Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6351/Phi

Posted by Colin Blackburn on February 23rd, 2007

Colin Blackburn.

I found this puzzle incredibly easy, for me, for a Friday, and for Phi. I usually start my crossword on the train from Newcastle to Durham and then pick the paper up later in the day to finish it off. Instead I found myself with nothing to do by the end of my ten minute journey other than to wonder what the definition of quiet means to the numerous mobile phone users in the quiet coach.

Phi’s cluing is, as usual, clear and precise with some excellent surface readings. This particular puzzle seemed to have a surfeit of very simple charades, many involving the dropping of just one letter. There were only two anagrams in the whole grid where I might have expected five or six. I did have to check 5dn when I arrived at work but even then the word play was clear and unambiguous (I nearly typed unambitious there!) allowing me to confidently complete the grid before getting off the train.

Across
1 OCELOT — O(n)CE+LOT
5 DESERT — DES(s)ERT
8 UNION JACK — UNION+JACK
9 ANTIC — (fr)ANTIC
11/12 FREE ENTERPRISE — (PREFER ENTRIES)* +E
13 RWANDANS — R+WAND+ANS.
15 ALLOA — hidden — personAL LOAns
17 HURON — cryptic def. — One of the Great Lakes that isn’t Lake
Superior
19 SMIDGENS — S+MIDGE(N)S — I hesitated here as I have always spelt is SMIDGEONS but it seems the word has several spellings. Midges are what the English call midgies and are a positive nuisance when I do a couple of summer running events in Scotland.
22/23 CONTINUITY GIRL — cryptic def. — I’m surprised that the job title still has GIRL in it.
25 PRONE — PR+ONE
26 UNIFORMED — UNI(n)FORMED
27 UNISON — UNIS+ON
28 GO BUST — GO(BUS)T
Down
2 CHIMERA — CHIME+RA
3 LEND — L+END
4 TRAINING — T+RAINING — a nice surface.
5 DEKKER — DEKK(o)+ER — now if Phi had referred to Desmond Dekker I would have had no doubts here but Thomas Dekker, an Elizabethan playwright, is used to good effect in the surface.
6 SWAMPLAND — SWAM+PLAN+D
7 RETRIAL — LA(1R)TER&lr;
8 UP FOR THE CUP — double def. one cryptic.
10 CAESAR SALAD — A in CAESAR’S LAD
14 DINGINESS — DIN+GIN+(m)ESS
16 OMITTING — MO<+(h)ITTING
18 RANGOON — RAN GOON — a goon is a hired thug so a senior gangster might manage a goon. I checked the word goon and it seems to come from Alice the Goon, a character that appeared in the Popeye cartoon strip. A history of Alice the Goon
20 ENIGMAS — (IN GAMES)* — puzzles is probably the definition here but the clue has a semi-&lit feel to it and it tips a wink to Games and Puzzles a long-gone magazine that featured several tough cryptics and is a direct ascendent of Magpie.
21 AUTUMN — MUTUA(l)<+N
24 BOMB — B+MOB<

2 Responses to “Independent 6351/Phi”

  1. says:

    Longer than the usual Phi for me, but that was mainly down to taking a while to think of dekko in 5D. D?K at the beginning of the word looked so unpromising that I racked my brains for any alternatives to JACK in 8. There seems to be a grid message – HERE WE / GO / AGAIN in the unches in rows 2,8,10 (central ones in rows 8 and 10).

  2. says:

    I spotted the HERE WE but read it as HER EWE! I scanned the other rows but missed GO, seeing TIGON (a cross between a tiger and a lion) instead and missed AGAIN completely. What with Virgilius’ STRAIGHTFORWARD I wonder if the Indie setting team are getting a little bored!

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