Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6620/Phi

Posted by John on January 4th, 2008


The usual pleasant offering from Phi, but one or two I can’t quite understand.

1 J UMP(ire). Expressing in the sense of throwing out.
3 DESPOTIC I’m pretty sure. Oppressive = despotic and place = spot. But I can’t see how DEIC comes. Oh yes, de-ice, which I suppose = warm.
10 TIGHTROPE WALKER. I think this is because a tightrope walker is an act, it provides tension because it’s so exciting, and it’s upon tension because it’s done on a tense rope.
11 L(HAS A)APS O. A dog that appears far more often in crosswords than in real life, I suspect. I’ve never knowingly seen one.
13 Another one that I’ve made a note I don’t understand. Perhaps again by the time I finish this comment I’ll have got it. It seems to be CARAMEL, which is a sweet and contains a ram. But how is cel a piece of animation? No, I haven’t got it.
15 TO(U CA)N
17 QU A L I A. Not a word I was very familiar with, but the wordplay is easy enough.
19 RO(B)OT I C.
21 (GOO(d) CAKES)* R
24 CLEAR-HEADEDNESS – (needless charade)*
25 B(ONE D)UST. I have two doubts about this clue: doesn’t “A in possession of B” put A on the outside, not the inside, of B? And according to Chambers, bone-dust is used in agriculture, which makes the definition a bit of a strain.
2 MAG (U)MA. Uma Thurman is a name I hardly know, but something like it is fairly obvious and it can be confirmed here.
4 EVEN [= still] OUT [= undecided, as in “the jury’s still out”]
5 PLATINUM BLONDE – (pull tanned bimbo – b)*. Good clue.
6 TAKE A PART, which is arguably what you do if you play on stage
8 IT’S A SMALL WORLD, but I can’t see the significance of “office”
14 ROUGH-HEWN – “when” rather crude, or rough, becomes “hewn”. I can’t see any link between this one and the one before, so what do the ellipses mean?
16 ACTRESSY- (racy sets)*
18 ALGIERS – (sea girl)*. I suppose it isn’t the end of the world having two such similar clues next to each other.
22 K NELL. “monarch’s mistress” always seems to point to Nell Gwynn.
23 Initial letters

6 Responses to “Independent 6620/Phi”

  1. Ali says:

    CEL is short for celluloid, on which animators do their doodlings. Or at least they used to before computers took over.

    I found this a bit tougher than the average piece of Phi, especially in the top half. I’m still not sure what 9D is either.


  2. Michod says:

    9D is GOSPEL – GO + SPEL(l).
    Interestingly, my doubts and queries were more or less the same as John’s – DEIC and CEL, now cleared up, and the relevance of ‘office’ in 8dn, which I think is just there to help show that the globe is a model.
    Re 25 ac, I’d say ‘in possession of’ works either way. “Drugs found in Pete Doherty’s possession” could be rephrased as “Drugs found in possession of Pete Doherty” without misleading, though it’s not normal usage.

  3. nmsindy says:

    I too found this a little tougher than usual from Phi, with the unfamiliar words suggesting a possible Nina or theme but I can see nothing and other posters have not mentioned it. Thanks for DE-ICE – I’d not understood that and I too was perplexed by ‘office’. Enjoyed it, as always with Phi.

  4. NealH says:

    I actually found this a bit easier than recent Phi puzzles. The last few times I’ve been left with three or four clues I couldn’t complete, but I managed all of this one. However, I wasn’t completely sure why “favourite places” in 11 across was “laps”. Also, I didn’t understand why “in anger” appears in 1 across. Surely “ump” is an abbreviation for umpire, so it seems redundant, unless “ump” is only used by people who are angry (or it’s a double definition and he’s referring to “get the ‘ump”).

    On other issues, I’ve long been in the habit of ignoring ellipses altogether, since they’re usually there just to cause confusion and misdirection. 25 across was clued with a question mark, meaning it was a cryptic definition, so it’s probably permissible. I quite liked 25 across: it was slightly macabre and put me in mind of the proverb “In the midst of life, there is death”. Now there’s a phrase you ought to be able to make a clue out of…

  5. NealH says:

    I can see 1 across now. I got hung up on the fact that, since we had “J” for judge, we must have “ump” for “umpire”.

  6. nmsindy says:

    JUMP I think it’s UMP(ire) expressing ie getting rid of ire = anger. It was “favourite resting-places” in 11 across so that would give ‘laps’ to sit on. I was very pleased in this case to work out a new word for me just from the wordplay. I liked 25 too for its black humour.

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