Fifteensquared

Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,415 by Phi

Posted by Simon Harris on July 22nd, 2010

Simon Harris.

A surprise Thursday appearance from Phi, and I suspect that’s a straight swap, with tomorrow being something of a special occasion for Nimrod. Either way, this one was good fun and not too taxing; in fact, it became a bit of procession of answers once the long one slotted in. I’m wondering whether three related entries constitute a theme, or indeed whether I’ve missed some thematic material, as I’m barely familiar with the work of 28ac.

*=anag, []=dropped, <=reversed, hom=homophone, cd=cryptic definition, dd=double definition.

Across
9 MOCHA – MO + CHA[p].
10 TARANTINO – TARA + (NOT IN). “Tara” is the cotton plantation on which the story is set.
11 PASSION – I in PASS ON. A musical with music and lyrics by 28ac.
12/1A/21/13 A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM – the clue took me a while to work out, I must admit. I believe “possibly night” is THING*, so “a funny thing”. FORUM = “discussion”.
14 EGOMANIAC – OMANI in (C + AGE)<.
15 HIPPO – HIP + PO, as in “Hip hip hooray” and “po-faced” respectively.
17 EASEL – EASE + L.
19 EDINBURGH – (DIN + GRUB<) in EH.
23 EARMUFF – A in (ER + MUFF).
25 MILLENNIA – MILL + (I in ANNE<).
27 ACTOR – T in A COR.
28 STEPHEN SONDHEIM – (OPENED HIS [a]NTHEMS)*.
Down
1 TIMEPIECES – (ME + PIE + C) in TIES.
2 INCISIONS – IN[de]CISIONS.
3 GRANITA – (I in GRANT) + A.
4 ATTENTIVELY – (LETTE[r] + VANITY)*.
5 PAR – PA[i]R, very clever, and not at all a reference to other grid entries as first assumed.
6 NONSUCH – (0 in NUNS)* + CH.
7 DEIGN – DE[s]IGN.
8 NOOK – NO + OK.
12 ARCHIPELAGO – ARCH + (PEL[f] in IAGO). PELF for “riches” only very vaguely rings a bell, and Chambers confirms it.
16 PIROUETTE – PI + ROU[l]ETTE.
18 LOW TECH – WET* in LOCH.
20 BARMAID – BAR + (I in MAD).
22 HALVE – V in HALE.
24 AMOS – A[l]MOS[t].
26 NUN – N[o]UN.

13 Responses to “Independent 7,415 by Phi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Simon. I’m not always a big fan of puzzles where a number of the answers depend on you solving the gateway clue, but in this instance it was a well-signposted anagram for our composer and as you say, with the long answer in the rest fell into place without too much trauma.

    PAR was a clue with a very clever surface and I liked MILLENNIA too; but all-round good setting from Phi as usual.

    I fancy tomorrow’s will be a bit trickier! Following Eimi’s comments earlier this week I’ve saved up my £1 to go and buy the paper (nine-mile round trip, but that’s rural life these days since we lost our village shop).

  2. RayFolwell says:

    28A was born on the 22nd March, 1930 so maybe this is a delayed 80th birthday celebration?

  3. Gaufrid says:

    Hi K’s D
    No need for a nine-mile round trip with the consequential cost and carbon emission. There will be a post here at 0001 tomorrow giving the information that cannot be included correctly in the on-line version.

  4. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Okay, thanks Gaufrid, I’ll look out for that and keep the car in the garage!

  5. Sil van den Hoek says:

    Not being a regular Indy solver, I therefore am not familiar with [the style of] Phi.
    It was an enjoyable solve, which was made considerably easier by finding the composer plus the long funny thing almost rightaway.
    The short PAR (5d) was probably the best.

    Not so very long ago there was a discussion in the Guardian section of this site with & about Crucible and his ideas about the frequent use of single letters as “invaluable building stones” for the setter.
    Today I had to think of that again, because in my opinion Phi was very close to the limit (or even going over it).
    There were 6 clues in which he used I and/or A for “one”.
    The abovementioned PAR was one of them, as were PASS(I)ON, E(A)RMUFF, GRAN(I)T(A), MILLENN(I)A and BARMA(I)D.
    Not really elegant to use this very often.

    On top of that we had 14 other clues in which one letter had to be deleted or inserted [don't worry, I won't mention them all].
    Some of the abbreviations I hadn’t seen before: P for Positive, T for Tense and C for College. But that could be entirely my ‘fault’ as I am probably not long enough part of Crosswordland yet, besides the fact that I don’t have the ‘Real Chambers’.

    Although it was a nice crossword to solve, I can’t help that the overdose of single-letter use took away some of the fun.
    Sorry Phi – no hard feelings, I hope? :)

  6. walruss says:

    A good point well made, if I may say so SVDH! I am afraid I am not this compiler’s biggest fan, and perhaps a bit like the blooger I was quite bored by the ease of solving after the main answer went in. On the other hand there were no faults in the clues that I could see, apart from what you note in post 5.

  7. Stella Heath says:

    Didn’t the clue for 5d appear in the Guardian not so long ago? I got it straight away, remembering the golfing reference.

    It’s true that, once 28a clicked, a little Wiki investigation solved almost half the puzzle, and I didn’t even bother to parse the long answer. It couldn’t have been anything else, but I would never have got it from the wordplay.

    I’d never heard of ‘muff’ as ‘fail to catch’. Is this cricket or baseball?

    I agree with Sil about the proliferation of one-letter helpers. Though I didn’t think of it at the time, it does get somewhat tedious.

    I’m not usually this critical, being happy if I’m able to complete the puzzle without ‘cheating’, so I have a feeling this one left me unsatisfied.

  8. nmsindy says:

    Enjoyable puzzle, which I was pleased to be able to solve eventually from the wordplay though not being very familiar with the works involved. Phi’s clueing as always meticulously precise and fair.

  9. walruss says:

    I have heard ‘he muffed it’ equals ‘he failed to catch it’.

    http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main?query=muff&title=21st

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Yes, I’ve heard ‘he’s muffed it’ in cricket for when a fielder shells one. Fred Trueman, the Yorkshire and English fast bowling legend, was particularly unforgiving of anyone who dropped a catch off his bowling. The following is allegedly an exchange after a hapless fielder at first slip had let one slip through his hands and his legs:

    Fielder: Sorry, Fred, should’ve kept me legs together.
    Trueman: Ay, lad, and so should yer mother ‘ave.

  11. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Simon.
    I enjoyed this puzzle,sa I always do when Phi is the setter.but for me it was all over too quickly.
    As most people do ,I started off at 1 across which was the long answer and this pointed me to 28 across,a fairly obvious anagram. Once I’d spotted this the long clue could be filled in just by using the enumeration.With so many check letters the rest of the puzzle was comparatively easy.
    As Ray @2 says ,this year is a celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday,celebrations including a whole Prom devoted to his work(on the 31st July) which will be shown on BBC 2.
    Sondheim was also well known for being a crossword setter,setting puzzles for the New York magazine
    http://nymag.com/anniversary/40th/crosswords/45747/
    Apart from that there were some lovely clues,favourites being 12 and 18 down.

    Kathryn’s Dad – brilliant,I can imagine “Fiery Fred” saying that,even if it’s not true,it’s a great tale!

  12. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Scarpia, that’s interesting – not that familiar with Sondheim’s work, but he’s obviously a bit of a polymath and with the crossword connection and the 80th birthday stuff that’s maybe why Phi has had him as his theme today.

  13. flashling says:

    Must admit I dislike the long many part clue crosswords, you either get them and it’s over too quickly or you don’t and you’re stuffed. Having got 28A it fell apart in no time. Not seen the PAR clue before and thought it quite clever, even if it has been used before. Looking forward to tomorrow on train home.

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