Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7059 / Morph

Posted by Gaufrid on June 1st, 2009


Some very amusing clues from Morph today in a puzzle which was most enjoyable. I’m not sure I have fully understood two clues (13a and 19a) and would welcome any enlightenment that others may be able to offer.

Edit: It appears that my ignorance of the details relating to the ongoing saga of MPs’ expenses meant that I completely missed the theme of this puzzle. Having now been enlightened as to the sort of things that have been claimed for (see comments), I can see that this puzzle is something of a masterpiece.

1 BUFFS  FF (very loud) in BUS (public transport)
4 NAPPIES  NAP (tip) P[art]IES (parties lack craft)
8 MANURE  MAN (employee) URE (flower, river)
10 WALL PAINTING  *(ILL PA[y]) in WANTING (required)
12 DELE  hidden in ‘insiDE LEdger’
13 CANOODLING  homophone of ‘canoed’ LING (heather) – I’m happy to be corrected on this one because I cannot get ‘up the creek without a paddle’ out of my head and so may have overlooked something obvious
18 FAME  hidden in ‘cheF AMErican’
19 TROUSER PRESS  cd – I cannot see any wordplay in the clue but others may have greater insight
22 SWITCHER  SWITCH (whip) ER (hesitation)
23 DRY ROT  DR (doctor) TORY (Conservative) reversed)
24 HELIPAD  HELP AID (two forms of assistance) with the ‘I’ brought forward
25 ELECT  [hous]E L (left) [issu]E CT (court)

1 BEAM  cd
2 FOUR-WHEEL  *(WHERE) in FOUL (stormy)
3 SHELLAC  SHE’LL (the woman will) AC (account)
5 PORTICO  PORTILO (former minister) with L (Liberals) changed to C (Conservative) Edit: should be PORTILLO and LL – thanks Eileen
6 IDIOT  I DO IT (confession to that act) with the second ‘I’ rising – I assume ‘fool’ is doing double duty here as both the definition and a justification for ‘do’ rather than ‘did’
11 ZERO GROWTH  ZERO (duck) GROWTH (weed)
14 LIFESTYLE  L[abour] STY (filthy house) in *(I FEEL)
16 THE CHOP  HE (ambassador) CH (Switzerland) in TOP (senior position)
20 UNTIL  UN (world body) LIT (fired) reversed
21 MOAT  M (money) OAT (grass)

20 Responses to “Independent 7059 / Morph”

  1. Conrad Cork says:

    19a is a cryptic definition, referring to what Chris Huhne claimed for.

    Wonderful surfaces and some apposite answers too (see above). The MP expenses row comes to cruciverbalism.

  2. IanN14 says:


    I think you’ve got 13ac covered. Canoed (homophone) preceding Ling.

    19ac. Trousers = “pair” which “cover up” legs = “members”. Cryptic def.

    I loved the theme of this one. Most clues or answers alluding to MPs discretions.
    Specially liked the double use of John in 15ac.

  3. Eileen says:

    Hi Gaufrid. Thanks for the blog.

    I thought this was hilarious – so clever and witty! Such a pity Morph couldn’t have made 7dn ‘second home’!

    I took 13ac the same way as you did and 19ac as a cryptic definition.

  4. Conrad Cork says:

    Sorry, I have to go on a bit. What a fantastic surface for our times is 22a. ‘Whip’s hesitation on one who’s flipping’.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks for the info re 19a. I have not been following the details of the expenses scandal so am not aware of who has claimed for what.

    Yes, I had that reading for 19a but not the ‘extra’ that Conrad has pointed out.

  6. IanN14 says:


    Yes I thought that too about 7d.
    Bet it crossed his mind…

  7. Eileen says:

    This puzzle gets better the more I look at it!

    Gaufrid, if you really haven’t been following the story, I’d hate you to miss all the allusions to ‘expenses': NAPPIES, MANURE [yes!] WALL-PAINTING, TOILET SEAT [John Prescott] TROUSER PRESS, HELIPAD, PORTICO, MOAT – and I may have missed some!

  8. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Eileen. The puzzle has just taken on a new dimension for me. Presumably DRY ROT and possibly SHELLAC can be added to the list and 4d explains everything.

    I had looked for a Nina but did not appreciate the theme due to lack of knowledge of this specialist subject.

  9. Richard says:

    Absolutely brilliant! A classic. I was lucky enough to spot the theme early on (having got “moat” and “dry rot”), and (for the first time on record) felt rather sorry for David Willetts at the end (no mention of his light bulbs).

  10. Chunter says:

    Hi Eileen, You forgot perhaps the most notorious of all – DUCK ISLAND!

    What a pity that the Independent doesn’t publish its crosswords in a usable format! What is the point of the scroll bars? Why do they not allow readers to see all the clues at the same time, and then, if they wish, produce a printed copy? Full marks to the Guardian for its ‘print’ version.

  11. Eileen says:

    Chunter, am I being a 6dn [I can’t see ‘duck island’] – or do you mean the ‘duckweed’ in the clue? All the rest are answers.

    I thought I’d heard something about [TREADLE] sewing machines and have just found this:
    The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, who, unlike quite a number of his fellow politicians, has mostly escaped criticism for his expense claims, joked about the state of his Baulmers suit’

    ‘In the good old days I could have bought a sewing machine on expenses to get them mended,’ Mr Mundell said. ‘Now I will just have to pay for a tailor myself.’

    I do agree with you about the Indy format. I couldn’t usually be bothered to do the whole thing online – but I’m really glad I did today!

  12. Conrad Cork says:

    I can’t see Duck Island either but I have just noticed something else (it gets better and better – I’d like to buy Morph a drink).

    The backbone if this puzzle, 4down is ‘No expense spared’.

    I’m going looking for more gold.

  13. liz says:

    I’m really sorry to have missed this puzzle! (I don’t like solving online). BEAM is another one that can be added to the list (John Prescott again — three mock Tudor beams). DRY ROT too. Ever since this scandal broke, I’ve been fascinated by the list. Chris Huhne and TROUSER PRESS are just inherently funny. It could make a good poem, so I’m glad it’s made such a great crossword.

  14. Eileen says:

    Gaufrid, re 5dn: It’s ‘Portillo': LL Liberals

  15. Gaufrid says:

    Thanks Eileen. Politics is not one of my areas of expertise but I should have got that right.

  16. Morph says:

    Thanks for all the comments – I’ll gladly take you up on that drink some time, Conrad! Of those mentioned, TREADLE and SHELLAC were not meant to be thematic (though I haven’t combed through all the receipts myself!). I regret not having managed to get DUCK ISLAND in, and as some of you observed, SECOND NAME was really trying to be SECOND HOME.
    Anyway, credit to my esteemed editor for slotting the puzzle in within a week of submission to ensure topicality.

  17. nmsindy says:

    Thanks, Morph, for a most amusing puzzle – great that you managed to fit so much in. NO EXPENSE SPARED was absolutely brilliant. TROUSER PRESS was when I first saw the theme, though the clues were leading that way too.

  18. Colin Blackburn says:

    Re comment #16: I have a feeling your puzzle being slotted into the normal schedule would still be topical given the way the DT is playing this one.
    Excellent puzzle, by the way.

  19. Andy Cotgreave says:

    Is there anywhere to get a copy of this? I’d love to pass it on to my dad to do (he’s a Telegraph reader). It seems that the Indy doesn’t have an online Crossword archive (not one that I could find, anyway!)

  20. Gaufrid says:

    You have mail.

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