Never knowingly undersolved.

Beelzebub 916/Phi (02-09-07)

Posted by neildubya on September 14th, 2007


This was probably one of the easiest advanced puzzles I’ve ever completed but it was a very satisfying solve. I only needed Chambers on a couple of occasions and there were some great new words to learn (FISTIANA,MEIOFAUNA). Still not sure about the wordplay for 19D though.

4 (IT IS)* in FAN,A – what a great word FISTIANA is.
11 ART in LINE< – the deception in this clue comes from the capitalized R in Ravel, leading you down a musical garden-path.
13 DAM in A SWINE – ADAM’S WINE. This clue illustrates something that has always puzzled about advanced cryptics: why are answers of more than one word never fully enumerated? For this clue, we get (9, two words) instead of (5,4). Anyone know why this is?
18 A,T in IN TIME – tough clue to parse and it took me a while to twig that “eventually” was IN TIME.
20 GIS[t] in E,LETS.
21 A in I,FAN – NAAFI. I wouldn’t have known this word were it not for the Times puzzle in which it appeared a couple of weeks ago. It’s an abbreviation which stands for “Navy,Army and Air Force Institutes”.
25 EVE in A,G,GRID – unusually, a less than convincing surface reading for this setter.
28 (CERTAIN ROUND)* – COUNTERDRAIN. “Barking” is the anagram indicator here and I assume it’s in the sense of mad or crazy.
29 AN,Z,A,CD,A,Y – lots of elements to put together here.
7 ADS,ORBS – not to be confused with “absorb”.
14 (ANIMALCULES OAF [-calls])* – we only see this type of anagram in advanced cryptics, and even there it’s quite rare I think. The idea is that “calls MEIOFAUNA” is an anagram of “Animalcules oaf”.
15 M[-is]ALIGNED – “true” is used in the something being in the correct position.
19 THAMMUZ – can’t work out the wordplay for this one. The full clue is “Representation of sun in the morning – endless blur”. “Morning” could be AM but I don’t know about the rest.
22 KIND[-l]Y
24 OR,C[atace]A

2 Responses to “Beelzebub 916/Phi (02-09-07)”

  1. Colin Blackburn says:

    Is 19d TH’ + AM + MUZ(z)?

    I can find MUZZY meaning blurred in Chambers 1998 so I guess MUZZ meaning blur is in one of the dictionaries.

  2. petebiddlecombe says:

    Chanorak section: MUZZ is in C 2003 as a back-formation from MUZZY. A bit disappointingly, a *fauna search in the CD-ROM version doesn’t find a whole sequence of words ranking animals by size in mm, just micro- (not visible with the naked eye), macro- (visible …), and mega- (visible and ‘large’). (Plus others based on habitat or membership – do we really need both epi- and in- ?)

    Multi-word answers: I think it’s just because full enumeration gives you a bit too much help. Seeing (6,2,3,4) in a 15×15, I’m looking for MIDDLE OF THE ROAD immediately, closely followed by other IN THE or OF THE options. US-style solvers cope without any enumerations, which can lead to some fine kick-self moments. The one I remember best: “Hockey game starter” for a 7-letter entry. I racked my brains for the ice-hockey version of ‘bully off’, and then felt increasingly baffled as the checking letters came in. Answer: O Canada

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2 + = four