Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7470/Phi

Posted by John on September 24th, 2010


As usual, an utterly satisfactory crossword from Phi. There are some less than A-list place names, but before anyone complains they should remember that Phi lives in New Zealand, so he has as much right as anyone not to know them; there’s a composer who will not be well-known to those of certain tastes, and there are one or two rather unusual words, there no doubt to accommodate some Nina that as usual I can’t see. Unless it’s that all the words in the grid use letters that are in ‘Flamborough Head’, which is probably not it: this sort of thing must often occur.

Sorry for delay: I had it just so and was all ready to blog, then I started to faff around in YouTube (looking for something nice by Peter Maxwell Davies) and everything went slow and hopeless and I had to start again, which delayed me by at least 45 minutes.

9 ANNU(A)LS — not an original idea I think; at least it may be original to Phi but I’m sure it’s been used before
11 {l}I(A)MBS — an iamb (more commonly perhaps iambus) is a foot of two syllables
14 quaINT ROom
19 A D(M)EN
20 ROBERTSON — (brot{h}ers)* on — referring to Geoffrey Robertson
23 SOFT PEDAL — (fade lots)* around p — an excellent &lit.
25 C(AP.)ON — I’d always thought that the abbreviation for apparently was app. but Chambers gives ap.
26/1 MAXWELL DAVIES — max well (saved, I)*
2 AN I M(ALF)ARM — I’m not absolutely happy with this: surely ‘marm’ is a form of address rather than the person herself? Perhaps Phi is using the word in the same way as a young child refers to teacher as ‘sir’.
4 ISOLATOR — (is a tool)* r
5 YEOMAN — (a mo)rev. in yen
6/13 BUDLEIGH SALTERTON — (beholding turtles)* around a
7 {o}WING
15 THEOSOPHIC — (Pooh! Ethics)*
16 FE(ARSO{n} M)E
17 BON{y} SPIEL — a bonspiel is a curling tournament, according to Chambers. Wikipedia says that the word comes from the Scots language, but it looks to me like a simple combination of French and German.
18 U MB I LICI{t}
20 RIDDLE — 2 defs
21 RE(C OR)D
22 N IN TH{i}S
24 FOXY — (of)rev. xy — referring to x and y, the coordinate axes

12 Responses to “Independent 7470/Phi”

  1. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, John and Phi for the puzzle. I found this very hard, but got there in the end and, as ever with Phi, everything is fully clear. The reason for the difficulty was, as you say, the less familiar (to me) words but all fairly clued of course. Favourite clues, RIDDLE, RECORD, FOXY.

  2. Eileen says:

    Thanks for the blog, John. I enjoyed this.

    I had a very similar experience to yours. I finished the puzzle a while ago and then got sidetracked before coming to the blog, searching through Youtube for a rendering of ‘Farewell to Stromness’! I couldn’t decide between piano and guitar versions, then finally settled on this one – for the pictures:

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you John.

    I found this a bit harder than the normal Friday Phi puzzle, but gettable nonetheless. Unlike yesterday’s setter, you could never accuse Phi of ‘look how clever I am’ tactics; it’s more a case of ‘I’ll amuse and occasionally fox you, but if you stick with me you’ll have the pleasure of filling in the final clue’.

    That’s how it was for me today, at least. A tour of England, from the South West via SE London to FLAMBOROUGH HEAD (which I could not parse for the life of me, so thank you, John).

    I especially liked FOXY and SOFT PEDAL. I was also okay with MARM in 2dn, but for those of you soon to meet Her Maj, do please remember to avoid embarrassment by rhyming it with HAM and not FARM.

    And I discovered from Gaufrid’s recent link to the ‘who’s who’ site for setters that Phi is originally a Son of the North. So after an entertaining crossword, I enter the weekend a happy bunny.

  4. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, John.

    As usual, all credit to Phi for a puzzle that may appear difficult at first, but gives much satisfaction as one progressively solves it. Contrast with yesterday’s, which was just diabolically difficult, period.

    Favourites 2D: Enjoyed figuring out how the wordplay fit after getting the answer from the definition.
    and 16A where, not having heard of that spot, actually worked it out from the wordplay.

  5. walruss says:

    The place names are obscure, period, and where they were anagrammed it made things especially difficult, I thought! Being a swot I researched some of these names during my down-time today, and as if by magic one of the references for Flamborough Head is a Dutch progressive-rock band. What is going on at The Independent, please??!

  6. Derrick Knight says:

    Phi didn’t let us down in following the rest of the week. Had my geography been better I wouldn’t have struggled so much.
    Thanks to both setter and blogger.

  7. eimi says:

    What’s going on at the Independent today is a ghost theme that no one seems to have spotted yet. I must admit that I wouldn’t have spotted it myself, being unfamiliar with its source, but it’s there all the same.

  8. Derrick Knight says:

    Thanks for the prod, eimi. This had me going back to the grid and spotting it. I now have even more admiration for the puzzle.

  9. Tokyocolin says:

    OK, I give in. I don’t know Flamberton Leigh from Budhead Pepperville. Will someone please give a hint to this purported Nina?

  10. Kathryn's Dad says:

    I’d love to, Colin, but since you’ve been on the blog for a while you’ll know that my ability to spot themes/Ninas is about as good as Emile Heskey’s ability to stick the ball in the back of the net with only the keeper to beat.

    Come on, eimi, or somebody, spill the beans …

  11. eimi says:

    Ok, I’ll put you out of your misery, from the horse’s mouth:

    “Puzzle references ROBERTSON DAVIES and the three trilogies of novels he wrote: SALTERTON, DEPTFORD and CORNISH. See if anyone spots that…”

  12. flashling says:

    Well I did actually try and do this after doubting my faculties yesterday, OK the theme went over my head, but themes like this always will do I expect. Got there eventually. Nice to do a crossword you can do down the pub on a friday evening.

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