Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7125 by Morph

Posted by NealH on August 17th, 2009


*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, CD=cryptic def, DD=double def

This was a brilliant piece of work by Morph. I don’t know if the idea has been used before or not – it’s such a simple idea that it’s hard to believe no-one thought of it before, but then the best ideas are often like that. A number of the clues were homophones of countries and this was cleverly clued by the use of the word “intonation” i.e. into nation.

7 Buddleia: bud + laid* around E.
9 All in: DD.
10 Whey: Didn’t entirely follow this one – “Skimmed milk with eggy bits removed from the middle”. Skimmed milk must be whey, but I’m not sure of the rest.
11 Intonation: DD/CD. Theme word indicating both the process of changing the other clues and what they’re changed into.
12 Grease: “To smooth the way arranges a second meeting internally”. Obviously smooth the way gives grease but not sure of the wordplay in the second part. It is a hom. of Greece for the theme.
14 Careers: Reference to clue 1 (rusher). Hom of Korea (North and South).
15 Transliterate: (Artist eternal)*.
17 Anaemia: (I mean)< in AA.
19 Clinch: Cl (centilitre) + inch.
21 Pastorates: DD/CD – “past orates” giving a vague definition of overdoing oration.
22 Ruin: Ruin[g].
23 Louse: OU in LSE. Hom of Laos.
24 Camisole: Amis in Cole.
1 Rusher: &lit. Hurr[i]es*. Hom of Russia.
2 Eddy: [T]eddy – Teddy Sherringham.
3 Denizens: (Ezine in S (South) and ND (North Dakota))<.
4 Garner: A RN in Ger. Hom of Ghana.
5 Glitterati: (Get lit)* + rat[ted] + i.
6 Endorsee: End or see. For this to work, I assume “approved” here is meant as a noun.
8 Anticlimactic: Antic + lima + c[ri]tic.
13 Agapanthus: Aga (cooking range) + hom of “panthers”.
15 To a fault: (foul tart)* around A.
16 Excuse me: Ex + “cues me” with the middle letters swapped.
18 Marley: Mary around le – Bob Marley and also hom of Mali.
20 Chilli: CH (Central Heating) + Illi[nois]. Hom of Chile
22 Rash: DD.

21 Responses to “Independent 7125 by Morph”

  1. IanN14 says:

    Thanks Neal,
    I agree this was a really good one.

    10ac. WitH EggY (insides removed).
    6d. I think you need the “one” for the definition to work.

  2. IanN14 says:

    …and 12ac. AgreeS with the A and S “meeting” towards the middle.

  3. IanN14 says:

    …and I’m sorry, but you’ve spelt Sir Ted’s name wrongly (but there again, so have Wikipedia in their title)…

  4. nmsindy says:

    Maybe it’s the Tottenham influence at the Indy, but he’s not a Sir, is he?
    Clever idea, and great blog.

  5. IanN14 says:

    He was to some of us, nms…

  6. eimi says:

    Always a risk to base a puzzle on the most contentious of crossword devices (homophones), but brilliantly done. A shame Morph couldn’t find room for Saint Sebastien and Lord Assou-Ekotto, but as an Arsenal fan he had a pretty good weekend too.

  7. IanN14 says:

    Oh dear,
    I think I’ve gone off him a bit now.
    And to think he devised my favourite puzzle of the year so far (the politicians’ claims one)…

  8. anax says:

    A very clever and challenging puzzle, not least because it took me ages to spot the homonym theme.

    Another hold-up was PASTORATES and even now I’m not sure if it’s completely sound, but it’s one of those where the intention is put across clearly enough.

    Like NealH I puzzled over 6D and initially put in ENDORSED, but the def “approved one” put me straight.

    Really liked the straightforward DD for ALL IN. I don’t remember seeing it before but, even if it is an oldie, it’s well worth seeing again. Nice one Mr Morph.

  9. Eileen says:

    I’m afraid I had to give up on this one – but a great puzzle, as always from Morph. [I agree with IanN14 about the ‘expenses puzzle being one of the best ever.]

    Re 21ac: I read this as PAST [over] + ORATES [does the sermon]. I know not everyone likes this kind of clue but I do!

  10. anax says:


    Thanks for your parsing of 21A – I missed it. As you imply, not everyone likes elision but I agree that Morph should be commended for spotting this very nice running-together of components. It’s sneaky, it’s contentious, but it’s equally entertaining.

  11. IanN14 says:

    I missed that too (well spotted Eileen).

    Sneaky? Contentious?
    Surely not what we’ve come to expect from those associated with the Woolwich Wanderers?

  12. IanN14 says:

    …but, yes (grudgingly) very entertaining too.

  13. Wil Ransome says:

    Very nice crossword, clever theme. Pity that I had one or two quibbles (or possibly simply things I don’t see):
    17ac: ‘Lacking strength’ is presumably the definition, but the answer is ‘anaemia’. How can an adjectival phrase define a noun?
    16dn: why does Morph have both ‘having change of heart’ and ‘says’? It’s as if he can’t decide whether or not it’s a homophone. Either would do I think: to have both just makes a long clue even longer.
    And that’s my third quibble: some of the clues are too long in my opinion. Not always exactly pithy.

  14. Neil says:

    Sorry folks but I thought this was a rather clumsy ‘curate’s egg’, trying too hard to be clever. As Wil says, “lacking strength” just can’t be “anaemia”. It might, just, be “anaemic”, but only metaphorically. He’s right about 16d too. Worse, most of the ‘Nation’ homophones just aren’t, particularly to rhotic speakers, like me. And even the non-rhotic would surely find it hard to accept that ‘panthus’ sounds like ‘panthers’. eimie calls this ‘contentious’. I think it’s rude. I’m off back to the Guardian (though it’s far from blameless)!

  15. Eileen says:

    Hi Neil

    If you’re prepared to accept ‘lacking strength’ as metaphorical, I think this clue works if you think of ‘lacking’ as a gerund [verbal noun] rather than a participle [adjective]. Would you accept ‘seeing double’ for ‘double vision’?

    And in 16dn, ‘says’ isn’t acting as a homophone indicator but as part of the definition: ‘says it’s my turn’ = ‘cues me’.

    But, as far as the ‘homophones’ go, I’ll say no more!

  16. johnson says:

    Ripper from Morph, good ‘un that’s different from The Graun, that we also did, in spades. Day late with the congrats, but so what.

  17. Neil says:

    Thank you, Eileen. I always appreciate your gracious elucidations, though they might oft-times be beyond me. I don’t remember what a gerund is. My thinking about ‘Anaemia’ is that the word defines a specific blood disorder. If the word is used to suggest a state which might obliquely reflect this, but is not synonymous (does not mean precisely the same thing), then might that not be metaphorical?

    I don’t think I could accept ‘seeing double’ for ‘double vision’, but I’m a visual artist rather than a linguiist, maybe.

    “But, as far as the ‘homophones’ go, I’ll say no more!”, I appreciate, too, with respect to your late husband.

  18. eimi says:

    On the subject of misguided Indy setters, IanN14 might be interested in this previous exchange on fifteensquared:

    And, can I just say:

    We are top of the league, I said, we are top of the league.

    I had hinted that homophones are a minefield, but obviously some solvers really enjoyed this. My Collins defines rhotic as relating to a dialect of English – if I have to take into account every possible dialectal variation, then I’ll have to ban homophones completely.

  19. IanN14 says:

    Oh dear, eimi,
    They’re everywhere, aren’t they? (Glory hunters…).

    Thanks for that link.
    It was before my time knowing about this site, and the Indy online option, and I’m afraid I only buy the paper on Saturdays (for the Inquisitor).

    Anyway, as you say (rightfully) top of the league!
    What could possibly go wrong?…..

    And please don’t ban the homophone.

  20. Neil says:

    Non-rhotic is a dialect too or, perhaps, are dialects.

  21. Morph says:

    Thanks very much for the excellent blog and all of your comments. I’m just back from holiday, but wanted to pick up on the vexed issue of homophones. I like them because I enjoy puns, but I know a number of solvers, whether rhotic in pronunciation or not, are less keen. Since many homophones work only in some pronunciations, I try to use phrases such as ‘could be heard as’ rather than ‘sounds like’ to indicate where the equivalence is less than absolute. In this case, the thematic homophones were indicated by ‘the way you say things can turn (each of these clues) into nation’ – the emphasis being on the ‘can’.
    All that said, I have no such excuse for AGAPANTHUS – that was just a weak pun, sorry!

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