thought that the clue at 6 down was very apt.

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



Woman who’s right at all times (4)


EVE (woman’s name) + R (right)


EVER (at all times)




Ironing is on the decline (10)

‘Ironing’ could just as well be the definition underlined

DE-CREASING (smoothing; ironing)


DECREASING (on the decline)  double definition




Figures the French might be in reduced circumstances (7)


LE (one of the forms of ‘the’ in French) contained in (in) CIRCS (abbreviation for [reduced] CIRCUMSTANCES)


CIRCLES ([plane] figures)




Satirise a politician in Noddy (7)


(A + MP [Member of Parliament; politician]) contained in (in) LOON (simpleton; ‘noddy’ is defined similarly)


LAMPOON (satirise)




Yelena appears heartless after Astrov eventually gets embraced in sordid play (5,5)

(V [final letter of {eventually} ASTROV] contained in [gets embraced in] UNCLEAN [sordid]) + YA (first and last letters remaining after the central letter are removed from [heartless] YELENA)  Both Yelena and Astrov are characters in Uncle Vanya


UNCLE VANYA (play by Anton Chekhov)




Fine entertainment (4)

‘Fine’ could also be the definition

FAIR (bright; clear; fine)


FAIR (collection of sideshows or other entertainment) double definition



Got hoe out and cultivated field in this? (3,4,4)


Anagram of (out) GOT HOE + anagram of [cultivated] FIELD


THE GOOD LIFE (British situation comedy based on the life of an ex-draughtsman and his wife who shunned the material life in favour of self subsistence, including growing their own vegetables in their garden)




Extension that’s approximately 45 inches (3)

The definition could equally well be ‘Extension’

ELL (an extension to a building, usually at the end and at right angles)


ELL (cloth measure of approximately 45 inches) Collins uses  ‘approximately’ but Chambers is more precise at exactly 1.25 yards [=45 inches])  double definiton




Severely criticise a dissolute character (3)

The definition could equally well be ‘Severely criticise’

RIP (make a verbal attack on; severely criticise [usually expressed as RIP into])


RIP (dissolute character)  double definition




Feels master’s almost finished rewriting Scene 1 (11)


EXPERT (master) excluding the final letter [almost finished] T + an anagram of (rewriting) SCENE I






Tear from Hector Macdonald, taking in the Glen last of all (4)


RED (not sure why this is related to Hector Macdonald.  Wikipedia tells me that Hector Macdonald in Monarch of the Glen  was in financial difficulties – in the RED?  There was a RED Hector in the history of the Macleans but not the Macdonalds) containing (taking in) N (final letter of [last of all] GLEN)

RE (N) D

REND (tear apart)




What might help a photographer get clearer pictures is sun mixed with sleet (4,6)


Anagram of [mixed] IS SUN and SLEET


LENS TISSUE (material for clearing the LENS of a camera to remove dirt and get a clearer picture)




Treatment of an ulcer that’s hard to understand (7)


Anagram of (treatment of) AN ULCER


UNCLEAR (hard to understand)




Cartoon character that’s part marsupial and part horse (7)


ROO (kangaroo, an example of a marsupial) + BARB (a horse of a racing breed related to the Arab)


ROOBARB (cartoon character from an animated BBC television programme.  The first episode was screened in 1974)




Innocently idealistic to stay with brood in the outskirts of Sheffield (6-4)


(TARRY [stay behind]  + EYE [brood of pheasants]) contained in (in) SD (first and last letters of [outskirts of] SHEFFIELD)


STARRY-EYED (innocently idealistic)




Papers outside of lavatory in a lazy manner (4)


ID (identity papers) + LY (first and last letters of [outside of] LAVATORY)


IDLY (in a lazy manner)





Coe got runners-up involved in psychotherapeutic organisations (9,6)


Anagram of (involved) COE GOT RUNNERS-UP


ENCOUNTER GROUPS (GROUPS which meets with a view to establishing greater self-awareness and greater understanding of others by indulging in unrestrained verbal and physical confrontation and contact; psychotherapeutic organisations)




Gunners in every game finally getting pain (from hairdryer treatment?) (7)


RA (Royal Artillery; gunners) contained in (in) (EACH [every] + E [last letter of {finally} GAME])  The defensive players in the other gunners [Arsenal Football Club] probably got the hair-dryer treatment from their manager after their first half performance on Sunday.


EARACHE (pain – reference the ‘hair-dryer’ treatment [up close and personal criticism] often meted out by Sir Alex Ferguson to Manchester United players who have displeased him in some way)




A letter from Georges Simenon (3)


ESS (hidden letter in [from] GEORGES SIMENON)


ESS (nineteenth letter of the alphabet)




Op art painter figuratively associated with 16? (5)


RILEY (reference the phrase LIVE THE LIFE OF RILEY [to live luxuriously])


RILEY (reference Bridget RILEY [1931 – ], British artist renowned for her op-art style)




British-born first lady involved in Syria’s madness (4)


ASMA (hidden word in SYRIA’S MADNESS)


ASMA (reference ASMA Al-Assad, British born [Syrian parents] wife of current Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad)




Anger about old horse some time in the past (4,3)


IRE (anger) containing (about) (O [old] + NAG [horse])


IRON AGE (archaeological age referrring to the time in the past when people used iron as the material for their tools and weapons)




Manageress belly dancing for governing body (7,8)


Anagram of (dancing) MANAGERESS BELLY


GENERAL ASSEMBLY (governing body – for example the highest court of the Presbyterian Church or the United Reformed Church)




Modern party‘s general point of view delivered in short sermon (9)


(LEE [reference General Robert E LEE, general in the Confederate Armies during the American Civil War] + POV [point-of-view]) contained in (in) SER (abbreviation for [short] SERMON)


SLEEPOVER (to sleep at another person’s house overnight, especially after a party)




Make sense of a theologian at university (3,2)


A + DD (Doctor of Divinity; theologian) + UP (at university)


ADD UP (make sense)




Electronic number in version remixed for club (5,4)


(E [electronic, as in E-mail] + N [number]) contained in (in) an anagram of (remixed) VERSION


SEVEN IRON (golf club)




Welshman taking some stupid risks (5)


IDRIS (hidden word in [taking some] STUPID RISKS)


IDRIS (Welsh christian name)




Father concealing a good card that’s going to help a lot (7)


PA (father) containing (concealing) (AN [a] + ACE [good card in most card games])


PANACEA (cure for all things; that’s going to help a lot)




Universal celebrity involved in recording something from Sweet? (7)


(U [universal] + STAR [celebrity]) contained in (involved in) CD (compact disc; recording)


CUSTARD (dessert; sweet)




Strange oriental lake (5)


E (eastern; oriental) + ERIE (reference Lake ERIE, one of the Great Lakes)


EERIE (strange)




Play set in  Marble Arch (4)


LEAR (hidden word in [set in] MARBLE ARCH)


LEAR (reference King LEAR, play by Shakespeare)




Regret, the French way (3)

‘The French way’ could also be the definition

RUE (French word for ‘street'; the French way)


RUE (regret)  double definition



13 Responses to “Independent 8233 / Eimi”

  1. crypticsue says:

    I loved this themed tribute to the lovely Richard Briers – especially the mention of Roobarb and Custard. As soon as I got 1a and 3a, I did think this is going to be a tribute puzzle, and what a lovely one it was.

    Thanks to Eimi and Duncan too. RIP Richard indeed.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    Many thanks, a really enjoyable tribute.

    Re 23a:

    Tear from Hector Macdonald, taking in the Glen last of all (4)

    You take the last letter of all, so it’s r and d from “Hector Macdonald”, taking in e and n from “the Glen”. At least that’s how I did it. From what I can remember the characters in Monarch of the Glen were not especially radical in their politics…

  3. Raich says:

    Yes, Thomas99 at #2, that was how I saw REND also.

  4. Rowland says:

    Very enjoyable, and very good. Cheers to Eimi and to Richard, who was great.


  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Always enjoy an eimi, and this one was no exception. I saw the theme, but didn’t quite get all the references. I liked the same long anagrams that you did, Duncan.

    And a nice reminder of an actor who got pigeon-holed for one role, but who in fact did plenty else, as the themed clues show.

    Thanks to Duncan and eimi.

  6. Yugioh Fan says:

    We will all miss Richard Briars, he was in his own way a genius. RIP indeed.

  7. flashling says:

    Very nicely done Eimi, thank you.

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Thanks eimi and Duncan.

    As everyone else has said – a great tribute to an actor who we always remember as Tom despite his other achievements. We didn’t know he was the voice over for Noddy although we are of an age when we remember the books NOT the TV series!

  9. Dormouse says:

    I’m of an age to remember the 1955 TV series of Noddy. Don’t know if Briers was the voice in that.

  10. allan_c says:

    As soon as I saw it was eimi I guessed there could be a theme and wondered if it might be related to the 60th anniversary of the death of Stalin. Not that he was worthy of much celebration. So a much worthier subject – thanks, eimi and Duncan. A wee bit disappoined that Malvolio wasn’t included, but then you can’t have everything.

    My take on 23ac was a bit of lateral thinking from Hector Macdonald being Monarch of the Glen to the subject of the famous Landseer painting being a RED deer and the inserting N into RED. That of corse requires ‘Glen’ to do double duty, so I guess Thomas99’s explanation is more logical.

  11. eimi says:

    Thanks to all. I felt inspired to hastily assemble a tribute to this great comic actor and, by all accounts, lovely man. I feel like he was part of my life, though I never met him.

    2 Down could have gone horribly wrong if my beloved Spurs had let me down, but when I arrived at the ground and saw Mertesacker and Ramsey were playing I could relax a bit.

  12. Alan Connor says:

    That lifted the spirits. Wonderful.

  13. Graham Pellen says:

    Memo to Duncan Shiell: the possessive of Briers is Briers’, not Brier’s.

Leave a Reply

Don't forget to scroll down to the Captcha before you click 'Submit Comment'

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

− five = 3