Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 6,973/Phi

Posted by Ali on February 20th, 2009

Ali.

A tougher Phi than usual, I thought. A nice easy hidden reversal to start, but I struggled with the rest of the across clues on my first run through. The down clues were a bit easier, so I finally got going. Had to cheat with 3D though!

There’s a Nina here too, with the perimeter letters spelling out STOKES VALLEY, AVALON and NAENAE. I’d no idea what any of this meant, but a quick Wiki has revealed that these are all suburbs of Lower Hutt in New Zealand, which is of course where the good man Phi resides. Does he live in one of these suburbs I wonder?

Across
1 AERIER – Hidden reversal in literatuRE I REAd
8 WEAR DOWN – Cryptic def.
9 VIOLISTS – V,1,O,LISTS
10 SIERRA – Not 100% sure on this. ‘I make a mistake’ gives I ERR, but not sure on the ‘in it’ part
11 ALTOGETHER – ALTO,GET,HER.
13 TWEE – TWEE[-t]
14 NO-CLAIMS BONUS – (LIMO,CABS)* in SUN ON < – Lovely stuff
17 LIAR – RAIL <
19 CONTORTION – O in CONTR[-i]TION
20 OPIATE – OP,I,ATE
22 TANZANIA – TAN,ZAN[-y],1,A
24 NOTIFIED – IF,1 in NOTED<
25 WATTLE – WATT plus initial letters of ‘local electricity’
Down
1 SEMILLON – LIMES <,L,ON
2 TILL – [-s]TILL
3 ORESTEIA – (I SEE A [-s]TOR[-y])* – The one clue that defeated me
4 KAISER – K + S[-om]E in AIR
5 EDGE – Not sure on the wordplay here. Clue is ‘Limit to block that’s missing….’
6 SWERVE – W in SERVE
8 WEST HAM UNITED – (NEWEST THAI MUD)* – A great clue
12 OSCAR – [-t]OSCA + last letter of ‘performer’
13 TENET – T[-h]E,NET
15 BROWN OWL – ROW,NOW in B,L
16 STOLIDLY – LOTS <,IDLY
18 IMPROV – IMP,ROV[-ing]
19 CHESIL – (CHILES)*
21 ARIA – AIR <.A
23 ANTE – ETNA < – Does anybody else agree that this clue is a bit ambiguous? ‘Stake that would be overturned by volcano’ to me implies ETNA (i.e. a reversal of ANTE), not t’other way round. Writing in the wrong answer here made a right mess of my grid, so it did!

8 Responses to “Independent 6,973/Phi”

  1. beermagnet says:

    10A (I ERR)< inside SA The S.A. is from out old friend Sex Appeal i.e “it”.

  2. beermagnet says:

    5D [W]EDGE the W is from the ellipsis to the “What” in the next clue.

    Some lovely stuff in here.
    “Newest Thai mud wrestling team” !

  3. Mick H says:

    I think 23 down is OK because of the use of ‘would’ – to say that if overturned it would be Etna implies it isn’t Etna. “Stake overturned by volcano” would be ambiguous.
    When was the last time you heard anyone use ‘SA’, or for that matter ‘it’ (except in the tabloid phrase ‘it girl’? It’d be on my banned list if we had a rigid centrally enforced code of acceptable expressions – but luckily we’re a tolerant, pluralist bunch!

  4. Phi says:

    Well-Googled. I’m in Stokes Valley and thinking about the prevalence of six-letter suburbs in the area was what produced this.

    As SV is actually pitched somewhere between Lower and Upper Hutt, there’s a suburb of Upper Hutt amongst the ordinary answers…if anyone’s really keen…

    8d – my original clue contained ‘Team with nudes dancing’ as the anagram fodder so I think Eimi should take the credit for this.

  5. Al Streatfield says:

    What’s wrong with “team with nudes” as material to be anagrammed? I think it’s better than the published version. Neither “dancing” nor “wrestling” are amazing anagram indicators…

  6. Ali says:

    That other suburb would be Brown Owl then!

  7. Wil Ransome says:

    18dn: Is improv necessarily comedy? My first thought, which Chambers confirms, was that it’s simply improvisation, which may or may not be comedy.

    A small point of elegance and style which struck me: 4dn and 21dn both used ‘air’ in the wordplay. Could or should this have been avoided?

  8. eimi says:

    Nothing wrong with the material to be anagrammed, but the definition part didn’t quite work and I couldn’t find a way around it that retained the original anagram. At least two contributors here thought the clue ‘great’ but I’m not sure how anyone can judge which is the better clue as only one was published.

    Re: Wil’s points, Collins defines improv as improvisational comedy. On the second point, I agree, it’s not wrong, but it’s best avoided. Ideally the same abbreviation shouldn’t be used twice in the same puzzle either.

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