Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6282/Phi – It only feels like yesterday…

Posted by neildubya on December 4th, 2006


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a compiler appear so soon after their previous appearance (we saw Phi just last Friday). Not that I’m complaining. I’ll add my name to list of Phi’s admirers and point out that a crossword at the easier end of the scale can still be fresh and interesting and does not have to rely on worn-out wordplay and definitions. What I really liked about this (and every Phi puzzle in fact) is that everywhere the balance is just right: not too hard but by no means a pushover, a good spread of clue types and a nice mix of familiar and contemporary language and references.

1 APT,IS in BM
5 AIRS,HOT – not a phrase I can recall hearing in sports commentary but it’s in the Concise Oxford and the wordplay is straightforward enough. “Hot” for “very skilled” has a nice contemporary feel to it.
9 SPIRAL STAIRCASE – I “over thought” this one, assuming it was something to do with mountaineering or some other high activity. Should have thought more about “wind” I suppose.
12 FEAT in DEIST – I though “believer in God” was going to be “theist”. Deceptive wordplay too as it can be interpreted in two ways.
15 BLO(c)K,E
16 (scar is)* in SUN< – great choice of words.
18 PEAR in SHE, AD
21 ERROR – liked RRR for “educational basics”.
22 OU in (lemonade in pub)* [Edit: Thanks to nmsindy for pointing out that the university is “OU”]
4 MUS(t)IC(e) – nice form of words to indicate two subtractions in two different ways.
7 (H,ANNALS THE CURE I)* – a touch of indirectness here with H(ospital) but it’s such a widely accepted abbreviation it must surely be considered fair.
8 THE,RE,BY – “for this reason” led me up the wrong garden path, thinking that the answer would be a word explaining why soldiers were at the limits of bravery.
14 DERMA in SPIN – a rush of blood to the head led to me to put in EPIDERMIS once I saw “skin layer”. Obviously wrong, once you read the clue, as this is a well-constructed &lit.”Derma” is another word for dermis.
15 E in BSIDES – this is your cue to point out records with b-sides that have proved more or equally popular than their A’s. A personal favourite is Oasis’ “Acquiesce”, which was the b-side to “Some Might Say”.
17 A,RC in (MASS)*
18 D(u)RESS

5 Responses to “Independent 6282/Phi – It only feels like yesterday…”

  1. says:

    air shot is probably the same as air ball in basketball… namely, shooting at the basket and missing it completely so that it only meets air on it’s way down.

  2. says:

    penny lane/strawberry fields — each side better than the other. and help/i’m down — the B-side should have been more popular.

  3. says:

    Older (British) readers will also remember Jasper Carrott when he had hair – his single Funky Moped was a hit primarily because of a parody of the Magic Roundabout on the B-side, which was banned by the BBC, but seems very tame by today’s standards.

    Over here, an air shot was ably demonstrated by England goalkeeper Paul Robinson against Croatia recently.

  4. says:

    Yes, another excellent puzzle from Phi, which, just like the one I reviewed on Friday, I solved in 15 mins. Re 22 across, I wondered a little as the word has 15 letters so I think the enclosed university is OU the Open University – letters 2 and 3 of the phrase.

    AIR SHOT is very familiar to those following sport e.g. football, golf etc. Going back a bit when banter from the terraces was more common than today, when one centre-forward did just that a voice said “You ham!” to which another replied immediately “If he was a ham, he could be cured!”

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