Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7528/Phi

Posted by John on December 1st, 2010


Phi on a Wednesday indeed. Something is afoot. No doubt Eimi or someone will amuse us on Friday with a theme that we can’t predict. And what Dac is doing I can’t think, for he appears like clockwork. Perhaps we’ll see him on Saturday.

As usual from Phi, what one expects: all very satisfactory with nothing apparently misunderstood. I didn’t get 20ac — would never have done so although in retrospect the wordplay was really pretty straightforward so no excuse.

6 DOORSTEP — do (poster)*
10 PIL(F)E R
11 ONE-LINER — if the cruise firm is down to one cruise liner then it is presumably failing
12 BARRIE{r}
13 INTRANET — (train)* net
14 TURING MACHINE — (hurting cinema)*
17 PRISONER (reins — pro)*
20 LANUGO — (a long u{nusually})* — according to Chambers it’s (sorted now, thanks K’s D) down, fine hair
23 LOVE’LL — ref Sir Bernard Lovell
1 DO MIN(AN)T — if something is in mint condition it is brand new and so hasn’t been used, or exercised
2 ART FOR ART’S SAKE — for{m} in (karate stars)* — it’s “Ars Gratia Artis” but this is the usual translation
3 S(T{wenty})URGEON
5 A (THE) N E
7 PROFIT MARGINS — (trip from gains)*
9 IMITATION PEARL — it in (airman pilot e{ffort})*
16 EG GP (L) ANT
19 NOODLE — needle (which is 22) with the first two e’s replaced by o’s, so vocally amended

12 Responses to “Independent 7528/Phi”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog John, and to Phi, whom we can always depend on for another enjoyable puzzle. No doubt, as you say, the “nasty” surprises are yet to come.

    Favourites were 13A INTRANET, 14A TURING MACHINE, both computer related terms and 3D STURGEON with its darkly amusing definition of “surgeon”.

  2. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, John. It was an enjoyable puzzle, but a bit harder than normal for Phi on a weekday, I thought. Some unusual words in the mix, and tricky wordplay.

    I liked STURGEON too; other favourites were MACARONI and CALENDAR.

    We don’t normally have music of the day on the Indy blog, but if we did, today it would have to be 2dn by 10cc.

    LANUGO was my last to go in (and btw the link in your explanation is dodgy, John).

  3. IanN14 says:

    Thanks John,
    I think the fact it’s a Phi on a Wednesday is because the puzzle is a topical 4, 15, with exactly 24 clues, none of which share the same number.

  4. Ian W. says:

    Has been taken down? I used to enjoy downloading and printing Indy crossswords on its Crossword Solver app, but it hasn’t worked for days and the website seems to be down.

  5. Gaufrid says:

    Hi Ian W
    See my comment #402 here:

  6. nmsindy says:

    Thanks for the blog, John, and the puzzle, Phi. I saw the Advent calendar connection all right with 24 days taking you to Christmas from today, 1 December. I too found it hard with some less familiar words but got there in the end. Favourites, PRISONER and REASON. Thanks for explaining 0NE-LINER, John, though I got it straightaway I could not see why till you did so.

  7. Ian W. says:

    Thanks, Gaufrid. I did a search of this site for “” before posting, but for some reason did not find that thread.

  8. beermagnet says:

    ONE-LINER: I went on a cruise to see the 1999 eclipse.
    On the first night the MD of the firm introduced the captain as the “Premier Captain of the Fleet”.
    Captain, drole Norwegian, pointed out that as captain it was quite easy to be the “Premier Captain” when the fleet has only one boat.

    I’m sure that firm was going up rather than going down – it was a brilliant “scientific” cruise (Tut. The things we have to do for science)

  9. flashling says:

    Did anyone else do the paper edition? Clues were in number order not across/down as you’d expect, strange. Looked to see if there was a Nina there as well but found nothing expecting a Aids day link. As K’sD said I found this tougher than expected. Snowed in here.

  10. nmsindy says:

    I think that was thematic, flashling, no across or down notification was needed as no number started two different clues. I guess Phi did this to get exactly 24 clues in with numbers 1 to 24 to fit those days of December. It was slightly disorienting when solving of course, one is so used to the other layout.

  11. NealH says:

    I thought at first that this was a misprint and that only the across clues had been printed. Even after realizing that it was intended to look like that, I still found it quite off-putting and struggled to get going. The fact that there were no duplicated numbers obviously means that there were no answers which shared a first letter, so that might be one of the reasons it seemed a little harder than normal.

    I guessed there must be a reason for the grid being designed like that but, not being very religious and never having even owned an advent calendar as far as I can recall, I was never really going to spot the theme.

  12. Stella Heath says:

    I missed the theme, too, though we had one every year as a kid :)

    I’d never heard of a Turing machine, and am probably about to forget all about it again, having looked it up. It doesn’t even seem possible, so it’s hard to understand how it could be useful, but then I’m just a linguist, no good at theoretical numbers: when my brother visited me at Leeds university he told me they were looking for the square root of -1 at his faculty, and of course, I could only answer “It doesn’t exist.”

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