Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7266 by Phi

Posted by nmsindy on January 29th, 2010


I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, very tough and very satisfying to finish, with all understood, and some very well constructed clues, as one expects from Phi.   Solving time, 40 mins.

* = anagram    < = reversed


7 JELLY ROLL MORTON    Not very much into jazz, but this name came out of the back of my mind from teasing out the wordplay   “Gelly”  “role”  MOR(e) TON

9 BLU(writeR)B

10 B(E)ANS TALK     My favourite clue

11 CRACK OF DOOM    Irregular access = crack (as in a safe, I guess).   Nmsindy spends little time at computer games, but a quick Google search after suggests ‘doom’ is a very well-known one.

13 GEE    Glee less l

14 MARVELL(ed)

16 BEE F TEA    feat with t brought forward

17 O(A)P

18 INSOUCIANCE   (cocaine in US)*


22 SAL(S)A    alas<

24 RUSSIAN ROULETTE    (Realise t runs out)*   t = core of forTune     A big breakthrough, getting this


1 CLOU(d)     literary, the main point, in COED

2 D(eadl)Y BB UK    Got this from the wordplay, then looked in Collins  which indicate it’s the soul of a dead sinner, from Judaism

3 DO UBT FU(e)L    (but)*   E = Spain

4 EL (PAS) O


6 STRAIGHTEN   (shattering)*

7 JOB’S COMFORTER    job = post    comforter = scarf

8 NIKKEI AVERAGE    (Viking area eek)*    Another name for Nikkei Index, Japan’s equivalent of the Footsie

12 ABRUPTNESS   (superb tans)*

16 EP (1 SOD)IC

16 BO (yoU ILL) ON


20 I (N) S  ULT

23 L UTE

26 Responses to “Independent 7266 by Phi”

  1. RayFolwell says:

    I found this fairly tough with some obscure words, but enjoyable nevertheless.

    11A – A crack can be a piece of code etc used to unlock an illicit copy of a computer program. Chambers hasn’t got the meaning (yet?) so Phi is very up to date.

  2. Emrys says:

    I must be being very dense today. I solved 4d, “El Paso”, but I don’t understand the clue. Even now it’s been explained. Any further hints, please?

    And where does the “s” come from in the clue for 7d, “Job’s comforter”?

    I was a bit confused by 11a, which I wrote in as “crash of doom” since a computer program crashes sometimes to provide irregular access to it. However, this didn’t fit with dybbuk, so it must be “crack”.

    But I really liked this crossword – a bit easier than Tyrus, thank goodness.

  3. beermagnet says:

    I’m with you, Emrys, on the EL PASO wordplay references but I looked up ELO to find: i.e. a chess assessment – those rating numbers we sometimes hear quoted. That wiki page makes interesting reading.
    But for the PAS I suppose it is “action” as in step – as in Pas-de-deux – I could be wrong there.

    Much more enjoyable than yesterday:
    Today: 2 missing (CLOU (?), Consomme, because …), 1 wrong (Bush tea anyone)
    whereas yesterday only 5 answers entered after 2 pints

  4. nmsindy says:

    The interpretation of EL PASO in comment 3 is the same as mine, I should have spelled it out more fully in the blog. I think the ‘s in JOBS COMFORTER is from hangs as it is an down clue ie JOB HAS COMFORTER with Phi perhaps choosing ‘hang’ because of the scarf reference.

  5. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, nms. Like Emrys, I’m not sure how EL PASO works, but the ‘s’ in JOB’S COMFORTER is kind of an implied possessive, I presume.

    Some unusual words, especially CLOU, DYBBUK and our jazzy friend, but plenty of crossing letters to help and even non-jazz aficionados could guess at the JELLY bit. Clou means nail in French, so I had a vague thought about ‘hitting the nail on the head’ in 1dn.

    Some very clever clues now that it’s all explained, and hats off to 10ac, which is an outstanding surface.

    After yesterday, pleased to get there with this one – we’ve had a consistently good run with the Indy recently, in my opinion.

    Since this might be a quietish day, just wondering if anyone has an opinion on why there are so many fewer comments on the Indy site than on the Grauniad – is it just a reflection of their relative circulations or are Indy readers by nature shrinking violets?

  6. sidey says:

    Guardian readers are always up for a fight K’s D. beermagnet could tell you about the Graun’s talkboards. 😉

  7. Gaufrid says:

    Hi KD
    I suspect there are two main reasons for the different number of comments. Firstly, on a typical day five times as many people view the Guardian post than the Indy and, secondly, the Guardian puzzles tend to be more contentious so there is more on which to comment.

  8. anax says:

    Beautiful work from Phi.

    I’d wondered how many might struggle with the refs in 11a. Yes, a crack is small piece of background programme designed to make (usually illicitly obtained) software work. And – crikey, am I really admitting this? – I spent countless hours blasting my way through the Doom games. Then came Quake. Then it was Tomb Raider. And yet I still have some friends.

  9. Emrys says:

    I had to give up Tomb Raider because I couldn’t bring myself to shoot all the wolves.

  10. anax says:

    Yes – I should have added that none of my friends are wolves. Not now, anyway.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I see now that the other difference between the Indy and the Grauniad commenters is that the erudition is much higher on this side of the fence. On the other side, there is less discussion about shooting wolves and more about shooting the setter.

    (But I love both blogs, truly.)

  12. Eileen says:

    Careful, KD – we can hear you over the fence, you know!

    [The fascinating thing is that quite a number of people, like yourself, and me, from time to time, comment on both [or all three] puzzles.] Certainly, I would venture to say that Guardian readers are naturally more argumentative than some others but not all Guardian commenters read the paper. I can’t argue with Gaufrid’s first point but re his second, it’s not always a case of the puzzles being more or less contentious: I’ve often said that Cinephile gets away with far more than Araucaria ever would – but then that’s the FT, where hardly anyone comments.]

  13. Eileen says:

    What I meant was fascinating is that the argumentative people from the other side tend not to argue over here! :-)

  14. anax says:

    Oh yes we do.

  15. NealH says:

    Thanks for explaining El Paso. I only got it because I remembered the name from spaghetti westerns (I didn’t think it was even a real place). It was quite a bit of a struggle to get those last few unusual words (bouillon, clou), but that made the enjoyment of finishing all the greater.

    Now that I know I’m not the only one, I’ll admit to being a computer game fan as well. I’ve played Doom and plenty of others, but never yet tried Tomb Raider.

  16. Eileen says:

    But, anax, you don’t often comment on [or, alas, ever set for] the Guardian, so I wasn’t really meaning you! [We’ll be in trouble with Gaufrid in a minute. That’s another thing we Guardian folk do – go off topic, which helps to swell the number of comments!]

  17. anax says:


    Thank you XXX ! Alas, The Guardian appears to be a pretty full house at the moment, much as I’d give my right arm to be on the team.

  18. IanN14 says:

    Eileen @ 13,
    Whoever could you mean?

  19. Eileen says:

    As my Dad used to say, ‘If the cap fits…’

    anax, I’m sure we’d all give ours, too.

  20. IanN14 says:

    Eileen, I’m not going to argue with you…
    (Actually, I don’t really see it as “arguing”).

    But really, I think the point is, simply, that the clues here seem to be less contentious, generally.
    Presumably, this is mostly down to the editor?

  21. Gaufrid says:

    Anax said: “I’d give my right arm to be on the team”
    Eileen said: “I’m sure we’d all give ours, too”

    I wouldn’t! I’m right-handed so wouldn’t be able to fill in the grid. It will have to be the left one instead.

    Now, can we please keep any further comments relevant to the puzzle or, at a stretch, relevant to the Indy/Guardian comparison if it is something that hasn’t already been said.

  22. Wil Ransome says:

    Ten days ago I did Boatman’s Guardian crossword and compared this and its blog with those for the Mordred crossword in the Independent, which I blogged. In my opinion Mordred’s was in a different league; if I had been blogging the Boatman, after saying yes quite nice in places I’d have laid into the many loose and poorly-edited clues (as several of the posters also did). All right this is a Ximenean speaking, but there are plenty of them still around, aren’t there?

    Gaufrid tells us that many more people look at the Guardian blog than look at the Indy blog. What about the circulations of the two papers? Is there a similar disparity?

    It seems a pity when some beautifully-crafted puzzles in the I get hardly a mention while their poor cousins in the G are a source of animated comment.

  23. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Interesting discussion! ‘Can’ and ‘worms’ come to mind, but as always, intelligent contributions. That’s why I like this site, since you ask.

  24. Allan_C says:

    I’m surprised some people found this tough. By contrast with the previous day’s horror it was a doddle. Solved in about 15 mins, no lookups required except to confirm ‘dybbuk’.

  25. Paul B says:

    Hmmm. Guardian talkboards.

  26. Bilk says:

    Didn’t enjoy 1 and 2d.Pleased that I got all long clues.Had a couple left to do

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