Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7494/Phi

Posted by John on October 22nd, 2010


A tour de force from Phi today as he incorporates nothing but 24 11s in the across clues, has a normal-looking grid, and no strange words in the down clues. One or two of the 24 11s are less than well-known, but gettable nevertheless.

Since all the across clues refer to a 24 11, I shall take this for granted and deal only with the rest of the clues.

7 VIOLIN — (oil)* in vin
8 THE ORB {pr}O{duction} — an old musical instrument, a large double-necked bass lute
9 SIDE DRUM — Sid (murde{r})rev.
10 CYMBAL — “symbol”
13 bareLY REgistered
14 ONDES MARTENOT — (demonstrate on)* — the ondes martenot (hyphenated?) was an electronic musical instrument, an early form of synthesizer
17 BEL{1 a}L
19 FRENCH HORN — the French for ‘horn’ is ‘cor’, which is most of ‘cord’
20 FIDDLE — as in ‘fit as a fiddle’ I suppose
22 T(R 1)ANGLE
24/11 MUSICAL INSTRUMENT — (recital n must in sum)*, an anagram that I made hard for myself by using the wrong letters at first and thinking that ‘in sum’ was part of the definition
25 S(PIN)ET — an early instrument like a small harpsichord
1 PIMIENTO — (I’m) in pie (not)* — really a matter of personal taste and loose impression this, but it seems to me that the best setters don’t use ‘with’ as a link-word, as here. But the surface provides a very good excuse in this case.
2 {gam}BL(U)E — is a blue a college representative? Yes, according to Chambers because a college is a place for higher education and the word ‘blue’ isn’t just confined to Oxford/Cambridge
3 SNARL-UPS — n{oted} in (pulsars)*
4 HE(PC)AT — presumably Phi’s meaning is that if people are being politically correct then they are choosing their words very carefully
5 B RIM{e}
6 MO{t}H AIR
8 TEMPERA MENTAL — not I suspect the first time this idea has been used, but some people say the old ones are the best
12 TIDAL — (lad it)rev.
13 L{a}UNCH
15 TACKIEST — tack (site)* — I blithely worked out ‘doofiest’ and clicked on reveal, to find this, which is rather better
16 T(HR)ILLER — a sop to all those people who have had enough of this classical music
18 ENIGMA — G in (a mine)rev.
19 FI{ght}ER CE
21 DO SH
23 N(A)IL — nice rather vague but sound I think definition

10 Responses to “Independent 7494/Phi”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks John for the blog, and Phi for another interesting puzzle.

    To my relief, got the theme early via the first one in, 13A LYRE, and that helped, though there were a couple of not-so-common 24 11.

    Favourites were 20 FIDDLE, a nice cryptic definition, 5D BRIM, with a misdirection in the wordplay, and 8D TEMPERAMENTAL, with its crafty word dissection.

  2. Lenny says:

    Thanks John and thanks to Phi for an entertaining solve. As an aged trendy, my favourite clue was the one for hepcat.

    Having failed on lyra yesterday, my first in today, was lyre and this immediately gave me the theme and everything else fell out fairly quickly. The only unknown for me was Milton’s devil but the instrument had to be bell.

    I experienced some déjà vu at 20 since I had just done todays Times and one of the clues was “Doctors’ standard for fitness”. I remembered to look at the perimeter when I had finished but all I could see was letters

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, John, and thank goodness we’re back online – I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms.

    I couldn’t work out the anagram fodder for the gateway clue either, so cracked on with the downs and eventually twigged. Even then, it wasn’t a stroll in the park, with some unusual instruments to hold us up. I was okay with BLUE and FIDDLE, and particularly liked NAIL and ENIGMA. I’ll confess to a wordsearch for ONDES MARTENOT, my last entry.

    Allan C remarked here the other day about how to be competent at cryptics you had to be old enough to remember the sixties stuff but also au fait with the modern(ish) stuff. Very apposite today, with THRILLER requiring you to remember the 1960s dance troupe and the 1980s album from Mr Jackson. I found on exploring Mrs Google that the original Tiller dancers go back to 1890. Even I’m not that old.

    Good Friday puzzle from Phi as always.

  4. flashling says:

    Odd to see lyre after yesterday and it gave the game away as I immediately then saw 24/11.

    After that it was all fairly good stuff although 15 did get in the way as although doofiest didn’t seem right, messiest does fit and slowed me down quite a bit.

    Glad to see we’re back on air after yesterday. Thanks John + Phi

  5. walruss says:

    I wonder why ‘the best setters’ would not use WITH as a link word!? Seems an obvious choice to me, but I don’t know the ins and outs. Nice to see the latest themed one for the Indy, and really nice to have the site back up and running. Cheers, Phi and also ‘John’.

  6. Colin Blackburn says:

    Opposite to K’s D I got a couple of down answers and had O-D–/… and put ONDES MARTENOT straight in and then got the theme from that and so worked out 24/11. The instrument cropped up in another puzzle not too long ago and as a fan of the Turangalîla-Symphonie by Messiaen it’s well known to me.
    Lots of the answers then fell into place quickly. I had TIDES (IT< + DES) for a short while having not checked the wordplay properly. That meant trying to force in BASS for BELL. I also wondered for a few seconds if PIPE DRUM existed with PIP instead of SID.
    Excellent puzzle as usual from Phi.

  7. Simon Harris says:

    What with Wednesday’s Dac and today’s Phi, I’m back in my corner nursing my bruises! Despite a GCSE in Music, I didn’t do well here at all, so many thanks for the explanations, John.

    I wondered about BLUE myself, but I think I’d be right in saying that even at Oxbridge, when they do the kinds of sporting things that would earn a “blue”, they often represent their college rather than the university as a whole. But I could be wrong: my only potential correspondent on this – a former 15^2 blogger who narrowly missed out on being one of Cambridge’s first pool blues, believe it or not – was unavailable for comment.

  8. flashling says:

    @Simon #7 our normal “easy” days have been hard, don’t think the (now) hard Tue/Thur were much better. I personally don’t mind hard. (unless I’m blogging!) Crosswords we do in 5 minutes are not really satisfying. what do yhr other boggers think?

  9. flashling says:

    err not sure where yhr or the missing l in
    boggers came from

  10. John says:

    walruss@5: As I said it was all a bit vague and I’m not 100% sure that you shouldn’t use ‘with’ as a link-word, but a) it always grates on me a bit, since I can never quite see how it makes sense and b) you never (I think) see Virgilius or Dac or Azed using it in this way.

    flashling@8: You say ‘Crosswords we do in 5 minutes …’; well personally I never do a crossword in 5 minutes and even if I was physically capable of writing it all in in that time I wouldn’t be able to work it out quickly enough. I’m always quite happy with Phi and Dac (or Virgilius in the old days) since these are usually easy enough. And so are some of the other setters. They do make the blog easier. When I have Nimrod or Scorpion (though not last time) or Tyrus things get a bit much; but one can always hold one’s hands up and say one doesn’t understand, and there’s always the Reveal button. I suppose, though, I prefer the easier setters.

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