Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7350/Phi

Posted by John on May 7th, 2010


An excellent crossword from Phi, with an extremely modern phrase in it that defeated me. As for disclosing a Nina, I can’t be accused of this today, for either there isn’t one or I can’t see it.

9 CI{n{oted}}DER
11 COMP{any} LICIT
12 NEAT(h}
13 EXEMPLARY — (expel army)*
16 QU(E)A(S)Y — I think it’s just that the E slots in slightly ahead of the S
19 SCAR(F)E — this great cartoonist whose name I’ve heard less frequently recently, though whether that’s because I’m being like Sybil Fawlty and saying that he now seems less well-known because he hasn’t appeared much on television lately I don’t know
20 ANOREXIA — a no re (Aix)rev.
23 JE L L{yons} — In France I = je
25 SCENARIST — (canisters)*
27 THE HOLLOW MEN — ‘the hollow men’ is ‘the mn’, or ‘them n’ — this Eliot poem
2 A G(R)A
3 TI({dramati}C {kic}K {th}E {ne}T)ED
5 VOLUPTUARY — p{leasure} in (your vault)*
6 SOCIAL ANXIETY — 1 in (action sexily)*
7 {p}ART(S{eats})Y
10 DRACULA SNEEZE — this was new to me and I’d never heard of it, but fair cop and perhaps we should all practise the Dracula sneeze a bit more. I’m not sure what ‘surprisingly’ means: is it that Dracula is noted for doing evil things, so to restrict the germ count is, for him, to act surprisingly?
17 YEA R(L{ikely})ING
18 UNDER TOW — (round wet)* — what a good clue
21 FIL(1 A{naesthetic})L
22 POS(1)T
24 1 D(o)LE

24 Responses to “Independent 7350/Phi”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Quite a tough puzzle, UNDERTOW was my favourite too. Had not heard of 10 down either but guessed it, the ‘count’ also refers to DRACULA, I think, and reminds me of an Indy clue from the late Aquila ‘An alarming blood count?’ (7)

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John. A bit tougher than usual today, I thought, with four or five that stubbornly wouldn’t go in without a lot of thought (I put it down to staying up till half past four …) I liked 18dn too, and had to google DRACULA SNEEZE since it made no sense to me.

    No nina, but I think it’s one of those which contain all 26 letters, the name for which I’ve completely forgotten …

    Excellent as always from Phi.

  3. Ian says:

    Excellent John. A really good effort by Phi which needed referencing on Bing for a def of ‘Dracula Sneeze’.

    All the others properly and fairly clued by the ever reliable Phi.

    As well as ‘Undertow’ I enjoyed ‘Anorexia’ and ‘Voluptuary’


  4. Ian says:

    Well done K’s D for spotting the Pangram!

  5. beermagnet says:

    You must’ve gone to bed early last night John.
    If you were like me (and KD?) you’d have seen Gerald Scarfe briefly last night on “Brillo pad” Neil’s BBC celebrity boat party, showing a few of his election cartoons. Looks like he draws them on A0 poster sized paper initially!
    I also blame last night for having a lot left on this before coming here.

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’d forgotten that, beermagnet! Scarfe’s cartoon of a pregnant David Cameron was the best, I thought. Didn’t help me much this morning, though, because SCARFE was just about my last one to go in.

  7. walruss says:

    Dracula sneeze is too rare for me. I’d never jheard of it!

  8. Cosmic Tigger says:

    I’m going to have to go with the majority here – Dracula Sneeze was completely new to me too. I eventually resorted to the REVEAL option. BTW Am I the only one who’s irritated by the way the CONGRATULATIONS dialog box obscures the very solution you wanted to check?

  9. spb says:

    Not sure if it qualifies as a Nina, but I read 1 and 27 across as a pointed political message which was bound to be of relevance today. Well here’s to you, Peter Robinson … Charles Clarke etc.

  10. flashling says:

    Alas staying up till five drinking wine did me in on this, really struggled. Dracula kisses? reference to Michael Howard given some of the clues?

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Far too much imagination on this blog … although I fancy it might be hasta la vista Señor Brown before too long. Good weekend to everyone.

  12. Phi says:

    I keep an eye on various word websites and early each year there’s a little rush of (in this case) ‘Words of 2009′. DRACULA SNEEZE (which I had to double check too) was an American winner, arising out of the swine flu pan(dem)ic, and, as it’s something I occasionally do anyway, in it went – it’s a lovely coinage, though I doubt it’ll catch on. SOCIAL ANXIETY was an Australian winner, which may say something about them across the ditch.

    I don’t think the election had even been announced when I gridded this, so 1 27 was purely coincidental.


  13. Richard Heald says:

    Nice puzzle but, like John, I’m at a loss as to how the DRACULA SNEEZE clue is meant to work. Obviously ‘count’ refers to Dracula but is it also doing double duty as part of the definition, or is the definition simply ‘Action restricting germ’? And why ‘surprisingly’? Would Phi care to enlighten us?

  14. scarpia says:

    Another great puzzle from the always excellent Phi.It’s been a good day for crosswords -Phi,a wonderful Puck in the Guardian and a very pleasant Falcon in the F.T.
    I am now going to practice my Dracula sneeze!

  15. Mike Laws says:

    Er – “practise” please, scarpia :-)

    “Dracula sneeze” – not ungeussable from cross-checks, and a fascinating discovery, for my money.

  16. Mike Laws says:

    Er – “unguessable”

  17. Paul B says:

    I suppose the discovery of any new word or phrase is fascinating, but should we be discovering these in a daily crossword puzzle? I am not sure. A grid full of such items would shurely get panned on these threads.

    As for practice/ practise, I am also not sure. Is there an easy way to know when and when not to deploy the latter?

  18. Paul B says:

    Apparently PRACTICE, the noun, is derived from PRACTISE, the verb. So, I would practise law at my law practice. Have I got that?

  19. Kathryn's Dad says:

    If you’re still here, Paul B, yes, you have got that. A good way to remember is to think about ADVISE AND ADVICE. You advise someone to do something (verb); you give someone advice (noun). The ‘s’ and ‘c’ pattern is the same in practise and practice, but it’s harder for folk because unlike advice/advise, the pronunciation is the same. Similarly, the TV licensing authority sends you your TV licence. Goodness knows how people learning English as a second language ever get to grips with this kind of stuff (but they do).

  20. Paul B says:

    Or as a first language, in some cases. Ahem.

  21. scarpia says:

    Mike @15 – you’re quite right,of course – apologies!
    It was late when I posted that comment – a pretty poor excuse I know,but it’s the only one I’ve got!

  22. Moose says:

    Dracula sneeze?! Come on! Struggled again! 3d ticketed? I am going backwards regarding these crosswords as I found this again almost impossible.Claim to fame,The Hollow Men was my first clue in along with 3 others! Think I’ll give up and try crochet!

  23. Nick Corney says:

    Moose, I normally find Phi pretty straightforward but, although I eventually finished, my progress this week was glacial. Don’t be disheartened though, we just happen to have had 3 compilers on the bounce giving us offerings at the most difficult end of their range. I blame the election!

  24. Moose says:

    Yes and another one to come in a couple of months!

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