Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7,571/Phi

Posted by Ali on January 21st, 2011


This is the first Indy daily puzzle I’ve had chance to look at this week, any spare time I’ve had having been eaten up trying to get to grips with last week’s Inquisitor (set by Phi). I finally cracked that last night, so it’s a diet of just Phi for me this week!

And this was everything you’d expect from the great man – elegant clues with great surface readings and wordplay, and one or two trickier clues to keep us on our toes. Excellent stuff.

10 HORSE – R[-un]S in HOE
11 TRIPLEX – L(ine) in TRIPE + X (shape of a cross)
12 NEMESIS – (SEEM)* in SIN rev.
13 MUD – Odd bits of MoUlD
14 ENNISKILLEN – NI SKILL in EN x 2S.A + W(icket)
17 NEAT – A in NET
18 WRATH – WRA[-1]TH
19 SNUB – BUNS rev.
23 USE – [-ref]USE
24 ICE-COLD – E-COL[-i] in (CID)*
29 UNITE – IT in UNE
1 SMUT – TUMS rev.
3 MEALIER – MEAL (supper) + I.E + R(ecipe)
5 REIN – NI[-g]ER rev.
7 URNS – [-b]URNS
16 LINGUISTIC – L(ecturer) + (USING IT)* + I C
21 SEMINAL – MIN[-e] in SEAL
25 EXIT – EX (former) + IT (object)
26 DAFF – FAD rev. + F(ine)
28 OLEO – Hidden in whOLE Oilfield

17 Responses to “Independent 7,571/Phi”

  1. scchua says:

    Thanks for the blog, Ali, and to Phi, one of the 3 Indy setters (the other 2 being Dac and Quixote) who consistently produce puzzles that I enjoy most.

    This was no exception. My favourites were 14A ENNISKILLEN, 18A WRATH, an answer I didn’t enter until finally working out that “expressing one’s” was not a homophone indicator but meant taking out “i”, and 20D DEVOTEE.

    For once, I spotted the Nina, but only after completion: I guess Phi is a 20D of Marcus Falco (top and bottom rows), and 3 of the books he’s in are: 12A, 4D and 15D. There may be other references I’m not aware of, not being familiar with the series of books myself.

  2. DorothyS says:

    @scchua — Good spot! I hadn’t noticed the nina, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I see there’s also Didius (Marcus’s family name, or nomen) in row 9. Very enjoyable puzzle, as the Indy puzzles usually are. I’m curious about the Inquisitor mentioned in Ali’s preface. Is that available online, either for free or through a subscription? I live in the US, so online offerings are my only option.

  3. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thank you, Ali.

    Like scchua, I’m a big fan of Phi, and I did enjoy this one. I just found it slightly strained by his usual high standards. Maybe it was the nina (which I never expect from Phi on a Friday and wouldn’t have recognised anyway). Just a few little things, really. For example: WRATH, in my opinion, is not really passion; language and LINGUISTIC are pretty close to have in clue and answer; I don’t really see MINE on its own as a source of money.

    So for me a 7/10 puzzle rather than the usual top marks. But I don’t think we’ll be asking eimi to send him to the naughty step just yet.

    Btw, do the other letters in the top and bottom rows have anything to do with the nina?

  4. Wanderer says:

    Thanks Ali and Phi, a very enjoyable puzzle which I did without spotting the Nina… Thanks to those who pointed it out.

    K’s D, I think SEMINAL works better if you see MINT as the source of money, that’s how I read it.

  5. Ali says:

    Ah, I completely missed the Nina, probably as I spotted SB.. in the top row early on, saw nothing and assumed there wouldn’t be one! Thanks for the pointers.

    Agree that MINT works better for the SEMINAL clue.

    DorthyS – the Inquisitor puzzles are published in the Saturday Independent Magazine and there’s currently no online version (or subscription). I think that Mike Laws (the puzzle’s editor) is trying to get them online though!

  6. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks for the MINT explanation – that does of course make sense. 7.5/10 now.

  7. scchua says:

    K’sD@3, Your btw, I think the other letters are not significant,,,equivalent to junk/non-coding DNA.

  8. Stella Heath says:

    Thanks Ali and Phi for a good puzzle, which I did without even looking for a Nina, which is just as well, as I’ve never heard of the incumbent :)

  9. Lenny says:

    I did write NINA at the top of the crossword before I started to make sure I looked for one but when I got Marcus Falco it, unfortunately, meant nothing to me. I also think this was a slightly below par offering from Phi. There were a lot of obvious anagrams. I was amused to see Triplex. I used to work for them but I was not aware that they had made it into the dictionary, albeit with a ®. My favourite clue was the one for Wrath with the misleading expressing one’s.
    I’m not a big fan of 7-letter answers with only 3 checked letters, particularly, as today when all the checked letters are vowels. I finished with the tricky Devotee and Seminal.

  10. flashling says:

    Failed to spot the Nina – looked for it but it completely passed me by. At least I nearly finished this – 27 beat me – after yesterday’s debacle.

  11. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, scchua at no 7. That is a very well-put analogy, which I shall remember for another time.

  12. NealH says:

    I really enjoyed this one and found it quite challenging in places, although the NINA didn’t mean a lot to me. I remembered Ariosto from another puzzle: I might not have got it otherwise. It took me an absurd amount of time to realize that our party in 27 was just “us” – I was sure it had to be some sort of anagram but couldn’t make any sense of it. I wasn’t overly keen on 22, since I’d never heard of the song and was convinced for ages that it must be something latin.

  13. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Ali.
    I found this a bit easier than usual for Phi,but still a pretty good puzzle.I spotted MARCUS FALCO after finishing the puzzle and after Googling spotted the rest of the Nina.
    I must own up to being totally unfamiliar with Lindsey Davis’ series but it sounds interesting.
    Would I be best to start with ‘The Silver Pigs’ or can they be read in any order?

  14. Phi says:

    I can’t quite remember how we got on to Falco (there’s always a tussle now for first possession of the new one) but in the early days, when Ms Davis was less likely to go on publicity tours, I did wonder whether the books were being written by a ‘literary’ novelist as a sideline (e.g. Dan Kavanagh was really Julian Barnes, though I find it remarkable that the increasingly unreadable John Banville has decided to follow suit). But Ms Davis proved to be the real person and name. The books are extremely good of their kind, well-paced and nicely humorous, and they do reflect what I think Lindsey Davis wants to bring home: that the Romans were, societally and emotionally, not that different from us.

    There is an ongoing storyline to the books, so starting at the start makes sense, but each book can be read on its own.

  15. Scarpia says:

    Thanks Phi,
    I will see what my local library has got on Monday.

  16. Paul B says:

    They didn’t have football though. Or cricket.

  17. Scarpia says:

    Or did they?

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