Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6722 – Phi

Posted by Ali on May 2nd, 2008


A fairly gentle end to the week I thought. The grid seemed quite heavy on the black squares, and there are a number of long answers (most notably 7/3/16/11) which fill a fair number of the white ones. Other than that, everything I usually associate with Phi – a few bird references and a very high standard of clueing.

Have however realised my answer to 21A might be a few thousand miles off course, so if anybody can steer me back in the right direction, I’d be much obliged. Edit – I’ve got it now!

1 PARAMAGNETISM – (RAMPANT AGEISM)* – A new word for me, but no issue once most of the checking letters were in place
9 MEWS – If I had a pound for every time I’ve been left with ?E?S in crosssword puzzles! Fortunately, the cat noise jumped out fairly quickly
20 ELAND – N(ew) in DALE rev. I think I almost instinctively think ELAND whenever I see the word ‘Antelope’ anywhere these days.
21 M?R? – As above, I’m unsure on this. I guessed at MARA, but that is a Patagonian hare according to Chambers, so I’m a bit far away from Moscow! Edit – It’s MARX – MAR,X
1 PLOVER – P,LOVER – P being the silent bit of ‘ptarmigan’
2 RACKS UP – The cellar here presumably being your wine collection
4 GOO – GOO[-d]
5 EVERY NOW AND THEN – VERY,NO,WAND,THE all in EN[-d]. Not particularly difficult to solve, but a great example of the setter’s art I think
7/3/16/11 MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL WHO IS THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL – Boom boom! I admitteldy needed most of the checking letters in 11 before THE MALL idea hit me, and groaned when it did. Fair play to Phi though, I’ve never seen this one before
14 WHITE-EYE – (WITH)*,E + thE hickorY treE – Had never actually heard of these birds before, but the faultless wordplay couldn’t lead anywhere else
15 ESURIENT – RUSE rev. + I.E + N[-o]T – I figured out the -IENT part early doors, but needed to rack my brains (and check my dictionary) for the full word
18 RAMPANT – AMP in RANT – Nice surface reading here I thought

7 Responses to “Independent 6722 – Phi”

  1. John H says:

    Mar for March + X for by = multiplying = MARX

  2. nmsindy says:

    Got MARX in the end too – but I thought they’d abandoned communism, and he ain’t Russian either…

    Good puzzle as always from Phi – a bit frightened when I saw the long phrase, but it was reassuringly familiar, and nicely and helpfully clued esp with no massive or even partial anagram.

  3. eimi says:

    Marx is still in Moscow, in statuary form at least. I think the long answer is reflected in the unusual grid, which uses mirrored left-right symmetry rather than the more common form used in crossword grids.

  4. Michod says:

    But not that many people march by his figure any more!
    Bless the mall, very nice.

  5. Testy says:

    13A has both S’s removed from the anagram fodder (“lacking ANY hint of scruples”)

    I found this one nice and straightforward. I was helped by getting the first R in the first MIRROR very early on (from OVERTURE) and guessed the long answer from the word “reflective” and the enumeration. It made the rest easy and allowed me to forgive the <50% checking in several answers that normally bugs me. I guess the low checking was as a result of the mirrored grid which, I have to admit, had me squinting at it initially trying to spot any space-invaders again but I twigged once I got the long one.

    Re: “Mirror, mirror…” in the original German version “wall” and “land” rhyme (“wand” and “land”) but in English translations it was a judgement call as to how to get it to rhyme and so some versions have the mirror in the hand and ask who’s the fairest in the land and others its “wall” and “all” (and in some they just don’t bother keeping the rhyme at all). (This is what comes of having a Snow White obsessed daughter!!)

  6. nmsindy says:

    Good to know those Man U and Chelsea fans will have something historic to look at…

  7. Steve Banjo says:

    Ripped through most of it pretty quickly after getting 7/3/16/11 early on. But then annoyingly ground to a shuddering halt right at the end in the SE corner, not helped by a hasty RAMPAGE at 18d without having read the clue properly (although it almost works…)

    I also struggled with MARX as MARA… now I feel very silly. Odd how sometimes your brain avoids spotting a familiar word or name in favour of inventing one out of thin air!

    Oh well. A nice little Friday puzzle. I liked the elegant simplicity of 19a.

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