Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6612/Phi – not so easy as it first appeared

Posted by John on December 26th, 2007

7 I POD [with the I “put back”] UM
8 CHESTNUT. 8 Down is “Christmas tree”, but unless I don’t know about Christmas trees in various parts of the world, the connection with Christmas looks a bit tenuous and we end up getting a whole lot of trees. Which I suppose is fair enough: it’s Christmas, and here we are, doing a crossword in which there are lots of trees.
9 PINASTER. Although in Chambers 2003, this was only in one of my several lists of trees.
11 B(A)OB AB I think
15 USER – hidden. I think of a user as someone who uses illicit drugs, but this definition is perfectly OK.
16 M in NOEL rev.
17 ALO(N)E
18 SERVICES. Church services are particularly associated with Christmas.
20 C(RE)ASE. Cricket.
21 K GO, linked to (in this case succeeding) GIN
23 RAM BUT AN. I worked this out from the fairly easy wordplay long before I had heard of it. Not in any of my lists, but eventually confirmed by Chambers.
25 (NO rev. PIN) in HUE. What a struggle. No list suggested the answer; nor did my electronic solver; eventually I worked it out and it was again confirmed by Chambers.
26 ROTHKO – (hot ro(c)k)*. Not an artist at the forefront of my mind, but perhaps that’s just me.
2 MICAWBER – mica (brew)*. A Dickens reference.
3 AMETABOLIC – (amicable to)*
5 ST REAM. Leaves = sheets of paper = ream.
6 GUARDROOMS – gu(ar(my) (door)*)ms. Instead of “sticks” we could have been given “8 Downs, say”, and that would have made it even more difficult.
8 CHRISTMAS TREE – (chimes restart)*. This was so easy that I thought the whole thing was also going to be easy, but I was wrong.
12 ABSTEMIOUS – a (I must be so)*. Nice sort of anti &lit. Not sure what the word is for this type of clue.
14 CINE CAMERA – n CE rev., all in (America)*. A semi &lit I think, also very nice.
22 OVID – (v I) in do rev. Ovid may well be a famous exile – he is I suppose famous and he was exiled, but although I was aware that he wrote Latin poetry I had to look him up to find out the rest. I sense that I’m missing something.
24 ANKH – an (HK rev.)

3 Responses to “Independent 6612/Phi – not so easy as it first appeared”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Like Christmas Eve’s one by Nimrod, this was not one for a working day. I worked out some of the trees from the wordplay, then went to Bradford’s Crossword Dictionary which I use a lot for the Listener and they were pretty much all there. Excellent clues as always from Phi though I’ll have to admit finding a lot of trees (mainly new to me) was not very interesting in itself.

  2. Comfy Settee says:

    I got real lucky with 25ac… I visited Hobart a few years ago, where I bought a HUON PINE letter rack – otherwise I don’t think I’d have stood a chance at getting this one!

  3. Colin Blackburn says:

    Luckily Rothko was in my mind from a recent TV programme about the history of art. Like nsmindy I had to resort to Bradford’s for a couple of the trees, especially HUON PINE.

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