Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,404/Phi

Posted by Ali on July 9th, 2010

Ali.

A very nice way to round off the working week as always from Phi. The clueing is very tight here and I found this tougher than usual. Got there in the end, though one or two were educated guesses based on the checking letters and I still can’t fathom them now.

Across
1 MISCALCULATE – C[-ats] in (MUSICAL)* + LATE*
9 EID AL-FITR – 1 D(ay) in (A TRIFLE)*
10 GRETA – GREAT ‘slightly twisted’
11 POMPOUS – Not sure on this, American gives US, but not sure if/how POMPO is ‘Briton inexpressive’
12 BITUMEN – 1 + TUM in BEN
13 TIBIA – IT rev. + BIA[-s]
15 STAGEHAND – HA in STAG END
17 CATCH COLD – CATCH + C + OLD
18 REDON – RED (colour) + ON (working)CAIN rev. on MA
19 PRECEDE – P(ower) + DEC(ember) in E’ER rev.
20 PIBROCH – (RIB + CHOP)*
22 MUFTI – F (loud) in MUTI[-neer]
23 FACTORIAL – ACTOR I in FAL
24 GYPSY ROSE LEE – G[-a]Y + (SPY)* + ROS[-1]E LEE
Down
1 MADAME BUTTERFLY – (DAFT MUM + BETRAYAL)*
2 SALVO – V (very little) in SALO[-n]
3 ARIES – 1 in ARES (the Greek equivalent of Mars)
4 CARDBOARD – RD. + BOAR in CAD
5 LIGHT YEAR – [-b]LIGHTY + (ARE)*
6 THELMA AND LOUISE – (THEM DELUSIONAL)* about A
7 DESPOTIC – The other one I can’t work out. ‘Tyrannical’ is the definition, but not sure how we get there from ‘position I found in part of ship? Not entirely’
8 YAWN – N(ew) WAY rev.
14 ATHLETICS – (ETC. AL[-l] THIS)* – &lit.
15 SPOKEN FOR – S(on) + KEN + F(orce) in POOR
16 DUNGHILL – DUN (brown) + G(ood) + H(ard) + ILL
19 PUMA – UP rev. + MA
20 PACES – P(iano) ACES
21 BROIL – BR(itish) OIL

12 Responses to “Independent 7,404/Phi”

  1. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ali
    11ac POM (Briton) PO (inexpressive) US (American)
    7dn SPOT (position) I in DEC[k] (part of ship, not entirely)

  2. nmsindy says:

    I think it’s POM PO (faced) and POST I in DEC(k). Like you, I found it tough for Phi (and good). Liked ATHLETICS and POMPOUS. Thanks for the blog, Ali.

  3. RayFolwell says:

    I also found this a little on the tough side. Was there a misprint in 1D ? DAFT MUM BETRAYAL doesn’t quiet work as the anagram, should it have been DEFT?

    I enjoyed 23A – at first I thought that there was no definition !

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Super puzzle. You know you’re becoming obsessive when you think ‘Oh good, it’s Phi tomorrow’, but this really was entertaining end-of-week fare.

    Couldn’t understand DESPOTIC, so thanks to Gaufrid and nms for the explanation. (I’ll leave the two of you to argue whether it’s SPOT or POST – both work, so we’ll blame sloppy clueing, but when you’ve sorted that out if either of you could explain FACTORIAL it would allow me to enter the weekend happily.)

    At 1dn the answer is actually MADAMA BUTTERFLY, otherwise the anagram doesn’t work. I wish I could say that I worked that out by myself, but our mam taught us to be honest: it was only when the congrats message didn’t appear online that I discovered it.

    My dictionary gives EID-UL-FITR, which I also slapped in and only discovered later that it doesn’t quite work.

    And I learnt a new word: PIBROCH. I had to look it up; with apologies to Scottish contributors, it doesn’t sound like the sort of stuff you’d want to listen to for more than about 30 seconds.

    Good weekend to all.

  5. RayFolwell says:

    The mathematical symbol for FACTORIAL is an exclamation mark !

  6. Derrick Knight says:

    9 across gives an example of precise wordplay clarifying anomalies. I did not know the full term for Eid, but deduced the correct answer from the partial anagram; then was somewhat nonplussed by Collins and NODE both giving Eid ul-Fitr. Google confirmed the entry. Phi is always precise in his wordplay.

  7. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks Ray @ no 5. I think Brendan/Virgilius had FACTORIAL in his maths-themed puzzle either here or in the Grauniad recently. I would never have understood that in a million years, despite being a bit of a (very long-lapsed) mathematician – good job there are crossing letters and a cryptic definition to work on!

  8. Stella Heath says:

    I didn’t get factorial, or Eid al-Fitr, which is totally new to me. But I did realise, via the chech button that it was MadamA Butterfly, having recently been to see it with my husband, who explained at the time that this is the original Italian title of the opera.

    Thanks for the explanation on ‘pompous’. I shall now go to my dictionary to look up the new words ‘pibroch’…

  9. nmsindy says:

    MADAMA BUTTERFLY Yes, I saw the one-letter difference, just knew it was not a mistake, went to reference books and there was MADAMA, the original title which I’d never seen before. The anagram fodder also refers v nicely to the plot which I was familiar with.

    Thanks for explaining FACTORIAL, that was subtle and I missed it for sure.

  10. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali.
    Usual cracking puzzle from Phi.
    There are very rarely complaints about Phi’s work, which highlights his excellent cluein.His puzzles are never and I nearly always learn something from them.
    The only one I wasn’t sure of was factorial,which has now been explained – thank you Ray.I guessed it was something mathematical.
    Pleased to see Phi using the correct title for Puccini’s opera.

  11. Scarpia says:

    Oops! That should be clueing and never dull.

  12. flashling says:

    ! Thought about that for factorial if I ever set a crossword, but nicely done. 9ac beat me I could see the bits but it’s a rather unusual answer to put it mildly. It’s not exactly everyday you see the fitr. Let alone know what the hell it is.

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